Recent Feature Headlines


December 2014

Two Compelling Reasons to Set Up a Tax-Advantaged Health Insurance Plan: It Saves You Money and It Delights Your Employees

If you are a regular reader of the Tax Reduction Letter, you know that you can use a Section 125 plan to save money on group health insurance. A number of subscribers have requested a template for how to set up one of these plans, and that’s what this article is all about—we’ll help you get your plan up and running.


3 Rules Ensure That You Can Deduct Lodging Expenses under New Regs—Even When You’re Staying Close to Home!

The IRS lifted its long-standing ban against deductions for local lodging expenses. Now you can deduct the cost of a hotel for yourself or your employees even if you’re staying near your home. But there are three rules to know to make sure that your expense falls within the IRS “safe harbor” for deductibility.


Your Car Is a Tax-Savings Machine: Rev It Up Using These Smart “IRS-Proof” Guidelines

The IRS is more than happy to take away your deductions for your vehicle’s operating expenses if you do not follow their perfectionistic standard of record keeping. But you can beat them at their own game. This article shows you the easy way to satisfy even the most demanding of IRS agents when it comes to proving the usage of your business vehicle.


Claim a Home-Office Deduction for Your Rental Property Business—But Be Prepared to Meet IRS “Gray Area” Requirements

You enter a muddy legal area when you claim a home-office deduction in connection with your rental properties. Why? You must prove that you operate the rental properties as a trade or business. This article shows you the best way to meet that “trade or business” test and safeguard your deductions (and escape self-employment tax in the process).


Married? You May Qualify for Huge Deductions on the Net Losses of Your Rental Properties

There are special rules that you need to know regarding the deduction of your net losses if you co-own or co-manage a business or investment with your spouse. Tax law gives you some nice advantages, but they’re not what we would call logical. If you don’t know how the rules work, you might be missing out on money-saving benefits.


IRA Double-Win Strategy: Minimize Your Taxes Further by Rolling Them Forward and Backward

Your traditional IRA comes with a looming tax bill. Sure, you deduct your contributions, but you have to pay tax on 100 percent of the money you eventually withdraw. Fortunately, the tax code gives you a great year-end planning technique that you can use to minimize this future tax. You can strategically roll your traditional IRAs forward (and backward) to Roth IRAs, which allow you to withdraw qualified distributions tax-free.


Drive Down Your Tax on Stock Gains by Selling and Repurchasing at Just the Right Time

If you own stock, you can take action now to escape the tax that you will incur when you ultimately decide to sell. By strategically timing sale and repurchase transactions, you can take advantage of the zero percent bracket for capital gains and gradually eliminate most or all of your tax before you ultimately dispose of the stock.




November 2014

4 Ways to Turn Your Cars, SUVs, Trucks, and Vans into More Profitable Tax Deductions

December 31 is just around the corner. That’s likely your cutoff date for finding tax deductions that will cut your 2014 taxes. And remember, your 2014 taxes are the highest they’ve been in 28 years. This article helps you identify tax deductions embedded in your existing business and personal cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans.


Year-End Retirement and Medical Tax-Deduction Strategies: 7 Ways to Pocket More Money

When you get busy with your business, it’s easy to forget about your retirement accounts and medical coverages and plans. But year-end is approaching, and now’s the time to take action. This article gives you seven action steps that help you reduce your taxes, pocket extra money, and get ready for 2015.


5 Smart and Legal Year-End Tax Benefits Available to Every Small Business

This article gives you easy year-end tax planning strategies for your everyday business. For example, prepaying your expenses under the IRS safe harbor and simply not billing customers and patients until 2015. These two strategies are certainly easy, as are the other three strategies in this article.


7 Year-End Tax Reduction Strategies for Your Stock Portfolio

Your stock market portfolio is a great place to look for year-end tax planning opportunities. First, it’s a place where you can avoid paying taxes on stock appreciation by gifting stock to charity, your parents, and your children. Second, it’s a place where you can play a simple game of offset where you cancel out high taxes. This article gives you seven strategies that reduce your taxes and make you smile.


4 Year-End Tax-Deduction Strategies for Business Owners Who Are Married, Getting Married, and/or Have Children

In your last-minute search for tax deductions, examine your children under the age of 18, your marital status, and your relatives in the zero tax bracket. With some planning, you can save good tax money here.


7 Tax-Reducing Cars, Trucks, Vans, and SUVs to Buy Before Year-End

It’s November. It’s also the beginning of year-end tax planning time. And for many business owners, it’s car, truck, van, and SUV buying time. The combination of car, truck, van, and SUV buying time and year-end tax planning can help you make a sizable dent in your 2014 tax burden. And if lawmakers get their act together, they could further increase your tax benefits before December 31.


Should You Gamble on a Big Motor Home Deduction This Year?

You can use a motor home for your business. If you are thinking of buying a motor home at this time, your Section 179 expensing election is somewhat in limbo. It’s possible that lawmakers will reinstate last year’s limits on Section 179 expensing. This article examines the gamble you take if you buy before lawmakers take action or if they fail to reinstate last year’s limits.




October 2014

Supercharge Travel Deductions by Knowing the Business Day Rules

When you take a trip and spend some of your time on business and some time on personal activities, how much of your expenses can you deduct? What happens to your expenses on holidays? Knowing the answers to questions such as these puts money in your pocket and safeguards you from IRS attack on your travel deductions.


Reduce Self-Employment Taxes by Renting from Your Spouse

If you operate your business as a sole proprietorship, the government takes a big chunk of your profits in the form of self-employment taxes. But there’s good news. With the help of your spouse, you can reduce your self-employment tax bill by using a simple rental strategy.

 


How Tax Credits Make Historic Buildings More Affordable

Would a unique downtown historic building be the perfect site for your office? It may be more affordable than you think. Your state and federal governments want you to rehabilitate these buildings and give you a financial incentive to do so. Here is their offer to you: if you invest in and restore a historic building, the governments will give you tax credits to offset a huge chunk of the cost of restoration.


How to Help Your Employees Pay for Medical Insurance and Reduce Everybody’s Taxes!

The Affordable Care Act allows you to pay for employee insurance by increasing taxable compensation. But that’s not the route you want to take, since it means more taxes for both you and your employees. This article gives you ideas on how to pay for employee insurance without hiking up your tax bill.


Make the IRS Pay You When You Sell Your Home

You normally would not expect to have more money in your pocket after you pay your tax bill. However, with this new ruling from the IRS, you could end up with just that—a negative tax on the sale of your home! Read this article to find out how a taxpayer sold her home for a $100,000 before-tax profit and turned that into a $110,000 after-tax value.


How S Corporation Owners Can Cut Taxes by Keeping a Lid on Their Salaries

The number one way for S corporation owners to pay fewer taxes is to set the right salary. To do this, you want to find the salary sweet spot—an amount that is low enough to save you taxes but high enough to satisfy the IRS and not create a risk of audit. This article summarizes the important cases and rules you need to know in order to determine the right salary for your business.


How to Claim Big Home-Office Tax Deductions—Even for a Tiny Office, Even in a Small Home

Have you ruled out taking the home-office deduction because you believe your home is too small? You should think again. You can set up a mini home office using as little as a single square foot of floor space. When you read this article, you’ll see why this could generate thousands of dollars in tax savings.




September 2014

Do the Right Kind of Work at Your Home Office

It’s not hard to qualify for the home-office deduction when you take advantage of the administrative and management activities safe harbor. This approach gives you all the nice benefits of the home-office deduction but allows you to spend the majority of your time in your office outside the home. However, you have to know how the rules work—namely, you have to know which business activities you can and can’t do in each location.


Ignore the Tax Code’s Rules on Receipts

There is one part of tax law that you should ignore. It will get you into trouble. If you read the literal language of the tax code, you might get the impression that receipts are not always necessary. Don’t fall into this trap. Make it a general habit to keep your receipts and you will make your tax life much, much easier.


Tax Tips to Know If You Buy Gold, Art, Antiques, or Stamps

If you invest in gold, stamps, or antiques but you don’t know the tax rules governing collectors, you’re probably falling into costly tax traps that you could easily avoid with tax knowledge. When you put yourself in position to improve your tax situation, you put more money in your pocket (which gives you more money to build your collection). Read this article to discover how you can deduct your collection expenses and also minimize your taxes when you sell your items for a profit.


S Corporation? Office in the Home? Learn How to Escape Taxes

Are you an S corporation owner who takes advantage of the office-in-the-home deduction? If so, here’s good news. With the right tax planning, you can sell your home containing the office and defer or eliminate 100 percent of your tax, including recapture for any depreciation that you claimed. That news should put a smile on your face. Read this article to find out how you can use this strategy to pocket some extra tax dollars.


Five Steps to Take When Lending Money to Employees

Lending money to an employee can be a great way to help your worker through difficult times and build loyalty to your business. But when you do this, you need to plan for the possibility that your employee is unable or unwilling to repay the loan. In this article, you will discover the sad example of a business owner who suffered the consequences of poor planning. Fortunately for us, his mistakes serve as a guide on preserving good tax treatment for bad loans.


Tax Truth about Home Equity Loans

Your home may be your biggest investment and storehouse of cash. While interest rates remain low on home loans and home equity lines of credit, you may be tempted to pull money out of your home with a loan. Before you act, you need to know 1) how much interest you can deduct, 2) what the limitations are on those deductions, and 3) when you get slammed by the alternative minimum tax (AMT). Read this article and find out how to make sure that your home equity interest produces tax benefits for you.