By topic: Employees
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit rewards your good deeds. And now, because of new legislation, the rules are in place for longer than usual. If you need to hire workers in your business, this dollar-for-dollar reducer of your taxes is one to know about.
The self-employed normally get the short end of the stick when it comes to government aid in times of economic disruption. But the COVID-19 pandemic is different. Congress has provided the self-employed with aid never seen before, including forgivable PPP loans, tax credits for sick leave and family leave, increased Affordable Care Act subsidies, and even unemployment benefits. But the benefits are temporary, so take advantage of them now.
COVID-19 is going away, perhaps by early summer. It’s time to start thinking business meals and partying with your employees. The chart in this article gives you a helicopter view of the latest business meal and entertainment rules.
Here’s good news: Partying with and entertaining your employees remains 100 percent deductible after the many tax changes that have taken place during the past three-plus years. Further, your employee parties are not subject to the new restaurant rules.
This is likely it—your last chance to obtain first- and second-draw Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) monies. A new law, the PPP Extension Act of 2021, extends the expiration date to the later of May 31 or when the money runs out. Note the phrase “when the money runs out,” and be forewarned that this can happen within weeks. So, don’t procrastinate—not even for one day.
Can your corporation claim the employee retention credit on the W-2 wages it pays to a shareholder-employee who owns more than 50 percent of the corporation? There’s disagreement about this within the tax community. What should you do? Read this article.
When Congress passed the CARES Act, it gave small-business owners like you two choices: get tax-free Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) monies or take the employee retention credit (ERC). Fast-forward to the new law enacted on December, 27, 2020, and you will find that you can now benefit from both programs, retroactive to March 13, 2020, as you see in this article.
Congress created the employee retention credit (ERC) to help your business that continued to pay employees even though it was impacted by COVID-19. Fast-forward to the new American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and now you can potentially take an ERC of up to $100,000 during the last six months of 2021 if you start a new business during the pandemic. In this article, we’ll explain how this valuable provision works and the net amount it can put in your pocket.
Congress created the COVID-19 employee retention credit to help employers continue to pay employees while affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and the American Rescue Plan Act expanded access to this tax credit in both tax years 2020 and 2021. In this article, you see how a small-business owner calculates and claims this most beneficial tax credit.
If you have fewer than 20 employees (including none because you are self-employed), the SBA is in the process of trying to help you. Two things are going on. First, you have an exclusive window to obtain your Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money without competition from the big guys. Second, if you are self-employed, the SBA is creating a mechanism for more PPP money for you.
The CARES Act made many temporary changes in the tax law. The new Consolidated Appropriations Act adjusted some of these and left others to die on December 31, 2020. With all the changes that took place in 2020, you need to know what’s left, enhanced, and over with, as we explain in this article.
Two things to know about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) first draw: (1) The first draw is for those who missed getting in on the original PPP, which expired on August 8, 2020. (2) Don’t think of a PPP draw as a loan. It’s not a loan. It’s a cash infusion. You have to repay a loan. You don’t have to repay the PPP funds.
As part of the March 2020 CARES Act, Congress created a COVID-19 employee retention credit to provide financial support to businesses to maintain payroll. But this credit was not available if you took a PPP loan. Now, thanks to the new COVID-19 relief law enacted December 27, 2020, a business with a PPP loan can retroactively claim employee retention tax credits.
Do you own your own business? Do you have close relatives? If you responded yes to both, you have a golden opportunity to slash your business taxes. With the help of family members, you can utilize several tax-saving strategies to reap some nice financial benefits for both you and your relatives.
The massive new stimulus law contains eight new tax breaks that help the average non-business taxpayer. These include something for everyone, both rich and poor. Wealthy taxpayers can contribute more to charity and still get a deduction; average people get an extension of the universal charitable deduction; and low-income taxpayers can get a larger earned income tax credit. Popular programs such as the lifetime learning credit are expanded to help more people. The bill also extends some favorable tax rules, such as the 7.5 percent adjusted gross income floor for the medical deduction.
If you own your own business, hiring your spouse to work as your employee can be a great tax savings strategy. But the tax savings may be a mirage if you don’t pay your spouse the right way. And the arrangement is subject to attack by the IRS. Here are five things to know before you hire your spouse that will maximize your savings and minimize the audit risk.
Does your business have a retirement plan for you and your employees, if any? It should. You have more new reasons in 2020 to get your retirement plan in place and perhaps make changes in existing plans.
Business owners who have established 105-HRAs, Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements (QSEHRAs), and Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Accounts (ICHRAs) to reimburse their employees for medical expenses need to pay an annual fee to help support the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
Following a presidential executive order, the IRS says employers can stop withholding and paying employee Social Security taxes for the rest of 2020. But employers who do so face potential risks. Do employers have to accept the offer?
Do you operate your business as a corporation but use a vehicle that you own in your personal name for the corporate business? If so, be aware that the TCJA changed the rules of the road for tax years 2018-2025. To avoid losing your rightful deductions, you need to have the corporation reimburse you for business use, as we describe here.
The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) rules—they keep a-changin’. In this article, you find new rules that likely increase PPP loan forgiveness for S and C corporation owner-employees with compensation of $100,000 or more.
Do you operate your business as a corporation but own your business vehicle personally? If yes, what happens when you trade your existing personal vehicle for a replacement personal vehicle and then have the corporation reimburse you for the newly purchased personal vehicle? There are nuances that you need to know, as we explain in this article.
Tax law definitions do not apply to much of the Payroll Protection Program, making it new ground for owners of S corporations. Here are answers to four questions of concern to many S corporation owners.
If you report your business income and expenses on Schedule C of your Form 1040, your PPP loan forgiveness is straightforward, as you see in the five answers in this article.
In this article, we offer insights into (1) how good faith at the time of the PPP application works; (2) the differences in the PPP, EIDL advance, and EIDL; (3) the possibility of automatic loan forgiveness without applying for it; and (4) the four categories of owner-employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic may create tax benefit opportunities for you and your family members. For example, you could hire your under-age-18 children, pay them, say, $10,000 each, and they could pay zero federal income taxes. And you or your corporation, the employer, would deduct the $10,000 you paid to each of the children. The child wins. You win. There’s more, as you will see in this article.
The federal government has given you many ways to find relief from the effect of COVID-19 on your business. You have to like the rescue. But it does require you to make choices as to which assistance to accept, because the selection of one type may preclude benefiting from a second type.
COVID-19 has hit American businesses hard, to say the least. You may be eligible for up to $10 million to help pay workers and keep your doors open under a brand-new SBA program. And with this program, you may qualify to obtain some loan relief.
A special tax loophole exists for disaster-related payments. Such qualified payments are deductible by the payor and tax-free to the recipient. The COVID-19 pandemic qualifies as a disaster and activates this tax benefit. We’ll tell you how both you and your employees can benefit from this provision today.
If you are in business for yourself—say, as a corporation or self-employed—payroll taxes and self-employment taxes are likely two of your biggest tax burdens. Here’s some possible good news: Congress decided to give you significant relief from these taxes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll tell you what relief options are available and whether or not you qualify.
California’s new AB 5 law turns many 1099 independent contractors into W-2 employees under California law. Does this new AB 5 law apply to your business? What if you are out of state? What are states other than California doing? Can you keep your workers as independent contractors? In this article, we answer these questions.
When you employ your children to work in your business, make sure that you are ready to answer questions from both the IRS and the Department of Labor. The answer to the question in this article may come as a surprise as to what triggered the problem.
Download this two-page guide so that you have a handy desktop reference with the 2020 corporate and individual tax rates, estate tax rates, self-employed tax rates, Social Security and Medicare tax rates, capital gain rates, standard mileage rates, standard deductions, luxury auto depreciation limits, and select retirement and IRA limits.
With incentive stock options (ISOs), you could be on your way to a very nice payout. But you must consider both the regular federal income tax results and the alternative minimum tax results. In addition, you must pay attention to special rules that apply to so-called disqualifying dispositions of shares acquired by exercising ISOs. This sounds complicated, and it is a little, but we help you find clarity in this article.
You or your spouse may have the opportunity to obtain non-qualified stock options. Or you may have your corporation issue non-qualified stock options to its employees. In all cases, you will want to know both how these options work and what happened to Sheedy.
If you have employees who travel for your business, would the IRS travel per diem method simplify your record keeping and reduce your risk of audit disallowance?
Many workers across the U.S. are going to suffer improper reclassifications because of the California Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex and the resulting new California law. As you will see in this article, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) compounds the tax problems for the workers who are reclassified.
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 six action steps for 2019 that can help you reduce your taxes and pocket extra money.
Failure to use an accountable plan for your employee expense reimbursements (including yourself if you operate as a corporation) turns those improperly reimbursed expenses into taxable wages. In other words, by failing to comply with the accountable plan rules, you turn the tax-free reimbursement into taxable W-2 wages. That’s about as ugly as it can get.
You can use a Section 127 education plan to obtain tax benefits for yourself (or your corporation) while you help your employee-grandchild through college or other training.
If you have been looking for some good news on tax-deductible business meals, you will find it in this article. And along with the good news, you will find clarity as to what post-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act rules currently apply to your tax-deductible business meals.
Why is it wrong for the sole proprietor to pay himself or herself a W-2 wage? Also, why is it wrong for a partner to be paid by the partnership as a W-2 employee?
You find much beauty and little beast in using a single-member LLC for your real estate ownership. Of course, the big beauty is corporate-style liability protection without tax complexity, as you see in this article.
We took a deep dive into the 263 strategy articles that apply to the self-employed and pulled out 10 that you should spend time with.
If you own more than 2 percent of an S corporation, you have to follow special rules to deduct your health insurance premiums. The health insurance rules can also apply to family members who work in the business and don’t own a single share of stock. Don’t let the zero stock be a surprise and cost your family money.
Your 199A deduction requires W-2 wages and/or property when your taxable income is greater than $415,000 married, filing jointly, or $207,500, filing as single or head of household. When you are above these amounts and want to calculate your 20 percent deduction, make sure to enter separate businesses separately in the if you do not formally elect aggregation of your Section 199A businesses.
The Affordable Care Act’s $100-a-day penalty for improper medical reimbursements likely has your attention. It should. But you can find many reimbursements that are allowed without penalty, including the ability to reimburse Medicare when you have fewer than 20 employees.
When you are in business for yourself, you have options when it comes to creating tax deductions for your health insurance. The tax rules treat Medicare as health insurance, and that means you have options for how to create your tax deductions for Medicare.
When you know the rules, you can party with your employees and deduct 100 percent of the cost. Interestingly, if you feed your employees during a training program, your deduction is only 50 percent. Make sure you know the rules that give you the 100 percent deduction for employee entertainment.
The answer in this article explains how the S corporation can pay the solo owner-employee’s individually purchased health insurance without worrying about the $100-a-day penalty.
Your Section 199A tax deduction disregards W-2 wages when your Form 1040 taxable income is equal to or less than $315,000 (married, filing jointly) or $157,500 (filing as single or head of household). Also, you don’t have to think about wages for your out-of-favor business if you have taxable income above $415,000 (married, filing jointly) or $207,500 (filing as single or head of household). But if you are in a group that needs to consider the wages your business paid you and your employees, you have to follow the rules set out by the IRS, as we explain in this article.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax reform crushed a big chunk of business entertainment tax deductions. Fortunately, your business entertainment facility escaped the mayhem and continues as a 100 percent tax-deductible facility. If you want such a business facility, make sure to review the rules in this article.
Learn how your continuous learning employees probably suffer because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It’s likely good business for you as a business owner to ease that suffering to encourage this continuous learning. On the personal side, you’ll find the tax law subsidies for your individual education to your liking.
Your S corporation has to pay you reasonable compensation for the services you provide to the corporation. If your corporation pays your health insurance premiums, does that change the salary amount you need to pay yourself? We’ll tell you the answer and how doing it wrong would cost you money.
In many business environments, you compete for employee talent in a variety of ways, including perhaps by implementing a medical and family leave policy. The good news on this front is that your federal government may have given you a tax credit (yes, that lovely dollar-for-dollar offset to your taxes) for what you wanted to do anyway.
The life insurance sales professional who receives a W-2 with the statutory employee box checked is in a special tax category for income and employment tax purposes and also sits in a favored category under the new Section 199A deduction rules. But he or she may not be favored for 1099 income.
Are you confused by the tax deductions you can claim for your small-business health care? We can help you with our bird’s-eye view. It takes less than two minutes.
You have three good reasons to get your qualified small-business health reimbursement account (QSEHRA) in place on or before October 2. First, this avoids penalties. Second, your employees will have the time they need to select health insurance. Third, you will have your plan in place on January 1.
You cannot expect IRS auditors and agents to know the tax code and regulations. If you can produce the code or regulations that authorize your deductions, you are miles ahead in your audit.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed the landscape for a host of business meal and entertainment deductions. For supper money, the TCJA did damage, both short and long term. But the deduction continues in place, albeit damaged, for tax years 2018 through 2025.
Tax reform gave you a new 20 percent deduction on pass-through income. For S corporation owners, your reasonable compensation plays a key role in determining your Section 199A deduction. Here, we’ll explain what the law says on reasonable compensation and how you can come out ahead.
If you are thinking of a gym for your employees, this is the article for you. The article keeps you from using the wrong set of IRS regulations. Yep, there two different sets of regulations from two different code sections that could apply.
TCJA Tax Reform Q&A: Does Moving W-2 Income and Employee Business Expenses to Schedule C Increase Taxes?
If you can qualify to move your W-2 income to Schedule C so as to enable those legitimate business expense deductions that you are losing to tax reform, should you do it? Maybe. You need to run the numbers to see if the new Schedule C taxes outweigh the monies you lost by not being able to deduct employee business expenses.
If you own rental property in your name or in the name of a single-member LLC, you report your rental property income and expenses on Schedule E of your IRS Form 1040. But what happens when you have an expense for which the IRS has not created a line item on the form? No problem—simply insert it as we explain in this article.
More than 2 percent shareholder-employees of S corporations don’t catch a lot of breaks when it comes to the taxation of fringe benefits. But arming yourself with the correct information will help you maximize your deductions and avoid costly penalties.
Whether you operate your business as a corporation or as a proprietorship, you need to record your tax-deductible travel expenses in an IRS-approved manner. This means you need to know technically what a receipt is—and when you do or do not need one. By the way, the credit card statement is not a receipt.
If you or you and your spouse own your business and you have children, you need to consider the financial benefits of hiring those children to work in your business. Some businesses benefit more than others, but almost all businesses likely come out ahead with this strategy. And every business needs to thank tax reform for the new increased standard deduction that a business owner’s child can use to pay zero in taxes.
The recent tax reform created both winners and losers. One big loser is the W-2 employee who incurs out-of-pocket business expenses to earn his or her W-2 income. Tax reform simplified those W-2 employee business expense deductions by simply making them not tax deductible.
The old saying that “no good deed goes unpunished” could certainly apply to the transportation fringe benefits that lawmakers penalized with the recent tax reform.
You asked us to elaborate on how tax reform did away with client and prospect business meals. It starts with the Tax Reform Act of 1986, when business meals were by law placed in the entertainment category. As you know, so-called business-friendly tax reform killed deductions for business entertainment and, along with it, client and prospect meals.
The new 2018 Section 199A tax deduction that you can claim on your IRS Form 1040 is a big deal. There are many rules (all new, of course), but your odds as a business owner of benefiting from this new deduction are excellent.
Lawmakers finally did it. First, they reduced the directly related and associated entertainment deductions to 80 percent with the 1986 Tax Reform Act. Later, in 1993, they reduced that 80 percent to 50 percent. And now, with the newest tax reform, lawmakers simply killed business deductions for directly related and associated entertainment.
Lawmakers do not like businesses that feed their employees on the business premises. The new tax reform takes what last year was a 100 percent deduction for a meal served for the convenience of the employer, reduces it to 50 percent this year (2018), and then throws it into the compost pile with a zero deduction in 2026 and later years.
You could (and can) deduct your costs for reimbursing employees for their qualified bicycle transportation costs. But tax reform now makes this bicycle transportation benefit a taxable event for your employees. As you will see in this article, even though the reimbursements are now taxable to the employees, you likely should continue the benefits.
Traditional business entertainment such as business meals and ballgames with clients and prospects died with tax reform. That’s a sad deal, really. On the good news front, your parties with employees remain deductible, as do your employee entertainment facilities and selected other types of entertainment.
What can appear logical when planning for the S corporation owner’s business expenses can prove costly to the owner and, as in this article, cost every penny of the business deductions.
In IRS Notice 2015-17, the IRS allowed S corporation owners in 2014 and 2015 to avoid the $100-a-day penalties on S corporation reimbursements of individually purchased health insurance and on providing insurance for the owners only. But 2016, 2017, and 2018 are new years, so what is that status now?
How does the tax code define a temporary assignment that qualifies you for tax deductions during a full period of stay, such as nine full months? In this article, you learn how federal per diem rates interact with some actual expenses and what you need in place to achieve deductions for a temporary out-of-town work assignment.
You can pay your child to work in your business and get paid for paying your child. Yeah, we know. You think this sounds too good to be true, but it’s true. For how the government pays you and why this works, read this article.
The Boston Bruins deducted 100 percent of their meal expenses for employees who traveled out of town for the away games. The IRS challenged that 100 percent and lost. One big deal with the Bruins’ win is that it is precedent-setting, meaning that the Boston Bruins may have created a road map for you that could lead to more 100 percent business meal–expense deductions (versus the usual 50 percent allowance for business meals).
If you operate your business as an S corporation and you take advantage of the benefits you receive by having an office in your home, you probably want an easy and audit-proof way to make the reimbursement request. You find that in this article.
You can deduct NFL tickets under the associated entertainment rules. In this Q&A, our member is traveling from Portland to Atlanta to attend a business conference, and while at that conference, he and his team members will attend the NFL game. The conference creates an easy path to this deduction.
One of our tax professional subscribers disagrees with the S corporation being able to reimburse the owner-employee for depreciation of the home office. She asked whether we can back up our claim that depreciation is reimbursable.
It’s about as good as it gets when you see the words “tax-free” in the tax law. Under the de minimis fringe benefit rules, your business deducts the cost of giving you or your employees flowers, fruit, books, and similar property under special circumstances. The recipients—you or your employees—receive the de minimis fringe benefits tax-free.
The IRS hit the Mescalero Apache Tribe with a bad result in an employee classification audit. The tribe took the IRS to the Tax Court and forced the IRS to turn over records on the tribe’s workers’ tax payments that will substantially reduce its tax bill. If you have a worker classification issue, you will want to know what the tribe did and why.
Do you operate your business as a corporation, a partnership, or a proprietorship, or as an LLC taxed as one of these three entities? Your choice of entity impacts whether you can create a no-hassle, tax-free fringe benefit for your and/or your employees’ smartphones. In this article, you learn the rules that apply and which ones give you the best benefits.
If you have employees who have worked for your business for years and years, you might be thinking of buying them something as a way of showing your appreciation. If you follow a few rules, you can make those presents “employee achievement awards”—and thus tax-deductible for the business and tax-free for the employees. (Depending on how you operate your business, you might even qualify as an employee eligible for the tax-free award.)
Do you operate your business as a corporation but own the vehicle you use for the corporate business in your personal name? If so, to avoid losing your rightful deductions, you need to have the corporation reimburse you for business use. The corporation can use one of two methods for the reimbursement.
The home-office tax deduction provides tax savings to business owners. It turns otherwise nondeductible personal expenses into valuable business deductions. When tax law taxes your business as a proprietorship, you simply deduct home-office expenses on Schedule C. But when you operate your business as a corporation, you face special rules to achieve the same benefits.
The 105-HRA is the medical reimbursement plan you likely want to use if (a) you report your business income and expenses on Schedule C of your Form 1040 and (b) you can make your spouse your one and only eligible employee. Also, if you are single and operate your business as a C corporation, and if you are the one and only eligible employee of your C corporation, the 105-HRA is the medical reimbursement plan for you.
When you operate your own business, don’t pay yourself last. Pay yourself first. That’s a wealth-building strategy. And if you can combine the pay-yourself-first strategy with a retirement plan, you supercharge your wealth strategy.
Finally, the health insurance rules that apply to small businesses that want to provide medical benefits to their employees make more sense and allow some benefits. As you would expect, the new rules are not perfect. After all, this is tax law. But the new rules are light-years ahead of the old rules.
Do you have fewer than 50 employees? Are you in compliance with the Affordable Care Act? Whether you are in compliance or not, we may have some big news for you. First, if you failed compliance, a new law has likely just released you from the monstrous $100-a-day penalty ($36,500 per employee per year). Second, if you made changes to get into compliance, you may have overtaxed your employees. Now, with this new law, you may be able to undo some or all of that overtaxation.
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 to cut your 2016 taxes. This article gives you six action steps for 2016 that can help you reduce your taxes and pocket extra money.
Establish a Section 127 educational assistance plan in your business to help pay your age-21-or-older child’s college or other education costs. If you are in business and you have a child who is age 21 or older in financial need of educational assistance, this is a plan to consider.
Business owners and employees who do not pay their payroll taxes can find themselves personally liable for the trust fund portion of those taxes. This is true even if the business operates as a separate legal entity such as a corporation. If you are a business owner or employee in trouble with the IRS over unpaid payroll taxes, you need to consider strategies you can use to stop the IRS from assessing the trust fund penalties against you.
The IRS deemed that personal use of business-earned frequent flyer miles and hotel reward points are tax-free until further notice. Cash rewards are another matter. First, they are not gross income. Second, they reduce basis. Third, they produce a deduction when you donate them to charity.
Tax law grants tax-free income status to the proceeds you receive from income replacement disability insurance policies. You pay a price for this tax-free income: You may not deduct the premiums. Special treatment applies to overhead disability, and there’s also special treatment for S corporation payments on behalf of “more than 2 percent” shareholders.
Health insurance premiums are rising at an astronomic rate. This is one of the biggest monthly expenses for many families. That’s where, because you are in business, a properly planned and executed Section 105 plan can work for you. This plan works like magic—it turns your medical expenses into tax-favored business expenses.
You can make your tax life easier with a business credit card—but only if you use that business credit card correctly for tax purposes. For example, charging an expense to a credit card does not make it tax deductible. You need more proof. And you could create a type of double jeopardy if you operate your business as a corporation.
Here’s a handy-dandy strategy for getting some money to your college student to help him or her pay for school. Have your child engage in an activity that’s not subject to self-employment taxes. If you operate your business as a corporation or your child is age 18 or older, this is a great college funding tool that you need to consider.
The paradox of choice applies when you consider the multitude of tax benefits available when paying educational expenses. In this article, we help you put money in your pocket by taking both the paradox of choice and the complexity out of two education tax credits with our step-by-step guide.
Have you ever faced this “problem”? A sudden boom in business requires you and your employees to work late in order to get everything finished. When this happens, how can you thank your employees for their overtime with a tax-free benefit that’s fully deductible to your business? You can provide a supper money fringe benefit if you follow four rules.
Most business meals suffer a 50 percent cut in the amount you can deduct. But here’s one of those business meal strategies that produces a 100 percent deduction. So if you spend $5,000 for meals with this strategy, you don’t deduct $2,500 because of the 50 percent. Instead, you deduct the full $5,000.
How to Avoid Thousands in Federal Taxes and Penalties If You Misclassified Employees as Independent Contractors
You likely want to hire independent contractors whenever possible. But if you are bending and breaking the rules, you face big back taxes, horrific penalties, and interest. So, a question for you: Have you been misclassifying your workers? If so, the IRS has a good deal that lets you off the hook with just a tiny payment. We’re talking a fraction of what you would otherwise owe if you lost your contractor classification in an IRS employment tax audit.
The government wants to give you the gift of education. Your lawmakers in Washington created a tax break for courses that improve or maintain your business skills. You can deduct in full the cost of education ranging from a standalone seminar all the way up to an advanced degree—including the cost of an MBA program. But in order to get this deduction, you have to follow a couple simple rules.
Are You Really an Independent Contractor But Getting a W-2 as an Employee? Change Tax Forms to Cut Your Tax Bill
If you are an S corporation owner, you can get a full deduction for your health insurance premiums—despite Obamacare and even if your S corporation provides zero health benefits to non-owner employees. You have to follow a few steps to qualify for this deduction, but that’s a piece of cake once you know the rules.
Have you been longing for the good old days when you could offer a Section 105 health plan to your employees without having to comply with the new Obamacare rules? Well, you can still offer such a plan—provided that you limit the benefits to vision and dental.
The Easiest and Funnest Deduction You’ll Claim This Year: 4 Rules for Writing Off Employee Outings—100%!
The government wants you to have happy employees. That’s why the tax code grants you extra deductions when you provide entertainment and entertainment facilities that primarily benefit rank-and-file employees. In this article, we examine how the rules work when you take your employees on a party trip.
You save employment taxes when you hire workers as independent contractors. But you want to make certain that the workers are indeed contractors, or you could subject yourself to some expensive tax penalties. In this article, we show you three steps to independent contractor status for your workers.
If you reimburse your employees for business expenses, or if you operate your business as an S or a C corporation, it’s crucial that you know and follow the IRS accountable plan rules—this will save money not only for you but also for your employees. We’ll give you two easy-to-use tools that will help you seamlessly incorporate these rules into your business routine.
Through a simple two-step process, you can fully deduct the cost of meals you provide to your employees. That’s right—this strategy helps you avoid the dreaded 50 percent reduction for entertainment expenses. But be careful when you use this strategy—your business may need to classify your meal differently from the meals for non-owner employees.
The IRS just launched its latest attack on your reimbursements for individually purchased health insurance: Even fully taxable reimbursements could still violate the Obamacare rules and expose you to the $100-per-day penalties. But don’t worry. We’ll give you several strategies to beat this new rule.
Hire Your Kids to Work in Your LLC or Sole Proprietorship and Put a Huge Chunk of Their Pay Back in Your Pocket
If you put your kids to work in your business, you can use their compensation to create nice tax savings for yourself. This strategy lets you spend time with your children during the workday and teach them valuable lessons about working life—as well as valuable lessons about money and tax planning.
In a previous edition of the Tax Reduction Letter, we explained how you get business deductions for the cost and laundry expenses of work clothes you buy for yourself and your employees. This update explains how you still get your full deduction even if you do not provide this benefit to all employees.
Trust, but verify. That’s the motto you should have when it comes to your payroll tax payments. You likely have a professional or business associate take care of your tax filing and payments. But you could save yourself a lot of trouble down the road by knowing how to verify that your trusted associate has done what he or she claimed to do.
Lawmakers may not always make your life easy, but at least you know they want you to have fun every now and then. The tax code gives you a 100 percent deduction for the parties that you throw for your employees—as long as you invite the right kind of employees.
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.
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.
You never, ever want to borrow money from this one place. It’s poisonous. If you don’t suffer immediately, you might wish you had. This is a situation in which the money is readily available, you think it’s yours, and you think you are simply borrowing the money. But that’s not what’s happening. You are in truth stealing the money and violating your fiduciary responsibilities.
You may have seen advertisements online for “defined contribution health plans.” If you use one of these plans, be sure you understand how they work. Some of them appear to offer reimbursement methods that violate tax law and expose you to enormous penalties. Read this article to identify both the safe and unsafe types of defined contribution health plans and learn how to comply with the law.
Have lawmakers inserted any sleight of hand into your Form 1040 tax calculations? Yes, they have! And it’s really terrible. For example, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) rules make you pay taxes on your tax deductions. How’s that for true sleight-of-hand terribleness? The AMT even makes you pay taxes on the personal exemptions the regular tax law grants for your children. It’s outrageous. But, because you own a business, there are some things you can do to get even.
Would you like to deduct business meals with your spouse? What would the IRS think about that? If the IRS said that the meals were not deductible, what would the courts say? You would think there are hundreds of rulings and court cases that explain this. Not so. There is one tax rule that mostly assures the deduction, but it requires an addition. Spend a few minutes learning how tax law treats your spouse when it comes to business meals.
This article gives you a bird’s-eye view of the new health care landscape so that you can see all your post-Obamacare health care options together in one place. Choose the health plan that works best for your business based on the number of employees you have and the amount of money you are willing to spend.
As you know, Obamacare has a dramatic impact on Section 105 medical plans that cover more than one employee. Of course, the first question is who is an employee for purposes of the Section 105 medical plan. And if you have multiple employees, you will be happy to know that this article gives you eight strategies for making the 105 plan work for you.
If you are an S corporation owner and you buy health insurance for yourself or your family, you need to follow the IRS rules described in this article in order to protect your tax deductions for the health insurance premiums. You also learn how to escape the Obamacare penalties for group health care even if you discriminate against your employees.
If you want to cover your employees with group health insurance but worry that the price tag will skyrocket your budget, you need to read this article. You will learn how to limit your annual cost and provide tax breaks to employees for their share of premiums. By following some or all of the strategies, you can drop your after-tax cost of group health insurance coverage.
Learn how employee use of your ski cabin or beach home produces a 100 percent business asset with deductions for depreciation, operating expenses, and mortgage interest. This can make for a great fringe benefit for both the employees and you. It also can make for a profitable investment.
Do you employ 50 or fewer employees? Are you looking to do something on the health care front, but not interested in the group health insurance option? Health savings accounts (HSAs) could be exactly what you are looking for, especially as Obamacare becomes law.
You have many ways to make your entertainment facility tax deductible. For example, you can treat use of the facility as compensation to the users. Tax law tags two types of people in your business for purposes of entertainment facility W-2 and 1099 compensation: “specified individuals” and others. For specified individuals whose use of the business beach home, ski lodge, or other entertainment facility creates taxable compensation, tax law limits the business’s deduction for its entertainment facilities. For compensated taxable use by nonspecified individuals, the business faces no special limits on deductions for entertainment facilities.
You provide your employees with an automobile for business use. You know that their personal use of the vehicle must be included in their wages, but how do you calculate that amount? What valuation rules are available? This article tells you what your choices are and how to apply them.
How would you like a business tax deduction for your yacht, hunting lodge, hunting lease, airplane, beach cottage, fishing camp, swimming pool, ski lodge, or tennis court? Tax law contains a clear set of rules that you can follow to create such deductions. And as you would expect, the rules are pretty demanding.
Would you like to find more tax deductions for your business? This taxpayer created an ESOP as one way to gain more tax benefits from his business. He also created a management services corporation to provide services for his existing corporation. But he made one common and most tragic error. He just did not do the work.
Have you considered providing your employee with an automobile? Would that automobile be used by the employee for business purposes or personal purposes? The tax effect for the employee depends on the answers to that question. This article gives you what you need to know.
Do you own your business? Do you pay parking for yourself? An employee? If so, you need to know how the tax-free fringe-benefit rules for parking work, as explained in this article.
If you have workers who are paid on a 1099 as independent contractors, you need to avoid one fatal mistake. When you make this fatal mistake, you subject your worker employment classification to either the tax court’s common-law seven-factor test or the IRS’s 20-factor common-law test. Both of these tests are hard on the employer and often result in harsh reclassification of the 1099 independent contractors to W-2 employee status.
Is your last payment of payroll taxes in the hands of the IRS or in the hands of an embezzler? How would you know? There’s one easy way to know: simply use the IRS’s online service to check. But that’s a lot of trouble, so why bother? Because if the money has been stolen, you (1) are out the money and (2) have to pay that same amount to the IRS. If you have to pay twice, you are going to be furious. Don’t let this happen.
The flow chart in this article helps you visualize what needs to happen at the S corporation for the owner-employee to get any tax benefit from health insurance. The tax rules are not what you would call logical, but the flow chart clarifies the rules and gives you the path to follow to ensure your tax deductions.
As you likely know, tax law contains a number of rather ugly rules. One such rule is the disallowance of 50 percent of certain meal and entertainment costs. For example, party with your employees and get a 100 percent deduction, but have a serious meeting with your employees in a restaurant and you are stuck with the 50 percent deduction. Interestingly, there is a totally different rule that gives you better tax deductions when you serve the business meal to your employees at a meeting that takes place on your business premises.
Employees complicate your retirement plan design, but you have many design options. This article takes you through six plan designs that open your eyes to the many possibilities you have to ensure that you get from your retirement plan the maximum retirement benefits you want.
In this article, you’ll learn four tax-planning strategies for your medical deductions and two strategies for your retirement. If you want to implement the strategies for 2012, you need to get busy now. There’s not much time left, and one of these strategies requires action before December 1.
Do you operate your business as an S corporation? If so, how does the home-office deduction work for the employee-owner? Here are six answers that the S corporation owner needs for the home-office deduction. One of the six answers gives you ideas on how you can comply with the “convenience-of-the-employer” test.
If you operate your business as a proprietorship, S corporation, or single-member LLC, the HSA gives you, the owner, the ability to discriminate in benefits on your behalf. In addition, you get the HSA’s front-end tax deduction, tax-deferred growth, and no taxes on withdrawals used for medical expenses.
CPA subscriber points out that for the Section 105 medical reimbursement plan to work, marriage is not required.
The W-2 mortgage loan officer in this tax case beat the alternative minimum tax (AMT) by winning his claim that, in spite of his W-2, he was an independent contractor who should report his business expenses as a proprietorship on Schedule C of his Form 1040.
Because you are in business, you likely have the opportunity to improve your tax deduction for long-term care insurance. In fact, you might achieve a 100 percent deduction. If you are married, the 100 percent deduction can include your spouse.
This subscriber owns a timeshare that he is not going to use this year. He wants to know how he can obtain business tax deductions if he lets his employees use it, assuming the employees do some good work. He learns that he has two possible ways to let an employee use the timeshare, one of which is tax-free to the employee. The second method is to call use of the timeshare “compensation” to the employee, which produces the unusual result of taxable income to the employee in an amount often different from the tax deduction for the business.
You might justify a zero salary to the owner of an S corporation in the right circumstances. But there are some pitfalls, particularly if your purpose is to avoid payroll taxes. Further, and this is often overlooked, state law can come into play on the zero-salary game.
Do you operate your business as a corporation, an LLC, or a proprietorship? Your choice of entity impacts a variety of tax deductions, and now the cell phone creates a win for the corporate owner and a loss for the proprietorship and the single-member LLC.
The IRS admits that its regulation that made the single-member LLC a corporation for payroll tax purposes is unfair to small business family employment. To right this wrong, the IRS allows the single-member LLC to use the family employment rules to exempt FICA and Medicare taxes retroactively to January 1, 2009. The regulation granting this change expires on or before October 31, 2014.
New IRS Forgiveness Program for Improper 1099 Payments to W-2 Employees Is Not the Gift It Appears to Be
Is your worker an independent contractor or an employee? You want to get this right at the beginning. But if you improperly classified an employee as an independent contractor, the IRS has a tax penalty relief program for you. Should the IRS plan not have the best relief for you, consider the Section 530 employer protection plan.
In the right circumstances, the single-member limited liability company (LLC) gives you corporate liability protection combined with easy Schedule C (proprietorship) rules for your tax return. In this article, you learn the two tax advantages and two tax disadvantages to the single-member LLC.
Tax law makes it hard for the owner of an S corporation to win deductions for his health insurance. First, the corporate-provided health insurance is not a tax-free fringe benefit for the owner. Second, the S corporation has to pay for the health insurance or the owner will suffer a loss of tax deductions. Third, the S corporation payment for the health insurance will produce wages either exempt or nonexempt from FICA and Medicare taxes. This article shows you how to make the three tax deduction rules work for you.
Many small businesses underutilize tax deductions for de minimis fringe benefits. The beauty of the de minimis classification is that the business gets the tax deduction and the employee gets the benefits tax-free. This makes for happy owners and employees.
Your business ownership creates an opportunity for a tax plan that can give you tax deductions for hiring your children and can give your children tax-free income. But your tax plan does not stop there. Your children might start Roth IRAs where they can invest their tax-free income in a college fund. Done right, as described in this article, the government pays you for your help with this plan.
Does your chart of accounts contain two categories for your business entertainment tax deductions? It should. Your tax deduction for an employee party goes into a different deduction category from your regular business entertainment. Learn about the two accounts and how to get more tax deductions when you party with your employees.
The courts have determined that the alternative minimum tax (AMT) cheats many commissioned W-2 employees out of their rightful deductions. To fix this problem, the courts have allowed certain commissioned W-2 employees to move their employee business expenses from the IRS Form 2106 itemized deduction category to the tax-advantaged sole proprietorship on Schedule C.
The defined benefit retirement plan might be your choice of retirement plans if you are age 50 or older and your business earns a healthy income.
You are not self-employed for tax purposes just because your employer says so. This is true even when your employer is the British consulate general.
Does the Proprietorship Exemption from Payroll Taxes Apply when the Owner of a Single-Member LLC Hires His 15-Year-Old Child?
The single-member LLC is a disregarded entity for federal income tax purposes, but a corporation for employment tax purposes.
Setting the owner of an S corporation’s salary so that the owner saves money on self-employment taxes requires attention to some details. This article shows how a CPA with S corporation earnings of $246,000 had a reasonable salary of $91,000 according to the IRS. If you follow the principles used by the IRS to identify the $91,000 salary, you build audit-proof support for the salary.
This is the second article in our series on the best small-business retirement plans. Here we identify the four major advantages and three disadvantages to the SEP.
You need preventative steps to ensure that you are paying the wages you think you are paying to your employees and that your payroll tax deposits are actually being sent to the IRS and not to an embezzler’s pockets.
Learn why it is important to get the independent contractor classification correct. If your supposed contractor status is in reality employee status, you suffer major penalties.
The new under-age-27 health insurance coverage grants windfalls, pitfalls, and planning opportunities.
Tax law creates trouble for selected fringe benefits that the S corporation gives to a more than 2 percent shareholder. The loss of benefits and accompanying complications are factors to consider in the selection of the S corporation as your choice of business entity.
Do you provide supper or other meal money when you require your employees to work overtime? If so, is the meal money a tax-free fringe benefit or is it additional W-2 compensation to the employees?
Under the right circumstances, you can provide tax-free lunches to your employees. That’s nice. But what about you? How do you, the business owner, qualify for this tax-free fringe benefit?
When the S corporation makes HSA contributions on behalf of its more than 2 percent shareholder-employee, the S corporation treats the contributions as compensation to the shareholder-employee. In turn, the shareholder-employee has a deductible HSA on his or her personal tax return.
Many one-owner and husband-and-wife-owned businesses opt for discriminatory health insurance plans for their businesses. The new health care law eliminates that discrimination for new plans but allows grandfathered plans to continue as before.
If you operate your business as a corporation but own the business car personally, your best result comes about when you have your corporation use an accountable plan to reimburse you for actual expenses, including depreciation and Section 179 expensing.
When the IRS invites you for a tax audit, the examiner does not know that you hired your children. This fact surfaces during the initial interview or survey process, and the IRS instructs its examiners to examine this hire closely. You avoid all the problems when you have the right records.
When your S corporation employs a relative, you need to be aware of the stock attribution rules that can wreak havoc on the health insurance fringe benefit.
Tax credits are a true incentive for the business owner. They reduce taxes dollar for dollar. Now, you have waiting for you a hefty 35 percent tax credit on small-business health insurance coverage for employees. Here are the rules you need to know.
The new health care law grants a nice tax credit to business owners who cover their employees. How about the owners themselves? Lawmakers did them no favors, but one group of proprietors might catch a break.
For business owners who have children ages 22, 23, 24, 25, and 26, the new health care bill contains a healthy break, and perhaps even better than that. Amend Section 105 plans now for this new provision. Download your sample plan from this article.
Learn how the government pays you to get educated. The basic rule: you may deduct education that maintains or improves the skills you need in your business, providing the education does not qualify you for a new business.
If you are thinking of hiring your workers as 1099 independent contractors, this article is for you. The article shows you how the rules work and helps you understand what you need to properly classify your workers as independent contractors.
The business bad debt generates the best bad debt tax breaks, except when the debt is incurred to protect, enhance, or continue your employee relationship (i.e, keep the corporation in business so you have a place to work).
Do you own a business that withholds taxes from employees? If so, you need 100 percent certainty that the withheld payroll tax monies are going to the IRS. You can achieve 100 percent certainty with the IRS EFTPS registration..
You can use the transportation fringe benefit in lieu of wages. In fact, you can ask the employee to take a pay cut equal to the transportation fringe benefit. Amazingly, this swap of a pay cut for the transportation fringe benefit works out to give the employee an after-tax cash raise in pay and it puts cash in your pocket too.
You can use a Section 127 education plan to obtain tax benefits for yourself (or your corporation) while you help your grandchild through college or other learning.
Establish a Section 127 educational assistance plan in your business to help pay your age 21 or older child’s college or other education costs. If you are in business and you have a child that’s age 21 or older in financial need of educational assistance, this is a plan to consider.
As a subscriber, you may download this sample Section 127 educational assistance plan in Microsoft Word. Then, simply modify the document to your business use.
Most entertainment deductions are cut by 50 percent when you complete the tax return. Tax law grants a number of exceptions to the 50 percent cut. One exception eliminates the 50 percent and grants a 100 percent deduction to the party, facility, or entertainment that is primarily for the benefit of employees.
Use this Section 105 medical reimbursement plan template to make sure you provide maximum medical benefits to you and your family while legally discriminating under both tax law and ERISA rules.
The law gives you no choice but to keep the proper tax records on a timely basis. This is pretty easy when you know what to do. One easy rule to follow is to never commingle your activities in your bank accounts. Both the rule that requires a mileage log and the rule that requires a time log are more difficult, but absolutely essential to proving your deductions.
You may deduct travel, meals, and lodging in an unsuccessful attempt to hire an employee.
New tax rules have pretty much killed the once-common tool and car allowances as expense reimbursement methods.
The dreaded alternative minimum tax (AMT) taxes the regular tax deductions claimed for employee business expenses. These taxpayers said, “enough” and took their cases to court where they won their deductions by claiming employee business expenses on Schedule C.
You may deduct coffee and sodas in the workplace, as long as you file them correctly.
As a surgeon, you might get malpractice tail insurance (insurance that covers malpractice claims should you quit and go to another hospital). We suggest having the hospital pay the insurance costs, even if they deduct your pay, to protect yourself from the AMT.
Save yourself time and trouble. Reimburse employees for actual expenses. Forget those two troublemakers: per diems and allowances.
Many people, through keen knowledge of the tax law, have been able to use the law to their advantage and buy personal aircraft. Unfortunately, lawmakers changed the rules for deducting personal aircraft. We summarized the new rules for you.
Incorporated and unincorporated businesses can use the solo 401(k) to benefit the owner (including a husband and wife). In most cases, the solo 401(k) allows the one-owner or husband-and-wife owners to put away more than they could in other plans (up to $49,000 this year, depending on age and earnings—adjusted for inflation in future years).
This new law requires that you look at your retirement plans through new eyes. Caution is one watchword here. You have much to consider, including how to obtain a strong rate of return on your retirement assets and factors outside your control like the pension bailout of the airline industry. With the new rules, the 401(k) looks better and better, especially if you have employees.
The expansion of the kiddie tax to children under the age of 18 has zero negative effect on the hire-your-child strategy.
When designing the medical plan, you need to consider all your and your spouse’s proprietorships, LLCs, and corporations as one business. If employees exist in one of these businesses, you have employees in all businesses. Plan your discrimination or nondiscrimination accordingly.
The W-2 reporting requirements exempt the Section 105 medical plan reimbursements from entries on the W-2.
You often have many alternatives when it comes to pension coverage for you and your employees. This is an area where you should speak with several individuals, including your tax advisor and life insurance agent, before making a decision.