By topic: Records

Why IRS Audit Technique Guides Are Helpful Business Resources

IRS Audit Technique Guides provide valuable insight as to how the IRS conducts audits. The guides also provide helpful guidance in developing financial best practices for your business.

Loophole: Harvest Tax Losses on Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrency

How would you like a capital loss storage box that you could call on when you have capital gains that you want eliminated? Your cryptocurrency holdings can create that capital loss storage box without changing the nature of your holdings, as we explain in this article.

Know Why the Court Denied Losses on Four of Six House Rentals

When the government allows your rental property losses to offset your other income, it subsidizes your rental property profits. If tax law passive-loss rules deny your current rental losses, your profits go down. Therefore, you need to know how the passive-loss rules work so you can maximize your rental profits and avoid unpleasant visits with the IRS.

How the IRS Lost $55,000 in This IRS Rental Properties Audit

The thought of an IRS audit is a worry—no question about it. But it’s worse when the IRS wants a lot of your money. And it’s even worse yet when the IRS wants your money because it interprets the law incorrectly and, at the time you see the IRS adjustment, you have no idea whether the IRS is right or wrong.

IRS Audit Issue: SUV Built on Car Chassis

When is an SUV a car, and when is it a truck? How big is the difference in deductions? Does the SUV built on a car chassis get different treatment from the SUV built on a truck chassis?

IRS Arrives with Tax Assessor’s Allocation to Land and Building

On your rental properties, you need proof of your cost allocation to land and depreciable buildings. If you have no proof of that allocation, the IRS has started using the Internet to grab the tax assessor’s allocation and use that against your depreciation deductions.

Helicopter View of Meals and Entertainment (2021-2022)

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.

Know These Four Magic Business Mileage Rules

Learn these four business mileage rules. With them, you have a roadmap to the best tax benefits. And if you ever suffer an IRS audit, these four rules will save your bacon.

Disaster Strikes: Next Trouble, an IRS Audit

Disasters can happen at any time. As far as your business records go, you’ll be most equipped for a disaster if you’ve backed up and stored your most critical data online. To the extent you fail to do this, you’ll have to get copies of vital records from the IRS and other government agencies, your bank, clients, customers, and others. You’ll have to re-create other data as best you can.

Five Things to Know About Employing Your Spouse

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.

Good News If Your PPP Loan Is for $50,000 or Less

As you likely know by now, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan and its forgiveness process have been an ever-changing (and often confusing) ride so far. With the new rules for PPP loans of $50,000 or less, you escape from the most difficult part of the loan forgiveness if you had to consider employees. And you may even obtain more loan forgiveness than you would have otherwise.

Use the IRS Safe-Harbor Tax Relief for Ponzi Scheme Losses

If you are the victim of a Ponzi scheme, you absolutely, positively must read this article to learn how the law gives you favored victim status. This includes a safe harbor election that gives you an upfront deduction of up to 95 percent, possible net operating loss treatment, and more.

Download This Free Guide to Choosing the Right Business Entity

Are you starting or buying a new business? If so, you have a decision to make regarding the best operating entity for this business. Choose wisely, and you will benefit in many ways, including possible huge tax savings. Choose the wrong entity, and you’ll feel the pain for years to come.

The Insurmountable Sin in an IRS Audit: A True and Sad Story

Do you have a mileage log that will survive an IRS audit? If so, good for you! If not, get ready to give up all (not some, but all) of your vehicle tax deductions for not just one year but three years, as you will see in this true story.

How Many Whole or Partial Rooms Can You Use for Your Home Office?

Three questions for you: (1) Can you use part of one room as a deductible home office? (2) How about a dozen full-sized rooms? (3) Can you deduct the portion of your home that you use for storage of your business records? Find the answers here.

TCJA: Don’t Lose Out When Corp. Vehicle Is in Your Personal Name

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.

Seven Things to Know Before You Take Out an EIDL

Your businesses can borrow up to $150,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) with a low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). But you and/or your business will be subject to some strict SBA requirements for SBA permission before making changes to your business or distributing its assets. You’ll also have to keep extensive records, and you may have to pledge all your business assts (other than real estate) as collateral.

Don’t Let Section 179 Recapture Hurt You

Your claim to Section 179 expensing comes with strings. You make a deal with the government to keep your business use above 50 percent during the depreciation periods for the assets that you expensed. If you violate your agreement, and depending on when you do that, the government can show up and recapture a big chunk of your Section 179 expensing.

What Is the Unpardonable Sin in an IRS Audit?

If you or your corporation is unlucky enough to face an IRS audit, there is one record that stands out as critical to your audit health. If you are missing this one record, the IRS examiner knows that he or she should quickly expand to other areas of your tax return.

Case Study: Trade-In on a New SUV—Reimbursement by Corporation

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 Loophole Allows Tax-Free COVID-19 Payments to Employees

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.

Don’t Waste Donations on Your Church or Charity; Use Your Business

Giving to your church, school, or other 501(c)(3) charity is a noble act no matter how you choose to give. But for the purposes of tax savings, some forms of giving are much more beneficial to you than others. As a business owner, you can use some business strategies to get the money to these institutions as business expenses. While this does not change anything from the institution’s perspective, it hugely increases your tax savings.

Does the Per Diem Expense Option Stick It to Business Owners?

If you’re a business owner, should you take advantage of per diems when you travel? The short answer is yes and no—and perhaps surprisingly, keeping track of your actual expenses is often a better plan anyway. Here’s why.

Avoid the Gift Tax—Use the Tuition and Medical Strategy

Lawmakers have given you an easy strategy to avoid paying gift and estate taxes. The strategy involves tuition and medical expenses that, likely, are common issues for your loved ones. Sadly, this tax avoidance technique is often unknown or overlooked—but not for those who have this article.

Per Diems Post-Tax Reform: What the TCJA Has and Hasn’t Changed

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?

IRS Issues New Bitcoin Tax Guidance

Millions of people are buying and selling cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The IRS just issued new guidance for the first time in over five years on how you’ll treat cryptocurrency for tax purposes. We’ll tell you what the IRS had to say, what you need to do, and what we still don’t know.

New Individual Coverage HRA Turns the Clock Back to Pre-ACA Health Care Options

The ACA destroyed a lot of the advantages of the Section 105 medical reimbursement plan. While the QSEHRA was, and remains, a good option for small employers, something even better has arrived—for employers of all sizes—starting in 2020.

TCJA Creates New Reasons for Accountable Plan Expense Reimbursements

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.

Advance Account Shows That Incorporation Is Not for Everyone

To operate successfully as a corporation, you need to be good at paperwork. Also, you may not treat the advance account on the corporate books as your personal slush fund.

Q&A: Can the IRS Require Odometer Readings with the Mileage Rate?

What proof of mileage do I need if I’m using the IRS standard mileage method? Can the IRS require me to provide odometer readings as proof?

Taxpayer Saved 15 Hours of Paperwork, Lost $35,000 to the IRS

How much per hour do you collect in tax savings when you keep the right tax records? We don’t know for sure, but it’s a lot of money. We estimate that with the right records, the taxpayer in this court case would have earned about $2,333 an hour. And the thing is, the records this taxpayer needed in this case are very easy to keep.

Avoid IRS Audits: Fix the 1099 Prepaid-Rent Mismatch

You don’t want a 1099 that reports an amount that differs from what you report on your tax return, because the IRS computers will pick that up and start an inquiry. When you prepay rent, your accounting method for preparing your 1099 likely creates a mismatch between you and your landlord. Here’s the technical correction when you have a mismatch and how to implement it, and a bigger tip on how to avoid mismatched reporting to begin with.

Update on Claiming Business Deductions for Work-Related Education

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.

IRS Says TCJA Allows Client and Prospect Business Meal Deductions

You are not going to do this very often, but thank the IRS for showing you the path to your client and prospect business meal tax deductions. Remember, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated tax-deductible entertainment, so the IRS’s new client and prospect business meal rules are important.

Audit-Proof Your Time Spent on Rental Properties

To deduct your passive losses as a tax law–defined real estate professional, you or your spouse, or both, must prove time spent. Since you need proof of time spent to deduct rental property losses, use the tactics in this article to keep track of your time and also increase your overall profits on the rentals.

Reasonable Mileage

The law contains no reasonableness test for mileage. There are very specific rules for recording mileage. We recommend that you keep a mileage log for at least three consecutive months to prove your business-mile percentage.

Avoid Penalties—Give Notice of 2019 HRA Medical Plan on Oct. 2

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.

Q&A: IRS Auditor Doesn’t Know the 90-Day Mileage Log Rule

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.

Beware: Conflicting IRS Rules for Deducting Your Business Gym—Don’t Use the Wrong Ones

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.

Tax Reform Update on Strategy for Business Meals with Clients and Prospects

Should you deduct your client and business meals in spite of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act? This article explains why that is what you should do and gives you reasons for doing it.

Proving Travel Expenses after Tax Reform

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.

Did Tax Reform Goof When Disallowing Deductions for Client Meals?

We, you, and just about everyone else have been looking for a ray of sunshine that would allow tax deductions for business meals with clients and prospects. In this article, you learn that lawmakers may have intended to grant deductions for business meals with clients and prospects in spite of how they put together the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Helicopter View of Meals and Entertainment After Tax Reform

Tax reform has had a significant impact on the tax deductions you can now claim for business entertainment and meals. The chart in this article shows you how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act treats 12 meal and/or entertainment events.

Tax Reform Cuts Business Tax Deductions for Charity Golf Outings

Imagine this. You pay $1,000 for your golf foursome to play golf in the annual charitable golf outing. You have been doing this for years, and you were always able to deduct the full $1,000. Now, because of the new tax reform, your deduction is $300. Disturbing?

Tax Reform Wipes Out 50 Percent Business Entertainment Deductions

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.

Tax Reform: Entertainment Deductions That Survived

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.

Entertainment Tax Deductions Look Fishy

It’s true—you don’t need a receipt for an entertainment expense that is less than $75. But you may need to prove that you had the cash available to pay for your entertainment that cost less than $75.

Yikes! New IRS Audit Tool: The Form 1099-K Letter

The 1099-K gives the IRS another audit weapon. In this article, you see how an IRS revenue agent uses the 1099-K to catch taxpayers who underreported their gross income. You also learn why you are likely to receive a letter from the IRS auditing or asking about your 1099-K amounts.

Don’t Let IRS Mileage Rules Destroy Your Vehicle Deductions

What percentage of your business vehicles would you (or your business) like to deduct? To achieve your desired percentage, you need to know and apply the rules that the IRS applies to the mileage that you drive from your home to various business destinations.

Abandoned by Tax Advisor, Taxpayer Wins IRS Audit

The woman in this audit learned how tax knowledge can turn what appears as a nightmare (an IRS audit) into a positive happening—meaning cash refunds for the year of the audit and subsequent years. As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power.”

Act Now! Get Your 2018 Expensing in Place

If you have not done so before, make sure to put your safe harbor de minimis expensing election in place now. The new de minimis rules make your tax record keeping easier. With this safe harbor expensing, unlike with Section 179 expensing, you don’t need to track the assets and keep them in a depreciation schedule.

Q&A: Find Some Tax Sanity by Using the Gambling Per Session Rule

Tax law does not like you if you are a casual gambler. If you are a casual gambler, you report your winnings above the line, where those winnings can increase your taxes, cause loss of deductions because of phaseouts, and increase your Medicare premiums. Your losses are itemized deductions that appear below the line, where you benefit only if you itemize. There’s no choice about where you report your winnings and losses, but there’s a way you can use the per-session rule to mitigate the damage this reporting causes.

Q&A: Tax Deductions for Nine Months of Out-of-Town Travel

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.

Five Tried-and-True Strategies for an IRS Audit

If you’re like millions of taxpayers, just the thought of an IRS tax audit has you shaking in your boots. Luckily, you came across this article. In the next few moments, we will put those fears to rest as we show you how to keep all your rightful tax deductions.

Q&A: S Corporation Reimbursement of My Home-Office Expenses

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.

The Gambler’s Tax Guide—How to Protect Your Winnings from the IRS

If you win big at the casino, the government is going to ask for its share of the proceeds. Gambling income is taxable, and casinos must, by law, report big wins to the IRS. But the law provides you a way to offset your gambling income and thereby reduce your taxes. You just have to know the rules, including whether you are a professional or amateur gambler, and keep the right records.

Tax Audit Tips for Travel, Entertainment, and Education

If you don’t have tax records as you are reading this sentence, think of this: how would your tax records hold up in an IRS audit? Oops, we forgot. You don’t have them. See what generally happens when you create those records after you get the IRS audit notice.

Q&A: Back Up Your Claim That You Can Reimburse Depreciation

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.

Should You Accept Bitcoins as Payment in Your Business?

More businesses are accepting bitcoins as payment. To the IRS, bitcoin is not the same as cash. You should know the tax implications of accepting bitcoins in your business and the major pros and cons of doing so.

New in Business? Avoid These Two Tragic Vehicle Deduction Errors

If you are new in business, your vehicle deductions can prove problematic because you likely do not know what tax records you need. And without the right records, you arrive at your tax preparer’s office hoping for a miracle that’s not going to happen.

Are Tax Return Preparer Penalties Increasing Your Taxes?

How does tax law make your tax preparer part of the IRS tax compliance workforce, and what does that mean for your tax return? First, you should and can put yourself in a position to help your tax preparer avoid tax preparer penalties. For example, if your tax preparer is dubious about a deduction you want to claim, provide your preparer with the proof that the deduction is valid.

Create Tax-Free Fringe Benefit Deductions for Your Smartphone

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.

Q&A: Where Do I Find an Accountable Plan Template?

 

Avoid Lost Deductions When Corp. Vehicle Is in Your Personal Name

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.

Don’t Defeat Your S Corporation by Paying Yourself on a 1099

Do you pay yourself on a 1099 for the work you do in your S corporation? Why wouldn’t you, right? It makes life so simple. No payroll taxes to deal with, no withholding deposits, and no payroll services to pay for. Stop right there! Your simple life is about to get very complicated unless you make a change right now.

Put Your $2,500 Expensing in Place Now ($5,000 with AFS)

If you have not done so before, make sure to put your safe harbor de minimis expensing election in place now. The new de minimis rules make your tax record keeping easier. With this safe harbor expensing, unlike Section 179 expensing, you don’t need to track the assets and keep them in a depreciation schedule.

2016 Last-Minute Year-End General Business Deductions

This article takes your daily activity and identifies five easy year-end tax-planning strategies. Here are two examples from the article: prepaying your expenses under the IRS safe harbor and simply not billing customers and patients until 2016. These two strategies are certainly easy, as are the other three strategies in this article.

How to Travel to Exotic Locations Using the Seven-Day Travel Rule

When you travel outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia, you can use a special seven-day travel rule to deduct your business transportation costs to and from that business destination even when you work only one day during that trip. The special rules that apply to this seven-day travel are clear and easy to understand.

Three Strategies to Beat the Hobby Loss Rules

When you have a side business that produces a net loss, you automatically get to use that loss to lower your taxable income, right? Not so fast! The IRS could destroy those losses (and more) with one of the nastiest tax laws out there—the hobby loss rule. With an activity that’s showing losses, you need strategies to ensure your loss deductions.

Q&A: Hiring Your Dependent Children

 

Do Not Make This Mistake When Your Second Business Loses Money

When you expand to a second or third business, you increase your chances of running afoul of the passive loss rules. That’s not a problem if all the businesses are producing a profit. But if one of the businesses is incurring losses, you won’t get an immediate tax deduction if you don’t materially participate. And if you try to hide that business inside another proprietorship so your loss offsets your other income, you and your tax preparer face even more trouble.

Selling Your Business: Be Prepared to Meet Buyer’s Due Diligence Requirements

Whether you sell the assets of the business or your ownership interest, you can expect the buyer to check things out before signing off on the deal. This is called due diligence. And there are various aspects of due diligence, depending on the type of sale you are making and the buyer’s needs.

Tax-Saving Tip: Use Net Square Footage to Increase Home-Office Deductions

The IRS tax form for deducting the home office contains the gross-square-footage method and makes no mention of other permissible methods. But the instructions for that form and the IRS publication on the home-office deduction both mention other reasonable methods. This article shows you how one other reasonable method, the net-square-footage method, works—and why it is always superior to the gross-square-footage method found on the IRS form.

Tax Audit Tips for Entertainment and Vehicle Deductions

Special documentation rules apply to entertainment and vehicles. One rule requires you to document your vehicle mileage within one week. Another rule says you don’t need receipts if the vehicle or entertainment expenditure is less than $75. This no-receipt rule can be hazardous to your deductions. It also does not relieve you from using the right documentation to prove the expenses.

Q&A: Two More Reasons to NOT Rent Equipment to Your Corporation

 

Age 70 1/2 or Older? Make Your IRA Donate Directly to Charity

When you turn age 70 1/2, the IRS wants a piece of those IRA accounts that you built up all those years. You’re required to make mandatory withdrawals each year just so the IRS can tax you on those amounts. But what if you can limit, perhaps even eliminate, these required withdrawals? Not only that, what if you could benefit a local charity in the process as well? Find out how donating to charity directly from your IRA accounts can make a huge impact on your bottom line.

Two-Person Seminar

A precedent-setting court case establishes that one-on-one training can count as a business seminar for tax purposes. Where do you want your one-on-one seminar to take place? Disney World? St. Thomas?

How to Deduct Your Business Motor Home

Your business motor home is either a lodging facility, like a hotel, or a transportation vehicle. As a vehicle, it can qualify for Section 179 expensing, but you likely want to avoid that and take the easy road with MACRS depreciation.

Don’t Get Crushed by Assigning Income to Your S Corporation

Using an S corporation to avoid self-employment taxes is a terrific strategy. But things can go very wrong if you use it the wrong way. When you earn income as an individual and then assign that income to your corporation, the IRS will make you regret the day you implemented that strategy.

Act Fast: Install New Audit-Proof $2,500 Expensing ($5,000 with AFS)

2015 Last-Minute Year-End General Business Deductions

This article takes your daily activity and identifies five easy year-end tax-planning strategies. Here are two examples from the article: prepaying your expenses under the IRS safe harbor and simply not billing customers and patients until 2016. These two strategies are certainly easy, as are the other three strategies in this article.

Danger with Business Credit Card

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.

Got Junk? Donate It! Pay Less in Taxes

Pay less in taxes this year by donating clothing and household items. When you know what to do and how to do it, the noncash deductions available here can help you pocket some hefty after-tax cash that costs you nothing but a little time and effort.

Make the Closing Statement Work for You When Buying Rental Property

One of your first tax steps in buying a rental property is to go through each line item in the closing statement and assign it to one of the following three categories: (1) basis, (2) loan acquisition, or (3) operations. With basis, you allocate costs to land, land improvements, buildings (including perhaps building components), and equipment. Loan acquisition falls into either costs of getting the loan or costs to reduce the interest rate. The assignments have a direct impact on how quickly you realize the deductions.

How to Treat Your Coin, Stamp, and Baseball Card Activities

Tax law places your collectible activity in one of four tax categories: (1) hobby, (2) investment, (3) trader, or (4) dealer. This means your collectible activity can, depending on category, trigger the AMT, capital gains, and self-employment taxes. When you know the rules that place you in these categories, you can make adjustments. Sometimes the adjustments are easy; at other times, they require rethinking the collectibles activity.

Don’t Lose a Penny of Your Mileage Deduction: Defend It with Simple, Inexpensive Apps and GPS Tools

Don’t Put Your S Corporation Vehicle Title in the Wrong Name! It Could Cost You Thousands in Tax Deductions

Why You Should Accept the New IRS Offer to Immediately Deduct Assets That Cost $500 or Less

The IRS recently created a rule to make your life simpler and better. How is that for a change? It’s true. Now when you buy almost any tangible asset for $500 or less, you can immediately deduct the purchase if you follow the two easy steps laid out by the IRS. That means tax savings for you and fewer headaches for you and your tax preparer.

Four Steps to Turn a Husband-and-Wife-Only Board Meeting into a Money-Saving, Tax-Deductible Resort Stay

Where can you hold your tax-deductible board meetings if you operate your business as a corporation? Could you go to a nice resort? What if you and your spouse are the only board members? This article answers these common questions. It’s sure to make you smile.

Don’t Let Expense Report Blunders Trigger Unnecessary Taxes, Punishing You and Your Employees

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.

Five Rules for Turning Your Vacation—Even a Luxurious One—into Tax-Deductible Business Travel

The next time you plan a vacation, stop and think about how you could make it deductible. If you find a good business reason to visit that destination and you throw in enough business hours on the trip, you suddenly convert a nondeductible personal trip into a deductible business expense.

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.

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.

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.

How the IRS Lost $55,000 in This IRS Rental Properties Audit

The thought of an IRS audit is a worry, no question. But it’s worse when the IRS wants a lot of your money. And it’s even worse yet when the IRS wants your money because it interprets the law incorrectly and at the time you see the IRS adjustment, you have no idea whether the IRS is right or wrong.

Tax Deductions for Failed Business

You are right to worry about the hobby loss rules when a business fails, because those rules would give you no tax deductions for the failed business. But if you worked at the business, kept decent records, and tried to make money, you had a business, and that business failure would produce tax deductions as explained in this article.

Deduct Golf Expenses by Knowing When to Speak

If you have ever had a tough day on the golf course, you might not think of golf as “entertainment,” but that’s how the IRS classifies the activity. This is good news for you because it means that in the right circumstances, your golf expenses are deductible. Read this article and discover the unique rules you need to follow to ensure your deduction for golf (and other associated entertainment activities too).

IRS Asserts Fraud and Crushes Failed Mileage Log

You need basic books and records to avoid trouble with the IRS. If you have inadequate books and records and also make a large cash deposit in the bank, you might visit with the IRS every two weeks for about a year as the taxpayers in this case did. That’s a lot of unpleasant face time with an IRS agent.

Who Else Wants to Deduct Their Fishing Trips?

Tax law allows you to have fun at work—in fact, your fun can earn you new deductions. Your can deduct your fun “entertainment” expenses ranging from fishing, hunting, and dancing to fashion shows or whatever you find enjoyable. What’s the catch? You have to mix just the right amount of business into your fun. Fortunately, the law tells you exactly how. This article passes along the information you need to deduct fishing trips and similar activities.

Don’t Get Fooled by the Deductions Affidavit Myth

Lost records are not a death warrant when it comes to audits. But if your tax advisor tells you that you can replace your missing records with an affidavit, you need to change tax advisors. This type of affidavit is a bad idea. It will not help you. Find out what you should do instead.

Statute of Limitations for Tax Records

Do you know for what period of time you have to keep your tax records? You may have heard three years, four years, six years, and seven years. All of these can be correct, but also 17 years can be correct with a depreciable building that you sold in year 14. Because you need to keep the records for the required periods, you need to know what those required periods are.

Beware, Be Alert, and Be Selfish with Charitable Contributions

Making tax-deductible charitable contributions has become more difficult with each passing year. Two culprits make things messier than in years past. First, lawmakers have enacted more rules that you need to follow. Second, the Internet offers you opportunities to make donations that don’t qualify for tax deductions. That’s the bad news, but there is plenty of good news when you do this right.

U.S. Government Models Gambling Tax Law after Vegas Casinos

Are you a recreational gambler? If so, you likely know that you are required to keep income tax records that prove your gambling winnings and losses. If you don’t have the records, your winnings are taxable and your losses nondeductible. Holy smokes! That’s terrible. Don’t let that happen. See why you need the records. Learn what the IRS and the courts say your records must show. Spend a little time with this article so that you can avoid overpaying your taxes on your gambling activity.

Give to Charity, but Make It Tax Deductible as a Business Expense

Have you considered the possibilities of turning the monies you send to charities into business expenses? You should. It can save you tax dollars. Sure, you might already be deducting the money now as charitable deductions. But wouldn’t you really rather achieve the tax deductions as tax-favored business expenses?

Lost Tax Records Destroy Both Your Time and Your Tax Deductions

Tax law grants relief, if you want to call it that, when you lose your tax records through no fault of your own. For example, say a flood, theft, hurricane, or earthquake caused the loss of your tax records. Your relief is the right to substantiate your deductions using a reasonable reconstruction of those records. Yikes, how long will that take?

How Berge Earned Business Deductions on Trips to See His Parents

If you drive 36 miles to your parents’ home but spend time that day doing business research in the library around the corner from your parents’ home, are those 36 miles business or personal miles? They could be business miles. You need two types of proof: (1) library proof and (2) vehicle proof. How would you prove that you used the library? How would you prove that you drove the miles?

Don’t Let Your Tax-Deductible Receipts Fade and Disappear

Learn how today’s restaurant and other receipts printed on thermal paper can create big trouble for your tax deductions. Over time, the images on thermal paper can totally disappear. And of those that have not yet totally disappeared, you have many that you can’t read. This means you need to create a plan that includes scanning or photocopying thermal receipts.

Tricky Step 1 to Making Your Rental Property Tax Deductible

If you have to show that your rental property activity rises to the level of your being in a tax-law-defined real property business, be sure to involve yourself in the day-to-day management in order to avoid the investor time trap that can cost you your current-year tax deductions for your rental property losses.

How to W-2 the Vehicle You Provide to an Employee

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.

Court Denies Tax Deductions for Motorhome and Two Business Cars

Say the IRS sent you one of those lovely letters that says: “Come on down and bring your tax records with you.” How would your tax records hold up in an IRS audit? That’s a scary question. You need to make sure that you have this one tax record in good shape when you appear for an audit. Mr. Dunford, the subject of this article, failed that one record and it cost him plenty.

Bank Is Not a Work Location for Commuting Rules

Does stopping at the bank create business miles and eliminate personal miles? Is the bank a business stop for purposes of the temporary stop rules? This article explains the mileage rules that apply when you drive to the bank.

New IRS Optional Method for Home-Office Tax Deduction: A Good Deal?

The IRS created a new optional method that you can use to calculate the tax deduction for an office in your home. Obviously, this brings up a question: Does the IRS like you, or does the IRS hate you? The IRS reveals itself in this new optional method.

Know Two Major Rules for Tax-Deductible Business Entertainment

Your business entertainment tax deductions fall into one of two business categories for deduction. The first category requires that the entertainment take place in a business setting. The second category triggers a piggyback entertainment deduction for the non-business setting, such as golf or scuba diving. Once you know the two rules, you have clarity in knowing how to claim your tax deductions for business entertainment.

Are You Cheating Yourself of Tax-Deductible Entertainment?

Are you treating your business entertainment correctly? For example, do you cut your deductions if the entertainment rubs against the lavish or extravagant rule? Are you cutting your entertainment expenses for the 50 percent rule? Learn why it’s easy to misunderstand the lavish or extravagant and 50 percent rules and how that could be hurting your business entertainment tax deductions.

How to Prove Expenses for Tax-Deductible Business Travel

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 and do not need one. By the way, the credit card statement is not a receipt. This report explains how to keep your tax records, gives you an easy record-keeping resource to use, and helps you build audit-proof records that prove your travel expenses.

Critical Tax-Deduction Proof for Nine-Day Trip to Jamaica

If you take a nine-day trip to Jamaica, how many days devoted to business do you need to make the trip tax-deductible? What happens when you spend one of those days doing no business and simply playing on the beach? The critical elements in this article give you a crystal-clear explanation of when and why you can deduct certain days, even those days when you do no work.

5 Year-End Tax Tips for Business Receipts and Expenses

Are you looking for more business tax deductions this year? It’s not too late. Learn five last-minute tax-planning strategies that you can implement now so you lower your taxes this year.

Ouch! Court Rules That This Investor Is a Real Estate Dealer

Do you invest in real estate? Are you an investor or a dealer? Make sure you put the nine factors to work for you in your proof of investor or dealer status.

Taxman Says Stop at the Bank to Eliminate Commuting—Wrong

Have you ever wondered what you can do to eliminate commuting mileage? Perhaps you received some advice on how to do this. Was the advice correct? In this article, a tax preparer told a physician that she could deduct her mileage to her regular office if she simply stopped at the bank every day. Unfortunately, this advice is wrong.

How Would Your Mileage Log Stand Up to an IRS Audit?

Your mileage log may not be an estimate of mileage. Further, you need a mileage log that proves mileage. With a weak, suspicious, or error-filled mileage log, by law, neither the IRS nor the courts may give you any vehicle deductions—and we mean none, not a penny.

How to Deduct the Transportation Component of Your Business Travel

Your tax deductions for the transportation component of your overnight business travel face a set of rules separate from the business-day rules we examined last month. When in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, you deduct your transportation cost under the 51/49 test. When you travel outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, you are subject to the 76/24 test for deducting your business transportation. And, as mentioned, the calculation for deducting the cost of transportation is separate and apart from calculations for deducting meals and lodging.

Do You Have These Four Tax-Deductible Business Mileage Questions?

Here are four answers to questions you might have regarding your business mileage, such as how to treat mileage from an administrative office in the home to yoga and then to your downtown office. Or how would you treat mileage to a Lions, Rotary, or Shriners meeting or activity? This article gives you both ideas and answers.

Increase Tax Deductions by Knowing the Business Mileage Rules

Whether you use the IRS mileage method or actual expense method, you need to know business and personal miles. Business miles either increase your deduction directly or increase your percentage for the actual expense method. Regardless of your choice of entity, incorporated or not, this article gives you one sure way to increase business miles and reduce personal miles.

Digitize Tax Receipts to Protect Yourself and Make Credit Card Statements and Checkbooks Complete

Protect yourself and your receipts by digitizing them. You will like the results. Digitized receipts make the IRS smile and, of course, that makes you smile too. Without digitization, some of your receipts will disappear.

Corporations Beat Proprietorships in Tax Deductions for Cell Phones

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.

16 Tax Deduction Targets to Increase Your Business Car, SUV, Truck, and Van Deductions

This article has 16 tax-deduction targets that you can use to increase your business car, SUV, truck, and van deductions. You don’t need to buy any new vehicles to get the benefits. You simply need the knowledge as laid out here.

Road Map to Section 105 Plan Deductions

The appeals court remanded the Shellito case back to the Tax Court along with its road map for establishing the Section 105 plan. In the right circumstances, the 105 medical plan creates tax deductions where none existed before, and its tax-free fringe benefits can operate as the sole remuneration to the employee-spouse.

What Qualifies as Regular Use for the Home-Office Deduction?

To prove and keep your home-office deduction, you must know what the courts accept as regular use, and then you must take the steps necessary to prove your regular use. The biggest failure of the home-office deduction is failure to prove regular use.

Create Both Tax-Free Income for Mom and Dad and Business Travel Deductions for You

Stay with your mom and dad on a business trip, and create tax deductions by paying them for business lodging. You have a choice: deduct the cost of staying at the big hotel downtown or deduct the cost of staying with your parents. Either way, the choice of location does not change the fact that you are on a tax-deductible business trip.

Is the New IRS Mileage Rate a Rip-Off or Does It Improve Your Deductions?

The IRS mileage rate can produce misleading results. Often the new person in business wrongfully thinks that the IRS standard mileage rate overcomes the need for a mileage log. This article contains a magic calculator and gives you the ins and outs of what you need to know to ensure that you are picking the best after-tax cash result for your business vehicle.

What Is 1099 Income and Why Does the Definition Cause an Incorrect 1099 and a Possible IRS Audit?

Learn what is 1099 income and why that often causes an incorrect 1099, which in turn can lead to an IRS audit. Often, correcting an incorrect 1099 on Schedule C compounds the problem. In this article, you learn how to 1099 correctly and what is 1099 income. The definition of “what is 1099 income” may surprise you.

Don’t Use Your Corporation as Your Personal Piggy Bank

Giving money to and taking it from your corporation needs an audit trail and paperwork to ensure proper treatment. If you operate without the formal paperwork and without the proper logging of entries, you can have unexpected and unwelcome experiences with the IRS and the courts.

Prevent Payroll Embezzlement

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.

Tax Tip: With the New Tax Law, What’s Best—IRS Mileage Rates or Actual Expenses?

The new tax law contains some real surprises when it comes to deducting vehicles. In some cases, you can deduct the full cost in the year you place the vehicle in service. In other cases, the luxury auto limits might stretch your depreciation deductions over 30 or more years.

Tax Audit Tips on Entertainment for Lawyers and You Too

You learn valuable business and documentation strategies from IRS audit manuals. We spend time reading these. In this article, we reviewed the IRS audit manual on self-employed lawyers and carved out selected business and documentation strategies you can use to audit-proof your deductible business entertainment.

Tax Audit Tips for Travel, Entertainment, and Education

How do you lose deductions to the IRS in an audit? Worse, how do you compound that loss of deductions by taking your case to court? In this article, see how one proprietor managed to do both.

Tax Tip: Advance Account Shows That Incorporation Is Not for Everyone

To operate successfully as a corporation, you need to be good at paperwork. Also, you may not treat the advance account on the corporate books as your personal slush fund.

Tax Tip for Business Car When Incorporated

Here are your only two tax-saving choices when you operate your business as a corporation but personally own the car you use for business.

Reimburse Corporate Owner-Employee for Depreciation

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.

Entertainment Tax Deductions Look Fishy

It’s true, you don’t need a receipt for an entertainment expense that costs less than $75. But you may need to prove that you had the cash available for the entertainment.

What Is the Unpardonable Sin in an IRS Audit?

Should you or your corporation be unlucky enough to face an IRS audit, there is one record that stands out as critical to your audit health. If you are missing this one record, the IRS audit can quickly expand to other areas of your tax return.

How to Materially Participate to Deduct Rental Property Tax Losses

You can be a lawyer, CPA, MD, or business owner and qualify as a real estate professional if you or your spouse materially participate in the rentals or in the rental group.

Audit-Proof Your Time Spent on Rental Properties

To deduct your passive losses as a real estate professional, you must prove time spent. Since you need this proof, use these tactics to keep track of your time and also increase your overall profits on the rentals.

What is a 1099 Independent Contractor?

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.

Business Gift Basket Tax Deduction

The business gift basket runs into the $25 limit on business gifts. If you want to deduct more than $25, you need to know the rules in this article that produce bigger deductions.

Starbucks Gift Cards for Business Promotion

Making gifts to promote your business is complicated by time, inflation, and poor tax legislation. Make sure you know the rules so that you keep your tax deductions on your tax return.

How Many Tax Diaries for Three Businesses?

Tracking and proving deductible expenses for three businesses requires good planning, but this planning can pay you for the effort.

Payroll Taxes Embezzled; Owner Has Big Tax Problem

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..

How the No-Receipt-Under-$75 Tax Rule Works

The no-receipt-under-$75 tax rule applies only to certain travel, entertainment and listed property.

IRS Audit Can Include Physical Inspection of an Office in the Home

You can keep records that reduce the chances of an IRS physical inspection of your office in the home.

Pocket More Cash by Paying Transportation Fringe Benefits

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.

No Mileage Log on Business Truck Destroys $53,625 Section 179 Deduction

You need a mileage log on your business vehicle. With no mileage log, you can try the alternate-proof method, but the odds are better than 9 to 1 that you will lose. This article gives you a perfect mileage-log system free.

Proving Federal Tax Deductions with Credit Cards

Credit cards are valuable time-saving assets when used correctly by the business taxpayer. Incorrect use damages both your wallet and your time management.

Tracking Personal and Business Checking Accounts

Computers and programs like Quicken make it easier to track business and personal activities. Even so, there are rules of the road that you should follow to ensure the best results.

IRS Refund Owed after IRS Audit

The woman in this audit learned how knowledge can turn what appears as a nightmare (an IRS audit) into a positive happening—meaning cash refunds for the year of the audit and subsequent years. As the old sayings goes, “knowledge is power.”

Increase Federal Tax Rebates with More Business Mileage

Learn the federal income tax rules on business mileage to increase vehicle deductions. The four questions and answers in this article give you a clear roadmap of the rules along with the strategies you need to pocket more cash from your business.

Section 179: Avoid These Three Things

When you claim a Section 179 expensing deduction, you make a deal with the government. You agree to give back your early tax benefits if, during the recapture period, your business use drops to 50 percent or less.

Husband and Wife S Corporation Board Meeting

The Heineman case gives a roadmap to how a husband and wife might deduct the cost of attending a board of directors meeting where they are the only participants. Using the principles enunciated in Heineman, husband-and-wife corporate owners will find deducting the out-of-town board meeting easier than deducting board meetings that occur in town.

Best Entity for Rental Real Estate

The most recent hot entity for real estate ownership is the LLC. The fact that it’s hot does not necessarily make it the best option for you. When considering your choice of entity, examine qualification for single-member LLC status, extra state income taxes, and how this compares with the S or C corporation possibilities.

Tips to Audit-Proof Your Records

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.

Do You Have What It Takes to Deduct Your Holiday Parties

Holiday parties trigger a variety of tax rules. Some parties, or parts of parties, are 100 percent deductible. Make sure that your chart of accounts has a place for 100 percent entertainment and a place for 50 percent entertainment deductions.

Birthday Party Prospecting

To deduct a birthday party as a business expense, you must convincingly demonstrate a direct association with business activity.

Court Calls Deductions “Beyond Belief”

The Langers owe almost $70,000 in taxes and penalties after claiming their swimming pool and other household items as incentive program deductions for Mrs. Langers’ piano teaching business. Mr. Langer is a former IRS agent.

When You Benefit with Travel Per Diem (or Not)

Just as it has standard mileage rates, the IRS has standard per diem rates for daily travel costs. There are situations where you might benefit from the mileage rates and the travel per diems. This article explains how the per diem rules work for you as a self-employed taxpayer, and gives you the ability to make an informed decision on whether or not to use the per diem rates.

Court Rules Records Adequate for Mileage-Rate Deductions

Learn about Gary Larson’s legal fight to deduct his business gas mileage. His logs ended up satisfying the court, but you can do better to avoid what he went through – by keeping good records! Also, take a look at Tax Diary System. This training tutorial gives excellent tax record-keeping tips, whether or not you use this system.

Bad Loan

There are two types of bad debts: business and nonbusiness. Nonbusiness bad debts are deductible in the year the loan is worthless. A business bad debt is deductible either in the year it becomes worthless or to the extent you can prove its decline in value. This is far easier. But, you need to prove your writeoff to get the deduction. We’ll show you how.

Deductible Business Expenses: Wins Computer, Loses Mileage Write-Off

In court, David Choe succeeded proving that his laptop was business use, but a bad mileage log took away all his automobile deductions. Ouch! Learn how to avoid this egregious error.

Cohan Estimates Useless for Most Small Businesses

Gone are the days of estimating deductions for expenses. Today, you need better tax records than ever. We give you a chart to help you avoid common mistakes, and to see what you need and why you need it.

Court Recaptures Section 179 Deductions

Learn from Michael Birdsill’s mistakes: keep good records of your business vehicle use, and report it on your taxes. Birdsill’s court case proves that you must do this to receive deductions for mileage. Follow our four rules for claiming Section 179 expensing to make sure you do it right.

Nine Clear Rules on Golf Deductions

You may deduct your business golf when you do it right. In fact, golf that qualifies for the special sporting event deduction produces double the tax benefit of regular business golf.

Increase Deductions with More Business Mileage

Pay attention to the rules on what makes a business mile and what makes a personal mile so that you can achieve the best possible vehicle deductions.

The IRS Mileage Rate Checklist

The IRS standard mileage rates might save you more money in lieu of actual expenses. Note, though, that there are important details regarding who qualifies, what the mileage rate includes. Also, there are a number of common pitfalls to avoid.

Parts of Sloppy 105 Plan Survive

The Section 105 Medical Plan is filled with important details that you can’t afford to miss. Learn from the Knowles’ problems in court to see what you can do better.

NY Taxi Loses Cab Deductions

Learn from this taxi driver’s mistakes: keep good records. His court case shows you why.

Court Gives Roadmap to Vehicle Logs

Learn from one couple’s court case: keep good records! It’s easy, but important. Follow our strategy to make sure you don’t miss a critical element.

IRS Audit

One taxpayer is in big trouble: he owes $61,000 in overdue taxes. Why? Bad records. We give him recommendations on what to do, but he is not in good shape.

Good News for 105 Plans

In an ISP, the IRS asserted that the Section 105 medical reimbursement plan may not reimburse the employee-spouse for the cost of health insurance purchased in the employee-owner’s name. This court case held that this IRS position is wrong and that the owner may deduct the cost of medical insurance purchased in his name when that insurance is covered by the Section 105 medical reimbursement plan.

Audit Guide for Your Self-Employed Section 105 Plan

Answering “yes” to the 11 puts you on the road to audit-proof status for your Section 105 medical reimbursement plan.

 

Tool Allowance Fails

New tax rules have pretty much killed the once-common tool and car allowances as expense reimbursement methods.

 

Rental Loss Not Deductible

Carolyn Federson lost all of her rental property loss deductions when the court rejected some of the details of her rental property time records and made its own estimate of the time she spent on her rentals.

 

No Meal Receipts Equals No Deduction

This taxpayer lost $5,503 in meal expenses because she could not produce receipts or other records to prove the meal deductions.

 

Fireproof Safe

Purchase of a safe or file cabinet to protect business tax records is deductible, but only to the extent of business use.

 

Dutch-Treat Entertainment

Under the “objective test,” entertainment does not mean only the entertainment of others. The objective test sanctions Dutch-treat entertainment.

 

When Deductible

Technically, cash basis taxpayers deduct checks when they are delivered and negotiable. For the most part, the courts and the IRS employ practical applications to make this rule easy for you.

Bad Mileage Log Kills Vehicle Deductions

Robert Walters’ auto deductions sank from $10,878 to $966 because of poor record keeping. Do the best thing you can do for yourself. Keep a good mileage log next to your appointments. This can be easy, and it will save your bacon if you get audited.

Proof of Accounting Fees Fails

If you claim business deductions, you better have the proof to back up your expenses. Gary Colvin provided insufficient evidence for his $1,750 deduction for tax preparation, and the court denied his entire deduction. Keep good records!

No Mileage Log, No Deduction

Again, Colvin fails to provide sufficient evidence for his deductions. This time, it’s a $6,000 auto deduction, for which he was denied all but $780.

Lack of a Time Log Destroys Real Estate Loss Deductions

Andrew D’Avanzo had one very bad day in court. He did not group his rental properties, and had an insufficient time log that did not satisfy the court. He lost a lot of money. Learn from his mistakes: know the details about tax law!

Spreadsheets and Credit Card Receipts Not Close to Correct Evidence

The IRS has very specific rules regarding record-keeping for deductions. One husband-and-wife team lost over $31,000 because of bad records. Know the law!

Tax Law Shows No Mercy to Victim of Payroll Embezzlement

The IRS is not a forgiving entity. Even if a fraudulent payroll service is charged criminally, as in this case, you are still responsible for the taxes you owe. We give you a sound strategy to avoid payroll fraud.

Deductions When Home Office Fails

If you do not have a home office, you may not deduct things related to the home, like gas bills or homeowners’ insurance. However, the law allows you to deduct office assets that could produce tax benefits because they would not be considered part of a dwelling.

Proof That Wins

You can deduct items in your house, like a desk in the den. The tax rules are specific, though, and you must log the usage meticulously. The IRS does not like approximations.

Lack of a Time Sheet Kills the Section 105 Plan

If your spouse is working for your company, you need proof that s/he is a legitimate employee. It is not hard, but you need to have good, solid proof to ensure that your deductions and medical reimbursements will be honored by the IRS.

Who-Paid-the-Bills Mystery Sinks Section 105 Plan

Learn about one couple’s problems with Section 105 medical reimbursement. You must document all payments. The reimbursement of the employee-spouse for every medical bill is easily done and a audit-proofing tactic. Make this an absolute requirement.

Expense Allowances Can Be Dangerous

Save yourself time and trouble. Reimburse employees for actual expenses. Forget those two troublemakers: per diems and allowances.

Tax Guy Commits Fraud; Client Pays the Government

Vincent Allen hired a tax preparer to file his tax returns. The preparer was charged with fraud. Although the IRS did not bring the fraud charge against Allen, users of fraudulent preparers could easily be charged and convicted of fraud themselves.

Tax Quiz—IRS Audit

4% of Americans are audited each year. Do you know what two line-item expenses are most vulnerable to a Schedule C audit? Take our quiz and find out!

Putting the IRS Audit Manual’s Home-Office Section to Work for You

The IRS puts out its audit manual every year. It not only contains information on how to audit, but also gives information on disallowing deductions. We dissected the audit manual and give you 11 audit-proofing tactics to ensure you get the deductions you deserve.

Why Incorporation Makes Your Home-Office Deduction Less Subject to an IRS Audit

You have probably read that the home office increases your chances of IRS audit. We’ve read that, too, but we don’t believe it. Regardless, there are a few things you can do to make your home-office audit-proof.

Home Office for Corporate Owner Requires Convenience of Employer

If you operate your business as a corporation and claim the home-office deduction, you need to prove that you use the home office for the convenience of the employer, your corporation. You must pass the convenience-of-the-employer test whether or not you are having the corporation reimburse you for home-office expenses.

Tax Preparer Loses Records, Taxpayer Pays the IRS

Dr. Rinker lost over $60,000 of deductions when her tax preparer lost her records. Don’t lose your tax records, and don’t give your original records to anyone, not even your tax preparer!

MLM Deductions Lost

Yung Chong worked a full-time regular job, and had a Section C side business. His records, while present were not enough to satisfy the court, which disallowed all of his nearly $10,000 in deductions for his side business. This case makes it clear: even if you have some records, if you do not have all the required records, you get no deductions.

Guide to Aircraft Deductions for the One-Owner Business

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.

IRS Simplifies Phone Tax Refund for Businesses

You are entitled to tax refunds for the excise tax you paid on your business long-distance phone services from March 2003 through July 2006. To calculate your tax credit for these 41 months, you may use the actual excise tax from the phone bills, or use the newly released formula.

Car Deduction

To calculate the deductions for a business vehicle when you sell it, you must divide the car into business and personal parts, find your adjusted basis for business purposes, and find your loss deduction.

Bad Records Cost $78,775

Mr. Lam, a financial planner, lost every penny of his claimed $240,985 in deductions either because he had no proof or because both the IRS and the court declared his proof inadequate. Know the rules! Keep good records!

Build Proof That You Filed Your Tax Return

Answer this question: Could you prove that you filed last year’s tax return? Is your proof credible enough that it will stand the scrutiny of the IRS?

Tax Lawyer Fails Deductions

William Lenihan, a well-educated tax lawyer, lost every deduction he claimed on both his Schedule C consulting business and his Schedule E rental businesses because he did not keep good records. Know the law! Keep good records!

Reasonable Mileage

The law contains no reasonableness test for mileage. There are very specific rules for recording mileage. We recommend that you keep a mileage log for three consecutive months to prove your business-mile percentage.

Home Office as Administrative Office

You cannot qualify for the home office deduction if you have two administrative offices, one at home and one at your other office. Also, the rules only apply to you, not your staff.

How Safe-Harbor Rules Can Audit-Proof Your Cruise to the Caribbean

Ask yourself two questions: First, would you like to take a cruise? Second, would you like to get a tax deduction for the cost of your cruise? If you answered “yes” to both questions, this article is for you.

Repairs to Make the Home a Rental

If you make repairs to your home for the purpose of making the home a rental property, you may deduct them, if you do it right. You cannot, for example, deduct repairs made to your home (not rental property). You might also consider filing the improvements as capital expenditures.

Travel Deduction for Educational Seminars

When you combine business and personal travel, tax law contains specific rules on what you can and cannot count as a business day. These rules determine if your transportation, lodging, and meal costs are deductible in full, partially deductible, or not deductible at all.

Poor Arguments Cause Demise of Home-Office Deduction

You need to know the rules to protect yourself not only from the IRS, but also from the courts. If you don’t take the proper position on your home-office deduction, neither the IRS nor the courts give consideration to the arguments you should have raised that would have won your deductions.

Lack of Proper Records Crushes Deductions

Section 274 is merciless. You need a mileage log and the required elements that prove your overnight stays. Having your CPA prepare these records after the fact fails.

IRS Sets 2007 Mileage Rate at 48.5 Cents

As an individual (not as a corporation), you may use IRS mileage rates in lieu of actual expenses to deduct vehicles you own or lease. The IRS rate has two components: one for operating expenses and the other for depreciation.

The Back-End Vehicle Deduction Tax Reduction Plan

You need a tax plan for the sale or trade-in of the business vehicle you are driving today. You also need a tax plan for the business vehicle that will replace your current business vehicle. You need this tax plan if you use IRS mileage rates, actual expenses, Section 179 expensing, MACRS depreciation, or bonus depreciation.

Sign on Car

Advertising your business on your vehicle does not change either your business or personal use of the car.

New Rules for Writing Off Leasehold Improvements

New rules increase the tenant’s ability to first use shorter depreciation periods during the life of the lease and then write off the undepreciated balance of leasehold improvements at the end of the lease. The proper application and intertwining of the new rules enable both landlords and tenants to put cash in their pockets.

Getting a 100% Deduction for Meals Served to Independent Contractors

Meals served to your employees and independent contractors at training sessions and incentive award trips are subject to the 50 percent cut that applies to entertainment and meals. To qualify for a 100 percent deduction, you need to include the meal as compensation to the employee or independent contractor. That’s what many Fortune 500 companies do.

Records Lost in Fire

If your tax records are destroyed in a fire, the IRS allows you to reconstruct the records. Reconstruction takes a big effort. Protect your records so that you don’t have to reconstruct them.

New Law Attacks and Changes Many Charitable Deductions

Public Law 109-280 makes tax deductions for donations to charity far more difficult. Here is one example of the changes: dropping $5 in the collection basket at Church on Sunday is no longer deductible. Now you need a cancelled check or a receipt to claim that deduction.

Business Trumps Medical Mileage

Good tax planning for a trip to the medical doctor includes making a properly-targeted business stop the primary purpose of the trip.

New Law and “Hire Your Child”

The expansion of the kiddie tax to children under the age of 18 has zero negative effect on the hire-your-child strategy.

Upside Down Trade of SUV

You apply the new trade-in adjustment rule to find your new depreciable basis. When you have the combination of an expensed asset and an upside down loan balance, you can generally ignore your personal use and follow the cash outlay to your new basis.

Scuba Diving

Nothing explains how to deduct “associated entertainment” better than the deduction of scuba diving. Why? Associated entertainment is strictly fun—no business discussions take place in this non-business entertainment setting. Scuba diving fits this definition perfectly. Tax law allows the deduction for scuba diving as associated entertainment when you connect the scuba diving to either directly related entertainment or a business meeting in a business setting.

Helping Hurricane Victims

Follow this golden rule: Do not make charitable contributions to individuals. Make your donations directly to the qualifying charitable organizations.

Making Mold Removal a Repair and Not a Capital Expenditure

The difference between a deductible repair and a capital expenditure in today’s tax law is huge. The time value of money is one part of the added benefit for the repair. But the biggest deal is that you have no recapture tax with a repair. Thus, when removing mold from a building, you want the tax law to treat that removal as a repair. There are specific steps you can follow that help ensure mold removal classification as a tax-favored repair.

IRS Says Protect Your Tax Records—It’s Hurricane Time

Today’s computer and Internet technology give you a variety of new safeguards that you can use to protect your tax records. When thinking about your records, keep this one overriding rule in mind: no records, no deductions.

Any Personal Use Destroys the Business Rooms at a Bed and Breakfast

Tax benefits for the bed and breakfast require adherence to the transient, vacation home, and hotel rules. Under these rules, personal use can destroy deductions. Further, the length of transient stays determines the types of services you need to provide, if any, to qualify the bed and breakfast for tax-favored hotel benefits.

Woe to the Taxpayer with Bad Records

Bad records can cost you just about every tax deduction. You can testify as to your deductions, but without the records that turns out worthless. When it comes to your taxes, paper talks.

IRS Employs Bank Deposits Method to Tax Income

If you don’t have the tax records or if you are just not cooperative, you could enable the IRS to use the bank deposits method to determine your taxable income. This is a bad thing. When the IRS uses the bank deposits method to determine your tax liability, you generally pay a whole lot more tax.

Filing Returns for Past Years

Not filing your tax returns on time because you lost or misplaced your tax records is going to make your tax life miserable. The trouble is so bad that you need to consider an “offer in compromise.”

Business Airplane

Tax law classifies the business airplane in the listed property category. This means the law requires a log of business and personal use. You deduct your business percentage. To obtain and then retain maximum benefits, you need your business use at greater than 50 percent. Further, the airplane is personal property and that makes it eligible for Section 179 expensing.

Winning the Combined Business- and Personal-Trip Deduction

This taxpayer won his deduction for going to the library located 36 miles away from his home and next to his parent’s home. The IRS lost its argument that the taxpayer should have used the library near his home rather than drive 36 miles to the library where he also could visit with his parents.

IRS Doubles Audits of Sole Proprietors and Independent Contractors

The IRS fulfilled its promise and audited twice as many Form 1040-Schedule C taxpayers and S corporation returns. Your odds of audit vary by both choice of entity and gross receipts in that entity.

Personal Car Used for Corporate Business

When you operate your business as a corporation, you need to reimburse the business use of the personal car as a reimbursed employee expense. The corporation may use either the IRS mileage method or the actual expense method for the corporate reimbursement to the employee-owner.

100% Deductible Entertainment

Many sporting events qualify for a 100 percent entertainment deduction rather than the traditional 50 percent. This is true for both participants and spectators. To qualify for the 100 percent entertainment deduction, the net proceeds of the event must go to charity—as they do in a PGA Tour golf tournament.

How to Make Golf Deductible

Golf does not qualify as a deductible expense just because you talk about business on the golf course. Golf does qualify for a deduction as associated entertainment when you have the right business discussion in a valid business setting before or after the golf, generally the same day.

Roadmap for Producing a Deductible Section 105 Medical Reimbursement Plan

This court case provides a great roadmap to the Section 105 medical reimbursement plan. The taxpayer hired her husband as a part-time employee. The husband had another job as a full-time employee where he elected a payroll deduction for a medical plan that covered himself and his family. In her proprietorship, the wife put a Section 105 medical plan in place that covered the employee-husband. He elected family coverage, and presto, the monies he paid to his full-time employer for medical coverage became a Section 105 medical reimbursement, deductible by the wife’s proprietorship.

Pyramid Scheme Costs Deductions

When you start a new business activity or you do a business activity on the side, you must establish a profit motive. One easy way to demonstrate the profit motive is to show the time you spend on the activity. This taxpayer had no proof of time worked, so he looked suspicious to the court.

C Corporation Golf Problem

The one-person corporation is a separate legal entity from the owner. This means separate books for the corporation and expense reports from the owner-employee to prove business expenses. When you fail to document your golf or other expenses, two bad things happen.

Trade-In of Car on Lease

The trade of a car on a lease is not a like-kind exchange. This is a sale of the old car and a lease of the new car. The sale part gives you a gain or a loss. In addition, the sale part generates a prepayment on the lease where you benefit with an amortization deduction.

How the Business Condo Escapes the Tough Tax Rules

The properly used business condo does not run up against the vacation-home, passive-loss, or entertainment-facility rules.

Big Price for Bad Records

Making a lot of money is no excuse for keeping bad records. Top off the bad records with failing to give adequate documentation to your CPA and you add to your misery index with negligence penalties. The taxpayer in this court case had to shell out about $5 million in taxes and over $1 million in penalties.

Bad Records Destroy Deductions

The law requires the taxpayer to maintain records sufficient to establish his income and deductions. In select circumstances, estimates provide a rational basis for deductions. With respect to vehicle, entertainment, meals, travel, and gifts; estimates are out and neither the court nor the IRS may grant your deductions without the prescribed records.

Deducting Golf

The discussion on the golf course does not make the golf deductible. What makes the golf deductible is the connection of the golf to the business discussion in a business setting.

Pencil Okay for Calendar

Both the IRS and the courts have approved pencil as adequate for tax entries.

No Chance in Court

The taxpayer’s tax preparer told him to create an “Affidavit of Facts” to support his tax deductions. This was a useless exercise. This tax preparer, the one who recommended the useless affidavit, lost his enrolled agent status, and the time of this trial was forbidden by the United States government to prepare tax returns.

Home Mortgage Interest Deductions Denied

Interest paid on a life insurance loan to buy a home does not count as deductible mortgage interest.

New 2006 Standard Mileage Rates

You probably should hate the IRS for the mileage rate. First, the mileage rate creates the illusion that you don’t need a mileage log (wrong!). Second, individuals who start in business think that the mileage rate makes their tax life easy and that it doesn’t make much difference financially (generally, wrong). Third, mileage-rate addicts think that the mileage rate takes care of everything—then they cost themselves money by failing to deduct a loss on the sale of a business vehicle and overlook the business person’s tax deduction for interest on a car loan.

Van Donation Valued at Sale Price, Not Blue Book or Appraised Value

The IRS told lawmakers that a number of people were cheating on vehicle donations and that some changes in the rules could put a quick stop to that. This court case explains why lawmakers went along with the IRS and enacted the changes that are in effect today.

Shaky Proof in Gambling Income and Loss Case

When you win more than $1,200 at the slots, the casino must report your winnings to the IRS. In this court case, the taxpayers mistakenly reported gambling income of $21,100 and the IRS received 1099s showing income of $44,464. This difference in reported income did not look good in court. But these taxpayers fared far better in court than anyone in their right mind could expect because they had proof that this court liked.

Auditor Gives 80%

During an audit, the IRS can pretty much allow or disallow whatever it wants. In this first stage of the audit process, the burden of proof is on you.

$75 Rule on Vehicles

Under tax law, your vehicle is considered “listed property.” The IRS has a regulation that applies the $75 receipt rule to listed property.