Recent Feature Headlines


April 2018

S Corporation Fringe Benefits after the Recent Tax Reform

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.


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.


Tax Reform Increases the Tax Benefits of Employing Your Child

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.


Q&A: Loophole to Deduct Hobby Expenses after Tax Reform

Tax reform killed the ability for you to deduct expenses for your hobby activity. But if you sell items in your hobby activity, the IRS allows you to deduct the cost of those items—if you do this the right way. Not knowing this rule can cost you thousands of dollars in extra taxes.

 


Q&A: Changes to IRS First-Time Penalty Abatement

You hate IRS penalties; everyone does. The IRS’s first-time abatement procedure is a valuable tool to defeat IRS penalties. This article explains recent changes to this procedure and how they could affect your ability to qualify for this relief.


Tax Reform Makes Professional Gamblers Who Lose Money Suffer More

If you’re a professional gambler, tax law did you no tax favors before tax reform. But now, because of tax reform, tax law has you between a rock and a hard place for tax years 2018 through 2025. The recent tax reform gives you one choice only for those years.


Good News: Tax Reform Lands a Blow to AMT

You likely have to worry about alternative minimum tax (AMT) in addition to the regular federal income tax. Tax reform made changes to the tax law that significantly impact AMT. The changes could mean more money in your pocket and less going to the government.


Q&A: New Section 199A Guide

The new Section 199A deduction created by tax reform is a source of excitement and confusion for tax professionals and small-business owners alike. Download our new guide and get all the details.




March 2018

Tax Reform Puts Screws to Hobbies

Hobbies have been mistreated by the tax law for a long time. But the most recent tax reform brings the grim reaper to the party and it’s not pleasant. This means you need to focus on making your activity a business and not a hobby.


Tax Reform Does Much to Help Your Rental Real Estate

The recent tax reform, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), added some good benefits to your real estate rentals, both commercial rentals and residential rentals. Notably, your qualified business income from your real estate rentals creates a possible 20 percent tax deduction with no effort on your part. And if you want less taxable income, the TCJA gives you enhanced bonus depreciation and new avenues for Section 179 expensing.


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.


Tax Reform Punishes W-2 Employees—Get Even!

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.


Tax Reform Attacks Home Mortgage Interest Deductions

The home mortgage interest deduction rules did not fare well in the recent tax reform. First, a chunk of your home equity mortgage interest is no longer deductible. Second, you now face a new lower ceiling on mortgages that can qualify for the home mortgage interest deduction.


New Court-Approved Way to Defeat IRS Penalties

You hate IRS penalties, right? Everyone does! There are a lot of strategies you can use to potentially defeat an IRS penalty. Thanks to the courts, though, you now have a brand-new way to beat an IRS penalty.


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.


New Section 199A Tax Reform Calculator for Your Use

The new 20 percent tax deduction under new tax code Section 199A has many nuances based on your type of business, taxable income, qualified business income, wages, and depreciable property. Here you have an easy-to-use Section 199A calculator that takes away the pains of manually computing your possible benefits.


Tax Reform Imposes a Penalty Tax on Transportation Fringe Benefits

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.




February 2018

Yes, Tax Reform Did Kill Prospect and Client Meal Deductions

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.


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 Creates an Unfounded Desire for the C Corporation

Has tax reform created a need for you to switch your S corporation to a C corporation? You will find the answer here. Also, you will find it interesting to see how we make the comparison easy with the chart in this article.


Q&A: New 2018 Desktop Tax Rates for You

We had many compliments on our 2017 desktop reference and requests to create a 2018 desktop reference so that you can quickly look up the new (after tax reform) 2018 tax rates. You can download the new 2018 reference with the link that’s in this article.


Tax Reform Allows 100 Percent Deductions for Presentation Expenses

Tax reform did not destroy business meal presentation expenses. Read this article to see how business meal presentations work in the real world and also learn the basic rules that apply to them.


Tax Reform Allows Bigger, Faster Business Car Deductions

Finally, lawmakers did the right thing by increasing the luxury auto depreciation limits on business cars. The old luxury limits were unrealistic, punitive, unfair, and discriminatory against any car that cost more than about $15,000. The new limits don’t create parity in all respects, but they are a big improvement.


Q&A: How to Make IRS Penalties Go Away

Download your free resource guide titled Beating IRS Penalties, Your Guide to Reducing or Avoiding IRS Penalties.


Does Tax Reform Dislike Your Reputation or Skill?

Here’s a troubling thought. Did lawmakers put you in the out-of-favor tax group that denies you the 20 percent Section 199A deduction (a) because your business makes too much money and (b) it does so because of the reputation or skill of one or more of the business’ owners or employees?




January 2018

Tax Reform: Wow, New 20 Percent Deduction for Business Income

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.


Tax Reform Sticks It to Doctors, Lawyers, Athletes, Traders, and Others

The new Section 199A deduction is a very nice tax break for business owners, except for owners with high income who also fall into the out-of-favor group. In general, the out-of-favor group includes lawyers, doctors, accountants, tax professionals, consultants, athletes, authors, security traders, actors, singers, musicians, entertainers, and others.


Tax Reform Eliminates Tax Benefits of Business Vehicle Trade-Ins

Tax reform no longer allows Section 1031 exchanges on personal property such as your business vehicle. The trade-in was the most common 1031 exchange of a business vehicle. Now, because of tax reform, the vehicle trade-in is simply the sale of the old vehicle to the dealer and the purchase of a new vehicle. The sale to the dealer creates gain or loss on the sale just as it would on an outright sale.


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 Cuts Deductions for Employee Meals to 50 Percent

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.


Tax Reform: Entity Choice—Proprietorship or S Corporation?

Will your business operation create the 20 percent tax deduction for you? If not, and if that is due to too much income and a lack of (a) wages and/or (b) depreciable property, a switch to the S corporation as your choice of business entity may produce the tax savings you are looking for.


Tax Reform Creates Taxes on Employee Fringe Benefit for Bicycles

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.

 


Tax Reform: Will Section 199A Phase In or Phase Out Your 20 Percent Deduction?

If your pass-through business is an in-favor business and it qualifies for tax reform’s new 20 percent tax deduction on qualified business income, you benefit at all times, including being above, below, or in the expanded wage and property phase-in range. On the other hand, if your business is a specified service trade or business, it is in the out-of-favor group and you benefit only when you are in or below the phaseout range.


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.