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Offices closed to public until further notice - 11/12/2020

November 12, 2020

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The 2021 "Social Security wage base" is increasing

October 20, 2020

If your small business is planning for payroll next year, be aware that the “Social Security wage base” is increasing.

The Social Security Administration recently announced that the maximum...

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Tax implications of working from home and collecting unemployment

September 21, 2020

COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways, and some of the changes have tax implications. Here is basic information about two common situations.

1. Working from home.

Many employees have been told not to come into their workplaces due to...

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Will You Have to Pay Tax on Your Social Security Benefits?

September 14, 2020

If you’re getting close to retirement, you may wonder: Are my Social Security benefits going to be taxed? And if so, how much will you have to pay?

It depends on your other income. If you’re taxed, between 50% and 85% of your benefits could be taxed. (This...

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CARES Act made changes to excess business losses

September 11, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act made changes to excess business losses. This includes some changes that are retroactive and there may be opportunities for some businesses to file amended tax returns.

If you hold an interest in a...

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Office Hours update

September 7, 2020

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Back-to-school tax breaks on the books

September 4, 2020

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, students are going back to school this fall, either remotely, in-person or under a hybrid schedule. In any event, parents may be eligible for certain tax breaks to help defray the cost of education.

Here is a summary of some of the tax...

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What happens if an individual can't pay taxes

August 26, 2020

While you probably don’t have any problems paying your tax bills, you may wonder: What happens in the event you (or someone you know) can’t pay taxes on time? Here’s a look at the options.

Most importantly, don’t let the inability to pay your...

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More parents may owe "nanny tax" this year, due to COVID-19

August 24, 2020

In the COVID-19 era, many parents are hiring nannies and babysitters because their daycare centers and summer camps have closed. This may result in federal “nanny tax” obligations.

Keep in mind that the nanny tax may apply to all household workers,...

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The tax implications of employer-provided life insurance

August 20, 2020

Does your employer provide you with group term life insurance? If so, and if the coverage is higher than $50,000, this employee benefit may create undesirable income tax consequences for you.

“Phantom income”

The first $50,000 of...

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Are scholarships tax-free or taxable?

August 18, 2020

COVID-19 is changing the landscape for many schools this fall. But many children and young adults are going back, even if it’s just for online learning, and some parents will be facing tuition bills. If your child has been awarded a scholarship, that’s cause for...

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Why do partners sometimes report more income on tax returns than they receive in cash?

August 13, 2020

If you’re a partner in a business, you may have come across a situation that gave you pause. In a given year, you may be taxed on more partnership income than was distributed to you from the partnership in which you’re a partner.

Why is this? The answer...

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Take advantage of a "stepped-up basis" when you inherit property

August 10, 2020

If you’re planning your estate, or you’ve recently inherited assets, you may be unsure of the “cost” (or “basis”) for tax purposes.

Fair market value rules

Under the fair market value basis rules (also...

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Conduct a "paycheck checkup" to make sure your withholding is adequate

August 6, 2020

Did you recently file your federal tax return and were surprised to find you owed money? You might want to change your withholding so that this doesn’t happen next year. You might even want to do that if you got a big refund. Receiving a tax refund essentially means...

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Businesses: Get ready for the new Form 1099-NEC

August 4, 2020

There’s a new IRS form for business taxpayers that pay or receive nonemployee compensation.

Beginning with tax year 2020, payers must complete Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, to report any payment of $600 or more to a payee.

Why the...

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After you file your tax return: 3 issues to consider

July 31, 2020

The tax filing deadline for 2019 tax returns has been extended until July 15 this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After your 2019 tax return has been successfully filed with the IRS, there may still be some issues to bear in mind. Here are three...

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Steer clear of the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty

July 29, 2020

If you own or manage a business with employees, you may be at risk for a severe tax penalty. It’s called the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” because it applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its...

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If you're selling your home, don't forget about taxes

July 27, 2020

Traditionally, spring and summer are popular times for selling a home. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a slowdown in sales. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that existing home sales in April decreased year-over-year, 17.2% from a year ago....

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What qualifies as a "coronavirus-related distribution" from a retirement plan?

July 22, 2020

As you may have heard, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows “qualified” people to take certain “coronavirus-related distributions” from their retirement plans without paying tax.

So how do you qualify? In other...

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Some people are required to return Economic Impact Payments that were sent erroneously

July 17, 2020

The IRS and the U.S. Treasury had disbursed 160.4 million Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) as of May 31, 2020, according to a new report. These are the payments being sent to eligible individuals in response to the economic threats caused by COVID-19. The U.S. Government...

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Offices closed 7/15 & 7/16

July 15, 2020

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Good records are the key to tax deductions and trouble-free IRS audits

July 13, 2020

If you operate a small business, or you’re starting a new one, you probably know you need to keep records of your income and expenses. In particular, you should carefully record your expenses in order to claim the full amount of the tax deductions to which...

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Seniors: Can you deduct Medicare premiums?

July 9, 2020

If you’re age 65 and older, and you have basic Medicare insurance, you may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage you want. The premiums can be costly, especially if you’re married and both you and your spouse are paying them. But there may...

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IRS guidance provides RMD rollover relief

July 8, 2020

The CARES Act was enacted in an attempt to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, it extends favorable tax treatment to qualified individuals who take so-called “coronavirus-related distributions” (CRDs) from IRAs, 401(k)...

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A nonworking spouse can still have an IRA

June 5, 2020

It’s often difficult for married couples to save as much as they need for retirement when one spouse doesn’t work outside the home — perhaps so that spouse can take care of children or elderly parents. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a...

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IRS releases 2021 amounts for Health Savings Accounts

May 28, 2020

The IRS recently released the 2021 inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

HSA basics

An HSA is a trust created or organized exclusively for the purpose of paying the “qualified medical expenses” of an...

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Student loan interest: Can you deduct it on your tax return?

May 26, 2020

The economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented and many taxpayers with student loans have been hard hit.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains some assistance to borrowers with federal student loans. Notably,...

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There's still time to make a deductible IRA contribution for 2019

May 22, 2020

Do you want to save more for retirement on a tax-favored basis? If so, and if you qualify, you can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution for the 2019 tax year between now and the extended tax filing deadline and claim the write-off on your 2019 return. Or you can contribute to a Roth...

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The CARES Act liberalizes net operating losses

May 20, 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act eliminates some of the tax-revenue-generating provisions included in a previous tax law. Here’s a look at how the rules for claiming certain tax losses have been modified to provide businesses with relief...

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Do you have tax questions related to COVID-19? Here are some answers

May 18, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected many Americans’ finances. Here are some answers to questions you may have right now.

My employer closed the office and I’m working from home. Can I deduct any of the related...

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Home is where the tax breaks might be

May 14, 2020

If you own a home, the interest you pay on your home mortgage may provide a tax break. However, many people believe that any interest paid on their home mortgage loans and home equity loans is deductible. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

First, keep in...

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Determine a reasonable salary for a corporate business owner

May 11, 2020

If you’re the owner of an incorporated business, you probably know that there’s a tax advantage to taking money out of a C corporation as compensation rather than as dividends. The reason is simple. A corporation can deduct the salaries and bonuses that it pays executives, but not...

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How business owners may be able to reduce tax by using an S corporation

May 8, 2020

Do you conduct your business as a sole proprietorship or as a wholly owned limited liability company (LLC)? If so, you’re subject to both income tax and self-employment tax. There may be a way to cut your tax bill by using an S...

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IRA account value down? It might be a good time for a Roth conversion

May 6, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the value of some retirement accounts to decrease because of the stock market downturn. But if you have a traditional IRA, this downturn may provide a valuable opportunity: It may allow you to convert your traditional IRA to a...

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Do you run your business from home? You might be eligible for home office deductions

May 4, 2020


If you’re self-employed and work out of an office in your home, you may be entitled to home office deductions. However, you must satisfy strict rules.

If you qualify, you can deduct the “direct expenses” of the home office. This includes the...

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Summer Hours

May 1, 2020

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New COVID-19 law makes favorable changes to "qualified improvement property"

May 1, 2020

The law providing relief due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic contains a beneficial change in the tax rules for many improvements to interior parts of nonresidential buildings. This is referred to as qualified improvement property (QIP). You may recall that under the...

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CARES ACT changes retirement plan and charitable contribution rules

April 29, 2020

As we all try to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you may be wondering about some of the recent tax changes that were part of a tax law passed on March 27.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic...

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Answers to questions you may have about Economic Impact Payments

April 27, 2020

Millions of eligible Americans have already received their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) via direct deposit or paper checks, according to the IRS. Others are still waiting. The payments are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Here are...

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Social Security recipients will get economic impact payment without filing taxes

April 2, 2020

On April 1st, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. 

The IRS will use the information on the...

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Offices closed to public until further notice

March 31, 2020

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COVID-19 stimulus package offers relief to affected individual taxpayers

March 31, 2020

 

To help mitigate the financial and health crises related to the coronavirus (COVID-19), on Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history. The $2 trillion...

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Stimulus package developments

March 25, 2020

 

 

Here at Menke & Company, we have been carefully following developments in Washington regarding the recovery package. The latest news is that an agreement has been reached and the Senate plans to vote on the package this afternoon.

Once more...

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Department of Labor resources for Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

March 25, 2020

On Tuesday March 24, the Department of Labor announced that the effective date of the leaves through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be April 1, 2020. 

Based on the language in the bill, the effective date was widely believed to be April 2.

Listed...

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The IRS announces that income tax payments due April 15 can be deferred to July 15, regardless of the amount

March 23, 2020


The IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department have been making a series of announcements to provide tax relief in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. After previously announcing that taxpayers could defer making federal income tax payments up to certain...

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What you need to know about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 23, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides paid leave benefits to certain employees and corresponding tax credits for their employers.

We are working diligently to review the new legislation and its implications. We will continue to provide updates when definitive...

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BREAKING: U.S. Treasury Secretary now says tax filing deadline is moved to July 15

March 21, 2020

U.S. Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the 2019 income tax filing deadline will be moved to July 15, 2020 from April 15, 2020, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

At President Trump’s direction, Mnuchin announced on...

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The SECURE Act changes the rules for employers on retirement plans

February 21, 2020

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act is the first significant retirement-related legislation in more than a dozen years. It brings many changes that affect employers of all sizes, including some that could be particularly beneficial for...

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There still might be time to cut your tax bill with IRAs

February 17, 2020

If you’re getting ready to file your 2019 tax return, and your tax bill is higher than you’d like, there may still be an opportunity to lower it. If you qualify, you can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA right up until the Wednesday, April 15,...

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Numerous tax limits affecting businesses have increased for 2020

February 14, 2020

An array of tax-related limits that affect businesses are annually indexed for inflation, and many have increased for 2020. Here are some that may be important to you and your business.

Social Security tax

The amount of employees’...

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Answers to your questions about 2020 individual tax limits

February 12, 2020

Right now, you may be more concerned about your 2019 tax bill than you are about your 2020 tax situation. That’s understandable because your 2019 individual tax return is due to be filed in less than three months.

However, it’s a good idea to familiarize...

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Do your employees receive tips? You may be eligible for a tax credit

February 7, 2020

Are you an employer who owns a business where tipping is customary for providing food and beverages? You may qualify for a tax credit involving the Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes that you pay on your employees’ tip income.

How the credit...

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Can you deduct charitable gifts on your tax return?

February 3, 2020

Many taxpayers make charitable gifts — because they’re generous and they want to save money on their federal tax bills. But with the tax law changes that went into effect a couple years ago and the many rules that apply to charitable deductions, you may no longer...

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Cents-per-mile rate for business miles decreases slightly for 2020

January 27, 2020

This year, the optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business decreased by one-half cent, to 57.5 cents per mile. As a result, you might claim a lower deduction for vehicle-related expense for 2020 than you can...

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Your home office expenses may be tax deductible

January 20, 2020

Technology has made it easier to work from home so lots of people now commute each morning to an office down the hall. However, just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it.

Regularly and...

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Wayfair revisited - It's time to review your sales tax obligations

January 17, 2020

In its 2018 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld South Dakota’s “economic nexus” statute, expanding the power of states to collect sales tax from remote sellers. Today, nearly every state with a sales tax has enacted...

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New law helps businesses make their employees' retirement secure

January 11, 2020

A significant law was recently passed that adds tax breaks and makes changes to employer-provided retirement plans. If your small business has a current plan for employees or if you’re thinking about adding one, you should familiarize yourself with the new...

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4 new law changes that may affect your retirement plan

January 10, 2020

If you save for retirement with an IRA or other plan, you’ll be interested to know that Congress recently passed a law that makes significant modifications to these accounts. The SECURE Act, which was signed into law on December 20, 2019, made these four...

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IRS updates rules for using per diem rates

January 9, 2020

The IRS recently issued guidance on how businesses, self-employed individuals and qualified employees can use the per diem rules to substantiate their business travel expenses for tax purposes. The guidance in Revenue Procedure 2019-48 modifies 2011 guidance to reflect...

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New law provides a variety of tax breaks to businesses and employers

January 8, 2020

While you were celebrating the holidays, you may not have noticed that Congress passed a law with a grab bag of provisions that provide tax relief to businesses and employers. The “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020” was signed into law on December...

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Spending bill extends tax breaks, adds retirement account provisions

January 7, 2020

With its winter recess looming before it, Congress engaged in a flurry of activity. Most notably, it reached agreement on a massive governmentwide spending package titled the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. The legislation extends certain income tax...

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Do you have a side gig? Make sure you understand your tax obligations

December 30, 2019

The number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy has grown in recent years, according to a 2019 IRS report. And there are tax consequences for the people who perform these jobs, such as providing car rides, renting spare bedrooms, delivering food,...

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Adopting a child? Bring home tax savings with your bundle of joy

December 28, 2019

If you’re adopting a child, or you adopted one this year, there may be significant tax benefits available to offset the expenses. For 2019, adoptive parents may be able to claim a nonrefundable credit against their federal tax for up to $14,080 of...

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Medical expenses: What it takes to qualify for tax deduction

December 27, 2019

As we all know, medical services and prescription drugs are expensive. You may be able to deduct some of your expenses on your tax return but the rules make it difficult for many people to qualify. However, with proper planning, you may be able to time...

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2020 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

December 26, 2019

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2020. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting...

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5 ways to withdraw cash from your corporation while avoiding dividend treatment

December 24, 2019

Do you want to withdraw cash from your closely held corporation at a low tax cost? The easiest way is to distribute cash as a dividend. However, a dividend distribution isn’t tax-efficient, since it’s taxable to you to the extent of your corporation’s...

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What is your taxpayer filing status?

December 23, 2019

For tax purposes, December 31 means more than New Year’s Eve celebrations. It affects the filing status box that will be checked on your tax return for the year. When you file your return, you do so with one of five filing statuses, which depend in part on...

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IRS updates rules for mileage-related deductions

December 22, 2019

The IRS has issued new guidance updating the rules for using optional standard mileage rates when calculating “above-the-line” deductions for the costs of operating an automobile for certain purposes. IRS Revenue Procedure 2019-46 also lays out rules for...

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3 last-minute tips that may help trim your tax bill

December 21, 2019

If you’re starting to fret about your 2019 tax bill, there’s good news — you may still have time to reduce your liability. Three strategies are available that may help you cut your taxes before year-end, including:

1. Accelerate...

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Take advantage of the gift tax exclusion rules

December 20, 2019

As we head toward the gift-giving season, you may be considering giving gifts of cash or securities to your loved ones. Taxpayers can transfer substantial amounts free of gift taxes to their children and others each year through the use of the annual federal gift tax...

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How to treat your business website costs for tax purposes

December 19, 2019

These days, most businesses need a website to remain competitive. It’s an easy decision to set one up and maintain it. But determining the proper tax treatment for the costs involved in developing a website isn’t so easy.

That’s because the IRS hasn’t released any...

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Small businesses: It may not be too late to cut your 2019 taxes

December 18, 2019

Don’t let the holiday rush keep you from taking some important steps to reduce your 2019 tax liability. You still have time to execute a few strategies, including:

1. Buying assets.Thinking about purchasing new or used heavy vehicles, heavy equipment,...

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When is tax due on Series EE savings bonds?

December 18, 2019

You may have Series EE savings bonds that were bought many years ago. Perhaps you store them in a file cabinet or safe deposit box and rarely think about them. You may wonder how the interest you earn on EE bonds is taxed. And if they reach final maturity, you may need to...

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Small businesses: Stay clear of a severe payroll tax penalty

December 17, 2019

One of the most laborious tasks for small businesses is managing payroll. But it’s critical that you not only withhold the right amount of taxes from employees’ paychecks but also that you pay them...

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Understanding and controlling the unemployment tax costs of your business

December 16, 2019

As an employer, you must pay federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on amounts up to $7,000 paid to each employee as wages during the calendar year. The rate of tax imposed is 6% but can be reduced by a credit (described below). Most employers end up paying an effective FUTA tax...

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Thinking about converting from a C corporation to an S corporation?

December 15, 2019

The right entity choice can make a difference in the tax bill you owe for your business. Although S corporations can provide substantial tax advantages over C corporations in some circumstances, there are plenty of potentially expensive tax problems that you should assess...

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Watch out for tax-related scams

December 13, 2019

“Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams,” according to the IRS. Criminals can contact victims through regular mail, telephone calls and email messages. Here are just two of the scams the tax agency has seen...

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Use a Coverdell ESA to help pay college, elementary and secondary school costs

December 12, 2019

There are several ways to save for your child’s or grandchild’s education, including with a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). Although for federal tax purposes there’s no upfront deduction for contributions made to an ESA, the earnings on the...

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Selling securities by year end? Avoid the wash sale rule

December 11, 2019

If you’re planning to sell assets at a loss to offset gains that have been realized during the year, it’s important to be aware of the “wash sale” rule.

How the rule works

Under this rule, if you sell stock or...

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Uncle Sam may provide relief from college costs on your tax return

December 10, 2019

We all know the cost of college is expensive. The latest figures from the College Board show that the average annual cost of tuition and fees was $10,230 for in-state students at public four-year universities — and $35,830 for students at private not-for-profit...

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Small businesses: Get ready for your 1099-MISC reporting requirements

December 9, 2019

A month after the new year begins, your business may be required to comply with rules to report amounts paid to independent contractors, vendors and others. You may have to send 1099-MISC forms to those whom...

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The chances of an IRS audit are low, but business owners should be prepared

December 8, 2019

Many business owners ask: How can I avoid an IRS audit? The good news is that the odds against being audited are in your favor. In fiscal year 2018, the IRS audited approximately 0.6% of individuals. Businesses, large corporations and high-income...

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Factor 2020 cost-of-living adjustments into your year-end tax planning

December 7, 2019

The IRS recently issues its 2020 cost-of-living adjustments. With inflation remaining largely in check, many amounts increased slightly, and some stayed at 2019 levels. As you implement 2019 year-end tax planning strategies, be sure to take these 2020 adjustments into...

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Business year-end tax planning in a TCJA world

December 6, 2019

The first tax-filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was a time of uncertainty for many businesses as they struggled with the implications of the law’s sweeping changes for their bottom lines. With the next filing season on the horizon, you can...

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Using your 401(k) plan to save this year and next

December 5, 2019

You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or Roth 401(k) plan, contributing to it is a taxwise way to build a nest egg.

If you’re not already contributing the maximum...

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IRA charitable donations are an alternative to taxable required distributions

December 4, 2019

Are you charitably minded and have a significant amount of money in an IRA? If you’re age 70½ or older, and don’t need the money from required minimum distributions, you may benefit by giving these amounts to charity.

IRA distribution...

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You may be ABLE to save for a disabled family member with a tax-advantaged account

December 3, 2019

There’s a tax-advantaged way for people to save for the needs of family members with disabilities — without having them lose eligibility for government benefits to which they’re entitled. It can be done though an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)...

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2 valuable year-end tax-saving tools for your business

December 2, 2019

At this time of year, many business owners ask if there’s anything they can do to save tax for the year. Under current tax law, there are two valuable depreciation-related tax breaks that may help your business reduce its 2019 tax liability. To benefit from these...

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The U.S. Department of Labor finalizes the new overtime rule

December 1, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released the finalized rule on overtime exemptions for white-collar workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The rule updates the standard salary levels for the first time since 2004. While it is expected to expand the pool of...

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Getting a divorce? There are tax issues you need to understand

November 29, 2019

In addition to the difficult personal issues that divorce entails, several tax concerns need to be addressed to ensure that taxes are kept to a minimum and that important tax-related decisions are properly made. Here are four issues to understand if you are in the process of...

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Setting up a Health Savings Account for your small business

November 27, 2019

Given the escalating cost of employee health care benefits, your business may be interested in providing some of these benefits through an employer-sponsored Health Savings Account (HSA). For eligible individuals, HSAs offer a tax-advantaged way to set aside funds (or have...

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It's not too late to trim your 2019 tax bill

November 26, 2019

Fall is in the air and that means it’s time to turn your attention to year-end tax planning. While several clear strategies and tactics emerged during the first tax filing season under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), 2019 and subsequent years bring potential twists...

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The key to retirement security is picking the right plan for your business

September 26, 2019

If you’re a small business owner or you’re involved in a start-up, you may want to set up a tax-favored retirement plan for yourself and any employees. Several types of plans are eligible for tax advantages.

401(k) plan

One of the...

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The tax implications of a company car

September 24, 2019

The use of a company vehicle is a valuable fringe benefit for owners and employees of small businesses. This benefit results in tax deductions for the employer as well as tax breaks for the owners and employees using the cars. (And of course, they get the nontax benefits of...

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The "kiddie tax" hurts families more than ever

September 20, 2019

Years ago, Congress enacted the “kiddie tax” rules to prevent parents and grandparents in high tax brackets from shifting income (especially from investments) to children in lower tax brackets. And while the tax caused some families pain in the past, it has gotten...

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Should you elect S corporation status?

September 18, 2019

Operating a business as an S corporation may provide many advantages, including limited liability for owners and no double taxation (at least at the federal level). Self-employed people may also be able to lower their exposure to Social Security and Medicare taxes if they...

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What to do if your business receives a "no-match" letter

September 16, 2019

In the past few months, many businesses and employers nationwide have received “no-match” letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The purpose of these letters is to alert employers if there’s a discrepancy between the agency’s files and...

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Take a closer look at home office deductions

September 13, 2019

Working from home has its perks. Not only can you skip the commute, but you also might be eligible to deduct home office expenses on your tax return. Deductions for these expenses can save you a bundle, if you meet the tax law qualifications.

Under the Tax Cuts and...

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Taking distributions from your traditional IRA

September 11, 2019

If you’re like many people, you’ve worked hard to accumulate a large nest egg in your traditional IRA (including a SEP-IRA). It’s even more critical to carefully plan for withdrawals from these retirement-savings vehicles.

Knowing the fine points of...

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Expenses that teachers can and can't deduct on their tax returns

September 9, 2019

As teachers head back for a new school year, they often pay for various expenses for which they don’t receive reimbursement. Fortunately, they may be able to deduct them on their tax returns. However, there are limits on this special deduction, and some expenses...

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The next estimated tax deadline is September 16: Do you have to make a payment?

September 6, 2019

If you’re self-employed and don’t have withholding from paychecks, you probably have to make estimated tax payments. These payments must be sent to the IRS on a quarterly basis. The third 2019 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is Monday, September 16....

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It's a good time to buy business equipment and other depreciable property

September 4, 2019

There’s good news about the Section 179 depreciation deduction for business property. The election has long provided a tax windfall to businesses, enabling them to claim immediate deductions for qualified assets, instead of taking depreciation deductions over time. And...

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You may have to pay tax on Social Security benefits

August 30, 2019

During your working days, you pay Social Security tax in the form of withholding from your salary or self-employment tax. And when you start receiving Social Security benefits, you may be surprised to learn that some of the payments may be taxed.

If you’re...

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Thinking about moving to another state in retirement? Don't forget about taxes

August 28, 2019

When you retire, you may consider moving to another state — say, for the weather or to be closer to your loved ones. Don’t forget to factor state and local taxes into the equation. Establishing residency for state tax purposes may be more complicated than it...

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Volunteering for charity: Do you get a tax break?

August 26, 2019

If you’re a volunteer who works for charity, you may be entitled to some tax breaks if you itemize deductions on your tax return. Unfortunately, they may not amount to as much as you think your generosity is worth.

Because donations to charity of cash or...

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Donating your vehicle to charity may not be a taxwise decision

August 22, 2019

You’ve probably seen or heard ads urging you to donate your car to charity. “Make a difference and receive tax savings,” one organization states. But donating a vehicle may not result in a big tax deduction — or any deduction at...

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Is an HSA right for you?

August 20, 2019

To help defray health care costs, many people now contribute to, or are thinking about setting up, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). With these accounts, individuals can pay for certain medical expenses on a tax advantaged basis.

The...

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Which entity is most suitable for your new or existing business?

August 16, 2019

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has changed the landscape for business taxpayers. That’s because the law introduced a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, profitable C corporations paid up to 35%.

The TCJA also cut individual...

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Employers: Be aware (or beware) of a harsh payroll tax penalty

August 15, 2019

If federal income tax and employment taxes (including Social Security) are withheld from employees’ paychecks and not handed over to the IRS, a harsh penalty can be imposed. To make matters worse, the penalty can be assessed personally against a...

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The "nanny tax" must be paid for more than just nannies

August 13, 2019

You may have heard of the “nanny tax.” But even if you don’t employ a nanny, it may apply to you. Hiring a housekeeper, gardener or other household employee (who isn’t an independent contractor) may make you liable for federal income and...

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Summer: A good time to review your investments

August 12, 2019

You may have heard about a proposal in Washington to cut the taxes paid on investments by indexing capital gains to inflation. Under the proposal, the purchase price of assets would be adjusted so that no tax is paid on the appreciation due to inflation.

While the...

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If your kids are off to day camp, you may be eligible for a tax break

August 9, 2019

While the kids have been out of school for the summer, you may have been sending your children to day camp. It’s often a significant expense. The good news: You might be eligible for a tax break for the cost.

The value of a...

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Hiring this summer? You may qualify for a valuable tax credit

August 8, 2019

Is your business hiring this summer? If the employees come from certain “targeted groups,” you may be eligible for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). This includes youth whom you bring in this summer for two or three months. The maximum credit employers can...

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2019 Q3 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

July 25, 2019

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the third quarter of 2019. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting...

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Employee vs. independent contractor: How should you handle worker classification?

July 24, 2019

Many employers prefer to classify workers as independent contractors to lower costs, even if it means having less control over a worker’s day-to-day activities. But the government is on the lookout for businesses that classify workers as independent...

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How entrepreneurs must treat expenses on their tax returns

July 22, 2019

Have you recently started a new business? Or are you contemplating starting one? Launching a new venture is a hectic, exciting time. And as you know, before you even open the doors, you generally have to spend a lot of money. You may have to train workers and pay for rent,...

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Could your business benefit from the tax credit for family and medical leave?

July 19, 2019

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new federal tax credit for employers that provide qualified paid family and medical leave to their employees. It’s subject to numerous rules and restrictions and the credit is only available for two tax years — those beginning...

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Seniors: Medicare premiums could lower your tax bill

July 17, 2019

Americans who are 65 and older qualify for basic Medicare insurance, and they may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage they desire. The premiums can be expensive, especially if you’re married and both you and your spouse are paying them. But one...

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Still working after age 70 1/2? You may not have to begin 401(k) withdrawals

July 15, 2019

If you participate in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k), you must generally begin taking required withdrawals from the plan no later than April 1 of the year after which you turn age 70½. However, there’s an exception that applies to certain plan...

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The chances of IRS audit are down but you should still be prepared

July 12, 2019

The IRS just released its audit statistics for the 2018 fiscal year, and fewer taxpayers had their returns examined as compared with prior years. However, even...

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Plug in tax savings for electric vehicles

July 10, 2019

While the number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) is still small compared with other cars on the road, it’s growing — especially in certain parts of the country. If you’re interested in purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a...

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Stretch your college student's spending money with the dependent tax credit

July 8, 2019

If you’re the parent of a child who is age 17 to 23, and you pay all (or most) of his or her expenses, you may be surprised to learn you’re not eligible for the child tax credit. But there’s a dependent tax credit that may be available to you. It’s not...

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Consider a Roth 401(k) plan - and make sure employees use it

July 5, 2019

Roth 401(k) accounts have been around for 13 years now. Studies show that more employers are offering them each year. A recent study by the Plan Sponsor Council of America (PSCA) found that Roth 401(k)s are now available at 70% of employer plans, up from 55.6% of plans in...

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Will leasing equipment or buying it be more tax efficient for your business?

July 1, 2019

Recent changes to federal tax law and accounting rules could affect whether you decide to lease or buy equipment or other fixed assets. Although there’s no universal “right” choice, many businesses that formerly leased assets are now deciding to buy...

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The home office deduction: Actual expenses vs. the simplified method

June 28, 2019

If you run your business from your home or perform certain functions at home that are related to your business, you might be able to claim a home office deduction against your business income on your income tax return. Thanks to a tax law change back in 2013, there are now...

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When are LLC members subject to self-employment tax?

June 26, 2019

Limited liability company (LLC) members commonly claim that their distributive shares of LLC income — after deducting compensation for services in the form of guaranteed payments — aren’t subject to self-employment (SE) tax. But the IRS has been cracking...

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Deducting business meal expenses under today's tax rules

June 24, 2019

In the course of operating your business, you probably spend time and money “wining and dining” current or potential customers, vendors and employees. What can you deduct on your tax return for these expenses? The rules changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act...

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Tax-smart domestic travel: combining business with pleasure

June 21, 2019

Summer is here, so you might be thinking about getting some vacation time. If you’re self-employed or a business owner, you have a golden opportunity to combine a business trip with a few extra days of vacation and offset some of the cost with a tax deduction. But be...

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Three questions you may have after you file your return

June 17, 2019

Once your 2018 tax return has been successfully filed with the IRS, you may still have some questions. Here are brief answers to three questions that we’re frequently asked at this time of year.

Question #1: What tax records can I throw away...

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Check on your refund - and find out why the IRS might not send it

June 14, 2019

It’s that time of year when many people who filed their tax returns in April are checking their mail or bank accounts to see if their refunds have landed. According to the IRS, most refunds are issued in less than 21 calendar days. However, it may take longer —...

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It's a good time to check your withholding and make changes, if necessary

June 12, 2019

Due to the massive changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the 2019 filing season resulted in surprises. Some filers who have gotten a refund in past years wound up owing money. The IRS reports that the number of refunds paid this year is down from last year — and...

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Selling your home? Consider these tax implications

June 10, 2019

Spring and summer are the optimum seasons for selling a home. And interest rates are currently attractive, so buyers may be out in full force in your area. Freddie Mac reports that the average 30-year fixed...

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Hire your children this summer: Everyone wins

June 7, 2019

If you’re a business owner and you hire your children (or grandchildren) this summer, you can obtain tax breaks and other nontax benefits. The kids can gain on-the-job experience, save for college and...

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Fundamental tax truths for C corporations

March 1, 2019

The flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has been great news for these entities and their owners. But some fundamental tax truths for C corporations largely remain the same:

C corporations are subject to...

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Depreciation-related breaks on business real estate: What you need to know when you file your 2018 return

February 22, 2019

Commercial buildings and improvements generally are depreciated over 39 years, which essentially means you can deduct a portion of the cost every year over the depreciation period. (Land isn’t depreciable.) But special tax breaks that allow deductions to be taken more...

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Many tax-related limits affecting businesses increase for 2019

February 8, 2019

A variety of tax-related limits affecting businesses are annually indexed for inflation, and many have gone up for 2019. Here’s a look at some that may affect you and your business.

Deductions

  • Section 179 expensing:

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There's still time to get substantiation for 2018 deductions

February 1, 2019

If you’re like many Americans, letters from your favorite charities have been appearing in your mailbox in recent weeks acknowledging your 2018 year-end donations. But what happens if you haven’t received such a letter — can you still claim an itemized...

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Higher mileage rate may mean larger tax deductions for business miles in 2019

January 28, 2019

This year, the optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business increased by 3.5 cents, to the highest level since 2008. As a result, you might be able to claim a larger deduction for vehicle-related expense for...

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What will your marginal income tax rate be?

January 23, 2019

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could see their taxes go up due to reductions or eliminations of certain tax breaks — and,...

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2 major tax law changes for individuals in 2019

January 18, 2019

While most provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018 and either apply through 2025 or are permanent, there are two major changes under the act for 2019. Here’s a closer...

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An exit strategy should be part of your tax planning

January 16, 2019

Tax planning is a juggling act for business owners. You have to keep your eye on your company’s income and expenses and applicable tax breaks (especially if you own a pass-through entity). But you also must look out for your own financial future.

For example,...

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You may be able to save more for retirement in 2019

January 14, 2019

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, and many have gone up for 2019, giving you opportunities to increase your retirement savings:

  • Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b),...

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A refresher on major tax law changes for small-business owners

January 11, 2019

The dawning of 2019 means the 2018 income tax filing season will soon be upon us. After year end, it’s generally too late to take action to reduce 2018 taxes. Business owners may, therefore, want to shift their focus to assessing whether they’ll likely owe taxes...

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Federal government shutdown creates tax filing uncertainty

January 10, 2019

The IRS has announced that it will begin accepting paper and electronic tax returns for the 2018 tax year on January 28, but much remains to be seen about how the ongoing shutdown of the federal government will...

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Tax reform expands availability of cash accounting

January 9, 2019

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), many more businesses are now eligible to use the cash method of accounting for federal tax purposes. The cash method offers greater tax-planning flexibility, allowing some businesses to defer taxable income. Newly eligible businesses...

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A review of significant TCJA provisions impacting individual taxpayers

January 7, 2019

Now that 2019 has begun, there isn’t too much you can do to reduce your 2018 income tax liability. But it’s smart to begin preparing for filing your 2018 return. Because the Tax Cuts...

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2019 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadline for businesses and other employers

January 2, 2019

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2019. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting...

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IRS issues proposed regs on business interest expense deductions

December 28, 2018


In April 2018, the IRS released temporary guidance on the amended limit on deductions for business interest expense for tax years beginning in 2018. Taxpayers were allowed to rely on that guidance while waiting for regulations. The IRS has now published proposed...

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Can a PTO contribution arrangement help your employees and your business?

December 27, 2018

As the year winds to a close, most businesses see employees taking a lot of vacation time. After all, it’s the holiday season, and workers want to enjoy it. Some businesses, however, find themselves...

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Does prepaying property taxes make sense anymore?

December 26, 2018

Prepaying property taxes related to the current year but due the following year has long been one of the most popular and effective year-end tax-planning strategies. But does it still make sense in...

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What do the 2019 cost-of-living adjustments mean for you?

December 22, 2018

The IRS has announced its 2019 cost-of-living adjustments to tax items that might affect you. Many of the amounts increased to account for inflation, but some remained at 2018 levels. As you implement 2018 year-end tax planning strategies, be sure to take these 2019...

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6 last-minute tax moves for your business

December 21, 2018

Tax planning is a year-round activity, but there are still some year-end strategies you can use to lower your 2018 tax bill. Here are six last-minute tax moves business owners should...

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Catch-up retirement contributions can be particularly advantageous post-TCJA

December 20, 2018

Will you be age 50 or older on December 31? Are you still working? Are you already contributing to your 401(k) plan or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) up to the regular annual limit? Then you...

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When holiday gifts and parties are deductible or taxable

December 19, 2018

The holiday season is a great time for businesses to show their appreciation for employees and customers by giving them gifts or hosting holiday parties. Before you begin shopping or sending out invitations, though, it’s a good idea to find out whether the expense is...

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Check deductibility before making year-end charitable gifts

December 18, 2018

As the holidays approach and the year draws to a close, many taxpayers make charitable gifts — both in the spirit of the season and as a year-end tax planning strategy. But with the tax law changes that go...

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Year-end tax and financial to-do list for individuals

December 17, 2018

With the dawn of 2019 on the near horizon, here’s a quick list of tax and financial to-dos you should address before 2018 ends:

Check your FSA balance. If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)...

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Mutual funds: Handle with care at year end

December 5, 2018

As we approach the end of 2018, it’s a good idea to review the mutual fund holdings in your taxable accounts and take steps to avoid potential tax traps. Here are some tips.

Avoid surprise capital...

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It's not too late: You can still set up a retirement plan for 2018

November 30, 2018

If most of your money is tied up in your business, retirement can be a challenge. So if you haven’t already set up a tax-advantaged retirement plan, consider doing so this year. There’s still time to...

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Buy business assets before year end to reduce your 2018 tax liability

November 28, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has enhanced two depreciation-related breaks that are popular year-end tax planning tools for businesses. To take advantage of these breaks, you must purchase qualifying assets...

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Donate appreciated stock for twice the tax benefits

November 26, 2018

A tried-and-true year end tax strategy is to make charitable donations. As long as you itemize and your gift qualifies, you can claim a charitable deduction. But did you know that you can enjoy an additional tax...

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Research credit available to some businesses for the first time

November 21, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) didn’t change the federal tax credit for “increasing research activities,” but several TCJA provisions have an indirect impact on the credit. As a result, the...

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Act now to cut your 2018 tax bill

November 19, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created more than 100 new tax provisions — a staggering thought as you begin to prepare for the next filing season. The good news is that these and some of the surviving...

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Could "bunching" medical expenses into 2018 save you tax?

November 14, 2018

Some of your medical expenses may be tax deductible, but only if you itemize deductions and have enough expenses to exceed the applicable floor for deductibility. With proper planning, you may be able to time controllable medical expenses to your tax advantage. The Tax Cuts...

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Year-end tax planning for businesses in the new tax environment

November 12, 2018

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in late 2017 brought significant changes to the tax landscape. As the first tax season under the law looms on the horizon, new year-end tax planning strategies are...

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Consider all the tax consequences before making gifts to loved ones

November 9, 2018

Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable estate, to help out family members or simply to see their loved ones enjoy the gifts. If you’re considering lifetime gifts, be aware that which assets you...

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HTC Crusaders 2018 State Volleyball

November 7, 2018

GOOD LUCK HTC CRUSADERS AT THE 2018 IA STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT!

Photo Credit: Holy Trinity Crusaders Facebook

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Selling your business? Defer - and possibly reduce - tax with an installment sale

November 7, 2018

You’ve spent years building your company and now are ready to move on to something else, whether launching a new business, taking advantage of another career opportunity or retiring. Whatever your plans, you want to get the return from your business that you’ve...

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The business meal expense deduction lives on post-TCJA

November 5, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was packed with goodies for businesses, but it also seemed to eliminate the popular meal expense deduction in some situations. Now, the IRS has issued transitional guidance...

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529 plans offer two tax-advantaged education funding options

November 2, 2018

Section 529 plans are a popular education-funding tool because of tax and other benefits. Two types are available: 1) prepaid tuition plans, and 2) savings plans. And one of these plans got even better under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Enjoy valuable...

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Now's the time to review your business expenses

October 29, 2018

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good idea to review your business’s expenses for deductibility. At the same time, consider whether your business would benefit from accelerating certain...

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Tax-free fringe benefits help small businesses and their employees

October 26, 2018

In today’s tightening job market, to attract and retain the best employees, small businesses need to offer not only competitive pay, but also appealing fringe benefits. Benefits that are tax-free are...

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Charitable IRA rollovers may be especially beneficial in 2018

October 24, 2018

If you’re age 70½ or older, you can make direct contributions — up to $100,000 annually — from your IRA to qualified charitable organizations without owing any income tax on the distributions. This break may be especially beneficial now because of Tax...

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Tax planning for investments gets more complicated

October 22, 2018

For investors, fall is a good time to review year-to-date gains and losses. Not only can it help you assess your financial health, but it also can help you determine whether to buy or sell investments before year...

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The tax deduction ins and outs of donating artwork to charity

October 17, 2018

If you’re charitably inclined and you collect art, appreciated artwork can make one of the best charitable gifts from a tax perspective. In general, donating appreciated property is doubly beneficial because...

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You might save tax if your vacation home qualifies as a rental property

October 15, 2018

Do you own a vacation home? If you both rent it out and use it personally, you might save tax by taking steps to ensure it qualifies as a rental property this year. Vacation home expenses that qualify as rental...

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Businesses aren't immune to tax identity theft

October 12, 2018

Tax identity theft may seem like a problem only for individual taxpayers. But, according to the IRS, increasingly businesses are also becoming victims. And identity thieves have become more sophisticated, knowing...

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Be sure your employee travel expense reimbursements will pass muster with the IRS

October 10, 2018

Does your business reimburse employees’ work-related travel expenses? If you do, you know that it can help you attract and retain employees. If you don’t, you might want to start, because changes...

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IRS issues new TCJA guidance for businesses

October 8, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a new general business tax credit for certain businesses that grant their qualifying employees paid family and medical leave in 2018 and 2019. The IRS now has released...

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2018 Q4 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

October 5, 2018

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the fourth quarter of 2018. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional...

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3 bills form Tax Reform 2.0

October 3, 2018

On September 13, the House Ways and Means Committee passed three separate bills that will be the cornerstone of what is being referred to as Tax Reform 2.0.

The bills focus on making permanent certain...

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Play your tax cards right with gambling wins and losses

September 26, 2018

If you gamble, be sure you understand the tax consequences. Both wins and losses can affect your income tax bill. And changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) could also have an impact.

Wins and taxable income

You must report 100% of your gambling...

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How to reduce the tax risk of using independent contractors

September 24, 2018

Classifying a worker as an independent contractor frees a business from payroll tax liability and allows it to forgo providing overtime pay, unemployment compensation and other employee benefits. It also frees the business from responsibility for withholding income taxes...

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IRS regs detail how businesses can "aggregate" for the pass-through income deduction

September 21, 2018

One of the most valuable tax breaks in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is the new deduction for up to 20% of qualified business income (QBI) from pass-through entities. The IRS recently issued proposed regulations that help clarify who can benefit from the deduction. One...

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Keep it SIMPLE: A tax-advantaged retirement plan solution for small businesses

September 19, 2018

If your small business doesn’t offer its employees a retirement plan, you may want to consider a SIMPLE IRA. Offering a retirement plan can provide your business with valuable tax deductions and help you attract and retain employees. For a variety of reasons, a...

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Assessing the S corp

September 17, 2018

The S corporation business structure offers many advantages, including limited liability for owners and no double taxation (at least at the federal level). But not all businesses are eligible - and, with the new 21% flat income tax rate that now applies to C corporations,...

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IRS issues proposed regulations on the pass-through business income deduction

September 14, 2018

The IRS recently released highly anticipated regulations addressing the deduction for up to 20% of qualified business income (QBI) from pass-through entities. The deduction was a major component of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became law late last year. It has also...

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Back-to-school time means a tax break for teachers

September 12, 2018

When teachers are setting up their classrooms for the new school year, it’s common for them to pay for a portion of their classroom supplies out of pocket. A special tax break allows these educators to deduct some of their expenses. This educator expense deduction is...

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Do you need to make an estimated tax payment by September 17?

September 10, 2018

To avoid interest and penalties, you must make sufficient federal income tax payments long before your April filing deadline through withholding, estimated tax payments, or a combination of the two. The third 2018 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is September...

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2018 Tri-State Rodeo

 

Welcome Tri-State Rodeo Fans! We hope you and your family enjoy your time at this year's 71st annual...

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Choosing the right accounting method for tax purposes

September 7, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) liberalized the eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method — which is simpler than the accrual method — available to more businesses. Now the IRS has provided procedures a small business...

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Do you still need to worry about the AMT?

September 5, 2018

There was talk of repealing the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) as part of last year’s tax reform legislation. A repeal wasn’t included in the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), but the TCJA will reduce the number of taxpayers subject...

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Keep an eye out for extenders legislation

August 31, 2018

The pieces of tax legislation garnering the most attention these days are the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed into law last December and the possible “Tax Reform 2.0” that Congress might pass this fall. But for certain individual taxpayers, what happens...

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The TCJA prohibits undoing 2018 Roth IRA conversions, but 2017 conversions are still eligible

August 29, 2018

Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can provide tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement. But what if you convert your traditional IRA — subject to income taxes on all earnings and deductible contributions — and then discover you would have...

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Why the "kiddie tax" is more dangerous than ever

August 27, 2018

Once upon a time, some parents and grandparents would attempt to save tax by putting investments in the names of their young children or grandchildren in lower income tax brackets. To discourage such strategies, Congress created the “kiddie” tax back in 1986....

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IRS issues guidance on new bonus depreciation rules

August 24, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) significantly expands bonus depreciation under Section 168(k) of the Internal Revenue Code for both regular tax and alternative minimum tax (AMT) purposes. Now, the IRS has released proposed regulations that clarify the requirements that...

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Do you qualify for the home office deduction?

August 22, 2018

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can no longer claim the home office deduction. If, however, you run a business from your home or are otherwise self-employed and use part of your home for business purposes, the home office deduction may still be available to...

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Business deductions for meal, vehicle and travel expenses: Document, document, document

August 20, 2018

Meal, vehicle and travel expenses are common deductions for businesses. But if you don’t properly document these expenses, you could find your deductions denied by the IRS.

A critical requirement

Subject to various rules and limits, business meal...

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Is more tax reform on the horizon?

August 17, 2018

 

President Trump and Republican lawmakers currently are considering a second round of tax reform legislation as a follow-up to last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). As of this writing, there’s been no actual bill drafted. However, House Ways and Means...

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Close-up on the new QBI deduction's wage limit

August 15, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provides a valuable new tax break to noncorporate owners of pass-through entities: a deduction for a portion of qualified business income (QBI). The deduction generally applies...

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How to avoid getting hit with payroll tax penalties

August 13, 2018

For small businesses, managing payroll can be one of the most arduous tasks. Adding to the burden earlier this year was adjusting income tax withholding based on the new tables issued by the IRS. (Those tables...

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What you can deduct when volunteering

August 8, 2018

Because donations to charity of cash or property generally are tax deductible (if you itemize), it only seems logical that the donation of something even more valuable to you — your time — would...

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Home green home: Save tax by saving energy

August 6, 2018

“Going green” at home — whether it’s your principal residence or a second home — can reduce your tax bill in addition to your energy bill, all while helping the environment, too....

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Do you know the ABCs of HSAs, FSAs and HRAs?

August 3, 2018

There continues to be much uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act and how such uncertainty will impact health care costs. So it’s critical to leverage all tax-advantaged ways to fund these expenses,...

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2018 West Point Sweet Corn Festival

August 2, 2018

Have fun at this year's ShuckFest and West Point Sweet Corn Festival in West Point, IA!

 

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2 tax law changes that may affect your business's 401(k) plan

August 1, 2018

When you think about recent tax law changes and your business, you’re probably thinking about the new 20% pass-through deduction for qualified business income or the enhancements to depreciation-related...

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Choosing the best business entity structure post-TCJA

July 30, 2018

For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, C corporations were taxed at rates as high as 35%....

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Watch out for tax-related identity theft scams all year long

July 25, 2018

With the filing date for 2017 in the rearview mirror for most businesses and individuals, the last thing they probably want to think about is income taxes. Unfortunately, though, criminals who commit...

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Consider the tax advantages of investing in qualified small business stock

July 23, 2018

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced most ordinary-income tax rates for individuals, it didn’t change long-term capital gains rates. They remain at 0%, 15% and 20%.

The 0% rate generally...

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3 traditional midyear tax planning strategies for individuals that hold up post-TCJA

July 20, 2018

With its many changes to individual tax rates, brackets and breaks, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) means taxpayers need to revisit their tax planning strategies. Certain strategies that were once...

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The tax impact of the TCJA on estate planning

July 18, 2018

The massive changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made to income taxes have garnered the most attention. But the new law also made major changes to gift and estate taxes. While the TCJA didn’t repeal...

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Does your business have to begin collecting sales tax on all out-of-state online sales?

July 16, 2018

You’ve probably heard about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing state and local governments to impose sales taxes on more out-of-state online sales. The ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair,...

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2018 Q3 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

July 11, 2018

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the third quarter of 2018. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional...

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Supreme Court opens door to taxation of online sales

July 9, 2018

In a much-anticipated ruling that confounded the expectations of many court watchers, the U.S. Supreme Court has given state and local governments the green light to impose sales taxes on out-of-state online...

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Defer tax with a Section 1031 exchange, but new limits apply this year

July 6, 2018

Normally when appreciated business assets such as real estate are sold, tax is owed on the appreciation. But there’s a way to defer this tax: a Section 1031 “like kind” exchange. However, the...

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Saving tax on restricted stock awards with the Sec. 83(b) election

July 2, 2018

Today many employees receive stock-based compensation from their employer as part of their compensation and benefits package. The tax consequences of such compensation can be complex — subject to...

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Factor in state and local taxes when deciding where to live in retirement

June 27, 2018

Many Americans relocate to another state when they retire. If you’re thinking about such a move, state and local taxes should factor into your decision.

Income, property and sales...

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Get started on 2018 tax planning now!

June 25, 2018

With the April 17 individual income tax filing deadline behind you (or with your 2017 tax return on the back burner if you filed for an extension), you may be hoping to not think about taxes for the next...

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TCJA changes to employee benefits tax breaks: 4 negatives and a positive

June 22, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes many changes that affect tax breaks for employee benefits. Among the changes are four negatives and one positive that will impact not only employees but also the businesses...

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The TCJA changes some rules for deducting pass-through business losses

June 20, 2018

It’s not uncommon for businesses to sometimes generate tax losses. But the losses that can be deducted are limited by tax law in some situations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) further restricts the...

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Can you deduct business travel when it's combined with a vacation?

June 18, 2018

At this time of year, a summer vacation is on many people’s minds. If you travel for business, combining a business trip with a vacation to offset some of the cost with a tax deduction can sound...

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Tax document retention guidelines for small businesses

June 14, 2018

You may have breathed a sigh of relief after filing your 2017 income tax return (or requesting an extension). But if your office is strewn with reams of paper consisting of years’ worth of tax returns,...

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Putting your child on your business's payroll for the summer may make more tax sense than ever

June 13, 2018

If you own a business and have a child in high school or college, hiring him or her for the summer can provide a multitude of benefits, including tax savings. And hiring can make more sense than ever due to...

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Individual tax calendar: Important deadlines for the remainder of 2018

June 11, 2018

While April 15 (April 17 this year) is the main tax deadline on most individual taxpayers’ minds, there are others through the rest of the year that you also need to be aware of. To help you make sure you...

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Tax record retention guidelines for individuals

June 7, 2018

What 2017 tax records can you toss once you’ve filed your 2017 return? The answer is simple: none. You need to hold on to all of your 2017 tax records for now. But it’s the perfect time to go...

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Do you need to adjust your withholding?

June 5, 2018

If you received a large refund after filing your 2017 income tax return, you’re probably enjoying the influx of cash. But a large refund isn’t all positive. It also means you were essentially giving...

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A review of significant TCJA provisions affecting small businesses

May 31, 2018

Now that small businesses and their owners have filed their 2017 income tax returns (or filed for an extension), it’s a good time to review some of the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that...

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Be aware of the tax consequences before selling your home

May 29, 2018

 

In many parts of the country, summer is peak season for selling a home. If you’re planning to put your home on the market soon, you’re probably thinking about things like how quickly...

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Sending your kids to day camp may provide a tax break

May 24, 2018

When school lets out, kids participate in a wide variety of summer activities. If one of the activities your child is involved with is day camp, you might be eligible for a tax credit!

Dollar-for-dollar...

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Tax deduction for moving cost: 2017 vs. 2018

March 2, 2018

If you moved for work-related reasons in 2017, you might be able to deduct some of the costs on your 2017 return — even if you don’t itemize deductions. (Or, if your employer reimbursed you for moving expenses, that reimbursement might be...

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A SEP may give you one last 2017 tax and retirement saving opportunity

February 26, 2018

Are you a high-income small-business owner who doesn’t currently have a tax-advantaged retirement plan set up for yourself? A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) may be just what you need, and now may be a great time to establish one. A SEP...

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Claiming bonus depreciation on your 2017 tax return may be particularly beneficial

February 23, 2018

With bonus depreciation, a business can recover the costs of depreciable property more quickly by claiming additional first-year depreciation for qualified assets. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law in December, enhances bonus...

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Families with college students may save tax on their 2017 returns with one of these breaks

February 21, 2018

Whether you had a child in college (or graduate school) last year or were a student yourself, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2017 return. One such break that had expired December 31, 2016, was just extended under the...

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New budget agreement brings additional tax changes

February 18, 2018

The ink on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which swept in a tidal wave of changes to federal tax rules, had been dry for only seven weeks before Congress passed more legislation that could affect many taxpayers. The Bipartisan Budget Act of...

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act offers favorable tax breaks for businesses

January 23, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was signed into law on December 22, contains a treasure trove of tax breaks for businesses. Overall, most companies and business owners will come out ahead under the new tax law, but there are a number of...

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IRS issues updated 2018 withholding tables

January 19, 2018

In the wake of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) late last year, the IRS has taken one of the first critical steps to institute the law’s overhaul of the federal income tax regime. The IRS has released updated withholding tables...

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New tax law brings big changes for individual taxpayers

January 15, 2018

The reconciled tax reform bill, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), is the most sweeping federal tax legislation in more than three decades. While many of the new law’s provisions affect businesses, it also...

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New tax law provides more generous depreciation-related tax breaks

December 27, 2017

If your business is buying new assets in 2018, you’ll be able to benefit in several ways under the new tax reform law, commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), which was signed into law by President Trump on...

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Congress passes biggest tax bill since 1986

December 20, 2017

On December 20, the House passed the reconciled tax reform bill, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” (TCJA), which the Senate had passed the previous day. It’s the most sweeping tax legislation since the Tax Reform Act of...

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Assist victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria through Leave-based Donation Programs

October 11, 2017

In recent months, many individuals have been victims of the hurricanes and tropical storms. The aftermath leaves us wondering how I can help those victims.  One way is through leave-based donation programs.

Employers adopt leave-based donation programs for their employees to elect to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange to have cash payments made to charitable...

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STO Donations

August 28, 2017

It’s that time of year again- school buses are running and kids are walking to and from school each day. These are good reminders of an often-overlooked tax planning tool that assists some local private schools. The item we are referring to is our local School Tuition Organization (STO) and contributions to it.

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