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Tax Consequences for Self-Employed Individuals

Owning your own business can be very rewarding, both personally and financially. Being the sole decision-maker for this important undertaking can also be overwhelming. Business owners have many choices to make, and these choices involve tax consequences that are not always foreseen. We can help you minimize your overall tax burden by identifying and maximizing business deductions, providing guidance on substantiation of expenses, and exploring tax planning alternatives that are uniquely available to the self-employed.

Tax Planning For High Income Tax Payers

We know that you have worked hard for your money and would like to reap the benefits to the greatest extent possible. Your ultimate goal is to sustain a successful wealth-building strategy while avoiding unnecessary and expensive tax consequences. We are interested in helping you achieve these objectives.

For the last few years, there has been talk of major tax reform that would place an increased tax burden on higher income individuals. Included in these discussions is the so-called “Buffet Rule,” which would impose a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on adjusted gross income (AGI) over $1 million. Most tax professionals predict that tax reform has little chance of becoming law in 2014, but it is wise to weigh your options carefully with higher tax rates looming on the horizon.

Tax Ramifications of Supreme Court Decision on Defense of Marriage Act

In a 5 to 4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has found that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state (U.S. v. Windsor).

This decision opens the door for same-sex married couples to enjoy many federal tax-related benefits previously available only to opposite-sex married couples. These include income tax benefits, estate and gift tax benefits, taxpayer-friendly employee benefits, and more. Same-sex couples must now also deal with circumstances under the tax law that may create a so-called “marriage penalty.” Employers must prepare for extensive changes in the treatment of same-sex couples, and provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are also affected.

Tax Tips for the Self Employed

There are many benefits that come from being your own boss. If you work for yourself, as an independent contractor, or you carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor, you are generally considered to be self-employed.
Here are six key points the IRS would like you to know about self-employment and self- employment taxes:

Tax Tips on Dependents and Exemptions

Even though every tax return is different, some tax rules affect every person who may have to file a federal income tax return. These rules include those covering dependents and exemptions. The IRS has issued important facts about dependents and exemptions, and reminds parents of the tax benefits for children.

Exemptions reduce your taxable income.<

There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,700 on your 2011 tax return.

Your spouse is never considered your dependent.<

On a joint return, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If you're filing a separate return, you may claim the exemption for your spouse only if they had no gross income, are not filing a joint return, and were not the dependent of another taxpayer.

Tax-Free IRA Distributions

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (2012 Taxpayer Relief Act) extends through 2013 the provision which allows individuals who are at least 70½ by the end of the year to exclude from gross income qualified charitable distributions up to $100,000 from a traditional or Roth IRA that would otherwise be included in income. Married individuals filing a joint return are allowed to exclude a maximum of $200,000 for these distributions ($100,000 per individual IRA owner).

Taxable Wages as Nontaxable Reimbursements

The IRS has provided guidance which clarifies that an arrangement that recharacterizes taxable wages as nontaxable reimbursements or allowances does not satisfy the business connection requirement for accountable expense reimbursement plans.

In general, employee business expense reimbursements that are paid through an employer's accountable expense reimbursement plan are excluded from the employee's adjusted gross income. An accountable plan basically requires employees to submit receipts for expenses and repay any advances that exceed substantiated expenses. Amounts paid to employees through an accountable plan are not taxable compensation. Thus, they are not subject to federal or state income taxes or Social Security taxes, or employer payroll taxes and withholding.

Ten Things Businesses Mistakenly Forget To Discuss with Their CPA
  • A Change in Amount of Business
  • A Change in Nature of Business
  • Large Purchases or Sales
  • A Change in Ownership
  • Desire to Move or Open New Location
  • Seeking Financing
  • Communication from IRS or State Department of Revenue
  • Theft
  • Lawsuit
  • New Legislation
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The Earned Income Credit

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (American Taxpayer Relief Act) makes permanent or extends enhancements to the earned income tax credit (EITC) provided by Bush-era and subsequent legislation. These enhancements include a simplified definition of earned income, reform of the relationship test and modification of the tie-breaking rule.

The EITC is a tax credit to help you keep more of what you earned. It is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. Congress originally approved the tax credit legislation in 1975 in part to offset the burden of social security taxes and to provide an incentive to work. When EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.

The Home Office

Taxpayers who use their home for business may be eligible to claim a home office deduction. It allows qualifying taxpayers to deduct certain home expenses on their tax return. This can reduce the amount of the taxpayer’s taxable income. Here are some things to help taxpayers understand the home office deduction and whether they can claim it:

The IRS Security Breach - How to Protect Yourself

IRS Security Breach

"The IRS announced today it will be notifying taxpayers after third parties gained unauthorized access to information on about 100,000 accounts through the “Get Transcript” online application.

The IRS determined late last week that unusual activity had taken place on the application, which indicates that unauthorized third parties had access to some accounts on the transcript application. Following an initial review, it appears that access was gained to more than 100,000 accounts through the Get Transcript application." - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-statement-on-the-get-transcript-application<

Soon, some will receive notification from the IRS that their personal information was compromised. This follows announcements from multiple retailers that they too mishandled private data <that should never have been made public. With ubiquitous weak points in security, and intelligent criminals with a financial incentive, what can ones do to protect themselves, and what can small businesses do to protect their clients?

The Pros & Cons of Using an S Corporation Structure

An especially popular tax or business structure among small businesses, the number of S Corporations has quadrupled in the past 15 years and by far is the most common form of doing business except for the unincorporated sole proprietorship. However, whether it is an appropriate choice for your new business depends on your particular facts and circumstances.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed by President Trump on December 22. The Act makes sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code and impacts virtually every taxpayer. For businesses, tax benefits include a reduction in the corporate tax rate, increase in the bonus depreciation allowance, an enhancement to the Code Sec. 179 expense and repeal of the alternative minimum tax. Owners of partnerships, S corporations, and sole proprietorships are allowed a temporary deduction as a percentage of qualified income of pass-through entities, subject to a number of limitations and qualifications. On the other hand, numerous business tax preferences are eliminated.

The Tortoise & The Hare

The Tortoise & The Hare

 

Travel and Entertainment From A Tax Perspective

Although modernized communication has reduced the need for in-person contact, it is still sometimes necessary for businesses to send employees out of town on business, or to entertain clients and customers. How travel and entertainment expenses are handled can have an impact on your net income, your paperwork burden, and on the tax results for you and your employees.