Donating a vehicle might not provide the tax deduction you expect

| Tax Briefs

All charitable donations aren’t created equal — some provide larger deductions than others. And it isn’t necessarily just how much or even what you donate that matters. How the charity uses your donation might also affect your deduction. Take vehicle donations, for example. If you donate your vehicle, the value of your deduction can vary greatly depending on what the charity does with it. Determining your deduction You can deduct the vehicle’s fair market value (FMV) if the charity: Read more [...]

Do you know the tax implications of your C corp.’s buy-sell agreement?

| Tax Briefs

Private companies with more than one owner should have a buy-sell agreement to spell out how ownership shares will change hands should an owner depart. For businesses structured as C corporations, the agreement also has significant tax implications that are important to understand.   Buy-sell basics   A buy-sell agreement sets up parameters for the transfer of ownership interests following stated “triggering events,” such as an owner’s death or long-term disability, loss of license or Read more [...]

Business owners: When it comes to IRS audits, be prepared

| Tax Briefs

If you recently filed your 2016 income tax return (rather than filing for an extension), you may now be wondering whether it’s likely that your business could be audited by the IRS based on your filing. Here’s what every business owner should know about the process. Catching the IRS’s eye Many business audits occur randomly, but a variety of tax-return-related items are likely to raise red flags with the IRS and may lead to an audit. Here are a few examples: Significant inconsistencies Read more [...]

Real estate investor vs. professional: Why it matters

| Tax Briefs

Income and losses from investment real estate or rental property are passive by definition — unless you’re a real estate professional. Why does this matter? Passive income may be subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), and passive losses generally are deductible only against passive income, with the excess being carried forward. Of course the NIIT is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and might be eliminated under ACA repeal and replace legislation or tax reform legislation. Read more [...]

Operating across state lines presents tax risks — or possibly rewards

| Tax Briefs

It’s a smaller business world after all. With the ease and popularity of e-commerce, as well as the incredible efficiency of many supply chains, companies of all sorts are finding it easier than ever to widen their markets. Doing so has become so much more feasible that many businesses quickly find themselves crossing state lines. But therein lies a risk: Operating in another state means possibly being subject to taxation in that state. The resulting liability can, in some cases, inhibit profitability. Read more [...]

Deduct all of the mileage you’re entitled to — but not more

| Tax Briefs

Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes. What are the deduction rates? The rates vary depending on the purpose and the year: Business: 54 cents (2016), 53.5 cents (2017) Medical: 19 cents (2016), 17 cents Read more [...]

When an elderly parent might qualify as your dependent

| Tax Briefs

It’s not uncommon for adult children to help support their aging parents. If you’re in this position, you might qualify for the adult-dependent exemption. It allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to $4,050 for each adult dependent claimed on their 2016 tax return. Basic qualifications For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most cases your parent must have less gross income for the tax year than the exemption amount. (Exceptions may apply if your parent is permanently Read more [...]

2016 IRA contributions — it’s not too late!

| Tax Briefs

Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea. Benefits beyond a deduction Tax-advantaged retirement plans like IRAs allow your money to grow tax-deferred — or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free. But annual contributions are limited by tax law, and any unused limit can’t Read more [...]

Tangible property safe harbors help maximize deductions

| Tax Briefs

If last year your business made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment or vehicles, you may be eligible for a valuable deduction on your 2016 income tax return. But you must make sure they were truly “repairs”, and not actually “improvements”. Why? Costs incurred to improve tangible property must be depreciated over a period of years. But costs incurred on incidental repairs and maintenance can be expensed and immediately deducted. What’s an “improvement”? In Read more [...]

Do you need to file a 2016 gift tax return by April 18?

| Tax Briefs

Last year you may have made significant gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs as part of your estate planning strategy. Or perhaps you just wanted to provide loved ones with some helpful financial support. Regardless of the reason for making a gift, it’s important to know under what circumstances you’re required to file a gift tax return. Some transfers require a return even if you don’t owe tax. And sometimes it’s desirable to file a return even if it isn’t required. When Read more [...]