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Small business taxation, corporate tax rates, and changes to popular deductions are just some of the many complex changes to the Tax Code being debated in Congress. At the time this article was posted, the Senate is expected to approve, along party-lines, a sweeping overhaul of the Tax Code written by Senate Republicans. The House has already approved its tax bill, also along party-lines. If the Senate passes a tax bill, House and Senate conferees will seek to resolve differences between the two bills. Conferees will likely aim to reach an agreement quickly to send a bill to the White House before year-end.


As an economic incentive for individuals to save and invest, gains from the sale of capital assets held for at least one year unless offset by losses, as well qualified dividends received during the year, may be taxed at rates lower than ordinary income tax rates. The tax rate on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends for individuals is 20 percent, 15, percent, or 0 percent depending on their income tax bracket.


Information reporting has become a growing part of IRS’s enforcement and compliance strategy. Data matching, or even the inference that the IRS has the data to do so, statistically has increased overall income reporting nine-fold. Use of information returns, either in the form of Forms W-2, 1098s or 1099s, is here to stay, and growing.


Life insurance proceeds are received tax-free. However, any interest earned on life insurance proceeds, usually referred to as its cash value, is subject to tax. Special rules apply to transfers of ownership in a life insurance policy, accelerated death benefits, and viatical settlements.


The method and systems by which a taxpayer calculates the amount of income, gains, losses, deductions, and credits and determines when these items must be reported, constitute the taxpayer's method of tax accounting. Although the Tax Code and the regulations authorize the use of several accounting methods, and permit certain combinations of methods, a taxpayer must use the accounting method on the basis of which the taxpayer regularly computes book income. Further, the method must be used consistently and must clearly reflect income.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important federal tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of December 2017.


Starting in 2010, the $100,000 adjusted gross income cap for converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA is eliminated. All other rules continue to apply, which means that the amount converted to a Roth IRA still will be taxed as income at the individual's marginal tax rate. One exception for 2010 only: you will have a choice of recognizing the conversion income in 2010 or averaging it over 2011 and 2012.

The AMT is difficult to apply and the exact computation is very complex. If you owed AMT last year and no unusual deduction or windfall had come your way that year, you're sufficiently at risk this year to apply a detailed set of computations to any AMT assessment. Ballpark estimates just won't work

Amounts received as an annuity are included in gross income to the extent that they exceed the exclusion ratio, which is determined by taking the original investment in the contract, deducting the value of any refund features, and dividing the result by the expected yield on the contract as of the annuity starting date. In general, the expected return is the product of a single payment and the anticipated number of payments to be received, i.e., the total amount the annuitant can expect to receive. In the case of a life annuity, the number of payments is computed based on actuarial tables provided in IRS Regulation Sec. 1.72-9.

Q: After what period is my federal tax return safe from audit? A: Generally, the time-frame within which the IRS can examine a federal tax return you have filed is three years. To be more specific, Code Sec. 6501 states that the IRS has three years from the later of the deadline for filing the return (usually April 15th for individuals) or, if later, the date you actually filed the return on a requested filing extension or otherwise. This means that if you file your 2014 return on July 10, 2015, the IRS will have until July 10, 2018 to look at it and "assess a deficiency;" not April 15, 2018.


Holiday season - a time for giving to friends and family, but not, you hope, to the IRS. Many, if not most, people are aware that the Tax Code imposes a tax on certain gifts, but not everyone is certain as to how this works. How do you know when you've given the gift that keeps on taking - a taxable gift?

Given a choice between recognizing income now or in a later year, most people want to be paid now and be taxed in a later year. As a practical matter, however, an employee cannot defer compensation after performing services and becoming entitled to payment. Routine compensation earned over a prescribed pay period -- a week, two weeks, or a month, for example - usually is paid or made available in the same year it was earned. Recognition of the income cannot be put off to a later year.

You've just disposed of a collectible item (or your entire collection), such as an old coin, artwork, figurine, or even those old baseball cards you somehow managed to keep away from the spokes of your bike and your mother's desire to clear some space, and got a sum of money for your efforts. Congratulations, you've just had a taxable event. How do you calculate your gain (assuming you actually have one) so that you can pay the taxes? To do this, you need to answer a few more questions.

The tax rules are very liberal for individuals in the armed forces who are serving in a combat zone. The combat zone extension automatically extends the date for paying tax or claiming a refund, as well as for filing. The extension also applies to paying estimated tax.

Generally, mental disability must be permanent. However, you may be able to withdraw a portion up to the amount allowable as a medical expense deduction for the year.

It's back-to-school time and many families are looking for ways to stretch their education dollars. To help, there are some generous tax breaks. Deductions and credits are available and while they won't lower the cost of education, they can lower the tax bill.

One of the easiest ways for a business to limit liability is to use independent contractors instead of employees. Of course, merely calling employees "independent contractors" will not make those individuals independent contractors.

The closely-held corporate form of entity is widely used by family-owned businesses. As its name implies, the owners of the business are typically limited to a small group of shareholders. Many businesses operate for years as closely-held corporations without giving a second thought to a little-known danger: the personal holding company tax.

Many people are surprised to learn that some "luxury" items can be deductible business expenses. Of course, moderation is key. Excessive spending is sure to attract the IRS's attention. As some recent high-profile court cases have shown, the government isn't timid in its crackdown on business owners using company funds for personal travel and entertainment.

Owning a vacation home is a common dream that many people share...a special place to get away from the weekday routine, relax and maybe, after you retire, a new place to call home.

This is a simple question, but the question does not have a simple answer. Generally speaking the answer is no, closing costs are not deductible when refinancing. However, the answer depends on what you mean by "closing costs" and what is done with the money obtained in the refinancing.

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (2004 Jobs Act) changed the rules for start-up expenses in both favorable and unfavorable ways. Start-up expenditures are amounts that would have been deductible as trade or business expenses, had they not been paid or incurred before the business began. Prior to the 2004 Jobs Act, a taxpayer had to file an election to amortize start-up expenditures over a period of not less than 60 months, no later than the due date for the tax year in which the trade or business begins.

Q: An extension to file my tax return seems such a painless procedure, is there any good reason for me not to postpone my filing deadline to avoid just one more hassle during the busy start of Spring?


In the wake of the Enron collapse has come a new interest in the accounting profession and the spin on the news is often not too flattering. That's wrong. Accounting professionals play a very important role in our global economy but it's a role not too many people understand.

In a nutshell, auditors certify the accuracy of profits, losses, debts and other financial data reported by companies. They are hired by a company's board of directors - and the shareholders - to make sure that financial statements comply with federal law.


How much am I really worth? This is a question that has run through most of our minds at one time or another. However, if you aren't an accountant or mathematician, it may seem like an impossible number to figure out. The good news is that, using a simple step format, you can compute your net worth in no time at all.


Q: The holidays are approaching and I would like to consider giving gifts of appreciation to my employees. What kinds of gifts can I give my employees that they would not have to declare as income on their tax returns?I also would like to make sure my company would be able to deduct the costs of these gifts.

ACCOUNTANT