12/12/2011 - What's your basis?
As the end of the year approaches, your tax plan might involve selling assets to take advantage of beneficial capital gain rates, which can be as low as zero percent for 2011. The success of your planning efforts depends in part on knowing your investment in the property you're selling. In tax terms, that's your basis, which is used to calculate your gain or loss.
11/7/2011 - Some income isn't subject to payroll taxes
You've probably heard that the IRS has undertaken a new initiative to make sure workers are properly classified as either independent contractors or employees. At issue is the collection of payroll taxes, including FICA taxes (social security and Medicare), which are generally required to be withheld from wages by law.
9/12/2011 - Review the SIMPLE plan contribution rules
Reductions in business income may have you contemplating how you can cut back on expenses. If one area you're eyeing is the contributions your business makes to your SIMPLE IRA plan, remember your plan must follow the rules in order to keep the tax benefits for both your business and your employees.
9/5/2011 - Borrowing from your 401(k) can be taxing
Both a borrower and a lender be. With apologies to Shakespeare, when you borrow from your 401(k), you become both a borrower and a lender. Whether that's a good idea depends on your personal financial situation – and in the process of making the decision about lending money to yourself, you may have questions regarding the tax consequences.
8/22/2011 - Casualties, disasters, thefts... and taxes
Tax relief for casualty losses has been part of the Internal Revenue Code since the beginning. Though updated and revised over the years, the general rule endures: When you suffer a sudden, unexpected loss, you may be eligible for a deduction that can reduce your current tax, or in some instances, your prior-year liability.
8/15/2011 - Buying a business creates tax issues
Since there are no federal income taxes imposed on the purchase of a business, as the buyer of an existing company your focus may be on other areas, such as obtaining credit or valuing inventory.
7/18/2011 - Tax credits can be refundable
Unlike leopard spots and tiger stripes, tax credits do change. And, in the federal tax equivalent of spots and stripes, some even change from non-refundable to refundable. For instance, the Hope scholarship credit was modified in 2009 and became partially refundable as the American opportunity credit. In 2010, the adoption tax credit became refundable.
7/4/2011 - IRS increases standard mileage rates
Have you noticed the price of gas? So has the IRS, and — for the fourth time since 1999 — the reimbursement rate for business mileage has changed mid-year. From July 1 through December 31, 2011, the new rate is 55.5¢ per mile. That's an increase of 4.5¢ from the January through June rate of 51¢ per mile.
6/20/2011 - Some IRA terms you should know
The changes to laws governing Roth conversions that took effect in 2010 brought IRAs to the forefront of tax planning conversations. Those conversations will likely continue this year, as some changes to your new Roth can be made through October 2011.
6/6/2011 - Pay employees for riding bikes to work
Bicycles may well be the vehicles of novelists and poets, as stated by journalist Christopher Morley. But these days bicycles are also the vehicles of commuters — and if they're the vehicles of commuters who work in your business, you can offer a nontaxable fringe benefit of up to $20 per month.
5/23/2011 - Know the rules for supplemental wage withholding
In addition to regular compensation, do you pay employees other wages, such as commissions, awards, or back pay? If so, these payments, known as supplemental wages, may be subject to special rules that affect how much federal income tax you withhold.
5/16/2011 - ROBS Plans: Are They Too Good to Be True?
Acronyms are popular in tax lingo, and some are more accurate than others. The IRS thinks ROBS, a relatively recent short-hand term, fits into the "accurate" category — and that to avoid losing your retirement stash, you should be wary of potential pitfalls.
5/2/2011 - Sales Tax: Another Business Obligation
Whatever the outcome of the continuing debate over sales and use tax law, three responsibilities are unlikely to change much for business owners who do business in those states that have a sales tax — registration, collection, and payment.
4/18/2011 - Consider taxes in your investment strategy
So you've filed your income tax return or your extension. Either way, you went through your taxable transactions for the year and they're fresh on your mind — meaning now is the ideal time to review your investing decisions.
4/11/2011 - Gift tax returns are due April 18
As you finalize your 2010 return, here's one more thing to remember: Unlike the estate tax, the gift tax never went away. If you funded a trust or transferred assets to someone during 2010, you may need to file a return reporting those transactions — and that return, along with any required tax, is due April 18, 2011, just like your regular income tax forms.
3/28/2011 - The mortgage interest deduction has limits
As a homeowner, you know about ceilings. You're probably also familiar with the itemized deduction for mortgage interest. But you may not be aware the mortgage interest deduction also has a ceiling — two of them, in fact.
2/28/2011 - Stock Basis Reporting Begins This Year
Beginning this year, your broker will track the basis in stocks you purchase. When you sell your shares, the basis will be reported to you — and the IRS — on the stock-sale statement you receive at the end of 2011.
2/7/2011 - 2011 brings the new old energy credit
When it comes to energy credits, you'll need to remember the past as you look to the future. That's because the federal tax credit for energy-efficient improvements made to your home is available for 2011 — but with the original standards instead of the more generous rules applicable to your 2010 tax return.
1/10/2011 - You can still make charitable donations from your IRA
From your IRA to the charity of your choice — the option to make a qualified charitable distribution from your Roth or traditional IRA is once again available for 2010 and 2011. And even though 2010 is officially over, you can take advantage of a special rule that treats a distribution taken in January 2011 as if you made it in 2010.
1/3/2011 - 2010 Tax Relief Act Extends Tax Breaks
So what's in the tax law enacted in late December? In general, the new legislation means many of the breaks you're already familiar with will apply to your 2010, 2011, and 2012 returns. Here are some highlights.
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