Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Getting a Head Start on 2017 (taxes that is!)

01/11/17 3:13 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

It’s only November but there’s still time to make the filing of your 2017 tax return less taxing in 2018. Withholding and Estimated Taxes. Make sure enough taxes are withheld to avoid surprises at tax time. Generally taxes are withheld from wages and other income such as pensions, bonuses, commissions and gambling winnings. Taxpayers with int...

What happens if I don’t file my taxes on time?

19/10/17 3:51 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

With the passing of another tax deadline, I thought it would be helpful to go over the consequences of not filing your tax return on time. If you have not filed your 2016 tax return, file it as soon as possible to minimize the penalties that you may owe. There are three types of payments that could be assessed if you do not pay the tax ow...

The Tax Aspects of Disasters like Hurricane Harvey

07/09/17 2:35 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Between Hurricane Harvey, the fast-approaching Hurricane Irma and the various wildfires ravaging the west, unfortunately natural disasters have been all too common this summer. The last thing on anyone’s mind living in those areas is taxes, but nonetheless, there are various tax aspects of a disaster that people should be aware of. Fortunatel...

The IRS & Private Debt Collectors

09/06/17 11:39 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

In September of 2016, the IRS announced that it would start using private debt collectors to recover certain overdue federal tax debts in the spring of 2017. To implement this new program, the IRS contracted with four private collection agencies: CBE Group, Conserve, Performant, and Pioneer. In carrying out their collection efforts, these four c...

“TurboTax Made Me Do It” is not a valid excuse

26/05/17 8:42 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

On May 11, 2017, the Tax Court issued a Memorandum Decision (TC Memo 2017-79) that addressed, among other things, the Taxpayer arguing that the software “lured” him into claiming too many deductions on his tax return. There were a number of issues on this return that caught the eye of the IRS: alimony paid deduction, interest deduction, and d...

You May Not Have to Ask to Get an Extension

11/05/17 2:20 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Right before this year’s tax deadline, the IRS put out a release reminding people that some of us may not have to ask for an extension. While this advice is coming a bit late from me for the current tax year, it is definitely something to keep in mind. As the IRS notes “Taxpayers in Presidentially-declared disaster areas, members of the military...

Making the Most Out of Tax Time

19/01/17 1:49 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

We all know how it goes - as soon as the New Year begins the tax forms begin filling up your mailbox. Just another year to throw the 1099s and W-2s in a pile and ship them off to your accountant just in time to throw a return together and be done with it. Many people see tax time as a necessary evil which they grin and bear their way through the...

Expecting a Tax Refund in 2017? You Might Have to Wait!

15/12/16 12:17 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

On December 9th, 2016, the IRS announced that the 2017 tax filing season will begin on January 23rd, 2017, when it will start accepting electronic tax returns. Per its website, the IRS is expecting more than 153 million individual tax returns to be filed during 2017, some of which will be affected by recent changes in tax law. Specifically, the ...

12 Days of Tax Planning

12/12/16 1:22 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

    The 12 days of tax planning countdown- for web

New Tax Deadlines for the 2016 Filing Season

01/12/16 4:54 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

With the year coming to an end, it is important to start getting your books in order to have them ready to close, and get a head start on filing your tax return. It is important to know that for the upcoming year, many due dates have changed for 2016 returns, and will be changed going forward. Here are a few of those dates that have changed f...

Autumn is the time to think about taxes

25/08/16 9:34 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

It’s hard to believe we are two-thirds of the way through 2016 already. Seems like just yesterday you were gathering all of your tax documents and filing your 2015 return (or maybe you still are if it was extended). I know for a lot of individuals and business owners taxes are the last thing on their mind right now, but if you are willing to spe...

Washoe County’s Proposed Sales Tax Increase

03/06/16 10:40 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

On the ballot in November will be a tax rate adjustment that’s worth taking a look at: Sales Tax. The proposed sales tax hike would increase Washoe County sales tax from 7.725% to 8.265%, which would make Washoe County the highest tax rate in Nevada. The current high is in Clark County at 8.15%. To put this into perspective - if you bought an iP...

Deploying to military combat zones: Tax regulations designed to benefit those who serve

28/04/16 9:13 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

There are a number of beneficial tax provisions that have been implemented to help military members who have been deployed to combat zones and their families. Two substantial benefits are extensions of filing deadlines and military pay exclusions. To be able to take advantage of these special tax treatments, however, specific requirements need t...

Oh Thank Heaven, the IRS and 7-Eleven?

07/04/16 6:11 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

When I think of 7-Eleven I think of Slurpees. When I think of the IRS, well, I don’t think of Slurpees. Now, thanks to a partnership between the IRS, ACI WorldWide’s OfficialPayments.com and the PayNearMe Company, we can all pay our taxes at over 7,000 7-Eleven stores throughout the USA and pick up that Slurpee while we’re there. The bonus here ...

Crowd-Funding Tax Implications

20/02/16 12:59 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Fundraising has gone digital. Millions of individuals are now utilizing social media sites such as kickstarter.com and gofundme.com to attract contributors or donations to support their cause. Few, though, are thinking about the income tax ramifications that are created by the crowdfunding environment. Congress and the IRS have not yet ad...

Anti-fraud filters delay refunds

04/02/16 10:18 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2015 annual report to the Congress on January 6, 2016. Olson expressed her concerns that the IRS is scaling back telephone and face-to-face services to assist the nation’s individual taxpayers and business entities in complying with their tax obligations. In addition, other key issues were...

Most tax “extenders” made permanent

28/01/16 12:32 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  In December of 2015, I wrote about many tax provisions benefiting taxpayers for 2015 and beyond that had expired. Most CPAs were anticipating these to be retroactively approved by Congress. After much anticipation, Congress ended up extending and in many cases making the provisions permanent. Below is a summary of the main legislation:

    ...

Waiting on Tax Forms

21/01/16 6:15 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

On Tuesday, tax season officially began, and the IRS started accepting electronic returns, and processing paper returns. However, many of you may be waiting for your tax documents. The IRS urges taxpayers to wait until they have received all tax documents before filing. Here is a list of some common IRS forms you may be waiting for to file your ...

IRS Increases the “De Minimis Safe-Harbor Election” to $2,500 per Invoice

14/01/16 4:03 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Two years ago the Treasury Department implemented new Tangible Property Regulations through the passing of TD 9636. The new regulations contained a “Safe Harbor” election to expense any piece of tangible property purchased under $500. Many felt this was too low and increased the administrative burden on small businesses along with the IRS. Af...

Tax season is almost here!

07/01/16 11:53 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

It is never too early to start thinking about the upcoming tax season. The closer to the filing deadline it gets, the more pressure you will feel when getting your documents together and the possibility that something could be missed may increase. The other side of that is your tax preparer will get busier and busier as the tax deadline nears, w...

Year-End Tax Planning – Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

01/10/15 11:33 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Now is the time to think about year-end tax planning strategies. While no significant change in tax rates is expected for 2016, there are still year-shifting maneuvers that could be employed if you expect to be in either a higher or lower tax bracket for 2016. For instance, if you anticipate being in a lower tax bracket next year, you should ...

Presidential candidate tax returns show how tax law has changed

27/08/15 3:04 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Like almost all presidential candidates trying to be transparent to their voters, Jeb Bush recently released tax returns dating back to 1981 and going through 2013. I could write the standard blog on how Mr. Bush’s income went from nothing in the 1980’s to topping $1,000,000 for many years in the 90’s, becoming in the low six figures in the 2...

Selling Your Business?

19/03/15 5:02 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  If you’ve started your own business since 1993, and funded it with your own money as a C Corporation there could be some valuable tax savings if you’re planning on selling the company. This comes in the form of the section 1202 exclusion. The Section 1202 exclusion allows a person to exclude up to 100% of the gain on the sale of qualifie...

How the United States Tax Rates Compares to Germany

15/03/15 10:56 am | Comments (2) | Posted By:

  Having recently visited Germany and being a CPA, I naturally was interested in their taxes. I have heard throughout my life how taxes in Europe are extremely higher than in the United States and I thought I’d do a simple comparison. According to a KPMG report on income tax and social security rates on $100,000 USD of income, in Germany t...

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights

23/10/14 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  On June 10, 2014, the IRS implemented the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. In an effort to make it easier for taxpayers to understand and access their rights when dealing with the IRS, this Taxpayer Bill of Rights arranges the numerous existing rights established in the Internal Revenue Code into ten basic rights. These rights include:

  1. The righ...

Save Money – Move to Nevada!

28/08/14 8:00 am | Comments (1) | Posted By:

California has always been notorious for their high cost of living combined with high income taxes. These tax rates are as high as 13.3% for high earners with income over $1,000,000. And to make matters worse, in 2012 California took the precedence of retroactively raising rates at the beginning of 2012 for a law that passed on November 6, 2012....

The Many Reasons to E-File Your Tax Return

27/02/14 8:00 am | Comments (1) | Posted By:

As you may be aware, for the last few years the Internal Revenue Service has been strongly urging taxpayers to file their income tax returns electronically. Tax return preparers have been required to IRS e-file individual income tax returns since 2012, with certain allowable exceptions. One of those exceptions is that the taxpayer can opt-out of...

2014 – Tips vs. Service Charges – The Rules Have Changed

30/01/14 9:47 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Large party automatic gratuities may be a thing of the past. These were originally implemented to ensure servers were being adequately compensated. However, as of January 1st, the IRS now considers these automatically calculated tips as service fees, and will treat them as regular wages, subject to payroll withholding tax. Think back to your ...

ARE YOU READY? IT’S TAX SEASON!

16/01/14 11:32 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  Yes, it is that time of year. Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking about income tax. Were there any life event changes such as getting married, having a baby, adopting a child, death of a spouse, purchasing a home or any other events that would affect your income tax return? Start accumulating your documents to pre...

Government Shutdown and Debt Ceiling Breach Consequences: Do They Affect You?

16/10/13 4:44 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  If this week’s negotiations to raise the federal debt ceiling do not end well, there could be major consequences to the economy. Administration officials say that by Thursday they will have exhausted all borrowing authority and only have cash on hand. There would be enough money to make payments for a few days, but not more than two weeks. ...

What the Federal Government Shutdown Means for the Upcoming Tax Deadline

10/10/13 12:21 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  The government shutdown has affected many federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service. It is estimated that only about 10% of the IRS employees are currently working. This has caused some questions among taxpayers about whether or not their tax returns need to be filed by October 15th. The government shutdown and the decrease o...

Haven’t done your taxes yet? Don’t forget the October 15th deadline!

12/09/13 3:37 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  The October 15th tax extension deadline is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to finish up that tax return you have been avoiding all summer. There are many benefits to filing an extension if your tax return is not quite ready in April, but there are no additional extensions available for the upcoming October 15th deadline. When you...

DOMA is Dead (at least part of it) – What Does This Mean for Taxes?

25/07/13 8:00 am | Comments (1) | Posted By:

  Recently, in Windsor v. U.S., the Supreme Court made history by striking down a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Although DOMA wasn’t typically viewed as a tax law, it carried significant tax consequences for married same-sex couples who have traditionally been unable to do things like file a joint return or take advanta...

When non-taxable muni bond interest is taxable – how to avoid a big tax bill

27/06/13 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  The advantages of tax-free interest. Many of you invest in muni bonds as a tax planning strategy to minimize taxes. When you analyze this investment, you probably compute the interest, tax effect this income, and then compare it to a taxable investment with a similar risk profile. Most individuals are cash-basis taxpayers, reporting inco...

CPA’s Go to Washington DC

30/05/13 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  Last week approximately 400 CPA's (including yours truly) descended on Capitol Hill to discuss issues of interest to the profession and our clients. The Capitol Hill visits were in conjunction with the Spring Meeting of the AICPA Council which is held every other year in Washington DC in order for Council members to make these important vis...

Allocate Your Tax Refund

28/02/13 10:59 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Are you planning on saving a portion of your tax refund this year? You should know about an option the IRS offers to make it easier for you to save. This can be done by including IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, when you file your tax return. Using this form, you can split your refund between three options; direct deposit into a bank account...

National Taxpayer Advocate Report to Congress

23/01/13 1:18 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  The IRS reported that National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson recently issued her annual report to Congress. In it she stated that tax reform was the overriding priority in tax administration. “The existing tax code makes compliance difficult, requiring taxpayers to devote excessive time to preparing and filing their returns”, Olson stated...

Let the tax season begin…a little late

10/01/13 12:12 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  The IRS has just announced plans that the 2013 tax season will begin on January 30, 2013 (a Wednesday if you're wondering). This misses the previously set date of January 22, 2013, but given that Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) in 2013 when it should have passed it in 2012, a late start of only eight days is impressi...

The “Fiscal Cliff” Bill – What It Means for You

03/01/13 8:00 am | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  When I advised my clients to complete their transactions in 2012, it was apparent that the effects of the actions our elected officials were going to take to avoid the “fiscal cliff” could only have a negative effect on taxes. At the twelfth hour, Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Leader bypassed Nevada’s own Harry Reid and reache...

The Fiscal Cliff – The Work Begins…Theirs AND Ours

15/11/12 5:50 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  Referencing a recent article in Bloomberg.com, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner have a big job ahead of them in the coming weeks. They hope to come together in act of solidarity to work out an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff which happens at the end of this year if no deal is struck. Obama, claiming a m...

Do you have significant investment income? Get ready for substantial tax increases in 2013.

08/11/12 12:00 pm | Comments (1) | Posted By:

  Widely publicized in the professional literature but unnoticed by the mainstream press is the 3.8 percent Medicare contribution tax imposed on the investment income of individuals by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, informally referred to as Obamacare. That means in...

New Federal Sales Tax on Real Estate – Simply Not True

14/08/12 8:07 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

If you recently got an e-mail telling you that on January 1st all real estate transactions will be subject to a 3.8% federal sales tax, don’t believe it. That is simply not true. The facts are as follows: • First of all, the new tax is applicable only to the gain on sale, not the entire sales price. • The tax applies only to single taxp...

America’s Fiscal Integrity is in Jeopardy

12/07/12 7:30 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  Our nation’s founders believed in certain core values that have served as the foundation upon which this great country has survived and thrived – prudence, thrift, limited debt, savings and stewardship. However, in the last several decades, our country and many of its citizens have strayed off course. Our future is now at risk. If we do not...

THE IRS – AND THEIR FUNDING ISSUES

07/06/12 9:27 pm | Comments (1) | Posted By:

 

So you think you have financial issues?  Just listen to what Nina Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate, has to say about the IRS.  In her annual report to Congress she suggested that the IRS’s increasing workload and declining resources are the most serious problems facing taxpayers.  So how does she connect the dots to conclude that this is a “...

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes! How Much Do You Really Pay Each Year?

31/05/12 8:42 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  Have you ever wondered just how much you pay in taxes over a year? Not just big tax items like income and property taxes, but even the taxes on the gas you pump into your car to the taxes on your utility bill? Maybe you haven’t because you’re not obsessed with taxes like us CPAs, but if you are curious, the American Institute of CPAs has...

A Look inside the President’s Finances

17/05/12 7:46 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

  It’s always interesting to get a look into somebody’s finances, and who better to snoop at than President Obama. He released his 2011 tax return, which can be viewed at: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/336093/bidens-and-obamas-release-2011-income-tax-returns.pdf. It’s a very simple return: Wages from being the President of $394,821...

Investing in precious metals can lead to higher taxes

10/05/12 9:41 pm | Comments (1) | Posted By:

Gold is one of the hot new investments today. People invest in this asset by purchasing gold bars, gold company stocks or gold electronic trading funds.  These electronic trading funds, commonly called ETFs, have proliferated as evidenced by the ETF with the symbol GLD.  This is a fund that started in 2005 and now has over 64 billion dollars...

A Look at Taxes of the Past

04/05/12 7:52 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

 

This year could be the last year before the Bush tax cuts expire and the tax rates increase.   If these cuts expire, single people and married people alike will have higher taxes.   A single person with taxable income making $100,000 will have a tax bill of $23,805 and an average tax rate of 23.8% come 2013 when these changes go into effect...

The “Tax Gap”

16/04/12 9:29 pm | Comments (0) | Posted By:

Did you ever wonder how many people do not actually pay their taxes under our “voluntary compliance” system here in the United States? Well, it turns out that the latest IRS estimates show about 15% of the total tax liability owed for 2006 was actually collected. This rate is virtually unchanged from the 2001 compliance rate and amounts to $450...