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Tax Tip of the Week | No. 433 | Municipal Net Profit Tax Return November 15, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Nov 15, 2017 | No. 433 | Municipal Net Profit Tax Return

There are over 600 Ohio cities and villages that levy a municipal income tax. These taxes are administered by the  individual municipalities or by third party administrators. Business taxpayers are required to file and pay tax in every municipality where income is earned. The new plan is for the state to administer the business net profit tax. Note, this would not include sole proprietors and single member LLCs. This could be a savings of $800 million to municipalities and businesses if all businesses file centrally.

According to the Tax Reform Plan, the business taxpayer will have the choice to file and have the net profit tax administered by multiple individual municipalities or to file with Ohio Department of Taxation. This is an ‘Opt-in’ choice and is not mandatory.

Advantages for ODT will be one uniform tax return and one consistent governing body which will allow filing multiple municipalities to one central location. ODT will provide taxpayer information to the municipalities.

ODT Role:
Propose rules
Prescribe forms
Issue bills, assessments, refunds
Conduct audits, certify debts
Handle appeals & other administrative matters

Municipality Role:
Retain responsibility for Employee Withholding & Individual filings
Retain control over tax rate and tax credits

Business taxpayers who want the cost savings of reporting and filing municipal tax are urged by the Ohio Tax Commissioner to sign up for a major new and convenient tax filing service. Businesses wanting to ‘opt-in’ for the centralized filing and state administration of the municipal net profit tax for the 2018 tax year can register now at the Department of Taxation’s website (www.tax.ohio.gov). Business taxpayers need to register specifically for the municipal net profit tax to take advantage of this new one-stop, cost-saving system, even if registered with the state to pay other taxes.

Municipal Net Profit Tax Reform Timeline:
By March 1, 2018 – business (calendar year filers) registers through OBG
By April 15, 2018 – business makes first quarterly estimated payment
By April 15, 2019 – business files Tax Year 2018 tax return

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 432 | C Corporation November 8, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Nov 8, 2017 | No. 432 | C Corporation

A C Corporation is the most common type of corporation in the United States.

Along with LLC’s, S Corporations, certain trusts and limited partnerships, C Corporations offer limited liability protection. That feature is important in today’s litigious times. The C Corporation generally protects its shareholders from personal liabilities arising from the business. Other entities, such as general partnerships and sole proprietorships, do not provide such limited liability protection to their owners.

A C Corporation is its own tax paying entity. Many other entities are known as pass-through entities since their taxable income flows through and is taxed on the personal income tax returns of the owners.

The top tax bracket for C Corporations is 34% up to the first $10 million of taxable income. A surtax exemption phase-out occurs on taxable income ranging from $100,000 to $335,000. So once $335,000 of taxable income is reached the corporate income tax bracket is a flat 34% since the lower brackets are no longer considered. For comparison purposes, the top income tax bracket for an individual is 39.6%. Since the top C corporation tax rate is less than the top individual tax rate, this may at times make the C Corporation tax structure more attractive than the pass-through entity structure. Also, since these tax savings may be retained inside the C Corporation at a lower tax rate, this feature may be advantageous for those companies expected to be passed on to future generations.

Another tax aspect of C Corporations is that capital losses may only be deducted to the extent of capital gains. Any remaining net capital loss may be carried back 3 years and forward up to 5 years. That may sound unfair but it is not very different from individuals who may only deduct capital losses up to their capital gains plus $3,000 annually. However, any unused capital loss at the individual level may be carried forward up to the time of death.

As part of its structure a corporation is responsible to hold shareholder and director meetings. Failing to do so may give someone the ability to pierce the corporate veil and cause the shareholders to lose their limited liability protection for their personal assets.

Sometimes C Corporations get an undeservedly bad rap from the press because of potential double taxation that may occur in two areas. The first area involves payment of corporate dividends to shareholders.  These dividends are taxable to the shareholder but not deductible by the C Corporation, creating double taxation. The second area is in the event of a liquidation of the C Corporation. Here, a gain may be taxed at the corporate level and again at the shareholder level as the liquidating dividends are paid. However, the possibility of these double tax scenarios may, at times, be avoided if no dividends are paid or the corporate stock is sold as opposed to a corporate liquidation.

All this being said, Congress is considering making some significant revisions to the tax law surrounding C Corporations. Many of their current proposals could make C Corporations more tax attractive and possibly reverse the current trend away from the formations of S corporations and LLCs. However, what Congress may eventually decide is anyone’s guess.

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 431 | Miscellaneous Tax Facts November 1, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Nov 1, 2017 | No. 431 | Miscellaneous Tax Facts

1.    The easiest IRS tax form, Form 1040 needs more than 100 pages of explanation. When the IRS first introduced Form 1040, it had only 4 pages including the instructions.

2.    Close to one-half of American homes pay zero federal income tax.

3.    The top 1% of Americans pay 43% of all federal tax collected.

4.    Today’s richest Americans pay 39.6% on each $1.00 earned. That may seem high. However, in 1945 the top rate peaked at 94%. Amazingly, in 1913, the tax rate was 1%.

5.    The Internal Revenue Code is more than 10 million words long. It has grown an average of 144,500 words per year since 1955.

6.    The typical American receives about $3,000 for their IRS refund.

7.    The average effective income tax rate is 13.5%. That is most likely much lower than your top tax bracket.

8.    The sale of your home may be the most generous and unused tax exemption. Generally, if you have lived in your home for two out of the last five years and you are married, you may exclude up to $500,000 of your gain, $250,000 if single.

9.    The IRS is the world’s largest financial institution.

10.   In 2014, 35% of calls made to the IRS went unanswered.

11.   The original deadline for paying income taxes was March 1st.

12.   In 2014, for every $100 collected by the IRS, it spent $0.38.

13.   The IRS is active on social media using their accounts to educate the public.

14.   Around 15% of U.S. taxpayers are delinquent on their taxes.

Credit to The Motley Fool and FactRetriever.com

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 430 | FINALLY! Penalty Relief for Delinquent Partnership Returns October 25, 2017

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : General, tax changes, Tax Deadlines, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Tip, Taxes , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week | Oct 25, 2017 | No. 430 | FINALLY! Penalty Relief for Delinquent Partnership Returns

In case you are unaware, some Internal Revenue Service filing due dates have changed. These new deadlines which began with the 2016 tax year for returns filed in 2017 included the Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income. The original due date for calendar-year partnerships was April 15th, the same as your personal income tax return. The new due date for calendar-year partnerships is March 15th.

S corporations have always been due March 15th. Partnerships and S corporations are known as “pass-through entities” because all items of income and expense get “passed through” and are reported on the owners’ personal income tax returns. Partnerships and S corporations generate a K-1 for each partner, shareholder or member. The K-1 provides information necessary for preparation of the owner’s personal return.

By moving the due date of partnerships up to March 15th, the IRS hopes more returns can be filed by April 15th, rather than having to file extensions due to late K-1’s. Or, to say it another way, the Internal Revenue Service hopes to get your tax money faster by taxpayers filing earlier.

However, many partnerships did not meet the new, earlier filing deadline and either filed their returns and/or their extensions late. If you are an owner of a partnership that has received a penalty notice for late filing, we may have some good news. If certain conditions are met, the Internal Revenue Service may provide you relief from the penalties normally assessed when filing a delinquent return. These types of penalties for partnerships may be quite significant since they are assessed on a per partner, per month basis. So, if you have one of these types of notices, let us know. We can help.

Sometimes we have to be thankful for the small things in life.

This week’s author….Mark Bradstreet, CPA

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 429 | Cash Method vs. Accrual Method of Accounting (Generally Speaking) October 18, 2017

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : Deductions, General, tax changes, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Preparation, Tax Tip, Taxes , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week | Oct 18, 2017 | No. 429 | Cash Method vs. Accrual Method of Accounting (Generally Speaking)

Many taxpayers are unaware of the method of accounting used for their business income tax returns. And, many businesses are unaware that a different accounting method may also be used for their financial statements. Yes, effectively, creating two sets of books.

Typically, the two most common accounting method choices are the cash method and the accrual method.

Use of the cash basis method of accounting (if eligible) will usually result in lower income taxes than the accrual method for a particular period of time. This is especially true when a business is growing.  However, if a business is experiencing a decline in revenues, additional taxes may be incurred as a result of reporting on the cash basis.

On the other hand, accrual basis accounting will often show the largest bottom line on your financial statements. This may be important when reporting your financial results to your bank and/or your bonding company. Both always enjoy seeing good news.

Thusly, these two methods may show significantly different results even, when accounting for essentially the same transactions. One may wonder how that could be. Well, the cash basis reports only taxable income when it is received in cash. Also, under this method, a tax deduction does not occur unless a cash disbursement for an expense has occurred.  The accrual method shows the income once the sale is completed and the expense when incurred which can more accurately reflect your net income.

The choice of an accounting method is a big one.  Its importance grows with the size of your business.  If you ever decide to change methods, please remember that some changes require Internal Revenue Service approval, while others are automatic. Regardless, your accounting method choice should be evaluated on an annual basis.

This week’s author….Mark Bradstreet, CPA

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 428 | Veteran or Widow of a Vet? Find Out About Benefits. October 11, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Oct 11, 2017 | No. 428 | Veteran or Widow of a Vet? Find Out About Benefits.

You may qualify for VA Benefits at home or in assisted living if:

•    You served for at least 90 days on active duty
•    You require care or assistance with the activities of daily living on a regular basis to maintain your lifestyle
•    You are currently living in or thinking about going into an assisted-living facility
•    You are spending from your savings to pay for care
•    A family member is helping you with your care at home

If you fit some or all of these criteria, you may qualify for a little-known program known as Aid and Attendance through the Veterans Administration.

You May Not Know

It is not necessary to be impoverished to qualify – what you do need is enough out-of-pocket medical expenses to make you eligible.

These benefits are called a “pension”. However, this term tends to be confusing because it has nothing to do with the years of service as we normally think of a pension.

You did not have to serve “in theater” in order to qualify. Your disability does not need to be service-related. Benefits can be for you during your lifetime or for your spouse following death.

Can I Do It Myself?

Yes… but you must be careful. You will ultimately work with a Veterans’ Representative to complete the paperwork for your benefits. However, you should be prepared for this meeting in advance.

You must know exactly what program you want – the VA is a large complex organization, so it’s easy to make a costly error.

Finally, you must be aware that in the process of qualifying for VA benefits you may disqualify yourself for other government programs or create other tax or estate problems. Coordinating VA benefits with the rest of your estate plan is critical to assure that you receive the maximum government benefits to which you are entitled.

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 427 | Top 10 Things to Know About Amending Returns October 4, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Oct 4, 2017 | No. 427 | Top 10 Things to Know About Amending Returns

If you need to make a change or correct your federal tax return after it has been filed you will use Form 1040X. Here are the top 10 things you need to know when filing a 1040X:

1.    To file a 1040X, it must be mailed—you cannot e-file an amended return.

2.    You normally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors.  The IRS will automatically correct math errors and send you a bill or refund.

3.    You can track the status of the 1040X three weeks after filing.  To track the status, go to www.irs.gov and click on the “Where’s My Amended Return” link.  Note:  it can take up to 12 weeks for the IRS to process an amended return.

4.     If a refund is due from the original return, wait until you receive the refund before filing the 1040X to claim additional refund amounts.

5.     If more tax is due, file a 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to reduce any interest and penalties.

6.     You usually have three years to file an amended return.  See the 1040X instructions for the exact details.

7.      If you are amending more than one tax year, prepare a 1040X for each year and mail them in separate envelopes.

8.      If you use other IRS forms or schedules to make changes, attach those forms to the submitted 1040X.

9.     The most important section on the 1040X form is the “Explanation of Changes”.  You need to clearly and precisely explain why you are submitting an amended return and what changes you are making.

10.    If the changes you make on the federal return also results in a change to your Ohio return be sure to submit an Ohio amended return as well. Note: Ohio no longer uses a special amended tax return.  Instead, use the normal Ohio IT 1040 return and mark the “Amended” box located on the top of page 1.

Let us know if you have any questions about filing an amended return.

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 426 | Birth Dates You Need to Know September 27, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Sept 27, 2017 | No. 426 | Birth Dates You Need to Know

Many of the tax rules for individual taxpayers depend on age.  Attaining a birthday may entitle an individual to a special tax break or end entitlement to another. It should be noted that some apply on the date of the birthday, some rules apply when the birthday is achieved at the end of the year, and some apply with respect to a half-year birthday. Following are some of the major birthdays you need to know:

1 day:  If a child is born on December 31, the child is considered a dependent of his or her parents for the entire year.

If you are legally married on December 31, you are considered married for the entire year.  Likewise, if you are divorced on December 31, you are considered single for the entire year.

Age 13:  The dependent care credit (Daycare credit) can be claimed until the child reaches his or her 13th birthday.

Age 17:  A tax credit up to $1,000 can be claimed for a child under age 17.  You lose the credit the year the child turns 17—the credit is not prorated.

Ages 19 and 24:   A child is considered a “qualified child” and can be claimed as a dependent on the parent’s return until the child turns 19, or turns 24 if he or she is a full-time college student.

However, a parent can still claim a dependency exemption for a child as a “qualified relative” after age 19 or 24 if certain conditions are met.  For example, if a parent supports a child who is 32 years old and lives in the parent’s home and earns less than $4,050 (in 2017), then the parent can claim the dependency exemption.  Certain other factors must also be considered.

If a child has unearned income (investment income) the “Kiddie Tax” rules also apply under ages 19 or 24.

Age 26:  Under the Affordable Care Act, a child can remain on his or her parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 26.  This is true even if the child cannot be claimed as a dependent or even lives with the parent.

Age 50:  When you turn 50 you can make “catch-up” contributions to qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s, SIMPLE IRAs and Traditional and Roth IRAs.  For 2017, the additional contributions are $6,000 for 401(k)s, $3,000 for SIMPLE IRAs and $1,000 for IRAs.

Age 55:  The 10% early distribution penalty on distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs prior to age 59.5 do not apply if the distributions are made because of a separation of service from the employer.

You can also make a $1,000 additional “catch-up” contribution to an HSA account once you reach age 55.

Age 59.5:  The 10% early distribution penalty on withdrawals from qualified retirement plans and IRAs do not apply after attaining age 59.5.

Age 65:  Taxpayers who use the standard deduction vs. itemized deductions can claim additional deductions the year they turn 65.  For 2017, the additional standard deduction is $1,550 for single filers and $1,250 for each spouse at age 65 on joint returns.

Age 65 is also the age when distributions from HSAs can be taken without penalty for non-medical expenses.  However, such non-medical distributions are still subject to income tax.

Age 70.5:  The year you turn age 70.5 is when you must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from qualified retirement plans and IRAs.  (A full discussion of RMD rules goes beyond the scope of this Tax Tip)

Please Note:  This is a very simplified discussion of age-based tax rules and should not be relied upon without consulting with our office.

Happy Birthday!

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 425 | Equifax – Action Items September 20, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Sept 20, 2017 | No. 425 | Equifax – Action Items

The recent cyber security breach at Equifax has compromised the personally identifiable information [“PII”], including social security numbers and credit card details, of hundreds of thousands of individuals.

There are a number of steps you can take to identify whether your PII has been stolen.

First, go to the Equifax TrustedID website to check the potential impact: https://trustedidpremier.com/eligibility/eligibility.html.  Important Consumer Information is available at:  https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/consumer-notice/.  You will need to input the last six digits of your social security number and your last name. You should be able to get an instant response from the site.

The second and most important step is to monitor your credit report.  There are various companies that can offer this service – in fact, Equifax’s TrustedID is being offered free for a year.  You should also check your credit on credit report regularly yourself.  You can get a free report for each of the credit bureaus listed below, but you can also go to:  www.annualcreditreport.com

Equifax Alerts
(888) 766-0008
Equifax Consumer Fraud Division,
PO Box 740256,
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian Fraud Center
(888) 397-3742
Experian
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

Transunion Fraud Alert
(888) 909-8872
TransUnion Fraud Victim Assistance Department,
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Any new lines of credit will show up on your report which can be disputed.  Any fraudulent activity should be reported immediately.

Thirdly, consider putting a freeze and fraud alert on all three of your credit reports if you suspect your PII has been stolen.  Equifax is waiving any fees for this at the moment. Other bureaus may impose a fee.

Some red flags that are a warning of theft of your PII:

  • Doctors send you a bill for services you didn’t use.
  • Merchants decline your check.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You find unusual charges or new accounts on your credit report.
  • You get calls from a collection firm about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You see unexplained withdrawals from your bank account.
  • You stop getting bills in the mail
  • Your medical insurer declines a claim because their records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • Your medical insurer won’t cover you because your records show a condition you don’t have.

You may receive spoofing emails offering assistance.  Equifax will only contact affected individuals by mail.

If you suspect your PII has been compromised you may wish to file an Identity Theft Affidavit and create an Identity Theft Report with the FTC.  This can be done by phone, mail or online at:

1-877-ID THEFT (877-438-4338)

Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC 20580

https://www.identitytheft.gov/#!/#what-to-do-right-away

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 424 | Tax-Free Income September 13, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | Sept 13, 2017 | No. 424 | Tax-Free Income

Yes, that’s correct, there are some forms of income you receive that may be tax-free. Here is a list of eight common sources of tax-free income.

1.    Gifts. Gifts you receive are not taxable income to you. In fact, they are not subject to gift tax to the person giving the gift as long as the gifts received in one year from one person do not exceed $14,000.  As always, the “giver” is responsible for filing any gift tax returns, not the recipient.

2.   Rental income. If you rent your home or vacation cottage for up to 14 days, that rental income does not need to be reported. Homeowners often can earn some tax-free income by renting out a home while a large sporting event (Superbowl or a golf event) is in town.

3.   Child’s income. Up to the standard deduction amount ($6,350 in 2017) in earned income (wages) and $1,050 in unearned income (interest) for children is not taxed. Excess earnings above these amounts could be taxed and $2,100 in unearned income is taxed at the parent’s higher tax rate.

4.    Roth IRA earnings. As long as you meet this retirement account type’s rules, earnings in a Roth IRA are not taxed.

5.   Child support revenue. Income you receive as child support is not deemed to be taxable income. On the other hand alimony received is taxable income.

6.  Home sales gains. Up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married filing jointly) in gains on the sale of a qualified principal residence is not taxable.

7.  Scholarships/fellowships. Money received to cover tuition, fees, and books for degree candidates is generally not taxable.

8.  Refunds. Federal refunds (technically you’ve already accounted for this income) and most state refunds for non-itemizers are also tax-free.

This is by no means a complete list of tax-free income, but it’s nice to know that some areas of tax law still benefit taxpayers.

You can contact us in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

Rick Prewitt – the guy behind TTW

…until next week.