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Tax Tip of the Week | No. 412 | Social Security Earnings Amount Increases June 21, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | June 21, 2017 | No. 412 | Social Security Earnings Amount Increases

For 2015-2016, the maximum wage amount subject to social security tax was $118,500.  For 2017, the maximum wage amount subject to social security withholding will be $127,200.

If you are an employee, this will be the wage amount shown in Box 3 of your W-2.

If you are self-employed, you will be subject to social security tax up to $127,200 of your net business income.

There remains no earnings limit subject to Medicare tax withholdings.  Any earnings for employees over $127,200 will still be subject to a 1.45% Medicare tax (2.90% Medicare tax if self-employed).

Especially for those who are self-employed, you may need to adjust your quarterly estimated payments.  As always, give us a call if you have any questions.

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. 409 | President Trump’s Tax Plan Summary May 31, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | May 31, 2017 | No. 409 | President Trump’s Tax Plan Summary

We now have some information about the proposals included in President Trump’s tax plan. Remember that this plan is not a law and has not yet even been introduced to Congress as a bill, and that a bill must be passed by both the House and the Senate and then signed by the President, so there is no way to know what will be passed (if anything). This is just a summary of the proposals, without comment. The plan released by the President is a one page plan, so most other details are not available beyond this summary.

Business Changes

C corporation tax rates would be reduced from the current highest rate of 35% to a new flat rate of 15%. Pass-through S corporation and LLC income would also be taxed at 15% rate for small and medium sized businesses (which were not defined).

Corporations would no longer be taxed on a worldwide system, but would be taxed on a territorial system, and a one-time repatriation tax would apply on the foreign earnings of US companies.

The proposal does not include a provision allowing expensing of all business assets, as originally proposed.

Individual Changes

The President wants to reduce the current seven different individual tax brackets to three brackets, with rates set at 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent. The President also wants to double the standard deduction to $24,000 for Joint retruns, repeal alternative minimum tax and the estate tax and expand the credit for child and dependent care expenses, while also repealing the dreaded net investment income 3.8% surtax.

With the new standard deduction and changed brackets, individual taxpayers with taxable income less than $25,000 and married taxpayers with taxable income less than $50,000 would owe no Federal income tax.

Most individual itemized deductions would be repealed, but the deduction for mortgage interest and charitable donations would be retained.

Stay tuned….should be an interesting summer and fall!

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. 408 | American Health Care Act Update May 24, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | May 24, 2017 | No. 408 | American Health Care Act Update

Here is a quick observation from the OSCPAs:

Experts say this is not the health care reform news some were waiting for.

House action last week to replace the Affordable Care Act might have been a big news story for a few days, but an Ohio law expert said it doesn’t represent much progress toward the reform some thought was possible this year.

The U.S. House on May 4 voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and overhaul parts of the ACA. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration – and therein lies the rub, said Joe Popp, JD, LLM, tax manager at Rea & Associates in Dublin, Ohio.

“The House has passed something, but the Senate would have to pass the exact same thing for this to really be big news,” Popp said. “I think most people would tell you there’s a zero percent chance of that.”

According to some news reports, the Senate is going to build a new bill from the ground up, in which case, “you’re back to square one,” Popp said.

“The fact that this has passed out of the House is a hurdle that’s been passed, but the larger hurdle was always the Senate,” he said.

Should the bill be modified by the Senate, it would then go to a conference committee, in which both houses of Congress would attempt to agree to a final version. That’s a precarious political position, given the tight margin of the House vote. And – already – 2018 is looming.

“People are going to start to campaign for primaries,” Popp said, adding that it will influence how legislators and those who support and oppose them will behave.

“It’s going to be interesting to see what sort of folks start coming down the pipe in the primary process,” he said.

Popp said the deep philosophical differences among legislators and the public make a stalemate the most likely situation in the short term.

“Someone at some point should have the idea to get rid of just one thing they all don’t like,” he said. “They can do that in a week. The reason they don’t want to do that is there are some unsavory things they want to drive through this, and to do that they need the big thing” they agree on. “They want the whole thing or nothing at all.”

So by all means keep monitoring the news, but much work remains for lawmakers before businesses will get actionable information.

Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted…….

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. 398 | A Review of IRS Penalties March 15, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | March 15, 2017 | No. 398 | A Review of IRS Penalties

Many people assume that the IRS will not impose penalties if you weren’t actually trying to cheat on your taxes. Taxes are complex, and mistakes happen.  But the burden is on you to show that you acted reasonably (such as relying on professional tax advice).  If you can’t, you will probably end up with penalties.

The size of penalties varies, but often they are 25% of the outstanding tax liability.  Higher penalties or even criminal prosecution is possible.  The burden can be placed on you to prove you are right or that your mistakes were innocent.  If the IRS believes you were trying to cheat, you could face a 75% penalty or even criminal prosecution.  Most criminal tax cases start with routine audits.  Innocent mistakes can often be forgiven if you can show that you tried to comply and got some advice.

Everyone has heard that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.  On many key tax subjects, the IRS says that with hardly any effort, you could easily learn the IRS requirements.  The tax laws draw the line between non-willful and willful.  Willfulness can be shown by your knowledge of reporting requirements and your conscious choice not to comply.  Willfulness means you acted with knowledge that your conduct was unlawful—a voluntary, intentional, violation of a known legal duty.  Watch out for conduct meant to conceal, such as:

–    Setting up trusts or corporations to hide your ownership.
–    Filing some tax forms and not others.
–    Keeping two sets of books.
–    Telling your bank not to send statements.
–    Using code words over the phone or in written instructions.
–    Cash deposits and cash withdraws.

Before conducting any actions, ask yourself if your explanations pass the “straight face test”.

Questions, call us BEFORE you do something—not AFTER!

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. 395 | 2017 Ohio Tax Filing Updates February 22, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | February 22, 2017 | No. 395 | 2017 Ohio Tax Filing Updates

The following is a recent update from the Ohio Society of CPAs, regarding the upcoming Ohio tax filing season. The two biggest take-a-ways are:

1.     If you didn’t receive your 2015 refund because you didn’t pass the identity test on your first attempt, you must follow-up with additional information.  The Ohio Department of Taxation WILL NOT follow-up with you to issue these valid refunds.

2.    To file your 2016 state return, you must include your driver’s license information on the return.

The Ohio Department of Taxation said about 665,000 Ohio taxpayers were asked to take the quiz in 2016 – down from nearly 1.7 million in 2015, when, taxpayers complained about the questions and Gov. Kasich vetoed a budget provision that would have limited the questions to information obtained from the previous five years.

Those who do not take the quiz within 30 days – or fail it multiple times – have to provide documentation to receive their refunds. The requested refund will not be issued until a quiz is passed or ODT receives and accepts proper documentation to confirm your identity.

Tax Commissioner Joe Testa last year said taxpayers found the quiz quick and easy to take, a view supported by its 98.8% passage rate. And ODT said hundreds of millions of dollars of fraudulent refund claims have been blocked since 2014.

What that number should NOT include is legitimate refunds that haven’t been issued. Now, ODT isn’t going to track down failed quiz takers and demand they come get their refunds. So we suggest asking clients who were required to take the quiz whether they actually did so, and whether they received their state refunds. Once you provide the proper documentation, then ODT will release the money.

In other news, the Ohio Department of Taxation announced this week that the state income tax filing season begins Jan. 23. As expected, the ID Confirmation Quiz is back, and taxpayers will need to provide a driver’s license or state ID card information to help combat stolen-identity tax fraud.

ODT said this year’s income tax filing process will include the following changes:

–    The business income deduction for 2016 has been increased to 100% of the first $250,000 of net business income from “pass-through” businesses. Income over that amount from these businesses will remain subject to a flat 3% tax rate.

–    Ohio has added a deduction for contributions to Ohio’s STABLE Account to help taxpayers who are caring for a disabled child or other designated disabled beneficiary. This deduction allows taxpayers to reduce their taxable gross income by up to $2,000 per beneficiary per year.

–    Indexing of income brackets which protects Ohioans from the impact of inflation on their personal income tax rates resumes in 2016 at the conclusion of the phase-in of the Governor’s previous personal income tax rate reductions.

As always, give us a call if you have any questions.  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. 391 | 2017 Tax Filing Deadlines January 25, 2017

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : tax changes, Tax Deadlines, Tax Preparation, Taxes , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week | January 25, 2017 | No. 391 | 2017 Tax Filing Deadlines

Keep the following dates in mind while filing your 2016 tax returns in 2017:

March 15, 2017   Partnership/Form 1065 – This is a new due date for partnerships, changed from April 15.

March 15, 2017   S-Corps/Form 1120S – This deadline remains the same as prior years.

April 18, 2017*    Individual Tax/Form 1040, Estates, Trust/Form 1041 – *Not a typo! 4/15/17 is a Saturday and 4/17/17 is a holiday in Washington D.C.

April 18, 2017      Individual Extension/Form 4868 – Remember, if you owe taxes for 2016, a tax payment is due with the extension.

April 18, 2017      C-Corps/Form 1120 – C-Corps were previously due by March 15.

Sept 15, 2017       Extended Partnerships/Form 1065, S-Corps/Form 1120S, C-Corps(calendar year)/Form 1120,  – Any extended return that contains a K-1 is due prior to individual deadlines.

Oct 2, 2017           Extended Estates, Trust/Form 1041 – These were previously due October 15.

Oct 16, 2017         Individual Tax/Form 1040 – Last day to file individual returns that were placed on extension.

April 15, 2020      2016 Amended Return/Form1040X – You can file an Amended Return to pay taxes anytime, but you only have 3 years from the original due date to claim a refund.

Please Note:  This is not a comprehensive list of all due dates for all tax forms and does not include due date changes for fiscal year-end C-Corps.

Also Note:  Ohio generally follows all federal due dates as do most cities. Please contact us regarding your particular filing due dates.

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. 389 | IRS Lowers Mileage Rates for 2017 January 11, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | January 11, 2017 | No. 389 | IRS Lowers Mileage Rates for 2017

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning Jan. 1, standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

• 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016;

• 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016;

• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

The IRS reiterated that taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost recovery System (MACRS), or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

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. 388 | Recent Changes to Health Insurance Rules January 4, 2017

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Tax Tip of the Week | January 4, 2017 | No. 388 | Recent Changes to Health Insurance Rules

Congress passed, and the President recently signed, the 21st Century Cures Act. Among other things, the bill will allow certain small businesses to use health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) without incurring penalties under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Previously, the IRS had concluded that HRA plans are group health plans that fail to comply with the market reforms that apply to group health plans under PPACA and are therefore subject to the excise tax of $100 per day per affected participant on health insurance employer payment plans that do not comply with the market reforms.

The act overrules the IRS position by defining “group health plan” as not including “any qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement.” Under the act, a qualified small employer HRA must be funded solely by an eligible employer, and there can be no salary reduction contributions under the arrangement. The HRA must provide for the payment of an eligible employee’s expenses for medical care that are incurred by the eligible employee or the eligible employee’s family members. Finally, the amount of payments and reimbursements under the plan for any year cannot exceed $4,950 ($10,000 in the case of an arrangement that also provides for payments or reimbursements for family members of the employee).

To be a qualified small employer HRA, the arrangement must be provided on the same terms to all eligible employees, although the act allows benefits under the arrangement to vary based on age and family-size variations in the price of an insurance policy in the relevant individual health insurance market.

To be eligible to offer a qualified small business HRA, the employer must not be an applicable large employer and must not offer a group health plan to any of its employees.

The new rules apply to years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016.

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. 385 | Some Tax Benefits to Increase Slightly in 2017 December 14, 2016

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Tax Tip of the Week | December 14, 2016 | No. 385 | Some Tax Benefits to Increase Slightly in 2017

Annual inflation adjustments will affect more than 50 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, in tax year 2017, the Internal Revenue Service announced.

Here are some highlights of these changes:

The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $12,700 for tax year 2017, up $100 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $6,350 in 2017, up from $6,300 in 2016. For heads of households, the standard deduction will be $9,350 for tax year 2017, up from $9,300 for tax year 2016.

The personal exemption for tax year 2017 remains $4,050. The exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross income of $261,500 ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $384,000 ($436,300 for married couples filing jointly).

For tax year 2017, the 39.6 percent rate affects single taxpayers whose income exceeds $418,400 ($470,700 for married taxpayers filing jointly), up from $415,050 and $466,950, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds for tax year 2017 are described in the Revenue Procedure 2016-55.

The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2017 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $287,650 or more ($313,800 for married couples filing jointly).

The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2017 is $54,300 and begins to phase out at $120,700 ($84,500, for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $160,900). The 2016 exemption amount was $53,900 ($83,800 for married couples filing jointly). For tax year 2017, the 28 percent rate applies to taxpayers with taxable incomes above $187,800 ($93,900 for married individuals filing separately).

The tax year 2017 maximum Earned Income Tax Credit is $6,318 for taxpayers filing jointly who have three or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,269 for tax year 2016. (The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.)

For tax year 2017, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit is $255, as is the monthly limitation for qualified parking.

For calendar 2017, the dollar amount used to determine the penalty for not maintaining minimum essential health coverage is $695.

For tax year 2017, the Lifetime Learning Education Credit begins to phase out at an AGI of $112,000, up from $111,000 for tax year 2016.

Estates of decedents who die during 2017 have a basic exclusion amount of $5.49 million, up from $5.45 million for estates of decedents who died in 2016.

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. 384 | New Private Debt Collection Program to Begin Next Spring December 7, 2016

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Tax Tip of the Week | December 7, 2016 | No. 384 | New Private Debt Collection Program to Begin Next Spring

Next spring, the IRS will begin to use private collection of certain overdue federal taxes and has selected four agencies. As a condition of receiving a contract, these agencies must respect taxpayer rights and abide by certain consumer protection provisions.

The IRS will give each taxpayer and their representative written notice that their account is being transferred to a private collection agency. The agency will then send a second, separate letter to the taxpayer and their representative confirming this transfer.

The IRS will do everything it can to help taxpayers avoid confusion and understand their rights and tax responsibilities, particularly in light of continual phone scams where callers impersonate IRS agents and request immediate payment.

Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card. Taxpayers will be informed about electronic payment options for taxpayers on IRS.gov. Payments by check should be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency.

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.