jump to navigation

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 417 | Five Home Office Deduction Mistakes July 26, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | July 26, 2017 | No. 417 | Five Home Office Deduction Mistakes

Here are five common mistakes of those who deduct home office expenses.

1. Not taking it. Some believe the home office deduction is too complicated, while others believe taking the deduction increases your chance of being audited.

2. Not exclusive or regular. The space you use must be used exclusively and regularly for your business.

• Exclusively: Your home office cannot be used for another purpose.

• Regularly: It should be the primary place for conducting regular business activities, such as recordkeeping and ordering.

3. Mixing up your other work. If you are an employee for someone else in addition to running your own business, be careful in using your home office to do work for your employer. Generally, IRS rules state you can only use a home office deduction as an employee if your employer doesn’t provide you with a local office.

4. The recapture problem. When selling your home you will need to account for any home office depreciation. This depreciation recapture rule creates a possible tax liability for many unsuspecting home office users.

5. Not getting help. The home office deduction can be tricky, so ask for help, especially if you fall under one of these cases.

As always it is a good idea to call before considering any deductions.

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. 416 | Reap the Benefits of Hiring Your Child for the Summer July 19, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | July 19, 2017 | No. 416 | Reap the Benefits of Hiring Your Child for the Summer

Hiring your children to work in your business can be a win-win situation for everyone. Your kids will earn money, gain real-life experience in the workplace, and learn what you do every day. And you will reap a few tax benefits in the process. The following guidelines will help you determine if the arrangement will work in your situation.

• Make sure your child works a real job that he or she can reasonably handle, no matter how basic or simple. Consider tasks like office filing, packing orders, or customer service.

• Treat your child like any other employee. Expect regular hours and appropriate behavior. If you are lenient with your child, you risk upsetting other employees.

• To avoid questions from the IRS, make sure the pay is reasonable for the duties performed. It’s not a bad idea to prepare a written job description for your files. Include a W-2 at year-end.

• Record hours worked just as you would for any employee. If possible, pay your child using the normal payroll system and procedures your other employees use.

• Hiring your children works best if you are a sole proprietor. It has additional tax benefits not  available if your business is organized as a C corporation or an S corporation.

If you have questions, give us a call. Together we can determine if hiring your child is the right course of action for your business and family.

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. 414 | You Make The Call – EITC July 5, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | July 5, 2017 | No. 414 | You Make The Call – EITC

You Make the Call is a monthly format of questions and answers our office faces on a daily basis.  We hope you will find these tips to be a quick and fun read.

QUESTION: Jamie and Claire are married and have total earned income of $40,000. They have a daughter, Bree, age 22 who graduated from college in May. After graduation, Bree moved back home with her parents and worked. She lived at home from June until December and earned $22,000.

Jamie and Claire would like to know if they are still eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC) using Bree as a qualifying child for EITC purposes, and Bree would like to know if she may claim her own exemption when preparing her tax return this year.

ANSWER: Yes and yes. Under the qualifying child rules for purposes of dependency, Bree meets all the requirements except for support. Because she earns $22,000, she provides more than half of her own support. Therefore, Jamie and Claire may not claim her as a dependent. However, for EITC purposes because all the dependency tests are met, except for support, she is still a qualifying child for EITC. Therefore, Jamie and Claire may still receive EITC using Bree as a qualifying child for EITC purposes.

Additionally, because Bree is no longer a qualifying child for dependency purposes, she may claim her own exemption when she files her return.

Please note that the question and answer provided does not take into account all options or circumstances possible.  Call us if you find yourself in a similar situation.

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. 413 | Learning From Prince’s $250 Million Mistake June 28, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | June 28, 2017 | No. 413 | Learning From Prince’s $250 Million Mistake

Finally, over a year after the date of his death, a judge confirmed Prince’s six siblings to be his rightful heirs – after more than 45 people had come forward claiming to be his wife, children, siblings or other relatives.

Last year, the legendary musician passed away, leaving behind not only a legacy of unparalleled music, but also a $250 million fortune – with no will or estate plan to be found. With the long-anticipated announcement that his siblings will inherit his fortune, we’re reminded again of the importance of planning ahead and hiring trusted experts to carry out your wishes.

Whether you have people clamoring after your money or not, it’s important to consider hiring an expert to sort through the, at times, very complicated process of estate planning. There are DIY websites and software packages that may seem attractive (and cheap!), but more often than not, you get what you pay for. More complicated life situations, such as children from a prior marriage, children with special needs, or capital gains from property appreciation, require the hands-on insight of an expert.

It is important to have an unbiased third party look over your documents. Even U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who died in 1995, should have relied on estate planning experts to prepare his estate plan – but instead he took it upon himself, and his family paid over $450,000 in taxes because of his errors.

To be better prepared than Prince and Chief Justice Burger, seek out the assistance of an attorney or a CPA to draft a will and do estate planning, respectively. An attorney will help you navigate a will, and a CPA is best positioned to help with more complicated estate planning.

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. 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

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

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. 407 | Treasury Ordered to Review 2016 Tax Regulations May 17, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | May 17, 2017 | No. 407 | Treasury Ordered to Review 2016 Tax Regulations

President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order directing the Treasury Department to review “significant” regulations that were issued in 2016 and 2017 to determine if the regulations cost too much, are too complex, or exceed the IRS’s statutory authority (Presidential Executive Order on Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens (April 21, 2017)).

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the president described the executive order as beginning “the process of tax simplification.”

The executive order does not define “significant” but does specify that any earlier determination under Executive Order 12866 (Sept. 30, 1993) of whether a tax regulation is significant will not be controlling.

The Treasury secretary is directed to produce an interim report within 60 days that identifies all Treasury regulations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2016, that “impose an undue financial burden on taxpayers”, “add undue complexity to the Federal tax laws,” or “exceed the statutory authority of the Internal Revenue Service.” Within 150 days, the Treasury secretary is directed to submit to the president recommendations to “mitigate the burden imposed by regulations identified in the interim report.”

The Treasury secretary and the director of the Office of Management and Budget were also told to review and reconsider the current system under which many Treasury regulations are exempt from the regulatory review process set forth in Executive Order 12866.

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. 405 | Items to Note on 529 Plans May 3, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | May 3, 2017 | No. 405 | Items to Note on 529 Plans

State Limitations

Often people question which state limits to follow when contributing to a 529 plan. Residence of the contributor? Residence of the beneficiary? The answer is…neither. The limits imposed are dependent on which state sponsors the plan. For most, this will be the state in which the contributor resides. Here in Ohio, the state limit is $414,000 to $426,000 contingent on the type of plan selected. Further, Ohio allows up to $2,000 in tax deductions for contributions to a 529 Plan. So, how much should be contributed annually? Contributors generally try to stay within the annual gift-tax reporting exclusion, which is $14,000, or $28,000 for a couple, per beneficiary. 529 Plans do have a special tax advantage that allow front-load contributions. In short, contributors can contribute $70,000, or $140,000 per couple all at once. However, this bars them from contributing to the same beneficiary for the subsequent four years.

Transferability

Beneficiaries can be changed with no tax consequences, but a change in beneficiary designation may not always be necessary. A strategy formulated by some is to transfer funds between beneficiaries in the earlier years of college to prevent reduction of potential FAFSA benefits. It should be noted that 529 Plan funds are not included in the calculation of FAFSA benefits. It is not until the funds are withdrawn for education purposes that they are included in the FAFSA benefit calculation.

Penalties

Penalties…a word no one likes to hear. Fortunately, this segment of the article focuses on when a penalty for withdrawal of unused 529 funds is waived. If these funds are withdrawn because college expenses were paid via scholarships, GI Bills, etc., then the penalty is waived. Earnings in the account are still subject to tax, but the contributions can be withdrawn tax and penalty free.

To further discuss the benefits of a 529 Plan, contact us today 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. 403 | Is it a Business or a Hobby? April 19, 2017

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

Tax Tip of the Week | April 19, 2017 | No. 403 | Is it a Business or a Hobby?

An issue we deal with all the time with our client’s is to help them distinguish if an activity is a Business or a Hobby. The difference is, legitimate business losses are potentially fully deductible.  If the activity is deemed to be a hobby by the IRS, then you can only deduct legitimate hobby expense up to the amount of your hobby income.

Sometimes it is hard to make a determination.  Activities related to horse racing, horse shows, auto racing or auto restoration draw particular scrutiny by the IRS.

The following is a nine part test the IRS considers in deciding whether a taxpayer is running a business genuinely designed to make money or merely a hobby:

1.    You carry on the activity in a businesslike manner.

2.    The time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable.

3.    You depend on the income for your livelihood.

4.    Your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the startup phase of your type of business).

5.    You change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability.

6.    You (or your advisers) have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business.

7.    You were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past.

8.    The activity makes a profit in some years (The guideline is profitable 3 out of the last 5 years).

9.    You can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

As usual, when considering this and other tax situations it comes down to making sure it passes the “Smell Test”.

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. 402 | Filing for an Extension April 12, 2017

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : Tax Deadlines, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Preparation, Taxes, Uncategorized , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week | April 12, 2017 | No. 402 | Filing for an Extension

If you haven’t filed your tax return by now, you should probably consider filing for an extension. It is a lot easier to file for an extension than it is to amend a return later for a mistake you made trying to rush your return to completion. Even more costly is if the IRS finds a mistake you made and assesses underpayment penalties and interest.

To file for an extension, you simply need to submit Form 4868. After submitting this form, you now have until October 16, 2017 to timely file your return.  Note, however, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.  If you suspect you will owe some taxes, you must send a payment along with the extension.  This is true for your federal, state and city returns.

Ohio will automatically accept the federal extension. Some cities, however, require a special city extension form. Also, some cities will not allow extensions if you only have W2 income.  Be sure to check with your work and/or resident cities before April 15th.

Another reason to file for extension is that some speculate your chances for an audit decreases for extended returns. How?  One of the methods the IRS uses to select a return for audit is to select a random sample of returns filed by April 17th.   If your return is not in that sample—then you don’t get picked!

Editor’s Note:  One of the pledges I make to all my clients is that my personal return will be the last one filed each year. When my most procrastinating client’s return is filed on October 16th —-mine is right behind it!  And has been that way for nearly 20 years!

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.