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-What is probate?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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It is the legal process of allocating the estate to the lawful heirs as well as paying the debts of the deceased. The process typically includes:

  • An individual being appointed by the court to function as the personal representative or executor of the estate. The person is usually mentioned in the will. The court will appoint a personal representative, typically the spouse, if there is no will.
  • Validating the will.
  • Letting all heirs, beneficiaries and creditors know that the will has been probated.
  • In accordance with the will or state law, organizing the estate by the personal representative.

A petition must be filed by the spouse or the selected personal representative with the court following the death. A fee for the process of probate will be charged.

Probation of a will might require legal assistance, depending on the size and complexity of the assets to probate.

If the deceased and someone else jointly owned assets, they are not subject to probate. The proceeds of a life insurance policy or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) will be paid to the beneficiary and are not subject to probate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-If my spouse died without a will, how will his/her assets be distributed?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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The law will pass on the jointly held assets with right of survivorship on to the joint holder. The designated beneficiary of the insurance policies and retirement accounts will be awarded to said individuals. The assets owned only by the decedent will be dealt with according to state law, known as intestacy. Generally, the preference is given to the spouse or children, but the laws differ from state to state.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What can I do to resolve a consumer complaint?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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You should first approach the seller of the item. Then, get in touch with the relevant consumer agency. If neither of the previous provides adequate results, a lawsuit can be filed or you may use arbitration.

Approach the Seller

  1. Compile all necessary evidence such as canceled checks, receipt, photographs showing the issue, a warranty, bill of sale or contract.
  2. Determine your goal. Would you like the product replaced? Would you like a refund? Are you just looking for an apology?
  3. Schedule a meeting with the manager, customer service representative or other appropriate person by calling the store or service provider. In this meeting with the individual, describe as clearly as possible the nature of the issue and what your goal is. If you can only speak by phone, write a letter as follow-up and keep detailed notes of the dates and with whom you spoke with. It is important to note that if there is a valid warranty for the product, it is best to follow-up with the manufacturer and not the merchant.
  4. Take the issue to a higher level, if this doesn't find a solution. This could be the corporate president or supervisor. At this point, you should put your complaint in writing if you have yet to do so. This letter should detail your name, phone numbers, address, and account number (if applicable). Include the date and place of purchase as well as the model and serial number if a product is involved. Concisely describe the issue at hand and the process you have gone through so far to reach a solution. Lastly, you should include what outcome you want and state a deadline for this outcome. Keep a copy of the letter for yourself and include relevant copies of documents. Make sure you keep the originals and retain copies of any correspondence you receive from the company.

Get in touch with an agency

If your desired goal has yet to be reached, you will want to look in the phone book or online for a consumer complaint agency, such as the county, city or state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau.

Another option is to go with the trade association method. There are industry trade associations that will offer to aid in mediating issues with regards to their members.

You may want to get in touch with the appropriate state-banking regulator if your issue deals with a bank. If an insurer is involved, you will want to get in touch with the state insurance regulator, for a securities problem contact the securities regulator or for utilities problems contact the public utilities commission.

Call the state-licensing department if you the issue deals with a state-licensed trade, such as a plumber.

Research the lemon laws of your state, unless you reside in Arkansas or South Dakota, by getting in touch with your state consumer protections agency in the event that you purchased a bad used car.

Get in contact with your area postal inspector, whose information can be located in the U.S. government section of the telephone book, for issues that pertain to mail order or mail fraud.

Look into finding a local television news program hotline for resolving consumer complaints.

Filing a lawsuit

When there are no more options, you will want to file a court case in either small claims court, if the amount is small (usually less than $5000) or if not, a regular lawsuit.

More than likely speaking with an attorney and having them draft a letter to the merchant or service provider giving the details about the lawsuit will resolve the issue.

You probably won't need to hire a lawyer if a small claims case is involved. If the case is bigger than small claims, you will want to hire a lawyer.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters 

-What level of home insurance should I buy?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Make sure that you are insured against whatever natural disasters are common in your area, because insurance against these differs. If you don't specifically ask, you may not be covered.

Be sure to insure for 100% of rebuilding costs. The price of rebuilding your home could differ greatly from the amount that your home is valued at today.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What will worker's compensation cover if I ever need it?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Worker's compensation will only cover you for injuries that occur on the job site. The compensation varies from state to state, but most states will pay throughout the lifetime of the worker, in the case of a permanent disability.

You can get all of the information that you need regarding individual state's worker's compensation benefits by contacting your state's Department of Labor.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What exactly is long-term care insurance and how does it work?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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With long-term care insurance (LTCI), you are guaranteed to be paid a certain amount of money towards care for a specified length of time.

As the age of the covered individual increases, so does the premium, so in order to get a better rate, this is something that you may want to purchase earlier in life while the premiums are still low.

Indemnity-type insurance actually distributes the money to the caregivers, and pays the daily benefit directly to the insured party; this type can be easier because there is much less paperwork and more flexibility about how the money can be spent.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-Does my car affect my insurance rate?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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It is a good idea to check the insurance rates that are given to certain cars before you buy them. Usually as the cost of the car rises, so does the insurance premium. The insurance rates on used cars are generally substantially lower than those of new cars.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How can I easily compare prices between insurance companies?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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In most states there will be a set of rules laid down by a group of insurance regulators. Agents may be required to calculate two different types of indexes to aid in price shopping.

  • Net payment index
  • Surrender cost index

The net payment index calculates the cost of carrying the policy for ten to twenty years. This can be judged easily by remembering that the lower this number is, the more inexpensive the policy is. This is most helpful if you are more concerned with the death payout than the investment.

On the other hand, the surrender cost index is more useful to those who are concerned with the cash value of the investment. The lower this number is, the better.

The cash surrender value is what you will receive in return if you were to surrender the policy, which is different than the cash accumulation value. If you are checking the prices of universal life policies, if the policies have different premiums and death benefits, the policy with the higher cash surrender value would be the better investment.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:Thomson Reuters

What can I do to get a good price on my homeowner's insurance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Clearly you should always perform a good amount of due diligence when searching for any policy. Be sure to compare the differences in services offered and prices quoted. There are many discounts available for different things, don't forget to ask if you qualify for any of them.

Remember that the deductible will largely affect the price of the premium. It is a good idea to keep the deductible as high as you feel comfortable with to keep the premium down.

You can generally get a better deal when you purchase your auto and house policies from the same company and you can also get a better rate by not insuring the land.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What should I consider when choosing a long-term insurance provider?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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It is important to look at the stability of the company that you are looking into, because they need to be there when you are in your time of need. Companies who sell long-term insurance may not be as closely regulated as other insurance companies. You can find the ratings of these companies from Standard & Poor's.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How significantly does my address affect my insurance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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There is a big difference in the premiums that people pay in the suburbs where there is much less traffic congestion as opposed to people that live in big cities with many accidents per capita. Usually this is judged by the zip code of which you register as your home.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How are people classified for rate purposes?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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To ensure that you receive the best rate possible it is useful to understand how these premiums are calculated by insurers. Firstly insurers will place people into four main categories:

  • Preferred
  • Standard
  • Substandard
  • Uninsurable

Someone who has a semi-serious illness such as diabetes or heart disease can be insured but will pay a higher premium. People with a chronic illness will be placed in the substandard category. Someone with a terminal illness will be rendered uninsurable.

People with high risk jobs or hobbies will be considered substandard as well.

The premiums that you are charged will correlate with the category that you are placed in. Since the categorizing is not an exact science, one company may place you in a different category than another, thus drastically changing the prices of your premiums.

Once you are approved for coverage from a company, they cannot deny you coverage for any reason unless you cease payment.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What can I do to ensure that I am insured adequately?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Make a list of your possessions in your household. The better documented this is the more likely you will be to be able to replace them.

Make sure that you inform your agents of any changes that you make to the home so that if anything happens to the structure, the recent changes will be reflected in the payout.

Check to see if there are any specific limits to what is insured by your company. Sometimes a person may think they are covered for certain things, but the limits negate that.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What amount of life insurance should I have?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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In order to figure out how much insurance you need, you will need to explore your current household expenses, debts, assets, and streams of income. If you need assistance in this, consult either your accountant or financial advisor.

The amount of money that you want to leave behind for your dependents should allow them to use some of the money to maintain their current standard of living, then reinvest another lump sum to ensure that they will be well off in the future.

When attempting to calculate the amount of money that you need to leave behind, be extremely meticulous. If you err low, your family may not receive the help that they need from the insurance company, and if you err the other way, you will be spending more than necessary in insurance premiums.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 Source: Thomson Reuters

-Why should I have life insurance? Do I really need it?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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The main reason that people purchase life insurance is to know that in the event of their passing, their children and loved ones will be taken care of. Life insurance can also help with the distribution of your estate. Your payout could go to family, charity, or wherever you choose to distribute it.

The main reasons to buy life insurance would be because you have dependents that would be put in a tough position without you providing for them. For example, if you have a spouse, a child, or a parent who is dependent on your income, you should have life insurance.

If you have a spouse and young children, you will need more insurance than someone with older children, because they will be dependents for a longer amount of time than older children. If you are in a position where you and your spouse both earn for the family, then you should both be insured in proportion to the incomes that you garner.

If you have a spouse and older children or no children, you will still want to have life insurance, but you won't need the same level of insurance as in the first example, just enough to ensure that your spouse will be provided for, to cover your burial expenses, and to settle the debts that you have accumulated.

If you don't have children or a spouse, you will only need enough insurance to make sure that your burial expenses are covered, unless you would like to have an insurance policy in order to help in the distribution of your estate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Foreign Income

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 15 2019

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With more and more United States citizens earning money from foreign sources, the IRS reminds people that they must report all such income on their tax return, unless it is exempt under federal law. U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income.

This applies whether a person lives inside or outside the United States. The foreign income rule also applies regardless of whether or not the person receives a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or a Form 1099 (information return).

Foreign source income includes earned income, such as wages and tips, and unearned income, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents and royalties.

An important point to remember is that citizens living outside the U.S. may be able to exclude up to $102,100 for 2017 and $104,100 for 2018, of their foreign source income if they meet certain requirements. However, the exclusion does not apply to payments made by the U.S. government to its civilian or military employees living outside the U.S. Please contact us if you feel you may have earned foreign income to learn more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Refund, Where's My Refund?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 15 2019

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Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return — even faster when you choose direct deposit.

You can have a refund check mailed to you, buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your refund, or you may be able to have your refund electronically deposited directly into your bank account (either in one account, or in multiple accounts). Direct deposit into a bank account is more secure because there is no check to get lost. And it takes the U.S. Treasury less time than issuing a paper check. If you prepare a paper return, fill in the direct deposit information in the “Refund” section of the tax form, making sure that the routing and account numbers are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause your refund to be misdirected or delayed. Direct deposit is also available if you electronically file your return.

A few words of caution — some financial institutions do not allow a joint refund to be deposited into an individual account. Check with your bank or other financial institution to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted.

You may not receive your refund as quickly as you expected. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, a name and Social Security number listed on the tax return may not match the IRS records. You may have failed to sign the return or to include a necessary attachment, such as Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Or you may have made math errors that require extra time for the IRS to correct.

To check the status of an expected refund, use "Check your Federal Refund" an interactive tool available on our Links page. Simple online instructions guide you through a process that checks the status of your refund after you provide identifying information from your tax return. Once the information is processed, results could be one of several responses.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

How much is it possible to save by comparison shopping?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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It is possible to save up to 50% by changing your companies.

There are many factors that are taken into account by the issuing company, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Driving Record
  • State
  • Vehicle
  • Average Mileage Driven

Do not choose your insurer strictly on price, however. Quality and level of service should be a factor in your choice as well, and their ratings should be checked.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Should I keep collision coverage on my old car?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Collision coverage ensures the repair of your car whether you were at fault or not, even if your car is damaged by fire, flood, wind or hail. Depending on the value of your car, this coverage may not be cost effective.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How can I keep my car insurance costs low?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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The first thing to do is bargain shop to make sure that the rates you are getting are reasonable in comparison to other companies. Within the policy that you have, these are a few tips that could save you a few bucks.

  • Buy a cheaper or a lower profile car
  • Take out a higher deductible
  • Look into different insurance costs in different communities
  • Pay annually
  • Drop collision damage coverage

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Car Donations

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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The IRS reminds taxpayers that specific rules apply for taking a tax deduction for donating cars to charities. If the claimed value of the donated motor vehicle, boat or plane exceeds $500, you can deduct the smaller of the vehicle's FMV on the date of the contribution or the gross proceeds received from the sale of the vehicle.

People who want to take a deduction for the donation of their vehicle on their tax return should take quite a few steps, but here is the most obvious:

Check that the Organization is Qualified.

Taxpayers must make certain that they contribute their car to an eligible organization; otherwise, their donation will not be tax deductible. Taxpayers can search Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool to check that an organization is qualified. In addition, taxpayers can call IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at 1-877-829-5500. Be sure to have the organization's correct name and its headquarters location, if possible. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and governments are not required to apply for this exemption in order to be qualified.  Please contact us if you're considering a car donation for your tax return!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-ROTH IRA Contributions

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Confused about whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA? The IRS suggests checking these simple rules:

  1. Income To contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have compensation (e.g., wages, salary, tips, professional fees, bonuses). Your modified adjusted gross income must be less than:
    • $196,000 — Married Filing Jointly.
    • $10,000 — Married Filing Separately (and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year).
    • $133,000 — Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separately (and you did not live with your spouse during the year).
  2. Age There is no age limitation for Roth IRA contributions. Unlike traditional IRAs, you can be any age and still qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA.
  3. Contribution Limits In general, if your only IRA is a Roth IRA, the maximum current year contribution limit is the lesser of your taxable compensation or $5,500 ($6,500 for those age 50 or over). The maximum contribution limit phases out if your modified adjusted gross income is within these limits:
    • $186,000-$196,000 — Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying widow(er)
    • $0-$10,000 — Married Filing Separately (and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year)
    • $118,000-$133,000 — Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separately (and you did not live with your spouse)
  4. Contributions to Spousal Roth IRA You can make contributions to a Roth IRA for your spouse provided you meet the income requirements.

* Note - threshold amounts listed above are for tax year 2017.

 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Selling Your Home

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.

To be eligible for this exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale. You also must not have excluded gain on another home sold during the two years before the current sale.

If you and your spouse file a joint return for the year of the sale, you can exclude the gain if either of you qualify for the exclusion. But both of you would have to meet the use test to claim the $500,000 maximum amount.

To exclude gain, a taxpayer must both own and use the home as a principal residence for two of the five years before the sale. The two years may consist of 24 full months or 730 days. Short absences, such as for a summer vacation, count as periods of use. Longer breaks, such as a one-year sabbatical, do not.

If you do not meet the ownership and use tests, you may be allowed to exclude a reduced maximum amount of the gain realized on the sale of your home if you sold your home due to health, a change in place of employment, or certain unforeseen circumstances. Unforeseen circumstances include, for example, divorce or legal separation, natural or man-made disaster resulting in a casualty to your home, or an involuntary conversion of your home.  Send us a message for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

How do I file an auto insurance claim?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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A few tips to ensure that you claim correctly and receive your money as quickly as possible:

  • File the claim immediately; take note of hospital bills, police accident reports, and copies of claims that have been submitted.
  • Take notes of exactly what was said every time you speak with a company representative, make a note of the date and keep the information together in a file.
  • If you get the feeling that the company isn't being forthcoming with the results that you need, complain to the state insurance regulator.
  • If you still feel that your claim isn't getting the attention it deserves, call a lawyer.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Refinancing Your Home

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans.

Generally, for taxpayers who itemize, the “points” paid to obtain a home mortgage may be deductible as mortgage interest. Points paid to obtain an original home mortgage can be, depending on circumstances, fully deductible in the year paid. However, points paid solely to refinance a home mortgage usually must be deducted over the life of the loan.

For a refinanced mortgage, the interest deduction for points is determined by dividing the points paid by the number of payments to be made over the life of the loan. This information is usually available from lenders. Taxpayers may deduct points only for those payments made in the tax year. For example, a homeowner who paid $2,000 in points and who would make 360 payments on a 30-year mortgage could deduct $5.56 per monthly payment, or a total of $66.72 if he or she made 12 payments in one year.

However, if part of the refinanced mortgage money was used to finance improvements to the home and if the taxpayer meets certain other requirements, the points associated with the home improvements may be fully deductible in the year the points were paid. Also, if a homeowner is refinancing a mortgage for a second time, the balance of points paid for the first refinanced mortgage may be fully deductible at pay off.

Other closing costs — such as appraisal fees and other non-interest fees — generally are not deductible. Additionally, the amount of Adjusted Gross Income can affect the amount of deductions that can be taken.  Please contact us if you've recently refinanced, and we can be a big help!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What coverage is essential for my auto policy?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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You will need to have liability coverage, property damage, and bodily injury. This way you will be protected if you are at fault and cause damage to a person or their property. It is recommended to have $300,000 per accident to pay medical costs and other costs that may be affiliated. You should also have at least $50,000 in property damage.

You should have uninsured motorist coverage, which will protect you against financial damages caused by an uninsured motorist or a hit and run, should one occur.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

What are the advantages of prepaying a mortgage, and should I if I can?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 11 2019

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It is highly recommended that you prepay as much of your mortgage as possible every month, which will drastically reduce the total amount that you pay.

However, there are times where this could be disadvantageous.

If you are in a situation where you don't have funds to cover three to six months of expenses, it is recommended that you save that amount before you pay additional amounts on your mortgage.

If you have a large amount of credit card debt, over the long run, you will save more money by knocking down those high interest loans first.

There also may be times where that money would be more wisely invested in the market, depending on the expected rate of return versus how much you would save in early payments.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRA Contributions

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 11 2019

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One popular tax savings outlet available to taxpayers today is the Individual Retirement Account, more commonly referred to as an IRA. There are several options you have when deciding which type of IRA account to enter into. You may be able to take a tax deduction for the contributions to a traditional IRA, depending on whether you or your spouse, if filing jointly, are covered by an employer's pension plan and how much total income you have. Conversely, you cannot deduct Roth IRA contributions, but the earnings on a Roth IRA may be tax-free if you meet the conditions for a qualified distribution.

Generally, you can contribute a percentage of your earnings for the current year or a larger, catch-up contribution if you are age 50 or older. You can fund a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA (if you qualify), or both, but your total contributions cannot be more than these annual amounts (currently $5,500, or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older).

You can file your tax return claiming a traditional IRA deduction before the contribution is actually made. However, the contribution must be made by the due date of your return, not including extensions. If you haven't contributed funds to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for last tax year, or if you've put in less than the maximum allowed, you still have time to do so. You can contribute to either a traditional or Roth IRA until the April 15 due date for filing your tax return for last year, not including extensions.

Be sure to tell the IRA trustee that the contribution is for last year. Otherwise, the trustee may report the contribution as being for this year, when they get your funds.

If you report a contribution to a traditional IRA on your return, but fail to contribute by the deadline, you must file an amended tax return by using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must add the amount you deducted to your income on the amended return and pay the additional tax accordingly.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you were age 65 or older at the end of last year, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS. Like any other tax credit, it's a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill. The maximum amount of this credit is constantly changing.

You can take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if:

  • You are a qualified individual,
  • Your nontaxable income from Social Security or other nontaxable pension is less than $3,750 to $7,500 (also depending on your filing status).

Generally, you are a qualified individual for this credit if you are a U.S. citizen or resident at the end of the tax year and you are age 65 or older, or you are under 65, retired on permanent and total disability, received taxable disability income, and did not reach mandatory retirement age before the beginning of the tax year.

If you are under age 65, you can qualify for the credit only if you are retired on permanent and total disability. This means that:

  • You were permanently and totally disabled when you retired, and
  • You retired on disability before the end of the tax year.

Even if you do not retire formally, you are considered retired on disability when you have stopped working because of your disability. If you feel you might be eligible for this credit, please contact us for assistance.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Electric Vehicles save you tax money

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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For vehicles acquired after December 31, 2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.

The credit is available only to the original purchaser of a new qualifying vehicle, and the vehicle must be placed in service in the same year the credit is being claimed on the return. If the qualifying vehicle is leased the credit is available only to the leasing company. Also, the vehicle must be used primarily in the United States.

Additional conditions regarding qualified manufacturers and phase out rules may also apply in determining credit eligibility. To find out whether your car qualifies for the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle tax credit, you can go to the IRS.gov website and search for "plug-in vehicles" or contact us for more information.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Deductible Home Offices

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.

You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business. If you use a separate structure not attached to your home for an exclusive and regular part of your business, you can deduct expenses related to it.

Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if you use it exclusively and regularly for the administrative or management activities associated with your trade or business. There must be no other fixed place where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities. If you use both your home and other locations regularly in your business, you must determine which location is your principle place of business, based on the relative importance of the activities performed at each location. If the relative importance factor doesn't determine your principle place of business, you can also consider the time spent at each location.

If you are an employee, you have additional requirements to meet. You cannot take the home office deduction unless the business use of your home is for the convenience of your employer. Also, you cannot take deductions for space you are renting to your employer.

Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your deduction will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Gift Giving

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $15,000, it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift.

The person who received your gift does not have to report the gift to the IRS or pay either gift or income tax on its value.

You make a gift when you give property, including money, or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of equal value in return. If you sell something at less than its value or make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.

There are some exceptions to the tax rules on gifts. The following gifts do not count against the annual limit:

  • Tuition or medical expenses that you pay directly to an educational or medical institution for someone's benefit
  • Gifts to your spouse
  • Gifts to a political organization for its use
  • Gifts to charities

If you are married, both you and your spouse can give separate gifts of up to the annual limit to the same person without making a taxable gift. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What do I need to include in a good loan proposal?

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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The following main points should be contained in a good loan proposal:

GENERAL INFORMATION        

  • Reason for the loan: the exact purpose of the loan and why it is necessary.
  • Amount needed: the specific amount needed to reach your goal.
  • Business name and address, names of officers and their social security numbers.

DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS

  • Describe the type of business you have, its age, current business assets, and number of employees.
  • Structure of ownership: describe the legal structure of the company.

MANAGEMENT PROFILE

  • Prepare a short statement that is focused on each principal in your business; give details about education, background, accomplishments and skills.

MARKET INFORMATION

  • State clearly the products of your company as well as its markets. Name the competition and explain how you plan to compete in the market. Describe what the business will do to satisfy the needs of its customers.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

  • Submit your own personal financial statements as well as those of the principal business owners.
  • Financial statements: the income statements and balance sheets for the past three years. If you have a new business, provide the projected balance sheet and income statement.
  • Specify the collateral that you are able and willing to give as security for the loan.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-CHANGES IN TAX LAW AND EFFECTS ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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The new tax reform law, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, is the biggest federal tax law overhaul in 31 years, and it has both good and bad news for taxpayers.

Below are highlights of some of the most significant changes affecting individual and business taxpayers. Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Individuals

  • Drops of individual income tax rates ranging from 0 to 4 percentage points (depending on the bracket) to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% — through 2025 (Please see the tax rate schedules at the bottom of the article, or visithttps://www.lbcpa.com/tax-rates  ).
  • Near doubling of the standard deduction to $24,000 (married couples filing jointly), $18,000 (heads of households), and $12,000 (singles and married couples filing separately) — through 2025
  • Elimination of personal exemptions — through 2025
  • Doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 and other modifications intended to help more taxpayers benefit from the credit — through 2025
  • Elimination of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act requiring taxpayers not covered by a qualifying health plan to pay a penalty — effective for months beginning after December 31, 2018
  • Reduction of the adjusted gross income (AGI) threshold for the medical expense deduction to 7.5% for regular and AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax)  purposes — for 2017 and 2018
  • New $10,000 limit on the deduction for state and local taxes (on a combined basis for property and income taxes; $5,000 for separate filers) — through 2025
  • Reduction of the mortgage debt limit for the home mortgage interest deduction to $750,000 ($375,000 for separate filers), with certain exceptions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt — through 2025
  • Elimination of the personal casualty and theft loss deduction (with an exception for federally declared disasters) — through 2025
  • Elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor (such as certain investment expenses, professional fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses) — through 2025
  • Elimination of the AGI-based reduction of certain itemized deductions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the moving expense deduction (with an exception for members of the military in certain circumstances) — through 2025
  • Expansion of tax-free Section 529 plan distributions to include those used to pay qualifying elementary and secondary school expenses, up to $10,000 per student per tax year
  • AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) exemption increase, to $109,400 for joint filers, $70,300 for singles and heads of households, and $54,700 for separate filers — through 2025
  • Doubling of the gift and estate tax exemptions, to $10 million (expected to be $11.2 million for 2018 with inflation indexing) — through 2025

 

Businesses

  • Replacement of graduated corporate tax rates ranging from 15% to 35% with a flat corporate rate of 21%
  • Repeal of the 20% corporate AMT
  • New 20% qualified business income deduction for owners of flow-through entities (such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations) and sole proprietorships — through 2025
  • Doubling of bonus depreciation to 100% and expansion of qualified assets to include used assets — effective for assets acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023
  • Doubling of the Section 179 expensing limit to $1 million and an increase of the expensing phaseout threshold to $2.5 million
  • Other enhancements to depreciation-related deductions
  • New disallowance of deductions for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business’s adjusted taxable income (exceptions apply)
  • New limits on net operating loss (NOL) deductions
  • Elimination of the Section 199 deduction, also commonly referred to as the domestic production activities deduction or manufacturers’ deduction — effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, for noncorporate taxpayers and for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018, for C corporation taxpayers
  • New rule limiting like-kind exchanges to real property that is not held primarily for sale
  • New tax credit for employer-paid family and medical leave — through 2019
  • New limitations on excessive employee compensation
  • New limitations on deductions for employee fringe benefits, such as entertainment and, in certain circumstances, meals and transportation

More to consider

This is just a brief overview of some of the most significant TCJA provisions. There are additional rules and limits that apply, and the law includes many additional provisions.

If you have any questions please contact us at 305-274-5811 to review how these changes will affect you in 2018 and beyond.

 

2018 Tax Rates

2018 Tax Rates Schedule X - Single

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $500,000

no limit

$150,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-1 - Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$19,050

10% of the taxable amount

$19,050

$77,400

$1,905 plus 12% of the excess over $19,050

$77,400

$165,000

$8,907 plus 22% of the excess over $77,400

$165,000

$315,000

$28,179 plus 24% of the excess over $165,000

$315,000

$400,000

$64,179 plus 32% of the excess over $315,000

$400,000

$600,000

$91,379 plus 35% of the excess over $400,000

$600,000

no limit

$161,379 plus 37% of the excess over $600,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-2 - Married Filing Separately

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$300,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $300,000

no limit

$80,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $300,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Z - Head of Household

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$13,600

10% of the taxable amount

$13,600

$51,800

$1,360 plus 12% of the excess over $13,600

$51,800

$82,500

$5,944 plus 22% of the excess over $51,800

$82,500

$157,500

$12,698 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$30,698 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$44,298 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

$500,000

no limit

$149,298 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Estates & Trusts

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$2,550

10% of the taxable income

$2,550

$9,150

$255 plus 24% of the excess over $2,550

$9,150

$12,500

$1,839 plus 35% of the excess over $9,150

$12,500

no limit

$3,011.50 plus 37% of the excess over $12,500

Social Security 2018 Tax Rates

Base Salary

$128,400

Social Security Tax Rate

6.2%

Maximum Social Security Tax

$7,960.80

Medicare Base Salary

unlimited

Medicare Tax Rate

1.45%

Additional Medicare 2018 Tax Rates

Additional Medicare Tax

0.9%

Filing status

Compensation over

Married filing jointly

$250,000

Married filing separate

$125,000

Single

$200,000

Head of household (with qualifying person)

$200,000

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

$200,000

Education 2018 Credit and Deduction Limits

American Opportunity Tax Credit (Hope)

$2,500

Lifetime Learning Credit

$2,000

Student Loan Interest Deduction

$2,500

Coverdell Education Savings Contribution

$2,000

Miscellaneous 2018 Tax Rates

Standard Deduction:

 
  • Married filing jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

$24,000

  • Head of household

$18,000

  • Sinlge or Married filling separately

$12,000

Business Equipment Expense Deduction

$1,000,000

Prior-year safe harbor for estimated taxes of higher-income

110% of your 2017 tax liability

Standard mileage rate for business driving

54.5 cents

Standard mileage rate for medical/moving driving

18 cents

Standard mileage rate for charitable driving

14 cents

Child Tax Credit

$2,000 per qualifying child

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain up to $77,200 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $51,700 for heads of household, $38,600 for single filers, $38,600 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $2,600 for estates and trusts

0%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over the amount subject to the 0% rate, and up to $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

15%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

20%

Capital gains tax rate for unrecaptured Sec. 1250 gains

25%

Capital gains tax rate on collectibles and qualified small business stock

28%

Maximum contribution for Traditional/Roth IRA

$5,500 if under age 50
$6,500 if 50 or older

Maximum employee contribution to SIMPLE IRA

$12,500 if under age 50
$15,500 if 50 or older

Maximum Contribution to SEP IRA

25% of compensation up to $55,000

401(k) maximum employee contribution limit

$18,500 if under age 50
$24,500 if 50 or older

Self-employed health insurance deduction

100%

Estate tax exemption

$11,180,000

Annual Exclusion for Gifts

$15,000

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

$104,100

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Tips and Taxes

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 21 2019

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Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee from those services is taxable income, advises the IRS.

As taxable income, these tips are subject to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and may be subject to state income tax as well.

You must keep a running daily log of all your tip income and tips paid out. This includes cash that you receive directly from customers, tips from credit card charges from customers that your employer pays you, the value of any non-cash tips such as tickets or passes that you receive, and the amount of tips you paid out to other employees through tip pools or tip splitting and the names of those employees.

You can use IRS Publication 1244, Employee's Daily Record of Tips and Report of Tips to Employer, to record your tip income. For a free copy of Publication 1244, call the IRS toll free at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

If you receive $20 or more in tips in any one month, you should report all your tips to your employer. Your employer is required to withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes and to report the correct amount of your earnings to the Social Security Administration (which will affect your benefits when you retire or if you become disabled, or your family's benefits if you die).  Contact us so your wages are properly reported!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Coverdell Savings Accounts

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 21 2019

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A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a savings account created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses.

The total contributions for the beneficiary (who is under age 18 or is a special needs beneficiary) of this account in any year cannot be more than $2,000, no matter how many accounts have been established. The beneficiary will not owe tax on the distributions if, for a year, the distributions from an account are not more than a beneficiary's qualified education expenses at an eligible education institution. This benefit applies to higher education expenses as well as to elementary and secondary education expenses.

Generally, any individual (including the beneficiary) can contribute to a Coverdell ESA if the individual's modified adjusted gross (MAGI) income is less than an annual, constantly changing maximum. Usually, MAGI for the purpose of determining your maximum contribution limit is the adjusted gross income (AGI) shown on your tax return increased by the following exclusion from your income: foreign earned income of U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, housing costs of U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, and income from sources within Puerto Rico or American Samoa. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA may be made until the due date of the contributor's return, without extensions.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check status of their refund

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 14 2019

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The best way for taxpayers to check the status of their refund is to use the Where's My Refund? tool on IRS.gov. This tool gives taxpayers access to their tax return and refund status anytime. All they need is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Their Social Security number
  • Theirfiling status
  • The exact whole dollar amount of their refund

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund.

Where’s My Refund? Updates once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.

Taxpayers on the go can track their return and refund status on their mobile devices using the free IRS2Go app. Those who file an amended return should check out the Where’s My Amended Return? tool. 

Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of refunds only if it's been 21 days or more since a taxpayer filed electronically, or more than six weeks since they mailed a paper return. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS if Where's My Refund? directs them to do so.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

Individuals can find answers to their questions about tax reform on IRS.gov

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 13 2019

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The December 2017 Tax reform legislation affects almost every taxpayer. The IRS is working closely with partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform affecting tax year 2018. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their returns.

As people prepare to file their 2018 tax returns this year, they can visit IRS.gov for answers to their questions about tax reform. Here are several of the resources that will help taxpayers find out how this law affects them:

Tax reform provisions that affect individuals

This is the main tax reform page with information for individual taxpayers. It includes dozens of links to more information on topics from withholding and tax credits to deductions and savings plans.

Tax reform basics for individuals and families

This publication provides information to help individual taxpayers understand the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how to comply with federal tax return filing requirements.

Tax reform resources

On this page, taxpayers can find helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles.

Steps to take now to get a jump on next year’s taxes

This page has dozens of resources and tools that people can visit now or any time before they file their 2018 tax returns.

Paycheck Checkup

This page has information for people doing a Paycheck Checkup to see if they’re withholding the right amount of tax from their paychecks. Taxpayers can perform a Paycheck Checkup at the beginning of 2019 to make sure their withholding is correct for the rest of the year.

IRS Withholding Calculator

One way taxpayers can do a Paycheck Checkup is to use the Withholding Calculator. Checking withholding can help taxpayers protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time.

Taxpayer Advocate

The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s Tax Reform Changes website, available in English and Spanish, explains what is changing and what is not this year for individuals. Its interactive information can be reviewed by tax topic or line by line using a Form 1040 example and is updated to show the new 2018 Form 1040 references.

Tax reform

The main tax reform webpage on IRS.gov features information for individuals, but also takes users directly to info for people who are self-employed. It is also a great resource for anyone who does taxes or accounting for a business or charity

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS: DON'T BE VICTIM TO A `GOSHT´ TAX RETURN PREPARER

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 11 2019

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Today, towards the end of the second full week of the 2019 tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers to avoid unethical tax return preparers, known as ghost preparers.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid 2019 Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN.

But ‘ghost’ preparers do not sign the return. Instead, they print the return and tell the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for e-filed returns, they prepare but refuse to digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

According to the IRS, similar to other tax preparation schemes, dishonest and unscrupulous ghost tax return preparers look to make a fast buck by promising a big refund or charging fees based on a percentage of the refund. These scammers hurt honest taxpayers who are simply trying to do the right thing and file a legitimate tax return.

Ghost tax return preparers may also:

  • Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.
  • Invent income to erroneously qualify their clients for tax credits or claim fake deductions to boost their refunds.
  • Direct refunds into their own bank account rather than the taxpayer’s account.
  •  

The IRS urges taxpayers to review their tax return carefully before signing and ask questions if something is not clear. And for any direct deposit refund, taxpayers should make sure both the routing and bank account number on the completed tax return are correct.

The IRS offers tips to help taxpayers choose a tax return preparer wisely. The Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers by type of credential or qualification.

Taxpayers can report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

Find out how tax reform affects your business's bottom line at IRS.gov

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 11 2019

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Businesses may find they have questions about how 2017’s tax reform legislation affects their organization and their bottom line. IRS.gov is a great place to find answers. Here are several resources on the IRS website that address tax reform.

Tax reform provisions that affect businesses

This is the main page for businesses. Users can link from this page out to more resources with additional information, which is organized in sections by topic. These sections include a plain language description and links to news releases, notices and other technical guidance. Here are a few of the main tax topics on this page and the subtopics highlighted in each section:

  • Income: taxation of foreign income, carried interest, and like-kind exchanges
  • Deductions and depreciation: fringe benefits, moving expenses, standard mileage rates, deduction for passthrough businesses, and business interest expenses
  • Credits: employer credit for paid family and medical leave, and the rehabilitation tax credit
  • Taxes: blended federal income tax and withholding
  • Accountingmethodchanges
  • Opportunityzones

This page also includes information for specific industries, such as farming, insurance companies, and aircraft management services.

Tax Reform Small Business Initiative

This one-stop shop highlights important tax reform topics for small businesses. From this page, users can link to several additional resources.

Tax reform resources

From this page, people can link to helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles. Organizations can share these materials including the drop-in articles with employees, customers and volunteers to help them better understand tax reform.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A comparison for businesses

This side-by-side comparison can help businesses understand the changes the new law made to previous law. It will help businesses then make decisions and plan accordingly. It covers changes to deductions, depreciation, expensing, tax credits, and other tax items that affect businesses.

Tax reform: What’s new for your business

This electronic publication covers many of the TCJA provisions that are important for small and medium-sized businesses, their owners, and tax professionals to understand. Thisconcisepublicationincludessectionsabout:

  • Qualifiedbusinessincomededuction
  • Depreciation: Section 168 and 179 modifications 
  • Business-related losses, exclusions and deductions
  • Business credits
  • Corporatetaxprovisions
  • S corporations
  • Farmprovisions

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

SourceIRS

401 (K) CONTRIBUTION LIMIT INCREASES TO $19.000 FOR 2019; IRA LIMIT INCREASES TO $6.000

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019.  The IRS today issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2018-83.

Highlights of Changes for 2019

The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

The limit on annual contributions to an IRA, which last increased in 2013, is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2019.

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2019:

  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $64,000 to $74,000, up from $63,000 to $73,000.
     
  • For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $103,000 to $123,000, up from $101,000 to $121,000.
     
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $193,000 and $203,000, up from $189,000 and $199,000.
     
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $122,000 to $137,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $120,000 to $135,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $193,000 to $203,000, up from $189,000 to $199,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $64,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $63,000; $48,000 for heads of household, up from $47,250; and $32,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $31,500.

Highlights of Limitations that Remain Unchanged from 2018

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.

Detailed Description of Adjusted and Unchanged Limitations

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. Section 415(d) requires that the Secretary of the Treasury annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases. Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415. Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made following adjustment procedures similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $220,000 to $225,000. For a participant who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2019, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant's compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2018, by 1.0264.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased in 2019 from $55,000 to $56,000.

The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2019 are as follows:

  • The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.
     
  • The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $275,000 to $280,000.
     
  • The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $175,000 to $180,000.
     
  • The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a five year distribution period is increased from $1,105,000 to $1,130,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the five year distribution period is increased from $220,000 to $225,000.

The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) is increased from $120,000 to $125,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $6,000. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $3,000.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $405,000 to $415,000.

The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $600.
The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts is increased from $12,500 to $13,000.
The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

The limitation under Section 664(g)(7) concerning the qualified gratuitous transfer of qualified employer securities to an employee stock ownership plan remains unchanged at $50,000.

The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation remains unchanged at $110,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) is increased from $220,000 to $225,000.

The dollar limitation on premiums paid with respect to a qualifying longevity annuity contract under Section 1.401(a)(9)-6, A-17(b)(2)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations remains unchanged at $130,000.

The Code provides that the $1,000,000,000 threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systemically important plan under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment provided under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(bb). After taking the applicable rounding rule into account, the threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systemically important plan under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is increased for 2019 from $1,087,000,000 to $1,097,000,000.

The Code also provides that several retirement-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2019 are as follows:

  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $38,000 to $38,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $41,000 to $41,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $63,000 to $64,000.
     
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $28,500 to $28,875; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $30,750 to $31,125; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $47,250 to $48,000.
     
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $19,000 to $19,250; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $20,500 to $20,750; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $31,500 to $32,000.
     
  • The deductible amount under Section 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions is increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) increased from $101,000 to $103,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers who are active participants (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) increased from $63,000 to $64,000. If an individual or the individual’s spouse is an active participant, the applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(iii) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $189,000 to $193,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $189,000 to $193,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $120,000 to $122,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(III) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

MULTISTATE RESIDENT? WATCH OUT FOR DOUBLE TAXATION

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution or federal law that prohibits multiple states from collecting tax on the same income. Although many states provide tax credits to prevent double taxation, those credits are sometimes unavailable. If you maintain residences in more than one state, here are some points to keep in mind.

Domicile vs. residence

Generally, if you’re “domiciled” in a state, you’re subject to that state’s income tax on your worldwide income. Your domicile isn’t necessarily where you spend most of your time. Rather, it’s the location of your “true, fixed, permanent home” or the place “to which you intend to return whenever absent.” Your domicile doesn’t change — even if you spend little or no time there — until you establish domicile elsewhere.

Residence, on the other hand, is based on the amount of time you spend in a state. You’re a resident if you have a “permanent place of abode” in a state and spend a minimum amount of time there — for example, at least 183 days per year. Many states impose their income taxes on residents’ worldwide income even if they’re domiciled in another state.

Potential solution

Suppose you live in State A and work in State B. Given the length of your commute, you keep an apartment in State B near your office and return to your home in State A only on weekends. State A taxes you as a domiciliary, while State B taxes you as a resident. Neither state offers a credit for taxes paid to another state, so your income is taxed twice.

One possible solution to such double taxation is to avoid maintaining a permanent place of abode in State B. However, State B may still have the power to tax your income from the job in State B because it’s derived from a source within the state. Yet State B wouldn’t be able to tax your income from other sources, such as investments you made in State A.

Minimize unnecessary taxes

This example illustrates just one way double taxation can arise when you divide your time between two or more states. Our firm can research applicable state law and identify ways to minimize exposure to unnecessary taxes.

Sidebar: How to establish domicile

Under the law of each state, tax credits are available only with respect to income taxes that are “properly due” to another state. But, when two states each claim you as a domiciliary, neither believes that taxes are properly due to the other. To avoid double taxation in this situation, you’ll need to demonstrate your intent to abandon your domicile in one state and establish it in the other.

There are various ways to do so. For example, you might obtain a driver’s license and register your car in the new state. You could also open bank accounts in the new state and use your new address for important financially related documents (such as insurance policies, tax returns, passports and wills). Other effective measures may include registering to vote in the new jurisdiction, subscribing to local newspapers and seeing local health care providers. Bear in mind, of course, that laws regarding domicile vary from state to state.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS ACTIVITIES FOLLOWING THE SHUTDOWN

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The IRS has reopened following the end of the government shutdown, and IRS employees are working hard to resume normal operations and help taxpayers as much as possible.

As the IRS resumes operations, there are some important pieces of information for taxpayers and tax professionals to keep in mind in several areas:

Audits. For taxpayers and tax professionals with questions about examinations affected by the shutdown, we have Frequently Asked Questions.

Collections. For taxpayers and tax professionals with a collection issue affected by the shutdown, visit the Frequently Asked Questions.  This section includes information related to liens, levies, notices of deficiency, penalties, passports and private debt collection.

Appeals. Important information for taxpayers and tax professionals with cases in Appeals affected by the shutdown.

Tax Filing for individuals. The IRS successfully opened the 2019 filing season for taxpayers on Jan. 28. The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth tax season and minimize the impact on taxpayers.

Tax Court. Important updated information  for taxpayers and tax professionals with Tax Court cases, including mail being returned and issues with court petitions not being processed.

Taxpayer Advocate Service. All TAS offices are now open. As always, the Taxpayer Advocate Service  is committed to helping taxpayers. All cases matter greatly to us and we need to make sure we are addressing the most serious cases first. Due to the prolonged government shutdown, we will need some time to sort through all of our cases, calls and faxes so that we can address the most critical emergencies first.

Please be aware that if you call our offices your call may go to voicemail. We encourage you to leave your name, phone number, case number (if applicable) and detailed information about your case. Your case is important to us and we will get back to you as soon as we are able to do so. While our response times will be longer than usual, we thank you for your patience.

TE/GE: Determination Letter and Voluntary Compliance Statement applications for retirement plans. The IRS has resumed processing these applications for retirement plans. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these applications due to the government shutdown. Please visit Tax Information for Retirement Plans for additional information. 

TE/GE: Determination Letter applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has resumed processing applications for tax-exempt status. We’re working to minimize the delays that organizations have experienced due to the government shutdown. Please see IRS processing of exemption applications for any actions that you may need to take while you wait for the IRS to issue a determination.

TE/GE: Credit Payments to Qualified Bonds Issuers. The IRS has resumed processing Forms 8038-CP, Return for Credit Payments to Issuers of Qualified Bonds, for refundable credit payments on direct pay bonds. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these forms due to the government shutdown

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

JAN 2019 LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR YOUR 2018 TAX RETURN & INSTALLMENT SALES: A VIABLE OPTION FOR TRANSFERRING ASSETS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

FEWER TAXPAYERS TO QUALIFY FOR HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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Working from home has become commonplace for people in many jobs. But just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it. Beginning with the 2018 tax year, fewer taxpayers will qualify for the home office deduction. Here’s why.

Changes under the TCJA

For employees, home office expenses used to be a miscellaneous itemized deduction. Way back in 2017, this meant one could enjoy a tax benefit only if these expenses plus other miscellaneous itemized expenses (such as unreimbursed work-related travel, certain professional fees and investment expenses) exceeded 2% of adjusted gross income.

Starting in 2018 and continuing through 2025, however, employees can’t deduct any home office expenses. Why? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor for this period.

Note: If you’re self-employed, you can still deduct eligible home office expenses against your self-employment income during the 2018 through 2025 period.

Other eligibility requirements

If you’re self-employed, generally your home office must be your principal place of business, though there are exceptions.

Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, the space must be used regularly (not just occasionally) and exclusively for business purposes. If, for example, your home office is also a guest bedroom, or your children do their homework there, you can’t deduct the expenses associated with that space.

Deduction options

If eligible, you have two options for claiming the home office deduction. First, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses, as well as the depreciation allocable to the office space. This requires calculating, allocating and substantiating actual expenses.

A second approach is to use the simplified option. Here, only one simple calculation is necessary: $5 multiplied by the number of square feet of the office space. The simplified deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on a maximum of 300 square feet.

More rules and limits

Be aware that we’ve covered only a few of the rules and limits here. If you think you may qualify for the home office deduction on your 2018 return or would like to know if there’s anything additional you need to do to become eligible, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

YOUR APPEAL RIGHTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 04 2019

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Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, explains some of your most important taxpayer rights. During their contact with taxpayers, IRS employees are required to explain and protect these taxpayer rights, including the right to appeal.

The IRS appeals system is for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or other adjustments to their tax liability. In addition to examinations, you can appeal many other things, including:

  • Collection actions such as liens, levies, seizures, installment agreement terminations and rejected offers-in-compromise.
  • Penalties and interest
  • Employment tax adjustments and the trust fund recovery penalty

Appeals conference are informal meetings. The local Appeals Office, which s independent of the IRS office that proposed the disputed action, can sometimes resolve an appeal by telephone or through correspondence.

The IRS also offers an option called Fast Track Mediation, during which an appeals or settlement officer attempts to help you and the IRS reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Most cases not docketed in court qualify for Fast Track Mediation. You may request Fast Track Mediation at the conclusion of an audit or collection determination, but prior to your request for a normal appeals hearing. Fast Track Mediation is meant to promote the early resolution of a dispute. It doesn't eliminate or replace existing dispute resolution options, including your opportunity to request a conference with a manager or a hearing before Appeals. You may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

When attending an informal meeting or pursuing mediation, you may represent yourself or you can be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or individual enrolled to practice before the IRS.

If you and the IRS appeals officer cannot reach agreement, or if you prefer not to appeal within the IRS, in most cases you may take your disagreement to federal court. But taxpayers can settle most differences without expensive and time-consuming court trials.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS ISSUES STANDARD MILEAGE RATES FOR 2019

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 04 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
     
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
     
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate increased 3.5 cents for business travel driven and 2 cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2018. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Notice-2019-02.

The standard mileage rate for business use 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.

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. These and other limitations are described in section 4.05 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2019-02, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2019

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  • Your ITIN may expire before you file a tax return in 2019. All ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will expire on December 31, 2018. Additionally, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, or 82 (Example: (9XX-73-XXXX) will also expire at the end of the year.
  • If you need to file a tax return in 2019, IRS recommends you submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or Form W-7(SP), Solicitud de Número del Identificación Personal del Contribuyente del Servicio de Impuestos Internos, now to renew your ITIN. As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, 78, 79 or 80 that expired in 2016 & 2017 can also be renewed.
  • See the ITIN Fact Sheet for more information
  • Along with your Form W-7, you will need to: 
    • attach your original identification documents or certified copies by the issuing agency and any other required attachments. 
    • select the reason for needing the ITIN as outlined in the Form W-7 and W-7(SP) instructions. 

      Note: A tax return is not required with a renewal application.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS KICKS OFF 2019 TAX-FILING SEASON AS TAX AGENCY REOPENS; USE IRS.GOV TO AVOID PHONE DELAYS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2019

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IR-2019-07, January 28, 2019

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service successfully opened the 2019 tax-filing season today as the agency started accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2018. Despite the major tax law changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS was able to open this year’s tax-filing season one day earlier than the 2018 tax-filing season.

More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2018 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the April tax deadline. Through mid-day Monday, the IRS had already received several million tax returns during the busy opening hours.

"I am extremely proud of the entire IRS workforce. The dedicated IRS employees have worked tirelessly to successfully implement the biggest tax law changes in 30 years and launch tax season for the nation," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Although we face various near- and longer-term challenges, our employees are committed to doing everything we can to help taxpayers and get refunds out quickly."

Following the government shutdown, the IRS is working to promptly resume normal operations.

“The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth filing season,” Rettig said. “Taxpayers can minimize errors and speed refunds by using e-file and IRS Free File along with direct deposit.”

The IRS expects the first refunds to go out in the first week of February and many refunds to be paid by mid- to late February like previous years. The IRS reminds taxpayers to check “Where’s My Refund?" for updates. Demand on IRS phones during the early weeks of tax season is traditionally heavy, so taxpayers are encouraged to use IRS.gov to find answers before they call.

April deadline; help for taxpayers through e-file

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their returns.
With major changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS encouraged taxpayers seeking more information on tax reform to consult two online resources: Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families, and Publication 5318; Tax Reform What’s New for Your Business. For other tips and resources, visit IRS.gov/taxreform or check out the Get Ready page on IRS.gov.

The IRS expects about 90 percent of returns to be filed electronically. Choosing e-file and direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

Most refunds sent in less than 21 days; EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 27

The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a tax return may require additional review and take longer. “Where’s My Refund?” has the most up to date information available about refunds. The tool is updated only once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.
The IRS also notes that refunds, by law, cannot be issued before Feb. 15 for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. This applies to the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. While the IRS will process the EITC and ACTC returns when received, these refunds cannot be issued before Feb. 15. Similar to last year, the IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to actually be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2019, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

“Where’s My Refund?” ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app remain the best way to check the status of a refund. “Where’s My Refund?” will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC and ACTC refund filers on Feb. 23, so those filers will not see a refund date on “Where's My Refund?” ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so these filers should not contact or call about refunds before the end of February.

This law was changed to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud. Even with the EITC and ACTC refunds and the additional security safeguards, the IRS still expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a particular tax return may require additional review and a refund could take longer. Even so, taxpayers and tax return preparers should file when they’re ready. For those who usually file early in the year and are ready to file a complete and accurate return, there is no need to wait to file.

New Form 1040

Form 1040 has been redesigned for tax year 2018. The revised form consolidates Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040-EZ into one form that all individual taxpayers will use to file their 2018 federal income tax return.

The new form uses a “building block” approach that can be supplemented with additional schedules as needed. Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations will only need to file the Form 1040 with no additional schedules. People who use tax software will still follow the steps they’re familiar with from previous years. Since nearly 90 percent of taxpayers now use tax software, the IRS expects the change to Form 1040 and its schedules to be seamless for those who e-file.

Filing assistance

No matter who prepares a federal tax return, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included. IRS.gov offers a number of tips about selecting a preparer and information about national tax professional groups.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing. This includes Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return.

Online tools

The IRS reminds taxpayers they have a variety of options to get help filing and preparing their tax returns on IRS.gov, the official IRS website. Taxpayers can find answers to their tax questions and resolve tax issues online. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide links to these and other IRS services.

Taxpayers can go to View Your Account Information to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, pay online or set up an online payment agreement; access their tax records online; review the past 18 months of payment history; and view key tax return information for the current year as filed. Visit IRS.gov/secureaccess to review the required identity authentication process.

The IRS urges taxpayers to take advantage of the many tools and other resources available on IRS.gov.

The IRS continues to work with state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry to address tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit effort, stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation’s tax system are in effect for the 2019 tax filing season.

The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to taxpayers but will help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide additional protections, and tighter security requirements will better protect tax software accounts and personal information.

Renew ITIN to avoid refund delays

Many Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) expired on Dec. 31, 2018. This includes any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years. Also, any ITIN with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 and 82 (Example: 9NN-73-NNNN) is now expired. ITINs that have middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 expired Dec. 31, 2017, but taxpayers can still renew them. Affected taxpayers should act soon to avoid refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some key tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. tax law but is not eligible for a Social Security number.

It can take up to 11 weeks to process a complete and accurate ITIN renewal application. For that reason, the IRS urges anyone with an expired ITIN needing to file a tax return this tax season to submit their ITIN renewal application soon.

Sign and validate electronically filed tax returns

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Some taxpayers using a tax filing software product for the first time may need their adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity.

Taxpayers using the same tax software they used last year will not need to enter their prior year information to electronically sign their 2017 tax return. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-Laying the Groundwork for Your 2018 Tax Return & Installment Sales: A Viable Option for Transferring Assets

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 24 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRS waives penalty for many whose tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short in 2018

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 23 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is waiving the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year.

The IRS is generally waiving the penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. The usual percentage threshold is 90 percent to avoid a penalty.

The waiver computation announced today will be integrated into commercially-available tax software and reflected in the forthcoming revision of Form 2210 and instructions.

This relief is designed to help taxpayers who were unable to properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017. 

“We realize there were many changes that affected people last year, and this penalty waiver will help taxpayers who inadvertently didn’t have enough tax withheld,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We urge people to check their withholding again this year to make sure they are having the right amount of tax withheld for 2019.”

The updated federal tax withholding tables, released in early 2018, largely reflected the lower tax rates and the increased standard deduction brought about by the new law. This generally meant taxpayers had less tax withheld in 2018 and saw more in their paychecks. 

However, the withholding tables couldn’t fully factor in other changes, such as the suspension of dependency exemptions and reduced itemized deductions. As a result, some taxpayers could have paid too little tax during the year, if they did not submit a properly-revised W-4 withholding form to their employer or increase their estimated tax payments. The IRS and partner groups conducted an extensive outreach and education campaign throughout 2018 to encourage taxpayers to do a “Paycheck Checkup” to avoid a situation where they had too much or too little tax withheld when they file their tax returns. 

Although most 2018 tax filers are still expected to get refunds, some taxpayers will unexpectedly owe additional tax when they file their returns.

Additional Information

Because the U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go, taxpayers are required, by law, to pay most of their tax obligation during the year, rather than at the end of the year. This can be done by either having tax withheld from paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments.

Usually, a penalty applies at tax filing if too little is paid during the year. Normally, the penalty would not apply for 2018 if tax payments during the year met one of the following tests: 

  • The person’s tax payments were at least 90 percent of the tax liability for 2018 or
  • The person’s tax payments were at least 100 percent of the prior year’s tax liability, in this case from 2017. However, the 100 percent threshold is increased to 110 percent if a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income is more than $150,000, or $75,000 if married and filing a separate return. 

For waiver purposes only, today’s relief lowers the 90 percent threshold to 85 percent. This means that a taxpayer will not owe a penalty if they paid at least 85 percent of their total 2018 tax liability. If the taxpayer paid less than 85 percent, then they are not eligible for the waiver and the penalty will be calculated as it normally would be, using the 90 percent threshold. For further details, see Notice 2019-11, posted today on IRS.gov.

Like last year, the IRS urges everyone to check their withholding for 2019. This is especially important for anyone now facing an unexpected tax bill when they file. This is also an important step for those who made withholding adjustments in 2018 or had a major life change to ensure the right tax is still being withheld. Those most at risk of having too little tax withheld from their pay include taxpayers who itemized in the past but now take the increased standard deduction, as well as two-wage-earner households, employees with nonwage sources of income and those with complex tax situations.

To help taxpayers get their withholding right in 2019, an updated version of the agency’s online Withholding Calculator is now available on IRS.gov.With tax season starting Jan. 28, the IRS reminds taxpayers it’s never too early to get ready for the tax-filing season ahead. While it’s a good idea any year, starting early in 2019 is particularly important as most tax filers adjust to the revised tax rates, deductions and credits. 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-Treasury, IRS issue final regulations, other guidance on new qualified business income deduction; Safe harbor enables many rental real estate owners to claim deduction

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 22 2019

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Today the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations and three related pieces of guidance, implementing the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction (section 199A deduction).

The new QBI deduction, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) allows many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, or estates to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income.  Eligible taxpayers can also deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and publicly traded partnership income.  

The QBI deduction is available in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, meaning eligible taxpayers will be able to claim it for the first time on their 2018 Form 1040.

The guidance, released today includes:

  • A set of regulations, finalizing proposed regulations issued last summer, A new set of proposed regulations providing guidance on several aspects of the QBI deduction, including qualified REIT dividends received by regulated investment companies
  • revenue procedure providing guidance on determining W-2 wages for QBI deduction purposes,
  • notice on a proposed revenue procedure providing a safe harbor for certain real estate enterprises that may be treated as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction

The proposed revenue procedure, included in Notice 2019-07, allows individuals and entities who own rental real estate directly or through a disregarded entity to treat a rental real estate enterprise as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction if certain requirements are met. Taxpayers can rely on this safe harbor until a final revenue procedure is issued. 

The QBI deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers with 2018 taxable income at or below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other filers. Those with incomes above these levels, are still eligible for the deduction but are subject to limitations, such as the type of trade or business, the amount of W-2 wages paid in the trade or business and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified property. These limitations are fully described in the final regulations.

The QBI deduction is not available for wage income or for business income earned by a C corporation.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-IRS Operations During the Appropriations Lapse

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 21 2019

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Due to the lapse in appropriations, most IRS operations are closed during the shutdown. An IRS-wide furlough began on December 22, 2018, that affects many operations.

During this period, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the underlying tax laws remain in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do by law.

2019 Filing Season: Key Information for Taxpayers

The IRS has announced that the 2019 filing season will begin on Jan. 28, 2019, for individual taxpayers. The IRS began accepting business tax returns (non-1040 series) on Jan. 8.

Taxpayers should keep several things in mind during this challenging period:

  • File electronically. The IRS will accept paper and electronic tax returns, but taxpayers are urged to file electronically to speed processing and refunds.
  • Tax refunds. Refunds will be paid, but the IRS cautions that returns will continue to be subject to refund fraud, identity theft and other internal reviews as in prior years. Taxpayers should use e-file or Free File with direct deposit to help speed refunds.
  • Tax filing. Taxpayers can go ahead and start working on their returns in advance of the Jan. 28 opening. Both tax software and tax professionals will be available and working in advance of IRS systems opening. Software companies and tax professionals will then submit the returns when the IRS systems open. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

​Limited Operations During the Appropriations Lapse

Automated applicationsIRS.gov and many automated applications remain available, including such things as Where’s My Refund, the IRS2go phone app and online payment agreements.

Telephones. No live telephone customer service assistance is currently available, although the IRS will be adding staff to answer some of the telephone lines in the coming days. Due to the heavier call volume, taxpayers should be prepared for longer wait times. Most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain operational. The IRS encourages people to use IRS.govfor information.

In-person service. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers (TACs) are closed. That means those offices are unable to handle large cash payments or assist identity theft victims required to visit an IRS office to establish their identity. In-person assistance will not be available for taxpayers experiencing a hardship.

Taxpayer appointments. While the government is closed, people with appointments related to examinations (audits), collection, Appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. IRS personnel will reschedule those meetings at a later date, when the IRS reopens.

Taxpayer correspondence. While able to receive mail, the IRS will be responding to paper correspondence to only a very limited degree during this lapse period. Taxpayers who mail in correspondence to the IRS  during this period should expect a lengthy delay for a response after the IRS reopens due to a growing correspondence backlog.

Tax-exempt groups. The IRS will not be processing applications or determinations for tax-exempt status or pension plans.

Enforcement activity. During this period, the IRS will not be conducting audits, but automated initial contact letters will continue to be mailed. No collection activity will generally occur except for automated collection activity. For example, automated IRS collection notices will continue to be mailed. Criminal Investigation work, however, continues during this period.

Passports. The IRS will not be certifying for the State Department any individuals for passport eligibility.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could cause your tax return to be rejected by the IRS.

For newlyweds, the tax scenario can begin when the bride says "I do" and takes her husband's surname, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the SSN.

Similarly, after a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband's name and had made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.

It's easy to inform the SSA of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency's Web site, www.ssa.gov, by calling toll free 1-800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA Web site provides the addresses of local offices.  Alternatively, please contact us as we can be of even greater assistance with your spousal situation.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Ten Ways to Avoid Problems at Tax Time

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? The IRS offers these tips:

  1. Don't Procrastinate. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the last minute. Your haste to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
  2. Organize Your Tax Records. Tax preparation time can be significantly reduced if you develop a system for organizing your records and receipts. Start with the income, deduction or tax credit items that were on last year's return.
  3. Visit the IRS Online. Millions of taxpayers visited the IRS Web site last year, downloading nearly 600 million forms, publications and a variety of topic-oriented tax information. Anyone with Internet access can find tax law information and answers to frequently asked tax questions.
  4. Take Advantage of Free Assistance. The IRS offers about 150 tax topics through its website at www.irs.gov/taxtopics. It also offers federal tax forms and publications at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Some libraries, post offices, and banks carry the most widely requested forms and instructions. Libraries may also have reference sets of IRS publications. The IRS also staffs a tax Help Line for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040. Help for small businesses, corporations, partnerships and trusts which need information or assistance preparing business returns is available at 1-800-829-4933. Both lines are staffed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). Hearing-impaired individuals with access to TTY/TDD equipment may call 1-800-829-4059 to ask questions or to order forms and publications.
  5. Use IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers and Vounteer Programs. Free tax help is available at IRS offices nationwide. Also, check your newspaper or local IRS office to find locations for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites. To obtain the location, dates, and hours of the VITA or TCE volunteer site closest to you, call the IRS toll-free Tax Help Line for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040 or on the IRS website.
  6. Have your accountant Double-Check Your Math and Data Entries. Review your return for possible math errors and make sure you have provided the names and correct (and legibly written) Social Security or other identification numbers for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.
  7. Have Your Refund Deposited Directly to Your Bank Account. Another way to speed up your refund and reduce the chance of theft is to have the amount deposited directly to your bank account. Check the tax instructions for details on entering the routing and account numbers on your tax return. Make sure the numbers you enter are correct. Wrong numbers can cause your refund to be misdirected or delayed.
  8. Don't Panic if You Can't Pay. If you can't immediately pay the taxes you owe, consider some stress-reducing alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card, either as part of an electronic return or directly through a processing agent, either by phone or online. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government's financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April 15 due date, with no fee. Note that if you file your tax return or a request for a filing extension on time, even if you can't pay, you avoid potential late filing penalties.
  9. Have Your Accountant Request an Extension of Time to File — But Pay on Time. If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file, to October 15. An extension of time to file does not give you an extension of time to pay, however. You can e-file a Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, that is included in most tax preparation software, or send a paper Form 4868 to the IRS to request the extension. You will need the adjusted gross income and total tax amounts from last year's return if you request the extension by electronic filing. You may also get an extension by charging your expected balance on a credit card at Official Payments Corporation or Link2Gov Corporation. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but the processors charge a convenience fee.
  10. Contact Us!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-THE TAX ADVOCATE SERVICE, PROVIDED BY THE IRS

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Have you tried everything to resolve a tax problem with the IRS but are still experiencing delays? Are you facing what you consider to be an economic burden or hardship due to IRS collection or other actions? If so, you can seek the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

You may request the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate if you find that you can no longer provide for basic necessities such as housing, transportation or food because of IRS actions. You can also seek help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you own a business and are unable to meet basic expenses such as payroll because of IRS actions. A delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax related problem or no response by the date promised may also qualify you for assistance.

Qualified taxpayers will receive personalized service from a knowledgeable Taxpayer Advocate. The Advocate will listen to your situation, help you understand what needs to be done to resolve it, and stay with you every step of the way until your problem is resolved to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS and can help clear up problems that resulted from previous contacts with the IRS. Taxpayer Advocates will ensure that your case is given a complete and impartial review. What's more, if your problem affects other taxpayers, the Taxpayer Advocate Service can work to change the system.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-FILING AN EXTENSION

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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If you can't meet the April 15 deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork into the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

You must make an accurate estimate of any tax due when you request an extension. You may also send a payment for the expected balance due, but this is not required to obtain the extension.

To get the automatic extension, file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the IRS by the April 15 deadline, or make an extension-related electronic payment. You can file your extension request by computer or mail the paper Form 4868 to the IRS.

The system will give you a confirmation number to verify that the extension request has been accepted. Put this confirmation number on your copy of Form 4868 and keep it for your records. Do not send the form to the IRS.  As this is the area of our expertise, please contact us for more detailed information on how to file an extension properly!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRS Confirms Tax Filing Season to Begin January 28

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 09 2019

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Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
 
“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
 
Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.

The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days.
 
“IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” said Rettig.
 
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
 
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.
 
Software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

-LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR YOUR 2018 TAX RETURN

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX SAVING TECHNIQUE

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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Following are some generally recognized financial planning tools that may help you reduce your tax bill.

Charitable Giving - Instead of selling your appreciated long-term securities, donate the stock instead and avoid paying tax on the unrealized gain while still getting a charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - If you have a high deductible medical plan you can open an HSA and make tax deductible contributions to your account to pay for medical expenses. Unlike flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), the contributions can carry over for medical expenses in future years.

ROTH IRAs - Contributions to a ROTH IRA are not tax deductible but the qualified distributions, including earnings are tax-free.

Municipal Bonds - Interest earned on these types of investments is tax-exempt.

Own a home - most of the cost of this type of investment is financed and the interest (on mortgages up to $750,000) is tax deductible. When the property is sold, individuals may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married jointly) of the gain.

Retirement Plans - Participate in your employer sponsored retirement plan, especially if there is a matching component. You will receive a current tax deduction and the tax-deferred compounding can add up to a large retirement savings.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-INSTALLMENT SALES: A VIABLE OPTION FOR TRANSFERRING ASSETS

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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Are you considering transferring real estate, a family business or other assets you expect to appreciate dramatically in the future? If so, an installment sale may be a viable option. Its benefits include the ability to freeze asset values for estate tax purposes and remove future appreciation from your taxable estate.

Giving away vs. selling

From an estate planning perspective, if you have a taxable estate it’s usually more advantageous to give property to your children than to sell it to them. By gifting the asset you’ll be depleting your estate and thereby reducing potential estate tax liability, whereas in a sale the proceeds generally will be included in your taxable estate.

But an installment sale may be desirable if you’ve already used up your $11.18 million (for 2018) lifetime gift tax exemption or if your cash flow needs preclude you from giving the property away outright. When you sell property at fair market value to your children or other loved ones rather than gifting it, you avoid gift taxes on the transfer and freeze the property’s value for estate tax purposes as of the sale date. All future appreciation benefits the buyer and won’t be included in your taxable estate.

Because the transaction is structured as a sale rather than a gift, your buyer must have the financial resources to buy the property. But by using an installment note, the buyer can make the payments over time. Ideally, the purchased property will generate enough income to fund these payments.

Advantages and disadvantages

An advantage of an installment sale is that it gives you the flexibility to design a payment schedule that corresponds with the property’s cash flow, as well as with your and your buyer’s financial needs. You can arrange for the payments to increase or decrease over time, or even provide for interest-only payments with an end-of-term balloon payment of the principal.

One disadvantage of an installment sale over strategies that involve gifted property is that you’ll be subject to tax on any capital gains you recognize from the sale. Fortunately, you can spread this tax liability over the term of the installment note. As of this writing, the long-term capital gains rates are 0%, 15% or 20%, depending on the amount of your net long-term capital gains plus your ordinary income.

Also, you’ll have to charge interest on the note and pay ordinary income tax on the interest payments. IRS guidelines provide for a minimum rate of interest that must be paid on the note. On the bright side, any capital gains and ordinary income tax you pay further reduces the size of your taxable estate.

Simple technique, big benefits

An installment sale is an approach worth exploring for business owners, real estate investors and others who have gathered high-value assets. It can help keep a family-owned business in the family or otherwise play an important role in your estate plan.

Bear in mind, however, that this simple technique isn’t right for everyone. Our firm can review your situation and help you determine whether an installment sale is a wise move for you.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Organizational and Start Up Costs

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 02 2019

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Have you just started a new business? Did you know expenses incurred before a business begins operations are not allowed as current deductions? Generally, these start up costs must be amortized over a period of 180 months beginning in the month in which the business begins. However, based on the current tax provisions, you may elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred. The $5,000 deduction is reduced by any start-up or organizational costs which exceed $50,000. If you want to deduct a larger portion of your start up cost in the first year, a new business will want to begin operations as early as possible and hold off incurring some of those expenses until after business begins. Contact us to help determine how you can maximize your deduction for start-up and/or organizational expenses. For additional information on what costs constitute start-up or organizational expenses, refer to IRS publication 535, Business Expenses.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

TAXABLE VS. TAX-ADVANTAGED: WHERE TO HOLD INVESTMENTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 27 2018

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When investing for retirement or other long-term goals, people usually prefer tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s or 403(b)s. Certain assets are well suited to these accounts, but it may make more sense to hold other investments in traditional taxable accounts.

Know the rules

Some investments, such as fast-growing stocks, can generate substantial capital gains, which may occur when you sell a security for more than you paid for it.

If you’ve owned that position for over a year, you face long-term gains, taxed at a maximum rate of 20%. In contrast, short-term gains, assessed on holding periods of a year or less, are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate — maxing out at 37%. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)

Choose tax efficiency

Generally, the more tax efficient an investment, the more benefit you’ll get from owning it in a taxable account. Conversely, investments that lack tax efficiency normally are best suited to tax-advantaged vehicles.

Consider municipal bonds (“munis”), either held individually or through mutual funds. Munis are attractive to tax-sensitive investors because their income is exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes state and local income taxes. Because you don’t get a double benefit when you own an already tax-advantaged security in a tax-advantaged account, holding munis in your 401(k) or IRA would result in a lost opportunity.

Similarly, tax-efficient investments such as passively managed index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, or long-term stock holdings, are generally appropriate for taxable accounts. These securities are more likely to generate long-term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. Securities that generate more of their total return via capital appreciation or that pay qualified dividends are also better taxable account options.

Take advantage of income

What investments work best for tax-advantaged accounts? Taxable investments that tend to produce much of their return in income. This category includes corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are required to pass through most of their earnings as shareholder income. Most REIT dividends are nonqualified and therefore taxed at your ordinary-income rate.

Another tax-advantaged-appropriate investment may be an actively managed mutual fund. Funds with significant turnover — meaning their portfolio managers are actively buying and selling securities — have increased potential to generate short-term gains that ultimately get passed through to you. Because short-term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains, these funds would be less desirable in a taxable account.

Get specific advice

The above concepts are only general suggestions. Please contact our firm for specific advice on what may be best for you.

Sidebar: Doing due diligence on dividends

If you own a lot of income-generating investments, you’ll need to pay attention to the tax rules for dividends, which belong to one of two categories:

  • Qualified. These dividends are paid by U.S. corporations or qualified foreign corporations. Qualified dividends are, like long-term gains, subject to a maximum tax rate of 20%, though many people are eligible for a 15% rate. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)
  • Nonqualified. These dividends — which include most distributions from real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — receive a less favorable tax treatment. Like short-term gains, nonqualified dividends are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-BUSINESS OR HOBBY

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 27 2018

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It is generally accepted that people prefer to make a living doing something they like. A hobby is an activity for which you do not expect to make a profit. If you do not carry on your business or investment activity to make a profit, there is a limit on the deductions you can take. You must include on your return income from an activity from which you do not expect to make a profit. An example of this type of activity is a hobby or a farm you operate mostly for recreation and pleasure. You cannot use a loss from the activity to offset other income. Activities you do as a hobby, or mainly for sport or recreation, come under this limit. So does an investment activity intended only to produce tax losses for the investors.

The limit on not-for-profit losses applies to individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts, and S corporations. For additional information on these entities, refer to business structures. It does not apply to corporations other than S corporations. In determining whether you are carrying on an activity for profit, all the facts are taken into account. No one factor alone is decisive. Among the factors to consider are whether:

  1. You carry on the activity in a business-like manner,
  2. The time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable,
  3. You depend on income from the activity for your livelihood,
  4. Your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the start-up phase of your type of business),
  5. You change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability,
  6. You, or your advisors, 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, and
  9. You can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX INCENTIVES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 27 2018

TEST

 

The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e. you, your spouse, or dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit and the ability to claim the credit phases out at higher income levels.

If you don't qualify for the credit, you may be able to claim the "tuition & fees deduction" for qualified educational expenses. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. This deduction phases out at higher income levels.

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040. However, this deduction is also phased out at higher income levels.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-ACCELERATING YOUR PROPERTY TAX DEDUCTION TO REDUCE YOUR TAX BILL

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 27 2018

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Smart timing of deductible expenses can reduce your tax liability, and poor timing can increase it unnecessarily. One deductible expense you may be able to control to your advantage is your property tax payment.

You can prepay (by December 31) property taxes that relate to 2018 (the taxes must be assessed in 2018) but that are due in 2019, and deduct the payment on your return for this year. But you generally can’t prepay property taxes that relate to 2019 (they must be assessed in 2019) and deduct the payment on this year’s return. Also, beware of the dollar-amount limitation discussed below.

A big decision

Accelerating deductible expenses such as property tax payments is typically beneficial. Prepaying your property tax may be especially advantageous if your tax rate under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is expected to decrease in the next year. Deductions save more tax when tax rates are higher.

But not every tax rate has dropped for the 2018 tax year under the TCJA — the very lowest rate, 10%, has been retained, as well as the 35% rate (though the income brackets for these rates have changed). So, some taxpayers may not save any more by prepaying. Also, taxpayers who expect to substantially increase their income next year, pushing them into a higher tax bracket, may benefit by not prepaying their property tax bill.

Another important point is that, under the TCJA, for tax years 2018 through 2025 the itemized deduction for all state and local taxes is limited to $10,000 ($5,000 for married filing separately).

More considerations

Property tax isn’t deductible for purposes of the alternative minimum tax (AMT). So, if you’re subject to the AMT this year, a prepayment may hurt you because you’ll lose the benefit of the deduction. Before prepaying your property tax, make sure you aren’t at AMT risk for 2018.

Also, don’t forget that, for 2018 to 2025, the TCJA suspends personal itemized exemptions but roughly doubles the standard deduction amounts (for 2018) to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. This may affect your decision on whether to prepay.

Specific strategies

Not sure whether you should prepay your property tax bill or what other deductions you might be able to accelerate into 2018 (or should consider deferring to 2019)? Contact us. We can help you determine your optimal year-end tax planning strategies.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IS NOW THE TIME FOR SOME LIFE INSURANCE?

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 19 2018

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Many people reach a point in life when buying some life insurance is highly advisable. Once you determine that you need it, the next step is calculating how much you should get and what kind.

Careful calculations

If the coverage is to replace income and support your family, this starts with tallying the costs that would need to be covered, such as housing and transportation, child care, and education — and for how long. For many families, this will be only until the youngest children are on their own.

Next, identify income available to your family from Social Security, investments, retirement savings and any other sources. Insurance can help bridge any gaps between the expenses to be covered and the income available.

If you’re purchasing life insurance for another reason, the purpose will dictate how much you need:

Funeral costs. An average funeral bill can top $7,000. Gravesite costs typically add thousands more to this number.

Mortgage payoff. You may need coverage equal to the amount of your outstanding mortgage balance.

Estate planning. If the goal is to pay estate taxes, you’ll need to estimate your estate tax liability. If it’s to equalize inheritances, you’ll need to estimate the value of business interests going to each child active in your business and purchase enough coverage to provide equal inheritances to the inactive children.

Term vs. permanent

The next question is what type of policy to purchase. Life insurance policies generally fall into two broad categories: term or permanent.

Term insurance is for a specific period. If you die during the policy’s term, it pays out to the beneficiaries you’ve named. If you don’t die during the term, it doesn’t pay out. It’s typically much less expensive than permanent life insurance, at least if purchased while you’re relatively young and healthy.

Permanent life insurance policies last until you die, so long as you’ve paid the premiums. Most permanent policies build up a cash value that you may be able to borrow against. Over time, the cash value also may reduce the premiums.

Because the premiums are typically higher for permanent insurance, you need to consider whether the extra cost is worth the benefits. It might not be if, for example, you may not require much life insurance after your children are grown.

But permanent life insurance may make sense if you’re concerned that you could become uninsurable, if you’re providing for special-needs children who will never be self-sufficient, or if the coverage is to pay estate taxes or equalize inheritances.

Some comfort

No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind. But you’ll no doubt find some comfort in having a life insurance policy that helps cover your family’s financial needs and plays an important role in your estate plan. Let us help you work out the details.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Business or Hobby?

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 19 2018

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It is generally accepted that people prefer to make a living doing something they like. A hobby is an activity for which you do not expect to make a profit. If you do not carry on your business or investment activity to make a profit, there is a limit on the deductions you can take. You must include on your return income from an activity from which you do not expect to make a profit. An example of this type of activity is a hobby or a farm you operate mostly for recreation and pleasure. You cannot use a loss from the activity to offset other income. Activities you do as a hobby, or mainly for sport or recreation, come under this limit. So does an investment activity intended only to produce tax losses for the investors.

The limit on not-for-profit losses applies to individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts, and S corporations. For additional information on these entities, refer to business structures. It does not apply to corporations other than S corporations. In determining whether you are carrying on an activity for profit, all the facts are taken into account. No one factor alone is decisive. Among the factors to consider are whether:

  • You carry on the activity in a business-like manner,
  • The time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable,
  • You depend on income from the activity for your livelihood,
  • Your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the start-up phase of your type of business),
  • You change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability,
  • You, or your advisors, have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business,
  • You were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past,
  • The activity makes a profit in some years, and
  • You can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAXABLE VS. TAX-ADVANTAGED: WHERE TO HOLD INVESTMENTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 19 2018

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When investing for retirement or other long-term goals, people usually prefer tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s or 403(b)s. Certain assets are well suited to these accounts, but it may make more sense to hold other investments in traditional taxable accounts.

Know the rules

Some investments, such as fast-growing stocks, can generate substantial capital gains, which may occur when you sell a security for more than you paid for it.

If you’ve owned that position for over a year, you face long-term gains, taxed at a maximum rate of 20%. In contrast, short-term gains, assessed on holding periods of a year or less, are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate — maxing out at 37%. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)

Choose tax efficiency

Generally, the more tax efficient an investment, the more benefit you’ll get from owning it in a taxable account. Conversely, investments that lack tax efficiency normally are best suited to tax-advantaged vehicles.

Consider municipal bonds (“munis”), either held individually or through mutual funds. Munis are attractive to tax-sensitive investors because their income is exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes state and local income taxes. Because you don’t get a double benefit when you own an already tax-advantaged security in a tax-advantaged account, holding munis in your 401(k) or IRA would result in a lost opportunity.

Similarly, tax-efficient investments such as passively managed index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, or long-term stock holdings, are generally appropriate for taxable accounts. These securities are more likely to generate long-term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. Securities that generate more of their total return via capital appreciation or that pay qualified dividends are also better taxable account options.

Take advantage of income

What investments work best for tax-advantaged accounts? Taxable investments that tend to produce much of their return in income. This category includes corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are required to pass through most of their earnings as shareholder income. Most REIT dividends are nonqualified and therefore taxed at your ordinary-income rate.

Another tax-advantaged-appropriate investment may be an actively managed mutual fund. Funds with significant turnover — meaning their portfolio managers are actively buying and selling securities — have increased potential to generate short-term gains that ultimately get passed through to you. Because short-term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains, these funds would be less desirable in a taxable account.

Get specific advice

The above concepts are only general suggestions. Please contact our firm for specific advice on what may be best for you.

Sidebar: Doing due diligence on dividends

If you own a lot of income-generating investments, you’ll need to pay attention to the tax rules for dividends, which belong to one of two categories:

  • Qualified. These dividends are paid by U.S. corporations or qualified foreign corporations. Qualified dividends are, like long-term gains, subject to a maximum tax rate of 20%, though many people are eligible for a 15% rate. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)
  • Nonqualified. These dividends — which include most distributions from real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — receive a less favorable tax treatment. Like short-term gains, nonqualified dividends are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-USE CAPITAL LOSSES TO OFFSET CAPITAL GAINS

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 19 2018

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When is a loss actually a gain? When that loss becomes an opportunity to lower tax liability, of course. Now’s a good time to begin your year-end tax planning and attempt to neutralize gains and losses by year end. To do so, it might make sense to sell investments at a loss in 2018 to offset capital gains that you’ve already realized this year.

Now and later

A capital loss occurs when you sell a security for less than your “basis,” generally the original purchase price. You can use capital losses to offset any capital gains you realize in that same tax year — even if one is short term and the other is long term.

When your capital losses exceed your capital gains, you can use up to $3,000 of the excess to offset wages, interest and other ordinary income ($1,500 for married people filing separately) and carry the remainder forward to future years until it’s used up.

Research and replace

Years ago, investors realized it could be beneficial to sell a security to recognize a capital loss for a given tax year and then — if they still liked the security’s prospects — buy it back immediately. To counter this strategy, Congress imposed the wash sale rule, which disallows losses when an investor sells a security and then buys the same or a “substantially identical” security within 30 days of the sale, before or after.

Waiting 30 days to repurchase a security you’ve sold might be fine in some situations. But there may be times when you’d rather not be forced to sit on the sidelines for a month.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative. With a little research, you might be able to identify a security in the same sector you like just as well as, or better than, the old one. Your solution is now simple and straightforward: Simultaneously sell the stock you own at a loss and buy the competitor’s stock, thereby avoiding violation of the “same or substantially identical” provision of the wash sale rule. You maintain your position in that sector or industry and might even add to your portfolio a stock you believe has more potential or less risk.

If you bought shares of a security at different times, give some thought to which lot can be sold most advantageously. The IRS allows investors to choose among several methods of designating lots when selling securities, and those methods sometimes produce radically different results.

Good with the bad

Investing always carries the risk that you will lose some or even all of your money. But you have to take the good with the bad. In terms of tax planning, you can turn investment losses into opportunities — and potentially end the year on a high note.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-YOUR APPEAL RIGHTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 14 2018

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Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, explains some of your most important taxpayer rights. During their contact with taxpayers, IRS employees are required to explain and protect these taxpayer rights, including the right to appeal.

The IRS appeals system is for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or other adjustments to their tax liability. In addition to examinations, you can appeal many other things, including:

  • Collection actions such as liens, levies, seizures, installment agreement terminations and rejected offers-in-compromise
  • Penalties and interest
  • Employment tax adjustments and the trust fund recovery penalty

Appeals conferences are informal meetings. The local Appeals Office, which is independent of the IRS office that proposed the disputed action, can sometimes resolve an appeal by telephone or through correspondence.

The IRS also offers an option called Fast Track Mediation, during which an appeals or settlement officer attempts to help you and the IRS reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Most cases not docketed in court qualify for Fast Track Mediation. You may request Fast Track Mediation at the conclusion of an audit or collection determination, but prior to your request for a normal appeals hearing. Fast Track Mediation is meant to promote the early resolution of a dispute. It doesn't eliminate or replace existing dispute resolution options, including your opportunity to request a conference with a manager or a hearing before Appeals. You may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

When attending an informal meeting or pursuing mediation, you may represent yourself or you can be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or individual enrolled to practice before the IRS.

If you and the IRS appeals officer cannot reach agreement, or if you prefer not to appeal within the IRS, in most cases you may take your disagreement to federal court. But taxpayers can settle most differences without expensive and time-consuming court trials.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IS NOW THE TIME FOR SOME LIFE INSURANCE?

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 14 2018

TEST

 

Many people reach a point in life when buying some life insurance is highly advisable. Once you determine that you need it, the next step is calculating how much you should get and what kind.

Careful calculations

If the coverage is to replace income and support your family, this starts with tallying the costs that would need to be covered, such as housing and transportation, child care, and education — and for how long. For many families, this will be only until the youngest children are on their own.

Next, identify income available to your family from Social Security, investments, retirement savings and any other sources. Insurance can help bridge any gaps between the expenses to be covered and the income available.

If you’re purchasing life insurance for another reason, the purpose will dictate how much you need:

  • Funeral costs. An average funeral bill can top $7,000. Gravesite costs typically add thousands more to this number.
  • Mortgage payoff. You may need coverage equal to the amount of your outstanding mortgage balance.
  • Estate planning. If the goal is to pay estate taxes, you’ll need to estimate your estate tax liability. If it’s to equalize inheritances, you’ll need to estimate the value of business interests going to each child active in your business and purchase enough coverage to provide equal inheritances to the inactive children.

Term vs. permanent

The next question is what type of policy to purchase. Life insurance policies generally fall into two broad categories: term or permanent.

Term insurance is for a specific period. If you die during the policy’s term, it pays out to the beneficiaries you’ve named. If you don’t die during the term, it doesn’t pay out. It’s typically much less expensive than permanent life insurance, at least if purchased while you’re relatively young and healthy.

Permanent life insurance policies last until you die, so long as you’ve paid the premiums. Most permanent policies build up a cash value that you may be able to borrow against. Over time, the cash value also may reduce the premiums.

Because the premiums are typically higher for permanent insurance, you need to consider whether the extra cost is worth the benefits. It might not be if, for example, you may not require much life insurance after your children are grown.

But permanent life insurance may make sense if you’re concerned that you could become uninsurable, if you’re providing for special-needs children who will never be self-sufficient, or if the coverage is to pay estate taxes or equalize inheritances.

Some comfort

No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind. But you’ll no doubt find some comfort in having a life insurance policy that helps cover your family’s financial needs and plays an important role in your estate plan. Let us help you work out the details.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Earned Income Tax Credit for Certain Workers

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 14 2018

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Millions of Americans forgo critical tax relief each year by failing to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit for individuals who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.

The IRS estimates that 25 percent of people who qualify don't claim the credit and at the same time, there are millions of Americans who have claimed the credit in error, many of whom simply don't understand the criteria.

EITC is based on the amount of your earned income and the number of qualifying children in your household. If you have children, they must meet the relationship, age and residency requirements. And, you must file a tax return to claim the credit.

It's easier than ever to find out if you qualify for EITC using the online tool, EITC Assistant. Please contact us for more information!

Are you eligible for any of these tax credits?

Taxpayers should consider claiming tax credits for which they might be eligible when completing their federal income tax returns, advises the IRS. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Some credits are refundable – taxes could be reduced to the point that a taxpayer would receive a refund rather than owing any taxes. Below are some of the credits taxpayers could be eligible to claim:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit This is a refundable credit for low-income working individuals and families. Income and family size determine the amount of the EITC. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC).
  • Child Tax Credit This credit is for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum amount of the credit is $2,000 for each qualifying child. This credit can be claimed in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, see Pub. 972, Child Tax Credit.
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit This is for expenses paid for the care of children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, to enable the taxpayer to work. There is a limit to the amount of qualifying expenses. The credit is a percentage of those qualifying expenses. For more information, see Pub. 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  • Adoption Credit Adoptive parents can take a tax credit of up to $13,460 for 2016 and $13,570 for 2017 for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. For more information, see Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.
  • Credit for the Elderly and Disabled This credit is available to individuals who are either age 65 or older or are under age 65 and retired on permanent and total disability, and who are citizens or residents. There are income limitations. For more information, see Pub.524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
  • Education Credits There are two credits available, the American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) and the Lifetime Learning Credit, for people who pay higher education costs. The American Opportunity Credit is for the payment of the first four years of tuition and related expenses for an eligible student for whom the taxpayer claims an exemption on the tax return. The Lifetime Learning Credit is available for all post-secondary education for an unlimited number of years. A taxpayer cannot claim both credits for the same student in one year. For more information, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
  • Retirement Savings Contribution Credit Eligible individuals may be able to claim a credit for a percentage of their qualified retirement savings contributions, such as contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA or salary reduction contributions to a SEP or SIMPLE plan. To be eligible, you must be at least age 18 at the end of the year and not a full-time student or an individual for whom someone else claims a personal exemption. Also, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below a certain amount. For more information, see chapter three in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

There are other credits available to eligible taxpayers.  Please contact us so we may realize your specific situation, and offer advice.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

NAME MISMATCH = POSSIBLE TAX RETURN REJECTION

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 14 2018

MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE

 

Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could cause your tax return to be rejected by the IRS.

For newlyweds, the tax scenario can begin when the bride says "I do" and takes her husband's surname, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the SSN.

Similarly, after a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband's name and had made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.

It's easy to inform the SSA of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency's Web site, www.ssa.gov, by calling toll free 1-800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA Web site provides the addresses of local offices.  Alternatively, please contact us as we can be of even greater assistance with your spousal situation.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

CHANGES IN TAX LAW AND EFFECTS ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 20 2018

TEST

 

The new tax reform law, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, is the biggest federal tax law overhaul in 31 years, and it has both good and bad news for taxpayers.

Below are highlights of some of the most significant changes affecting individual and business taxpayers. Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Individuals

  • Drops of individual income tax rates ranging from 0 to 4 percentage points (depending on the bracket) to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% — through 2025 (Please see the tax rate schedules at the bottom of the article, or visit https://www.lbcpa.com/tax-rates  ).
  • Near doubling of the standard deduction to $24,000 (married couples filing jointly), $18,000 (heads of households), and $12,000 (singles and married couples filing separately) — through 2025
  • Elimination of personal exemptions — through 2025
  • Doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 and other modifications intended to help more taxpayers benefit from the credit — through 2025
  • Elimination of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act requiring taxpayers not covered by a qualifying health plan to pay a penalty — effective for months beginning after December 31, 2018
  • Reduction of the adjusted gross income (AGI) threshold for the medical expense deduction to 7.5% for regular and AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax)  purposes — for 2017 and 2018
  • New $10,000 limit on the deduction for state and local taxes (on a combined basis for property and income taxes; $5,000 for separate filers) — through 2025
  • Reduction of the mortgage debt limit for the home mortgage interest deduction to $750,000 ($375,000 for separate filers), with certain exceptions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt — through 2025
  • Elimination of the personal casualty and theft loss deduction (with an exception for federally declared disasters) — through 2025
  • Elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor (such as certain investment expenses, professional fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses) — through 2025
  • Elimination of the AGI-based reduction of certain itemized deductions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the moving expense deduction (with an exception for members of the military in certain circumstances) — through 2025
  • Expansion of tax-free Section 529 plan distributions to include those used to pay qualifying elementary and secondary school expenses, up to $10,000 per student per tax year
  • AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) exemption increase, to $109,400 for joint filers, $70,300 for singles and heads of households, and $54,700 for separate filers — through 2025
  • Doubling of the gift and estate tax exemptions, to $10 million (expected to be $11.2 million for 2018 with inflation indexing) — through 2025

 

Businesses

  • Replacement of graduated corporate tax rates ranging from 15% to 35% with a flat corporate rate of 21%
  • Repeal of the 20% corporate AMT
  • New 20% qualified business income deduction for owners of flow-through entities (such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations) and sole proprietorships — through 2025
  • Doubling of bonus depreciation to 100% and expansion of qualified assets to include used assets — effective for assets acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023
  • Doubling of the Section 179 expensing limit to $1 million and an increase of the expensing phaseout threshold to $2.5 million
  • Other enhancements to depreciation-related deductions
  • New disallowance of deductions for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business’s adjusted taxable income (exceptions apply)
  • New limits on net operating loss (NOL) deductions
  • Elimination of the Section 199 deduction, also commonly referred to as the domestic production activities deduction or manufacturers’ deduction — effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, for noncorporate taxpayers and for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018, for C corporation taxpayers
  • New rule limiting like-kind exchanges to real property that is not held primarily for sale
  • New tax credit for employer-paid family and medical leave — through 2019
  • New limitations on excessive employee compensation
  • New limitations on deductions for employee fringe benefits, such as entertainment and, in certain circumstances, meals and transportation

More to consider

This is just a brief overview of some of the most significant TCJA provisions. There are additional rules and limits that apply, and the law includes many additional provisions.

If you have any questions please contact us at 305-274-5811 to review how these changes will affect you in 2018 and beyond.

 

2018 Tax Rates

2018 Tax Rates Schedule X - Single

If taxable income is over

But not over

The tax is

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $500,000

no limit

$150,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-1 - Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

If taxable income is over

But not over

The tax is

$0

$19,050

10% of the taxable amount

$19,050

$77,400

$1,905 plus 12% of the excess over $19,050

$77,400

$165,000

$8,907 plus 22% of the excess over $77,400

$165,000

$315,000

$28,179 plus 24% of the excess over $165,000

$315,000

$400,000

$64,179 plus 32% of the excess over $315,000

$400,000

$600,000

$91,379 plus 35% of the excess over $400,000

$600,000

no limit

$161,379 plus 37% of the excess over $600,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-2 - Married Filing Separately

If taxable income is over

But not over

The tax is

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$300,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $300,000

no limit

$80,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $300,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Z - Head of Household

If taxable income is over

But not over

The tax is

$0

$13,600

10% of the taxable amount

$13,600

$51,800

$1,360 plus 12% of the excess over $13,600

$51,800

$82,500

$5,944 plus 22% of the excess over $51,800

$82,500

$157,500

$12,698 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$30,698 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$44,298 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

$500,000

no limit

$149,298 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Estates & Trusts

If taxable income is over

But not over

The tax is

$0

$2,550

10% of the taxable income

$2,550

$9,150

$255 plus 24% of the excess over $2,550

$9,150

$12,500

$1,839 plus 35% of the excess over $9,150

$12,500

no limit

$3,011.50 plus 37% of the excess over $12,500

Social Security 2018 Tax Rates

Base Salary

$128,400

Social Security Tax Rate

6.2%

Maximum Social Security Tax

$7,960.80

Medicare Base Salary

unlimited

Medicare Tax Rate

1.45%

Additional Medicare 2018 Tax Rates

Additional Medicare Tax

0.9%

Filing status

Compensation over

Married filing jointly

$250,000

Married filing separate

$125,000

Single

$200,000

Head of household (with qualifying person)

$200,000

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

$200,000

Education 2018 Credit and Deduction Limits

American Opportunity Tax Credit (Hope)

$2,500

Lifetime Learning Credit

$2,000

Student Loan Interest Deduction

$2,500

Coverdell Education Savings Contribution

$2,000

Miscellaneous 2018 Tax Rates

Standard Deduction:

 
  • Married filing jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

$24,000

  • Head of household

$18,000

  • Sinlge or Married filling separately

$12,000

Business Equipment Expense Deduction

$1,000,000

Prior-year safe harbor for estimated taxes of higher-income

110% of your 2017 tax liability

Standard mileage rate for business driving

54.5 cents

Standard mileage rate for medical/moving driving

18 cents

Standard mileage rate for charitable driving

14 cents

Child Tax Credit

$2,000 per qualifying child

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain up to $77,200 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $51,700 for heads of household, $38,600 for single filers, $38,600 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $2,600 for estates and trusts

0%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over the amount subject to the 0% rate, and up to $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

15%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

20%

Capital gains tax rate for unrecaptured Sec. 1250 gains

25%

Capital gains tax rate on collectibles and qualified small business stock

28%

Maximum contribution for Traditional/Roth IRA

$5,500 if under age 50
$6,500 if 50 or older

Maximum employee contribution to SIMPLE IRA

$12,500 if under age 50
$15,500 if 50 or older

Maximum Contribution to SEP IRA

25% of compensation up to $55,000

401(k) maximum employee contribution limit

$18,500 if under age 50
$24,500 if 50 or older

Self-employed health insurance deduction

100%

Estate tax exemption

$11,180,000

Annual Exclusion for Gifts

$15,000

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

$104,100

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

When it comes to tax records, some are required to be kept under special circumstances.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)
  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
  • Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)
  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-PERSONAL DOCUMENTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the "three-year law" and leads many people to believe they're safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

 

April 15 has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoeboxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents after your check or refund request is in the mail?

 

Please be aware that if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

Personal Documents To Keep For One Year

While it's important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA contribution statements forever, you don't have to save monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end statement has arrived.

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Credit Card Statements
  • Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)
  • Utility Records
  • Expired Insurance Policies

Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Supporting Documents For Tax Returns
  • Accident Reports and Claims
  • Medical Bills (if tax-related)
  • Sales Receipts
  • Wage Garnishments
  • Other Tax-Related Bills

Personal Records To Keep Forever

  • CPA Audit Reports
  • Legal Records
  • Important Correspondence
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Income Tax Payment Checks
  • Property Records / Improvement Receipts (or six years after property sold)
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • Retirement and Pension Records (Forms 5448, 1099-R and 8606 until all distributions are made from your IRA or other qualified plan)

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS IF I CO-SIGN FOR A LOAN?

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

The co-signer enters an agreement to be responsible for the repayment of the loan if the borrower defaults. A lender will usually not go after the co-signer until the borrower defaults, but they can lawfully go after the co-signer at any time.

It has been stated by finance companies that in the case of a default most co-signers actually pay off the loans that they have co-signed for including the legal and late fees that end up being tacked on. Clearly this can be a large financial burden, and it can also reflect negatively on the co-signer's credit.

If you do agree to co-sign on a loan for someone, you can request that the financial institution agrees that it will refrain from collecting from you unless the primary borrower defaults. Also, make sure that your liability is limited to the unpaid principal and not any late or legal fees.

Upon co-signing you may have to brandish financial documents to the lender just as the primary borrower would have to.

Co-signing for a loan gives you the same legal responsibility for the repayment of the debt as the borrower. If there are late payments, this will affect your credit as well.

If you are asked to co-sign for someone, you may want to provide another option and suggest that they get a secured credit card. This way, they can build up their own credit history and not open themselves up to the possibility of taking on a debt too large, placing themselves, and you, in financial danger.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-BUSINESS DOCUMENTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

Business Documents To Keep For One Year

  • Correspondence with Customers and Vendors
  • Duplicate Deposit Slips
  • Purchase Orders (other than Purchasing Department copy)
  • Receiving Sheets
  • Requisitions
  • Stenographer's Notebooks
  • Stockroom Withdrawal Forms

Business Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Employee Personnel Records (after termination)
  • Employment Applications
  • Expired Insurance Policies
  • General Correspondence
  • Internal Audit Reports
  • Internal Reports
  • Petty Cash Vouchers
  • Physical Inventory Tags
  • Savings Bond Registration Records of Employees
  • Time Cards For Hourly Employees

Business Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Accident Reports, Claims
  • Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Bank Statements and Reconciliations
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Cancelled Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Employment Tax Records
  • Expense Analysis and Expense Distribution Schedules
  • Expired Contracts, Leases
  • Expired Option Records
  • Inventories of Products, Materials, Supplies
  • Invoices to Customers
  • Notes Receivable Ledgers, Schedules
  • Payroll Records and Summaries, including payment to pensioners
  • Plant Cost Ledgers
  • Purchasing Department Copies of Purchase Orders
  • Records related to net operating losses (NOL's)
  • Sales Records
  • Subsidiary Ledgers
  • Time Books
  • Travel and Entertainment Records
  • Vouchers for Payments to Vendors, Employees, etc.
  • Voucher Register, Schedules

Business Records To Keep Forever

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records "forever," in many cases there will be other reasons you'll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

  • Audit Reports from CPAs/Accountants
  • Cancelled Checks for Important Payments (especially tax payments)
  • Cash Books, Charts of Accounts
  • Contracts, Leases Currently in Effect
  • Corporate Documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
  • Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
  • Deeds
  • Depreciation Schedules
  • Financial Statements (Year End)
  • General and Private Ledgers, Year End Trial Balances
  • Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • IRS Revenue Agent Reports
  • Journals
  • Legal Records, Correspondence and Other Important Matters
  • Minutes Books of Directors and Stockholders
  • Mortgages, Bills of Sale
  • Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
  • Property Records
  • Retirement and Pension Records
  • Tax Returns and Worksheets
  • Trademark and Patent Registrations

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-SHOULD I REFINANCE?

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

In order to refinance your home, the current market rate should be at least 2 percentage points lower than what you are paying on your mortgage. Speak with a lender to see what rate you may be able to get. Remember to factor in costs like appraisals, points from the lender, and others, which may not be apparent in your initial price assessment.

After assessing that cost, get a quote of what your total payment would be after refinancing. The simplest way to find out how long it will take to recover the refinancing costs will be to divide your closing costs by the monthly savings with your new monthly payment.

Also take into consideration how long you plan on holding your home. It may not make sense to refinance the home if you plan on selling in the near future.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX SAVING TECHNIQUES

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

Following are some generally recognized financial planning tools that may help you reduce your tax bill.

Charitable Giving - Instead of selling your appreciated long-term securities, donate the stock instead and avoid paying tax on the unrealized gain while still getting a charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - If you have a high deductible medical plan you can open an HSA and make tax deductible contributions to your account to pay for medical expenses. Unlike flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), the contributions can carry over for medical expenses in future years.

ROTH IRAs - Contributions to a ROTH IRA are not tax deductible but the qualified distributions, including earnings are tax-free.

Municipal Bonds - Interest earned on these types of investments is tax-exempt.

Own a home - most of the cost of this type of investment is financed and the interest (on mortgages up to $750,000) is tax deductible. When the property is sold, individuals may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married jointly) of the gain.

Retirement Plans - Participate in your employer sponsored retirement plan, especially if there is a matching component. You will receive a current tax deduction and the tax-deferred compounding can add up to a large retirement savings.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-WHEN CONSIDERING A LOAN REQUEST, WHAT DO BANKS LOOK FOR?

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

TEST

 

The bank official who reviews the loan request is focused on repayment. Most loan officers request a copy of your business credit report to determine your ability to repay.

The lending officer will consider the following issues while using the information you provided and the credit report:

  • Have you invested at least 25% or 50% of savings or personal equity into the business for the loan you are requesting? (Keep in mind that 100% of your business will not be financed by an investor.)
  • Do your work history, your credit report and letters of recommendation show a healthy record of credit worthiness? This is a key factor.
  • Do you have the training and experience necessary to operate a successful business?
  • Do your loan proposal and business plan document your knowledge of and dedication to the success of the business?
  • Is the cash flow of the business sufficient to make the monthly payments on the requested loan?

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-DEDUCTING MORTGAGE INTEREST

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 15 2018

Deduct

 

If you own a home, and you itemize your deductions on Schedule A, you can claim a deduction for the interest paid. To be deductible, the interest you pay must be on a loan secured by your main home or a second home (including a second home that is also rented out for part of the year, so long as the personal use requirement is met). The loan can be a first or second mortgage, a home improvement loan, or a home equity loan. To be deductible, the loan must be secured by your home but the proceeds can be used for other than home improvements. You can refinance and use the proceeds to pay off credit card debt, go on vacation or buy a car and the interest will remain deductible. There are other financial reasons for not wanting to do this but it will not disqualify the deduction.

The interest deduction for home acquisition debt (that is, a loan taken out after October 13, 1987 to buy, build, or substantially improve a qualified home) is limited to debt of $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately).

In addition to the deduction for mortgage interest, points paid on the original purchase of your residence are also generally deductible. Taxpayers who are required to pay mortgage insurance premiums may also be able to deduct this amount subject to certain income limits. For more information about the mortgage interest deduction, see IRS Publication 936.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

DEDUCTIBLE TAXES

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 09 2018

DEDUCTIBLE TAXES

 

Did you know that you may be able to deduct certain taxes on your federal income tax return? The IRS says you can if you file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Deductions decrease the amount of income subject to taxation. There are four types of deductible non-business taxes:

  • State and local income taxes, or general sales taxes;
  • Real estate taxes;
  • Personal property taxes; and
  • Foreign income taxes.

You can deduct estimated taxes paid to state or local governments and prior year's state or local income tax as long as they were paid during the tax year. If deducting sales taxes instead, you may deduct actual expenses or use optional tables provided by the IRS to determine your deduction amount, relieving you of the need to save receipts. Sales taxes paid on motor vehicles and boats may be added to the table amount, but only up to the amount paid at the general sales tax rate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limit the total amount of the above state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000.

Taxpayers will check a box on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, to indicate whether their deduction is for income or sales tax.

Deductible real estate taxes are usually any state, local, or foreign taxes on real property. If a portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes into an escrow account and your lender periodically pays your real estate taxes to local governments out of this account, you can deduct only the amount actually paid during the year to the taxing authorities. Your lender will normally send you a Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, at the end of the tax year with this information.

Call us or contact us today to find out how we can save you money!

To claim a deduction for personal property tax you paid, the tax must be based on value alone and imposed on a yearly basis. For example, the annual fee for the registration of your car would be a deductible tax, but only the portion of the fee that was based on the car's value.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

AMENDED RETURNS

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 09 2018

TEST

 

Oops! You've discovered an error after your tax return has been filed. What should you do? You may need to amend your return.

The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms (such as W-2s) or schedules. In these instances, do not amend your return. However, do file an amended return if any of the following were reported incorrectly:

  • Your filing status
  • Your total income
  • Your deductions or credits

Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a previously filed paper or electronically-filed Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ return. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. If you are amending more than one tax return, use a separate 1040X for each year and mail each in a separate envelope to the IRS processing center for your state. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the centers.

Form 1040X has three columns. Column A is used to show original or adjusted figures from the original return. Column C is used to show the corrected figures. The difference between the figures in Columns A and C is shown in Column B. You should explain the items you are changing and the reason for each change on the back of the form.

If the changes involve another schedule or form, attach it to the 1040X. For example, if you are filing a 1040X because you have a qualifying child and now want to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, you must complete and attach a Schedule EIC to the amended return.

If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund. If you owe additional tax for the prior year, Form 1040X must be filed and the tax paid by April 15 of this year, to avoid any penalty and interest.

You generally must file Form 1040X to claim a refund within three years from the date you filed your original return, or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.  Please contact us for more!

 

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

FOR BUSINESS FINANCING, WHAT KINDS OF LOANS EXIST?

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 09 2018

TEST

 

You must know the exact amount of money that you need, what your purpose is and how you will repay it in order to be successful in getting a loan. You must convince the lender in a written proposal that you are a good credit risk.

There are two basic kinds of loans, although terms vary by lender:

Short-term and long-term, maturity periods of up to one year are generally short-term, which include accounts receivable loans, working capital loans and lines of credit.

Maturities greater than a year and less than seven years is a typical long-term loan. Equipment and real estate loans can have maturity up to 25 years. Major business expenses such as purchasing real estate and facilities, durable equipment, construction, vehicles, furniture and fixtures, etc. are a few purposes for long-term loans.

                                                                                    

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

FOREIGN-INCOME

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 09 2018

TEST

 

With more and more United States citizens earning money from foreign sources, the IRS reminds people that they must report all such income on their tax return, unless it is exempt under federal law. U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income.

This applies whether a person lives inside or outside the United States. The foreign income rule also applies regardless of whether or not the person receives a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or a Form 1099 (information return).

Foreign source income includes earned income, such as wages and tips, and unearned income, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents and royalties.

An important point to remember is that citizens living outside the U.S. may be able to exclude up to $102,100 for 2017 and $104,100 for 2018, of their foreign source income if they meet certain requirements. However, the exclusion does not apply to payments made by the U.S. government to its civilian or military employees living outside the U.S. Please contact us if you feel you may have earned foreign income to learn more!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

FILING AN EXTENSION

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 01 2018

FILING AN EXTENSION

 

If you can't meet the April 15 deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork into the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

You must make an accurate estimate of any tax due when you request an extension. You may also send a payment for the expected balance due, but this is not required to obtain the extension.

To get the automatic extension, file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the IRS by the April 15 deadline, or make an extension-related electronic payment. You can file your extension request by computer or mail the paper Form 4868 to the IRS.

The system will give you a confirmation number to verify that the extension request has been accepted. Put this confirmation number on your copy of Form 4868 and keep it for your records. Do not send the form to the IRS.  As this is the area of our expertise, please contact us for more detailed information on how to file an extension properly!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

TIPS FOR EARLY PREPARATION

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 31 2018

TEST

 

 

Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes. The IRS encourages everyone to get a head start on tax preparation. Not only do you avoid the last-minute rush, early filers also get a faster refund.

There are five easy ways to get a good jump on your taxes long before the April 15 deadline rolls around:

  • Gather your records in advance. Make sure you have all the records you need, including W-2s and 1099s. Don't forget to save a copy for your files.
  • Get the right forms. They're available around the clock on IRS.gov in the Forms and Publications section.
  • Take your time. Don't forget to leave room for a coffee break when filling out your tax return. Rushing can mean making a mistake - and that can be expensive!
  • Double-check your math and Social Security number. These are among the most common errors on tax returns. Taking care on these reduces your chances of hearing from the IRS.
  • Get the fastest refund. When you file early, you get your refund faster. Using e-filing with direct deposit gets you a refund in half the time as paper filing.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

CHECK WITHHOLDING TO AVOID A TAX SURPRISE

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 30 2018

NEW LAW=TAX SURPRISES

 

Whether or not you owed taxes or received a refund last year you check your tax withholding due to the massive changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Owing tax at the end of the year could result in penalties being assessed. On the other end, if you had a large refund you lost out on having the money in your pocket throughout the year. Changing jobs, getting married or divorced, buying a home or having children can all result in changes in your tax calculations.

The IRS withholding calculator on IRS.gov can help compute the proper tax withholding. The worksheets in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax can also be used to do the calculation. If the result suggests an adjustment is necessary, you can submit a new W-4, Withholding Allowance Certificate, to your employer.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

INFORMATION ABOUT IRS NOTICES

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 29 2018

INFORMATION ABOUT IRS NOTICES

 

It's a moment any taxpayer dreads. An envelope arrives from the IRS — and it's not a refund check. But don't panic. Many IRS letters can be dealt with simply and painlessly.

Each year, the IRS sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers to request payment of taxes, notify them of a change to their account or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return. Each letter and notice provides specific instructions explaining what you should do if action is necessary to satisfy the inquiry. Most notices also give a phone number to call if you need further information.

Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office, if you follow the instructions in the letter or notice. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice, or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call so your account can be readily accessed.

Before contacting the IRS, review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return. If you agree with the correction to your account, no reply is necessary unless a payment is due. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. Write an explanation why you disagree, and include any documents and information you wish the IRS to consider. Mail your information along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner of the IRS correspondence. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

Sometimes, the IRS sends a second letter or notice requesting additional information or providing additional information to you. Be sure to keep copies of any correspondence with your records.  If you've received a notice and are confused about what to do next, please contact us and we can help!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 23 2018

CHARITY

 

When preparing to file your federal tax return, don't forget your contributions to charitable organizations. Your donations (up to 10% of taxable income) can add up to a nice tax deduction for your corporation.

Here are a few tips to help make sure your contributions pay off on your tax return:

You cannot deduct contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations and candidates, the value of your time or services and the cost of raffles, bingo, or other games of chance. To be deductible, contributions must be made to qualified organizations. Cash contributions must be substantiated by a bank record, or a receipt, letter or other written communication from the doCHARnee organization indicating the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. In addition, if the contribution is $250 or more, a written acknowledgement showing the amount of cash contributed, any property contributed, and a description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services provided in return for the contribution or statement that no goods or services were provided in return for the contribution, is required. Non-cash contributions over $500 must be supported by an attachment to the return which states the kind of property contributed, along with the method used to determine its fair market value. Form 8283, Non-cash Charitable Contributions is required for contributions with a claimed value of more than $5,000. Contributions which exceed the 10% limitation can be carried over for five years.

Organizations can tell you if they are qualified and if donations to them are deductible. IRS.gov has an Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool to help you see if an organization is qualified. In addition, taxpayers can call IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at 1-877-829-5500. Be sure to have the organization's correct name and its headquarters location, if possible. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and governments are not required to apply for this exemption in order to be qualified. Alternatively, contact us for more information!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

DEDUCTIBLE HOME OFFICE

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 23 2018

TEST

 

Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.

You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business. If you use a separate structure not attached to your home for an exclusive and regular part of your business, you can deduct expenses related to it.

Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if you use it exclusively and regularly for the administrative or management activities associated with your trade or business. There must be no other fixed place where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities. If you use both your home and other locations regularly in your business, you must determine which location is your principle place of business, based on the relative importance of the activities performed at each location. If the relative importance factor doesn't determine your principle place of business, you can also consider the time spent at each location.

If you are an employee, you have additional requirements to meet. You cannot take the home office deduction unless the business use of your home is for the convenience of your employer. Also, you cannot take deductions for space you are renting to your employer.

Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your deduction will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

GETTING MARRIED? NEW TAX IMPLICATIONS!

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 22 2018

Getting married? New tax implications!!

 

You are entitled to file a joint income tax return upon marriage. Although this simplifies the filing process, you will more than likely discover that your tax bill is either higher or lower than when you were single. It's higher when you file together, as more of your income is taxed in the higher tax brackets. This is commonly known as the marriage tax penalty. In 2003, a tax law that intended to reduce the marriage penalty went into effect, but this law didn't get rid of the penalty for higher bracket taxpayers.

Once married, you may not file separately in an attempt to avoid the marriage penalty. Actually, filing as married filing separately can raise your taxes. For the optimal filing status for your situation you should speak with your tax advisor.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

LEGAL ISSUES DURING A DIVORCE

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 22 2018

LEGAL ISSUES DURING A DIVORCE

 

Make an agreement with your spouse to plan for the legal issues that will be dealt with in the future, such as division of property, alimony or support payments and child custody. The amount of time and money that will be spent trying to reach a legal solution will be lessened dramatically if this can be done, either with the help of lawyers or court.

The following are general tips to face the legal aspects of divorce:

  • If there are important issues with regards to child custody, alimony or assets, find your own attorney.
  • Use referrals from other professionals, trusted friends or the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org) to find a good matrimonial lawyer.
  • Verify that the agreement of divorce approaches all topics such as insurance coverage, life health and auto.
  • On IRA accounts, life insurance policies, pension plans, 401(k) plans, and other retirement accounts make sure to modify the beneficiaries.
  • Update your will.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 Source: Thomson Reuters

4 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HIRING HOUSEHOLD

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 18 2018

HIRING HOUSEHOLD HELP MEANS TAX OBLIGATIONS!

 

When you hire someone to work in your home, you may become an employer. Thus, you may have specific tax obligations, such as withholding and paying Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes and possibly federal and state unemployment insurance. Here are four questions to ask before you say, “You’re hired.”

1. Who’s considered a household employee?

A household worker is someone you hire to care for your children or other live-in family members, clean your house, cook meals, do yard work or provide similar domestic services. But not everyone who works in your home is an employee.

For example, some workers are classified as independent contractors. These self-employed individuals typically provide their own tools, set their own hours, offer their services to other customers and are responsible for their own taxes. To avoid the risk of misclassifying employees, however, you may want to assume that a worker is an employee unless your tax advisor tells you otherwise.

2. When do I pay employment taxes?

You’re required to fulfill certain state and federal tax obligations for any person you pay $2,100 or more annually (in 2018) to do work in or around your house. (The threshold is adjusted annually for inflation.)

In addition, you’re required to pay the employer’s half of FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes (7.65% of cash wages) and to withhold the employee’s half. For employees who earn $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter, you must also pay federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) equal to 6% of the first $7,000 in cash wages. And, depending on your resident state, you may be required to make state unemployment contributions, but you’ll receive a FUTA credit for those contributions, up to 5.4% of wages.

You don’t have to withhold federal (and, in most cases, state) income taxes, unless you and your employees agree to a withholding arrangement. But regardless of whether you withhold income taxes, you’re required to report employees’ wages on Form W-2.

3. Are there exceptions?

Yes. You aren’t required to pay employment taxes on wages you pay to your spouse, your child under age 21, your parent (unless an exception is met) or an employee who is under age 18 at any time during the year, providing that performing household work isn’t the employee’s principal occupation. If the employee is a student, providing household work isn’t considered his or her principal occupation.

4. How do I make tax payments?

You pay any federal employment and withholding taxes by attaching Schedule H to your Form 1040. You may have to pay state taxes separately and more frequently (usually quarterly). Keep in mind that this may increase your own tax liability at filing, though the Schedule H tax isn’t subject to estimated tax penalties.

If you owe FICA or FUTA taxes or if you withhold income tax from your employee’s wages, you need an employer identification number (EIN).

There’s no statute of limitations on the failure to report and remit federal payroll taxes. You can be audited by the IRS at any time and be required to pay back taxes, penalties and interest charges. Our firm can help ensure you comply with all the requirements.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

How does legal treatment differ between married and unmarried couples?

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 18 2018

The difference between married and unmarried!!

 

Unmarried couples don't:

Inherit each other's property automatically. Married couples have the state intestacy laws to support them if they do not have a will. Under the law, the surviving spouse will inherit (at the minimum) a fraction of the deceased spouse's property.
Have the privilege to speak for one another in a medical crisis. In the case that your life partner loses capacity or consciousness, someone will have to make the go-ahead decision for a medical purpose. It should be you, but if you haven't filed certain paperwork, you may not have the ability to do so.
Have the privilege to handle one another's finances in a crisis. A married couple that jointly own assets is less affected by this problem than an unmarried couple.

 

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

WHICH IS BETTER, BUYING OR LEASING MY NEXT CAR?

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 18 2018

Is it better to lease or to buy?

 

It depends on factors such as 1) what kind of deal you can make with the dealership, 2) the typical mileage you put on your car, 3) how much you wear down a car, and 4) the primary use for the car.

To determine whether leasing or buying is best, compare the costs and other issues involved in a lease or purchase. The following factors should be considered:

•             Beginning costs

•             Continual costs

•             Total costs

•             Is there a possibility of deduction of any of the costs due to the car being used for business?

•             How important is it to have ownership of the car

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

HELP YOUR PARENTS WHILE AVOIDING THE GIFT TAX AND SPREAD THE WEALTH

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2018

Help your parents while avoiding the gift tax.

 

If you decide the best approach for helping your parents is to give them monetary gifts, it’s relatively easy to avoid gift tax liability. Under the annual gift tax exclusion, you can give each recipient up to $15,000 (for 2018) without paying any gift tax. Plus, payments to medical providers aren’t considered gifts, so you may make such payments on your parents’ behalf without using any of your annual exclusion or lifetime exemption amount.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Tax Incentives for Higher Edcuation

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 12 2018

The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e. you, your spouse, or dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit and the ability to claim the credit phases out at higher income levels. 

If you don't qualify for the credit, you may be able to claim the "tuition & fees deduction" for qualified educational expenses. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. This deduction phases out at higher income levels. 

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040. However, this deduction is also phased out at higher income levels.  

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811. 

Source: Thomson Reuters 

THIS MIGHT GET YOU INTO A LOT OF TROUBLE

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 12 2018

Audit Triggers

 

 

Not Reporting all Taxable Income

Data Entry Errors

Participation in a Tax Shelter

Rental Losses

Failure to properly pay household help

Large travel and entertainment expense

Discrepancy Between Individual Taxpayers and Corporation Filings Associated to Taxpayer

Self Employed (not reporting profit in 3 out of 5 years)

Large charitable contributions

Home office deductions

Not Hiring a Reputable Tax Preparer

Claiming 100% business use of a vehicle

 

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS ALGORITHMS COULD DETECT FRAUD AND INACCURACIES IN TAX RETURNS

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 12 2018

TAX AUDIT RED FLAGS: BEWARE

 

According to the IRS, returns are chosen for examination by computer scoring, information received from third party documentation (W-2, 1099 questionable treatment of an item), information received from other sources on potential non-compliance (newspapers, public records and individuals). 

A computer program called the Discriminant Inventory Function System (DIF) assigns a numeric score to each individual and some corporate tax returns after they have been processed. If your return is selected because of a high score under the DIF system, the potential is high that an examination of your return will result in a change to your income tax liability.

Your return may also be selected for examination on the basis of information received from third-party documentation, such as Forms 1099 and W-2, that do not match the information reported on your return.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS issues guidance on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes on business expense deductions for meals, entertainment.

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 11 2018

Dramatic changes for entertainment, amusement and recreation expenses.

 

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment following law changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

 

The 2017 TCJA eliminated the deduction for any expenses related to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation.

Taxpayers may continue to deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present and the food or beverages are not considered lavish or extravagant. The meals may be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.

 

Food and beverages that are provided during entertainment events will not be considered entertainment if purchased separately from the event.

 

Prior to 2018, a business could deduct up to 50 percent of entertainment expenses directly related to the active conduct of a trade or business or, if incurred immediately before or after a bona fide business discussion, associated with the active conduct of a trade or business.

 

The Department of the Treasury and the IRS expect to publish proposed regulations clarifying when business meal expenses are deductible and what constitutes entertainment. Until the proposed regulations are effective, taxpayers can rely on guidance in Notice 2018-76.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

 

IRS to highlight tax reform changes affecting small businesses; Small business owners, self-employed should plan now for new changes.

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 11 2018

New tax rates for you and your business under new law!

 

WASHINGTON — With just a few months left in tax year 2018, the Internal Revenue Service today urges small business owners to learn about how the new tax law changes may affect them.

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December 2017, made tax law changes that will affect virtually every business and individual in 2018 and the years ahead. Among other things, the new law may change their tax rates and impact the quarterly estimated tax payments they are required to make during the year.

 

For many passthrough businesses, the law changes created a new 20-percent qualified business income deduction. Other deductions and credits have been changed as well, including revised depreciation methods and expanded options for expensing business property. There are also new rules for like-kind exchanges and fringe benefits. In addition, small business employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees during tax years 2018 and 2019 may qualify for a new business credit. Business owners can refer to the Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses page for updates and resources on these topics and other business-related changes.

 

The IRS is highlighting these changes and more as part of its on-going initiative to help small businesses and self-employed individuals understand and meet their tax responsibilities. Pass-through businesses, small C-Corporations, Schedule C filers (independent contractors and gig economy workers) and farmers are all affected by the new law.

 

The IRS has issued a number of news releases, tax tips, YouTube videos and webinars to help small businesses navigate the new tax law, and more of these products are on the way. Tax tips are written in plain language and people can subscribe to them by using the IRS’s Tax Tips email-subscription program. A variety of additional products and resources can be found on the Tax Reform Resources page.

 

Business owners are encouraged to check the Tax Reform page for the latest guidance on the tax law provisions that may affect them. Partner groups are also encouraged to share this important information with their members.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS alerts taxpayers: How fake donation scams work.

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 05 2018

IRS alerts taxpayers: How fake donation scams work.

 

Special serie Part 3

 

The agency warns that scammers continue to pose as the IRS, making threatening phone calls and using email phishing schemes to lure taxpayers. The scams may be particularly prevalent ahead of the Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline. Another tax scam, where criminals pose as charity organizations, tends to peak during hurricane season or following a natural disaster. Taxpayers should learn about these ongoing tax scams and know what to do if they’re targeted.

 

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for suspicious calls, emails and donation requests and take appropriate action if they experience any of the following:

Fake charity donation requests

How the scam works: Criminals set up fake charities to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. The scammers prey on well-intentioned taxpayers, especially during times of distress, such as following a natural disaster. They solicit money either by phone, email or even in person. The scammers may even contact disaster victims and claim to be working on behalf of the IRS with the goal of gaining access to personal information under the pretext of filing a casualty loss claim.

 

What taxpayers should do: Don’t give out personal or financial information such as Social Security numbers. Be wary of charities with names that resemble nationally-known charity organizations. The IRS has an online search tool called the Tax Exempt Organization Search which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to whom a donation may be tax deductible. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or another way that provides documentation of the gift. Taxpayers who want to report suspected tax fraud activity can do so by completing Form 3949-A, Information Referral.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS ALERTS TAXPAYERS: HOW EMAIL SCAMS WORK.

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 05 2018

IRS alerts taxpayers: How email scams work.

 

Special serie Part 2                     

The agency warns that scammers continue to pose as the IRS, making threatening phone calls and using email phishing schemes to lure taxpayers. The scams may be particularly prevalent ahead of the Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline. Another tax scam, where criminals pose as charity organizations, tends to peak during hurricane season or following a natural disaster. Taxpayers should learn about these ongoing tax scams and know what to do if they’re targeted.

 

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for suspicious calls, emails and donation requests and take appropriate action if they experience any of the following:

Phishing emails

How the scam works: Criminals send an email to your personal or business account(s) appearing to be from the IRS. The email usually features the IRS logo, uses agency language and asks taxpayers to provide sensitive information. It may also ask recipients to open an attachment or click on a link embedded within the email to supposedly give the taxpayer account access. In a more recent variation called “spear phishing,” the criminal, having done research on the victim ahead of time, will send an email posing as a trusted source. The email will make an urgent plea to click on a link and update an account immediately. The link will then direct the victim to what seems to be a trusted website but is in reality a phishing website controlled by the thief who can install malicious software.

 

What taxpayers should do: Do not provide personal information, click on links or open attachments from emails pretending to be from the IRS. Know that the IRS does not initiate contact by email or social media channels. The agency gets in touch with taxpayers through paper letters mailed by the U.S. Postal Service. IRS letters and notices are mailed to the taxpayer’s most recent address on file. Forward the email as-is, preferably with the full email headers to phishing@irs.gov. Delete the original email.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS ALERTS TAXPAYERS: HOW TELEPHONE SCAMS WORK.

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 04 2018

How telephone scams work.

 

Special serie Part 1

The agency warns that scammers continue to pose as the IRS, making threatening phone calls and using email phishing schemes to lure taxpayers. The scams may be particularly prevalent ahead of the Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline. Another tax scam, where criminals pose as charity organizations, tends to peak during hurricane season or following a natural disaster. Taxpayers should learn about these ongoing tax scams and know what to do if they’re targeted.

 

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for suspicious calls, emails and donation requests and take appropriate action if they experience any of the following:

 

Telephone scams

How the scam works: Criminals pose as IRS employees and call victims, demanding immediate payment of a so-called tax debt. Payments are often requested via prepaid debit cards and/or money wires. The caller will ask to stay on the line or otherwise call repeatedly while the victim completes the transaction. The caller may use a condescending tone and will often threaten to file a lawsuit, call the police or involve federal law enforcement agencies if the victim doesn’t comply. The call may appear to come from emergency services and/or a local/federal law enforcement agency but the fraudsters are faking, or “spoofing” the caller ID to only appear to come from a legitimate agency.

 

What taxpayers should do: Hang up the phone. Know that the IRS would never call to threaten or demand immediate tax payment. The agency offers taxpayers a chance to appeal any amount in question and offers numerous ways of resolving a tax liability.

 

Anyone wishing to check their account after receiving this type of call can visit the IRS website and register to view your account information online. The tool allows taxpayers to view up to 24 months of payment history and balance due for any given tax year. Taxpayers who want to report scam calls can visit the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s website, TIGTA.gov, and also email phishing@irs.gov (Subject: IRS Phone Scam). 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

How to know it's really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 26 2018

Is it the IRS calling?

 

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.

Note that the IRS does not:                                       

  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

If you owe taxes:

The IRS instructs taxpayers to make payments to the “United States Treasury.” The IRS provides specific guidelines on how you can make a tax payment at irs.gov/payments.

Here is what the IRS will do:

If an IRS representative visits you, he or she will always provide two forms of official credentials called a pocket commission and a HSPD-12 card. HSPD-12 is a government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification for Federal employees and contractors. You have the right to see these credentials.

Collection

IRS collection employees may call or come to a home or business unannounced to collect a tax debt. They will not demand that you make an immediate payment to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.

The IRS can assign certain cases to private debt collectors but only after giving the taxpayer and his or her representative, if one is appointed, written notice. Private collection agencies will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card or gift card. Taxpayers can learn about the IRS payment options on irs.gov/payments. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency. 


Audits

IRS employees conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments, but not without having first notified them by mail. After mailing an official notification of an audit, an auditor/tax examiner may call to discuss items pertaining to the audit.

Criminal Investigations

IRS criminal investigators may visit a taxpayer’s home or business unannounced while conducting an investigation. However, these are federal law enforcement agents and they will not demand any sort of payment. 

Beware of Impersonations

Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters and emails. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest or deport their would-be victim if the victim doesn’t comply.

Know Who to Contact

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a phone scam. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report phone scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
  • Report an unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or an IRS-related component like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door: Collection

Revenue officers are IRS civil enforcement employees who work cases that involve an amount owed by a taxpayer or a delinquent tax return. Their role involves education, investigation, and when necessary, appropriate enforcement.

Generally, home or business visits are unannounced because scheduling appointments for such matters would be inconsistent with their proactive and urgent nature. For example, many urgent and complex cases involve employers’ employment tax withholding requirement.

Revenue officers carry two forms of official identification.  Both forms of Identification have serial numbers – and you can ask to see both.

Revenue Officer Visits

  • The vast majority of collection cases begin as letters (called “notices”) sent to taxpayers because the case is unresolved.  A significant number of these cases are also previously worked by the Automated Collection System – an IRS program that tries to resolve the taxpayer’s account over the phone directly with the taxpayer after a notice sent to the taxpayer was unsuccessful at resolving the situation.  
  • A small portion of the revenue officers’ work involves proactive outreach to employers, called Federal Tax Deposit Alerts, sent at the earliest sign that a business taxpayer is falling behind on payroll tax deposits. These are generally not preceded by a notice.

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door: Audits

The IRS examines or audits tax returns to verify that what the taxpayer reported is correct. This doesn’t mean that the taxpayer has made an error or been dishonest. In fact, some examinations result in a refund to the taxpayer or acceptance of the return without change.

There are various reasons the IRS may telephone or visit a taxpayer at home during an audit, but at that point the taxpayer would be well aware of the audit.   

Audit Contacts

  • After mailing an initial appointment letter we may call to confirm and discuss items needed for the audit. An audit may include an interview with the taxpayer or his or her Power of Attorney, if one is appointed, and sometimes include a tour of the taxpayer’s business operation.
  • Third party contacts – if while examining one taxpayer’s return, we need information from someone else, we will first issue a letter to that third party requesting the information.  After that we may contact them by telephone

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

—BENEFITS AND PROTECTIONS UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW FOR SAME-SEX MARRIED COUPLES

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

benefits and under

 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) state that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The August, 2013 ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Under the ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

Other agencies may provide guidance on other federal programs that they administer that are affected by the Code. Revenue Ruling 2013-17, along with updated Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples and updated FAQs for registered domestic partners and individuals in civil unions, are available today on IRS.gov. See also Publication 555, Community Property.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

—WHICH BUSINESS TRAVEL EXPENSES CAN YOU DEDUCT?

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

which business travel expenses

 

Travel expenses are the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business, profession, or job. Generally, employees deduct these expenses by using Form 2106 (PDF), Employee Business Expenses, or Form 2106-EZ (PDF), Unreimbursed Employee Business Expenses, and Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF), Itemized Deductions. You cannot deduct expenses that are lavish or extravagant, or that are for personal purposes.

You are traveling away from home if your duties require you to be away from the general area of your tax home for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day's work, and you need to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your work while away.

Generally, your tax home is the entire city or general area where your main place of business or work is located, regardless of where you maintain your family home. For example, you live with your family in Chicago but work in Milwaukee where you stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants. You return to Chicago every weekend. You may not deduct any of your travel, meals or lodging in Milwaukee because that is your tax home. Your travel on weekends to your family home in Chicago is not for your work, so these expenses are also not deductible. If you regularly work in more than one place, your tax home is the general area where your main place of business or work is located.

In determining your main place of business, take into account the length of time you normally need to spend at each location for business purposes, the degree of business activity in each area, and the relative significance of the financial return from each area. However, the most important consideration is the length of time you spend at each location.

You can deduct travel expenses paid or incurred in connection with a temporary work assignment away from home. However, you cannot deduct travel expenses paid in connection with an indefinite work assignment. Any work assignment in excess of one year is considered indefinite. Also, you may not deduct travel expenses at a work location if you realistically expect that you will work there for more than one year, whether or not you actually work there that long. If you realistically expect to work at a temporary location for one year or less, and the expectation changes so that at some point you realistically expect to work there for more than one year, travel expenses become nondeductible when your expectation changes. For an exception to the 1-year rule for federal crime investigations or prosecutions, refer to Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses.

You may deduct travel expenses, including meals and lodging you incurred in looking for a new job in your present trade or business. You may not deduct these expenses if you had them while looking for work in a new trade or business or while looking for work for the first time. If you are unemployed and there is a substantial break between the time of your past work and your looking for new work, you may not deduct these expenses, even if the new work is in the same trade or business as your previous work. Refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions.

Travel expenses for conventions are deductible if you can show that your attendance benefits your trade or business. Special rules apply to conventions held outside the North American area.

Deductible travel expenses while away from home include, but are not limited to the costs of:

-Travel by airplane, train, bus or car between your home and your business  destination. (If you are provided with a ticket or you are riding free as a result of a  frequent traveler or similar program, your cost is zero.)

-Fares for taxis or other types of transportation between the airport or train station and  your hotel, the hotel and the work location, and from one customer to another, or  from  one place of business to another.

-Shipping of baggage, and sample or display material between your regular and  temporary work locations.

-Using your car while at your business destination. You can deduct actual expenses or  the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you  rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.

-Meals and lodging.

-Dry cleaning and laundry.

-Business calls while on your business trip. (This includes business communications by  fax  machine or other communication devices.)

-Tips you pay for services related to any of these expenses.

-Other similar ordinary and necessary expenses related to  your business travel.  (These  expenses might include transportation to and from a business  meal, public  stenographer's  fees, computer rental fees, and operating and maintaining a  house  trailer.)

Instead of keeping records of your meal expenses and deducting the actual cost, you can generally use a standard meal allowance, which varies depending on where you travel. The deduction for business meals is generally limited to 50% of the unreimbursed cost.

If you are an employee, your allowable travel expenses are figured on Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ. Your allowable unreimbursed expenses are carried from Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ to Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF), and are subject to a limit based on 2% of adjusted gross income. Refer to Topic 508 for information on the 2% limit. If you do not itemize your deductions, you cannot deduct these expenses. If you are self-employed, you can deduct travel expenses on Form 1040, Schedule C (PDF), Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship), or Form 1040, Schedule C-EZ (PDF), Net Profit From Business (Sole Proprietorship), or if you are a farmer, on Form 1040, Schedule F (PDF), Profit or Loss From Farming.

If you are a member of the National Guard or military reserve, you may be able to claim a deduction for unreimbursed travel expenses paid in connection with the performance of services as a reservist that reduces your adjusted gross income rather than an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A This travel must be overnight and more than 100 miles from your home. Expenses must be ordinary and necessary. This deduction is limited to the regular federal per diem rate (for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses) and the standard mileage rate (for car expenses) plus any parking fees, ferry fees, and tolls. Claim these expenses on Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ and carry them to the appropriate line on Form 1040. Expenses in excess of the limit can be claimed only as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A.

Good records are essential. Refer to Topic 305 for information on recordkeeping. For more information on these and other travel expenses, refer to Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO TAKE THAT 401(K) LOAN?

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

are you sure you want

 

With summer headed toward its inevitable close, you may be tempted to splurge on a pricey “last hurrah” trip. Or perhaps you’d like to buy a brand new convertible to feel the warm breeze in your hair. Whatever the temptation may be, if you’ve pondered dipping into your 401(k) account for the money, make sure you’re aware of the consequences before you take out the loan.

Pros and cons

Many 401(k) plans allow participants to borrow as much as 50% of their vested account balances, up to $50,000. These loans are attractive because:

- They’re easy to get (no income or credit score requirements),

- There’s minimal paperwork,

- Interest rates are low, and

- You pay interest back into your 401(k) rather than to a bank.

Yet, despite their appeal, 401(k) loans present significant risks. Although you pay the interest to yourself, you lose the benefits of tax-deferred compounding on the money you borrow.

You may have to reduce or eliminate 401(k) contributions during the loan term, either because you can’t afford to contribute or because your plan prohibits contributions while a loan is outstanding. Either way, you lose any future earnings and employer matches you would have enjoyed on those contributions.

Loans, unless used for a personal residence, must be repaid within five years. Generally, the loan terms must include level amortization, which consists of principal and interest, and payments must be made no less frequently than quarterly.

Additionally, if you’re laid off, you’ll have to pay the outstanding balance quickly — typically within 30 to 90 days. Otherwise, the amount you owe will be treated as a distribution subject to income taxes and, if you’re under age 59½, a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

Hardship withdrawals

If you need the money for emergency purposes, rather than recreational ones, determine whether your plan offers a hardship withdrawal. Some plans allow these to pay certain expenses related to medical care, college, funerals and home ownership — such as first-time home purchase costs and expenses necessary to avoid eviction or mortgage foreclosure.

Even if your plan allows such withdrawals, you may have to show that you’ve exhausted all other resources. Also, the amounts you withdraw will be subject to income taxes and, except for certain medical expenses or if you’re over age 59½, a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

Like plan loans, hardship withdrawals are costly. In addition to owing taxes and possibly penalties, you lose future tax-deferred earnings on the withdrawn amounts. But, unlike a loan, hardship withdrawals need not be paid back. And you won’t risk any unpleasant tax surprises should you lose your job.

The right move

Generally, you should borrow or take hardship withdrawals from a 401(k) only in emergencies or when no other financing options exist (and your job is secure).

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

—MARRIED FILERS, THE CHOICE IS YOURS

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

married filers

 

Some married couples assume they have to file their tax returns jointly. Others may know they have a choice but not want to rock the boat by filing separately. The truth is that there’s no harm in at least considering your options every year.

Granted, married taxpayers who file jointly can take advantage of certain credits not available to separate filers. They’re also more likely to be able to make deductible IRA contributions and less likely to be subject to the alternative minimum tax.

But there are circumstances under which filing separately may be a good idea. For example, filing separately can save tax when one spouse’s income is much higher than the others, and the spouse with lower income has miscellaneous itemized deductions exceeding 2% of his or her adjusted gross income (AGI) or medical expenses exceeding 10% of his or her AGI — but jointly the couple’s expenses wouldn’t exceed the applicable floor for their joint AGI. However, in community property states, income and expenses generally must be split equally unless they’re attributable to separate funds.

Many factors play into the joint vs. separate filing decision. If you’re interested in learning more, please give us a call.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

—HAVE A PENSION? BE SURE TO PLAN CAREFULLY

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

have a pension

 

The traditional pension may seem like a thing of the past. But many workers are still counting on payouts from one of these “defined benefit” plans in retirement. If you’re among this group, it’s important to start thinking now about how you’ll receive the money from your pension.

Making a choice

Some defined benefit plans give retirees a choice between receiving payouts in the form of a lump sum or an annuity. Taking a lump sum distribution allows you to invest the money as you please. Plus, if you manage and invest the funds wisely, you may be able to achieve better returns than those provided by an annuity.

On the other hand, if you’re concerned about the risks associated with investing your pension benefits (you could lose principal) — or don’t want the responsibility — an annuity offers guaranteed income for life. (Bear in mind that guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.)

Choosing yet again

If you choose to receive your pension benefits in the form of an annuity — or if your plan doesn’t offer a lump sum option — your plan likely will require you to choose between a single-life or joint-life annuity. A single-life annuity provides you with monthly benefits for life. The joint-life option (also referred to as “joint and survivor”) provides a smaller monthly benefit, but the payments continue over the joint lifetimes of both you and your spouse.

Deciding between the two annuity options requires some educated guesswork. To determine the option that will provide the greatest overall financial benefit, you’ll need to consider several factors — including your and your spouse’s actuarial life expectancies as well as factors that may affect your actual life expectancies, such as current health conditions and family medical histories.

You might choose the single-life option, for example, if you and your spouse have comparable life expectancies or if you expect to live longer. Under those circumstances, the higher monthly payment will maximize your overall benefits.

But there’s a risk, too: Because the payments will stop at your death, if you die prematurely and your spouse outlives you, the overall financial benefit may be smaller than if you’d chosen the joint-life option. The difference could be substantial if your spouse outlives you by many years.

Your overall financial situation — that is, your expenses and your other assets and income sources — also play a major role. Even if you expect a joint-life annuity to yield the greatest total benefit over time, you may want to consider a single-life annuity if you need additional liquidity in the short term.

Managing this asset

Although increasingly uncommon, these defined benefit plans can be a highly valuable asset. Please contact us for help managing yours appropriately.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

—Capital Gains and Losses

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

capital gains

 

Almost everything you own and use for personal purposes, pleasure or investment is a capital asset. The IRS says when you sell a capital asset, such as stocks, the difference between the amount you sell it for and your basis, which is usually what you paid for it, is a capital gain or a capital loss. While you must report all capital gains, you may deduct only your capital losses on investment property, not personal property.

While you must report all capital gains, you may deduct only your capital losses on investment property, not personal property. A “paper loss” — a drop in an investment's value below its purchase price — does not qualify for the deduction. The loss must be realized through the capital asset's sale or exchange.

Capital gains and losses are classified as long-term or short-term, depending on how long you hold the property before you sell it. If you hold it more than one year, your capital gain or loss is long-term. If you hold it one year or less, your capital gain or loss is short-term. For more information on the tax rates, refer to IRS Publication 544, Sales and Other Dispositions of Assets. If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, the excess is subtracted from other income on your tax return, up to an annual limit of $3,000 ($1,500 if you are married filing separately). Unused capital losses can be carried over indefinitely to future years to net against capital gains, however the annual limit still applies.

Capital gains and losses are reported on Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets, summarized on Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses, and then transferred to line 13 of Form 1040. Accounting and planning for the sale and purchase of capital assets is usually a very complicated matter, so please contact us so that you may receive the professional advice you deserve.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

—CONSOLIDATE ACCOUNTS AND SIMPLIFY YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

accounts consolidate

 

If you’ve accumulated many bank, investment and other financial accounts over the years, you might consider consolidating some of them. Having multiple accounts requires you to spend more time tracking and reconciling financial activities and can make it harder to keep a handle on how much you have and whether your money is being invested advantageously.

Start by identifying the accounts that offer you the best combination of excellent customer service, convenience, lower fees and higher returns. Hold on to these and consider closing the rest, keeping in mind the bank account amounts you’ll be consolidating. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation generally insures $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank. So if consolidation means that your balance might exceed that amount, it’s better to keep multiple accounts. You should also keep accounts with different beneficiaries separate.

When closing accounts, make sure you stop automatic payments or deposits and destroy checks and cards associated with them. To prevent any future disputes, obtain letters from the financial institutions stating that your accounts have been closed. Closing an account generally takes several weeks.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

—THE MANY BENEFITS OF A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT (HSA)

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

many benefits of a h

 

A Health Savings Account (HSA) represents an opportunity for eligible individuals to lower their out-of-pocket health care costs and federal tax bill. Since most of us would like to take advantage of every available tax break, now might be a good time to consider an HSA, if eligible.

An HSA operates somewhat like a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that employers offer to their eligible employees. An FSA permits eligible employees to defer a portion of their pay, on a pretax basis, which is used later to reimburse out-of-pocket medical expenses. However, unlike an FSA, whatever remains in the HSA at year end can be carried over to the next year and beyond. In addition, there are no income phaseout rules, so HSAs are available to high-earners and low-earners alike.

Naturally, there are a few requirements for obtaining the benefits of an HSA. The most significant requirement is that an HSA is only available to an individual who carries health insurance coverage with a relatively high annual deductible. For 2015, the individual's health insurance coverage must come with at least a $1,300 deductible for single coverage or $2,600 for family coverage. For many self-employed individuals, small business owners, and employees of small and large companies alike, these thresholds won't be a problem. In addition, it's okay if the insurance plan doesn't impose any deductible for preventive care (such as annual checkups). Other requirements for setting up an HSA are that an individual can't be eligible for Medicare benefits or claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

Individuals who meet these requirements can make tax-deductible HSA contributions in 2015 of up to $3,350 for single coverage or $6,650 for family coverage. The contribution for a particular tax year can be made as late as April 15 of the following year. The deduction is claimed in arriving at adjusted gross income (the number at the bottom of page 1 on your return). Thus, eligible individuals can benefit whether they itemize or not. Unfortunately, however, the deduction doesn't reduce a self-employed person's self-employment tax bill.

When an employer contributes to an employee's HSA, the contributions are exempt from federal income, Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.

An account beneficiary who is age 55 or older by the end of the tax year for which the HSA contribution is made may make a larger deductible (or excludible) contribution. Specifically, the annual tax-deductible contribution limit is increased by $1,000.

An HSA can generally be set up at a bank, insurance company, or other institution the IRS deems suitable. The HSA must be established exclusively for the purpose of paying the account beneficiary's qualified medical expenses. These include uninsured medical costs incurred for the account beneficiary, spouse, and dependents. However, for HSA purposes, health insurance premiums don't qualify.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

—Why am I going to have an Audit?

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 23 2018

why am i going to have audit

 

RED FLAGS

According to the IRS, returns are chosen for examination by computer scoring, information received from third party documentation (W-2, 1099 questionable treatment of an item), information received from other sources on potential non compliance (newspapers, public records and individuals). 

A computer program called the Discriminant Inventory Function System (DIF) assigns a numeric score to each individual and some corporate tax returns after they have been processed. If your return is selected because of a high score under the DIF system, the potential is high that an examination of your return will result in a change to your income tax liability.

Your return may also be selected for examination on the basis of information received from third-party documentation, such as Forms 1099 and W-2, that do not match the information reported on your return.

AUDIT TRIGGERS

  • Not Reporting all Taxable Income
  • Data Entry Errors
  • Participation in a Tax Shelter
  • Rental Losses
  • Failure to properly pay household help
  • Large travel and entertainment expense
  • Discrepancy Between Individual Taxpayers and Corporation Filings Associated to Taxpayer
  • Self Employed (not reporting profit in 3 out of 5 years)
  • Large charitable contributions
  • Home office deductions
  • Not Hiring a Reputable Tax Preparer
  • Claiming 100% business use of a vehicle

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 

Got a big tax refund? Use IRS Withholding Calculator to boost take-home pay in 2018

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 28 2018

got a big tax refund use irs

 

Taxpayers who received large refunds earlier this year may be able to get more of their money included in their paychecks during the rest of 2018 by using the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, most taxpayers – more than seven out of 10 –  receive refunds averaging around $2,800. Typically, taxpayers who receive large refunds could receive more of their money throughout the year, rather than waiting until they file their tax return after the end of the year.

Tax reform has big impact

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December, made major changes to the tax law. Any of these far-reaching changes could have an impact on the refund many taxpayers will receive when they file their 2018 tax return. The IRS encourages every employee, including those who typically receive big tax refunds, to do a “paycheck checkup” soon to ensure they have the appropriate amount of tax taken out of their pay.

TCJA changes that could have a big impact on tax refunds this year include:

  • Reduced tax rates and changed tax brackets.
  • Eliminated personal exemptions.
  • Increased standard deduction.
  • Expanded and increased Child Tax Credit.
  • A new credit for other dependents.
  • Some limited or discontinued deductions.

Do a ‘paycheck checkup’ soon

The IRS urges taxpayers to complete their “paycheck checkup” now so that if a withholding amount adjustment is necessary, there’s more time for withholding to take place evenly throughout the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax – so more tax will have to be withheld from each remaining paycheck.

Adjusting withholding can prevent taxpayers from having too little tax or too much withheld. Too little withheld could result in an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time in 2019.

Using the Withholding Calculator

It’s helpful if taxpayers have their completed 2017 tax return available when using the Withholding Calculator to estimate the amount of income, deductions, adjustments and credits to enter. Filers also need their most recent pay stubs to compute the employee’s withholding so far this year.

Calculator results depend on the accuracy of information entered. If a taxpayer’s personal circumstances change during the year, they should return to the calculator to check whether their withholding should be changed.

Employees can use the results from the Withholding Calculator to help determine if they should complete a new Form W-4 and, if so, what information to enter on a new Form W-4.

Taxpayers who change their withholding for 2018 should recheck their withholding at the start of 2019, especially those who reduced their withholding sometime in 2018. A mid-year withholding change in 2018 may have a different full-year impact in 2019. Taxpayers who do not file a new Form W-4 for 2019, may have a higher or lower withholding than intend. To help protect against having too little withheld in 2019, IRS encourages all filers to check their withholding again early in 2019.

The Withholding Calculator does not request personally-identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account number. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator. As always, taxpayers should watch out for tax scams, especially via email or phone and be alert to cybercriminals impersonating the IRS. The IRS does not send emails related to the Withholding Calculator or the information entered in it.

Adjusting withholding

Employees who need to complete a new Form W-4 should submit it to their employers as soon as possible. Employees with a change in personal circumstances that reduce the number of withholding allowances must submit a new Form W-4 with corrected withholding allowances to their employer within 10 days of the change.

Taxpayers may also need to determine if they should make adjustments to their state or local withholding. They can contact their state's department of revenue to learn more.

Taxpayers with high incomes, complex returns: Check withholding soon

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 28 2018

taxpayers with high incomes complex returns

 

The Internal Revenue Service today urged high-income taxpayers and those with complex tax returns to check their withholding soon to avoid an unexpected tax bill or penalty when they file their 2018 federal income tax return in 2019.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax reform legislation passed in December, made major changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the Child Tax Credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing tax rates and tax brackets.

Any of these far-reaching changes could have a big impact on the tax refund or balance due on the tax return taxpayers file next year. That’s why the IRS encourages every employee to do a “paycheck checkup” soon to check that they are having the right amount of tax taken out of their pay. The IRS Withholding Calculator and Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, can help.

A checkup is especially important for those with high incomes and complex returns because they are often affected by more of these changes than people with simpler returns. This is also true if they also make quarterly estimated tax payments to cover other sources of income or are subject to the self-employment tax or alternative minimum tax.

Changes that affect high-income taxpayers

For 2018, the standard deduction nearly doubled to $24,000 for joint filers and $12,000 for singles. There were also numerous changes to itemized deductions, including:

  • A $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local property, sales and income taxes.
  • New limits on deductions for some mortgage interest and home equity debt. 
  • Higher limits on the percent of income a taxpayer can deduct as charitable contributions.
  • No deduction for those miscellaneous expenses that, in prior tax years, had to exceed 2 percent of a filer’s income to qualify. These included investment expenses and un-reimbursed employee expenses such as travel, meals, entertainment and uniforms.

Many who itemized in the past may find they’ll pay less tax in 2018 by taking the standard deduction.

Do a ‘paycheck checkup’ soon

Checking and adjusting how much tax is withheld from pay now can prevent an unexpected tax bill and penalties next year at tax time. It can also help taxpayers avoid a large tax refund, if they’d prefer to have their money in their paychecks throughout the year.

Taxpayers need to adjust their withholding as soon as possible for an even, consistent amount of withholding throughout the rest of the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax – so more tax will have to be withheld from each remaining paycheck.

Whether someone uses the Withholding Calculator or Publication 505, it’s helpful to have their completed 2017 tax return handy to help estimate the amount of income, deductions, adjustments and credits to enter. They’ll also need their most recent pay stubs to help compute their withholding to date.

Employees can use the results from the Withholding Calculator or Publication 505 to help determine if they should complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and what information to include on the form.

Though primarily designed for employees who receive wages, the Withholding Calculator can also be helpful to some taxpayers receiving pension and annuity income. Recipients of pensions and annuities can change their withholding by completing Form W-4P and submitting it to their payer.

All taxpayers should remember that if their personal circumstances change during the year, they should re-check their withholding.

Taxpayers who change their withholding for 2018 should recheck their withholding at the start of 2019. This is especially important for taxpayers who reduce their withholding sometime during 2018. A mid-year withholding change in 2018 may have a different full-year impact in 2019. So, if taxpayers don’t submit a new Form W-4 for 2019, their withholding might be higher or lower than intended. To help protect against having too little withheld in 2019, taxpayers should check their withholding again early in 2019.

People with more complex situations may need to use Publication 505

Taxpayers with more complex situations might need to use Publication 505 instead of the Withholding Calculator. This includes employees who owe self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax or tax on unearned income from dependents. It can also help those who receive non-wage income such as dividends, capital gains, rents and royalties. The publication includes worksheets and examples to guide taxpayers through these special situations.

In some of these situations, a household may make estimated tax payments but also have tax withheld by an employer. It’s important to account for both amounts when figuring how much tax to have an employer withhold. Publication 505 helps taxpayers include estimated tax payments; the Withholding Calculator does not. 

Adjusting withholding

If an employee determines they should adjust their withholding, they should complete a new Form W-4 and submit it to their employer as soon as possible. Some employers have an electronic method to update a Form W-4.

If an employee has a change in personal circumstances that reduces the number of withholding allowances they can claim, they must submit a new Form W-4 within 10 days of the change with the correct number of allowances.

As a general rule, the fewer withholding allowances an employee enters on the Form W-4, the higher their tax withholding will be. Entering “0” or “1” on line 5 of the Form W-4 means more tax will be withheld. Entering a bigger number means less tax withholding, resulting in a smaller tax refund or potentially a tax bill or penalty.

Taxpayers may also need to determine if they should make adjustments to their state or local withholding. They can contact their state's department of revenue to learn more.

Additional information

The Withholding Calculator does not request personally identifiable information such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account number. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator. As always, taxpayers should watch out for tax scams, especially via email or phone and be alert to cybercriminals impersonating the IRS. The IRS does not send emails related to the calculator or the information entered in it.

The calculator and Publication 505 are not tax-planning tools. Taxpayers needing advice regarding the new tax law and their personal situation should consult a trusted tax professional.

Key tax change affects taxpayers with dependents

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 27 2018

key tax change affects taxpayers with dependents

 

The Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers who support dependents who can’t be claimed for the Child Tax Credit to do a paycheck checkup soon. The IRS Withholding Calculator can help these taxpayers make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their pay.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December 2017, added a new tax credit – Credit for Other Dependents. It is a non-refundable credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. Taxpayers may be able to claim the new credit for dependents that these taxpayers claimed a dependency exemption for in the past. 

This change, along with others, can affect a family’s tax situation in 2018. Checking and adjusting withholding now can prevent an unexpected tax bill and even penalties next year at tax time.

The Credit for Other Dependents is available for dependents for whom taxpayers cannot claim the newly expanded Child Tax Credit. These dependents may include dependent children who are age 17 or older at the end of 2018, or parents or other qualifying relatives supported by the taxpayer. Families with qualifying children under the age of 17 should first review their eligibility for the expanded Child Tax Credit, which is larger.

The Credit for Other Dependents and the Child Tax Credit begin to phase out at $400,000 of modified adjusted gross income for joint filers and $200,000 for other taxpayers. For more information about these credits, visit Steps to Take Now to Get a Jump on Next Year’s Taxes on IRS.gov.

These credits are among many changes in the new law that will affect 2018 tax returns that people will file in 2019. The IRS Withholding Calculator, available on IRS.gov, can help people with dependents – and others – apply the new law correctly.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to complete their “paycheck checkup” as early as possible so that if a withholding amount adjustment is necessary, there’s more time for withholding to take place evenly throughout the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax – so more tax will have to be withheld from each remaining paycheck. 

Taxpayers who change their withholding for 2018 should recheck their withholding at the start of 2019, especially taxpayers who reduce their withholding sometime during 2018. A mid-year withholding change in 2018 may have a different full-year impact in 2019. If taxpayers don’t submit a new Form W-4 for 2019, their withholding might be higher or lower than intended.

Using the Withholding Calculator 

To use the Withholding Calculator, taxpayers should have their 2017 tax returns and most recent paystubs available to determine their proper withholding for 2018.   

Calculator results depend on the accuracy of information entered. If a taxpayer’s personal circumstances change during the year, they should return to the calculator to check whether their withholding should be changed. 

Employees can use the results from the Withholding Calculator to determine if they should complete a new Form W-4 and, if so, what information to enter on that form.

The Withholding Calculator does not request personally-identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account number. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator. As always, taxpayers should watch out for tax scams, especially via email or phone and be alert to cybercriminals impersonating the IRS. The IRS does not send emails related to the Withholding Calculator or the information entered on it.

Adjusting withholding 

The Withholding Calculator will recommend how to complete new Forms W-4. If a taxpayer is at risk of being under-withheld, the calculator will recommend an additional amount of tax withholding for each job. The taxpayer can enter these amounts on their respective Forms W-4. 

Employees who need to complete a new Form W-4 should submit it to their employers as soon as possible. Employees with a change in personal circumstances that reduce the number of withholding allowances must submit a new Form W-4 with corrected withholding allowances to their employer within 10 days of the change.

Certain taxpayers – including those who don’t have enough income tax withheld by their employer – may have to pay estimated taxes. For additional information, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.

Taxpayers may also need to determine if they should make adjustments to their state or local withholding. They can contact their state's department of revenue to learn more.

Do a ‘Paycheck Checkup’ now, avoid a surprise year-end tax bill

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 27 2018

do a paycheck checkup now avoid a surprise year end tax bill

 

The Internal Revenue Service urges anyone working in the sharing economy to perform a Paycheck Checkup now to avoid an unexpected tax bill when they file their return next year.

Many people working in the sharing economy are employees, in which case their employers should be withholding taxes from their wages. Many others are not working as employees, so they need to make sure they pay their taxes either through withholding from other jobs they may have, or through estimated taxes.

Either way, because of the far-reaching tax changes taking effect this year, IRS urges taxpayers, including those in the sharing economy, to perform a Paycheck Checkup now. The easiest way for most employees to check their withholding is through the Withholding Calculator available on IRS.gov.

The U.S. tax system operates on a pay-as-you-go basis, so taxes must be paid as income is received rather than at the end of the year. This includes anyone involved in the sharing economy.

People who participate in the sharing economy but do not have an employer, usually need to make quarterly estimated tax payments to cover their tax obligation. In this case Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, and the worksheet in  Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, can help people check their withholding and figure their payments correctly. IRS Direct Pay is the fastest and easiest way to pay.

In recent years, the IRS has seen the number of taxpayers who paid the estimated tax penalty jump from 7.2 million in 2010 to 10 million in 2015, an increase of nearly 40 percent. Using the Withholding Calculator or Publication 505 and following the recommended steps can help avoid this underpayment penalty.

Sharing Economy Tax Center and other resources

The IRS has created the Sharing Economy Tax Center to help people quickly find answers to tax questions and forms for the sharing economy. The Center features:

The IRS’s Pay As You Go web page and Publication 505 can help people understand withholding and estimated payments.

People with more complex situations may need to use Publication 505

Taxpayers with more complex situations might need to use Publication 505 instead of the Withholding Calculator. This includes employees who owe self-employment tax, the alternative minimum tax or tax on unearned income from dependents. It can also help those who receive non-wage income such as dividends, capital gains, rents and royalties. The publication includes worksheets and examples to guide taxpayers through these special situations.

In some of these situations, a household may make estimated tax payments but also have tax withheld by an employer. It’s important to account for both amounts when figuring how much tax to have an employer withhold. Publication 505 helps taxpayers include estimated tax payments; the Withholding Calculator does not. 

Do a ‘Paycheck Checkup’ soon

Taxpayers need to adjust their withholding as soon as possible for an even, consistent amount of withholding throughout the rest of the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax – so more tax will have to be withheld from each remaining paycheck.

Whether someone uses the Withholding Calculator or Publication 505, it’s helpful to have their completed 2017 tax return handy to help estimate the amount of income, deductions, adjustments and credits to enter. They’ll also need their most recent pay stubs to help compute their withholding to date.

Employees can use the results from the Withholding Calculator or Publication 505 to help determine if they should complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and what information to include on the form.

Though primarily designed for employees who receive wages, the Withholding Calculator can also be helpful to some taxpayers receiving pension and annuity income. Recipients of pensions and annuities can change their withholding by completing Form W-4P and submitting it to their payer.

All taxpayers should remember that if their personal circumstances change during the year, they should re-check their withholding.

Taxpayers who change their withholding for 2018 should recheck their withholding at the start of 2019. This is especially important for taxpayers who reduce their withholding sometime during 2018. A mid-year withholding change in 2018 may have a different full-year impact in 2019. If taxpayers don’t submit a new Form W-4 for 2019, their withholding might be higher or lower than intended. To help protect against having too little withheld in 2019, taxpayers should check their withholding again early in 2019.

Adjusting withholding

If an employee determines they should adjust their withholding, they should complete a new Form W-4 and submit it to their employer as soon as possible. Some employers have an electronic method to update a Form W-4.

If an employee has a change in personal circumstances that reduces the number of withholding allowances they can claim, they must submit a new Form W-4 within 10 days of the change with the correct number of allowances.

As a general rule, the fewer withholding allowances an employee enters on the Form W-4, the higher their tax withholding will be. Entering “0” or “1” on line 5 of the Form W-4 means more tax will be withheld. Entering a bigger number means less tax withholding, resulting in a smaller tax refund or potentially a tax bill or penalty.

Employees may also need to determine if they should make adjustments to their state or local withholding. Contact the state's department of revenue to learn more.

Additional information

The Withholding Calculator does not request personally identifiable information such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account numbers. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator. As always, taxpayers should watch out for tax scams, especially via email or phone and be alert to cybercriminals impersonating the IRS. The IRS does not send emails related to the calculator or the information entered in it.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers needing advice regarding the new tax law and their personal situation should consider consulting a trusted tax professional.

Taxpayers can get more information on these topics at www.irs.gov/withholding. Additionally, IRS.gov/getready has information about steps taxpayers can take now to get a jump on next year’s taxes, including how the new tax law may affect them.

Treasury, IRS issue proposed regulations on charitable contributions and state and local tax credits

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 27 2018

treasury irs issue proposed regulaions on charitable contributions and state and state

 

Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations providing rules on the availability of charitable contribution deductions when the taxpayer receives or expects to receive a corresponding state or local tax credit.

The proposed regulations issued today are designed to clarify the relationship between state and local tax credits and the federal tax rules for charitable contribution deductions. The proposed regulations are available in the Federal Register.

Under the proposed regulations, a taxpayer who makes payments or transfers property to an entity eligible to receive tax deductible contributions must reduce their charitable deduction by the amount of any state or local tax credit the taxpayer receives or expects to receive.

For example, if a state grants a 70 percent state tax credit and the taxpayer pays $1,000 to an eligible entity, the taxpayer receives a $700 state tax credit. The taxpayer must reduce the $1,000 contribution by the $700 state tax credit, leaving an allowable contribution deduction of $300 on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. The proposed regulations also apply to payments made by trusts or decedents’ estates in determining the amount of their contribution deduction.

The proposed regulations provide exceptions for dollar-for-dollar state tax deductions and for tax credits of no more than 15 percent of the payment amount or of the fair market value of the property transferred. A taxpayer who makes a $1,000 contribution to an eligible entity is not required to reduce the $1,000 deduction on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return if the state or local tax credit received or expected to be received is no more than $150.

Treasury and IRS welcome public comments on these proposed regulations. For details on submitting comments, see the proposed regulations.

New law makes clear: Combat-zone contract workers qualify for foreign earned income exclusion

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 27 2018

new law makes clearcombat zone contract workers qualify for foreign

 

Certain U.S. citizens or resident aliens, specifically contractors or employees of contractors supporting the U.S. Armed Forces in designated combat zones, may now qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted in February, changed the tax home requirement for eligible taxpayers, enabling them to claim the foreign earned income exclusion even if their “abode” is in the United States. The new law applies for tax year 2018 and subsequent years.

This means that these taxpayers, if eligible, will be able to claim the foreign earned income exclusion on their income tax return for 2018 when they file. Under the exclusion, taxpayers can choose to exclude their foreign earned income from gross income, up to a certain dollar amount. For tax year 2018, that dollar amount limit is $103,900.

The foreign earned income exclusion is not automatic. Eligible taxpayers must file a U.S. income tax return each year with either a Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ attached. These forms, instructions and Publication 54,Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, will be revised later this year to reflect this clarification.

Foreign earned income is the income a taxpayer receives for performing personal services in a foreign country or countries during a period in which he or she meets both of the following requirements:

  • His or her tax home is in a foreign country, and
  • He or she meets either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test.

Full details on these tests can be found in Publication 54.

Under prior law, many otherwise eligible taxpayers who lived and worked in designated combat zones failed to qualify because they had an abode in the United States. The new law makes it clear that contractors or employees of contractors providing support to U.S. Armed Forces in designated combat zones are eligible to claim the foreign earned income exclusion.

Taxpayers choosing the foreign earned income exclusion cannot take advantage of any other exclusion, deduction or credit related to the excluded income. This includes any expenses, losses or other items that would have been deductible had the exclusion not been claimed.

As in the past, the foreign earned income exclusion is not available to federal employees or members of the military. But service members in combat zones continue to qualify for the combat pay exclusion. 

-ASSESSING YOUR EXPOSURE TO THE ESTATE TAX AND GIFT TAX

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 27 2018

assesing your exposure to the estate tax and gift tax

 

When Congress was debating tax law reform last year, there was talk of repealing the federal estate and gift taxes. As it turned out, rumors of their demise were highly exaggerated. Both still exist and every taxpayer with a high degree of wealth shouldn’t let either take their heirs by surprise.

Exclusions and exemptions

For 2018, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $11.18 million per taxpayer. (The exemption is annually indexed for inflation.) If your estate doesn’t exceed your available exemption at your death, no federal estate tax will be due.

Any gift tax exemption you use during life does reduce the amount of estate tax exemption available at your death. But not every gift you make will use up part of your lifetime exemption. For example:

  • Gifts to your U.S. citizen spouse are tax-free under the marital deduction, as are transfers at death (bequests).
  • Gifts and bequests to qualified charities aren’t subject to gift and estate taxes.
  • Payments of another person’s health care or tuition expenses aren’t subject to gift tax if paid directly to the provider.
  • Each year you can make gifts up to the annual exclusion amount ($15,000 per recipient for 2018) tax-free without using up any of your lifetime exemption.

It’s important to be aware of these exceptions as you pass along wealth to your loved ones.

A simple projection

Here’s a simplified way to help project your estate tax exposure. Take the value of your estate, net of any debts. Also subtract any assets that will pass to charity on your death.

Then, if you’re married and your spouse is a U.S. citizen, subtract any assets you’ll pass to him or her. (But keep in mind that there could be estate tax exposure on your surviving spouse’s death, depending on the size of his or her estate.) The net number represents your taxable estate.

You can then apply the exemption amount you expect to have available at death. Remember, any gift tax exemption amount you use during your life must be subtracted. But if your spouse predeceases you, then his or her unused estate tax exemption, if any, may be added to yours (provided the applicable requirements are met).

If your taxable estate is equal to or less than your available estate tax exemption, no federal estate tax will be due at your death. But if your taxable estate exceeds this amount, the excess will be subject to federal estate tax.

Be aware that many states impose estate tax at a lower threshold than the federal government does. So, you could have state estate tax exposure even if you don’t need to worry about federal estate tax.

Strategies to consider

If you’re not sure whether you’re at risk for the estate tax, or if you’d like to learn about gift and estate planning strategies to reduce your potential liability, please contact us.

- WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES INVESTORS MAKE?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

what are the biggest mistakes investors make

 

The biggest mistakes that investors make are:

1- Starting Too Late

The time to start is now. The power of compound interest is astounding - the earlier you take advantage the more it will work for you. If you start out earlier, you can start with less, invest less and still end up making more than if you started out later.

2- Paying High Fees

Broker's commissions can negate all of the hard-earned interest that you have accumulated. Don't let this happen to you - pay attention to what you are being charged. The more you pay, the less you keep.

3- Investing Emotionally

Successful investing consists of planning and reason. Once emotion gets involved, it can ruin all of the planning and reason that you had used to construct your investment strategy. Keep using the strategies that have consistently made people rich over the years, don't look to follow the new and exciting strategies that haven't yet stood the test of time.

4- Using a One-Size-Fits-All Plan

Your individual needs should trump any ideas of blindly following any plan. Keep an account of how much risk you are willing to take, and what your time frame is. Your portfolio should match your needs.

5- Not Taking Taxes Into Consideration

The net profits from stocks are taxable as capital gains. Being in a tax-deferred investment account will stop this from eating away at your savings.

6- Overly Risky Investing

Being extremely risky can pay off big time, but it can also leave you with a diminished nest egg it you gamble wrong. There are many great investments that offer decent returns without putting your funds in excessive danger.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- TAX RULES ON RENTAL PROPERTY

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

tax rules on rental property

 

Buying or selling income property has definite tax consequences. A taxpayer should clearly understand them, whether he or she intends to acquire a property or put one on the market. 

 

A sale of income property incurs either a capital gain or loss. If you profit from the sale of income property, that profit is considered fully taxable by the Internal Revenue Service. Fortunately, if you have owned that property for at least a year, you will pay only capital gains tax on those profits rather than income tax.1

Your capital gain is determined by subtracting the adjusted basis of the property (i.e., the price you paid for it, plus the total of any renovations, closing costs, and eligible legal fees) from the sale price. For most taxpayers, the capital gains rate is but 15%. If you sell an investment property for a capital gain of $30,000 and your capital gains rate is 15%, you will pay $4,500 of capital gains tax from the sale.1

Depreciation can factor into this. If the market turns south and you can deduct $20,000 in depreciation within your ownership period, then your capital gain from the sale is $10,000 instead of $30,000.2

Should you happen to sell one investment property at a gain and another at a loss in the same year, you can subtract your capital loss from your capital gain, resulting in a net capital gain or loss for that tax year.1

Should you buy & hold, you could qualify for the homeowner exclusion. If you live in an investment property for two or more years during a five-year period, the I.R.S. will consider that investment property to be your primary residence, whether you do or not. You are, thereby, eligible for the federal homeowner exclusion when you sell such property, which enables you to shield up to $250,000 of capital gains from tax. Joint filers may exclude up to $500,000 of capital gains from tax through this break.1,3

Income property investors may also qualify for some federal tax deductions. If you happen to utilize an investment property (or even a vacation home) for your personal use, you may be able to take advantage of property tax deductions, the mortgage interest deduction, even the home office deduction. The size of a deduction typically corresponds to how frequently you use the property. For example, you can deduct property management fees, insurance premiums, and certain other costs only when you use the property for longer than 14 days or 10% of the total days it is rented or leased.4

This article is simply an overview of the tax rules on rental property. To fully explore the tax implications of a sale or purchase and the deductions and exclusions you may qualify to receive, speak to a qualified tax, real estate, or financial professional today.

Eyal " Alan " Galinsky, ChFC® may be reached at (561) 368-6388 or admin@archfg.com| www.archfg.com   

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. 

Citations.

1 - finance.zacks.com/tax-liability-selling-investment-property-5957.html [3/28/17]

2 - investopedia.com/articles/mortgages-real-estate/08/rental-property.asp [2/22/17]

3 - irs.gov/taxtopics/tc701.html [1/7/17]

4 - ajc.com/business/personal-finance/these-tax-breaks-can-help-make-homeownership-more-affordable/1rauoRXHzDmeWZVgbfmsoI [3/16/17]

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 

- REFINANCING YOUR HOME?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

refinancing your home

 

Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans.

Generally, for taxpayers who itemize, the “points” paid to obtain a home mortgage may be deductible as mortgage interest. Points paid to obtain an original home mortgage can be, depending on circumstances, fully deductible in the year paid. However, points paid solely to refinance a home mortgage usually must be deducted over the life of the loan.

For a refinanced mortgage, the interest deduction for points is determined by dividing the points paid by the number of payments to be made over the life of the loan. This information is usually available from lenders. Taxpayers may deduct points only for those payments made in the tax year. For example, a homeowner who paid $2,000 in points and who would make 360 payments on a 30-year mortgage could deduct $5.56 per monthly payment, or a total of $66.72 if he or she made 12 payments in one year.

However, if part of the refinanced mortgage money was used to finance improvements to the home and if the taxpayer meets certain other requirements, the points associated with the home improvements may be fully deductible in the year the points were paid. Also, if a homeowner is refinancing a mortgage for a second time, the balance of points paid for the first refinanced mortgage may be fully deductible at pay off.

Other closing costs — such as appraisal fees and other non-interest fees — generally are not deductible. Additionally, the amount of Adjusted Gross Income can affect the amount of deductions that can be taken.  Please contact us if you've recently refinanced, and we can be a big help!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- FIVE TAX TIPS ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

five tax tips on unemployment benefits

 

Taxpayers who received unemployment benefits need to remember that it may be taxable. Here are five key facts about unemployment:

Unemployment is Taxable. Include all unemployment compensation as income for the year. Taxpayers should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, by Jan. 31. This form shows the amount received and the amount of any federal income tax withheld.

There are Different Types. Unemployment compensation includes amounts paid under federal law or state law as well as railroad, trade readjustment and airline deregulation laws. Even some forms of disability payments can count. For more information, see IRS Publication 525.

Union Benefits May be Taxable. Benefits received from regular union dues as income might be taxable. Other rules may apply if a taxpayer contributed to a special union fund and those contributions to the fund are not deductible. In this case, report only income exceeding the amount of contributions made.

Tax May be Withheld. Those who receive unemployment can choose to have federal income tax withheld by using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. Those choosing not to have tax withheld may need to make estimated tax payments during the year.

Visit IRS.gov for Help. Taxpayers facing financial difficulties should visit the IRS.gov page: “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers. This page explains the tax effect of various life events such as job loss. For those who owe federal taxes and can’t pay, the Payments tab on IRS.gov provides some options. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease financial burden.

Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.  

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

- GET CREDIT FOR MAKING A HOME ENERGY EFFICIENT

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

get credit for making a home energy efficient

 

Taxpayers who made certain energy efficient improvements to their home last year may qualify for a tax credit this year. Here are some key facts to know about home energy tax credits:

Non-Business Energy Property Credit

Part of this credit is worth 10 percent of the cost of certain qualified energy-saving items added to a taxpayer’s main home last year. Qualified improvements include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors, and certain roofs. Do not include the cost to install these items.

The other part of the credit is not a percentage of the cost. It includes the installation costs of certain high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems, high-efficiency water heaters and stoves that burn biomass fuel. The credit amount for each type of property has a different dollar limit.

This credit has a maximum lifetime limit of $500. Taxpayers may only use $200 of this limit for windows.

A taxpayer’s main home must be located in the U.S. to qualify for the credit. The non-business energy property credit is only available for existing homes.

Be sure to have the written certification from the manufacturer that their product qualifies for this tax credit. They usually post it on their website or include it with the product’s packaging. Taxpayers can use this to claim the credit. Do not attach it to a tax return. Keep it with tax records.

Taxpayers may claim the credit on their 2016 tax return if they didn’t reach the lifetime limit in past years. Under current law, Dec. 31, 2016, was the deadline for qualifying improvements to the taxpayer’s main U. S. home.

Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit

This tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment installed on or in a home. This includes the cost of installation.

Qualified equipment includes solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment, wind turbines and fuel cell property.

There is no dollar limit on the credit for most types of property. If the credit is more than the tax owed, carry forward the unused portion of this credit to next year’s tax return.

The home must be in the U.S. It does not have to be a taxpayer’s main home, unless the alternative energy equipment is qualified fuel cell property. The residential energy efficient property credit is available for both existing homes and homes under construction.

This credit is available through 2016.

Use Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, to claim these credits. For more information on this topic, refer to the form’s instructions. Get IRS forms anytime on IRS.gov/forms.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

- DEBT CANCELLATION MAY BE TAXABLE

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

debt cancellation may be taxable

 

If a lender cancels part or all of a debt, a taxpayer must generally consider this as income. However, the law allows an exclusion that may apply to homeowners who had their mortgage debt canceled in 2016.

Here are 10 tips about debt cancellation:

1- Main Home. If the canceled debt was a loan on a taxpayer’s main home, they may be  able to exclude the canceled amount from their income. They must have used the loan to buy, build or substantially improve their main home to qualify. Their main home must also secure the mortgage. 

2- Loan Modification. If a taxpayer’s lender canceled or reduced part of their mortgage balance through a loan modification or ‘workout,’ the taxpayer may be able to exclude that amount from their income. They may also be able to exclude debt discharged as part of the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. The exclusion may also apply to the amount of debt canceled in a foreclosure.

3- Refinanced Mortgage. The exclusion may apply to amounts canceled on a refinanced mortgage. This applies only if the taxpayer used proceeds from the refinancing to buy, build or substantially improve their main home and only up to the amount of the old mortgage principal just before refinancing. Amounts used for other purposes do not qualify.

4- Other Canceled Debt. Other types of canceled debt such as second homes, rental and business property, credit card debt or car loans do not qualify for this special exclusion. On the other hand, there are other rules that may allow those types of canceled debts to be nontaxable.

5- Form 1099-C. If a lender reduced or canceled at least $600 of a taxpayer’s debt, the taxpayer should receive Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, by Feb. 1. This form shows the amount of canceled debt and other information. 

6- Form 982. If a taxpayer qualifies, report the excluded debt on Form 982, Reduction of Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness. They should file the form with their income tax return.

7- IRS.gov Tool. Taxpayers should use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool - Do I Have Cancellation of Debt Income on My Personal Residence? - on IRS.gov to find out if their canceled mortgage debt is taxable.

8- Exclusion Extended. The law that authorized the exclusion of cancelled debt from income was extended through Dec. 31, 2016.

9- IRS Free File.  IRS e-file is fastest, safest and easiest way to file. Taxpayers can use IRS Free File to e-file their tax return for free. If they earned $64,000 or less, they can use brand name tax software. The software does the math and completes the right forms for them. If they earned more than $64,000, they can use Free File Fillable Forms. This option uses electronic versions of IRS paper forms. It is best for those who are used to doing their own taxes. Free File is available only on IRS.gov/freefile.

10- More Information. For more on this topic see Publication 4681, Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

- FRIVOLOUS TAX ARGUMENTS CAN COST YOU THOUSANDS

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

frivolous tax arguments can cost you thousands

 

Frivolous Tax Arguments: Don’t use frivolous tax arguments in an effort to avoid paying tax. Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims Even though they are wrong and have been repeatedly thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law or disregard their responsibility to pay taxes. The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. (IR-2016-27)

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers against using frivolous tax arguments to avoid paying their taxes.

Also, the IRS released the 2016 version of “The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments.” The document describes and responds to some of the common frivolous tax arguments made by those who oppose compliance with federal tax laws. Examples include contentions that taxpayers can refuse to pay taxes on religious or moral grounds by invoking the First Amendment. Other examples mentioned also include contentions that the only “employees” subject to federal income tax are employees of the federal government; and that only foreign-source income is taxable. The cases cited in the document demonstrate how frivolous arguments are treated by the IRS and the courts.

"The IRS and the courts hear many outlandish arguments from people trying to avoid their legal filing and tax obligations," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should avoid unscrupulous promoters of false tax-avoidance arguments because taxpayers end up paying what they owe plus potential penalties and interest mandated by law."

Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes.

Perpetrators of illegal scams may be subject to significant penalties and interest as well as possible criminal rosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Debunking Frivolous Tax Arguments

“The Truth about Frivolous Tax Arguments” describes and responds to some of the common frivolous tax arguments made by those who oppose compliance with federal tax laws. The 2016 version includes numerous recently-decided cases hat demonstrate that the courts continue to regard such arguments as illegitimate.

Don’t Get Talked into Using a Frivolous Argument

Promoters of frivolous schemes encourage taxpayers to make unreasonable and outlandish claims to avoid paying the taxes they owe. These arguments are wrong and have been thrown out of court. While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in court, no one has the right to disobey the law or disregard their responsibility to pay taxes..

The penalty for filing a frivolous tax return is $5,000. The penalty applies to anyone who submits a purported tax return or other specified submission, if any portion of the submission is based on a position the IRS identified as frivolous in Notice 2010-33, 2010-17 I.R.B. 609, or reflects a desire to delay or impede administration of the tax laws.

Those who promote or adopt frivolous positions also risk a variety of other penalties.  For example, taxpayers could be responsible for an accuracy-related penalty, a civil fraud penalty, an erroneous refund claim penalty, or a failure to file penalty.  The Tax Court may also impose a penalty against taxpayers who make frivolous arguments in court.   

Taxpayers who rely on frivolous arguments and schemes may also face criminal prosecution for attempting to evade or defeat tax. Similarly, taxpayers may be convicted of a felony for willfully making and signing under penalties of perjury any return, statement, or other document that the person does not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter.  Persons who promote frivolous arguments and those who assist taxpayers in claiming tax benefits based on frivolous arguments may be prosecuted for a felony.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

- WHAT CAN I DO TO RAISE MONEY FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

what can i do to raise money for my small business

 

Although the process is complex and frustrating, raising capital is the most basic of all business activities. When looking for financing, there are various sources to consider. For most new businesses, the main source of capital comes from savings and other forms of personal resources. There are better options available than credit cards that are often used for financing, even a small business loan.

When beginning, entrepreneurs usually look to private sources like friends and family. Generally, the money is loaned at a low interest rate or interest free, which is very beneficial at the beginning.

The most common source of funding, not including personal resources, are credit unions and banks who will provide a loan if it is possible to show that your offer is worthwhile. Other sources are venture capital firms that aid businesses in exchange for partial or equity ownership.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate  transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- CHECK OUT THESE TAX BENEFITS FOR PARENTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

tax benefits for parents

 

Taxpayers with children may qualify for certain tax benefits. Parents should consider child-related tax benefits when filing their federal tax return:

Dependent. Most of the time, taxpayers can claim their child as a dependent. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to help determine who can be claimed as a dependent. Taxpayers can generally deduct $4,050 for each qualified dependent. If the taxpayer’s income is above a certain limit, this amount may be reduced. For more on these rules, see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information.

Child Tax Credit.  Generally, taxpayers can claim the Child Tax Credit for each qualifying child under the age of 17. The maximum credit is $1,000 per child. Taxpayers who get less than the full amount of the credit may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to determine if a child qualifies for the Child Tax Credit. For more information, see Schedule 8812 and Publication 972, Child Tax Credit.

Child and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers may be able to claim this credit if they paid for the care of one or more qualifying persons. Dependent children under age 13 are among those who qualify. Taxpayers must have paid for care so that they could work or look for work. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to determine if a child qualifies for the Child Tax Credit. See Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, for more on this credit.

Earned Income Tax Credit. Taxpayers who worked but earned less than $53,505 last year should look into the EITC. They can get up to $6,269 in EITC. Taxpayers may qualify with or without children. Use the 2016 EITC Assistant tool at IRS.gov or see Publication 596, Earned Income Tax Credit, to learn more.

EITC and ACTC Refunds. Because of new tax-law change, the IRS cannot issue refunds before Feb. 15 returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This applies to the entire refund, even the portion not associated with these credits. The IRS will begin to release EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 15. However, the IRS expects the earliest of these refunds to be available in bank accounts or debit cards during the week of Feb. 27, as long as there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit. Read more about refund timing for early EITC/ACTC filers.

Adoption Credit. It is possible to claim a tax credit for certain costs paid to adopt a child. For details, see Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.

Education Tax Credits. An education credit can help with the cost of higher education. Two credits are available: the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. These credits may reduce the amount of tax owed. If the credit cuts a taxpayer’s tax to less than zero, it could mean a refund. Taxpayers may qualify even if they owe no tax. Complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a return to claim these credits. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if they can claim them. Visit the IRS’s Education Credits web page to learn more on this topic. Also, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.  

Student Loan Interest. Taxpayers may be able to deduct interest paid on a qualified student loan. They can claim this benefit even if they do not itemize deductions. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to determine if interest paid on a student or educational loan is deductible. For more information, see Publication 970.

Self-employed Health Insurance Deduction. Taxpayers who were self-employed and paid for health insurance may be able to deduct premiums paid during the year. See Publication 535, Business Expenses, for details.   

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

- AGE 50 OR OLDER? CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS ARE FOR YOU

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

age 50 or older catch up contributions are for

 

Are you in your 50s or 60s and thinking more about retirement? If so, and you’re still not completely comfortable with the size of your nest egg, don’t forget about “catch-up” contributions. These are additional amounts beyond the regular annual limits that workers age 50 or older can contribute to certain retirement accounts.

Catch-up contributions give you the chance to take maximum advantage of the potential for tax-deferred or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free growth.

401(k) feature

Under 2016 401(k) limits, if you’re age 50 or older, after you’ve reached the $18,000 maximum limit for all employees, you can contribute an extra $6,000, for a total of $24,000. If your employer offers a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) instead, your regular contribution maxes out at $12,500 in 2016. If you’re 50 or older, you’re allowed to contribute an additional $3,000 — or $15,500 in total for the year.

But, check with your employer because, while most 401(k) plans and SIMPLEs offer catch-up contributions, not all do.

IRA benefits

Another way to save more after age 50 is through a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. With either plan, those 50 or older generally can contribute another $1,000 above the $5,500 limit for 2016. Plus, you can make 2016 IRA contributions as late as April 18, 2017.

The benefits of making the additional contribution differ depending on which account you’re considering. With a traditional IRA, contributions may be tax deductible, providing you with immediate tax savings. (The deductibility phases out at higher income levels if you or your spouse is covered by an employer retirement plan.)

Roth contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free. By contributing to a Roth IRA and taking the tax hit up front, you won’t lose any of the income to taxes at withdrawal, provided you’re at least 59½ and have held a Roth IRA at least five years. However, be aware that the ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is phased out based on income level.

Another option if you’d like to enjoy tax-free withdrawals is to convert some or all of your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA — but you’ll also take an up-front tax hit.

Self-employed limits

If you’re self-employed, retirement plans such as an individual 401(k) — or solo 401(k) — also allow catch-up contributions. A solo 401(k) is a plan for those with no other employees. You can defer 100% of your self-employment income or compensation, up to the regular yearly deferral limit of $18,000, plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution in 2016. But that’s just the employee salary deferral portion of the contribution.

You can also make an “employer” contribution of up to 20% of self-employment income or 25% of compensation. The total combined employee-employer contribution is limited to $53,000, plus the $6,000 catch-up contribution.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-JUGGLING FAMILY WEALTH MANAGEMENT IS NO TRICK

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

juggling wealth family management is no trick

 

Preserving and managing family wealth requires addressing a number of major issues. These include saving for your children’s education and funding your own retirement. Juggling these competing demands is no trick. Rather, it requires a carefully devised and maintained family wealth management plan.

Start with the basics

First, a good estate plan can help ensure that, in the event of your death, your children will be taken care of and, if your estate is large, that they won’t lose a substantial portion of their inheritances to estate taxes. It can also guarantee that your assets will be passed along to your heirs according to your wishes.

Second, life insurance is essential. The right coverage can provide the liquidity needed to repay debts, support your children and others who depend on you financially, and pay estate taxes.

Prepare for the challenge

Most families face two long-term wealth management challenges: funding retirement and paying for college education. While both issues can be daunting, don’t sacrifice saving for your own retirement to finance your child’s education. Scholarships, grants, loans and work-study may help pay for college — but only you can fund your retirement.

Uncle Sam has provided several education incentives that are worth checking out, including tax credits and deductions for qualifying expenses and tax-advantaged savings opportunities such as 529 plans and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Because of income limits and phaseouts, many higher-income families won’t benefit from some of these tax breaks. But, your children (or your parents, in the case of contributing to an ESA) may be able to take advantage of them.

Give assets wisely

Giving money, investments or other assets to your children or other family members can save future income tax and be a sound estate planning strategy as well. You can currently give up to $14,000 per year per individual ($28,000 if married) without incurring gift tax or using your lifetime gift tax exemption. Depending on the number of children and grandchildren you have, and how many years you continue this gifting program, it can really add up.

By gifting assets that produce income or that you expect to appreciate, you not only remove assets from your taxable estate, but also shift income and future appreciation to people who may be in lower tax brackets.

Also consider using trusts to facilitate your gifting plan. The benefit of trusts is that they can ensure funds are used in the manner you intended and can protect the assets from your loved ones’ creditors.

Overcome the complexities

Creating a comprehensive plan for family wealth management and following through with it may not be simple — but you owe it to yourself and your family. We can help you overcome the complexities and manage your tax burden.

Sidebar: Charitable giving’s place in family wealth management

Do charitable gifts have a place in family wealth management? Absolutely. Properly made gifts can avoid gift and estate taxes, while possibly qualifying for an income tax deduction. Consider a charitable trust that allows you to give income-producing assets to charity, but keep the income for life — or for the charity to receive the earnings and the assets to later pass to your heirs. These are just two examples; there are more ways to use trusts to accomplish your charitable goals.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- ASSESSING YOUR EXPOSURE TO THE ESTATE TAX AND GIFT TAX

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 05 2018

assesing your exposure to the estate tax and gift tax

 

When Congress was debating tax law reform last year, there was talk of repealing the federal estate and gift taxes. As it turned out, rumors of their demise were highly exaggerated. Both still exist and every taxpayer with a high degree of wealth shouldn’t let either take their heirs by surprise.

Exclusions and exemptions

For 2018, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $11.18 million per taxpayer. (The exemption is annually indexed for inflation.) If your estate doesn’t exceed your available exemption at your death, no federal estate tax will be due.

Any gift tax exemption you use during life does reduce the amount of estate tax exemption available at your death. But not every gift you make will use up part of your lifetime exemption. For example:

  • Gifts to your U.S. citizen spouse are tax-free under the marital deduction, as are transfers at death (bequests).
  • Gifts and bequests to qualified charities aren’t subject to gift and estate taxes.
  • Payments of another person’s health care or tuition expenses aren’t subject to gift tax if paid directly to the provider.
  • Each year you can make gifts up to the annual exclusion amount ($15,000 per recipient for 2018) tax-free without using up any of your lifetime exemption.

It’s important to be aware of these exceptions as you pass along wealth to your loved ones.

A simple projection

Here’s a simplified way to help project your estate tax exposure. Take the value of your estate, net of any debts. Also subtract any assets that will pass to