business taxes, Family Tax Issues, General Information, Self Employed, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

Fraud by Tax Preparer Creates Big Trouble for Client

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Is your tax preparer honest? You likely see indicators one way or the other. If your tax preparer commits fraud that benefits you, that can create trouble for you. In our Chicago South Loop tax preparation office,  we see a lot of clients that need tax debt relief. Many tax debt cases happen because a taxpayer unknowingly hired a dishonest tax preparer to file their tax return.  Let’s see how this works in real life.

Situation

The government indicted, tried, and convicted tax preparer Gregory D. Goosby of 30 fraud violations where he willfully aided and assisted in the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns.

Vincent Allen engaged Goosby to prepare his tax returns before Goosby’s fraud conviction. Allen gave Goosby his W-2, 401(k) statement, mortgage interest statement, and property tax statements. Goosby used those deductions but also added others, claiming false and fraudulent deductions for charitable contributions, meals and entertainment, and pager and computer expenses.

Guys with Guns 

Two special agents from the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division interviewed Allen concerning Goosby’s preparation of his income tax returns. Allen agreed with the IRS that the deductions were false and fraudulent, but both the IRS and Allen blamed Goosby. The IRS did not charge Allen with intent to evade taxes (fraud).
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Statute of Limitations

In general, the IRS has three years from the date you file your tax return to audit it and propose adjustments. In the case of fraud, the IRS can audit your return at any time. There is no limit on how far back the IRS can go.

In this case against Allen, the first-ever case of this nature decided by the Tax Court, the fraud was committed by Goosby, the preparer, not by Allen, the taxpayer. So the Tax Court had to decide whether the fraud by the tax preparer extended the statute of limitations on the client’s return.

And that’s exactly what the Tax Court decided in this precedent-setting case. The tax preparer’s fraud extends the statute of limitations for fraud to the client even when the client is not charged with fraud. This means that if your tax preparer fraudulently prepares your return and you file it, the law extends the period during which the IRS can audit that tax return from the usual three years to forever.

Allen Was Lucky

Although Allen may not have felt lucky after he paid his lawyer fees and also handed over $10,000 in taxes, the IRS did not charge him with fraud and the court did not make him pay the 75 percent fraud penalty on the taxes due.
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Beware

Using a dishonest tax preparer is a mistake. When the IRS catches the dishonest preparer, it likely catches you, too. And as the Tax Court has now ruled, fraud is fraud, and that opens your tax return up to IRS examination forever.

Protect yourself. Do not engage dishonest tax preparers. With Howard Tax Prep LLC, you will always have an honest tax preparer. We will always do our best to help you lower your taxes, but we will never cheat.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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BUSINESS CREDIT, Business Strategies, business taxes, Family Tax Issues, General Information, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

DID YOUR CPA REALLY FILE YOUR TAXES?

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Here in our Chicago South Loop Tax Preparation office, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people that have paid CPA’s to file their taxes, only to find that their taxes were never filed! Many people aren’t aware of the fact that their taxes haven’t been filed until they receive a letter or notice from the IRS requesting tax returns for the years in questions.
While you can file a complaint against professional tax preparers, the IRS still holds individual taxpayers responsible for ensuring that their tax returns were filed. Because individual taxpayers are responsible for filing their returns (and for what’s on their returns) we recommend that every taxpayer request a copy of their tax return transcript every 2-3 years. Keep reading to find out how to access your tax return transcript.
4 Ways to Get IRS Transcripts

1.) ONLINE: Access the IRS online system at Get Transcript Online . You will need to have the following:

  • A wireless phone IN YOUR NAME.
  • Most recent tax return.
  • Account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan/ line of credit or auto loan.

2.) BY MAIL: If you’re unable to register online, or you prefer not to use Get Transcript Online, you may order a tax return transcript and/or a tax account transcript using Get Transcript by Mail Please allow 5 to 10 calendar days for delivery.

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3.) BY PHONE: call 800-908-9946. Please allow 5 to 10 calendar days for delivery.

4.) BY FAX/MAIL: Complete Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return to 855-298-1145, unless you live in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York,
Pennsylvania, Vermont. If you live in one of the aforementioned states, you will fax your form to 855-821-0094.
We’ve included a sample of how to complete form 4506 below.

f4506T Transcript Tax Return EXAMPLE_Page_1.jpg

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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BUSINESS CREDIT, Business Strategies, business taxes, General Information, INSURANCE, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed, Tax Reduction, TAXES

Deduct Your Costs of Sponsoring Sports Teams

woman athletes playing soccer

In our south loop Chicago tax preparation office, when we prepare small business tax returns, we are often asked if a company can deduct the costs of sponsoring a sports team. Have you wondered what it takes to deduct the costs of sponsoring a sports team? What if you play on the team? Could you pay for the team travel expenses?

Revenue Ruling 70-393 states that the monies spent to outfit and support a sports team are similar to monies spent on other methods of advertising; accordingly, you may deduct them as business expenses for federal income tax purposes.

In the Strong case, Strong Construction Co. Inc. advertised its business primarily through either word of mouth or athletic sponsorships. As part of the athletic sponsorships, the corporation paid for the uniforms, logo design, hats, T-shirts, sweatpants, coats, bags, and pants for all players on its sponsored teams (broomball, softball, wrestling, etc.). The court ruled that the expenses were ordinary and necessary business expenses and that Strong could deduct them as advertising or promotion.
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In the Bower case, James Bower sponsored the Lafayette Bower Housing Hustlers basketball team, and he was both an assistant coach and a player. As the Hustlers’ sponsor, Bower paid for the team’s travel, lodging, food, promotions, AAU fees, tournament fees, gym rental, and uniforms. The court noted that Bower’s sponsorship increased his commodity brokerage commissions and generated additional clients; accordingly, the court ruled that Bower’s sponsorship expenses were deductible business expenses.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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BUSINESS CREDIT, business taxes, Family Tax Issues, General Information, Retirement Income, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed

7 KEYS TO SETTING & STICKING TO A BUDGET!

group of women sitting in front of table

Author Trudy M Howard. 

In our South Loop Chicago Tax Office, we not only help clients with tax planning to reduce their taxes, but we also draft personalized financial wellness plans.  If you want to eliminate debt, be prepared for an emergency, and retire with confidence, you must learn how to budget your finances. Not only do you want to set a budget, but you need to STICK TO YOUR BUDGET in order to be successful. Keep reading to find out the 7 KEYS TO SETTING & STICKING TO A BUDGET.

1.) Set realistic amounts: If you know that you like to shop, or that you don’t like to cook, don’t set a budget of $25 a month for shopping and dining out.

2.) Use cash instead of a debit/credit card. Retailers know that consumers spend more when they use their card instead of spending cash. Every Sunday withdraw enough for your gas, lunch, groceries, and incidentals.

3.) Watch your funds: Balance your checkbook! Don’t rely on the online banking system to give you current balances, as some purchases may not show for 24-48 hours later. Balancing your checkbook also helps you avoid overdraft fees, and less overdraft fees equal more savings!

4.) Stick to your entertainment budget: Use a prepaid debit card for your entertainment cost. Once the card is empty, you’ll know that you’ve reached your entertainment budget for the week. Be prepared to say NO to invitations from friends, and don’t feel as if you need to provide a detailed explanation about your financial situation.

5.) Expect unexpected expenses. No matter how disciplined you are in sticking to your budget, just as sure as the sun rises in the East, and sets in the West, I can GUARANTEE YOU that some unplanned expense is going to come up. Whether it be an increase in fuel cost, an increase in your utilities, or an unexpected dental emergency, expect to spend an extra $100-$150 a month.

6.) Track every purchase for the next 30 days. In order to get a clear look at your spending habits, you need to track all of your purchases. From the gum that you purchased, to the car note that you paid, Record. Every. Single. Purchase. Although you can use your bank statements to track your spending, writing down the figures can help you identify and remember areas of your concern.

7.) Pay bills on time to avoid late fees and bad credit. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can destroy a budget faster than a late payment fee! If you don’t like having your bills set to auto pay, try using google calendar to set a reminder the day before a bill is due. Not only does paying your bills on time increase your credit score, but it also creates more wealth building opportunities.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have questions, or need business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office at 855-743-5765. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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BUSINESS CREDIT, Business Strategies, business taxes, General Information, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

What is the De Minimis safe harbor $2,500 Expensing ($5,000 with AFS)?

adult chill computer connection

It’s a new year, and in preparation for the Chicago small business tax preparation season, you can elect the de minimis safe harbor to expense assets costing $2,500 or less ($5,000 with audited financial statements or something similar).

The term “safe harbor” means that the IRS will accept your expensing of the qualified assets if you properly abided by the rules of the safe harbor.

Here are four benefits of this safe harbor:

  1. Safe harbor expensing is superior to Section 179 expensing because you don’t have the recapture period that can complicate your taxes.
  2. Safe harbor expensing takes depreciation out of the equation.
  3. Safe harbor expensing simplifies your tax and business records because you don’t have the assets cluttering your books.
  4. The safe harbor does not reduce your overall ceiling on Section 179 expensing.

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Here’s how the safe harbor works. Say you are a small business that elects the $2,500 ceiling for safe harbor expensing and you buy two desks costing $2,100 each. On the invoice, you see the quantity “two” and the total cost of $4,200, plus sales tax of $378 and a $200 delivery and setup charge, for a total of $4,778.

Before this safe harbor, you would have capitalized each desk at $2,389 ($4,778 ÷ 2) and then either Section 179 expensed or depreciated it. You would have kept the desks in your depreciation schedules until you disposed of them.

Now, with the safe harbor, you simply expense the desks as office supplies. This makes your tax life much easier.

To benefit from the safe harbor, you and I do a two-step process. It works like this:Schedule-button-nb

Step 1. For safe harbor protection, you must have in place an accounting policy—at the beginning of the tax year—that requires expensing of an amount of your choosing, up to the $2,500 or $5,000 limit. I can help you with this.

Step 2. When I prepare your tax return, I make the election on your tax return for you to use safe harbor expensing. This requires that I attach the election statement to your federal tax return and file that tax return by the due date (including extensions).

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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BUSINESS CREDIT, Business Strategies, business taxes, General Information, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

Commercial Fuel Card Without A Personal Guarantee.

gas card

Commercial Fuel Card

Gas Cards Without A Personal Guarantee

Would you like to free up some cash so that you can increase your marketing budget, purchase more supplies, or reward your employees? Have you heard about obtaining business credit without a personal guarantee, but haven’t been able to secure your own business credit? Are you a small business owner that has damaged personal credit? Have you been told that you can’t get business credit if you have bad personal credit? If any of these things apply to you, you’ve come to the right place!
To start, let us explain what a “personal guarantee is.” A personal guarantee means that the owners will be held personally liable for the debts of their business. Suppose you have a LLC Howard Tax Prep LLC has partnered with a national gas chain (comparable with Exon Mobil, Citgo, etc. with over 18,000 locations worldwide) to offer small business owners (being defined as businesses with revenues under 1 million dollars) fuel cards that report business payment history to Dunn and Brad Street, and Equifax every 30 days!
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Only verified businesses that are structured as a LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp with a Dun and Brad Street number will qualify. Because this is not a publicly marketed program, your business must be verified, prior to receiving the name of the fuel company (but trust us, you can find a station near you).  

The best part about this offer? THE CARDS ARE ISSUED WITHOUT ANY PERSONAL LIABILITY TO THE OWNERS, & WITHOUT THE USE OF THE OWNERS PERSONAL CREDIT. If you need a truck driver fuel card, Uber driver fuel card, Lyft driver fuel card, or just a general small business owner fuel card, we can help! 

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

  • National fuel provider. Qualified businesses that are ready to move forward will be given the name of the fuel company prior to paying the 1 time $49.95 Howard Tax Prep LLC processing fee.
  • Minimum deposit of $200 for a $500 credit line is required.
  • Accounts are reviewed every quarter for credit line increases.
  • After 12 months of ON TIME PAYMENTS, your deposit will be returned.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?

  • Business Must Be Structured As A LLC, Corporation, or S-corporation.
  • Must have a BUSINESS CHECKING account.
  • Must Agree To Make ON-TIME Payments.
  • Deposit Payment Can Only Be Drafted From Business Checking account.

Who should use fuel cards?

Owner Operator Truck Driver

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Owner Operator Truck Drivers no longer have to use personal credit cards or cash profits to purchase fuel! Reduce driver fraud by setting fuel limits & restricting usage. Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score.     

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

GET YOUR CARD NOW!

Small Business Owner

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Small business owners no more using your profits & personal credit cards to cover fuel cost. Use the cash you save and apply it toward marketing, inventory, and more! Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score. 

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

GET YOUR CARD NOW! 

Uber & Lyft Driver

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Uber and Lyft Drivers that would like to build their business credit, and free up their cash flow. Use your additional cash flow for brake repairs, oil changes, and more! Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score.  

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

 GET YOUR CARD NOW!  

How easy it to use the card?

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 1-2-3 Driver Instructions 

  • Swipe card
  • Enter driver ID when prompted (may also be call DIN or PIN)
  • Enter odometer reading when prompted
  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

 GET YOUR CARD NOW! 

 

business taxes, Family Tax Issues, General Information, Self Employed, Tax Reduction, TAXES

Now that you’ve filed, do you need to tell your employer to withhold more or less income to pay your 2019 taxes?

man holding white paper

Reprinted with changes, edits, & permission by the IRS.

Was your refund lower than expected, or did you have an unexpected tax bill when you filed this year? In our south loop Chicago tax preparation office, we saw a slight decrease in income tax refunds for personal 1040 taxes. On the other hand, many of our Chicago business tax preparation clients saw a decrease in their taxes dues thanks to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. If you are concerned about your tax bill for the 2019 tax year, there are steps that you can take steps to make sure your federal income tax withholding is on the right track for this year.
Checking your withholding at the beginning of the year helps ensure you don’t have too little or too much withheld from your paychecks throughout the year. This is especially
important if you changed your withholding in 2018. A mid-year withholding change in 2018 can have a different full-year impact in 2019. You should also check your withholding any time your personal or financial information changes. Use the Withholding Calculator to help you decide whether you need to change your
withholding.

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Federal taxes operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means that you need to pay most of your tax during the year, as you earn the income. Paying too much tax throughout the year will result in a refund while not paying enough can lead to a tax bill, penalties and interest when you file. One way to avoid owing a balance is to correctly calculate and adjust how much tax you should have withheld from your wages. Use the Withholding Calculator to help you decide whether you need to change your withholding.

Another option is to consider making quarterly estimated tax payments. Those who
don’t pay taxes through withholding, or don’t pay enough tax that way, may still use the Withholding Calculator to determine if they have to pay estimated tax quarterly during the year to the IRS. Those who are self-employed generally pay tax this way. See Form
1040-ES, Estimated Taxes for Individuals, for details. Visit IRS.gov/payasyougo to learn more about withholding and to determine if you should be making estimated tax payments. You are in the driver’s seat. Check your withholding today.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Strategies, business taxes, General Information, REAL ESTATE, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS, Self Employed, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

TCJA Tax Reform Sticks It to Business Start-Ups That Lose Money

african american woman black girl black woman chair
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax reform added an amazing limit on larger business losses that can attack you where it hurts—right in your cash flow.

And this new law works in some unusual ways that can tax you even when you have no real income for the year. When you know how this ugly new rule works, you have some planning opportunities to dodge the problem.

Over the years, lawmakers have implemented rules that limit your ability to use your business or rental losses against other income sources. The big three are:

  1. The “at risk” limitation, which limits your losses to amounts that you have at risk in the activity
  2. The partnership and S corporation basis limitations, which limit your losses to the extent of your basis in your partnership interest or S corporation stock
  3. The passive loss limitation, which limits your passive losses to the extent of your passive income unless an exception applies

 The TCJA tax reform added Section 461(l) to the tax code, and it applies to individuals (not corporations) for tax years 2018 through 2025.

The big picture under this new provision: You can’t use the portion of your business losses deemed by the new law to be an “excess business loss” in the current year. Instead, you’ll treat the excess business loss as if it were a net operating loss (NOL) carryover to the next taxable year.
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To determine your excess business loss, follow these three steps:

  1. Add the net income or loss from all your trade or business activities.
  2. If step 1 is an overall loss, then compare it to the maximum allowed loss amount: $250,000 (or $500,000 on a joint return).
  3. The amount by which your overall loss exceeds the maximum allowed loss amount is your new tax law–defined “excess business loss.”

Example. Paul invested $850,000 in a start-up business in 2018, and the business passed through a $750,000 loss to Paul. He has sufficient basis to use the entire loss, and it is not a passive activity. Paul’s wife had 2018 wages of $50,000, and they had other 2018 non-business income of $600,000.

Under prior law, Paul’s loss would offset all other income on the tax return and they’d owe no federal income tax. Under the TCJA tax reform that applies to years 2018 through 2025 (assuming the wages are trade or business income):

  • Their overall business loss is $700,000 ($750,000 – $50,000).
  • The excess business loss is $200,000 ($700,000 overall loss less $500,000).
  • $150,000 of income ($600,000 + $50,000 – $500,000) flows through the rest of their tax return.
  • They’ll have a $200,000 NOL to carry forward to 2019.

To avoid this ugly rule, you’ll need to keep your overall business loss to no more than $250,000 (or $500,000 joint). Your two big-picture strategies to make this happen are

  • accelerating business income, and
  • delaying business deductions.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Answers to Common Section 199A Questions

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#smallbiztaxlady 

I’ve been providing tax preparation for small business owners in Chicago’s south loop for quite awhile, and the new tax laws are benefiting business owners like never before! For many small businesses and the self-employed, the 20 percent tax deduction from new tax code Section 199A is the most valuable deduction to come out of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The Section 199A tax deduction is complicated, and many questions remain unanswered even after the IRS issued its proposed regulations on the provision. And to further complicate matters, there’s also a lot of misinformation out there about Section 199A.

Below are answers to six common questions about this new 199A tax deduction.

Question 1. Are real estate agents and brokers in an out-of-favor specified service trade or business for purposes of Section 199A?

Answer 1. No.

Question 2. Do my S corporation shareholder wages count as wages paid by the S corporation for purposes of the 50 percent Section 199A wage limitation?

Answer 2. Yes.

Question 3. Will my allowable SEP/SIMPLE/401(k) contribution as a Schedule C taxpayer be based only on Schedule C net earnings, or do I first subtract the Section 199A deduction?
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Answer 3. You’ll continue to use Schedule C net earnings with no adjustment for Section 199A.

Question 4. Is my qualified business income for the Section 199A deduction reduced by either bonus depreciation or Section 179 expensing?

Answer 4. Yes, to both.

Question 5. I took out a loan to buy S corporation stock. The interest is deductible on my Schedule E. Does the interest reduce my Section 199A qualified business income?

Answer 5. Yes, in most circumstances.

Question 6. The out-of-favor specified service trade or business does not qualify for the Section 199A deduction, correct?

Answer 6. Incorrect.

Looking at your taxable income is the first step to see whether you qualify for the Section 199A tax deduction. If your taxable income on IRS Form 1040 is $157,500 or less (single) or $315,000 or less (married, filing jointly) and you have a pass-through business such as a proprietorship, partnership, or S corporation, you qualify for the Section 199A deduction.

With taxable income equal to or below the thresholds above, your type of pass-through business makes no difference. Retail store owners and medical doctors with income equal to or below the thresholds qualify in the same exact manner.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Family Tax Issues, General Information, TAX DEBT RELIEF, Tax Reduction, TAXES

CAN I FILE BANKRUPTCY FOR TAX DEBT?

bankruptcy

Once the IRS assesses a tax bill, it generally has 10 years to collect that amount before the statute of limitations expires. Holy smokes! That’s a long time to have a creditor chasing you! And this isn’t any ordinary creditor. The IRS has a lot of power that it can use to collect your late payments. The IRS can garnish wages, file a notice of federal tax lien, and empty your bank account.

If your tax bill has exploded beyond what you can pay, you’re probably already feeling the hot breath of the IRS. At this point, you need to consider your options for how to reduce or eliminate your tax bill.

If you have thought about bankruptcy, you need to be aware of its limitations. Tax debts are particularly sticky—many of them stay with you even after the bankruptcy process is complete. And it’s important to know that bankruptcy is not your only recourse. The IRS gives you four avenues of relief to help you get out of tax debt that you can read about here. Depending on your circumstances, one or more of those IRS methods could entirely eliminate that horrible tax cloud hanging over your head, or you can look into filing bankruptcy.

It is important to note that bankruptcy is not a simple process and has many lingering effects, such as the potentially decade-long hit to your credit. However, bankruptcy can be the perfect tool in the right situation—and it can permanently eliminate some of your income tax liabilities, including penalties and interest.

The following rules determine whether you can discharge your income tax debt in bankruptcy. You have to meet all three rules to qualify:
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RULE #1: Debts must be more than three years old. You have to wait at least three years after the filing deadline for the tax years at issue (normally April 15 for calendar year taxpayers) before you file your bankruptcy petition. In other words, if you file your petition on April 15, 2016, you can discharge tax debts for tax years 2013 and earlier. But note that an extension pushes your filing deadline to October 15. So if you got an extension in 2013, you must wait until October 15, 2016, to file your bankruptcy petition before you can discharge tax debts from 2013.

RULE #2: You must file all tax returns. You have to wait at least two years after you filed your tax return before you file your bankruptcy petition. So what happens if you didn’t file a return for a year? To discharge that debt, you must file that return now and then wait for two years before you file for bankruptcy.

RULE #3: Wait eight months after IRS assessment. You must wait at least 240 days after the IRS assessed your taxes before you file the bankruptcy petition.

As you can see, timing is important. If you want to ensure that the bankruptcy proceeding will clear your tax debts, you must:

  • Make sure you have filed all of your returns.
  • Wait until enough time has passed so that you qualify for relief.
  • Commit No fraud. Bankruptcy will not discharge your debt if you committed fraud or willfully evaded taxes.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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