Did You Lose Money Filing Early?
The recently signed Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 had a few tax extenders that are retroactive to 2017. some of the more notable provisions include:
Exclusion for discharge of indebtedness on a principal residence
The provision extends the exclusion from gross income of a discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness through 2017. The provision also modifies the exclusion to apply to qualified principal residence indebtedness that is discharged pursuant to a binding written agreement entered into in 2017.
Premiums for mortgage insurance (PMI) deductible as mortgage interest
The provision extends the treatment of qualified mortgage insurance premiums as interest for purposes of the mortgage interest deduction through 2017. This deduction phases out ratably for taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $100,000 to $110,000.
Above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses
The provision extends the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses for higher education through 2017. The deduction is capped at $4,000 for an individual whose adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed $65,000 ($130,000 for joint filers) or $2,000 for an individual whose AGI does not exceed $80,000 ($160,000 for joint filers).
Three-year depreciation for race horses 2-years-old or younger
The provision extends the 3-year recovery period for race horses to property placed in service during 2017.
Contact us if you have already filed your return and qualify for these tax extender provisions.
Your Tax Questions Answered
Happy New Year! With the start of 2018, we have fielded a great deal of questions regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We figured we would put out a short post to address the most important ones
1. When will the tax changes take effect?
The bill takes effect on January 1, 2018, thus when you file your 2018 taxes (in 2019) you will see the results of the tax changes. W-2 employees will see changes in their paychecks federal withholding in February 2018.
2. How much will the tax changes save a taxpayer?
The short answer is, it depends...what your total income is and where your income is derived. Also other factors can play a role in determining how much you will save.
3. Do I need to do anything to change my withholding?
According to the IRS regarding withholding changes:
“We anticipate issuing the initial withholding guidance in January, and employers and payroll service providers will be encouraged to implement the changes in February,” said the IRS. “The IRS emphasizes this information will be designed to work with the existing Forms W-4 that employees have already filed, and no further action by taxpayers is needed at this time.”
These are just a few of the top questions we are hearing from taxpayers, feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
It was great to be a part of the Atlanta Professional Business Network (APBN) Author's Showcase this past weekend at the Mechanicsville Library. With over 20 local authors, the event provided a great opportunity to meet current and aspiring authors. Authors, speakers and coaches that sell books and speaking engagements also need to keep track of their sales and expenses and that is where we can assist (with the tips included in the book of course). It was a great time to network with them and provide insights into saving their hard earned dollars and working more efficiently.
Pictures from the event below...
Great to see and fellow tech driven accountants and consultants and network before the year-end!
Get a head start prepping for a new year by taking a look at changing your accounting systems. Speak with us to start the conversation on conversions and learn how we have successfully – and thankfully – switched our clients to cloud accounting solutions. Be sure to contact us if you are a small business owner/entrepreneur that needs end of the year assistance.
Presidential Candidates Tax Proposals
With just a few days left to go out and vote, here are the tax proposals for the two leading candidates.
In honor of The Masters golf tournament this week, here is a tax tip that can save you a couple of strokes off your tax bill. It's the good old "Augusta Rule" (Section 280A(g) of the Internal Revenue Code) in honor of the residents of Augusta, Georgia who rent their homes to spectators visiting The Masters.
Great thing is you don't have to be in Augusta to take part in this tax break. You’ll also see residents of Super Bowl host cities, political convention sites, music festivals, and Olympic Games host cities take advantage of the rule. And many taxpayers who live in less exotic locations take advantage of the opportunity to rent out their vacation homes when they would otherwise sit empty.
However, this rule also opens the door to renting your home to your business, paying a reasonable deductible rent out of the business account, and then treating it as non-taxable income when it hits your personal account. You can rent your home for all sorts of purposes, including business meetings, employee events, and even a limited amount of employee entertainment.
The key to making this work is to document your bona fide use of the home, and show that the rent you charge is reasonable. Need help feel free to contact us.
The dog days of summer are in full swing and that typically means spending relaxing hours by the pool with friends and family, not thinking about the stresses of running your business. Before you know it though, those relaxing days by the pool will come to an end and it will be back to business.
There are a number of ways you can turn some of that summertime fun into immediate tax savings for your business and family. Here are a few:
These are just a few ways that you can turn your summertime activities into immediate tax savings. Have questions about how; feel free to contact us for time is running out.
Just like a sun tanner that stays out in the sun too long, you can get burned if you don't put a tax plan together soon.
If you’re like most small business owners (SBO's), you qualify for all sorts of valuable tax credits and deductions, not to mention additional strategies that could lower your tax bill. But if you (or your tax professional) aren’t looking out for them, you may be losing your share.
Now that tax season is over, you should review your tax return for the following:
Do I feel that I paid too much tax (or refund was too small)?
Did my small business take all the legal credits and deductions this year?
What strategies can I use to lower my tax in the future?
Many small business owners (SBO's) think that now that tax season is over they can tuck those tax returns away and get back to the more exciting, less stressful tasks in their businesses. Don't put away those tax returns just yet (especially if you feel you paid more tax than you should have). After tax season is a great time to review your tax returns for potential tax savings that you can implement right now. Most SBO's don't realize that every action they take in their business during the year has a real effect on their bottom line.
Some of the many deductions and credits a SBO may qualify for include:
These are just a few of the questions SBO's should be asking in the "off" season to ensure that they keep more of their hard earned dollars. Feel free to contact us regarding your assets, health care, or entity selection changes you would like to make before year end. The clock is ticking...
Tax Refunds Late and Less
Recently the IRS Commissioner sent an email warning his employees of the budget cuts and how they would play out for taxpayers this tax season. Many taxpayers may not know that Congress cut about $346 million from the IRS budget.
Here are four areas where the cuts will affect taxpayers:
1. Delays to critical IT investments of more than $200 million. Impact: This will hurt taxpayer service and cost-efficiency efforts as well as reduce outside contractor support for critical projects.
o This means that new taxpayer protections against identity theft will be delayed.
o The Taxpayer Advocate Service won't be able to obtain a new case management system to oversee taxpayer hardship cases.
o Aging IT systems will not be replaced, increasing the risk of downtime that affects taxpayer service and your ability to work effectively.
o We will not be able to invest upfront money to gain future operational savings, such as moving to a shared cloud infrastructure and reducing data center space.
2. Enforcement cuts of more than $160 million. Impact:
o Fewer audit and collection cases. Reduced staffing in enforcement will result in at least 46,000 fewer individual and business audit closures and more than 280,000 fewer Automated Collection System and Field Collection case closures
o As a result of the hiring freeze, we will lose about 1,800 enforcement personnel through attrition during FY 2015.
o The reduced enforcement staffing for just FY 2015 means the government will lose at least $2 billion in revenue that otherwise would have been collected.
3. Cuts in overtime and temporary staff hours by more than $180 million. Impact:
o Delays in refunds for some taxpayers. People who file paper tax returns could wait an extra week - or possibly longer - to see their refund. Taxpayers with errors or questions on their returns that require additional manual review will also face delays.
o Increasing correspondence inventories. We realize there will be growing inventories in Accounts Management, and taxpayer correspondence will face lengthy delays.
o Taxpayer service diminished further over the phone and in person. We now anticipate an even lower level of telephone service than before, which raises the real possibility that fewer than half of taxpayers trying to call us will actually reach us. During Fiscal Year 2014, 64 percent were able to get through. Those who do reach us will face extended wait times that are unacceptable to all of us.
4. Extending the hiring freeze through FY 2015. Impact:
As a result of the hiring freeze and assuming normal attrition rates, we expect to lose between 3,000 and 4,000 additional full-time employees. The total reduction in full-time staffing between FY 2010 and FY 2015 is expected to be between 16,000 and 17,000.
These cuts coupled with the increase in tax laws (and possibly tax increases) due to the ACA, will make for a memorable tax season for sure.