Will You Have to Pay Tax on Social Security Benefits?

Some people are under the misconception that Social Security benefits are always free from federal income tax. However, depending on how much income you have from other sources, you may have to report up to 85% of your benefits as income on Form 1040 and pay the resulting federal income tax. Avoid Estimated Tax Penalties […]

Generous Health Plan May Not Preclude HSA Contribution

If you’re covered by a qualifying high-deductible health plan, you can generally make annual deductible contributions to a tax-saving Health Savings Account. However, things can get tricky if you are married and your spouse has more generous coverage through his or her job. Can you still contribute to a Health Savings Account? An IRS ruling clarifies […]

Ground Rules for 401(k) Loans

If you need a source of cash for an emergency, you might turn to your 401(k) plan. When you take a loan from a plan, you borrow money from your own account, pay yourself back with interest and continue making contributions at the same time. 401(k) Contribution Limit*   If you are under the age […]

Tax Recovery After a Casualty Loss

Q. My home suffered major damage after a tornado. Do I get a tax break for a disaster like this? What Qualifies for Tax Purposes? To get a casualty tax write-off, damage must be caused by a “sudden, unexpected or unusual” event such as a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, fire, flood or storm. Auto collisions and […]

You May Need to Make Estimated Tax Payments

You may have to make estimated tax payments if you earn income that’s not subject to withholding, such as income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, realized investment gains, prizes and awards. You also may have to pay estimated taxes if your income tax withholding on salary, pension or other income isn’t enough, or if […]

Remember the New FBAR Filing Deadline

Do you have an interest in — or authority over — a foreign financial account? If so, the IRS wants you to provide information about the account by filing a form called the “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR). The annual deadline for filing FBARs has been changed. It now coincides with the […]

To Franchise or Not to Franchise

When you consider going into business for yourself, you have three basic choices: Start from scratch, buy an existing business, or look for opportunities to purchase a franchise. A franchise gives you the licensed right to use a service mark, trademark, or business concept. Each franchisee signs an agreement that governs how the business is […]

Look Closely at Business Property Insurance Policies

When was the last time you reviewed the insurance coverage on your business property? If you have an insurance agent who works closely with your company, you may be accustomed to periodic reviews to keep your insurance up to date. However, if you bought insurance based primarily on price, these reviews might be left up […]

Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) Can Help Small Businesses Avoid Raising Red Flags

IRS examiners usually do their homework before meeting with taxpayers and their professional representatives. This includes reviewing any relevant Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) that typically focus on a specific industry or audit-prone business transaction. IRS Jumps into Golden Parachutes In February 2017, the IRS updated its Audit Techniques Guide (ATG) on golden parachute payments. After […]

4 Tips for Claiming Higher Education Credits

The Internal Revenue Code offers two federal income tax credits for post-secondary education expenses: the American Opportunity credit, and the Lifetime Learning credit. (See “The Basics of Higher Education Credits” at right.) The Basics of Higher Education Credits The American Opportunity credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student per year. More specifically, the […]