25Jan
Meals, entertainment and transportation may cost businesses more under the TCJA
Business Ownership

 

Along with tax rate reductions and a new deduction for pass-through qualified business income, the new tax law brings the reduction or elimination of tax deductions for certain business expenses. Two expense areas where the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes the rules — and not to businesses’ benefit — are meals/entertainment and transportation. In effect, the reduced tax benefits will mean these expenses are more costly to a business’s bottom line.

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19Jan
Don’t be a victim of tax identity theft: File your 2017 return early
Identity Theft

The IRS has just announced that it will begin accepting 2017 income tax returns on January 29. You may be more concerned about the April 17 filing deadline, or even the extended deadline of October 15 (if you file for an extension by April 17). After all, why go through the hassle of filing your return earlier than you have to?

But it can be a good idea to file as close to January 29 as possible: Doing so helps protect you from tax identity theft.

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16Jan
2018 Withholding Tables must be updated by 2/15/18
Business Ownership

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Employers and employees: Withholding tables reflecting Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes are now available, and employees could see paycheck changes by February. The IRS has issued new income tax withholding tables for 2018 and advised employers to begin using them as soon as possible, but no later than Feb. 15. Find the IRS’s information release at http://bit.ly/2D2ihJn and the percentage method tables themselves in IRS Notice 1036 at http://bit.ly/1Ne91he Answers to frequently asked questions about using the new tables can be found at http://bit.ly/2D5iWJm

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12Jan
New tax law gives pass-through businesses a valuable deduction
Business Ownership

 

Although the drop of the corporate tax rate from a top rate of 35% to a flat rate of 21% may be one of the most talked about provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), C corporations aren’t the only type of entity significantly benefiting from the new law. Owners of noncorporate “pass-through” entities may see some major — albeit temporary — relief in the form of a new deduction for a portion of qualified business income (QBI).

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11Jan
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key provisions affecting estate planning
Uncategorized

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) is a sweeping revision of the tax code that alters federal law affecting individuals, businesses and estates. Focusing specifically on estate tax law, the TCJA doesn’t repeal the federal gift and estate tax. It does, however, temporarily double the combined gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption.

Beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, the combined gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amounts double from an inflation-adjusted $5 million to $10 million. For 2018, the exemption amounts are expected to be $11.2 million ($22.4 million for married couples). Absent further congressional action, the exemptions will revert to their 2017 levels (adjusted for inflation) beginning January 1, 2026. The marginal tax rate for all three taxes remains at 40%.

Estate planning remains a necessity

Just because fewer families will have to worry about estate tax liability doesn’t mean the end of estate planning as we know it. Nontax issues that your plan should still take into account include asset protection, guardianship of minor children, family business succession and planning for loved ones with special needs, to name just a few.

In addition, it’s not clear how states will respond to the federal tax law changes. If you live in a state that imposes significant state estate taxes, many traditional estate-tax-reduction strategies will continue to be relevant.

Future estate tax law remains uncertain

It’s also important to keep in mind that the exemptions are scheduled to revert to their previous levels in 2026 — and there’s no guarantee that lawmakers in the future won’t reduce the exemption amounts even further. Contact us with questions on how the TCJA might affect your estate plan. We’ll be pleased to review your plan and recommend any necessary revisions in light of the TCJA.

© 2017

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29Dec
Changes in Partnership Audit Rules
Audit

old cash register buttonsIf your business files a Partnership Form 1065 return or you have an interest in a partnership, you need to be aware of changes in the IRS audit rules which will have a significant impact on partnerships. These changes also affect LLCs filing partnership returns.

Some small partnerships/LLCs may be able to elect out of the new rules. The election requires the partnership/LLC to have no more than 100 partners/members. The owners must generally be: Individuals, C or S corporations, or the Estate of a deceased partner/member. It is unclear whether a Single-Member LLC is a qualified owner. An annual election is required for this option in addition to other disclosure requirements.

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27Dec
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key provisions affecting businesses
Business Ownership

The recently passed tax reform bill, commonly referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), is the most expansive federal tax legislation since 1986. It includes a multitude of provisions that will have a major impact on businesses.

Here’s a look at some of the most significant changes. They generally apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, except where noted.

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27Dec
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Key provisions affecting individuals
Taxes

On December 20, Congress completed passage of the largest federal tax reform law in more than 30 years. Commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), the new law means substantial changes for individual taxpayers.

The following is a brief overview of some of the most significant provisions. Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026.

  • 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%
  • 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)
  • Elimination of personal exemptions
  •  Doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 and other modifications intended to help more taxpayers benefit from the credit
  • 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, and permanent
  • Reduction of the adjusted gross income (AGI) threshold for the medical expense deduction to 7.5% for regular and AMT 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)
  • Reduction of the mortgage debt limit for the home mortgage interest deduction to $750,000 ($375,000 for separate filers), with certain exceptions
  • Elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt
  • Elimination of the personal casualty and theft loss deduction (with an exception for federally declared disasters)
  • Elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor (such as certain investment expenses, professional fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses)
  • Elimination of the AGI-based reduction of certain itemized deductions
  • Elimination of the moving expense deduction (with an exception for members of the military in certain circumstances)
  • 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 — permanent
  • AMT exemption increase, to $109,400 for joint filers, $70,300 for singles and heads of households, and $54,700 for separate filers
  • Doubling of the gift and estate tax exemptions, to $10 million (expected to be $11.2 million for 2018 with inflation indexing)

Be aware that additional rules and limits apply. Also, there are many more changes in the TCJA that will impact individuals. If you have questions or would like to discuss how you might be affected, please contact us.

© 2017

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27Dec
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Changes Alimony
Taxes

Alimony will lose its tax effect for both spouses under the new tax law. Currently, taxpayers who pay alimony may be able to deduct the payments from their taxable income, and recipients must claim alimony as taxable income. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will revise the rules. For divorce or separation agreements executed after Dec. 31, 2018 (or executed before but modified after this date), alimony payments are neither deductible by the payer nor includible in income by the recipient. This change is permanent.

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27Dec
Backup Withholding Decreasing in 2018
Business Ownership

Businesses: Backup withholding is decreasing in 2018. Taxpayers are required to deduct backup withholding on certain non-wage payments made to those who filed information returns but they had missing or incorrect taxpayer identification numbers. The backup withholding rate is 28% through Dec. 31, 2017. But under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it will be reduced to 24% on Jan. 1, 2018. Payments that may be subject to backup withholding include commissions, fees, other payments for work performed as an independent contractor, interest and dividends.

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