A long-term care insurance premium, or a part thereof, may be deductible from federal income taxes as a medical expense. Acknowledging that it can’t assume the primary role in paying for Americans’ long-term health care, the federal government offers tax incentives to encourage middle-aged and older taxpayers to assume responsibility for their future health care needs. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) included provisions for favorable tax treatment of Long-Term Care insurance (LTCi) contracts that meet statutory qualifications.
Hopefully, if one of us is ever lucky enough to win a big lottery jackpot, we won’t care about how much of it we have to “share” with Uncle Sam as taxes. But winning any immense lottery jackpot, especially some of the recent Powerball or Mega-Million grand prizes, is likely to result in a considerable share for the Department of the Treasury. How much in tax would the IRS receive from a $500 million lotto winner?
Many parents consider and assume that one of their children will succeed them in living in the family residence. Of course, this place may be the house in which the child grew up and spent a considerable amount of time. To return to such a place can be very special. But what in fact are the tax consequences of such an event? What happens if the parents wait until death? What if they want to make an outright gift of the property? Perhaps they wish to make a sale at a bargain price? What if they make a more traditional sale that involves financing?
The US government defines a small business as one with sales of $7 million to $25 million a year and up to 1,000 employees. There are more than a few tax breaks available for small businesses and many have been extended for 2016. Some notable tax extenders include I.R.C. § 179 and bonus depreciation as well as tax credits for research and development, work opportunity, and energy production.
*I.R.C. §179 & Bonus Depreciation
Two important tax breaks for small business have been extended: I.R.C. § 179 and bonus depreciation. I.R.C. § 179 allows businesses to deduct the full price of any qualifying equipment or software purchased or leased during the year. The tax-extension bill makes permanent the $500,000 maximum deduction for new and used equipment that was purchased or leased in 2015. Bonus depreciation, which was extended through 2017, allows business owners to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of new equipment purchased in 2015. The two tax incentives can be used together.
Under I.R.C. § 179, taxpayers may claim certain business expenses in the year in which they were incurred rather than depreciating the costs over several tax years. The limit of $500,000 is double the previous limit and large enough that the average small business owner can write off most, if not all, of their equipment purchases in the year of the transaction.
The 50 percent bonus depreciation provision also was extended. After the full $500,000 is taken, exhausting the claim, an additional 50 percent of the adjusted basis of certain depreciable business property purchased and placed in service during 2015 may be deducted.
*Research and Development Credit
Originally enacted to act as an economic stimulus. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 41 enables a taxpayer to claim a tax credit for qualified research expenses paid or incurred by the taxpayer during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business. The availability of this tax credit is established by the definition of qualified research expenses under I.R.C. § 41 and the regulations under I.R.C. § 174. New York State income tax law also permits an New York tax credit for qualified research expenses. An investment tax credit equal to 9% of qualified investment in R&D buildings and tangible personal property (the credit is 7% for personal income taxpayers).
*Work Opportunity Tax Credit
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers who hire veterans and individuals from other target groups with significant barriers to employment. There is no limit on the number of individuals an employer can hire to qualify to claim the tax credit, and there are only a few simple steps to follow to apply for the WOTC. After the required certification is secured, qualifying employers can claim the tax credit as a general business credit against their income tax.
*Energy Tax Credits: Investment Tax Credit & Production Tax Credit
The Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) are incentives for
development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) reduces the federal income taxes of qualified tax-paying owners of renewable energy projects. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) reduces federal income taxes for qualified tax-paying owners based on capital investment in renewable energy projects. The ITC is earned when the equipment is placed into service.
In December of 2015, the House and Senate agreed by significant margins to grant extensions to the 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for solar energy and the 2.3-cent-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit (PTC) for wind power. Other technologies—including geothermal, marine energy and small hydropower—received one-year extensions to their 30 percent ITC under the joint spending and tax measures passed. New York State also offers a tax credit for biofuel production.
In addition to the tax breaks mentioned above, there are an abundance of good old-fashioned deductions that can help lower a small business owner’s tax liability, including:
• Automobile expenses related to business;
• Membership fees in trade organizations, professional groups and chambers of commerce;
• Classes, seminars, and other training in a profession;
• Banking, credit card and ATM fees incurred in business;
• Business travel and meal costs;
• Professional journals, newspapers and books necessary to conduct business.
• Internet and other telecommunication, including cellphone, charges for business use. Only the amount used for business may be deducted;
• If a small business operates from home, expenses relating to that portion of the residence that is work space should be deducted;
• State and local sales taxes.
If you are a small business owner and have questions about any credits or deductions that may reduce your business tax liability, call THE TAX EXPERTS at the Thorgood Law Firm www.thorgoodlaw.com. For a FREE consultation call 212-490-0704.
In 1997, the Roth IRA was introduced. Since then, many people have converted all or a portion of their existing traditional IRAs to a Roth IRAs, where interest earned may be completely tax-free. This benefit applies as, once a taxpayer has held the account for five years, no taxes will be owed when the money is withdrawn at retirement. This is the opposite of a traditional IRA where a tax break is received in the present, but income taxes are paid in retirement.
A Cafeteria Plan, sometimes called a “Flexible Spending Account” or FSA, is available to taxpayers under §125 of the Internal Revenue Code. It derives its name from the earliest plans of this form that allowed employees to choose between different types of benefits, similar to the ability of a customer to choose among available items in a cafeteria. Qualified cafeteria plans are excluded from gross income. To qualify, a cafeteria plan must allow employees to choose from two or more benefits consisting of cash or qualified benefit plans.
When strapped for cash, IRA owners have traditionally been able to take a short-term loan from their IRA, although this has been limited in recent years. Taxpayers may withdraw money from an IRA, without penalty or any tax liability, for up to sixty (60) days. The borrowed monies must be “rolled back” into an IRA within 60 days from the day after the date of the withdrawal, or income tax and penalties apply to the amount withdrawn and unreturned. Similar rules exist for rolling over one Roth IRA to another Roth IRA. The sixty day count involves calendar days, not business days. Keep in mind there is no extension for the sixtieth day falling on a weekend or holiday.
The popular $1,000-per-child tax credit was made a permanent part of the tax code by the American Taxpayer Relief Act. Depending upon a parent’s income, the Child Tax Credit is an important and useful tax credit that may be worth as much as $1,000 per qualifying child under the age of seventeen (17). A qualifying child for this credit is someone who meets the criteria of six tests: age, relationship, support, dependent, citizenship, and residence.
Age Test – To qualify, a child must have been age 16 or younger at the end of the applicable tax year.
All of us as taxpayers continually think we have a lot of expenses that we can itemize and deduct to help reduce our respective tax bills. But they come, they go, all for naught and no effect. The problem usually arises from the fact that our costs regularly fall just short of the required income thresholds for some categories of deductions. One solution is “bunching expenses,” which is a term used to describe incurring as many expenses as possible in a particular category during a particular tax year. Of course, doing this in one tax year will usually significantly diminish any chance of repeating it the following year.
Which retirement account, vehicle or venture is best? One thing is certain, diversity still carries the day when it comes to investments as different ones afford the most flexibility. The returns on different types of investments are treated differently by the tax code, which logically means that some get better tax treatment than others. Qualified dividends and capital gains, for example, are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income, and thus are attractive investment options for retirement.