Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions, Part 2

Many taxpayers overlook the long list of deductions that they may take when completing and filing their tax returns. The IRS has estimated that millions of taxpayers overpay their taxes each year because they fail to avail themselves of all of the possible deductions. Here is the second part of our multi-part blog on the most overlooked tax deductions:

 INVESTMENT RELATED DEDUCTIONS

Amortizing Bond Premiums

The IRS offers assistance for taxpayers who purchase taxable bonds for more than face value. The purpose of such a purchase is to capture a yield higher than any offered by current market rates. Down the road, the IRS will tax the extra interest that this higher yield produces.

The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions, Part 1

Many taxpayers overlook the long list of deductions that they may take when completing and filing their tax returns. The IRS has estimated that millions of taxpayers overpay their taxes each year mainly because they fail to avail themselves of all of the possible deductions. Here is the first part of our multi-part blog on the most overlooked tax deductions:

JOB & MOVING DEDUCTIONS

Job Search Expenses

Tax Issues for new Widows and Widowers

It’s a traumatic experience to lose a spouse. While there is little that can be done to replace this physical and emotional loss, the Tax Code provides some relief for newly widowed taxpayers. Here is a summary of some of the tax breaks for the newly widowed:

Filing Status

Documenting Charitable Contributions

Some deductions like charitable contributions are conducive to tax fraud. These tax-related events are subject to the utmost IRS scrutiny. Therefore, taxpayers are subject to very detailed rules which require them to produce a specified form of documentation as proof of a viable deduction. If they do not provide the requisite paperwork, then no deduction will be allowed, regardless of the availability of other information that may justify the deduction. Taxpayers that make charitable deductions in excess of $250 and fail to provide specific, detailed documentation to the IRS will have their deductions ultimately disallowed.

Who Is Liable For Failure To Pay Over Employment Taxes?

Employers are required to withhold federal income and payroll taxes from their employees’ wages for payment of payroll taxes such as federal income taxes and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes, which are held in trust until the employer makes a federal deposit of these amounts. The IRS applies a term, “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” or TFRP, well-known by employers, to describe the fine for employer’s willful failure to pay over these taxes. Persons responsible for making such payments may be subject to criminal charges for any willful failure to do so. Most TFRP cases involve corporate officers.

Excluding Self-Employment Income Under I.R.C. §1402(a)(3)(C)

Taxpayers earn self-employment income which is net income “from any trade or business carried on by such individual” under I.R.C. §1402. The meaning of “trade or business” is the same as it is under I.R.C. §162. The Supreme Court has “defined a trade or business as an activity engaged in for income or profit and performed with continuity and regularity. Commissioner v. Groetzinger, 480 U.S. 23, 35 (1987).”

There is an exclusion from inclusion of income from the sale of property in self-employment income under IRC §1402(a)(3)(C) which provides:

(3) there shall be excluded any gain or loss—

Tax Breaks for Home-Based Businesses

Home-based business owners may not be aware that there are many ways to cut their tax bill. Many tax breaks are available for home-based businesses, here are some tips for taking advantage of these allowable business expenses.

Business structure

Sole proprietors must pay self-employment taxes. Forming a corporation or another business entity like an LLC and electing to treat it as an S Corporation may help reduce self-employment taxes. S Corporations allow home-business owners the opportunity to pay themselves a “reasonable salary” and treat any remaining profits as a profit distribution, both of which are not subject to self-employment taxes.

Losing IRA Status Under IRC § 408(e)(2)

Owners of Self-Directed IRAs which engage in certain types of “prohibited transactions” or invest in life insurance, foreign investments or collectibles may risk losing the tax-deferred status of their IRA accounts. If the owner (or beneficiary) of an individual retirement account, as described in I.R.C. §408(a), engages in any transaction that is prohibited under IRC §4975, the entire value of the IRA, determined as of the first day of the taxable year for which the account or annuity ceases to be an IRA, is treated as distributed to the IRA owner. See I.R.C. §408(e)(2)(B).

When, If Ever, Can I Deduct Pet-Related Costs?

Believe it or not, there are some pet-related expenses which may be deducted from your taxes. Here is a summary of such expenses. And you thought all you were ever going to get out of this relationship was love, affection, and undying loyalty!

Medical Expenses

Taxpayers may include the expenses of buying, training and maintaining guide dogs used for assistance in cases of either reduced vision or hearing. This may include all necessary food, training, grooming and veterinary care. You may also deduct this expense if you’ve been diagnosed with a physical or mental condition that benefits from the attention of a trained therapy animal. Keep in mind that unless the animal is trained or certified as treatment for a diagnosed illness or condition, the IRS will disallow any deduction.

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