All Articles - Think Outside the Tax Box

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By Thomas Gorczynski, EA USTCP CTP

Make Tax Magic with a Health Savings Account

Congress created one of the best tax savings vehicles in 2003. It wasn’t the individual retirement account (IRA). It wasn’t the Roth IRA.It was the health savings account (HSA). The HSA is the only tax-preferred savings vehicle in which a taxpayer potentially gets both an upfront tax deduction in addition to tax-free and penalty-free distributions.

The IRS wrote the HSA rules to give taxpayers maximum flexibility in how they use their HSAs for medical expenses. Strategic use of the HSA can lead to lifelong tax savings opportunities.

Let’s review the basic rules as to how an HSA operates, the little-known rules that create tax savings opportunities, and examples of how the HSA can be used to provide tax-free and penalty-free distributions when the taxpayer has a cash need.

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Bob Dylan Shows How to Beat an Imminent Tax Increase

Timing might be one of the oldest, most valuable tax strategies known. Essentially, a timing strategy allows a taxpayer to pay tax when rates are generally lower rather than when in a higher tax bracket or when facing increasing tax rates. Given this, 2020 may have been an optimal time to sell capital assets if tax rates rise under the new administration. President-elect Joe Biden has suggested taxing capital gains as ordinary income for high-income taxpayers (more than $400,000), as well as raising the top tax rate from 37% to 39.6%. Here’s how to cash in on the lower rates and, more importantly, when. While tax law changes seldom pass quickly, we often see changes made retroactive to the beginning of the year they are voted into law. Based on a recent story in The New York Times, Bob Dylan may have anticipated the increase when he sold the copyrights to his catalog of more than 600 songs for $300 million. Not to fret if you found yourself missing the beat of Dylan’s lead, there are many things a taxpayer can do to reduce capital gains tax, especially for self-created works of art. Here’s how.

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Why Can’t I Deduct PPP Payroll Expenses?

Question: Given the recent passing of the stimulus law (CAA 2021) permitting a business to deduct payroll expenses paid with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, how does an S corporation or Partnership basis negatively impact this? I’m hearing that even though the law allows the deduction, some businesses will have suspended losses due to PPP funds. Which is true? Can a business deduct losses from PPP payroll or not?

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PPP Loan Forgiveness: Now What?

It’s finally here! After much political wrangling, Congress and President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (HR 133) into law on December 27, 2020. Attached to this omnibus spending bill were a number of unrelated pieces of legislation, including the latest COVID-19 relief and stimulus measures. The law puts much needed cash in the hands of business owners and individuals alike, while Congress thumbs its collective nose at the IRS by including an override of the recent notice disallowing the deduction of expenses paid for using PPP funds. Several more key provisions in the new legislation’s Division N include process simplification and forgiveness for PPP borrowers, which will make life easier for everybody. To find out how to qualify for new rounds of stimulus, automatic forgiveness, and how to get both tax credits and free money, keep reading.

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More Cash Available for Employers Under Refundable Tax Credit

As 2020 winds to a close, we have seen many beneficial programs provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). While most media coverage has focused on loans to employers such as PPP and EIDL, it is important to remember some of the lesser covered programs also included in the tax relief programs. In fact, eligible businesses may qualify to get cash back in some instances. The employee retention credit (ERC) under the CARES Act offers a refundable payroll tax credit for certain wages and health plan expenses paid by businesses during the economic hardship. However, many business owners have uncertainty as to how to qualify when they have also received a PPP loan. The paid sick leave and paid family medical leave credits also offer a refundable tax credit for qualifying wages and Medicare tax and health plan expenses. These refundable tax credits are stackable for maximum benefit when used correctly. Read on to discover how to qualify.

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Year-End Tax Strategies for the Investor

The end of the year is a time for holidays, family, and maybe overindulging at the dinner table. It can also be a time for substantial tax savings. There are many techniques a taxpayer can use to minimize their tax burden for the year. The key to many of them is acting before the calendar year comes to a close. Specifically, let’s examine tax strategies for the taxpayer with investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. These strategies can help taxpayers lower taxes, keep more money in their pockets, and donate to their favorite charities.

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Can I “Nominee” Income From a Schedule C to Another Return?

I have a few physician clients who earn their income via Form 1099 and are perfect candidates for an S corporation. However, the hospital won’t issue the Form 1099 in the name/EIN of an S corporation. Is this an issue? Can I still report the income on the Form 1120S and report the Form 1099 on a Schedule C with a negative adjustment for the same amount and attach an explanation annually? Or is there any other way?

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COVID Tax Relief Allows Companies to Make Tax-Free COVID-19 Payments to Employees

For a business owner, almost nothing in life is more uncertain than running a company during a pandemic. Like most people, worry about your own livelihood, family, friends, and loved ones and how you’ll cope during COVID-19 is at the top of your mind. But unlike others, you’ve got the added concern about your employees – both for their health and safety, as well as their financial health. While the government made some relief available in the earlier days of the pandemic such as forgivable loans like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) one of the biggest benefits provided has to do with a little known tax provision to the tax law. This provision makes it possible to provide certain payments without tax during a terrorist attack or disaster, but if it weren’t for a certain interpretation of President Trump’s declaration in March 2020, this benefit wouldn’t exist for COVID-19.

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How to Pay Less Tax on S Corporation Distributions

Most taxpayers understand that having an S corporation often eliminates the so-called “double tax” issue C corporations pose. However, the majority of S corporations begin as C corporations and the activity that occurred during the time it was a C corporation will determine how and when to tax distributions from the S corporation. C corporations cannot avoid double taxation on profits simply by electing to be treated as an S corporation (yet there are many other ways to save this double tax on C corporations, stay subscribed to learn about them). Withdrawing C corporation profits even when it later becomes an S corporation can create an extra tax. Here’s how to avoid that.

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