All Articles - Think Outside the Tax Box


By Amber Gray-Fenner, EA NTPI Fellow USTCP

Are Electric Vehicle Credits Really Worth It? Spoiler Alert: It Depends!

It happens all the time. A client comes in with the receipt for their new hybrid or electric vehicle and is expecting a huge tax credit to offset some of the purchase expense. It’s a fact that hybrid and electric vehicles cost more (some estimates say an average of $19K more) than their internal combustion engine (ICE) based counterparts. And, despite the fact that hybrids and fully electric vehicles continue to gain market share, it has continued to be difficult to quantify exactly how much fuel and maintenance cost savings offset the larger price tag. Often, the time span for offsetting the difference in purchase price is much longer than many taxpayers want to keep their cars. Taxpayers often hope tax credits will help them to recoup the difference in purchase price more quickly than fuel and maintenance cost savings. Do they? Are electric vehicle tax credits really worth it? Well—it depends.


How to Qualify for More Interest Deductions You Didn’t Pay

Question: Can I increase my business tax deductions with interest the Small Business Administration (SBA) paid during the COVID-19 pandemic? Answer: In short, yes. But it depends on the type of loan, forgiveness options, and loan status. We here at Think Outside the Tax Box sure like the way you’re thinking! One of the benefits created through the CARES Act included payments on existing SBA loans. In addition, new SBA loans created through the PPP and EIDL programs included deferred payments for the first six months of the loan. Depending on your current situation, you may actually qualify for the interest deduction, even if the SBA paid it on your behalf! To learn how to qualify, continue reading.

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Just Good Business: What to Consider When Choosing an Entity

It’s every tax professional’s favorite answer to the question “How is your business organized?” “I have an LLC.” It’s the non-answer answer. Unfortunately for many clients and practitioners, clients often decide to form an LLC for no reason other than “they said I should” and more often cannot provide a good answer when the practitioner asks, “Who is ‘they?” Ideally, small business clients should consult both an attorney and a tax professional when deciding to form a business entity under state law. Because while state law governs entity formation and many aspects of entity administrative compliance, federal and state tax law determines which tax returns you need to file and which tax laws apply to the entity. It is just good business to make a mindful, proactive choice when choosing a type of business entity. Making a conscientious choice means asking the right questions. And when choosing a business entity, asking the right questions means asking questions about matters other than simply tax considerations.

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Office in the Home – Partnerships

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of our society, perhaps permanently. One of these is the need to physically go to the office to get work done. Like all businesses, partnerships are no exception. While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) suspended this deduction for employees of the partnership until 2025 . However, partners may still take advantage of this often-overlooked tax benefit. The key is in how to report it. Read on to learn how!

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Qualified Small Business Stock and Your LLC or S Corporation

Your optimal choice of entity depends on many factors, including which tax breaks and loopholes are available for that entity type. The C corporation leaps to the top of entity choices if your C corporation stock will qualify as small business stock (QSBS). The tax law gives two huge tax breaks to QSBS: 1. Up to $10 million of gain exclusion upon sale or the stock’s liquidation; or 2. Tax-deferred rollover of gains if the taxpayer purchases additional QSBS. But beware: There are two issues that are ambiguous under the law that could cause you to not qualify for either of these tax benefits. Read on to learn more!

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Closing the Tax Gap – An Enticing Alternative to Raising Taxes

The tax hikes on wealthy Americans included in President Biden’s economic recovery plan last spring have been a battleground for bipartisan debate for most of 2021. Now, the Senate Republicans have pushed aside the administration's proposal to increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service, for the moment. We will take a closer look at the proposed IRS funding, the reasons it is necessary, and how the same wealthy Americans could end up the most impacted by the proposal.

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Just Good Business: How to Keep Business Records for Tax Compliance

One of the most common non-tax questions clients ask tax professionals is “How long should I keep this?” “This” could mean bank records, copies of tax returns, or virtually any other piece of business information. This reasonably comprehensive overview focuses on keeping business records for tax compliance, specifically, what to keep and how long to keep it in case a taxing authority ever decides to examine (audit) a business return. Records management is an entire field unto itself! Hiring an in-house records manager is beyond the needs or the budget of most small businesses, but it’s important to understand that proper records management is serious business.

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Office in the Home

2020 saw a huge increase in taxpayers working from home. A good internet connection can allow taxpayers in many industries to work almost anywhere. Whether it is because the typical workspace has closed or there’s a need to be home to care for a family member, the shift to working from home can come with substantial tax savings. Claiming the home office deduction allows the taxpayer to take a typically non-deductible expense and make it deductible, reducing the amount of income subject to tax. The most important item to note is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) suspended this deduction for employees until 2025. However, this deduction is still available to taxpayers who are self-employed or independent contractors. (Some states may still allow a deduction for an employee). While it’s not as easy as claiming the expenses and calling it a day, home office deductions provide fantastic ways to get a tax deduction for amounts you ordinarily would spend but are not eligible as write-offs. Keep reading to learn the details and how to deduct things like your homeowner’s association dues, security systems, and other home improvements.

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This is How to Increase Your Employee Retention Credit

Are you seeking clarity on whether employee owners can claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) tax credit for yourself? Or perhaps you want to know whether qualifying for the Recovery Startup Business bonus is really that easy. You’re in luck! On August 4, 2021, the IRS released Notice 2021-49 to answer our questions related to the definition of wages, majority owner wages treatment, timing of the deduction disallowance, and recovery startup businesses. The ERC has been a phenomenal tax credit getting much needed cash to qualifying businesses using qualifying wages paid between June 30, 2021, and January 1, 2022. It hasn’t been uncommon to see small businesses recovering $50,000 to $200,000 in cash refunds just by claiming the credits for wages paid during 2020. The recovery startup business element of the CARES Act incentivizes new businesses to hire employees by offering up to a possible $100,000 in refundable credits using wages paid in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. This means if you hire seven employees (who are unrelated to you) in your new business, which began after February 15, 2020, and their average earnings are $10,000 for the quarter or more, you can receive up to $100,000 in credits. Naturally, we’ve received a lot of questions related to this lucrative credit and so has the Treasury Department. If you’re wondering how the IRS weighs in on how to maximize these tax credits, keep reading because we have six clear ways to qualify for even more money!

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