All Articles - Think Outside the Tax Box


By Keith Schroeder, EA

Buying Tax Credits: Inflation Reduction Act

Tax shelters offered high income taxpayers an easy way to reduce and even eliminate federal income taxes at the individual level. The growing tax avoidance schemes, many questionable in nature, threatened to collapse the U.S. tax system. Hence the need for tax reform and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA). New rules cannot keep a tax professional down. Real estate was once again the favorite tool for reducing taxes. Enter cost segregation. Couple that with bonus depreciation and the automatic change of accounting method using Form 3115 , and you have a recipe for serious tax reduction. The tax shelters of the 1970s were often questionable. Cost segregation is still a valid way to accelerate deductions for income property owners. But none of that compares to the tax benefits available under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the IRA).


Appeal Of Collection Due Process Hearing Wipes Out Most of Liability

Joseph Michael Balint had some really hard luck. He was in prison in Florida from December 17, 2013, through January 6, 2015. Fearful of forfeiting assets, he transferred everything to his wife, Jacqueline, and gave her power of attorney early in his prison term. What he had not planned on was her emptying the retirement accounts and leaving him with the tax tab. His luck turned a bit in Tax Court, as we shall see.

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Despite the five days off for the two Federal holidays this month, there's plenty from Tax Court, for both specialists and general practitioners. No other Court gets as deep into the "wrinkled skin" of US tax law. As always, there's something for (almost) everyone.

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S Corporation Shareholder-Employee Reasonable Compensation

The S corporation is a powerful tool for small business owners to manage their business efficiently and reduce payroll taxes on owner’s profits. The primary benefit small business owners get, when organized as an S corporation, is the opportunity to avoid payroll taxes on distributions after paying reasonable compensation. A reasonable wage/salary is a must for shareholder-employee/s. However, the shareholder-employee soon discovers that the lower her wage is, the lower the payroll taxes. Why not pay no wage? Or only a token wage? Of course, the IRS knows those tricks and requires the company to pay “reasonable compensation” to shareholder-employees so they’ll submit proper payroll taxes. The IRS can adjust wages to reflect reasonable compensation. Family members of the shareholder must also receive reasonable compensation for services rendered. In this article we will begin by debunking urban legends surrounding S corporation reasonable compensation followed by calculating a reasonable compensation package before finishing with a strategy.

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Client Alert

The Ultimate Year End Tip Guide and the Search for the Great Shelter

Coming up on the end of the year, year end planning is kind of a ritual for me. I take my first pass in early November and will do it again no later than December. It is pretty boring. I thought it would be worthwhile to do a survey of a variety of year end tips articles. What is going on here is something like Ahab’s hunt for the great white whale. I am looking for something to help out HENRY. HENRY stands for High Earnings Not Rich Yet. I wrote about the quest in 2019. I found nothing much for HENRY then, and this year’s batch of advice articles really does not offer much. The articles do not all say exactly the same thing, but there is a lot of commonality. Due to the sophisticated nature of the readership of TOTTB, I will just allude to the tips, not explain them in detail, because I am going someplace else with this. There is nothing dramatic for HENRY coming from conventional advisers, which accounts for HENRY’s vulnerability to sketchy tax shelters. I will share a bit about what I have seen in that department and reflect a bit.

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IRS Again Postpones Tax Reporting of $600 Payments

The federal government is there to reduce taxpayer confusion. That, at least, was one point of the reasoning for the recent IRS decision to again postpone a $600 tax-reporting threshold for people paid via third-party settlement networks. Those who made that amount on the likes of eBay and other online sales sites and who received payment via such platforms as PayPal and Venmo will not have that money reported to the IRS for another year. Does this really let taxpayers off the hook? What strategies should you adapt for when the IRS does mandate this reporting?

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Mastering Email Marketing for Accountants: Strategies for Effective Client Communication

I knew little about email marketing when I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2018. I used emails to communicate regularly with team members, vendors, board members, etc. Little did I know that having an email list of prospects and effective campaigns are a way to grow revenues. We are in a time when digital communication, specifically email marketing, has been and continues to be one of the most potent tools for business owners, especially accountants, seeking to enhance client relationships and drive business growth. Many perceive that our accounting industry is traditional; however, we’ve finally included marketing in our world and established new avenues for engagement. Here, I will shed light on the crucial role of email marketing in the accounting sector and provide actionable strategies for effective client communication.

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Staying Afloat in Tax Seas: Understanding the IRS’s Moratorium on ERC

Question: Should I even bother assisting my clients with filing new ERC claims? Answer: In light of the IRS's recent moratorium on processing new Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims and the introduction of a withdrawal option for certain employers, it's understandable that you might be wondering whether to assist your clients with filing new claims. The answer, like a well-prepared tax return, is nuanced and deserves a detailed examination.

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Time for Year-End Tax Planning

This year is far from over for tax planning – for some moves, you have even longer – but now’s the time to start looking and acting on your tax tactics given your circumstances and the 2023 you’ve had so far. What you do or don’t do now could save or cost you next April.

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