Individual Strategies Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Individual Strategies

By Matt Metras, EA

Wash Up for Tax Savings – Cryptocurrency and the Wash Loss Rule

When recognizing capital gains during a tax year, it can often make financial sense to sell assets that have lost value to offset profits in other investments or regular income. In this situation, you swap stocks, bonds, or mutual funds by buying a similar asset, selling the old asset and taking a loss. This strategy is called tax-loss harvesting, and it can be applied under certain circumstances which will lower your taxes. Yet while the tax deduction might seem appealing, you might have a hard time locking in that loss forever, and you may be inclined to repurchase the same investment in case the value rebounds. This strategy may appear brilliant on paper; however, the IRS doesn’t allow such manipulation just to reduce taxes. The Wash Loss Rule prevents traders from realizing a tax loss on a position that the taxpayer reacquires within 30 days after (or before) selling a security. But a little known loophole may allow you to complete a wash sale and claim your deduction without recognizing the loss forever as long as it is crypto. Cryptocurrency continues to be an area where the rules don’t always seem to make sense. Most experienced investors are already familiar with the “Wash Loss Rule,” while many newer investors have recently learned about it the hard way. To learn this valuable strategy for offsetting your capital gains while remaining in the investment gain for expected future growth, continue reading to learn more.


Office in the Home – Real Estate

As many of us become more accustomed to working from home, it is easy to forget that some industries were regularly working remotely prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It might be easy to forget altogether that real estate businesses also qualify for the same deductions as other businesses. Yet, it is often easy to overlook something like a home office for a real estate rental operation, but the home office typically functions as the glue holding these businesses together. To learn more about the how and the where to grab this deduction, keep reading.

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Conservation Easements: Good Execution Is the Key

If someone approaches your client offering four to one deductions on conservation easements (probably somewhere in the Southeast), you need to do your best to talk them out of it. And if you cannot, it may be best to let some other practitioner have the honor of preparing their return. On the other hand, if your client has land or a building they would like to preserve forever, a conservation easement may be just the thing. Assuming the desire to have the property preserved anyway, it is about as close to a free lunch as you can get. Good execution is the key to making it work. Read on to learn how!

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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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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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End of Summer Tax Savings: Summer Home Rentals and Summer Jobs for the Kids

Considering hiring your kids to work in your business or renting property you own to your business to save money on taxes? Both of these strategies can work (and work well), but often those promoting them (the mainstream media, social media, etc.) hold forth heavily on the benefits of the strategies without considering the nuances and fine print that can end up costing money rather than saving it if you end up on the bad side of an audit. Keep reading for how to maximize tax savings on summer homes and summer jobs without getting burned.

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Don’t Overpay on the Crypto 1099-K

As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, so do the complications of tax reporting. At present, there is no consistent 1099 reporting for crypto transactions. This is primarily because no 1099 form currently exists to adequately report cryptocurrency. The IRS has yet to issue third party reporting requirements to exchanges, so companies must determine on their own what information to report to the IRS and how they will report it. Some exchanges will attempt to report transactions on a traditional 1099-B, but the easily accessible transferability of crypto makes it nearly impossible for an exchange to correctly report basis information. Incorrect reporting can result in the IRS sending an unnecessary CP2000 notice, which can be both expensive and time-consuming for the taxpayer to resolve. Other exchanges issue a 1099-Misc for certain transactions, but again this doesn’t reflect the full picture. Some exchanges choose to issue a 1099-K to customers, showing only the gross proceeds of crypto transactions and also doesn’t show the full picture. Here’s what to do to avoid getting a dreaded notice from the IRS.

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Cryptocurrency Staking and the U.S. Tax Code

Cryptocurrency is currently one of the hottest topics in taxation. The use cases of crypto are continually evolving, and official IRS guidance is perpetually several years behind the types of transactions investors engage in. We are left trying to force a crypto transaction to fit into the existing code that was not written with crypto in mind. Additionally, with the lack of official guidance, we are forced to attempt to anticipate how the IRS will interpret novel transactions or worry about potential penalties and interest down the road. Staking is a transaction that has become extremely common among crypto users, yet the IRS is silent on how to report and tax it. Read on to learn more about cryptocurrency “mining”, staking, and how the current IRS interpretations of the tax code (or lack thereof) may affect your income reporting.

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Airline Miles, Other Reward Programs, and Taxes – What You Need to Know

Frequent flyer miles and similar programs for other forms of consumption like grocery shopping raise a host of tax issues. There are the concerns of the recipients of the “rewards” and also of the issuers of the various sorts of points. A recent Tax Court decision brought the taxability of rewards into focus again and the opinion encourages the IRS to provide more guidance. Here is where we seem to be now. This is the first of two articles discussing the tax strategies available to boat owners. Part 1 focuses on using a boat as a residence, but if that doesn’t meet your needs, stay tuned because Part 2 will cover boats for business use (including as a home office). Why not consider both options and see how your tax savings can help fund your floating condo? Keep reading to learn more.

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