Individual Strategies Archives - Page 12 of 14 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Individual Strategies

By Jeff Stimpson

Should You File Your Client’s Taxes Early?

Common sense says that filing taxes as early as possible in the year gets an onerous chore off your plate and, chances are, gets your clients’ tax refund into their pockets quicker. Common sense can also be wrong if you need, as most taxpayers do, various tax-reporting forms that can arrive in early spring, if not later. There are also many other reasons you may, or may not want, to file your client’s taxes as early as possible.

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Is Your Spouse Innocent or Injured? Part One: The Injured Spouse

Jack and Jill went up the hill to have a lovely wedding Jack fell down and broke his crown When Jill learned all his tax debts That pretty much describes the origin of the taxes faced by an injured spouse: The taxpayer was not married to that spouse at the time he or she incurred the tax obligation or it was assessed or did not sign the tax return where the balance due originated. In other words, it was never the injured spouse’s debt or obligation in the first place. What kinds of debts or taxes might the IRS collect (or “offset”) that would affect the injured spouse’s refund?

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Avoiding the Repayment Cliff: Mitigating the Effects of Miscalculating the Advance Premium Tax Credit

The premium tax credit (PTC) is a refundable credit that is available to certain individuals “whose household income for the taxable year equals or exceeds 100%, but does not exceed 400% of an amount equal to the poverty line for a family of the size involved.” In other words, it’s a refundable tax credit that specifically subsidizes the cost of insurance purchased on a health care marketplace for individuals who are over the federal poverty level (FPL), but not by 400 percent or more. This credit is available as an advance paid directly to the marketplace for qualifying taxpayers who cannot afford (or do not wish) to pay their full monthly premium out of pocket. The amount of the credit is calculated based on estimated annual household income. When taxpayers receive more advance credit than they are entitled to, they must repay the excess. So, the consequences for an intentional or inadvertent underestimation of annual income can be severe. What follows is an overview of how the credit works and describes strategies for reducing the amount of advance premium tax credit (APTC) the taxpayer must repay both immediately and after the fact.

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Land Conservation Easements: Tax Avoidance or Evasion?

Question: I was going to look into a conservation easement (CE) for a client and noticed the IRS has focused heavily on compliance efforts for abusive syndicated transactions. Are there any legitimate conservation easement transactions, or is it best to stay away from this strategy until things calm down? Answer: Sounds too good to be true, right? A $500,000 charitable tax deduction for a $100,000 land purchase in December. In your search for information, you may be scared off by the court cases and Department of Justice investigations of the promoters of syndication easements. Syndication deals are partnerships that own land ideal for conservation and allow groups of investors to pool their money in the business, which typically will also include other activities beyond just the land ownership. These deals have come under heavy scrutiny in the past few years as CEs became a listed transaction and more cases have wound their way through the court system. The IRS even announced a settlement program for syndicated conservation easements in mid-2020. Click here to read the full answer.

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Get Automatic, No Questions Asked Penalty Relief

The IRS loves to issue penalties to taxpayers. In fiscal year 2019, the IRS imposed a whopping $40.5 billion in civil penalties.1 If a taxpayer wants to contest an IRS penalty, it usually takes a really good explanation plus a lot of time and effort. However, there is a little-known IRS policy that allows a taxpayer to get penalty relief with no explanations required. Taxpayers who file returns late can quickly rack up huge penalty bills.

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Quick Guide to Claiming Work-From-Home COVID-19 Expenses to Reduce Your Tax Bill

This information is particularly important if you are the owner/shareholder of your own corporation – C or S corp. You can set up payroll and designate tax-free reimbursements for you to be working at home – as well other tax-free money for you and for your employees. (We will discuss employees momentarily. Yes, it’s essential.) If being an employee is your main source of income – watch out! The short answer to employees claiming an office in home deduction this year is... There is no deduction!

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How Business Owners Can Boost Income by Avoiding the $10,000 SALT Cap

Taxpayers have been whipsawed by confusing rules for the $10,000 limit on deducting state and local taxes (SALT), the most politically charged piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The cap has caused nearly 11 million individuals to lose an annual deduction worth $323 billion. But many owners of private businesses known as passthroughs can avert that financial pain. If you own your company and thus report your business income on your personal federal income tax return, here’s what you need to know.

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