Individual Strategies Archives - Page 8 of 9 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Individual Strategies

By Amber Gray-Fenner, EA NTPI Fellow USTCP

Retirement Tax Planning — Retirement Plans for the Sole Proprietor

Many of the same tax advantages perceived as being only available with entity taxation are also available to Schedule C sole proprietors and that includes funding retirement plans. It’s perfectly OK to start and continue to run a business as a sole proprietorship filing a Schedule C for when it makes financial and administrative sense to do so.

There are a number of advantages to having a retirement account. Of course, when you contribute to a retirement account, you can deduct your contributions from your taxable income. This can result in significant savings come tax time. Additionally, the money in your retirement account grows tax-free. This means that you can potentially earn a lot more on your investment than you would if it were subject to taxation. A retirement account gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a cushion to fall back on in retirement. No matter what happens in the markets, you will always have access to your retirement savings. This can provide a great deal of security during uncertain economic times.

While retirement accounts can be a great way to save for the future, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. For one thing, retirement accounts often come with strict penalties for early withdrawal. This means that if you need to access your savings before retirement age, you may be subject to significant fees. Additionally, retirement accounts can be complex and confusing, making it difficult to keep track of your progress.

While retirement accounts can be a helpful tool for saving, it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks before you decide as a sole proprietor whether or not to open one. Click here to explore the different types of retirement plans available to sole proprietors and the pros and cons of each.

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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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