Edition 47 Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Edition 47

By Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq.

The Safeguards Rule — Are You Compliant?

Tax professionals must take measures to prevent unauthorized access to customer information. For example, you should limit access to customer data to only those employees who need it for their jobs. Also, outsourcing tax preparation in your firm can impact this security.

In October 2019, the IRS added a new question about data security responsibilities to the form to obtain or renew a PTIN. As a tax professional, it’s important to understand what the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires and how you can comply.

Keep reading to learn what steps you can take to help protect the confidential information of clients and ensure GLBA compliance.

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Inflation Reduction Act — Up to $40,000 in Tax Credits with Clean Commercial Vehicle Credit

First, you need to get an EIN, then get an LLC, establish business credit, and then you can buy a car in your business name. That process may get you a new car but that does not make it a business expense or eligible for a credit. Friends, that is not how this works; that is not how any of this works. I’ve noticed a recent obsession in the online business world with writing off car expenses. Especially clean vehicles since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act in August. There is a correct way to do so, and then, there are a variety of ways to do it incorrectly. If you don’t believe me, just scroll through TikTok and Instagram, it will make your head hurt. Misinterpretations of Section 179 have set the internet ablaze. That is why I want to make sure we set the record straight on how the clean vehicle credit can benefit businesses. That is if your client follows the guidelines set by the IRS. *Hint, hint: It requires more than buying the car in your business name using your business credit. Let’s look at the amendments and additions to the IRC that make this credit valuable to business owners too. You have an opportunity to help your clients save $7,500 to $40,000 when they buy a qualifying clean commercial vehicle from now until December 31, 2032.

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Client Alert

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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Tax Days of Our Lives: CPA Firm Contentious Breakup Ends in Tax Court Decision

I am going to nominate the Clark Raymond opinion as the best tax story of the year. At least, it is the best one for CPAs. You have to tease it out of the opinion, but there is a kind of rollicking story of troubled partner relationships. I did 40 years in large local and regional public accounting with a little bit of national icing on the cake and never encountered so much apparent dysfunction. Other commentary on the case has concluded that the lesson is about doing a good job maintaining your capital accounts, but I think the real lessons may be a little different. It is public record, but the guys in the conflict are still practicing so out of professional courtesy I will refer to them as Tom, Dick, and Harry. There is another partner who is part of the story that I will call Jane. Also, for simplicity, I will ignore the fact that they held their partnership interests through single member entities and in Tom’s case in an entity with his wife who did administrative work. And I will refer to the entity involved as “the firm.” The story is every accountant’s nightmare (and would make for a great tax-themed soap opera). Partners disagree. Partners walk out. Clients follow exiting partners to their new business leaving the old partner with debt. Here is the story.

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