Feature Article Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Feature Article

By Peter J Reilly CPA

Using S Corporations to Minimize FICA And Medicare Tax

When United States Tax Court Judge Paris issued the opinion in the case of Ryan Fleischer in 2016 , it caused quite a stir in the tax blogosphere. And from what I have been able to gather off the record it remains of interest. The Fleischer decision makes it very difficult, if not impossible for some financial professionals to use S corporations to mitigate self-employment tax. Rather than attack on reasonable salary, the IRS took an assignment of income approach, which succeeded throwing planners for financial professionals like Fleischer into a bit of an uproar...

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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 Clean Vehicle Credit

Get $7,500 when you buy your Telsa with this new tax credit. President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on August 16th, 2022, and the misinformation started circulating almost immediately. I’ve seen it, you’ve seen it, and this means that our clients have seen it as well. It’s our job to help them navigate these new laws to help them maximize their tax savings. Taxpayers have been able to save on their taxes by buying an electronic vehicle (EV) since 2008 . So, the tax savings are nothing new. How the tax savings work has been completely revised under the IRA. That’s where you come in as an expert advisor. The maximum credit for all clean vehicles is now $7,500. A new credit was even added under the IRA to make used EVs eligible for a tax credit. But here is the thing, battery size no longer matters. The assembly, production, and taxpayer income does matter. Not understanding the changes made to Section 30D can cost you and your client. Your client can pay an unexpected additional $7,500 at tax time and you lose a client. Or you can stay the hero, saving them $7,500. I want you to stay the hero so let’s look at the qualifications for the $7,500 under the Inflation Reduction Act.

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Fully Funding Your HSA

It's 4th quarter, soon taxpayers will be reaching out to their trusted advisors. They will want to see what they can do last minute to save on taxes. There isn't much you can do at the end of the year. Still, these taxpayers will reach out expecting you to wave a magic wand and save them a few thousand dollars. Well, this year you may be able to do just that. Even if they have already maxed out their retirement accounts. Taxpayers are not restricted from using this strategy by income or self-employment. Are you ready to add this triple tax advantaged savings tool to your bag of resources?

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Client Alert

How to Avoid Losing Valuable Noncash Charitable Contributions

The rules for noncash charitable contributions defy easy summary. On the other hand, they are not rocket surgery. Moving on from the humor, if you want to sum them up in a sentence you can use Reilly’s Seventh Law of Tax Planning: Read the instructions. Specifically, you want to read the instructions to Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions. There is, of course, more to it than that, but you will find a remarkable number of disallowed deductions from not following those instructions. To be fair, sometimes there are other shenanigans going on and the instruction failures are the easiest way for the IRS to attack. Nonetheless, there is nothing to say that the IRS will not use the precedents set in those cases on your client even though they are not trying to get away with anything. To get a simplified list of what to know and implement, continue reading.

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Warning! Avoid the Latest “Dirty Dozen” Scams Identified By the IRS

Since at least 2001, the IRS has issued annual news releases warning taxpayers of scams they should be aware of and stay clear of. The release in 2001 included just eight scams but starting in 2002, the IRS expanded the list and dubbed these scams with the catchy moniker: the “Dirty Dozen.” In describing these lists, the IRS often warns taxpayers to “remain vigilant” against the scams, to not “fall prey” to them, and to “be on the lookout for” these dangerous activities. While the warnings seem to be directed to individual taxpayers, the lists sometimes include warnings of scams directed at return preparers and employers. Tax practitioners certainly need to be aware of these scams to exercise appropriate due diligence to know if any client is involved in a scam such as an abusive tax shelter, and to help educate clients about the numerous and growing number of scams many of which are designed to steal their personal and financial data and resources. This article covers the 2022 “Dirty Dozen” list. It also includes suggestions on how practitioners might use this information in tax compliance and planning and to help clients protect their identities and assets and avoid tax problems. Additional resources for dealing with the items on the list are provided. A chart listing the “Dirty Dozen” items from the start in 2001 through 2022 is included to show trends and the reality that some scams such as identity theft, phishing, return preparer fraud and frivolous tax arguments have made the list almost every year. Click here to continue reading.

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Charitable Deduction Rules – No Excuses – Acknowledgements

There is a story I heard even before I started doing tax work when I was a hotel night auditor. It was about a guy named Joe who ran a luncheonette where he also sold newspapers and candy bars and the like. Joe’s Place was across the street from Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, a Catholic parish. Joe would see Father Mulcahey carrying a heavy bag every Monday morning. The good father was heading to the bank with the Sunday collection. One day Joe invited him in for a cup of coffee and proposed a win/win. Joe was always running out of change on Sundays. So how about if Father Mulcahey has the ushers count the coins and bring them over, Joe would write a check for the coins, and the father will just have Joe’s check to bring to the bank on Monday? Then, Joe would deduct the check written to the church as a charitable deduction. It was a great plan and it worked well for several years until the IRS audited Joe and a skeptical IRS agent called on Father Mulcahey about Joe apparently being Our Lady’s biggest donor. After all, he had the canceled checks. So if a canceled check to church on Sunday won’t work to document your charitable deduction, what will? Keep reading to find out!

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10 Reasons Your Clients Should Get a Tax Divorce

As a married individual, you can select a tax filing status as either married filing jointly or married filing separately, and in some cases neither of these statuses achieve what is possible for two single taxpayers each filing their own tax return. In many cases it can seem you are getting penalized for being married in the U.S. You may get frustrated that you seem to keep getting hit with “wealth taxes or penalties.” Of course, you may not refer to it that way. But when you see things like the Alternative Minimum Tax, The Net Investment Income Tax, the Additional Medicare Tax, and a whole variety of other taxes that are higher for married filers than they are for two single people…you may be tempted to think about a divorce. And “live in sin”? No matter your personal beliefs there are at least 10 tax attributes that cost married filers more than two single people. In some instances, children are in the mix, as they relate to specific credits. Some of these situations only apply to wealthy couples. Some only apply to those earning $50,000 or less or seniors. These attributes, commonly known as the so-called “marriage penalty” refer to situations where it may pay to file as two single individuals rather than as a married couple. However to qualify, you cannot legally be married as of December 31. To learn more about these penalties and find out how to work around them, continue reading.

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Home Sweet Domicile – There’s More to State Residence Than a Driver’s License

Voter registration, a drivers license, and day counting are what come to mind when people think about residence for state income tax purposes. There is no question that those basics are very important and ignoring them can kill your cause. Nonetheless, many other factors can enter into a determination, including church attendance and pets. That’s because you will generally be a resident of the state in which you have your “domicile.” And domicile as a concept borders on the mystical. It is your true home, it remains your domicile until you abandon it and establish a new one. Yet, establishing your domicile in a state with no (or low) income taxes can be lucrative. In some cases, this can represent millions of dollars all by avoiding state income tax. The natural progression of a business owner’s life can also include exiting said business at substantial profit. Your domicile at the time of the transaction can be pivotal in determining how much of that profit you’ll be left with in retirement. To learn more about how to do this, keep reading.

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