Feature Article Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Feature Article

By Jeff Stimpson

How to Deal with Huge Tax Debt

The only thing scarier than owing Uncle Sam a lot in taxes is being unable to pay the bill. Luckily, the Internal Revenue Service has ways for you to whittle what you owe. Just make sure which method works for you, depending on such factors as the size of your tax debt and what you can afford to pay and when. Don’t panic. Here’s how individual taxpayers can proceed – and what to watch out for.


Tax Considerations of Turning Your Hobby Into a Business

For many, owning a small business is the American dream. However, the tax situation incurred by turning your hobby into that business can be a real American headache. Still, who can resist the allure of a job that’s loved and makes the hours fly? You don’t have to resist it. Just be sure of what you’re getting into with Uncle Sam.

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An Overview of Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Life is the best teacher, especially in the tax industry. You can take all the continuing education that your heart desires, but sometimes the information doesn’t seem to really click until you have hands-on experience. That’s how it was for me when it came to Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). I learned about them in school. I even remember learning about them at the first accounting firm I worked at. But it wasn’t until I was working with a small business owner with his own “insurance” that I got it.

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Mitigating Risks: A Roadmap for Withdrawing Employee Retention Credits or Filing Income Tax Returns for Clients Who Have

Just in – the IRS dropped a hot alert about the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), and it's time to pay attention . With the March 22, 2024, deadline creeping up for the ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program, it's crucial for those who mistakenly filed a claim to take action. This program lets businesses repay just 80% of the claimed amount, so it's a chance to make things right. If your clients filed a claim that's still in the pipeline, it's time for a double-check. Review the guidelines ASAP and withdraw the claim if it doesn't pass muster.

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Buying Tax Credits: Inflation Reduction Act

Tax shelters offered high income taxpayers an easy way to reduce and even eliminate federal income taxes at the individual level. The growing tax avoidance schemes, many questionable in nature, threatened to collapse the U.S. tax system. Hence the need for tax reform and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA). New rules cannot keep a tax professional down. Real estate was once again the favorite tool for reducing taxes. Enter cost segregation. Couple that with bonus depreciation and the automatic change of accounting method using Form 3115 , and you have a recipe for serious tax reduction. The tax shelters of the 1970s were often questionable. Cost segregation is still a valid way to accelerate deductions for income property owners. But none of that compares to the tax benefits available under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (the IRA).

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Did the Other Shoe Just Drop on Last Year’s IRS alliantgroup Raid?

Lane Grigsby is back in the “news” as one of the major backers and advisers of Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry, but that’s not what gets the chairman of Cajun Construction in Think Outside the Tax Box. For that, we have a recent decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote the opinion, and it’s all about the research credit.

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Passive Activity and Self-Employment Tax In Rentals – One Of These Definitions Is Not Like The Other

Somebody I consult for threw a kind of oddball fact pattern at me. Their client, “Terry,” owns a big house with many rooms in a kind of resort type area. Terry rents the rooms out on a short-term basis averaging three or four days and provides no other services. Between this and that, Terry ends up spending about 15 hours a week. The big concern comes from Terry buying a cost segregation study, which will mean a big loss. Can Terry use the loss in the year incurred, or will it be suspended? And is the income subject to self-employment tax in the future? I thought the answers to those questions were the same, but we learned from the Chief Counsel’s Office, one of those things is not like the other.

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Maximizing 2023 & 2024 Personal EV Credits

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the federal government is giving out tens of billions of dollars in tax credits to incentivize taxpayers to purchase electric vehicles. As with any government program, claiming the benefits can be complicated. Since Congress used tax credits to deliver the program, and the personal tax credits are income-limited, tax planning can help a taxpayer who would otherwise not qualify for these benefits. This article will briefly overview the two personal electric vehicle tax credits, followed by several tax planning strategies to unlock these credits for taxpayers who may not otherwise qualify.

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S Corporation Shareholder-Employee Reasonable Compensation

The S corporation is a powerful tool for small business owners to manage their business efficiently and reduce payroll taxes on owner’s profits. The primary benefit small business owners get, when organized as an S corporation, is the opportunity to avoid payroll taxes on distributions after paying reasonable compensation. A reasonable wage/salary is a must for shareholder-employee/s. However, the shareholder-employee soon discovers that the lower her wage is, the lower the payroll taxes. Why not pay no wage? Or only a token wage? Of course, the IRS knows those tricks and requires the company to pay “reasonable compensation” to shareholder-employees so they’ll submit proper payroll taxes. The IRS can adjust wages to reflect reasonable compensation. Family members of the shareholder must also receive reasonable compensation for services rendered. In this article we will begin by debunking urban legends surrounding S corporation reasonable compensation followed by calculating a reasonable compensation package before finishing with a strategy.

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