Guest Article Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Guest Article

By Peter J Reilly CPA

Salt Miner’s Run for the Roses Ends with a Big Tax Bill

Judge Mark Holmes of the United States Tax Court expressed admiration for the achievements of Joseph G. Bucci Sr. whose American Rock Salt provides the salt to keep many of the streets in the Northeast passable in the winter. You can learn a bit about that from an interview in New York by Adriane Quinlan . The positive remarks were no help in the ultimate result. Judge Holmes agreed with the IRS that Bucci’s three side hustles — a real estate enterprise, a farm, and some racing horses — were “Activities not engaged in for profit” making losses unallowable. The total tab including accuracy penalties for 2016 and 2017 was $711,980. Judge Holmes explained the result in a bench opinion, which is less formal than a memo decision. The trial began in Buffalo on June 14, 2023.


Injured Spouse Relief

“It feels like a sucker punch to the gut.” I was on the phone with a client who was a newlywed and filing with their new spouse for the first time. They kept their paycheck withholding as single. So, they were anticipating a larger than usual tax refund. Like a lot of taxpayers, they spent their refund before they even received it. Each day, they were checking “Where is My Refund ?” and even their IRS account. Then, it happened. Code 898: Refund applied to non-IRS debt . It looked as if they wouldn’t receive that refund they already spent. Now, my client did not know what to do. Before getting married, my client’s spouse told them, “I never get a tax refund.” But they failed to mention why they never got a refund. Honestly, they did not know what their refund was paying for. We later found out that each year the Treasury Department garnished the refund for back child support. My client knew their spouse had child support but did not know they were behind on it. If you have a client in this situation, all hope is not gone. I could help my client find out what offset the tax refund. We could also get a portion of the refund back. You can do the same thing for your client. That is assuming that one spouse is not liable for the debt that offset the tax refund. The IRS calls this injured spouse relief. I’ll walk you through how you can help your client with their refund garnishment sucker punch. Yes, you can help them get their part of the refund back. Let’s start with what injured spouse relief is. Then we’ll look at who qualifies as an injured spouse and how to request injured spouse relief.

Read More
Client Alert

Tax Planning for Gig Workers

The gig economy has opened moneymaking avenues for taxpayers who otherwise might have trouble making ends meet. But hustling has a price: Gig jobs also ignite tax complications that many of those workers probably don’t know about. Learning about those obligations too late can cost gig workers back-tax penalties and interest. They can also result in those workers sabotaging their own tax situation and paying too much money to the government. What do gig workers need to know about their complicated tax situation?

Read More
Client Alert

Avoid Surprise Tax Hits When Using a Corporation for Your Business

Many taxpayers use S corporations (governed by Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code) or C corporations (governed by Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code) to legally reduce income taxes, payroll taxes, and self-employment taxes for their business. However, without careful planning, a taxpayer may have a surprise tax bill from using a corporation for federal tax purposes. This article will tell you when these unexpected tax hits can happen and how the taxpayer can avoid them with proper planning.

Read More

Is the Augusta Rule a Tax Haven or a Ticking Time Bomb? New Tax Court Memo Cautions Users

Sure, the Augusta Rule can be a game-changer for your finances—but only if you tread carefully. Get one element wrong—be it your business structure, purpose, or documentation—and you could be inviting the taxman to your doorstep. And don't even think about going it alone; if your tax pro isn't well-versed in this complex write-off, you're essentially rolling the dice on an audit nightmare. The Augusta Rule has lately become the talk of the town on TikTok's tax scene, capturing the attention of both amateur bloggers and seasoned tax experts. In this article, we'll demystify what the Augusta Rule really entails, identify who stands to benefit from it, explore legal ways to leverage it, and highlight potential risks you should be aware of. First, let's delve into its fundamentals. Read on to find out how to navigate this high-stakes tax strategy without detonating your financial future.

Read More

Pizza Party in the Metaverse

I love pizza. No, like I really love pizza. I have a pizza tattoo. I’m a member of the Rare Pizzas DAO. It is my go-to meal whenever the question “What’s for dinner?” gets asked. There really isn’t a better combination of cheese and deliciousness in the world. At least not in the flesh and blood “real” world. Loving pizza that much can clearly get oneself into trouble. I just never expected it to be tax trouble. Enter the “metaverse,” although I’m not sure if that is metaphorically or digitally. The metaverse is a term used to describe many digital environments that contain aspects of online gaming, virtual reality, social networking, and cryptocurrency. Generally, a metaverse is a fully immersive digital universe which combines elements of augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet to create a seamless and interconnected space where users can explore, create, and engage with others in a virtual world. In the metaverse, users control an avatar, which represents the user in the digital universe and functions similar to a video game character. Avatars can be customized and accessorized with clothing and other items represented in the metaverse through NFTs. The metaverse holds the potential for new forms of entertainment, communication, commerce, and social interaction on a global scale. The metaverse economy is based on digital assets, making it possible for taxpayers to engage in a substantial number of taxable transactions without realizing it. And herein lies the crux of our problem.

Read More
Client Alert

Tax Breaks for Farmers: Sowing Seeds of Savings!

Ahoy, land-lovers and cultivators of the earth! If you're a farmer, you're not just a master of the soil, but also a potential wizard of tax savings. Let's embark on a journey to understand how you can reduce that pesky tax bill and keep more of your hard-earned green (and we're not just talking about lettuce)! Farms may be considered a business. You are considered a farm if you cultivate, operate, or manage a farm for profit, either as owner or tenant. A farm includes livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, and truck farms. Farmers under the Internal Revenue Code qualify for special tax benefits, yet not all agricultural producers meet the requirements. In addition to what you are growing, producing, raising, selling or extracting, it is also necessary to examine the facts and circumstances of the applicable tax issue to fully determine whether each tax benefit applies to each situation. For example a business could be split into a farm (reported on Schedule F) and a non-farm (reported on Schedule C unless incorporated). Take the example of a vineyard and a winery. The production of the grapes is a farm and reported on Schedule F. But lo and behold! When the grapes transform into something else, the sale of wine, juice or preserves would be considered non-farm and reported on Schedule C. There are many special tax benefits allowed for those who meet the definition of a farmer. It may be advantageous to consider adding a farm as part of a larger tax strategy; however, just like any business, the hobby loss rules apply. Someone not classified as a farmer may still be engaged in farming activities and have farm income. Some of the best benefits include deferred timing of recognizing farm income, not being required to maintain inventory and not being required to make quarterly estimated tax payments. To learn about these and other tax breaks for farmers, click here to continue reading.

Read More

Payroll Taxes — The Nail in the Small Business Coffin

“Two men showed up saying they were from the IRS because I hadn’t paid my taxes. It scared me to death. Am I going to jail? Can they do that? I’m scared.” That is what the taxpayer blurted out as soon as I answered my business phone. Now before you say, “Timalyn, no way!” Yes, way! This was February 2020 when the world was still open, and the IRS was wide awake. Revenue officers were still on the phone making calls and showing up to businesses. Since the pandemic, many taxpayers, business owners included, have become lax in taking care of their tax obligations. This is due not only to many small and micro businesses still struggling financially, but also because the IRS has not been as aggressive the past few years. Business owners with employees are in a far more dangerous position if they have not kept up with their taxes. That’s why we’re going to look at one of the worst types of taxes to get behind on, payroll taxes. One of my mentors even refers to them as the “kiss of death” to business owners. The penalties for not paying payroll taxes can bury and put the nail in the coffin of most small businesses. Let me show you how these taxes can be the grim reaper. Let’s start from the top with what payroll taxes are and how the payroll tax penalties work.

Read More
Client Alert

Is the Residential Clean Energy Credit Worth It?

Have you ever gone into a dealership to purchase a car? It’s been a while for me, but one of the things that keeps me from vehicle shopping is just how difficult it is to ascertain the actual price of the vehicle. The salesperson wants to run a credit check and then talk to you about how much payment you can afford. They want to factor rebates and trade-in value of your existing vehicle to the payment they quote you without ever telling you what you are paying for the car. The entire negotiation often becomes about the monthly payment (regardless of the term of the loan) rather than the car’s price. Indeed, personal finance websites almost always recommend negotiating the three aspects of your car purchase separately: the vehicle’s price, the trade-in amount for your vehicle, and the financing. Otherwise, you run the risk of both buying more car than you can afford and being upside down in the loan (owing more on the vehicle than the vehicle is worth) shortly after you make the purchase. What does this have to do with the expansion of the Residential Clean Energy Credit, you ask? More than you might think. My husband, after talking to a neighbor, recently decided to start shopping for solar panel systems with the idea of saving money on (or largely eliminating) our monthly power bills. What followed was a crash course in residential solar energy sales and the associated economics.

Read More
1 2 3 18


  • Scroll to Top
    error: Alert: Content is protected !!