Your Questions Answered Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Your Questions Answered

By Lewis C. Taishoff

TAX COURT ROUNDUP – September 2023

This roundup will spend a lot more space than usual on one story, because it’s the biggest of the year in Tax Court so far...


Tax Court Roundup – August 2023

The dog days, the doldrums, the get-out-of-town days...they're here. The United States Tax Court is not immune, as the blockbuster cases and newsletter headliners have largely vanished. Still, there are report-worthy stories, despite the call of seashore and mountain meadow.

Read More

Understanding Accountable Plans: Tax Advantages for You and Your Business

Question: I’ve heard other planners talk about using an accountable plan to reduce tax, but how exactly does this save a taxpayer money? Answer: An accountable plan is a type of reimbursement arrangement between an employer and employee that meets certain IRS criteria. It often covers business expenses that an employee incurs while performing their job, such as travel costs, home office expenses, or supplies. The way this plan helps save money on taxes is through the appropriate treatment of reimbursements or allowances under the tax law. Did you know that reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses are taxable income? Normally, reimbursements for expenses are income, and the employee needs to pay income tax on them. However, if the expenses meet the criteria of an accountable plan, they’re excludable from the employee’s income. This means the employee does not have to pay income tax, Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment taxes on these funds. What about the case of partners in partnerships and shareholders in S-corporations? These individuals often face out-of-pocket expenses that the respective partnership or S-corporation doesn’t reimburse. Is there a way for these individuals to reap tax benefits for these expenditures too? There used to be. Under pre-TCJA rules, employees and owners of partnerships and S-corporations could deduct ordinary and necessary expenses, which were unreimbursed from the business as a Miscellaneous Itemized Deduction subject to the 2 percent floor. To learn how to make sure your S-corporation and partnership out-of-pocket expenses are deductible, and reimbursements are not taxable to the owners, click here to read on.

Read More


Here's the latest filings and tax court cases for July, 2023!

Read More

ERC Rebellion: A CPA’s Toolkit for Dealing with Disregarded Advice

Question: I have several long-term clients I’ve advised they didn’t qualify for ERC under the requirements. I’ve discovered over time that all three were sold by an ERC mill and filed amended tax returns to claim credits. What are the risks they will be audited and what are my responsibilities in representing them? Should I release them as clients because they didn’t listen to me? Answer: You know, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) might sound like a pretty sweet deal, especially if your business took a hit during the pandemic. It's a tax break designed to help you out. But don’t be fooled. It's not as simple as it sounds. You need to know the ins and outs before you jump in. Some new kids on the block, a bunch of specialist firms, are offering to help businesses claim this ERC. Unless you’ve been trapped in a cave (or under a pile of tax files) you’ve probably seen the mail, heard the commercials, clicked the ads. They make it seem so easy, don’t they? Just let us take care of everything and ignore the rules. This is music to the ears of employers – especially if we’ve already told them based on the rules, they don’t qualify. We want our clients to know they gotta be careful. These mills may promise you the moon and the stars, but the reality is, there's a pretty tight rule book on how and when you can claim the ERC. Misunderstanding these rules could mean you lose out on a potential $26,000 tax credit per employee. Worse, you could be tricked into claiming money you're not actually entitled to and end up with a nasty surprise later. And when you factor in the steep fees charged by these fly-by-nights, often up to 30% of promised refunds - there is a real risk of loss should these businesses lose their claims.

Read More

Tax Court Roundup June 2023

This month I've decided to change format. I'm grouping Tax Court thumbnails by category. Not every reader deals with every issue. But coverage is still useful even where only a few specialize. Click here to read the latest happenings!

Read More

Home Sale Rules for Newlyweds and Significant Others

Question: A spouse didn’t meet the residence test when the home sold because they weren’t legally married for two years on the date of the house sale. You indicated, however, the spouse is eligible for the home exclusion because by the end of the year they were married for two years Answer: If you want to understand how getting married impacts your ability to take tax-free profit, we must look at two issues and pass two tests. To take the full 121 exclusion deduction amount ($250,000/$500,000), first you have to determine filing status. If you were married or an RDP as of December 31, 2022, even if you did not live with your spouse/RDP at the end of 2022, your filing status is either Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separate. Either way, the IRS considers you married for tax purposes. Now that you’ve determined that the client’s filing status is married, the potential gain exclusion is $500,000 under Section 121. But there are two important tests to apply to see whether you can exclude the maximum of $500,000 or whether it is going to be less. To learn about these tests, read on.

Read More


Another active month, with plenty of variety and practice tips. And new Tax Court Rules announced...

Read More

Looking at a Trust to Reduce or Eliminate Your Federal Taxes? Not So Fast!

Question: What kind of trusts help a taxpayer pay less or no federal tax? Answer: If you have trusts and want to minimize state taxes, there are options available. In the United States, there are two types of trusts for federal income tax purposes: grantor and non-grantor trusts. A grantor trust is one the creator or their spouse retains enough control over that they are still the assets’ owner. Therefore, they must pay taxes on any income or gains it generates. On the other hand, a non-grantor trust is its own entity and is responsible for paying its own taxes. However, state tax laws also have an impact on the taxes trusts must pay. By choosing the right trustees or assets for your non-grantor trust, it’s possible to minimize or even eliminate state income taxes. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Learn more about your options and take steps to reduce your trust taxes today. Click here to continue reading.

Read More
1 2 3 7


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