July 15, 2021 - Think Outside the Tax Box

July 15, 2021

Trump Corporation Charged in Fringe Benefits Tax Fraud Scheme – How to Do It the Legal Way

Prosecutors in New York have charged the Trump Corporation with tax fraud related to deductions of more than $1 million in fringe benefits over 15 years. The Manhattan DA indicted longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg for tax evasion on $1.7 million in business deductions, which paid for an apartment, private school tuition for family members, two Mercedes Benz vehicles, and other perks in exchange for his employment at the Trump Organization. The former President and company spokespeople responded that every company deducts fringe benefits, describing the charges as a witch hunt or political gamesmanship by opponents. If this leaves you a tad confused about whether or not you can deduct fringe benefits for yourself or employees in your small business, rest assured, there is a legal way to do it. Keep reading to discover the right way to deduct non cash or other indirect fringe benefits.

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To Lease or to Buy: What is the Best Option with Business Vehicles?

Buying a vehicle is a way to potentially receive a large tax deduction, but is it always the best thing to do? What about buying versus leasing? The tax code treats vehicles differently from other types of assets and business expenses, so it helps to make sure you’re informed when thinking about using your vehicle to reduce your tax liability. Background A vehicle purchase by a business is treated as the purchase of an asset. This means you can deduct part of the expense each year in the form of depreciation deductions. Vehicles also might qualify for accelerated depreciation methods. In this current era of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and 100% bonus depreciation, that means a 100% deduction when you buy a vehicle … right? Not so fast. Section 280F of the Tax Code places restrictions on depreciation deductions for vehicles. The terminology used in this section of the Code is “luxury vehicle” (in fact the title of §280F is “Limitation on depreciation for luxury automobiles”), but this is a misleading term. When we think of “luxury vehicle” we likely think of a high-end vehicle. But the reality is, the tax law defines such a vehicle as any 4-wheeled vehicle with an unloaded gross vehicle weight of 6,000 pounds or less. I bet you didn’t think your 5 year old minivan with high mileage falls into the “luxury vehicle category,” but it can! This means you may be limited in how much you can write off against your taxable income. Can leasing a vehicle work as a way to get around the §280F limitations? The IRS has thought about that too. But keep reading - we’ll give you some loopholes that work around the luxury auto limitation and help you decide if leasing or buying your next vehicle will help you pay less in tax.

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Extra Taxes on S Corporation Distribution?

Question: My client plans to take about $15,000 in distributions in excess of his basis from his S corporation construction business. I know this generates tax for him. He’s in the 32 percent tax bracket and single. Does he also have to pay the 3.8 percent net investment income tax and the 0.9 percent additional Medicare tax on this amount? Is there a way for him to avoid taxes on this amount? Answer: Without planning, yes, the taxpayer has to pay tax on this excess distribution amount. There is a completely legal way to either avoid or substantially reduce this tax, though. Read on to learn how.

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On the Road Again – Tax Savings for the Recreational Vehicle

There is no better time than a multi-year worldwide pandemic to reevaluate the 9 to 5 office grind. Many people are realizing it was never actually necessary to work from a fixed location as long as they have a laptop and an internet connection. So why not take the show on the road? Hop in an RV and head out to see the country and work from wherever you like that day. It’s a great plan, but what does it mean for your taxes? Is your RV a business vehicle or is it a lodging that happens to be on wheels? Buckle up and let’s find out which is best to save you the most money.

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