Dan Chodan, CPA, Author at Think Outside the Tax Box

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Dan Chodan, CPA

Dan Chodan, CPA is a Partner at Trout CPA in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with over a decade of accounting and tax experience. He focuses on closely held business consulting and tax planning for clients nationwide. Dan leads the firm’s COVID relief response team working heavily on the Employee Retention Credit, Paycheck Protection Program, and other relief programs. He also leads Trout’s Consumer Services industry group and Auto Dealership practice group.

Learn more about Dan at TroutCPA.com.

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Your Inventory’s Inflation Can Be Your Tax Savings

The pandemic forced businesses to adapt in many ways. The economic recovery has highlighted supply chain issues exacerbated by strong demand and leading to overall inflation. Businesses are now continuing to adapt to higher prices. If you have inventory, you perhaps can realize tax benefits to help with this inflationary effect through the Last-In, First-Out inventory method (LIFO).

LIFO inventory methods are hardly a new tax concept, but taxpayers often may have ignored them due to complexity or periods of marginal inflation. This strategy deserves a second look during a year of high inflation. Read on to learn more about this tax savings strategy and the simplified calculation methods available.

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Health Expenses ERC Relief

Health Expenses: A Commonly Ignored Portion of the ERC Leaves Relief Money on the Table

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a huge benefit for businesses, but it is often incredibly difficult to maximize fully. Practitioners must perform a complex interplay of wages between PPP, grants, or other wage credits. They must know the voluminous rules of the ERC program itself, the other programs that may enter into the equation, and the related portions of the Tax Code. With so much to consider, a particularly powerful tool can easily be missed: the ERC health expenses.

Many are surprised when someone asks about health programs since they do not realize these benefits count as ERC qualified costs. Some ERC claims ignore health costs entirely or only capture the employee portions. Deductions for health costs are in the payroll data, but employer costs are typically not in pay records. By reviewing all the qualifying health expenses and available methods for allocating costs, you can really increase your ERC. Keep reading to learn more!

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Even an Existing Business Can Claim the $100,000 of COVID Relief Money for Startups

Even an Existing Business Can Claim the $100,000 of COVID Relief Money for Startups

You might be a startup without even knowing it. If you are not a startup business today, you could be shortly. The incentive to start a business and hire employees is especially high now due to the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). With a special rule specifically for startups, the government will pay 70 percent of the first $10,000 of an employee’s wages in both the third and fourth quarters of 2021. This means it’s possible a business with as few as eight employees can claim the maximum $100,000 under the Recovery Startup Business rules (RSB).

Even an existing business may qualify as a startup to claim RSB ERC. There are steps a business can still take today to qualify. A new business activity, reorganization, change in ownership, related company, business purchase, or even a more detailed review of the average receipts calculations could trigger a qualification. Read on to learn more about this planning opportunity and the rules to do it well.

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COVID Relief hiding in plain sight

COVID Relief Money Is Still Hiding in Plain Sight: The Employee Retention Credit

Business COVID relief funds have been plentiful. We have seen it all from state and local grant programs to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The dollars have flowed freely during the past two years although some programs were certainly simpler than others.

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC), unfortunately, has been the most complex and misunderstood relief program. It deserves serious consideration along with a second and third look. ERC has suffered from a branding problem, from repeated changes, and because the PPP overshadowed it. The CARES Act brought both programs to life in March 2020 , but small businesses quickly ignored the ERC in favor of the forgivable PPP loans. A taxpayer could only choose one of these programs until the December 2020 COVID relief law retroactively allowed them to coexist in the same business. But once again a second round of PPP loans overshadowed the ERC.

Perhaps now with the grants awarded and PPP funds issued, the ERC can finally get the attention it deserves. The benefits are tremendous at up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and $28,000 per employee in 2021.

Opportunities abound for businesses and advisers to be on the hunt for ERC eligibility both obvious and obscure. Today, let’s review the program and cover some of the unusual ways to qualify.

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CURRENT EDITION

Interview with Michael Kitces

Video Interview with Michael Kitces: Opening the Back Door to the ROTH IRA

Back in the spring of 2021 Editor-in-Chief, Dominique Molina, sat down with Michael Kitces from Kitces.com to discuss creative ways to use the ROTH IRA when developing tax planning strategies. This exclusive video interview is jam-packed with a variety of recommendations and suggestions highlighting the flexibility you gain in your planning when including the ROTH IRA as a tool! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Split Dollar Life Insurance

Using Split-dollar Life Insurance as a Tax Loophole

I’m no fan of needlessly complicating people’s tax situations, and I often remind readers to consider administrative overhead and compliance costs in addition to tax savings when evaluating tax strategies. The following strategies work best for high-net-worth taxpayers and medium to large “small businesses.”

I’m not talking about people who think they are high-net-worth, but if even after the estate tax exemption was doubled, you have to file an estate tax return (Form 706), this is you. If your individual or business net worth is in or is approaching the double-digit millions, this may not apply to you – yet. Keep reading anyway because it may be only a matter of time before you can use it or one of your “I wanna be a playa” clients comes to you asking about this strategy because they saw it on TikTok.

Keep reading to learn more on how to save.

Joint vs Separate New Advantages

Joint vs. Separate Filing – New Advantages with the 2021 Stimulus

COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, and tax filing status is no exception. Couples who have filed jointly for their entire marriage may find that for 2021 it is more beneficial to file separately. This is in large part thanks to the many stimulus bills the Congress passed in 2020 and 2021.

The addition of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and the associated Recovery Rebate Credits (RRC) have complicated what was once a simple tax calculation to now include these additional factors. In some scenarios, a couple would pay more tax filing separately than if they filed jointly, but because of pandemic-related credits, end up with more money in their pockets. Filing separately is not without its own potential headaches, though. Keep reading to find out when to switch your filing status.

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  • Avoiding Passive Loss Limitations Through Short-term and Alternative Rentals

    Short-term rentals like AirBnb are becoming increasingly popular with taxpayers who invest in real estate. For many taxpayers, the appeal of these properties is the flexibility and cash flow potential. However, there may be an overlooked third tax benefit. In many situations these short-term rentals may not qualify as a rental activity to the IRS, and that may offer a big tax break. While many rental activities generate losses, this can leave taxpayers facing the frustrations of not always getting to deduct those losses right away due to the passive activity limitations.

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    How Business Owners Can Boost Income by Avoiding the $10,000 SALT Cap

    Taxpayers have been whipsawed by confusing rules for the $10,000 limit on deducting state and local taxes (SALT), the most politically charged piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The cap has caused nearly 11 million individuals to lose an annual deduction worth $323 billion. But many owners of private businesses known as passthroughs can avert that financial pain. If you own your company and thus report your business income on your personal federal income tax return, here’s what you need to know.

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    GOFUNDME & KICKSTARTER: TAXABLE? DEDUCTIBLE?

    Millions of taxpayers in the United States are using crowdfunding websites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter to raise money for important needs, such as paying medical bills, paying legal fees, or funding a new business venture. Both the IRS and the courts have been surprisingly silent on the tax consequences of crowdfunding platforms. The good news is that established tax law provides a clear road map for answering most tax questions created by raising money from a crowdfunding website. By knowing these rules, taxpayers can use crowdfunding to raise cash and minimize their overall tax exposure.

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    My Client Stuck with a Mistaken C Corporation Election?

    My client formed three limited liability companies (LLCs) to hold his rental properties. Without consulting me, he filed Form 8832, Entity Classification Election, to elect C corporation treatment, effective January 1, 2020, for these LLCs. I want the LLCs to be disregarded entities, which is the most tax-efficient structure for his situation. What is the best way to undo these elections?

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    Quick Guide to Claiming Work-From-Home COVID-19 Expenses to Reduce Your Tax Bill

    This information is particularly important if you are the owner/shareholder of your own corporation – C or S corp. You can set up payroll and designate tax-free reimbursements for you to be working at home – as well other tax-free money for you and for your employees. (We will discuss employees momentarily. Yes, it’s essential.) If being an employee is your main source of income – watch out! The short answer to employees claiming an office in home deduction this year is... There is no deduction!

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    Five Tax Reduction Strategies for the Casual Cryptocurrency Owner

    With so many people looking for more ways to make money outside their 9 to 5 jobs, many are turning to money making methods using technology including trading in cryptocurrency. For tax purposes, the IRS considers cryptocurrencies property, not as currency. Just like other property types, stocks, investments, or real estate, when you sell, swap, or otherwise dispose of your cryptocurrency for more or less than you acquired it for, you incur a tax reporting obligation. As an example, there would be a $1,000 capital gain if 0.1 bitcoin is bought for $2,000 in June of 2020 and then sold for $3,000 two months later. This profit must be reported on the tax return and a certain amount of tax is due on the gain, depending on the tax bracket of the taxpayer. In this example, the gain would be short term requiring the profit to be taxed at the filer’s ordinary tax rate. These rates range anywhere from 0-37%.

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    Extra Taxes on S Corporation Distribution?

    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?

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    Reduce Taxable Income Up to $25,000 with Passive Rental Losses

    You have likely heard that owning rental real estate provides great tax benefits. This is true for a multitude of reasons, but there’s one benefit that is arguably the best of the bunch: The Small Taxpayer Allowance for Deducting Passive Rental Losses. Based on average household income levels, more than three-quarters of taxpayers can potentially qualify for this fantastic tax benefit that offers taxable income reduction of up to $25,000.

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