Matt Metras, EA, Author at Think Outside the Tax Box

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Matt Metras, EA

Matt Metras, EA is the owner of MDM Financial Services in Irondequoit, NY. He has been practicing since 2003 and specializes in bookkeeping and taxation for cryptocurrency clients. He has instructed on Cryptocurrency Taxation for the National Association of Enrolled Agents and NY Society of Enrolled Agents. Additionally, he is an administrator of the “Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Tax Info” Facebook group and a moderator of the r/cryptotaxation subreddit. Matt is also a passionate community advocate and serves on his local Board of Education.

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Year-End Tax Strategies for the Investor

The end of the year is a time for holidays, family, and maybe overindulging at the dinner table. It can also be a time for substantial tax savings. There are many techniques a taxpayer can use to minimize their tax burden for the year. The key to many of them is acting before the calendar year comes to a close.

Specifically, let’s examine tax strategies for the taxpayer with investments, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. These strategies can help taxpayers lower taxes, keep more money in their pockets, and donate to their favorite charities.

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Crypto and the Wash Loss Rule

Wash Up for Tax Savings – Cryptocurrency and the Wash Loss Rule

When recognizing capital gains during a tax year, it can often make financial sense to sell assets that have lost value to offset profits in other investments or regular income. In this situation, you swap stocks, bonds, or mutual funds by buying a similar asset, selling the old asset and taking a loss.

This strategy is called tax-loss harvesting, and it can be applied under certain circumstances which will lower your taxes. Yet while the tax deduction might seem appealing, you might have a hard time locking in that loss forever, and you may be inclined to repurchase the same investment in case the value rebounds.

This strategy may appear brilliant on paper; however, the IRS doesn’t allow such manipulation just to reduce taxes.

The Wash Loss Rule prevents traders from realizing a tax loss on a position that the taxpayer reacquires within 30 days after (or before) selling a security.

But a little known loophole may allow you to complete a wash sale and claim your deduction without recognizing the loss forever as long as it is crypto.

Cryptocurrency continues to be an area where the rules don’t always seem to make sense. Most experienced investors are already familiar with the “Wash Loss Rule,” while many newer investors have recently learned about it the hard way.

To learn this valuable strategy for offsetting your capital gains while remaining in the investment gain for expected future growth, continue reading to learn more.

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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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Office in the Home

Office in the Home – Real Estate

As many of us become more accustomed to working from home, it is easy to forget that some industries were regularly working remotely prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It might be easy to forget altogether that real estate businesses also qualify for the same deductions as other businesses. Yet, it is often easy to overlook something like a home office for a real estate rental operation, but the home office typically functions as the glue holding these businesses together.

To learn more about the how and the where to grab this deduction, keep reading.

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Office In Home - Partnerships

Office in the Home – Partnerships

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of our society, perhaps permanently. One of these is the need to physically go to the office to get work done. Like all businesses, partnerships are no exception. While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) suspended this deduction for employees of the partnership until 2025 . However, partners may still take advantage of this often-overlooked tax benefit. The key is in how to report it. Read on to learn how!

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Office in the Home

Office in the Home

2020 saw a huge increase in taxpayers working from home. A good internet connection can allow taxpayers in many industries to work almost anywhere. Whether it is because the typical workspace has closed or there’s a need to be home to care for a family member, the shift to working from home can come with substantial tax savings. Claiming the home office deduction allows the taxpayer to take a typically non-deductible expense and make it deductible, reducing the amount of income subject to tax.

The most important item to note is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) suspended this deduction for employees until 2025. However, this deduction is still available to taxpayers who are self-employed or independent contractors. (Some states may still allow a deduction for an employee).

While it’s not as easy as claiming the expenses and calling it a day, home office deductions provide fantastic ways to get a tax deduction for amounts you ordinarily would spend but are not eligible as write-offs. Keep reading to learn the details and how to deduct things like your homeowner’s association dues, security systems, and other home improvements.

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Is Trader Tax Status Worth It?

As we navigate a world with COVID-19, large swings in the stock market have become the norm. Many buy and hold-style investors are more actively managing their portfolios to take advantage of these swings. The IRS has a special trader status for taxpayers who frequently engage in trading. This status includes a special accounting method, not available to the average investor, that can come with substantial tax savings. The status allows an investor to make special deductions and opens the door to a wide range of tax reduction strategies unavailable to the casual investor. However, with potential savings also come risks that could end up costing the taxpayer/trader more than the average investor. Weighing the pros and cons of this status is crucial in minimizing tax liability. The big question for tax planning is this — does obtaining trader tax status result in less tax?

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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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Don’t Overpay Tax on Crypto Forks and Airdrops

Practically overnight, cryptocurrency has gone mainstream, with more and more investors funneling money into Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. The IRS has responded with increased interest and scrutiny, demonstrated by the addition of the cryptocurrency question on the front page of 1040.

Whether you have invested in cryptocurrency or not, you are required to answer this tax return question. Many investors choose to take the most conservative position to avoid future correspondence from the IRS but trying to avoid a letter is no reason to pay more tax than necessary! After all, the Supreme Court has long held that a taxpayer has the right to do everything possible under the law to reduce tax.

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Dont Overpay On Crypto 1099-K

Don’t Overpay on the Crypto 1099-K

As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, so do the complications of tax reporting. At present, there is no consistent 1099 reporting for crypto transactions.

This is primarily because no 1099 form currently exists to adequately report cryptocurrency. The IRS has yet to issue third party reporting requirements to exchanges, so companies must determine on their own what information to report to the IRS and how they will report it.

Some exchanges will attempt to report transactions on a traditional 1099-B, but the easily accessible transferability of crypto makes it nearly impossible for an exchange to correctly report basis information.

Incorrect reporting can result in the IRS sending an unnecessary CP2000 notice, which can be both expensive and time-consuming for the taxpayer to resolve.

Other exchanges issue a 1099-Misc for certain transactions, but again this doesn’t reflect the full picture. Some exchanges choose to issue a 1099-K to customers, showing only the gross proceeds of crypto transactions and also doesn’t show the full picture.

Here’s what to do to avoid getting a dreaded notice from the IRS.

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Cryptocurrency Staking and the U.S. Tax Code

Cryptocurrency is currently one of the hottest topics in taxation. The use cases of crypto are continually evolving, and official IRS guidance is perpetually several years behind the types of transactions investors engage in. We are left trying to force a crypto transaction to fit into the existing code that was not written with crypto in mind. Additionally, with the lack of official guidance, we are forced to attempt to anticipate how the IRS will interpret novel transactions or worry about potential penalties and interest down the road. Staking is a transaction that has become extremely common among crypto users, yet the IRS is silent on how to report and tax it.

Read on to learn more about cryptocurrency “mining”, staking, and how the current IRS interpretations of the tax code (or lack thereof) may affect your income reporting.

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CURRENT EDITION

Electric Vehicles Credits - Worth It

Are Electric Vehicle Credits Really Worth It? Spoiler Alert: It Depends!

It happens all the time. A client comes in with the receipt for their new hybrid or electric vehicle and is expecting a huge tax credit to offset some of the purchase expense. It’s a fact that hybrid and electric vehicles cost more (some estimates say an average of $19K more) than their internal combustion engine (ICE) based counterparts. And, despite the fact that hybrids and fully electric vehicles continue to gain market share, it has continued to be difficult to quantify exactly how much fuel and maintenance cost savings offset the larger price tag. Often, the time span for offsetting the difference in purchase price is much longer than many taxpayers want to keep their cars. Taxpayers often hope tax credits will help them to recoup the difference in purchase price more quickly than fuel and maintenance cost savings. Do they? Are electric vehicle tax credits really worth it? Well—it depends.

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.

Crypto and the Wash Loss Rule

Wash Up for Tax Savings – Cryptocurrency and the Wash Loss Rule

When recognizing capital gains during a tax year, it can often make financial sense to sell assets that have lost value to offset profits in other investments or regular income. In this situation, you swap stocks, bonds, or mutual funds by buying a similar asset, selling the old asset and taking a loss.

This strategy is called tax-loss harvesting, and it can be applied under certain circumstances which will lower your taxes. Yet while the tax deduction might seem appealing, you might have a hard time locking in that loss forever, and you may be inclined to repurchase the same investment in case the value rebounds.

This strategy may appear brilliant on paper; however, the IRS doesn’t allow such manipulation just to reduce taxes.

The Wash Loss Rule prevents traders from realizing a tax loss on a position that the taxpayer reacquires within 30 days after (or before) selling a security.

But a little known loophole may allow you to complete a wash sale and claim your deduction without recognizing the loss forever as long as it is crypto.

Cryptocurrency continues to be an area where the rules don’t always seem to make sense. Most experienced investors are already familiar with the “Wash Loss Rule,” while many newer investors have recently learned about it the hard way.

To learn this valuable strategy for offsetting your capital gains while remaining in the investment gain for expected future growth, continue reading to learn more.

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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%.

    Read More

    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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