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Tax reform discussions continue on Capitol Hill with legislation expected to be released very soon. GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be aiming for a comprehensive overhaul of the Tax Code. President Trump and Republicans in Congress have set out an ambitious schedule of passing a tax reform bill before year-end. 


Year-end tax planning can provide most taxpayers with a good way to lower a tax bill that will otherwise be waiting for them when they file their 2017 tax return in 2018. Since tax liability is primarily keyed to each calendar tax year, once December 31, 2017 passes, your 2017 tax liability for the most part – good or bad – will mostly be set in stone.


As the 2018 filing season nears, the IRS is reminding taxpayers that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains on the books. The ACA’s reporting requirements for individuals have not been changed by Congress. At the same time, the Trump Administration has proposed administrative changes to the ACA, which could expand health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), the use of short-term, limited duration health insurance, and association health plans.


Holiday gifts made to customers are generally deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses as long as the taxpayer can demonstrate that such gifts maintain or improve customer goodwill. Such gifts must bear a direct relationship to the taxpayer's business and must be made with a reasonable expectation of a financial return commensurate with the amount of the gift. However, the $25 annual limitation per recipient on deductibility is applicable to holiday gifts, unless a statutory exceptions applies.


For purposes of federal tax, employers must withhold and pay FICA taxes (7.65%) if they paid a household employee cash wages of at least $2,000 in 2016 or in 2017 ($2,100 in 2018). Employers must pay FUTA tax (6%) if they paid total cash wages of at least $1,000 in a calendar quarter to household employees. A homeowner may be an “employer” to a housekeeper; or, if enough evidence is shown, merely a recipient of services by an independent contractor or self-employed individual.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important federal tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of November 2017.


If you use your car for business purposes, you may have learned that keeping track and properly logging the variety of expenses you incur for tax purposes is not always easy. Practically speaking, how often and how you choose to track expenses associated with the business use of your car depends on your personality; whether you are a meticulous note-taker or you simply abhor recordkeeping. However, by taking a few minutes each day in your car to log your expenses, you may be able to write-off a larger percentage of your business-related automobile costs.

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Under the so-called "kiddie tax," a minor under the age of 19 (or a student under the age of 24) who has certain unearned income exceeding a threshold amount will have the excess taxed at his or her parents' highest marginal tax rate. The "kiddie tax" is intended to prevent parents from sheltering income through their children.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is imposed on corporations in an amount by which the tentative minimum tax exceeds the regular income tax for the taxable year. The purpose of the AMT is to prevent taxpayers with substantial economic income from avoiding all tax liability through the use of exclusions, deductions and credits. Without the AMT, corporate taxpayers could significantly reduce their tax income through tax benefits under the regular tax structure, to the point of such reduction being unfair and unintended by Congress.

With the subprime mortgage mess wreaking havoc across the country, many homeowners who over-extended themselves with creative financing arrangements and exotic loan terms are now faced with some grim tax realities. Not only are they confronted with the overwhelming possibility of losing their homes either voluntarily through selling at a loss or involuntarily through foreclosure, but they must accept certain tax consequences for which they are totally unprepared.

These days, both individuals and businesses buy goods, services, even food on-line. Credit card payments and other bills are paid over the internet, from the comfort of one's home or office and without any trip to the mailbox or post office.

If you own a vacation home, you may be considering whether renting the property for some of the time could come with big tax breaks. More and more vacation homeowners are renting their property. But while renting your vacation home can help defray costs and provide certain tax benefits, it also may raise some complex tax issues.

Fringe benefits have not only become an important component of employee compensation, they also have a large financial impact on an employer's business. Fringe benefits are non-compensation benefits provided by an employer to employees. Unless they fall within one of the specific categories of tax-exempt fringe benefits, however, are taxable to employees.

In order to be tax deductible, compensation must be a reasonable payment for services. Smaller companies, whose employees frequently hold significant ownership interests, are particularly vulnerable to IRS attack on their compensation deductions.


A lump-sum of social security benefits is usually included in gross income for the year in which it is received. However, a recipient may choose to include in gross income the total amount of benefits that would have been included in gross income in the appropriate year if the payments had been received when due.

Non-cash incentive awards, such as merchandise from a local retailer given to its employees or vacation trips offered to the employee team member who contributes the most to a special project, are a form of supplemental wages and are subject to most of the reporting and withholding requirements of other forms of compensation that employees receive. There are, however, special rules for calculating and timing withholding, as well as exceptions for de minimis awards and "length of service" awards.

There are tax benefits for which you may be eligible if you are paying education expenses for yourself or an immediate member of your family. In the rush to claim one of two education tax credits or the higher-education expense deduction, IRS statistics indicate that a more modest yet still significant tax break is often being overlooked: the higher education student-loan interest deduction.

More third-party reporting is coming. Treasury, Congress, and the IRS are all entertaining proposals to require the reporting of income that currently does not have to be reported to the IRS. IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson reports that there are 45 million taxpayers who have a small business or are self-employed. She reports that not all of them have professional help, and that the IRS is not adequately helping them.

A major repair to a business vehicle is usually deductible in the year of the repair as a "maintenance and repair" cost if your business uses the actual expense method of deducting vehicle expenses. If your business vehicle is written off under the standard mileage rate method, your repair and maintenance costs are assumed to be built into that standard rate and no further deduction is allowed.

Although you may want your traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to keep accumulating tax-free well into your old age, the IRS sets certain deadlines. The price for getting an upfront deduction when contributing to a traditional IRA (or having a rollover IRA) is that Uncle Sam eventually starts taxing it once you reach 70½. The required minimum distribution (RMD) rules under the Internal Revenue Code accomplish that.

Businesses benefit from many tax breaks. If you are in business with the objective of making a profit, you can generally claim all your business deductions. If your deductions exceed your income for the year, you can claim a loss for the year, up to the amount of your income from other activities. Remaining losses can be carried over into other years.

Payroll tax" is a blanket term used to address the combination of social security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and state and federal income taxes withheld by an employer from an employee's wages. In addition to withholding these taxes at the time of payment of wages, employers are also required to pay most of the taxes on their own behalves, deposit the taxes with appropriate government depositories, report withholding activities to the government, and keep appropriate records.

No, taxpayers may destroy the original hardcopy of books and records and the original computerized records detailing the expenses of a business if they use an electronic storage system.

Our website contains a variety of information about trust and estates that will help you if you have or plan to have them as part of your portfolio. Click here to find out what is available for you.

Here's where to find great interactive tools on our website!

Our Financial Tools section contains many calculators that people considering retirement would find useful. This article lists these calculators and where to find them on our website!

There are many useful calculators and tools on this website for business owners, along with IRS forms and publications and other helpful pieces of information.

This short article helps you decide which accounting software is right for you.

Here's some pointers to help you avoid an audit or other negative IRS attention.

Do you have someone working for you, and are having trouble deciding how to claim this on your tax return? Here is some info that may help.

The tax code can be very confusing when it comes to things you donate to charity. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide if you can claim a deduction for a donation or not.