Tips to Reduce Self-Employment Taxes

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Tips to Reduce Self-Employment Taxes

Mar 25, 2018 Posted by deepak No Comments

Tips to Reduce Self-Employment Taxes

Self-employed individuals must know that aside from income tax, they must pay self-employment taxes which support Social Security and Medicare programs. There are ways that can reduce the amount that they owe.

More and more individuals opt for self-employment as opposed to being employed because they can set their own hours and are not pressured to punch in a fixed schedule each morning. However, when the day ends, they still have similar tax obligations as full-time employees. Aside from the income tax that they have to pay, they must secure payment for self-employment taxes such as Medicare and Social Security. The fact that they have their own businesses definitely increases the exertion of record-keeping that must be done for tax purposes. Whenever the self-employed digs through countless boxes of business receipts, they envy those who are just required to enter their over-all income from their W2 form.

Self-employment is synonymous to freedom. It is also synonymous to responsibility and therefore, lots of expenses. There are self-employed individuals who choose this path because they prefer the first two, but they cringe every time it is tax time. This is because they are not completely aware of some of the tax-write offs that they are actually entitled to.

It may seem daunting at first but there are various ways that allow the self-employed individual to reduce the amount owed.

Educational Expenses

When it is time to file income tax returns, self-employed individuals must not hesitate to take claim of their benefits simply because they are their own boss. For example, an expense that they can get paid for is “educational expense.” This is a deduction that is often overlooked. If the self-employed is taking courses or even buying material that is needed for research, then this is considered a deductible because it makes one’s work more effective.

Individual Retirement Plans (IRAs)

The best tax write-off for those who are self-employed is their retirement plan. This is because they have no employees that they are required to set individual 401k plans for. However, for those who are self-employed and have employees, it is recommended that they opt for SIMPLE or what is also known as the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees IRA. This is an IRA based plan that provides small employers a method that is simplified and easy to understand so that they can also contribute to the retirement of their employees.

Therefore, retirement plans are the best kind of tax deduction. To top this off, the government even assists in funding this.

Self-employment taxes 101

Self-employment taxes are up and about so that the programs from Social Security as well as Medicare are funded. Employees must pay similar taxes by going through what is known as employer withholding. Employers make additional tax contributions and they do this for their full-time employees. Self-employed individuals must pay all these taxes on their own.

Tax Deduction for SE

The IRS or the Internal Revenue Service requires those who make $400 or above this amount in being self-employed to file a tax return. The return must have a Schedule SE. This is used to calculate how much taxes that the self-employed individual owes. However, when 1040s are being filled out, the IRS lets the self-employed deduct a percentage of their tax payments and also adjust to their income. They can also deduct around 50 to 57% of the self-employed tax payments. The exact amount depends primarily on how much the self-employed can earn.

S Corp Savings

 If the self-employed create a business as a corporation or an LLC (Limited Liability Company), then making the S Corp election with IRS can present opportunities that also reduce their self-employment tax liability. With S-Corp,  individuals pay a reasonable salary from their earnings. They can also distribute the profits that remain to themselves as well as the other shareholders and even the partners and leave the remaining in the business. There are situations that the money is in excess to the salary that is calculated for the income tax but is not exempted for the employment taxes.

For example, if the self-employed operates the business and lists this as a sole-proprietorship then they earn $100,000 for that given year. Self-employment taxes are then due on that amount. However, there are also appropriate circumstances along with the S Corp that the amount may also exceed the salary that is reasonable for the self-employed to not be subject to self-employment taxes.

Reducing Net Profit

The Schedule C-EZ or popularly known as the Schedule C calculates the net profit of the self-employed individual. They must then include and list this as an income on their 1040. They can use this on Schedule SE so that self-employment taxes can be calculated. The net profit is also equal to the gross recipients that the individual earned after business expenses have been deducted. This lowers the net profit number. The lower the amount is, then the lower the employment tax bill is.

In order to reduce self-employment taxes, the individual must also be extremely accurate and thorough when filing and preparing the Schedule C. This ensures that the deductions are possible. The business expenses must be necessary in order to operate the business as a deductible. This cannot be filed as personal in nature. There are various types of deductible business expenses. These are cost of acquiring as well as maintaining a business vehicle, office rent, calls made and office equipment and supplies.

Using the home or dwelling for business

Most self-employed individuals start their businesses as home-based businesses. Therefore, they must determine which business costs are deductible. They should always keep track of the expenses that are related to their housing costs because their houses are the locations for their business.

If the taxpayer’s gross income from the business exceeds the total expenses, then they can deduct all the expenses that are related to their business use in their home. If the gross income is less than the total expenses, then the deduction is also limited to the difference of the gross income and the sum of every business expense that the individual would pay if the business is not conducted in the home. These expenses also include the Internet, phone lines and other costs that the business accumulates.

The individual must have a home office that is exclusively used for the business. This is because the Internal Revenue Service requires self-employed individuals to document this.

Deducting Automobile Expenses

If the individual travels for the business, even if it is short distances in the city, this must be deducted and documented as business miles traveled on the tax return. The taxpayer can also file the over-all actual expenses that has been incurred and use the standard mileage rate that is prescribed by the IRS. The IRS also has a mileage rate that is allowed and should be checked each year that they can change.

If the taxpayer decides to use the actual and over-all car expenses, they have to include depreciation, insurance, registration, payments, licenses, maintenance, repairs, garage rent, fees for parking and too. If taxpayers decide to use the standard mileage rate, it would be best that they keep a log. Document daily, weekly and monthly usage of miles and also distinguish the business use from the personal use.

Depreciation of equipment

There are some people who are self-employed and can purchase the equipment and property for the business. If they expect that the property will last longer than a year, it could also be depreciated on the tax return. According to the IRS, claims regarding property must meet these criteria: the taxpayer must own the property and it must be held and used to generate income. The property must have a useful life, meaning the individual can guess how long the owner can generate income from it. It may not be considered a useful life if it is just a year or less and it can also not be disposed and purchased in the very year.

There are certain repairs on the property that has been used for the business that can also be deducted. Another advantage is that it facilitates the system that lets the individual track the changes conducted every year.

Other areas to explore

There are deductions that can be missed especially in advertising as well as promotional expenses, air, bus and train fare and banking fees. Restaurant meals along with other entertainment costs are also easily written off as long as these are necessary and important business expenses.

In addition, self-employed individuals are suggested to consider health insurance premiums which represent a credit and not a tax deduction. This is because the credit directly goes against the taxes and not a reduction of the income.

No matter which expenses that the taxpayer discovers can be written off, the important thing to remember is that records must be accurate throughout the year. Save the receipts, as well as email receipts and log and file these so that it is easy to retrieve them during tax time.

Long-term tax saving strategies

Individuals are encouraged to not look at the last-minute write-offs especially when considering the tax deductions from being self-employed. They should think about laying long-term strategies connected to saving money especially in an annual context. This is highly suggested if the taxpayer earns a lot.

Accountants are trained to tell their clients what they have to pay. They are not working to come up with strategies for payment reduction.

To reduce the gross taxable income, taxpayers are also asked to consider setting up a benefit pension plan that is well defined. The basis of this plan are age and income. The older the individual is and the higher his earnings, the more they are allowed to contribute. Another alternative plan is an age-weighed profit-sharing plan. This is similar and beneficial to entrepreneurs that hire several employees.

Another strategy for business owners who earn higher than average have their own building through LLCs or limited liability companies. A similar business structure is required to pay rent. This rent is then used to pay the mortgage. However, this is also regarded as a business expense strictly for tax purposes.

Self-employed professionals are required to have liability insurance and they should consider setting up their very own insurance company. A captive insurance company insures the risks that any businesses can accumulate. The premiums are also tax-deductible.

However, they are warned that if the money has been accumulated along with claims that are minimal, then the money is taken out and filed as taxable under capital gains. This is actually not a retirement strategy, but it saves them money and lets them pay this by themselves instead of getting an insurance company to deduct this as premiums. With these long-term strategies that end up complicated, financial planners and business attorneys must be consulted in order to ensure that the best plan possible is made for the business to thrive.

Being self-employed also means taking on costs and risks that are not encountered when they are employed by someone else. They are responsible for obtaining customers and generating income. They also have to constantly prove the value of the service and the product. They also have to pay the internet bills and phone bills that are incurred to get and also retain these customers. Other costs include travel expenses for meetings and above all, liability insurance just in case they are sued.

Numerous tax codes have been written in order to soften the blow of covering tax costs. Everyone must claim the business tax deduction that they qualify for. The profitability of the business depends on minimizing the costs as well as maximizing the resources. There are small business tax deductions that are regarded as more complicated. Remember that any time that the cost is an expense that is legitimate, then the IRS will eventually examine this and see if it can be audited.

Solar Tax Credit

Solar Energy Tax Credits

Mar 6, 2018 Posted by deepak No Comments

Federal Tax Credits of Solar Energy

Tapping the sun to acquire power feels very good. Solar power does not pollute but it reduces the use of fossil fuels and other coal and also reduce the individual carbon footprint. It is also up to five times expensive as electricity that is from natural gas and the other sources.

In order to encourage the Americans to use the solar power, the Department of Energy along with the Environmental Protection Agency run the Energy Star Program which among the other projects also offer the tax credits simply for the solar-powered systems.

Credits for approved solar installations

Installing the alternative energy equipment in one’s home can also qualify them for a credit that can amount to 30% of the total cost. The credit is made available until the end of 2019. The percentage usually steps down every year and then ultimate does so at the end of 2021.

The qualifying equipment also includes the solar-powered units that can generate the heat water or electricity. The credit can be made available for improvements especially when it is to make a residence for the individual. This can also apply to a second residence.

As credit, it is possible to take the amount directly off the tax payment and not make this a deduction from the taxable income. Aside from the cost of the system, there is also no limit to the total dollar amount of the credit.

How to Claim Solar Credits for Rental Property

It is not possible to claim credit simply for installing solar power at the rental properties that the individuals own. The exception is when the taxpayer lives in the house for just some time of the year and also use it as a rental while one is away. When one is needed to reduce the credit for the vacation home, rental and otherwise, also reflect the time that this was not there. If the individual lives there for around three months per year, for example, then the individual can claim 25% from the credit. The system usually costs around $10,000 which is the 30% credit from the $3,000 and can also claim a quarter from that, which is around $750.

Filing Requirements for Solar Credits

When claiming the credit, it is necessary that the individual must file the Form 5695 as well as part of the tax return. This can be calculated on the credit of the form. This is then entered as a result on the 1040.

If the individual ends up with bigger credit than the income tax due, then they cannot use the credit in order to get the money back from Internal Revenue Services. Generally, what they can do is carry the credit over to the following year. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear whether they can carry these unused credits to the years after the solar credit expires.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

The Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed in December 2015. It also has an expiration date for solar thermal technologies and PV and introduced the gradual step down in the value of the credit for the technologies. The credit that is delegated to the other technologies also expired toward the end of 2016.

Taxpayer can claim the credit of 30% that is considered qualified expenditures for the system that has served as a dwelling unit which is located in the United States. As long as this owned and used as a residence for a taxpayer, then this is what counts. The expenditures in relation to the equipment can also be treated and made the minute the installation of these solar panels are completed and finished. When the installation is set at the new home, then the date that is placed in the service of the occupancy from the homeowner. The expenditures also include the labor costs for every on-site preparation that is in the assembly of the installation of an original system. Preparing and wiring of an interconnected system to a home can also receive deductions from the federal tax.

Solar-Electric Property

  • 30% of the systems have been placed by December 31, 2019
  • 22% of the systems have been placed in service by December 31, 2021 and before January 1, 2022
  • Systems can also be placed in service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2021
  • The home that is served by the system does not have to be the principal residence of the taxpayer
  • 26% for the systems that have been placed in the service between December 31, 2019 and Janaury 1, 2021
  • There is also a maximum credit for the systems that is placed in service after 2008

Solar-Water Heating Property

  • 30% for systems have been placed in service by December 31, 2019
  • 22% for the systems have been placed in the service between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2022
  • Systems are also placed in service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2021
  • Half the energy that has been used to heat the dwelling’s water ideally must come from solar and the solar water-heating property expenditures to make it eligible
  • The home is served by the system and it does not have to be the principal residence of the taxpayer
  • The tax credit does not also apply to the solar water heating property for hot tubs or swimming pool
  • Equipment must be certified for performance and pass the SRCC or the Solar Rating Certification Corporation or any comparable entity that has been endorsed by the government of the corresponding state where this property has been installed
  • There is no maximum credit for the systems that have been placed in service after the year 2008.
  • 26% for systems are placed in service that are between December 31, 2019 and January 1, 2021

 Fuel cell property

 The maximum credit is $500 for every half kilowatt

  • The fuel cell can also have a nameplate capacity at least 0.5 kW of electricity that uses an electrochemical process and the electricity-only generation efficiency is more than 30%.
  • The home served by the system must also be the principal residence of the taxpayer
  • If ever it is a joint occupancy, the most maximizing costs that can be taken into account by every occupant is $1,667 for every 0.5 kW. This does not necessarily apply to the married individuals who filed as joint. The credit can also be claimed for every individual that is proportional to the over-all costs that have been paid.
  • Systems must be put in service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2016
  • For the systems that have been installed in 2017, these are all considered not eligible

 Small wind-energy property

  • For the systems that have been installed in 2017, these are not eligible
  • Systems can also be placed in service between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016
  • There is no maximum credit that is placed for the systems after the year 2008
  • The home served by the system also does not necessarily have to be the principal residence of the taxpayer

Geothermal heat pumps

  • For systems that have been installed in 2017, these are not eligible.
  • Systems must also be placed in service between January 1 2008 and December 31, 2016
  • The home that is served by the system does not necessarily have to be the principal residence of the taxpayer
  • The geothermal heat pump can also meet the Federal Energy Star criteria
  • There is also no maximum credit for the systems that have been placed in service after the year 2008

Significantly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also repealed the previous limitation on using the credit for eligible projects that are supported by the “subsidized energy financing.” For projects that have been placed in service after December 31, 2008, then the limitation no longer applies.

Established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the FTC or federal tax credit for the reoprty ‘s residential energy initially started to work with solar-electric systems, fuel cells and solar water heating systems. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 also extended the tax credit of the small wind-energy systems along with the geothermal heat pumps. This was made effective January 1, 2008. Other key revisions include the eight-year extension of credit until December 31, 2016. The ability to take advantage of the credit and set this alongside the alternative minimum tax. This also includes the removal of the $2,000 credit limit that is targeted solely for the solar-electric systems that started in 2009. The credit has also been further enhanced in February 2009 as conducted by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This removed the maximum credit amount all on eligible technologies with the exception of fuel cells that have been placed pretty much in service after 2008.

Guide on How to Receive the 30% Credit from Solar Energy

The Solar Tax Credit is the Law that has been extended by legislature in December 2015 and it lets the taxpayer take the 30% credit, as long as it is a qualified expenditure for the solar system. This is considered qualified if it serves as a dwelling unit that is located in the US and is owned and also used as a home by the active taxpayer.

The expenditures in relation to the equipment are made when the installation has been completed. The eligible expenditure also covers the labor costs for preparation made on site, piping and wiring the interconnection of the system to the home and the installation of the original system. In a nutshell, this means that the entire value of the quote from this solar company can install the solar panels that are eligible for the tax credit.

To claim the 30% tax credit from solar energy, individuals must complete the Form 5695 and then add the results to the main tax return.

Here are steps on how to complete the Form 5695:

Form 5695 calculates the tax credits for various qualified residential energy improvements. You just need to worry about Line 1 for solar electricity. Also insert the total cost for the solar panel systems that include the installation listed into Line 1.

Assuming that the taxpayer is not receiving the tax credit for the fuel cells that have been installed on the property, then they do not carry forward the credits that have been accumulated form last year. If this is the case, the value from Line 6 is then put on Line 13.

The next step is to calculate if the taxpayer has enough tax liability to acquire the whole 30% credit that can be received for the year.

The worksheet on Page 4 of Form 5695 must then be calculated to come up with the limit on the tax credits that can be claimed. If they are claiming tax credits for interest on mortgage, buying a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle, buying the home for the first time or adoption expenses, then there should be more information at hand.

  1. Enter the amount on Line 47 from Form 1040 or Line 45 from Form 1040.
    2. Enter the overall amount, if there are, of the credits from Lines 48 until 51 on Form 1040 and Line 22 on Schedule 4 or Lines 46 to 48 from Form 1040NR.
    3. Enter the amount om Line 40 from Form 5694.
    4. Enter the amount on Line 11 or Line 12 if the individual is claiming child tax credit.
    5. Enter the amount on Line 9 from Form 8396.
    6. Enter the amount on Line 16 from Form 8396.
    7. Enter the amount on Line 3 from Form 8859.
    8. Enter the amount on Line 15 from Form 8910.
    9. Enter the amount on Line 23 from Form 8936.
    10. Add the lines 2 to 9.
    11. Subtract Line 10 from Line 1. Enter the amount on Line 14 from Form 5695 as well. If it is zero or less, then just enter 0 on Lines 14 and 15 of Form 5695.
    12. Enter the result on Line 14 from Form 5695 and then review Lines 13 and 14 and put the smaller one among the two on Line 15.
    13. Add the Lines 6, 11 an 12.

This is hwo you come up with the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Energy.

Why are we still talking about the 2018 Tax Reform Bill?

Feb 15, 2018 Posted by deepak No Comments

Congress has gone on to go against the will of the majority and pushed a tax framework that a multitude of Americans are opposed to. Therefore, it is important to note that there are various leading tax academics, analysts and practitioners that believe various tax games as well as roadblocks and glitches when it comes to the field of tax legislation.

The complex rules have proposed that the Senate and the House bills let the new tax games along with the planning opportunities directed to tax payers who have been advised will lead to consequences and costs that were not anticipated. These costs are not fully shown and reflected at the moment because the official estimates indicate that the bills are now an overall total of $1 trillion to the deficit and will continue in the coming years. There are other proposed changes that are expected to encounter roadblocks and can later on jeopardize the critical elements on legislation. In other words, there are still cases that have technical glitches connected to legislation and are improperly and haphazardly penalized on the benefit of the corporate along with the individual taxpayers.

These are the various problems that the bill can imposed in the respective areas:

* Corporations as Tax Shelters – once the tax rate in the corporate level is reduced because of the absence of anti-abuse measures that are effective, the taxpayers are then able to transform the corporations to a savings vehicle that is tax-sheltered and adept in various strategies.

* Eligibility Games of the Pass-Through – the taxpayers can circumvent the limitations when eligible for the tax treatment that is passed through the businesses.

* Restructuring Local and State Taxes in order to Maintain the Deductibility – by denying the reduction on the local and state taxes, jurisdictions are then incentivized so that it can be restructured to the form that the revenue collection is trying to avoid the change. This results to an undercut of one of the largest raisers of revenue in the entire bill.

* International Games, Roadblocks and Glitches – the complex rules set for the tax reform are meant to make an exemption to the foreign income of the domestic corporations that are derived from the US taxation and is present to various avoidance and tax planning opportunities.

* Money Loophole Machines – the various tax rates that are imposed on the different forms of business income through the years are also invited to come up with the arbitrage strategies whereby the taxpayers are then achieved in an economic benefit that is based solely on the assignment and timing of the income as well as the deductions.

The studies and reports conducted ended with a serious warning. These analysts claim that there will be more problems with the bills. These are likely to emerge. For example, the tax games will eventually reduce the tax revenues and increase the over-all cost of legislation. This results to legislation becoming more regressive than it actually is. In addition, the tax complexities are also necessary so that the policy of new rules can take effect and also prevent the abuses. This ensures that the legislation will also move taxpayers further away from their goals. Before, this was simple, more efficient and more equitable. The IRS and the Treasury may also be overwhelmed when it comes to the efforts in the policy-making of maniputable and new rules especially during a period when funding is reduced and there are constraints in the budget.

Members of the House and the Senate should reassess the process of tax reform as well as the result of the legislative proposals that they create. This is to undertake an approach that is more deliberate and can reach far in terms of legislation. This will definitely affect the economy in a significant behavior which will also benefit the taxpayer.

With that illustration, it shows that the Republican tax-cut bill showers the rich with billions of dollars and not even giving a noticeable boost to the economy. The plan is actually worse than what most Americans think because there are estimates that taxpayers did not even put into account. These are the games, planning and cheating that some of the taxes impose on the bill that was hastily written but quickly encouraged.

In its current form, analysts show that the bill costs more than $1 trillion dollars for the Treasury. This can range to 10 years. A majority of the extra money can also go the wealthiest Americans as well as the most successful and largest multinational corporations.

With this tax reform, instead of the capitalism and unleashing of the productive side, the business planning would be revolving around mining favors from tax code as opposed to creating the economic value. The final legislation can also deliver large benefits to the best advisers than even the current estimates may also suggest. Analyst and the practitioners have also combed through legislation that has been passed by the House and Senate than can uncover the glitches and the loopholes that allow the tax games as well as the aggressive tax planning.

Eventually, the riches 1% of the Americans can hire lawyers and accountants and these people will be busy in mining the bill for potential benefit. Then they also would receive a windfall that averages $48,000 annually.

The US treasure also receives hundreds of billions in revenue. It ratchets the pressure on Congress and also slashes the federal spending on Medicare and Social Security including education and infrastructure.

This new law creates lower tax rates for pass-through businesses and corporations like sole proprietorships and partnerships. It gives individuals large incentives to shift their income as much as possible into the business. The upside to this though is that taxpayers would pay less in taxes.

There is also the proliferation of avoiding the opportunities that leads to the diversion of resources are from productive activity that leads to the tax planning. Instead of unleashing capitalism’s productive side, it unleashes that this side is parasitical. Business planning also revolves the mining favors of the tax code. It creates economic value.

Three Huge Opportunities to Beat the Tax Bill

Individuals and companies must follow these four tax planning opportunities in order to work around the new tax cuts and budgets from the bill.

  1. Using corporations as tax shelters

 

The conference bill taxes of the C corporations were at 21% in the beginning of the year. This results to tax payers still having the ability to use the corporations and set this on a savings vehicle that is tax preferred. With no protection that comes to the bill, C-corps can then use this to shelter the income from the ordinary income tax rate.

 

The use of corporations in the form of tax results lead to the labor income taxed at the preferred rate of 21%. This also eliminates the entire second layer of the taxes when the individual revives the dividend and then sells this in the corporate stock form. The incentives of using corporations as tax shelters is reduced under this bill because it is relative to the previous various. This also results to the higher corporate rate. It is from 20% that increases to 21%. The lower top individual rate is also 39.6% that has decreased to 37%. According to reports, these tax savings are regarded as considerable.

 

The pre-existing safeguards that avoid the consequences are inadequate and can also be in the lighter side of the incentives planning that the rate differential establishes.

 

  1. Pass through-games

The new bill from the Congress grants a 20% reduction from specific qualified business income. This reduces the tax rate that starts from 37% down to 29.6%. This also provides an incentive for taxpayers to consider their income into the category that is qualified. However, there are complex rules that come with these gaming opportunities. There is also no clear and specific logic to determine who fits into the categories because the game is often played within haphazard lines. As a matter of fact, the conference bill makes the matters more worse. It allows the owners of the firms who earn no wages and specific kinds of property to make the most of the lower rate.

 

This change also expands the available deduction for the pass-through and greatly encourages businesses to follow the rules and increase the ownership and turn these into qualifying properties. This can also possibly replace the workers in the process.

 

Service providers can follow the number of steps that qualify to the pass-through deduction. For example, a married employee that has taxable income lower than $315,000 can gain the incentive of being an independent contractor or even a partner, as opposed to being an employee. At the same time, they can still receive the full benefit. Another example is that the higher-income doctors, law partners and other professionals will most likely be able to take part on strategies that access the special rates like buying buildings and also owning these as separate entities.

Another important loophole of the pass-throughs is that they can largely surpass the limits on the expense of the interests. Public corporations can also pass through the subsidiaries and expect these to do the same.

 

  1. Restructuring State and Local Taxes (SALT) to maintain deductibility

The conference bill caps that the deduction on the SALT amounts to $10,000 and also permits that there is a combination of the taxes required to reach the cap. IN various parts of the country, taxpayers have to pay both the local and the state taxes as well as the excess of $10,000. The states that are affected have the ample incentive of responding creatively to the changes that are in the federal tax law.

Listed under the conference bill, there are three possible responses from the municipalities and the states to restructure the collections of the revenue and to also preserve the SALT deduction.

These strategies rely on replacing the state taxes that are not deducted on the cap with the other taxes along with the sources of revenue like charitable donations, franchise taxes and employer-side payroll.

Taxes imposed on the business can be deducted. States can shift from the non-deductible over the cap state income taxes so that the employer-side payroll taxes remain as such. This new law also permits that there be a shift on the sue of the non-deductibles along with the state income taxes. When this is done, then there is the deductible and charitable contributions for the local and state governments.

As for the franchise taxes, the report also states that the local and state taxes must stay deductible for the pass-through businesses. As long as these are imposed on entities and the individuals.

Conclusion

It is obvious that the tax bill is horribly flawed and also riddled with errors. It must not be assumed that the result is unintentional. The bill does more than its ultimate aims of the Republican gaining leadership in the Congress. It also rewards the wealthy by starving the beasts. This has always been the twin goals of the fiscal policy of the Republicans for decades.

This tax bill also weakens the economy, encourages companies and individuals spend more, and increase the deficit on trade whenever the tax code is complied. The budget can also affect the mortgage rates as well as educational budget after a decade. Taxpayers may be paying less but there is a catch to this. They may not receive the benefits that they expect to get by the time they decide to retire and earn their hard-earned cash that they worked for years to receive.

Almost everything that Republican representatives discuss about the tax bill is a myth. It is not for middle class and it does not pay for itself based on its growth. It does not influence and convince companies to make an investment in America. In other words, it does not make the tax code any simple.

Understanding The 2018 Tax Changes

Feb 6, 2018 Posted by deepak No Comments

President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Job Acts on December 22, 2017. It slashes the corporate tax rate originally from 35 percent and down to 21 percent the minute 2018 starts. In other words, the highest individual tax rate is now 37 percent and it also cuts the rates of the income tax, eliminates personal exemption and then doubles the standard deduction. Corporate cuts are usually permanent whereas the changes in individual cuts end by 2025. In a nutshell, here is how this new Act changes deductions for elder and child care, business taxes and income taxes.

Income Taxes

* The Act retains the seven income tax brackets. The only difference is that the tax rates are lower. Employees will eventually see these changes reflected in their February 2018 paychecks. The income levels rise every year because of inflation. However, they increase slower compared to the past because the Act is resorting to the “chained consumer price index.” This will eventually move people to higher tax brackets.

* The new Act doubles the standard deduction. Those who are single filers increases the deduction from $6,350 and to $12,000. Those who are Married and also Joint Filers find their tax increasing from $12,700 and reaching $24,000. This means that the over-all 94% of taxpayers get the standard deduction. The National Association of Realtor and National Association of Home Builders are against this. When taxpayers take the standard deduction, only a handful of them would make the most out of the mortgage interest deduction.

* This can lower housing prices. This is why people are now concerned about the real estate market. They think it is currently trapped in a bubble which could burst anytime, therefore resulting to another collapse.

* It eliminates personal exemptions. Before President Trump signed the act, taxpayers are deducted $4,150 from their income every time they claim one dependent. This then results to families with multiple children paying higher taxes regardless the increased standard deduction that the new Act has imposed.

*It eliminates itemized deductions. This covers moving expenses. Only members of the military are exempted from this. This means that individuals paying alimony are no longer deducted for this, whereas those receiving the alimony can. This begins in 2019 for couples that signed the divorce in 2018.

*The new tax code retains the deduction for retirement savings, student loan and charitable contributions.

*It limits the deduction on the mortgage interest for every $750,000. Deductions can no longer be applied on the interest of home equity. Those who currently have mortgage are not affected by this.

Those who pay taxes can subtract to a total of $10,000 on local and state taxes. They have to choose whether the taxes will be on the property taxes, sales taxes or income. Taxpayers in California and New York, both high tax states, are in the losing end here.

The New Act Regarding Medical Expenses

The Act expands the deduction for 2017 and 2018 medical expenses. It lets the taxpayers deduct their medical expenses that range around 7.5 percent and even more of their income. Before this bill, the cutoff for medical expenses was 10 percent for insured individuals who were born after 1952. Obviously, seniors already receive the 7.5 percent cutoff. Statistics show that around 8.8 million people have already used this deduction in 2015.

The Act also repeals the much-discussed Obamacare tax for individuals who do not have health insurance in 2019. Without this mandate, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that around 13 million people will discontinue their plans. Therefore, the government would eventually then be able to save around $338 billion because there is no need to pay for the subsidies. The downside to this is that the costs of health care will increase. This is because fewer people get the preventive care required and needed in order to avoid those unexpected visits to the emergency room. Maine Representative Senator Susan Collins approved this bill because the President promised to reinstate the subsidies to the insurers. This is outlined in the Murray-Alexander bill.

The overall subsidies of $7 billion is reimbursed through lowering the costs for Americans who are within the low-income range. However, the CBO has stated that it will not offset the health care prices that are higher in value and were created by the repealed mandate.

This Act also doubles the exemption of the estate tax down to $11.2 million for the single taxpayers and around $22.4 million for those who filed as couples. This benefits those who are in the top 1 percent of that group. These higher 4,918 tax returns have a total contribution of $17 billion in their taxes. The exemption also reverts the pre-Act levels in the year 2026.

It maintains the Alternative Minimum Tax. It increases exemption from the amount $54,300 to $70,300 for the singles and as for those who filed as joint, this ranges from the amount $84,500 to $109,400. As for the exemptions, the phase out is at the amount of $500,000 for the single taxpayers and $1 million for those who filed as joint. This exemption also reverts to the Act levels of the year 2026.

Elder and Child Care

As for the Child Tax Credit, the Act raises it from the amount $1,000 to $2,000. For parents who do not earn enough in order to pay the taxes, they can claim credit as much as $1,400. It also increases income level at $110,000 to $400,000 for tax filers who are married.

This lets the parents use the 529 savings plans to pay for the tuition in private schools, as well as religious schools with the K-12 program. They can also resort to these funds to pay for the expenses that are acquired when children are home-schooled.

Every non-child dependent is given $500 credit. This assists the families in caring for their elderly parents.

Taxes on Businesses

The New Act decreases the maximum tax rate of corporations from 35 percent down to 21 percent. This is the lowest that it has been since the year 1939. For the longest time, the United States is included in the list of countries with the highest rates around the world. A number of corporations do not pay that much. Therefore, on average, the reasonable and effective rate is around 18 percent. Large corporations employ tax attorneys who assist them in coming up with ways so that they do not have to pay more.

This then raises the standard deduction to the amount of 20 percent for businesses that are referred to as “pass-through.” This deduction is said to end after the year 2025. Those considered to be pass-through businesses are sole proprietorships, S corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships. They also cover hedge funds, real estate companies along with private equity funds. The deductions are then phased out for the service professionals who reach the income amount of $157,500 for singles and as for joint filers, it’s around $315,000.

This New Act sets limitation to the corporations’ ability of deducting the interest expense down to 30 percent of the overall income. Within four years, the income is based on the EBITDA but this also reverts the earnings before the taxes and the interests. This makes it more expensive for the financial firms to borrow some money. The companies will also have less opportunities to issue the bonds and buy their stock back. Stock prices may fall. This limit generates the revenue to also pay for the other tax breaks.

It lets the businesses also deduct the overall costs of the assets that are considered to be depreciable and have this done in one year as opposed to amortizing these through several years. This, however, does not apply to the structures. To qualify, the equipment can be purchased between September 27, 2017 and January 1, 2023.

The New Act also requires the requirements to be stiffened especially on profits that carry interests. Carried interests are usually taxed at the rate of 23.8 percent as opposed to 39.6 percent. The firms are then required to hold these assets for the duration of a year so that they can qualify within the lower rate. The Act also extends this requirement to last up to three years. This may not benefit the hedge funds that have the tendency to continuously trade. It would also not affect private equity funds that are within the assets of five years. This change in taxes could increase the revenue to $1.2 billion.

It also eliminates the corporate AMT. This had a tax rate of 20% that kicked in if the tax credits pushed the effective tax rate of the firm right below that specified level. Under the AMT, these companies do not have the ability to deduct the spending budget for research and development as well as the total investments especially in a low-income neighborhood. By eliminating the corporate AMT, it adds a total of $40 billion to over-all deficit.

The New Bill also advocates the change from the “worldwide” tax system that is currently operating and turn it into a territorial system. Under this, multinationals receive taxes based on the foreign income that they have earned. They also do not have to pay the tax unless the profits are brought home. This results to corporations basing their businesses overseas. When it is set in a territorial system, these businesses are not taxed on the profit that they earned on foreign soil. There are more chances that they will invest this within the United States. This benefits the pharmaceutical as well as the high tech companies, most of all.

It lets the companies repatriate the overall $2.6 trillion that they hold in stockpiles. They only have to pay the tax rate that is usually 15.5 percent once and also 8 percent for the equipment. This repatriation could also raise the yields of the Treasury note. The corporations that hold the most of the cash in the treasury notes usually sell them because the supply that are in excess often send the yields on a higher basis.

Other Benefits of the New Tax Bill

* It lets the oil drilling within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is estimated to increase this by $1.1 billion in total revenue over a period of 10 years. When drilling this, it may not appear profitable unless it gains $70 per barrel.

* It retains the tax credits for the wind farms and the electric vehicles.

* It also cuts the deduction for the drug research targeted on orphans from 50% and to half which is 25%.

* There are cuts on the taxes of liquor, beer and wine. The Brooking Institute has an estimation that amounts to 1,550 more deaths that are related to alcohol. The studies also discovered that if the alcohol prices are lowered then there are more purchases of this product and therefore results to death tolls being higher.

How It Affects Taxpayers and Individuals

This new tax plan assists businesses, and not individuals. The tax cuts on businesses are permanent whereas the individual cuts have an expiration, and this is 2025. However, the largest private employer in the country, Walmart, has released a statement that they will increase the wages of their employees. They will also use this additional money that they have saved from the tax cuts to divide it in the form of bonuses and then also increase the benefits.

As for individuals, the clear winners are the higher-income families. Those who are within the 20-80 percent of the income range receives a 1.7% increase in their income after tax. Those who are in the 95 to 99 percentile will benefit an increase of 2.2%.

The Tax Policy Center also estimates that the ones in the lowest earning percentile would see their income at a rate of 0.4% higher. As for those who are in the next highest percentile, they are expected to receive 1.2 percentage boost. Those in the next two quintiles can see their income raise by 1.6 to 1.9 percent. The biggest increase goes to those who are earning the most.

The Basics of Health Savings Account

Oct 21, 2017 Posted by deepak No Comments

An HAS is a kind of savings that lets the employer and the employee put aside some money as a pre-tax in order to pay for eligible medical expenses. It is important to note that an HAS can only be used if the employee has a HDHP or what is also known as the High Deductible Plan.

The HAS is also a medical savings that has a tax-advantaged made available to all taxpayers in the US. The over-all funds that are in the account may not be subjected to federal tax especially during the time of the deposit. The difference between the FSA or what is known as the Flexible Spending Account, is that the HAS can carry over and also accumulate every year if this has not been spent. The reason for this is because the HAS is owned by the employee, therefore setting it apart from the HRA or the Health Reimbursement Arrangement which is owned by the company. This is also an alternate source for tax-deductible funds. Both, however, are paired with standard health plans or the HDHPs.

HSA funds can also be used for eligible medical costs that have no liability or even penalty on federal taxes. Starting early 2011, the medications that are purchased over the counter can no longer be paid using the HSA if there is no prescription from the doctors. The withdrawals for these non-medical costs are also regarded in the same way as those of the IRA or the individual retirement accounts. This is because they can provide the tax advantages if these are taken after they retire. They can also incur penalties when these are taken earlier. These accounts are components of health care that is specifically targeted to consumers.

The HSAs and its proponents believe that these are necessary reforms that can reduce the increase in expenses regarding health care as well as the effectivity of the system. According to these proponents, the HSA can encourage people to save for their unexpected future health care as well as the expenses that go along with it. This allows patients to obtain the necessary care and there is no gatekeeper involved. Usually the gatekeepers determine what the individual can receive as benefits. Consumers are now more responsible when it comes to their own choices in their health care all because of the HDHP.

As for those who do not find the HSA necessary and are opponents of this, they believe that it makes the medical system worse. Health care in the US cannot improve through the HSA because individuals may even hold back on their expenses. They may also spend it in unnecessary circumstances simply because it has already accumulated the penalty taxes just by withdrawing it. Those who have problems in their health have annual costs that are predictable and choose to avoid the HSA so that the costs can be paid by their insurance. There is a current ongoing debate about the satisfaction of the customers who hold these plans.

These usually have lower monthly premiums than most plans that have low deductibles. Using the untaxed funds in the Health Savings Account allows the employee to pay for the medical costs even before the deductible has been reached. This also includes other deductibles such as copayments which are usually payments done from the employee’s pockets. This eventually reduces the over-all value of health care expenses.

The funds from the employee’s HSA carries or rolls over to the next year if it has not been spent in the year it was allocated. The HAS can also earn interest. It is possible for employees to open the HSA through their banks or financial institutions that they have access to.

History of the HSAs

 The Health Savings Accounts were established in compliance with the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act. This is also the enactment of the Section 223 of Internal Revenue Code. This was signed on December 8, 2003 by President George Bush. They were also developed so that it can replace the account system for the medical savings.

Deposits of the HAS

 Deposits to the HSA fund can be made by any individual who holds the policy, as long as this also comes with a HDHP or the high deductible health plan care of the individual’s employer. If the employer makes the deposit to the plan for all his employees then everyone must be regarded equally. This is covered in the non-discrimination rules that is also stated in the act. If the contributions have been made via the plan stated in Section 125 then the rules for non-discrimination also do not apply. Employers have to treat the part time and the full time employees differently. Employers can also treat the family and individual participants n different manner. The treatment of the employees who have not been enrolled in the eligible and high deductible health plan covered by the HAS is not also considered solely for non-discrimination purposes. Employers can also contribute more than usual for the employees who have not been compensated as highly as the others.

The contributions from the employer and to the employee’s HSA can also be made on the pre-tax basis, depending on the preference of the employer. If the said option is not considered by the employer then these contributions are made on post-tax basis and also used to reduce the GTI or gross taxable income on the Form 1040 of the following year. The pre-tax contributions of the employer are also not subject to the Medicare Taxes as well as Federal Insurance Contributions Tax Act. It is important to note that the pre-tax contributions of the employee that were not made via the cafeteria plans cannot be subject to Medicare and FICA taxes. No matter what the method used or tax savings associated regarding the deposit, these can be made by persons that cover the HAS-eligible and high deductible plan that does not include coverage way beyond what is qualified and eligible for the health care coverage.

The maximum deposit on the annual HAS is also the lesser compared to the deductible or what is specified in the limitations of the Internal Revenue Service. Over time, Congress has then abolished this particular limit, basing this on the set statutory and deductible that limits the contributions to its maximum amount. Every contribution that is sent to the HAS, no matter the source, can also be included in the maximum annual amount.

The catch up and statute provision can also apply for the participants of the plan who are aged 55 and older. This allows the IRS to limit the increase. In the income tax year 2015, the limit to the contribution is $3,350 for single individuals and it is $6,650 for married individuals. There is an additional $1,000 increase for those who are older than 55.

Every deposit that is made to HSA can ultimately become the possession of the plan holder, no matter where the deposit comes from. The funds that have been deposited and are not withdrawn can be carried over to next year. Plan holders who also discontinue their qualified insurance coverage from the HSA can deposit even more funds, and the funds that are already placed in the individual’s HSA can still be used.

On December 20, 2006, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act was signed and put into law. It also added another provision that allowed the roll-over of all IRA assets for just one time so that it can equally fund up and amount to a maximum contribution for the HSA that is set for a year. However, the tax treatments on the HSA for every state varies. There are three states that do not let HAS contributions be deducted from the tax earnings or the state income taxes. These are Alabama, New Jersey and California.

Investments on the HAS

 The funds in the HSA can also be invested in the same manner as that of investments that have been done for the IRA or the individual retirement account. The investment earnings that have been sheltered from the taxation until the point that the money has been withdrawn can also be sheltered at that time.

Similar to the IRA that is self-directed, the account for health savings can also be treated as such. A usual HSA custodian offers investments like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, financial institutions and CDs. These also provide the accounts that offer alternatives on investments which can also be made through the HAS. The Section 408 of Internal Revenue Code does not prohibit the investment in collectibles and life insurance but HSAs can also be used to invest in various assets which also include precious metals, real estate notes, private and public stocks and more.

HSAs can roll over from one fund to another and HAS cannot roll into the IRA or the 401k. Funds from these investment vehicles can also be rolled into the HAS, except for the IRA transfer that is done one time as mentioned in the previous paragraph. Unlike the contributions to the 401k plan, the HAS contributions that belong to the plan holder, no matter the deposit source, is already his or her possession. An individual that is contributing to the HSA has no obligation whatsoever to contribute to the HSA that is sponsored by his or her employer. However, employers require payroll contributions be made to the HSA plan that is sponsored.

Withdrawals for HSA

 Policy holders of the HSA do not have to get the advance approval are of the trustee of the HSA or the medical insurer for them to withdraw their funds. Funds are not also subject to taxes if these are for eligible medical costs. The costs include expenses for items and services that have been covered by the plan but is also subject to the cost-sharing of the company like coinsurance, copayments and deductible. This can also over the expenses that are not included in the medical policies. These are vision, dental, chiropractic care as well as the medical equipment that should last for a long time, specifically hearing aids and eyeglasses. Transportation that is connected to medical care are also included in this health plan.

There are many ways to fund the HSA can be obtained. There are HSAs that come with a debit card. There are others that give the policy holders checks so that this can be used. Some have reimbursement processes that is close to having a medical insurance. A number of HSAs also have a number of possible methods for withdrawal of the HSA. The methods that are available vary from one HSA to another. The debits and checks cannot be made payable to provider of the health plan. The funds can also be withdrawn for this reason. Withdrawals are not documents when it is not a qualified and eligible medical costs. These are subject to taxes with a penalty of 20%. This is waived for individuals who are aged 65 and older and have unfortunately become disabled during the time when the withdrawal is done. The only tax that is paid in this situation is taken into effect when the account has already become tax-deferred, somehow similar to the IRA. Medical expenses remain to free of taxes.

The account holders are also required to retain their documentation to show the qualified medical costs. The failure to do this and to show documentation can also cause Internal Revenue to rule out the withdrawals that have not been qualified for the medical expenses along with the over-all costs and subject to the additional penalties of the taxpayer.

Self-reimbursements have no deadline for qualified medical costs that are incurred after HSA has been established. The participants can also make the most of paying for these medical costs fresh from their pockets and also retain the receipts as long as their accounts are tax-free. Money can also be withdrawn for reasons to the value of the recipients.

When to Incorporate and When Not to Incorporate

Apr 19, 2017 Posted by Sanjiv No Comments

It is true that operating as a corporation has its share of drawbacks in certain situations. For example, as a business owner, you would be responsible for additional record keeping requirements and administrative details. More important, in some cases, operating as a corporation can create an additional tax burden. This is the last thing a business owner needs, especially in the early stages of operation.

You do not have to incorporate to be in business. You can be in business just by being paid for a service or a product. You are then a sole proprietor as well as a self-employed freelancer. But there are certain pros that you and your business can benefit to incorporating.

 Advantages of Incorporating

Founders of startup companies often wait to incorporate a company until they are confident that their concept is viable or fundable.  At some point, however, an entrepreneur will need to formally incorporate a company.

Aside from tax reasons, the most common motivation for incurring the cost of setting up a corporation is the recognition that the shareholder is not legally liable for the actions of the corporation. This is because the corporation has its own separate existence wholly apart from those who run it. However, there are four other reasons why the corporation proves to be an attractive vehicle for carrying on a business.

  • Unlimited life. Unlike proprietorships and partnerships, the life of the corporation is not dependent on the life of a particular individual or individuals. It can continue indefinitely until it accomplishes its objective, merges with another business, or goes bankrupt. Unless stated otherwise, it could go on indefinitely.
  • Transferability of shares. It is always nice to know that the ownership interest you have in a business can be readily sold, transferred, or given away to another family member. The process of divesting yourself of ownership in proprietorships and partnerships can be cumbersome and costly. Property has to be retitled, new deeds drawn, and other administrative steps taken any time the slightest change of ownership occurs. With corporations, all of the individual owners’ rights and privileges are represented by the shares of stock they hold. The key to a quick and efficient transfer of ownership of the business is found on the back of each stock certificate, where there is usually a place indicated for the shareholder to endorse and sign over any shares that are to be sold or otherwise disposed of.
  • Ability to raise investment capital. It is usually much easier to attract new investors into a corporate entity because of limited liability and the easy transferability of shares. Shares of stock can be transferred directly to new investors, or when larger offerings to the public are involved, the services of brokerage firms and stock exchanges are called upon.
  • Limited Liability. The main advantage to incorporating is the limited liability of the incorporated company. Unlike the sole proprietorship, where the business owner assumes all the liability of the company, when a business becomes incorporated, an individual shareholder’s liability is limited to the amount he or she has invested in the company.

Owners of a corporation may only be liable for business losses and obligations up to their investment in the company. As explained on the Entrepreneur website, the shareholder’s personal assets may not be taken to cover liabilities of the corporation. However, shareholders of an incorporated business may be liable for the company’s debts if they sign a personal guarantee on a corporate loan. In addition, shareholders that engage in criminal activities will be individually held responsible for their acts.

If you’re a sole proprietor, your personal assets, such as your house and car can be seized to pay the debts of your business; as a shareholder in a corporation, you can’t be held responsible for the debts of the corporation unless you’ve given a personal guarantee.

On the other hand, a corporation has the same rights as an individual; a corporation can own property, carry on business, incur liabilities and sue or be sued.

Disadvantages of Incorporating

Incorporating a business can seem like a good idea, but the process and requirements of incorporation can actually hinder an organization’s growth and success, especially for smaller start-up companies. Incorporating a business provides some benefits, but the corporation definitely pays the price for these benefits in fees and legal hurdles. The main reasons not to incorporate include a sizeable initial investment, tax disadvantages, increased complexity in bookkeeping and public disclosure mandates.

  • Corporations require annual meetings and require owners and directors to observe certain formalities. Corporations are more expensive to set up than partnerships and sole proprietorships. The process costs money. You can do it on your own, technically, but it’s more advisable to get the help of a lawyer and an accountant. It also requires periodic filings with the state and annual fees. Incorporating later in the life of a business is always an option but a little more expensive, depending on the complexity involved in transferring business assets into the corporation and registering the accompanying tax elections.
  • No Personal Tax Credits and Less Tax Flexibility. Another disadvantage of incorporating is that being incorporated may actually be a tax disadvantage for your business. Corporations are not eligible for personal tax credits. Every dollar a corporation earned is taxed. As a sole proprietor, you may be able to claim tax credits a corporation could not. A corporation doesn’t have the same flexibility in handling business losses as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. As a sole proprietor, if your business experiences operating losses, you could use the loss to reduce other types of personal income in the year the losses occur. In a corporation, however, these losses can only be carried forward or back to reduce the corporation’s income from other years.
  • Ongoing fees. You must file articles of incorporation with the state, plus applicable fees. Many states impose ongoing fees—which are steeper for a corporation than for a sole proprietorship or general partnership.
  • More record keeping. Corporations must follow initial and annual record-keeping requirements—which sole proprietorships, general partnerships and limited liability companies (LLCs) avoid. There is a lot more paperwork involved in maintaining a corporation than a sole proprietorship or partnership. Corporations, for example, must maintain a minute book containing the corporate bylaws and minutes from corporate meetings. Other corporate documents, that must be kept up to date at all times, include the register of directors, the share register and the transfer register.
  • Liability May Not Be as Limited as You Think. The prime advantage of incorporating, limited liability, may be undercut by personal guarantees and/or credit agreements. The corporation’s much vaunted limited liability is irrelevant if no one will give the corporation credit. When a corporation has what lending institutions consider to be insufficient assets to secure debt financing, they often insist on personal guarantees from the business owner(s). So although technically the corporation has limited liability, the owner still ends up being personally liable if the corporation can’t meet its repayment obligations.
  • Added Requirements. Another reason to avoid incorporation is the increased complexity of organizations operating under a corporate shield. Besides the financial and document requirements, corporations are forced to operate with a formal organizational structure of stockholders, a board of directors and officers; these members are required to conduct annual, timed meetings. The last disadvantage of corporations is the amount of information that must be made public. Corporations are publicly traded companies, therefore requiring more business information to be disclosed for the benefit of investors. Besides being required to make accounting records public, the organization must also identify all directors and officers publicly.

 Process of Incorporating

To start the process of incorporating, you can contact your attorney or CPA.  If you wish to do it yourself than contact the secretary of state or the state office that is responsible for registering corporations in your state. Ask for instructions, forms and fee schedules on business incorporation. It is possible to file for incorporation without the help of an attorney by using books and software to guide you along. Your expense will be the cost of these resources, the filing fees, and other costs associated with incorporating in your state.

If you do file for incorporation yourself, you’ll save the expense of using a lawyer, which can cost from $500 to $1,000. The disadvantage of going this route is that the process may take you some time to accomplish. There’s also a chance you could miss some small but important detail in your state’s law. You may also choose to use an incorporation service company to prepare and file the documents with the state.

One of the first steps you must take in the incorporation process is to prepare a certificate or articles of incorporation. Some states will provide you with a printed form for this, which either you or your attorney can complete. The information requested includes the proposed name of the corporation, the purpose of the corporation, the names and addresses of the parties incorporating, and the location of the principal office of the corporation.

You’re not required to incorporate in the state where your business operates; you can choose from any one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.

Note that simply transacting business via mail order or the Internet typically does not equal transacting business; however, the determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Again, consult your attorney for specifics, as this list is not intended to be comprehensive.

The corporation will also need a set of bylaws that describe in greater detail than the articles how the corporation will run, including the responsibilities of the shareholders, directors and officers; when stockholder meetings will be held; and other details important to running the company. Once your articles of incorporation are accepted, the secretary of state’s office will send you a certificate of incorporation.

 After You’ve Incorporated

Once you’re incorporated, be sure to follow the rules of incorporation. If you don’t, a court can pierce the corporate veil and hold you and the other owners personally liable for the business’s debts.

To make sure your corporation stays on the right side of the law, practice these exercises:

 Get Documents and Records in Order

After incorporating a business, you’ll need to prepare bylaws that describe how your new corporation will operate. A few states also require you to publish a newspaper notice of your incorporation.

You should set up a corporate minute book and a file or binder where you will keep important corporate documents such as your certificate of incorporation, bylaws, shareholder information and resolutions. Some states require you to file an initial report after incorporation and you will generally need to hold shareholder and director meetings at least once a year.

 

  1. Get an Employer Identification Number

An employer identification number, or EIN, is a number that the Internal Revenue Service uses to identify businesses—sort of like the business version of a Social Security number. Most businesses need an EIN, though solo business owners who don’t have employees or pay excise taxes can use their Social Security Number instead.

  1. Open a Business Bank Account

A business bank account will help you keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. This makes record keeping and tax preparation easier and helps preserve your business’s separate identity.

 

For most businesses, the question is not if, but when, to incorporate. There are many pros and cons of incorporating a small business, depending a lot on individual situations. But too many businesses fail to revisit the question of whether to incorporate. As your business matures, and the realities of your legal and tax situations change, asking the question again may bring a different answer. A business with anticipated losses and little legal risk can likely start as a sole proprietorship, but increasing risk and more significant earnings will favour incorporating later on.

Deciding whether or not to incorporate is much more than just understanding the disadvantages of incorporation; the decision also requires knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of other legal business formation options, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited liability companies.

You should definitely discuss your personal situation with your accountant and lawyer before you decide. He or she will be able to give you a much more exact picture of how incorporation could benefit your business, and help you see whether or not the trouble and expense of incorporation will be worth it to you.

Understanding the Complexities of Capital Gains Tax in India

Dec 28, 2016 Posted by Sanjiv 1 Comment

A few years ago, Aarav inherited a parcel of land from his parents.  Since he lives in the city and has no plans of going back to his hometown, he decides to sell the land. He then uses the money to buy an apartment right in the heart of the city.  It took almost three years for Aarav to buy the apartment after selling his inherited property. He falsely assumes that there is no tax liability in his reinvestment. After some time, he finds out from a tax consultant or worse, from the tax authorities, that he will have to pay tax on the capital gained from the sale of his inherited property.

It may have occurred to Aarav that the property he received is not subject to tax. This is true. In India, any asset that is received as an inheritance is fully exempt from gift tax. So he’s not obligated to pay any tax upon receipt of the parcel of land from his folks.

But the sale of the asset is not exempted from tax. This is taxable under capital gains.

In India, it is not uncommon for taxpaying individuals like Aarav to inherit properties such as land or house from their families.  And just like what Aarav did, these individuals would sell the property and invest in another property at some point in time.

However, it is also common for many people in India to be unaware of tax laws regarding inherited properties like land and house, as well as the tax stemming from the sale of those properties. They would only know of the tax liabilities they have when notified by the tax authorities, or as in the case of Aarav, when informed by his tax consultant or a chartered accountant.

It is thus very important for individual taxpayers in India to know of these laws especially if they are to inherit a property from their families.

What is Capital Gains?

In the case of Aarav, he failed to realize that he had to pay the capital gains tax from the sale of the parcel of land that he disposed of.  By definition, capital gains is the profit that Aarav got when he sold the capital asset (in his case, the parcel of land) for a price higher that the purchase price.

Capital assets are property held in any kind by the taxpayer. It may be a parcel of land, a building, a house, or a vehicle. Leasehold rights, trademarks, patents and even jewellery may be considered as capital assets as well.  In certain cases, capital assets may include rights of management to any Indian company.

Thus, capital gains tax not only applies to the sale of an inherited house or parcel of land. It can also apply to the sale of a vehicle, patent, and jewellery.

Capital assets are classified into two – short-term capital asset and long term capital asset.

In Aarav’s case, the sale of the inherited land took him 35 months after the date of the transfer into his name. As such, it is considered short-term capital asset.

If he had disposed the property a month or so longer, it would have been treated as long-term capital asset.

Under the Indian tax laws, the following aren’t considered capital assets:

  • Stock in trade
  • Consumable stores or raw materials
  • Personal effects
  • 5 percent gold bonds
  • Gold deposit bonds
  • Special Bearer Bonds 1991
  • Agricultural land in a rural area. As of AY 2014-15, rural area is defined as any area outside the jurisdiction of a municipality having a population of 10,000 or more.

Calculating Capital Gains

Short-term capital gains and long-term capital gains are computed differently.

Long term capital gain is computed as the full value of consideration fewer expenditures incurred wholly in connection with the transfer of the capital asset. This includes brokerage, commission, and advertisement expenses, among others.  Indexed cost of acquisition and indexed cost of the improvement, if any, may also be deducted.

Full value consideration pertains to the amount that the seller agrees to get in exchange for his or her capital assets. It should be noted that capital gains is chargeable to tax in the year of the transfer.

t of acquisition pertains to the amount for which the capital asset was acquired by the seller. Cost of improvement, on the other hand, pertains to the expenses incurred to make improvements to the capital asset. However, all, improvements made before April 1, 1981 won’t be taken into consideration.

 

On the other hand,  short term capital gains is computed as the sales value of the asset less expenses incurred related to the transfer of the capital asset.  Cost of acquisition, or the purchase price of the capital asset, as well as cost of improvement, may also be deducted from the sales value of the asset.

 

Cost of acquisition pertains to the amount that any of the previous owners has paid to acquire for the property. Going back to Aarav’s case, let’s say that his grandfather was the original owner of the parcel of land. He had purchased it for Rs 20,000. This will be the cost of acquisition that Aarav can deduct to arrive at the short-term capital gains tax.

 

It can be said that calculation of long term and short term capital gains is basically the same. The only difference is that in calculating long-term capital gains, the cost of acquisition and improvement is indexed, or adjusted for inflation.

Short term capital gains on the sale of a property are taxable per slabs rates as applicable to the individual taxpayer. This means that the capital gains tax is payable at the same rate as the income tax of the tax payer.   In Aarav’s case, the capital gains would have been taxed at a rate of 25 per cent if he falls under the 25 per cent bracket.

On the other hand, long-term capital gains are taxable at a uniform rate of 20% plus surcharge and education cess.

Exemptions Under Income Tax Act

However there are exemptions on capital gains that can be applied as specified under certain sections of the Income Tax Act of 1961.

Going back to Aarav’s case, if he had used the proceeds arising from the sale of his inherited property, then he could have been exempt from paying capital gains tax.

Section 54, for instance, exempts sale of house property on the purchase of another house property. In this case, the capital gains arising from the sale of a house property is used in buying another house property.

The new property should have been purchased a year before the sale of the inherited property or two years after the sale of the property.

Going back to Aarav’s case, if he had bought the property he now has in the city within two years after he sold his inherited land, then he would have been able to apply for this exemption. Or, if he had bought the house a year before he was able to dispose of the parcel of land he inherited from his family.

Also, he could have been exempt from capital gains if he used the gains in the construction of the property that was completed within three years from the date of the sale of the inherited property.

It should be noted that under this section, only one house property can be bought or constructed using the capital gains to claim the exemption. The exemption can be nullified if the new property is sold within three years of its purchase or construction.

Investing in Bonds

Under Section 54EC, exemption is available when the capital gains from the sale of the first property are reinvested into specific bonds. These bonds are issued by the Rural Electrification Corporation and the National Highway Authority of India. Investment in these bonds should be up to Rs.50 lakhs.

The money that Aarav invested in bonds should be redeemed after three years. However it cannot be sold before the lapse of three years from the date of sale. Aarav should have invested the money he gained from the sale of his inherited land within six months after the sale of the property to have been able to claim this exemption.

The tax exemption is equal to the capital gain or to the investment, whichever is lower.  Transferring the bonds or taking a loan against them within three years is forbidden, though. It can result to the capital gain becoming taxable.

Investing in these bonds would yield a return of 5.5 per cent interest in a year.

Capital Gains Account

Aarav could have also invested the money that he had gained from the sale of his inherited property in a Capital Gains Account. This is specified under the Capital Gains Account Scheme. Aarav could have deposited the money in any public sector bank. The deposit can then be claimed by Aarav as exempted from capital gains. Moreover, he won’t have to pay any tax on it.

However, Aarav should have done this before the deadline for filing tax returns which usually is on July 1. The money deposited in the account should only be used in buying or constructing a residential house within the prescribed period.

There are two kinds of capital gains deposits in the market. One is a savings type account while the other is terms deposit. Any individual taxpayer can transfer money from one account to another by paying fixed penalties or charges in a bid to exempt his or her capital gains against tax.

In the savings deposit type of capital gains deposit, the money can be withdrawn as long as there is a declaration that the money will be for the construction or purchase of a house. The money will have to be used for the declared purposes within 60 days. Any unutilized amount will have to be re-deposited into the capital gains account as well.

As far as interest rates are concerned, capital gains deposit will have the same rates as those on regular savings and term deposits. There’s also tax for the interest earned. Proof of deposit has to be attached with the taxpayer’s income tax return.

In the event that the deposited amount is not fully used to buy and construct a new house at the end of the three-year period from the sale of the asset, the money in the account will be treated as capital gains.

Opting to open a capital gains account should be considered only as a stop-gap measure.  The individual taxpayer will eventually have to use the money to buy or build a house within a specified period.

Other Exemptions

There’s also an exemption specified under Section 54B of the 1961 Act. This specifies that short term or long term capital gains are tax exempt when the proceeds are used to purchase new agricultural land. The purchase should have been consummated within two years after the sale of the inherited property. Also, the agricultural land should not be sold within 3 years from the date of its acquisition.

Under Section 54G, exemption is also allowed if the gain is reinvested in acquiring a building or machinery in a rural area. There’s also exemption allowed if the gain is used in acquiring land, building, or machine in a Special Economic Zone as specified under Section 54GA.

Conclusion

The truth is that computing capital gains tax on the sale of a property, whether it is inherited or not, can be very tricky.  It is thus highly recommended that tax payers who acquire a property and then sell it later on consult a tax expert or chartered accountant.

As shown in the case of Aarav, he would not have been caught surprised and unaware of his tax obligations had he consulted a tax expert or accountant before he sold his property and bought a new house. This only underscores the need to get professional advice especially when dealing with real estate.

tax audits

Dealing with IRS and other Tax Audits

Sep 7, 2016 Posted by Sanjiv No Comments

It’s one of those fears that bog the minds of rich people and even ordinary taxpayers—getting audited by the IRS. But what are the chances that you’ll be audited by the government for your tax returns?

The chances of a tax audit are very low these days. Taxpayers with moderate income levels have a 1 percent chance; while those earning $1 million and up were audited at a 7.5 percent clip.

For companies, the rates are also low. Firms with total assets of less than $10 have a 1 percent chance. Those with assets between $1 and $5 million have a 1.2 percent rate, while firms with asset size of between $5 and $10 million have a 1.9 percent chance of being audited. Even the middle-sized firms or those with assets between $10 and $50 million had a low 6.2 percent chance of being audited.

Sure, the chances of getting a visit from the IRS have shrunk to all-time lows. But that should not be enough reason for you to be complacent. It still pays to know what to do just in case someone from the IRS knocks at your door or you get a letter from the said agency.

Individual Tax Audit

You may not be a millionaire but there are conditions that can increase your risks of being visited by the IRS:

• Being self-employed. There are lots of write-offs that self-employed taxpayers can claim, unlike most employees. These range from a home office to the use of a car, and the IRS may have queries about these claims.
• You have itemized deductions that are a lot higher than those of taxpayers with comparable incomes. The tax department will likely flag your return when it notices that there’s a big difference between your write-offs and averages.

Should you get a notification that you are to be audited, don’t panic. Keep in mind that the audit will be done in a professional manner. And if you can give the IRS people the right paperwork then you will be off the hook, so to speak.

You must not also think of ignoring the IRS. Your problem won’t go away. Worse, your interest and penalties will continue to accrue. So the earlier you deal with it, the better.

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Types of Audit

There are three types of audit. The more common is correspondence audit, which is handled by a way. According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 76 percent of individual audits were of this kind.

These computer-generated correspondences may tell you that there was a mathematical error on your return, or that your return wasn’t the same as the 1099 statements that the IRS received from your bank or broker. In these cases, you simply send the money that you owe.

The letter may also dispute a tax break that you claimed. If you can’t prove that you were correct, then you will have to pay additional taxes.

But what if you’re right? You’ll have to collate the right paperwork then send it back to the IRS through certified days within 30 days of receipt of the letter. You’ll also have to prepare a letter that includes a copy of the correspondence audit plus your reference number.

In some cases, you imply have to go back and get receipts. But there are cases when you can’t do that. Instead, you may have to get a written acknowledgment from the charity that you gave to in order to claim a charitable contribution.

This is a task that you can handle yourself, especially if the issue is simple enough to reply to. You may ask a tax pro to help you out, but you’ll obviously have to pay him or her for the service

If you feel you are deserving of the tax break but you want a stronger case or reply to the IRS, a tax professional can be of significant help. He or he can prepare your return respond to the agency, and give you a better shot at defending your case.

The second type is field audit, which is conducted in person at your home or at IRS offices. However, the chances of an IRS guy dropping by your home are very low these days. The agency is no longer conducting a lot of field audits because these often mean additional expenses.

This type of audit is conducted when the IRS has lots of questions about your return. The agency may also resort to this type of audit when there is a certain write-off that is difficult to handle by mail.

The field audit in an IRS office shouldn’t last more than four hours. However there will likely be a follow-up visit, or the agency would require you to pass additional paperwork.

The last type is the ‘random’ audit. Among the three types of audit, this is the least likely that the IRS will conduct. You have a very slim chance of being selected for this audit.

But then again, it pays to be prepared.

The random audit is perhaps the most detail-oriented and intrusive of the three types of audit. IRS agents may even ask for your birth certificate and marriage license just to check your filing status.

This is also the type of audit where a professional expert can help you. There’s a good chance that something will happen at the audit that can cause the agency to demand you to pay more. With the help of a pro, you’ll be ready just in case the proverbial can of worms is opened.

Attitude During the Audit

Whether you are going to the IRS office or accompanied by a tax pro, you need to behave professionally during the audit. Don’t become argumentative, and treat the agents with respect.

Be honest and truthful with your answers. But you should also answer straight to the point. Avoid talking too much because the more you talk, the more questions that the agency will have.

You should also come to the office prepared and organized. You don’t want to upset the agent with your messy folder and jumbled receipts.

If you are unable to provide the document the agent is looking for, politely ask if there’s any other documentation that you may provide in lieu of the document. For example, you claimed the business use of a vehicle but couldn’t show receipts for gas. Maybe a calendar of your business meetings may be accepted as a substitute.

You can go through the appeals process if you disagree with the contention of the agent. This is where a tax pro can help you as he or she would be able to handle this step.

So what happens if you have to pay the IRS more money but you don’t have cash? You have three choices—one is to pay with a credit card, although you will have to pay a convenience fee of around 2.35 percent. You can also for an installment agreement or request for a compromise.

Business IRS Audits

Again, the chances of a business getting audited by the IRS have gone down in the past few years. But this still should not give your company a false sense of security.

What are the possible issues that the IRS will look into your company’s tax returns? Here are some of the red flags that should make the IRS agents knock on your door:

1. Net loss in more than two of the past five years.
2. Excessive deductions for travel, business meals, and entertainment
3. High salaries paid to shareholders
4. Shifting income to tax-exempt organizations in a bid to avoid payment of taxes
5. Claiming 100 percent business use of a vehicle

Like in individual tax audits, it is important for a business to be prepared if it has been picked for an audit. There’s a silver lining to being audited, as if the agency’s findings show that there is no change to the tax liability then the business won’t be audited on the same issue for the next year.

Hiring a tax professional is the first step that you need to undertake if your business has been pinpointed by the IRS for auditing. Don’t be anxious in thinking that this will indicate that your business is guilty, after all, the IRS is very much used to this practice. A tax professional can help you through the audit.

You can even sign a power-of-attorney agreement to give your tax professional the legal authority to deal with the IRS directly. This is ideal if you are unsure of what to say and what not to say during the audit. This basically takes you out of the loop and puts your tax professional in.

But there are three things that you, as the business owner, should remember when your business is faced with the prospect of being audited by the IRS:

1. Review the audit letter carefully.

An IRS agent won’t just barge into your door and announce an audit. The agency will send an audit letter to your office informing you that your firm has been picked for the audit.

Be cautious with scammers who will masquerade as the IRS by sending you email messages or leaving phone messages. Those guys will attempt to hack your personal data. The real IRS doesn’t communicate through email or phone.

Once you receive the letter, open it promptly. Read and understand what the IRS needs from you.

If your company doesn’t have a financial adviser, you can hire an accountant or tax professional to help you review the review letter. He or she will also identify the issues that the agency has flagged.

Don’t ignore the letter because the IRS will not go away. Worse, the auditor may become more suspicious and even antagonistic.

2. Organize your records.

The next step is to organize your records. Gather and organize all your business records from the previous tax year even before you meet with the tax professional and IRS auditor.

These records range from receipts and invoices from income and expenses, accounting books and ledgers, bank statements, leases or titles for properties and hard copies of tax-prep data. You should also make sure that you have the specific documents requested by the IRS for review.

3. Answer the questions honestly.

During the audit, the IRS agent will ask you a lot of questions about the information reported on your business tax return. Simply answer the questions of the auditor—no more, no less. Giving any information that you are not required to give may put you in more hot water.

Similar to dealing with individual tax audits, providing unasked-for information may give the auditor more questions to ask. The last thing that you want to happen is for the auditor to uncover more issues about your tax returns. IRS auditors won’t forgive tax debt or mistakes, so any admission that you may have will be used against you.

Be straightforward in replying to the questions. However, don’t manufacture excuses. IRS agents would know if you’re making any.

Also, don’t be antagonistic with the auditor. It would only make things worse for you and your business.

In order to avoid future audits, you should track bank transfers and other financial records aside from receipts. Anything that you cannot explain on the standard IRS form must be explained on paper. Of course, double-check all your calculations before filing your returns.

Aside from keeping proper documentation, you can avoid getting picked for an audit by deducting ordinary and necessary business expenses as allowed by the IRS. So even if your company is chosen for an audit, you have nothing to be afraid of.

Indeed, getting a letter from the IRS informing that you are to be audited can be very worrisome. But if you know how to deal with tax audits, then you don’t have anything to be afraid of. It also helps to have a tax professional guiding you to be assured that you can respond to whatever audit findings the IRS guys have with you or your business.

Tax Deduction Strategies for Small Businesses

Apr 12, 2015 Posted by Sanjiv No Comments

As a small business owner, you can utilize a proactive approach and seize all opportunities available for conducting tax deductions as provided for under the law. Overlooking certain crucial write-offs leads to a bloated tax bill. Changes to the recent tax law have altered how Section 179 on deduction on bonus depreciation works. You can maximize write-offs for your home office and get deductions for business travel and automobiles, along with tax shelters for real estate property.

  1. Tapping into Major Tax Savings as per Section 179 Depreciation

A small business can benefit through huge increment in First-Year depreciation allowance as covered by Section 179. Following this law, you can deduct full cost of most used and new business personal property. The maximum amount provided for here got gradually boosted for 2009 from $25,000 to $250,000. Later on, the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) preserved the $500,000 maximum deduction adopted by the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act for two years. This provision was backdated to 1st of January 2012 and remained effective through 31st December 2013.

  1. Claiming Bonus Depreciation for All Qualified Assets

A business can lay claim to “bonus depreciation” for assets which are qualified and placed in service during the whole year. This business tax credit applies to the following:

  • Property with 20 years or below of cost recovery period
  • Qualified leasehold improvements
  • Depreciable software which is not amortized for over 15 years
  • Water utility property

 

  1. Triggering Quicker Write-Offs as per Section 179 Depreciation

It is possible to maximize Section 179 expensing deduction by undertaking some shrewd planning of your taxes through the ways below:

  • You can claim the allowance accrued through compensation payments if your company zeroes out its taxable income. The tax law limits annual deduction to amount of income taxable.
  • Boost the limit of your business income, which should include that accrued from your active businesses.
  • Maximize business percentage if claiming allowance for assets partially utilized for non-business reasons.

 

  1. Larger Deductions for ‘Heavy’ SUVs according to Section 179

If you opt to deduct annual expenditure as opposed to using standard mileage allowance, take note of an appreciably large tax advantage if owning heavy-duty vans, pickups and SUVs. These vehicles have gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR of over 6,000 pounds from the manufacturer and are viewed as “trucks” for purposes of taxation.

Such heavy-duty vehicles depreciate more rapidly than regular passenger vehicles, when used intensively for business purposes.

  1. Deductions of Fuel Tax for Business Vehicles

You may deduct automotive expenses via a standard mileage rate, set each year by the IRS. Doing this sets you free from having to account for actual expenditure incurred. For instance, business drivers got 56.5 cents for each mile in 2013.

  1. Tax-Free Family Vehicles as part of Business Deductions

Operation and maintenance costs are deductible for cars utilized in doing business, which includes depreciation. Your auto repair firm may provide cars for the whole family in this case. The business you own can deduct the entire amount of operating costs if your family members are employed by the enterprise. Car expenses which are deductable include:

  • Cost of gasoline
  • Repairs,
  • Insurance
  • Interest on car loans
  • Depreciation
  • Licenses
  • Taxes
  • Garage rents
  • Parking tolls and fees

 

  1. Writing off Home Furniture and Computer as part of Self-Employed Tax Deductions

Under Section 179, many taxpayers who are self-employed may deduct purchases for equipment, as opposed to capitalizing them. This section applies to the vast number of business assets, including furniture and computers meant for domestic use.

  1. Owning Your Business Premises

Once profits of your company start growing and business stabilizes, consider owning as opposed to renting your quarters. When evaluating the comparative costs, think of a reasonable time-period, such as of 10 years and factor into your calculations purchase price of your desired building at a prime location.

  1. Sheltering Real Estate Property of up to $25,000

Prices of real estate have recently gone down in many places, presenting great opportunities for investment. As well, business owners can enjoy tax shelters for investing in property. One has to own a 10 percent minimum portion of such investment property without involving limited partnership interests, apart from actively managing it. Business tax credit of 10 percent is available too for fixing old buildings, which changes to 20 percent if the building has historic significance.

  1. Turning Home into Rental Property

Many home owners have been adversely affected by recent devaluation in real estate property. This even gets worse due to inability of deducting loss from selling your principal residence.

Turning your home into rental property is a brilliant strategy in such situations. You only require holding it out for rent while relocating, before deducting losses once the place is sold. This is a shrewd tax move which capitalizes on an important distinction that applies to business or investment property.

Understanding Depreciation For Taxes

Mar 30, 2015 Posted by Sanjiv No Comments

Depreciation is a market term used to signify the fall in value of a commodity or a market in a bigger context. Generally, depreciation is observed over a period of time; and in commercial aspect, it is used to represent the fall in price of an asset over a fiscal year.

Depreciation is a method which allows income tax deduction for the taxpayer in order to claim the cost based on specific property. This acts as an annual allowance for devaluation, wear and tear or uselessness of a property.

The properties that can be categorized as tangible property, furniture, buildings, machinery, vehicles and other equipment other than land, all these properties are depreciable. Similarly, patents, computer software programmes and copyrights are also depreciable.

The Internal Revenue Service specifies properties that can be depreciated and how they can be depreciated. There are certain depreciation schedules for various types of assets as per IRS. Referring these schedules, you can know about the percentage of an asset’s value that you can deduct every year and for how many years. These depreciation deductions determine the asset’s recomputed basis when you sell the asset

You are required to use Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization for reporting depreciation when filing a tax return. Form 4562 has six sections and you can get information on filling out each section by contacting your tax professional or searching online.

 Section 167

In US law book, the section 167 deals with depreciation tax deduction of commodities. If you are purchasing a property that you are going to use in some form of business activity or to make money from it, it is possible that you fail to subtract the complete business expense in the same year of acquiring the property. You need to spread the cost over a fiscal year and then deduct part of the cost every year. This fall in the cost of a business property is called depreciation.

 Repairs are immune to depreciation

Investments made on property to increase its life time are immune to depreciation. If you are spending some more money on repairs and adding new things to the property to increase its usefulness, then you can slow down the rate of depreciation.

The procedure of depreciation

In order to depreciate, the investment property and other business matters should be placed for Modified Accelerated Cost recovery System (MARCS). This method allows deduction for a larger amount during initial years and during later years, lower amount of deductions are done and both are compared through straight line methods.

Conditions required for allowing depreciation tax deduction for any property

  • The legal taxpayer must be the owner of property. Taxpayers also have the right to deduct tax regarding capital improvements for any property that he/she has taken on lease.
  • The property must be used by the taxpayer for business or any other activity that can produce income. In case of using any property for business and personal use, the taxpayer may reduce the depreciation depending upon use of the property only for business purpose.
  • The property for which depreciation and tax deduction is applied, must be useful for at least more than a year or two.

Under the following circumstances a taxpayer cannot depreciate his or her property, in case of property being disposed within the same year.  When equipments are used for building capital advancements, a taxpayer is only allowed to do so for equipments used during construction depending on the improvements. And certain terms and interests are also an issue.

Depreciation initiates only when the taxpayer provides the property for a trade or for business, after using it for the production or as a source of income. When the taxpayer fully recovers the cost of property, then the property becomes invalid for depreciation. Even if the taxpayer takes voluntary retirement from service, the above mentioned scenario is applicable!

 Things to know for proper depreciation tax deduction

  • Knowing the absolute method for depreciating your property.
  • Knowing your asset details well.
  • If the property falls under the listed property category.
  • If the taxpayer is electing for the expense for any part regarding the assets.
  • How depreciation is possible, based on the property.

179 deductions for deprecation

As per this section, one can deduct a cost for the limited account for a certain amount of depreciable property, only if you have placed it for service.  This kind of deduction is called section 179.  In 2013, the maximum amount that could be deducted was $500,000. However, higher limits are also applicable but it depends upon the asset.

The limitation is reduced depending upon the amount, and the cost of property offered for the service during tax year goes above $2 million. Publication 946 clearly states about regulations and details about properties which are applicable for deduction, its limitation, and how one can place the deduction at the right time.

Traditionally, the capital assets and their deduction is based upon casual fact that vehicles, buildings, roads and similar improvements have a life for more than one year. But relying on the theory and facts, they get paid out of the savings brought together for several years.

Taxpayer should keep in mind that the land property does not fall under the category of depreciation, simply because it never wears out! The bookkeeping method is mainly used for reflecting the operations, which are an on-going procedure for the current year.  Specifically for this obvious reason, inflows about capital investments and depreciation are not reflected, same for income as well.

Should you take depreciation ?

With the proper guidance and knowledge about depreciation tax deductions, one can save a good deal of money from tax. Several methods are available for calculating depreciation tax deductions based on the property. But it should be kept in mind that there are also some limitations in it.For example, when you sell an asset to earn profit and have made depreciation deductions on it, depreciation recapture is applied to impose tax on the profit or gain from its sale. Since you have already benefitted  from  depreciation deduction from ordinary income, any gain you get, up to the depreciation sum, is required to be entered as ordinary income to make up for the previously made deduction.