Blog

Working from home has its perks. Not only can you skip the commute, but you also might be eligible to deduct home office expenses on your tax return. Deductions for these expenses can save you a bundle, if you meet the tax law qualifications. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can no longer claim the home office deduction. If, however, you run a business from your home or...

Read more
July 30, 2019

You may have heard of the “nanny tax.” But even if you don’t employ a nanny, it may apply to you. Hiring a housekeeper, gardener or other household employee (who isn’t an independent contractor) may make you liable for federal income and other taxes. You may also have state tax obligations. If you employ a household worker, you aren’t required to withhold federal income taxes from pay. But you may...

Read more
July 30, 2019

When it comes to estate planning, trusts are appealing for many reasons. They can enable you to hold and transfer assets for beneficiaries, avoid probate and reduce estate tax exposure. But they can be complicated to set up. One of the major decisions you’ll need to make when establishing a trust is who will act as your trustee. As the name implies, this individual or financial institution must be above...

Read more
July 30, 2019

Many businesses struggle to turn abstract strategic-planning ideas into concrete, actionable plans. One reason why is simple: ineffective meetings. The ideas are there, lurking in the minds of management and key employees, but the process for hashing them out just doesn’t work. Here are a few ways to run your strategic-planning meetings like they really matter — which, of course, they do. Build buy-in Meetings often fail because attendees feel...

Read more
July 30, 2019

There’s good news about the Section 179 depreciation deduction for business property. The election has long provided a tax windfall to businesses, enabling them to claim immediate deductions for qualified assets, instead of taking depreciation deductions over time. And it was increased and expanded by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Even better, the Sec. 179 deduction isn’t the only avenue for immediate tax write-offs for qualified assets. Under...

Read more
July 22, 2019

You may have heard about a proposal in Washington to cut the taxes paid on investments by indexing capital gains to inflation. Under the proposal, the purchase price of assets would be adjusted so that no tax is paid on the appreciation due to inflation. While the fate of such a proposal is unknown, the long-term capital gains tax rate is still historically low on appreciated securities that have been...

Read more
July 22, 2019

If you own an interest in a closely held business, it’s critical to have a well-designed, properly funded buy-sell agreement. Without one, an owner’s death can have a negative effect on the surviving owners. If one of your co-owners dies, for example, you may be forced to go into business with his or her family or other heirs. And if you die, your family’s financial security may depend on your...

Read more
July 22, 2019

Accounting software typically sells itself as much more than simple spreadsheet or ledger. The products tend to pride themselves on being comprehensive accounting information systems — depending on the price point, of course. So, is your accounting software living up to the hype? If not, there are a couple of relatively simple steps you can take to improve matters. Train and retrain Many businesses grow frustrated with their accounting software...

Read more
July 22, 2019

If you’re considering buying or selling a business — or you’re in the process of a merger or acquisition — it’s important that both parties report the transaction to the IRS in the same way. Otherwise, you may increase your chances of being audited. If a sale involves business assets (as opposed to stock or ownership interests), the buyer and the seller must generally report to the IRS the purchase...

Read more
July 15, 2019

If you’re a volunteer who works for charity, you may be entitled to some tax breaks if you itemize deductions on your tax return. Unfortunately, they may not amount to as much as you think your generosity is worth. Because donations to charity of cash or property generally are tax deductible for itemizers, it may seem like donations of something more valuable for many people — their time — would...

Read more
July 15, 2019