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Archive for William Rogers

Business Deductions For Meal, Vehicle And Travel Expenses: Document, Document, Document

William Rogers - Business Meals Deductions

Meal, vehicle and travel expenses are common deductions for businesses. But if you don’t properly document these expenses, you could find your deductions denied by the IRS.

An Important Requirement

Subject to various rules and limits, business meal (generally 50%), vehicle and travel expenses may be deductible, whether you pay for the expenses directly or reimburse employees for them. Deductibility depends on a variety of factors, but generally the expenses must be “ordinary and necessary” and directly related to the business.

Proper documentation, however, is one of the most critical requirements. And all too often, when the IRS scrutinizes these deductions, taxpayers don’t have the necessary documentation.

What You Need To Do

Following some simple steps can help ensure you have documentation that will pass muster with the IRS:

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Can You Deduct Business Travel While On Vacation?

William Rogers - TaxConnections

At this time of year, a vacation is on many people’s minds. If you travel for business, combining a business trip with a vacation to offset some of the cost with a tax deduction can sound appealing. But tread carefully, or you might not be eligible for the deduction you’re expecting.

General Rules

Business travel expenses are potentially deductible if the travel is within the United States and the expenses are “ordinary and necessary” and directly related to the business. (Foreign travel expenses may also be deductible, but stricter rules apply than are discussed here.)

Currently, business owners and the self-employed are potentially eligible to deduct business travel expenses. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can no longer deduct such expenses. The potential deductions discussed below assume that you’re a business owner or self-employed.

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Best Business Entity Structure After Tax Reform – S-Corp And C-Corp

William Rogers

There’s no easy answer to this question, though the entity choice considerations have undergone some changes due to the new tax law. For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, C corporations were taxed at rates as high as 35%. The TCJA also reduced individual income tax rates, which apply to sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, including partnerships, S corporations, and, typically, limited liability companies (LLCs). The top rate, however, dropped only slightly, from 39.6% to 37%.

On the surface, that may make choosing C corporation structure seem like a no-brainer. But there are many other considerations involved.

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How Real Estate Can Reduce Your Tax Obligation

William Rogers - Real Estate And Tax Breaks

To maximize the tax benefits of property ownership, homeowners, investors and real estate professionals alike need to be aware of the breaks available to them as well as the rules and limits that apply. Whether you’re selling your principal residence, renting out a vacation property or maintaining a home office, tax savings are available if you plan carefully. However, in some cases, tax savings may be reduced under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Home-Related Tax Breaks

There are many tax benefits to home ownership — among them, various deductions. But when you filed your 2017 tax return, the itemized deduction reduction could reduce your tax benefit from some of these breaks. And while that limit goes away for 2018, the TCJA reduces or eliminates these breaks:

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Deducting Interest On A Home Equity Loan Under The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act

William Rogers - Deducting Interest On

Under prior tax law, taxpayers who itemized deductions could deduct “qualified residence interest” on up to $1 million of debt secured by a qualified residence and used to acquire, build or improve that residence (referred to as “acquisition debt”), plus interest on home equity debt up to $100,000. (The limits were half those amounts for married taxpayers filing separately.) The home equity debt couldn’t exceed the fair market value (FMV) of the home reduced by the debt used to acquire the home.

But the $100,000 limit didn’t apply to the extent the home equity debt qualified as acquisition debt. For example, if the home equity debt was used to improve the home securing that debt, the $100,000 limit didn’t apply.

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Choosing The Right Accounting Method For Tax Purposes

William Rogers - Accounting Methods

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) liberalized the eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method — which is simpler than the accrual method — available to more businesses. Now the IRS has provided procedures a small business taxpayer can use to obtain automatic consent to change its method of accounting under the TCJA. If you have the option to use either accounting method, it pays to consider whether switching methods would be beneficial.

Cash vs. Accrual

Generally, cash-basis businesses recognize income when it’s received and deduct expenses when they’re paid. Accrual-basis businesses, on the other hand, recognize income when it’s earned and deduct expenses when they’re incurred, without regard to the timing of cash receipts or payments.

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S Corporation Business Structures Many Considerations

William Rogers - S Corporations

The S corporation business structure offers many advantages, including limited liability for owners and no double taxation (at least at the federal level). But not all businesses are eligible – and, with the new 21% flat income tax rate that now applies to C corporations, S corps may not be quite as attractive as they once were.

Tax Comparison

The primary reason for electing S status is the combination of the limited liability of a corporation and the ability to pass corporate income, losses, deductions and credits through to shareholders. In other words, S corps generally avoid double taxation of corporate income — once at the corporate level and again when distributed to the shareholder. Instead, S corp tax items pass through to the shareholders’ personal returns and the shareholders pay tax at their individual income tax rates.

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7 Ways To Prepare Your Business For A Sale

William Rogers, 7 Ways To Prepare Your Business For A Sale

For some business owners, succession planning is a complex and delicate matter involving family members and a long, gradual transition out of the company. Others simply sell the business and move on. There are many variations in between, of course, but if you’re leaning toward a business sale, here are seven ways to prepare:

1. Develop or renew your business plan. Identify the challenges and opportunities of your company and explain how and why it’s ready for a sale. Address what distinguishes your business from the competition, and include a viable strategy that speaks to sustainable growth.

2. Ensure you have a solid management team. You should have a management team in place that’s, essentially, a redundancy of you. Your leaders should have the vision and know-how to keep the company moving forward without disruption during and after a sale.

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Choosing The Best Business Entity Structure Post Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (TCJA)

William Rogers, Tax Advisor, Choosing Best Business Entity Structure

For tax years beginning in 2018 and beyond, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) created a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, C corporations were taxed at rates as high as 35%. The TCJA also reduced individual income tax rates, which apply to sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, including partnerships, S corporations, and, typically, limited liability companies (LLCs). The top rate, however, dropped only slightly, from 39.6% to 37%.

On the surface, that may make choosing C corporation structure seem like a no-brainer. But there are many other considerations involved.

Conventional Wisdom

Under prior tax law, conventional wisdom was that most small businesses should be set up as sole proprietorships or pass-through entities to avoid the double taxation of C corporations: A C corporation pays entity-level income tax and then shareholders pay tax on dividends — and on capital gains when they sell the stock. For pass-through entities, there’s no federal income tax at the entity level.

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Should Your Business Begin Collecting Out Of State Sales Tax?

William Rogers, Sales And Use Tax Collection

You’ve probably heard about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing state and local governments to impose sales taxes on more out-of-state online sales. The ruling in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. is welcome news for brick-and-mortar retailers, who felt previous rulings gave an unfair advantage to their online competitors. And state and local governments are pleased to potentially be able to collect more sales tax.

But for businesses with out-of-state online sales that haven’t had to collect sales tax from out-of-state customers in the past, the decision brings many questions and concerns.

What The Requirements Used To Be

Even before Wayfair, a state could require an out-of-state business to collect sales tax from its residents on online sales if the business had a “substantial nexus” — or connection — with the state. The nexus requirement is part of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Previous Supreme Court rulings had found that a physical presence in a state (such as retail outlets, employees or property) was necessary to establish substantial nexus. As a result, some online retailers have already been collecting tax from out-of-state customers, while others have not had to.

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The Bipartisan Budget Act Of 2018 Extends For One Year A Set Of Tax Provisions – “The Extenders”

William Rogers, The Extenders

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA), signed into law on February 9, extends for one year a set of tax provisions, known as “extenders,” that expired December 31, 2016. Key provisions that have been extended include:

Exclusion Of Discharge Of Mortgage Debt

The BBA extends homeowners’ ability to exclude from gross income mortgage debt on a principal residence that was forgiven in 2017 (for example, as a result of a foreclosure, short sale or loan modification). It also modifies the exclusion to make it apply to debt discharged later than 2017 but according to a written agreement that was entered into in 2017. Without the extended provision, taxpayers would have to pay income taxes on the amount of mortgage debt forgiven.

Deductibility Of Mortgage Insurance Premiums

For 2017, taxpayers can continue to treat mortgage insurance premiums as deductible interest. However, the deduction phases out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $100,000 to $110,000 ($50,000 and $55,000 for married couples filing separately) and is eliminated when AGI exceeds the top of the range.

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What Businesses Need To Know About The Tax Treatment Of Bitcoin And Other Virtual Currencies

Over the last several years, virtual currency has become increasingly popular. Bitcoin is the most widely recognized form of virtual currency, also commonly referred to as digital, electronic or crypto currency.

While most smaller businesses aren’t yet accepting bitcoin or other virtual currency payments from their customers, more and more larger businesses are. And the trend may trickle down to smaller businesses. Businesses also can pay employees or independent contractors with virtual currency. But what are the tax consequences of these transactions?

Bitcoin 101

Bitcoin has an equivalent value in real currency and can be digitally traded between users. It also can be purchased with real currencies or exchanged for real currencies. Bitcoin is most commonly obtained through virtual currency ATMs or online exchanges.

Goods or services can be paid for using “bitcoin wallet” software. When a purchase is made, the software digitally posts the transaction to a global public ledger. This prevents the same unit of virtual currency from being used multiple times.

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