The housing allowance is a significant tax benefit for a minister. It can result in thousands of dollars in tax savings annually. The law currently allows a minister to occupy a church-owned parsonage without paying income tax on the value of the accommodations. Alternatively, the church may designate an amount to be paid to the minister as housing allowance. This amount, when used for housing costs, is not subject to income tax. Both a parsonage and a housing allowance are subject to self-employment taxes.

Only One Home Subject to Housing Allowance

Several court cases have recently been brought, seeking to limit or abolish this tax benefit for ministers.

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The 2010 Finance Act introduced a fixed pay and file date for all gifts and inheritances with a “valuation date” after 14th June 2010. As a result, the Capital Acquisitions Tax year runs from 1st September to 31st August in the following year.

C.A.T. arising on gifts/inheritances, where the “valuation date” falls within the twelve month period ending on 31st August in a particular tax year, must be paid and filed with Revenue by the 31st October of that year.

What do we mean by “Valuation Date”?

The “valuation date” is the date on which the property making up the gift or inheritance is valued. The “valuation date” for a gift is the date the individual receives the gift but Read More

If you receive a notice from the IRS regarding small mistakes and omissions with your income tax return, you can probably deal with the IRS directly or by giving your tax preparer a quick call. However, if there is any chance your case could go sour, you need to call a qualified and experienced tax attorney, and pronto. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re asking yourself whether it’s serious enough to merit calling a tax attorney, it probably is.

Maybe these two true life stories will help:

In January 2014, Beanie Beans founder Ty Werner was convicted of evading $5.5 million in taxes owed on the $27 million in interest accrued from millions of dollars stashed away in a Swiss bank account. The sentence? Two years on probation and some hefty fines, which were small change for a billionaire like Werner. Read More

If you’ve already made or about to make a disposal of a capital asset (e.g. certain shares, an investment property, a business, etc.) anytime between 1st January and 30th November 2014 you will be obliged to pay your Capital Gains Tax by 15th December 2014.

If you decide to wait and dispose of your asset between 1st December and 31st December 2014 then your payment will be due by 31st January 2015.

What happens if you miss these deadlines?

Interest of 0.0219% per day will be applied to all late payments of Capital Gains Tax.

What happens if you make a gain in the first part of the year and a loss in the second part?

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California’s largest tax revenue source by far is its personal income tax. This tax generated 67% of total tax revenues for FY 2012-2013’s General Fund. As shown in the pie chart from the California State Controller’s Office, the corporate income tax only provided 8% of state tax revenues.

Seven states do not impose an income tax and two states impose it on only a portion of one’s income. How can they do that? A recent article in answers that question. See “No-income-tax states use other taxes to pay the bills: Axing Ohio’s Income Tax,” by Robert Higgs, 10/2/14.

The seven states without an income tax are: Read More

The Accounting community was waiting for this eagerly, to see which of their recommendations had been adopted. On November 26th, 2013, the Department of the Treasury issued final regulations governing the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT).

The 3.8% tax took effect from January 1st, 2013. It applies to individuals, estates & trusts who have Net Investment Income and Modified Adjusted Gross Income above the following threshold amounts:

• Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower with Dependent Child- $250,000

• Single and Head of Household with Qualifying Person – $200,000 Read More

Expiring in 2013

The tax credit for Research and Development (R&D) is set to expire in 2013. Even if you are not a technology company, this credit could apply to your business. New processes and developments could count toward this credit. Check with a qualified tax attorney. This credit has been extended before, but why hope and wait to see if it will be extended again?

Drastic Changes in the Section 179 Deduction

Waiting until the new year to buy a new truck for your business? Don’t. Need new servers and computers? Waiting for the after Christmas sales? If you snooze, you lose. Your items must be purchased and used/installed before the end of 2013 to potentially qualify for the Read More