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Many Tax-Exempt Organizations Must File Information Returns By May 15, 2018

Do Not Include Social Security Numbers Or Personal Data

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminded certain tax-exempt organizations that the Tuesday, May 15 filing deadline for Form 990-series information returns is fast approaching.

Form 990-series information returns and notices are normally due on the 15th day of the fifth month after an organization’s tax-year ends. Many organizations use the calendar year as their tax year, making May 15, 2018 the deadline to file for 2017.

No Social Security Numbers On Forms 990 Read more

Are There Advantages To Owning A Second Home?

Whatever the location, size, or value of a second home, certain tax advantages are built in. However, your opportunity to benefit from them depends on how you use the property.

Personal Use

Both property taxes and mortgage interest are as deductible for a second home as they are for your primary residence — and are subject to the same limitations. If you file a joint return, you cannot deduct interest on more than $1 million of acquisition debt ($500,000 for married persons filing separately) on one or two homes. Read more

Understanding Marginal Income Tax Brackets

By any measure, the tax code is huge. According to Commerce Clearing House’s Standard Federal Tax Reporter it’s up to 74,608 pages in length.¹

And each Monday, the Internal Revenue Service publishes a 20- to 50- page bulletin about various aspects of the tax code.²

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to wade through these massive libraries to understand how income taxes work. Understanding a few key concepts may provide a solid foundation. Read more

Should I Submit A Residential Property Tax Protest Annually?

If you’re a homeowner, a residential property tax protest should always be on your radar around this time of year – even if you filed one last year and won.

The truth is, property tax calculations are based on a lot of arbitrary data – data you just don’t have control of. Appraisal districts use recent home sales and other market info to create your home valuation, and in today’s market, a good chunk of properties are being over-valued. In the end, that means a higher property tax rate and more money out of your pocket – year after year. Read more

Taxpayer Advocate Service Survey Confirms Need To Maintain And Enhance A Robust Omni-Channel Taxpayer Service Strategy

In my most recent Annual Report to Congress, I published a study in support of the Service Priorities Project (SPP), a joint effort between Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) and IRS Wage & Investment (W&I). The goal of the SPP is to produce a matrix to help the IRS identify where to allocate its taxpayer service resources. To assist the IRS in determining service priorities, the matrix presents data on taxpayer needs and preferences as well as more traditional IRS “efficiency” concerns. While W&I initially worked with TAS in the development of the SPP, ultimately I felt that the additions to the Taxpayer Experience Survey did not address the missing data needed to complete the SPP matrix. I directed TAS Research to develop a study and fill in the gaps of the SPP. The result, A Further Exploration of Taxpayers’ Varying Abilities and Attitudes Toward IRS Options for Fulfilling Common Taxpayer Needs, revealed several areas that I’d like to highlight today. Read more

Charitable Miles Deduction: Is It Changing Under The New Tax Reform?

Now that the effects of last year’s tax reform bill are being felt, the proposals to reform the reform keep rolling in. Last month, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) put forth a bill to reinstate unreimbursed job expenses. This week, Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN) introduced H. R. 5662, also known as the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act of 2018.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to equalize the charitable mileage rate with the business travel rate. For 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) optional standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck are 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven but a mere 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. Read more

Seasonal, Part-Year Workers Urged To Check Tax Withholding Amount

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged taxpayers who work seasonal jobs or are employed part of the year to visit the Withholding Calculator and perform a “paycheck checkup.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, eliminating personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets. These changes do not affect 2017 tax returns due earlier this year, but they will affect 2018 tax returns filed next year. Read more

Top Predictions You Need To Know: Wayfair V. South Dakota Onlines Sales Tax Case

As we wait for a decision in the Wayfair v. South DakotaSupreme Court Case regarding online sales tax, we thought it would be fun to take a look at possible outcomes depending on how the Court rules.

Our Opinion On The Online Sales Tax Case

Back in March we shared our predictions on how the online sales tax case’s outcome would affect businesses.

What if the Supreme Court rules against South Dakota? We’re back where we started with Quill remaining the physical presence standard and states passing various legislation that’s either unconstitutional (and likely not upheld) or that requires onerous reporting. Read more

Tax Credit Can Help Employers Hiring New Workers; Key Certification Requirement Applies

WASHINGTON — With many businesses facing a tight job market, the Internal Revenue Service reminds employers to check out a valuable tax credit available to them for hiring long-term unemployment recipients and other categories of workers with employment barriers.

During National Small Business Week — April 29 to May 5 — the Internal Revenue Service highlighted tax benefits and resources designed to help new and existing small businesses. Read more

Tax Changes Are Coming – New Rules On Divorces And Home Buying

With the end of this season we also see the end of tax laws as they have been for decades. Now we have to look ahead and make sure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises and taxpayers will be subject to the new laws.

If you are planning on a divorce this year, you’ll want to review the new rulings. If you’re buying a new home, again, you’ll want to make sure you are clear about whether or not you can write off the interest on your loan. Read more

Self-Employed? 5 Easy Ways To Lower Your Tax Bill

If you’re like most small business owners, you’re always looking for ways to lower your taxable income. Here are five ways to do just that.

1. Deducting The Cost Of A Home Computer

If you purchased a computer and use it for work-related purposes, you can take advantage of the Section 179 expense election, which allows you to write off new equipment in the year it was purchased if it is used for business more than 50 percent of the time (subject to certain rules).

2. Meal Expenses For Company Picnics And Holiday Parties

If you host a company picnic or holiday party–even if it is at your home–100 percent of your meal expenses are deductible. Prior to tax reform legislation passed in late 2017, 50 percent of your business-related entertainment expenses (with some exceptions) were generally deductible. Starting in 2018, however, entertainment-related expenses are no longer deductible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Read more

How To Submit A Reasonable Cause Claim To The IRS For Penalty Abatement

If you have not filed your personal income tax form (1040), generally, you should get the tax form filed ASAP without consideration for the yet to be assessed penalties.

Then exercise patience.

Wait for the IRS to assess the penalty and then send a reasonable cause explanation to the address indicated on the notice from the IRS. This way you mitigate all sorts of procedural kerfuffles. Read more

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