People often say that an expense is “a tax write-off”; most everyone interprets this to mean that the expense will have a tax benefit. Generally, such a benefit takes the form of either a deduction or a credit; these benefits’ effects are quite different, however, and each type has various categories. As a result, the tax implications may not be as expected. This is especially true when the write-off claim comes from a salesperson who is touting the tax benefits of a product or service, as such individuals often leave out key details. In general, a deduction reduces taxable income, whereas a credit reduces the tax itself.Continue reading →
Raising money through Internet crowdfunding sites prompts questions about the taxability of the money raised. A number of sites host money-raising projects for fees ranging from 5 to 9%, including GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. Each site specifies its own charges, limitations, and withdrawal processes. Whether the money raised is taxable depends upon the purpose of the fundraising campaign.Continue reading →
At their core, tax credits are a very particular type of benefit designed to offset the actual tax liability associated with SMBs around the country. This isn’t the same thing as a tax deduction, which lowers that business’s actual income. Tax credits are typically offered to incentivize everything from hiring more workers in order to stimulate the economy to making meaningful contributions to specific industries.
While certain tax credits are obvious, others are decidedly less so. This is why proper tax planning is essential as a small business owner — you need to be proactive about getting every last penny that is owed to you. There are a number of essential small business tax credits in particular that you’ll definitely want to take advantage of when tax season rolls around.Continue reading →
Self-employed individuals, unlike employees, don’t have someone withholding Social Security or Medicare (FICA) taxes along with pre-payments toward their federal (and state, where applicable) income tax from their wages during the year.
They are not being paid a wage; instead, a self-employed individual must keep a set of books showing income and expenses associated with their self-employed business that will allow them to determine their taxable profits (or losses). While an employer and an employee each pay half of the FICA taxes due on an employee’s wages, a self-employed person pays 100% of these taxes, termed the self-employment tax or SE tax for short, on his or her self-employment profit. If the individual has more than one self-employment activity, the net profits and losses from all of the self-employment activities are combined to determine the amount of the SE tax. However, two spouses have self-employment income, the couple cannot combine their SE incomes when figuring their individual SE tax.Continue reading →
Generally, when individuals have a hobby, they have it because they enjoy it and are not involved in their hobby with the goal of making money. In fact, most hobbies never make money or don’t even create any income, for that matter. Tax law generally does not allow deductions for personal expenses except those allowed as itemized deductions on the 1040 Schedule A, and this also applies to hobby expenses.
Some hobbyists try to get a tax deduction for their hobby expenses by treating their hobby as a trade or a business. By disguising hobbies as a trade or business, and if the hobby expenses exceed the hobby income, they think they can report the difference between hobby income and expenses as a deductible business loss. Not in this case! To curtail hobbies being treated as businesses, the tax code includes rules that do not permit losses for not-for-profit activities such as hobbies. The not-for-profit rules are often referred to as the hobby loss rules.Continue reading →
There are many reasons to convert a home into a rental, such as to ensure that a prior home produces income and appreciation after the owner buys a new home; to maximize the tax benefits for an elderly person who can no longer live alone by delaying the sale of that person’s home; and to ensure that a home provides value when its owner takes a temporary job assignment in a different location. Some homeowners even mistakenly think that, when a home has declined in value, converting it into a rental can allow them to deduct that loss. Regardless of why an individual makes such a conversion, a number of tax issues come into play as a result of that decision.Continue reading →
We are now over halfway through 2019, so it may be a good time to double-check your withholding and projected tax amounts in order to prevent another unpleasant surprise at tax time. If you are conversant with tax terminology, you can use the IRS’s newly updated withholding estimator to do so. This online tool helps you to determine whether your employer is withholding the right amount of tax from your paychecks. However, be careful, as the results are only as good as the information that you put into the withholding estimator. You also have to estimate your income for the year from various sources.Continue reading →
If you are buying a new car, are you wondering what to do with the old one? You actually have a number of options, some of which have tax implications and some of which don’t. These options include trading the car in with the dealer, selling it to a third party, donating it to a charity, gifting it to someone, or even keeping it as a second car. Here are the details for each. Note: This article does not discuss in detail how to treat the disposition of a vehicle used for business.Continue reading →
Anyone who collects tips must include those tips in their taxable income. This requirement is not limited to waiters and waitresses; it applies to anyone who collects tips, including taxicab, Uber, Lyft, and similar drivers; beauticians; porters; concierges; and delivery people.
Tips are amounts freely given by a customer to a person providing a service. They are generally given as cash but also include tips made on a credit or debit card or as part of a tip-sharing arrangement. Tips can also be in the form of non-traditional gifts such as tickets to events, wine, and other items of value. If you receive $20 or more in tips in any month, you should report all of your tips to your employer.Continue reading →
“Home office” is a type of tax deduction that applies to the business use of a home; the space itself may not actually be an office. One of the following must apply to be able to deduct home office expenses. The home office:
- Must be the taxpayer’s main place of business. OR
- Must be a place of business where the taxpayer meets patients, clients or customers. The taxpayer must meet these people in the normal course of business. OR
- Must be in a separate structure that is not attached to the taxpayer’s home. The taxpayer must use this structure in connection with their business. OR
- Must be a place where the taxpayer stores inventory or samples. This place must be the sole, fixed location of their business. OR
- Under certain circumstances, must be where the taxpayer provides day-care services.
Generally, except when used to store inventory, an office area must be used on a regular and continuing basis and be exclusively restricted to the trade or business (i.e., no personal use).Continue reading →