If you hire a domestic worker to provide services in or around your home, you probably have a tax liability that you don’t know about – or one that you do know about but are ignoring. Either situation can come back to bite you. When the worker is your employee, your liability includes both withholding and paying payroll taxes as well as issuing a W-2 after the close of the year.
Sure, it is a lot easier simply to pay your worker in cash so as to avoid federal and state payroll taxes – and all the paperwork that goes with them. Your domestic worker will likely be fully cooperative with a cash deal because he or she can also avoid paying taxes. However, if the IRS or your state employment department finds out about these payments, the result could be very unpleasant for you.
Not everyone who performs services in or around your home is classified as an employee. For instance, a plumber or electrician who makes repairs in your home will generally be a licensed contractor; the government does not classify contractors as employees.
Most taxpayers don’t intentionally incur tax penalties, but many who are penalized are simply not aware of the penalties or the possible impact on their wallets. Let’s look at some of the more commonly encountered penalties and how they may be avoided.
Tired of having all those old tax records taking up drawer or closet space and collecting dust. Want to dump as much as you can? People often ask how long records must be kept and the amount of time IRS has to audit a return after it is filed.
How long to keep the records depends on the circumstances! In most cases, the federal statute of limitations can be used to help you determine how long to keep records. With certain exceptions, the statute for assessing additional tax is 3 years from the return due date or the date the return was filed, whichever is later.
However, the statute of limitations for many states is one year longer than the federal limitation. The reason for this is that the IRS provides state taxing authorities with federal audit results. The extra time on the state statute gives states adequate time to assess tax based on any federal tax adjustments.
Individuals who meet the 2-out-of-5-year use and ownership tests can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if both filer and spouse qualify) of gain from the sale of their home, and generally don’t need to keep a record of improvements made to the home. However, in many instances the gain from the home’s sale can be substantially higher than the allowable exclusion amount; having a record of improvements can be very beneficial and lead to tax savings.
The outcome of the November elections could have a significant impact on taxes for the wealthy. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy, as the government’s tax revenues have declined while government spending has soared. Although the President has not revealed his tax policies for the future, Joe Biden, his presumptive opponent in November, has, and that is why the wealthy are strategizing for potential increases.
Regardless of who wins the November election, with rising deficits at the state and federal levels, government spending skyrocketing, and revenue dropping due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is sure that taxes will go up in coming years, and the likely focus for generating this additional tax revenue is the wealthy.
The IRS is mailing all recipients of Economic Impact Payments a Notice 1444 that provides information about the amount of their payment, how the payment was made and how to report any payment that wasn’t received. If you’ve already received your economic impact payment, you’ve probably already received this document too. This notice was issued from The White House and looks more like a letter than a traditional IRS notice, but the notice number is in the upper right of the heading, just below the date.
For security reasons, the IRS mails this notice to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the payment goes out. Don’t discard this notice, as you may need it when your 2020 tax return is prepared. The economic impact payment is actually an advance payment of a refundable tax credit based upon your 2020 tax return. In order to get the money into people’s hands during the time of the greatest need, these payments generally were made based upon each individual’s 2019 return, or in some cases their 2018 return.
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the IRS provided taxpayers with an automatic three-month extension to July 15 to file their 2019 tax returns and pay the 2019 tax, among other tax actions normally due on April 15. So, with July 15th fast approaching, it is important to understand that the day is more than just the deadline for filing your 2019 tax return. It is also the deadline for other things tax. Here is a rundown.
Some refer to it as “creative accounting” or just “a little fudging here and there,” but if your tax return is missing some income that should have been reported or includes overstated deductions, regardless of whether you prepared your own return or had it prepared, you are the one who is ultimately responsible. If you get caught, there can be very unpleasant consequences – including substantial monetary penalties and the possibility of jail time for blatant cases.
You may be one of the many taxpayers eligible for a refund from their 2018 tax return. Last December, tacked on to an Appropriations Act, Congress passed the long-awaited extenders bill. This bill had been lingering in Congress for about 2 years and extended several beneficial tax provisions that had expired after 2017. As a result, these provisions were retroactively extended to 2018 and most are continued through 2020. This opens the door to amending your 2018 return for a refund if any of the following provisions apply to you. Here are the retroactive tax benefits:
As of Tuesday, April 21st, the Senate has passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PPP & HCE Act), a $484 billion package which will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration. It is anticipated that this bill could pass the House as early as Thursday, and President Trump is expected to sign it into law soon after.