Using fringe benefits as an income substitute during the economic downturn
- May 1, 2009
Many businesses are foregoing salary increases this year because of the economic downturn. How does a business find and retain employees, as well as keep up morale, in the face of this reality? The combined use of fringe benefits and the tax law can help. Some attractive fringe benefits may be provided tax-free to employees and at little cost to employers
Tax lessons from the 2009 filing season
- May 1, 2009
You've just filed your 2008 tax return and the last thing you likely want to think about is the next filing season. However, it never hurts to have a leg up, and with the end of filing season and the 2009 tax year well underway, now is a great time to take a look back and learn some lessons from this filing season that can undoubtedly help you next year. The following is a list of top lessons individuals can learn from this year's filing season in anticipation of filing their 2009 returns for next year.
How Do I? Figure the first-time homebuyer tax credit?
- April 13, 2009
The Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 (2008 Housing Act) gave a boost to individuals purchasing a home for the first time with a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit. The credit was enhanced from $7,500 to $8,000 and extended for certain purchases under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act). This article explains how to determine the credit for eligible first-time homebuyers.
Social Security Trust Fund Projected to Vanish Next Year
- April 1, 2009
The government has historically raided the Social Security trust fund using its surplus to make the deficit look smaller. Now the trust fund's annual surplus is forecast to vanish next year. President Obama has proposed applying payroll taxes to annual earnings over $250,000 to help fund the trust fund when the suplus vanishes.
The growing AMT threat: What is it, and how to avoid it?
- March 31, 2009
You may have heard people who talk about money or politics for a living mention something about the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, as it is often called. Mention of the AMT has become more frequent of late because millions more taxpayers will be forced to calculate and pay this tax in the next few years. Dubbed "the stealth tax," the AMT has been blindsiding many "ordinary" taxpayers who count on taking what have become "ordinary" deductions. The AMT has been made even more dangerous by the labyrinth of rules for calculating the tax, which are complicated enough to give seasoned tax professionals fits. There are two questions that taxpayers want answered when it comes to the AMT: "What is it?" and "What can I do to avoid it?"
Am I overpaying in withholding and estimated tax?
- March 31, 2009
Although an annual review of your form W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) or estimated tax payments is always important, it may be particularly imperative to do so in 2009. The current economic recession and other changes to your personal and financial situation may have had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on your income. Moreover, recent changes in the tax law, including extensions of certain deductions and credits through 2009, make accurately estimating your tax and ensuring you are not overpaying in withholding all the more important. Changes in the latest stimulus tax package likely will require further adjustments to withholding and estimated tax for many taxpayers.
“Reasonable” compensation: Hot button for IRS auditors
- March 31, 2009
In order to be tax deductible, compensation must be a reasonable payment for services. Smaller companies, whose employees frequently hold significant ownership interests, are particularly vulnerable to IRS attack on their compensation deductions.
All-Electric Tesla Roadster…0-60 In 3.9 Seconds And Saves Tax Dollars
- March 10, 2009
If you purchase an all-electric Tesla Roadster (base price $109,000) you can receive up to a $7,500 tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Read about this and other Green Energy Tax incentives in the new tax act summerized in the latest Journal of Accountancy article.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 extends/creates business tax breaks
- March 2, 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 (ARRTA) provides more than $75 billion worth of tax benefits for business for 2009 and 2010, in addition to numerous individual tax breaks. This article highlights some of the valuable tax breaks for businesses in the new law.