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.

IRS Provides COBRA Guidance

  • April 2, 2009

The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance to clarify the COBRA benefits offered under the recently passed stimulus bill.

President’s Tax Proposals Stir Controversy

  • April 1, 2009

Several tax provisions in President Obama's proposed federal budget for fiscal year (FY) 2010 have garnered significant criticism on Capitol Hill since the Obama administration released the budget. Obama's proposed budget would cost $3.5 trillion, make major long-term changes to individual and business tax, and includes proposals to limit tax deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions for higher-income taxpayers, in addition to long-term plans that raise tax rates from their current level for higher-income individuals

IRS guidance fine tunes tax breaks in 2009 Recovery Act

  • April 1, 2009

The IRS is moving quickly to issue guidance on the many tax incentives for individuals and businesses in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act). Since Congress passed the multi-billion dollar stimulus package in February, the IRS has released guidance on the extended net operating loss (NOL) carryback for small businesses, the new Making Work Pay credit, the enhanced first-time homebuyer tax credit, the new COBRA subsidy, and the new sales tax deduction for motor vehicles.

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?"

Payroll taxes can be a minefield for small employers

  • March 31, 2009

More small businesses get into trouble with the IRS over payroll taxes than any other type of tax. Payroll taxes are a huge source of government revenue and the IRS takes them very seriously. It is actively looking for businesses that have fallen behind in their payroll taxes or aren't depositing them. When the IRS finds a noncompliant business, it hits hard with penalties.

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.