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.

IRS releases examinations and collections statistics

  • April 29, 2009

The IRS has released the numbers behind its activities from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 in a publication called the 2008 IRS Data Book. This annually released information provides statistics on returns filed, taxes collected, and the IRS's enforcement efforts.

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?"