tax planning

Three Questions You May Have After You File Your Return

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Once your 2018 tax return has been successfully filed with the IRS, you may still have some questions. Here are brief answers to three questions that we’re frequently asked at this time of year.

Question #1: What tax records can I throw away now?

At a minimum, keep tax records related to your return for as long as the IRS can audit your return or assess additional taxes. In general, the statute of limitations is three years after you file your return. So you can generally get rid of most records related to tax returns for 2015 and earlier years. (If you filed an extension for your 2015 return, hold on to your records until at least three years from when you filed the extended return.)

However, the statute of limitations extends to six years for taxpayers who understate their gross income by more than 25%.

You’ll need to hang on to […]

By |April 18th, 2019|irs, New Tax Laws, tax planning, tax time|0 Comments

Disaster Relief Continues for Certain Californians

Disaster relief continues for certain Californians. The CA Franchise Tax Board has updated its Disaster Loss webpage, for victims of storms and fires that plagued the state in recent months. The updated list now includes many CA counties that suffered storm damage in 2019, and several counties which suffered wildfires in late 2018. Taxpayers directly affected by federally declared disasters may be eligible for tax relief, including extensions of time to file and pay taxes until 4/30/19. If you have questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA. Here’s the full list and more information: https://bit.ly/298JVSt 

By |April 11th, 2019|disaster, tax, tax planning|0 Comments

Don’t Forget: Tax Deadline is April 15th

If you’re a California resident who owes estimated CA tax payments, your next payment due date is rolling up fast. By April 15, the first installment of your 2019 state tax is due. Generally, you must make estimated payments if you expect to owe at least $500 for 2019, after you subtract withholding or credits you may have, or face penalties. To learn more about who is required to make estimated payments, how to pay, and how to obtain a handy worksheet to calculate the correct amount, click on https://bit.ly/2FJ03wl or contact your Linkenheimer CPA for help.

By |April 11th, 2019|tax deadlines, tax planning|0 Comments

Divorcing Business Owners Need to Pay Attention to Tax Implications

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If you’re getting a divorce, you know it’s a highly stressful time. But if you’re a business owner, tax issues can complicate matters even more. Your business ownership interest is one of your biggest personal assets and your marital property will include all or part of it.

Transferring property tax-free

You can generally divide most assets, including cash and business ownership interests, between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse without any federal income or gift tax consequences. When an asset falls under this tax-free transfer rule, the spouse who receives the asset takes over its existing tax basis (for tax gain or loss purposes) and its existing holding period (for short-term or long-term holding period purposes).

For example, let’s say that, under the terms of your divorce agreement, you give your house to your spouse in exchange for keeping 100% of the stock in your business. That asset swap would be tax-free. And the existing basis and holding periods for the home and the stock would carry over to the person who receives them.

Tax-free transfers can occur before the divorce or at the time it becomes final. Tax-free treatment also applies to post-divorce transfers […]

By |April 8th, 2019|401k, business, ira, stock, tax planning|0 Comments

Still Working After Age 70½? You May Not Have to Begin 401(k) Withdrawals

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If you participate in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k), you must generally begin taking required withdrawals from the plan no later than April 1 of the year after which you turn age 70½. However, there’s an exception that applies to certain plan participants who are still working for the entire year in which they turn 70½.

The basics of RMDs

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the amounts you’re legally required to withdraw from your qualified retirement plans and traditional IRAs after reaching age 70½. Essentially, the tax law requires you to tap into your retirement assets — and begin paying taxes on them — whether you want to or not.

Under the tax code, RMDs must begin to be taken from qualified pension, profit sharing and stock bonus plans by a certain date. That date is April 1 of the year following the later of the calendar year in which an employee:

  • Reaches age 70½, or
  • Retires from employment with the employer maintaining the plan under the “still working” exception.

Once they begin, RMDs must generally continue each year. The tax penalty for withdrawing less than the RMD amount is 50% of the portion […]

By |March 26th, 2019|401k, ira, retirement, tax planning|0 Comments

There’s Still Time for Small Business Owners to Set Up a SEP Retirement Plan for Last Year

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If you own a business and don’t have a tax-advantaged retirement plan, it’s not too late to establish one and reduce your 2018 tax bill. A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) can still be set up for 2018, and you can make contributions to it that you can deduct on your 2018 income tax return.

Contribution deadlines

A SEP can be set up as late as the due date (including extensions) of your income tax return for the tax year for which the SEP is to first apply. That means you can establish a SEP for 2018 in 2019 as long as you do it before your 2018 return filing deadline. You have until the same deadline to make 2018 contributions and still claim a potentially substantial deduction on your 2018 return.

Generally, other types of retirement plans would have to have been established by December 31, 2018, in order for 2018 contributions to be made (though many of these plans do allow 2018 contributions to be made in 2019).

Discretionary contributions

With a SEP, you can decide how much to contribute each year. You aren’t obligated to make any certain minimum contributions annually.

But, if your business […]

By |March 11th, 2019|business, contributions, investment, ira, tax planning, year-end|0 Comments

Vehicle-Expense Deduction Ins and Outs for Individual Taxpayers

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It’s not just businesses that can deduct vehicle-related expenses. Individuals also can deduct them in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) might reduce your deduction compared to what you claimed on your 2017 return.

For 2017, miles driven for business, moving, medical and charitable purposes were potentially deductible. For 2018 through 2025, business and moving miles are deductible only in much more limited circumstances. TCJA changes could also affect your tax benefit from medical and charitable miles.

Current limits vs. 2017

Before 2018, if you were an employee, you potentially could deduct business mileage not reimbursed by your employer as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. But the deduction was subject to a 2% of adjusted gross income (AGI) floor, which meant that mileage was deductible only to the extent that your total miscellaneous itemized deductions for the year exceeded 2% of your AGI. For 2018 through 2025, you can’t deduct the mileage regardless of your AGI. Why? The TCJA suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor.

If you’re self-employed, business mileage is deducted from self-employment income. Therefore, it’s not subject to the 2% floor and is still deductible for 2018 […]

What’s New for 2018 California Tax Returns?

What’s new for 2018 California tax returns? The list of changes is long. That’s why the CA Franchise Tax Board has created a “Taxnews” page, with information about tax filing. The page includes information about credits such as the earned income credit, the new employment credit and the CA Competes credit, plus instructions for many other tax topics.

A few of the highlights include:

Federal Tax Reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) signed into law on December 22, 2017, made changes to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). In general, California Revenue and Taxation Code does not conform to the changes. California taxpayers continue to follow the IRC as of the specified date of January 1, 2015, with modifications. The IRS issued Notice 2019-11 to provide for a waiver of the estimated tax penalty for taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year.

This relief is designed to help taxpayers who were unable to properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the TCJA, the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017. For California purposes, the TJCA had no general impact to the […]

Careful Tax Planning Required for Incentive Stock Options

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Incentive stock options (ISOs) are a popular form of compensation for executives and other employees of corporations. They allow you to buy company stock in the future at a fixed price equal to or greater than the stock’s fair market value on the ISO grant date. If the stock appreciates, you can buy shares at a price below what they’re then trading for. But careful tax planning is required because of the complex rules that apply.

Tax advantages abound

Although ISOs must comply with many rules, they receive tax-favored treatment. You owe no tax when ISOs are granted. You also owe no regular income tax when you exercise ISOs. There could be alternative minimum tax (AMT) consequences, but the AMT is less of a risk now because of the high AMT exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

There are regular income tax consequences when you sell the stock. If you sell the stock after […]

By |February 26th, 2019|business, income tax, New Tax Laws, strategy, tax planning|0 Comments

Beware the Ides of March — If You Own a Pass-Through Entity

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Shakespeare’s words don’t apply just to Julius Caesar; they also apply to calendar-year partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) treated as partnerships or S corporations for tax purposes. Why? The Ides of March, more commonly known as March 15, is the federal income tax filing deadline for these “pass-through” entities.

Not-so-ancient history

Until the 2016 tax year, the filing deadline for partnerships was the same as that for individual taxpayers: April 15 (or shortly thereafter if April 15 fell on a weekend or holiday). One of the primary reasons for moving up the partnership filing deadline was to make it easier for owners to file their personal returns by the April filing deadline. After all, partnership (and S corporation) income passes through to the owners. The earlier date allows owners to use the information contained in the pass-through entity forms to file their personal returns.

For partnerships with fiscal year ends, tax returns are now due the 15th […]