tax planning

The “Nanny Tax” Must Be Paid for More Than Just Nannies

07_23_19_GettyImages-964208488_ITB_560x292

You may have heard of the “nanny tax.” But even if you don’t employ a nanny, it may apply to you. Hiring a housekeeper, gardener or other household employee (who isn’t an independent contractor) may make you liable for federal income and other taxes. You may also have state tax obligations.

If you employ a household worker, you aren’t required to withhold federal income taxes from pay. But you may choose to withhold if the worker requests it. In that case, ask the worker to fill out a Form W-4. However, you may be required to withhold Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes and to pay federal unemployment (FUTA) tax.

FICA and FUTA tax

In 2019, you must withhold and pay FICA taxes if your household worker earns cash wages of $2,100 or more (excluding the value of food and lodging). If you reach the threshold, all the wages (not just the excess) are subject to FICA.

By |July 23rd, 2019|employer, individuals, tax, tax planning|0 Comments

Bartering: A Taxable Transaction Even if Your Business Exchanges No Cash

07_01_19_601398828_SBTB_560x292

Small businesses may find it beneficial to barter for goods and services instead of paying cash for them. If your business engages in bartering, be aware that the fair market value of goods that you receive in bartering is taxable income. And if you exchange services with another business, the transaction results in taxable income for both parties.

Income is also realized if services are exchanged for property. For example, if a construction firm does work for a retail business in exchange for unsold inventory, it will have income equal to the fair market value of the inventory.

Barter clubs

Many business owners join barter clubs that facilitate barter exchanges. In general, these clubs use a system of “credit units” that are awarded to members who provide goods and services. The credits can be redeemed for goods and services from other members.

Bartering is generally taxable in the year it occurs. But if […]

Which Entity is Most Suitable for Your New or Existing Business?

06_24_19_601398828_SBTB_560x292

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has changed the landscape for business taxpayers. That’s because the law introduced a flat 21% federal income tax rate for C corporations. Under prior law, profitable C corporations paid up to 35%.

The TCJA also cut individual income tax rates, which apply to sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, including partnerships, S corporations, and LLCs (treated as partnerships for tax purposes). However, the top rate dropped from 39.6% to only 37%.

These changes have caused many business owners to ask: What’s the optimal entity choice for me?

Entity tax basics

Before the TCJA, conventional wisdom was that most small businesses should be set up as sole proprietorships or pass-through entities to avoid the double taxation of C corporations. A C corporation pays entity-level income tax and then shareholders pay tax on dividends — and on capital gains when they sell the stock. For pass-through entities, there’s no federal income tax at the entity level.

Although C corporations are still potentially subject to double taxation, their current 21% tax rate helps make up for it. This issue is further complicated, however, by another tax provision that allows noncorporate owners of pass-through […]

By |June 28th, 2019|business, New Tax Laws, tax planning|0 Comments

Thinking About Moving to Another State in Retirement? Don’t Forget About Taxes

06_04_19_1125825385_ITB_560x292

When you retire, you may consider moving to another state — say, for the weather or to be closer to your loved ones. Don’t forget to factor state and local taxes into the equation. Establishing residency for state tax purposes may be more complicated than it initially appears to be.

Identify all applicable taxes

It may seem like a no-brainer to simply move to a state with no personal income tax. But, to make a good decision, you must consider all taxes that can potentially apply to a state resident. In addition to income taxes, these may include property taxes, sales taxes and estate taxes.

If the states you’re considering have an income tax, look at what types of income they tax. Some states, for example, don’t tax wages but do tax interest and dividends. And some states offer tax breaks for pension payments, retirement plan distributions and Social Security payments.

Watch out for state estate tax

The federal estate tax currently doesn’t apply to many people. For 2019, the federal estate tax exemption is $11.4 million ($22.8 million for a married couple). But some states levy estate tax with a much lower exemption and […]

By |June 6th, 2019|property tax, retirement, sales tax, tax planning, taxes|0 Comments

Employers: Be Aware (or Beware) of a Harsh Payroll Tax Penalty

06_03_19_512552696_SBTB_560x292

If federal income tax and employment taxes (including Social Security) are withheld from employees’ paychecks and not handed over to the IRS, a harsh penalty can be imposed. To make matters worse, the penalty can be assessed personally against a “responsible individual.”

If a business makes payroll tax payments late, there are escalating penalties. And if an employer fails to make them, the IRS will crack down hard. With the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty,” also known as the “100% Penalty,” the IRS can assess the entire unpaid amount against a responsible person who willfully fails to comply with the law.

Some business owners and executives facing a cash flow crunch may be tempted to dip into the payroll taxes withheld from employees. They may think, “I’ll send the money in later when it comes in from another source.” Bad idea!

No corporate protection

The corporate veil won’t shield corporate officers in these cases. Unlike some other liability protections that a corporation or limited liability company may have, business owners and executives can’t escape personal liability for payroll tax debts.

Once the IRS asserts the penalty, it can file a lien or take levy or seizure action […]

By |June 6th, 2019|employer, social security, tax, tax planning|0 Comments

Disabled Veterans in California Get a Tax Break

USA military man in uniform and civil man in suit shaking hands with certain USA state flag on background - California

Disabled veterans in California get a tax break. The California State Board of Equalization has announced increases in the property exemption amounts and the household income limit for disabled veterans’ exemptions for 2020. For the 2020 assessment year, the exemption amounts are $143,273 for the basic exemption (up from $139,437 for 2019) and $214,910 for the low-income exemption (up from $209,156 for 2019). The household income limit for those claiming the low-income exemption is $64,337 (up from $62,6147 for 2019). Contact your Linkenheimer CPA with questions.

By |June 3rd, 2019|tax planning, taxpayer|0 Comments

The Chances of IRS Audit are Down But You Should Still be Prepared

05_28_19_600669292_ITB_560x292

The IRS just released its audit statistics for the 2018 fiscal year, and fewer taxpayers had their returns examined as compared with prior years. However, even though a small percentage of tax returns are being chosen for audit these days, that will be little consolation if yours is one of them.

Latest statistics

Overall, just 0.59% of individual tax returns were audited in 2018, as compared with 0.62% in 2017. This was the lowest percentage of audits conducted since 2002.

However, as in the past, those with very high incomes face greater odds. For example, in 2018, 2.21% of taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes (AGIs) of between $1 million and $5 million were audited (down from 3.52% in 2017).

The richest taxpayers, those with AGIs of $10 million and more, experienced a steep decline in audits. In 2018, 6.66% of their returns were audited, compared with 14.52% in 2017.

By |June 3rd, 2019|audit, irs, tax planning, taxpayer|0 Comments

Three Questions You May Have After You File Your Return

04_16_19_1081186502_ITB_560x292

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