Small Business Tax Strategies

Now that fall is arriving, it’s time for the kids to go back to school. If your grandchildren attend college or private school, your adult children (their parents) may be struggling with ever-rising tuition costs. How can you help?

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Q. My father turned 70½ in 2014 but died early in 2015. Did he need to take an RMD from IRAs for 2014?

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A tax that is often thought to be a remnant of days long gone by can still come back to haunt business owners.

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Saving more for retirement is easier said than done, especially if you’re currently strapped for cash. But there’s a painless strategy to make it happen.

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As a general rule, legal fees incurred by a business are deductible when they arise in the context of a business activity. This is based on the origin and character of the claim.

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We’re often asked about tax consequences surrounding environmental cleanup costs. The answer is usually pretty much the same: Cleanup costs must be capitalized, so there’s no current write-off for the employer. Strategy: Take a different approach for removing mold from a business building.

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If you need cash for a personal expense such as a child’s wedding, you may have more tax-smart options at your disposal than you think. Strategy: Consider withdrawing funds from a Roth IRA.

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If you help an elderly parent or in-law make ends meet, you probably still won’t be able to claim a dependency exemption for the relative because of the “gross income limit.” But there may be a way to get around the tax rules if the relative watches your young children while you and your spouse work.

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It’s almost time for the kids to go back to school. How about you? Strategy: Take some classes related to your business.

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The home sale gain exclusion for a principal residence is one of the biggest tax benefits on the books. But you can’t claim any tax breaks for a personal home if you sell it at a loss, whether or not it’s your principal residence. Strategy: Convert your home into an investment property. In other words, hold it out for rent to tenants.

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