Small Business Tax Strategies

Q. Can you take a goodwill deduction when you buy an existing business?

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Are state and local taxes taking a bigger bite out of your business revenue? A new study prepared by Ernst & Young, along with the Coun­­cil on State Taxation, reveals that businesses paid $671 billion in total state and local taxes in fiscal year 2013.

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Can you deduct the cost of fancy clothing you must wear to company events? Gen­erally, the answer is “no.” Deductions for work clothes are permitted only if the following two conditions are met.

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Do you own a vacation home you rent out during the winter months? The place could be a goldmine of tax deductions, but you may be hampered by the passive activity loss rules.

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A sharply divided Congress may be casting clouds of uncertainty over tax law changes, but that shouldn’t deter you from year-end planning.

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Q. What are the chances that the manufacturing deduction will be extended?

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In a recent mailing to about 5,000 tax return preparers, the IRS cautioned tax practitioners about using Social Security numbers, expired taxpayer ID numbers or numbers obtained before September 2010.

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The IRS issued new final capitalization regulations late last year. Generally, amounts paid to improve tangible property must be capitalized and depreciated over time, but the regulations provide a unique opportunity.

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Earlier this year, the Tax Court determined that the once-a-year limit on tax-free rollovers applies to all of a taxpayer’s IRAs, not each one separately. This contradicted the previous taxpayer-friendly interpretation of the rules by the IRS.

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If you own a small business operating on a calendar-year basis, now is the time to cash in on tax-saving opportunities while avoiding potential pitfalls.

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