Small Business Tax Strategies

Here’s a roundup of happenings in payroll tax, social security and the IRS.

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Common occurrence: A worker overpays FICA tax due to a change in jobs or other circumstances. It could easily happen to you or someone else in your family. Depending on the situation, you might use one of three techniques for recovering a FICA overpayment.

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It may have made sense to start your small business as a C corporation, but now you’re getting hit with “double tax” each year—once at the corporate level and again on amounts distributed to you that are treated as taxable dividends.Elect S corporation status. Because there’s no corporate-level tax, you pay tax only once on business profits. This is often the best option for small business owners.

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If you withdraw funds from an IRA before age 59½, you’re generally assessed a 10% penalty tax on the taxable portion of the early withdrawal, in addition to the regular income tax liability, unless a special exception applies. Currently, the threshold for deducting qualified medical expenses is 10% of adjusted gross income or 7.5% of AGI if you’re age 65 or older. The IRS interprets these rules narrowly, and it often prevails in the courts. 

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Believe it or not, tax return filing season starts up in a matter of weeks (if not sooner). Here are six steps for getting ready to file your 2015 return.

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“Oftentimes, businesses can get bogged down by incorrect information during reporting season, adding unnecessary confusion that can lead to penalties and fines due to unintentional noncompliance,” Bob Nault, CEO of Greatland says. “By understanding the deadlines, penalties and changing regulations, especially the new ACA regulations this year, reporting season can suddenly become a lot less stressful,” he says. Following is Greatland’s list for this tax season.

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Employer-paid disability income insurance can be a valuable fringe benefit for employees, but it comes with a potential tax price. Depending on how you handle things, you may have to pay tax on the coverage sooner or later. Weigh your options. Then choose the tax route that’s best for your particular situation.

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On Nov. 2, 2015, the president inked the Bipartisan Budget Act, ending two popular strategies for Social Security benefits. There’s still time for some workers to take advantage of the strategies. But the window of opportunity will close shortly.

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Did your company overpay estimated taxes in 2015 because of lower-than-expected holiday sales or other fluctuations in income? Don’t wait until the filing date for 2015 returns—March 15, 2016, for calendar-year corporations—to recover the excess.

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With the onset of cold weather in many parts of the country, grandparents of college-bound children may seek some warmth in a smart tax-saving device. Investigate the possibilities offered by a HEET.

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