Small Business Tax Strategies

The IRS will begin knocking on the doors of hundreds of tax preparers in the next few months. It has launched a program for agents to investigate faulty claims for the earned income credit (EIC).

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The DOL has announced the final list of states where em­­ployers will owe extra FUTA for 2013.

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The IRS has already announced that the government’s shutdown in October will delay tax filing season by a week or two. Strategy: If you use a pro to handle your return, make things easier with these five steps.

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Q. Can my wife and I both claim a home office de­­duc­­tion for the same space? N.R., Chester, N.J.

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Due to the federal estate tax ex­­emp­­tion “portability” provision for married couples, some estate planners say that the bypass trust, previously a staple of estate planning, has been rendered obsolete. Portability was permanently extended by ATRA. Strategy: Don’t junk the bypass trust concept just yet.

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The Social Security wage base for 2014 is $117,000, up $3,300 from 2013. But the tax rate for both employers and employees is scheduled to remain at 7.65% on wages up to the base and 1.45% above that.

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Tax reform is still on the table. But what are the chances it will ever be served to the taxpaying public?

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If you’re responsible for willfully failing to deposit federal employment taxes withheld from employee wages with the IRS in a timely fashion, you may be held personally liable for 100% of the unpaid amount. In the latest example, a sole shareholder was found personally liable, despite her limited involvement with the company.

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Q. Can my company legally set up a scholarship program rewarding my kids? M.A., Anchorage, Alaska

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How much of your budget is allocated to fringe benefits? In the past, this may have represented just a sliver, but now employee benefits frequently take a much larger piece of the pie. Strategy: Set up a Section 125 “cafeteria plan” that provides a menu of tax-favored fringe benefits to choose from.

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