Small Business Tax Strategies

Suppose that a family member has to move into an assisted living facility (ALF). Al­­though nursing expenses are generally deductible as medical expenses, the lines can get blurred.

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If you started a new business venture in 2013, you may be in line for a special tax break for entrepreneurs. Strategy: Realize a fast write-off for “start-up costs.”

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Q. Didn’t the 2013 tax law finally eliminate the alternative minimum tax? R.B., Philadelphia

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Q. I’m going to donate a kidney to charity. Can I claim a charitable deduction?

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The tax landscape is littered with losing cases in which a taxpayer tried to deduct travel expenses for commuting to a permanent work site. No matter how far away the site is and how long it takes you to get there, the Tax Court will likely disallow any deduction.

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One of the biggest tax deductions for businesses is the Section 199 deduction. Strategy: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. This so-called “manufacturing deduction” can provide an effective tax rate cut of up to 3.15%.

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For the first time, you may have to pay the 3.8% Medicare surtax on “net investment income” (NII) on your 2013 tax return.

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The IRS has made it easier for small business owners to deduct home office expenses. You can elect to use the simplified method allowing a maximum $1,500 deduction. But don’t automatically take the “easy way.”

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The start of tax filing season for individuals—which was initially scheduled to kick off on Jan. 21, 2014—will officially open on Jan. 31, 2014, according to the latest IRS pronouncement.

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Do you operate your small business as a C corporation? It might have made sense to start out that way, but now you’re getting hit with “double tax”—once on the corporate level and once personally when the company pays you. Strategy: Elect to convert to S corporation status. But the deadline for the election is fast approaching.

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