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Small Business Tax Strategies

Q: I bought stock for about $5,000 and gave it to my son when it was worth $4,000. Now the stock has fallen further and is worth about $3,500. My broker says my son will only have a $500 loss (not $1,500) if he sells it. Is that true? E.B., Miami

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Q: I’m still confused about guaranteed withdrawal benefits and guaranteed monthly income benefits available with some variable annuities. I am interested in the guaranteed monthly income benefit. Can you explain the difference? V.G., via e-mail

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Q: If I inscribe the name of my business on the side panels of my car, can I write off the full cost of my car expenses? My accountant isn’t sure. L.D., West Mifflin, Pa.

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Health insurance costs continue to skyrocket without any end in sight. As a result, companies both large and small are exploring alternate means to cover their employees.

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As you thumb through the mail one day, an unassuming letter catches your eye. Return address: The IRS. You nervously tear open the envelope and your worst fears are confirmed: The IRS has chosen your return for a correspondence audit.

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If you operate a business that’s open to the public, you’re legally required to make the premises accessible to disabled customers. That may include creating wheelchair ramps, wider aisles or reconfiguring your restrooms.

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Q: I bought a second home computer recently because my new job requires communication at all times, and my kids are always on our other computer. I use the new machine to interact with clients from home. Since my employer is all for it, can I deduct the computer’s cost? M.L.P., New York

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Question: I’m retiring before the end of the year at age 64. My accountant says I’ve earned too much salary this year to receive any Social Security benefits. I thought the earnings test was eliminated years ago. If not, is there anything I can do now? Or do I have to work longer? — J.M.B., Boise, Idaho

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Q: I’m thinking about retiring early and moving to a foreign country to avoid U.S. income taxes. Will I still be taxed on retirement income from my pension plan and IRAs? J.L.S., Spokane, Wash.

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Q: I’m selling my house this year and moving into our beach condo. I’ll also eventually sell the condo, so I want to avoid paying tax on that sale, too. Can I call both of these houses my principal residence this year? T.H., Wilmington, Del.

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