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Small Business Tax Strategies

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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Q: You’ve explained the wash-sale rule in the past. But I bought a stock that I had sold at a loss less than 30 days earlier. I did so because it suddenly rebounded and I couldn’t wait any longer. If I sell the stock again, but this time at a gain, is my basis adjusted for the prior loss? N.W., Deal, N.J.

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The proliferation of S corporations has not gone unnoticed by the IRS. S corporations are now the most common corporate entity, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all corporate returns filed.

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The push to audit S corporations (described above) is part of a larger IRS initiative to examine more returns, particularly of small business owners. Don’t think you’re immune just because you’ve been able to fly under the radar so far.

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For busy businesspeople, cell phones, laptops, PDAs and other portable devices are essential. Usually, the company buys such devices and gives them to higher-ups and other employees who need them.

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Normally, you must depreciate the cost of business or commercial real estate over 39 years. In comparison, you can depreciate residential rental property much faster over 27.5 years.

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Unless you’re a CPA or a tax nerd, the term MACRS can be daunting. It stands for Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, which is the standard federal-income tax method for depreciating the cost of your business assets.

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New proposed IRS regulations give the green light to using electronic means to send benefit plan information to employees and beneficiaries that is otherwise required in writing.

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The IRS plans to give you even more time to complete your 2005 individual Form 1040 next year.

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Do you need extra cash to pay for your child’s (or your own) college tuition? When you’ve exhausted other conventional sources, you can turn to your IRA in a pinch, even if you’re younger than the age generally required for penalty-free distributions.

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