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Small Business Tax Strategies

Despite the recent talk in Congress about alternative minimum tax (AMT) reform (see page 3), the "stealth tax" is still expected to hit millions of unsuspecting taxpayers this year … maybe even you.

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All work and no play can make Jack (or Jill) a disgruntled employee or client. So, you may decide to treat some of your top customers or valued employees to an outing as the summer draws to a close. By knowing the tax-law rules for entertainment costs, you can double your pleasure with top-dollar write-offs.

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A business that operates heavy-duty vehicles must pay a heavy tax when it hits the road: the heavy-duty vehicle use tax (also called the federal "highway use" tax).

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If you operate a manufacturing company and need to clean up land contaminated with hazardous waste, how do you treat the cleanup costs for tax purposes? The IRS clarified that issue in a new ruling last month. (IRS Revenue Ruling 2005-42)

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It’s not too often that we advise you to turn up your nose at a tax break. But if you’re selling real estate this year, you may want to pay more tax than required up-front. Why? Because you’ll end up ahead of the game in the end.

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Q: We’re a midsize company and plan to introduce a SIMPLE plan for our employees. But we’re close to the 100-employee maximum. Do we have to count part-timers even if they won’t be eligible for the SIMPLE plan? E.M., Corpus Christi, Texas

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Does your teenage child have a summer job? Even though the pay may be paltry, the job is a valuable life experience. Now, you can teach your child another lesson … about tax savings.

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Just before Congress ran home for August recess, it passed a major energy bill that includes a few tax breaks aimed at consumers, manufacturers and home builders. President Bush signed the bill on Aug. 8.

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Q: I retired earlier this year, but I’m starting a consulting business as a sole proprietor. In my line of work, I’ll need to use subcontractors. But won’t I be taxed in full on the 1099s that I receive from my customers? L.L., Pittsburgh

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Q: I’ve been a hands-on owner in a machine shop for the past 30 years. Because of the noise in the shop, I had to buy a hearing aid that cost me about $5,500. Can I deduct that as a business expense? R.M.A., Grand Rapids, Mich.

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