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Small Business Tax Strategies

The IRS just released a new CD titled "Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) Resource Guide for Small Business Owners and Individuals."

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Where can you turn if you’re retired and strapped for cash? When you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, you may hear pitches to tap into your home’s equity by securing a "reverse mortgage."

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Is your child going off to college or prep school this fall? If so, write off the portion of the tuition that’s attributable to health care as a medical expense. If the school doesn’t automatically provide a breakdown of your child’s tuition costs, ask for one.

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When you own an S corporation, the company’s gains are your gains and its losses are your losses. All the income and expense are passed through to the company’s shareholders. But the IRS limits the amount that you can claim as a loss to your basis in the stock, plus any outstanding loans directly from you to the corporation.

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Q: My father is retired and living in a retirement community. He insists that he doesn’t have to file a tax return anymore. Is there a maximum age for filing? J.W., Old Tappan, N.J.

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Q: I opened a Roth IRA on March 15, 2001. Can I start taking tax-free withdrawals this year? D.D., Mission Viejo, Calif.

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Q: We’re confused about your item regarding a separated spouse who files as a "head of household" and claims the standard deduction (see 4/18/05 issue). You say that if the situation was "the other way around," the person would be required to itemize. Can you elaborate? P.B.S., via e-mail

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Taxpayer use of the Telefile system, which allows you to use a touch-tone phone to file simple IRS forms, has dropped due to other electronic-filing options.

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A new IRS audit guide points out fringe-benefit issues that are ripe for abuse by execs, including club memberships, no-cost or low-cost loans and employer-paid vacations.

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It’s already Memorial Day, so summer is right around the corner. While you’re enjoying the warmer weather, heat up your tax savings with some timely tax techniques.

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