Small Business Tax Strategies

Q: I started my own consulting business in 2004 after I lost my corporate job. Instead of accepting my state tax refund from 2004, I chose to apply it to my state taxes for 2005. Do I owe federal income tax on that amount? N.H., Tenafly, N.J.

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The IRS recognizes that domestic abuse can cause financial, as well as physical and emotional, distress. It just issued Publication 3865, Tax Information for Survivors of Domestic Abuse.

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Estate planning isn’t a one-way street. Sometimes, you’re on the receiving end of the dollars, instead of the giving end. Example: You may be in line for a hefty inheritance when a parent passes away.

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Do you own rental property that’s been producing a marginal profit or a loss the past few years? Short of raising the rent again, you’re fighting an uphill battle as your expenses continue to grow.

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For many parents, the day of reckoning is right around the corner: the time when you start paying those hefty college tuition bills for your children. Even if you’ve been preparing for this day your entire adult life, you (and/or your child) may be forced to seek loans or other financing to pick up the slack.

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Hurricane season has begun, summer brush fires have plagued the West and other parts of the country are likely to be hit by other natural disasters this summer.

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Normally, you can’t deduct the cost of traveling back and forth from work every day. The IRS considers this a nondeductible commuting expense. But that tax story may change if you’re working at a location that’s different from your regular workplace.

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If you’re among the millions of self-employed Americans who opted for an automatic filing extension, enjoy the summer while you can. Just remember that the due date for filing your 2004 tax return isn’t far off. It’s Aug. 15, 2005.

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Q: My mother has extensive medical expenses that aren’t fully covered by insurance. But the tax deduction doesn’t do her much good because her income is low. Can I deduct the expenses if I pay them for her? L.L., Bangor, Maine

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Q: I’m retiring soon and would like to move to a low-tax state. Do you know where I can find this information? J.B., Jericho, N.Y.

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