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Small Business Tax Strategies

If you’ve created a trust or are a trustee or beneficiary, you need to pay attention to the IRS’ newly revised definition of "income" for trusts.

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Q. I retired earlier this year at 62 when I became eligible for Social Security benefits. During my career, I accumulated a big pension, which I rolled tax-free into an IRA. Now that the IRA’s value has fallen due to the stock market, my accountant advised me to convert the IRA into a Roth IRA. This doesn’t make sense to me because I’ll be stuck paying tax on an account that can still lose money. What do you think?

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Q: We sold a residential rental property last year at a substantial gain. I know we can deduct the property taxes. Can we also deduct the selling fees and closing costs? L.C., Ormond Beach, Fla.

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Q: In a recent issue, you wrote about the benefits of Health Savings Accounts. (12/29/03 issue) I am the owner of an S corporation. As the principal, can I use an HSA? J.L., via e-mail

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Q: I am single and earned $79,040 from my regular job in 2003. But I also had $15,233 in self-employment (SE) income. The IRS says I have to pay the full self-employment tax on the additional earnings. Is this true? D.A., Needham, Mass.

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If you’re an owner/executive of a C corporation, it’s time to sit down with your tax adviser to see if your compensation passes IRS muster.

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One of the good things about owning a business is that you can give yourself some nice perks, like a company car. This Special Report explains strategies to: (1) minimize the tax hit on corporate-owned cars provided to you and other key employees and (2) maximize the tax savings for your corporation.

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Uncle Sam often examines deductible travel expenses through a magnifying glass. So both employers and employees must meet strict recordkeeping rules—or face the consequences.

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Q: I thought I read in your publication recently that I would be entitled to certain tax deductions not normally allowed if I was a corporate officer living next door to my business. Is this correct? P.B.W., Grantville, Pa.

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Q: Our small company does not have a retirement plan. Can the company contribute to a Roth IRA on my behalf if I’m one of the company principals? P.H., Columbia, Md.

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