Small Business Tax Strategies

If you donate intellectual property (such as patents) to charity, you can claim a tax deduction for your generosity. But the 2004 tax law restricts what you can deduct.

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Are you ready for a computer upgrade? If the answer is "yes," don’t just toss out your old equipment.

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The IRS just pulled the strings tighter on a tax loophole that it virtually closed last year. The agency issued a ruling that explains the tough new rules limiting deductions for charitable car donations. (IRS Notice 2005-44, Internal Revenue Bulletin 2005-25)

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Instead of donating cash to charity, you might want to give away stock. Just remember to do things the right way.

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Unfortunately, you can’t deduct the value of your time and effort devoted to charity. But that doesn’t mean your charitable deductions are limited to gifts of cash, stock or other assets.

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Are you a rabid fan of your alma mater’s sports teams or the local college powerhouse? There’s a way you can pocket a nifty tax break while showing support for your favorite athletes.

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Do your aging parents live in a home that’s soared in value? Chances are, they’ve paid off the house, so they’re not claiming mortgage interest deductions anymore. Even if they still deduct mortgage interest, they’re probably in a low tax bracket now, so those deductions don’t do much good anyway.

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Suppose business is booming and you’ve been able to gobble up one or more of your competitors. Your work force is growing, but that means you’ll need to shell out more in payroll taxes.

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Congress often tinkers with the tax code, but rarely does it throw business owners a brand-new deduction. That’s why last year’s tax law—the American Jobs Creation Act— created such a stir. Starting in 2005, the law authorizes a new write-off for qualified manufacturers that could eventually amount to a 3 percent rate cut.

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As an S corporation owner, you can avoid the double taxation that plagues income earned by a regular C corporation. Instead of being taxed twice—once on the corporation level and once personally—income flows through to the S corporation shareholders. So, it’s only taxed once at your personal level.

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