As the economy heats up, you’ll need to work harder to retain good employees. One good tactic: Set up an employee-achievement-award program. If you handle things the right way, they are tax-free to employees and fully deductible by your company.
The IRS offers several ways to find out.
After sending off your return, you’ll probably trash old documents and files. Beware: Scam artists can steal your identity by rummaging through your garbage bags.
Do you plan to raid your retirement plan early? If you use the money for medical payments, you can avoid the usual 10 percent penalty tax on early withdrawals.
Q: I operate a small relocation company with 10 full-time employees and a few part-timers. We don’t have a retirement plan. I remember reading something recently about a tax break for setting up a plan. Is there such a break? E.R.M., Chicago, Ill.
Q: I’m 56, my wife is 55 and both of our kids graduated from college. I maxed out my 403(b) plan at work last year, but I still want to increase my retirement savings. If we’re over the income limit for Roth IRAs, can we both contribute to nondeductible IRAs? T.R., Logan, Utah
Q: I am a private attorney going into practice. With the new 15 percent tax rate on dividends, am I better off tax-wise setting up the practice as a personal service C corporation, rather than a self-employed taxpayer filing Schedule C? J.J., Los Angeles, Calif.
Q: I’m investing in dividend-paying stocks in a foreign country. Because of withholding by the government, the dividends are substantially reduced. Do I have to pay tax on the full amount of the dividends? W.L., Braintree, Mass.
For many U.S. taxpayers, "March Mad-ness" has nothing to do with college basketball. It’s all about dashing around gathering receipts, filling out forms, meeting with your tax guru and hoping you’ll emerge victorious in the 1040 game.
Lower rates. The 27, 30, 35 and 38.6 percent individual federal rates that applied for 2002 are reduced to 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent, respectively, for 2003. The 10 and 15 percent federal rates are unchanged.