Small Business Tax Strategies

Don’t trip over the tricky tax rules for property-tax rebates.

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Q. My parents want to give my sister and me $150,000 each to help pay for our children’s college expenses. (My sister and I have a total of five kids.) But the gift would come in the form of stock shares. Won’t we owe a lot of tax when we sell the stock? And won’t my parents have to pay gift tax? Is there a better way to handle this?

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If you’ve never heard of a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust, you should have.

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Even if you’re just a casual seller on eBay or a similar Internet auction service, you still must deal with tax consequences.

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Q: A small nonprofit asked me to set up a Web site for their organization. If I don’t charge any fees, can I deduct my services as a charitable contribution? G.R., New York, N.Y.

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Q: When my friend retired several years ago, she did not roll over her company stock into an IRA. (She had bought some of the stock and her employer gave her some.) If she sells the stock, will it be taxed as capital gain? F.G., King of Prussia, Pa.

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Q: We sold our home in 1995 and took advantage of the full $125,000 home-sale gain exclusion available at that time. Now, we’re looking to sell both our main Connecticut home and our winter home in Florida. Can we benefit from the home-sale exclusion again for either (or both) of these houses? H.R., New Canaan, Conn.

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Q: I’m 62 and now work part time. If I choose to receive partial Social Security benefits this year, will I have to pay Social Security tax on my wages if I’m taxed on the benefits? R.O., Cleveland, Ohio

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Suppose you’re in the market for a new business vehicle. You go down to the local showroom, kick the tires and try to wrangle the best deal. Normally, the dealer will agree to a trade-in value for your old car that reduces the cash you have to lay out for the new one.

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Q: In the past few years, I’ve used my personal car for business about 75 percent of the time. Now, I’m going to buy a new car and will probably trade in the old one or sell it privately. Can I still get a depreciation deduction for the old car this year? M.C., Manchester, N.H.

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