Small Business Tax Strategies

Q: My father passed away this year at age 69, and I am the sole beneficiary of his IRA. Do I have to take out all the money within five years? S.D., Massapequa, N.Y.

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Q: My wife was just laid off from her job. She was told she’d receive a package in the mail about COBRA health insurance. It’s been more than a week, and it hasn’t arrived. Is this breaking the law? K.B., Hillsborough, N.J.?

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Q: After my father passed away, investment property he owned was destroyed by fire. The insurance reimbursement didn’t cover the actual loss. Can his estate deduct the difference? E.R., Fairfield, Calif.

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Now that tax-filing season is over, ask yourself one simple question: How satisfied are you with your tax adviser?

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Q: My son made lots of charitable contributions last year, but he usually uses only the standard deduction. Is it true that he can deduct charity deductions only if he itemizes on Schedule A? O.D., New York, N.Y.

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Q: I recently acquired stock in a closely held company. Can I contribute the stock to my IRA? P.A., Hermosa Beach, Calif.

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Small business owners like you often face diversification and liquidity problems because most of your wealth is tied up in the company. If your business experiences a serious reversal, your personal assets could be depleted.

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With the economy picking up, applicants can be choosier when shopping for a new job. That’s means they’ll more closely examine your benefits package when considering whether to join your team.

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Tell the IRS you’re on the move. The IRS is only required to send notices to your "last-known address." So if you don’t send the IRS a change of address form (Form 8822), you usually can’t claim that you weren’t notified in time. But you may be able to rely on your other IRS filings. Recent case: The Tax Court ruled that a taxpayer had provided "clear and concise" notification of an address change when he filed a power of attorney (Form 2848). (Hunter, TC Memo 2004-81)

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Q: I have several IRAs and just turned 70, so I must start taking withdrawals next year. Do I have to take money out of each IRA? A.S., Yardley, Pa.

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