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Small Business Tax Strategies

Real estate values are scorching hot in many parts of the United States. If you’re sitting on some big-time appreciated property, check out the following three strategies for minimizing your tax bill

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Yes, the new 15 percent top rate on capital gains is good news for real estate investors. But if you sell investment property, your actual tax bill can be much higher than 15 percent of your gains, due to earlier depreciation deductions. (Gains from prior depreciation write-offs are taxed at a 25 percent maximum federal rate.)

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Q: My company pays a flat 30 cents a mile rate for car expenses. Can I deduct the difference between my costs and 30 cents per mile? A.Z., Atlanta, Ga.

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In colonial times, governments posted debtors’ names in the town square to embarrass them into paying up. More states are doing the same thing, with a 21st century twist: They’re launching Web sites that list companies and individuals who owe big back-tax bills.

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Whether you received a big refund this year or owed a bunch, now’s the time to alter your salary withholding or estimated tax payments so you won’t run into the same situation next year.

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Your company can claim the disabled access tax credit for money spent making the business more accessible to disabled people.

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As the cost of gas continues to soar, more people are rethinking the way they write off their business driving expenses.

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Q: I just started a new sales job in which I’m required to keep valuable samples at home. So I have decided to install a pretty expensive home security system. Can I deduct that cost as a home-office expense? R.N.T, Springfield, Ill.

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Q: I am the 50 percent owner of an S corporation. Can I deduct company-paid health insurance premiums on my personal return without forfeiting the expense due to the reduction in itemized deductions? J.L., via e-mail

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