Small Business Tax Strategies

Q: As always, I mailed my 2003 tax return as soon as possible. But soon after I mailed it, my broker sent me a corrected Form 1099 that restated dividend income. Do I have to file an amended return, even though it was the brokerage firm’s error? K.R., Crawfordsville, Ind.

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The IRS is holding more than $2.5 billion in unclaimed refunds for 2 million people who failed to file tax returns for the 2000 tax year.

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Looks like you’ll pay for the financial sins of Martha Stewart and the rest of her corporate-scandal cohorts.

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Relax; take an automatic extension.

 

Buy extra time for hardship situations.

 

Postpone payments when living abroad.

 

Military taxpayers earn extra time to file.

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Section 529 plans are the best way to save for college. Withdrawals are totally free from federal income taxes. But if you’ve been dragging your feet about launching a Section 529 plan, you have new incentive to act quickly

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Q. I set up a Roth IRA in late 1999. I’m turning 59 in May, so I’m wondering when I can start taking tax-free distributions from the Roth. Do I have to wait until the account has been open exactly five years or can I begin distributions any time this year?

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President Bush is once again pushing Congress to radically reshape America’s savings plan system, creating three new tax-preferred investment accounts.

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Q: I invested in a variable annuity when I was 39. Now that I’m 52, I want to begin withdrawals to help pay my daughter’s college expenses. Will I have to pay an early withdrawal penalty? D.T., Raleigh, N.C.

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The numbers are deceiving: IRS gum-shoes audited only 0.57 percent of individual tax returns in fiscal year 2002. The rate isn’t much higher (only 1.45 percent) for Schedule C filers with incomes above $100,000.

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Double your tax credits for children.

 

Go ‘back to school’ for extra credit.

 

Clean up on your tax return.

 

Make the credit child’s play.

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