Small Business Tax Strategies

Q. I’m using the flat rate auto deduction for business travel. I had an accident costing me $3,000 out-of-pocket. Can I deduct it? K.U., Burlington, Vt.

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The IRS is backing away from two e-filing services used by tax pros.

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Do you own a life insurance policy? If so, the proceeds from the policy will be included in your taxable estate when you die. Strategy: Set up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT). Then transfer ownership of the policy to the ILIT. Accordingly, the life insurance proceeds are removed from your estate.

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The early bird often gets the worm. So you might not wait until the waning days of the year to harvest capital losses from selling securities held in taxable brokerage firm accounts.

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Q. I’m getting divorced and won’t likely have any salary of my own this year. Can I still contribute to an IRA for 2013?

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The SSA Office of the Chief Actuary projects that the Social Secu­­rity wage base will increase from $113,700 for 2013 to $115,500 for 2014.

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Q. My partner has convinced me to buy iPads for all our employees. Can we deduct the full cost? S.B., Cincinnati

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The Section 179 deduction is as good as it’s ever been. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) extended the maximum allowance to $500,000 through tax years beginning in 2013. Strategy: Stretch to buy extra equipment this year.

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You’re probably well aware of the benefits of using a Section 529 to save money for a child’s college education. But you may not know how to bulk up a child’s account faster without any gift tax problems. Here’s how.

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If you conduct administrative duties at home and you have no other fixed location where you conduct such activities, you can qualify for home office deductions. The rules in this area were changed by the Tax­­payer Relief Act of 1997 in the wake of a land­­mark Supreme Court case. Now it’s easier for self-employed individuals to take write-offs.

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