Question: I am 62, married and plan to retire in June. I know that I can start collecting 80 percent of my Social Security benefits this year, but I'll also be taxed on those benefits. Should I hold off collecting benefits until I reach 65 or later to avoid the tax? Or should I start taking benefits now because of the new Social Security proposals? (I'm in the 28 percent tax bracket.) – J.H., Columbus, Ohio
Small Business Tax
Section 179 vehicles should be a key part of your small business tax deduction strategies. Can Section 179 property fit in with your business tax strategies?
Let Business Management Daily help you get each and every rental property depreciation credit and business tax deduction you’re entitled to.
Uncle Sam wants your tax money ... now. So, if you aren't sending the IRS enough money in your quarterly tax installments, you may need to pay an extra interest-rate penalty.
Q: We run our business as an LLC (a husband and wife partnership) and have a SIMPLE retirement plan. The company deducts the contributions it matches for employees. Can it also deduct the matches for my husband and me? L.J.S.
If you're like most small business owners, your spouse does odds and ends around the office and pitches in when you need help. This is particularly true in the summer months when other employees take vacation leave.
You may have amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in your retirement savings accounts, or maybe even a million or more. When you finally tap into that money, you'll be taxed on the withdrawal at rates that could reach a staggering 35 percent, plus any state income taxes due.
If you're planning to hire your spouse, he or she (and your company) still must pay federal employment taxes on the wages. But don't let that scare you away from putting your spouse on the payroll. By shifting salary from your pocket to your spouse's pocket, you can successfully pay less in employment taxes than if you earned all the income yourself.
Q: I'm having a problem with my 2004 return, so I had to file an extension. My wife and I separated last year, and we're filing separate returns. I'm in the 25 percent tax bracket. If she claims the standard deduction as a head of household, do I need to do the same? B.S.F., Norfolk, Va.
The sheer complexity of the tax code causes many people to put their faith in anyone who promises tax-reduction magic. That's why the IRS rings its warning bell each spring, identifying the top tax scams being pitched by unscrupulous tax promoters.
Q: One of my business associates says top-heavy requirements exist for employee group insurance plans as well as 401(k) plans. Is that true? J.A., Monterey, Calif.
If your company owns a weekend retreat where you like to enjoy the great outdoors, you probably know that the IRS's "entertainment facility" rules typically prevent you from deducting depreciation and related expenses for the place, even if you entertain clients there.