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.

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Common situation: You've remarried and both you and your spouse have children from previous marriages. If you leave most of your fortune to your surviving spouse, it appears at first glance that you'll face no major estate-tax concerns. But there's no guarantee the money will ever wind up in your kids' hands. The current estate-tax exemption can cover direct transfers to your children of up to $1.5 million, but that's all.

If you hit the jackpot at a casino, racetrack or other gambling venue, you can reduce the tax on your winnings by offsetting those winnings with your gambling losses. But you must keep good records and those losses must be claimed as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on your tax return.

With gasoline prices shooting through the roof, the IRS took the unusual step last month of increasing the standard mileage rate deduction for the final four months of the year.

Starting in 2006, taxpayers will be able to give cash gifts of up to $12,000 to each recipient without facing gift-tax issues. That's up from $11,000 this year. Married couples can give twice as much.

"Passive activity loss" (PAL) rules say that losses from passive activities are limited to annual passive activity income. In general, rental real estate is treated as a passive activity.

Q: My daughter is a college freshman and I bought her a new laptop through the school. Does that qualify for a tax-free withdrawal? C.K., Syracuse, N.Y.

The first piece of our audit series explained how you can breeze through an IRS "correspondence audit" conducted through the mail. But the stakes are considerably higher—as is the stress level—if you're tapped for an IRS "office audit."

Q: I bought stock for about $5,000 and gave it to my son when it was worth $4,000. Now the stock has fallen further and is worth about $3,500. My broker says my son will only have a $500 loss (not $1,500) if he sells it. Is that true? E.B., Miami

In the waning days of summer, President Bush signed the highly anticipated Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005. The massive new energy law contains almost $15 billion in tax cuts designed to encourage conservation, expand domestic energy production and develop alternative energy sources.

Q: I'm still confused about guaranteed withdrawal benefits and guaranteed monthly income benefits available with some variable annuities. I am interested in the guaranteed monthly income benefit. Can you explain the difference? V.G., via e-mail