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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Mark mid-April on your calendar. That's when Tax Freedom Day, the symbolic day when U.S. taxpayers' annual earnings to date surpass the taxes they'll pay that year.

Q: I realized a large long-term stock loss early in 2003 when the capital gain tax rate was still 20 percent. But I had to carry over part of the loss because I had little stock gain in 2003. Do I have to use the loss to offset gain taxed at only 15 percent in 2004? S.T.P., Lake Geneva, Wis.

Q: I am 72 and work part time. I earned $15,000 from my part-time job last year. Can I contribute to an IRA for the 2003 tax year? D.W., Jacksonville, Fla.

Q: I read your recent article about filing separate tax returns. If my wife and I file separately, do we simply split our itemized deductions? G.S., Manchester, N.H.

Thanks to the recent Bush tax acts, you can deduct on your 2003 tax return either 30 percent or 50 percent of the cost of qualifying new assets that you bought and placed in service last year. The remaining amount is then depreciated using standard tax rules.

Instead of grabbing your maximum first-year depreciation write-off (as described above), you can choose another route: Mix and match depreciation methods to claim a smaller first-year depreciation write-off and thereby fine-tune your business's 2003 taxable income level.

Q: I run two sole proprietorships out of my house. Do I need to use separate rooms for each business if I want to claim home-office deductions? W.D., Smyrna, Ga.

Before wrapping up your business tax return, rack your brain (and your records) to make sure you haven't missed any juicy write-offs.

March 15 isn't just the deadline for corporations to file 2003 calendar-year income tax returns. It's also the deadline for calendar-year C corporations to switch to S corporation status for 2004.

1. Self-employed? Deduct full health premium

Finally, self-employed people can write off 100 percent of their health insurance premiums (up from 70 percent in 2002).

Note:

You can reap significant additional tax savings by making your spouse an employee of your sole proprietorship or single-member LLC and setting up a medical expense reimbursement plan. That strategy could let you deduct all your family's health costs (including uninsured expenses) on Schedule C, plus it could lower your self-employment tax bill.

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