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?

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The IRS just pulled the strings tighter on a tax loophole that it virtually closed last year. The agency issued a ruling that explains the tough new rules limiting deductions for charitable car donations. (IRS Notice 2005-44, Internal Revenue Bulletin 2005-25)

Instead of donating cash to charity, you might want to give away stock. Just remember to do things the right way.

Unfortunately, you can't deduct the value of your time and effort devoted to charity. But that doesn't mean your charitable deductions are limited to gifts of cash, stock or other assets.

Are you a rabid fan of your alma mater's sports teams or the local college powerhouse? There's a way you can pocket a nifty tax break while showing support for your favorite athletes.

If you plan to use an increasingly popular estate-planning tool—a charitable remainder trust (CRT)—be aware that you'll need to jump through some new hoops to preserve the trust's tax benefits.

So-called "donor-advised" funds have become immensely popular with wealthy charitable donors. But that tax strategy is now under the gun. The IRS is trying to ferret out which funds benefit donors themselves rather than fulfilling charitable intentions.

Conservation easements, in which landowners can earn tax deductions for preserving their open land, are rife with abuse, the IRS says. That's why the IRS is cracking down on these tax goodies for wealthy landowners. The IRS has already fingered 240 taxpayers for audits relating to this tactic, with another potential 100 donors on the hit list.

Issue: More employers are adding voluntary benefits to beef up their benefits lineup at little cost.
Risk: By linking such programs too closely to your organization, they could fall under ...

Q: I hired a contractor to build a deck on our house for $15,000. We gave him $5,000 up-front for materials, etc. Now he's skipped out and we can't find him. Can I deduct the $5,000 deposit as a casualty loss deduction? R.S., Blawenburg, N.J.

Q: I gave my daughter stock shares that I bought for $10,000. On the day I gave her the shares, they were worth about $12,000. Now, it's jumped to about $16,000, and I've advised her to sell. Is her taxable gain the full $6,000? P.L.A., Santa Barbara, Calif.