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.
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.
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.
Do your aging parents live in a home that's soared in value? Chances are, they've paid off the house, so they're not claiming mortgage interest deductions anymore. Even if they still deduct mortgage interest, they're probably in a low tax bracket now, so those deductions don't do much good anyway.
Suppose business is booming and you've been able to gobble up one or more of your competitors. Your work force is growing, but that means you'll need to shell out more in payroll taxes.
Congress often tinkers with the tax code, but rarely does it throw business owners a brand-new deduction. That's why last year's tax law—the American Jobs Creation Act— created such a stir. Starting in 2005, the law authorizes a new write-off for qualified manufacturers that could eventually amount to a 3 percent rate cut.
As an S corporation owner, you can avoid the double taxation that plagues income earned by a regular C corporation. Instead of being taxed twice—once on the corporation level and once personally—income flows through to the S corporation shareholders. So, it's only taxed once at your personal level.
It took many years, but self-employed people are now even-steven with other business entities when it comes to deducting health insurance. They can write off 100 percent of their health insurance premiums, including amounts paid for family coverage, up to the business's amount of net income.
If you offer employees a tax-advantaged flexible spending account (FSA) program, the IRS recently said you can give them an extra 21/2-month "grace period" beyond the plan year to spend their FSA dollars.
When you started your small business, you poured most of your earnings back into the operation. Unfortunately, that didn't leave much cash for retirement savings. Now that your business is running smoothly, you may hope to make up for lost ground—and fast.
Q: My bank told me that it reports any cash deposits above $10,000 to the IRS. But that money doesn't represent taxable income from a job or an investment; it's nobody's business but my own. Does the bank have to report that? J.H., Plymouth, Mass.