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.
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 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: My husband and I have lived in our home for 32 years. We bought it for about $80,000, and now it's worth more than $500,000. My husband died last year, and I'm planning to sell the home. I read about the $250,000 home-sale tax exclusion for single people and $500,000 for married people. Am I limited to $250,000? A.T., Rockaway, N.J.
The March 15 deadline for filing a 2003 corporation tax return is approaching quickly. (See tax calendar, page 5.) Rather than slapping together your tax paperwork at the last minute, punt. You can earn a six-month extension by filing Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Corporate Income Tax Return, and paying what you estimate you owe.
Q: I'm wondering about the repercussions of the break in the relationship between gift and estate taxes. If I make a $1 million gift in 2004 and pay no gift tax by using up my gift-tax exemption, will I still have an unreduced estate-tax exemption of $2 million in 2008? L.S., New York, N.Y.
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.
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.
Before wrapping up your business tax return, rack your brain (and your records) to make sure you haven't missed any juicy write-offs.