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Small Business Tax Strategies

If you plan to pack up and move after retirement, you’ll probably weigh various factors when eyeing a landing spot, including climate, crime rate and recreational opportunities.

But here’s another to put on the list: the state’s tax structure.

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The steadily falling mortgage interest rates of the last couple years are now edging back up. But if you refinanced this year, you probably didn’t realize that claiming a bigger interest deduction on your 2003 tax return is possible, even if your overall mortgage payment is less than before.

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My husband and I divorced earlier this year. As part of the agreement, some of my ex-husband’s IRA was transferred into my name. I was told that we both need to file a form that indicates a change of basis. But I thought this exchange was tax-free. How can I avoid the tax?

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Q: In a recent article, you said the Section 179 equipment write-off is available for used SUVs. (See 10/20/03 issue.) When I was car shopping, I mentioned that to a few dealers, but they said the tax break was available only for new vehicles. Was your article correct? G.S., St. Paul, Minn.

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Q: I am a self-employed contractor and take in about $90,000 a year from my business. You said the new maximum expensing allowance is now $100,000, so can I write off the entire cost of a new $30,000 piece of equipment if I buy it in December? M.W., Lynbrook, N.Y.

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Request an itemized invoice from your attorney when updating your will as part of your estate plan.

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Next year’s estate-tax exemption increase—from $1 million to $1.5 million—will prompt many people to tweak their estate plans. (See article above.) If you’re meeting with your tax adviser about those topics, you should also review aspects of your estate plan that don’t involve taxes.

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IRS UPDATE

by Small Business Tax Strategies on December 1, 2003 12:00am

in Small Business Tax

More reason to avoid tax protester groups.

 

Expect IRS to budge little on tax bill ‘compromise.’

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Frequently, a divorcing couple can’t agree on which of them should claim the dependency exemptions for the children. If you can’t decide, the court will do it for you. And that could yield the worst possible result for you.

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Q: My neighbor went to a retirement planning seminar and talks about a new concept called "split annuities." Are split annuities tax-deferred like regular annuities? J.Z., Mayo, Fla.

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Q: I’ve heard that I might pay tax on Social Security benefits because of the tax-free income earned by my IRAs and Roth IRAs. How can this be true? R.S., Eagle, Colo.

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Correction about claiming gambling losses.

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Can I deduct the cost of a safe-deposit box?

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