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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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Q: The annuity I bought a couple of years ago charges high maintenance fees. Will I have to pay any penalties if I withdraw my funds and switch to a different investment with lower fees? C.R., Mt. Pocono, Pa.

Q: We have a vacation home at the Jersey shore. We normally only use the house ourselves two weeks in September. But this year my teenage son and his friends spent a few weekends there in the fall. Do we have a tax problem? G.A., Mahwah, N.J.

Say your parents or in-laws are semiretired and still earning a bit of income, but you're helping them financially. They also watch your young children while you and your spouse work.

You probably can't claim a dependency exemption for your parents because their income surpasses a certain level.

Seven years ago, my parents gave their house in upstate New York to the children and their spouses. (There are five of us; four are married.) My parents paid $150,000 for the house, and now it's worth more than $500,000. Now that both parents have passed away, we're thinking of selling the home. But we're not sure if that's a good idea from a tax perspective and whether we'd qualify for the home-sale exclusion. What do you think?

The 2003 tax law slashed income taxes for most taxpayers. But what if you show a net operating loss (NOL) and no taxable income at year-end?

If you're still handling payroll yourself, you know it's time consuming and prone to errors. So here's some good news: A new crop of online payroll services are popping up and—no coincidence—the costs are dropping fast.

You probably saw all the fanfare this month surrounding President Bush's signing of the Medicare reform law, the biggest rewrite of Medicare in its nearly 40 year history.

But, unless you're on Medicare, you probably thought the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act of 2003 contained nothing for you. Well, you were wrong.

Gain fast tax relief from a NOL.

 

Pay no tax instead of low tax.

... older Americans

Q: I've been working for 28 years at the same company and have accumulated a hefty pension. But I just read that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is running out of money. Will my pension still be protected? D.Z., Albuquerque, N.M.

With precious few days remaining in 2003, do you still need to realize a tax loss?

Treasury Department honchos have revived an idea that seemed dead just six months ago: consolidating many tax-preferred savings plans under two basic savings vehicles, lifetime savings accounts and retirement savings accounts.

One added reason that it's hard to watch your children leave the nest is that you lose a coveted dependency exemption. In 2003, the exemption equals a $3,050 subtraction from your taxable income.

Q: We are building a home that's nearly completed and have contracted to sell our current home. But now, our plans have changed. If we sell the home we're building, will we owe capital gains tax? B.L., Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Q: I have an outstanding loan for my oldest child's college tuition. I've received some credit card offers with lower rates than the existing college loan. Should I take one to pay off the college loan? K.H., Binghamton, N.Y.

Parents on your staff face a big-time dilemma if they've got kids approaching the college years: How are they going to pay the ever-increasing tuition bills?

Q: We own S corporation shares bought more than 12 months ago at $12 per share that now have a market value of $25 per share. If the shareholder dies, is the basis adjusted to market value at death? T.M., via e-mail

Staying one step ahead of the IRS isn't easy for most small businesses. One wrong step—a forgotten form, a lost receipt—could invite Uncle Sam's wrath.

Q: I'm buying rental property with my brother for $425,000. Although we are joint owners with 50 percent ownership rights each, I'm putting $50,000 down, and he is putting down only $30,000. Will I be taxed on more of the rental income? S.S., via e-mail

Many business owners enter into "split-dollar" life insurance arrangements, in which the employer and employee share the cost of life insurance. But the IRS recently changed the rules, making those plans less attractive.

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