With precious little fanfare, the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 revamped the rules for dependency exemptions. It created a uniform definition of "child" and relaxed the requirements for certain taxpayers. But the old rules still apply in some situations, resulting in even greater confusion for taxpayers. Here's a quick primer on the old rules, plus how you can take advantage of the new rules.
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.
Have you joined the millions of taxpayers who use computer software to complete their tax returns? For do-it-yourselfers, it's usually faster and easier than plowing through the paper version, and at a relatively low cost.
Q: I am the executor of my parents' estates. My father passed away two years ago and my mother this February. Can I redirect part of my inheritance from my mother to a charity? S.J.P., Longmont, Colo.
Q: You said retirement plan participants must pay a 10 percent penalty tax for withdrawals before 55 (see 4/18/05 issue). Isn't the correct age 59 1/2? C.F., via e-mail
Q: I'm switching my business from a C corporation to an S corporation. I understand that S corporations don't pay any tax. Will I need to make quarterly tax payments? A.P., Cincinnati
Don't count on the IRS to increase the standard mileage deduction rate.
Do you pay someone to watch your under-age-13 children while you and your spouse work? If so, you probably know that you can claim the dependent care credit, commonly called the "child care credit," for your qualified expenses. That includes your costs for day care centers, baby sitters and preschools.
Question: I am 62, married and plan to retire in June. I know that I can start collecting 80 percent of my Social Security benefits this year, but I'll also be taxed on those benefits. Should I hold off collecting benefits until I reach 65 or later to avoid the tax? Or should I start taking benefits now because of the new Social Security proposals? (I'm in the 28 percent tax bracket.) – J.H., Columbus, Ohio
Q: We run our business as an LLC (a husband and wife partnership) and have a SIMPLE retirement plan. The company deducts the contributions it matches for employees. Can it also deduct the matches for my husband and me? L.J.S.
Q: In a recent issue, you said that both engineering and architectural services qualify as "manufacturers" for purposes of the new manufacturing deduction (see 3/21/05 issue). Can you tell me if a laboratory that does tests (for physicians) created from raw materials qualifies for the deduction as this type of service? J.V.M., Md.