Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

IRS keeps closing Taxpayer Assistance Centers

Friday, August 17, 2018

Source from accountantsworld.com
The Internal Revenue Service is continuing to close Taxpayer Assistance Centers around the country, despite recommendations to the contrary from the National Taxpayer Advocate and the Senate Appropriations Committee.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson wrote a blog post last week pointing out that the IRS has closed nine of its walk-in centers since her report to Congress last December, in which she criticized the closure of such facilities, where taxpayers can talk face-to-face with IRS employees about their tax concerns. In December, she noted, the IRS operated 371 Taxpayer Assistance Centers, but today there are only 362.  See More

Spouses Need To Think Carefully About When To Take Social Security Benefits

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
When a spouse starts receiving his Social Security benefits can determine the lifetime income his or her surviving partner will get, according to Diane Pearson, a wealth advisor and shareholder at Legend Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh.

Social Security makes up an average of 40 percent of people’s retirement income and “is more valuable than most people think,” said Pearson during a webinar Wednesday sponsored by Legend Financial entitled “Social Security Planning: What You Need To Know To Maximize Retirement Income.”  See More

Classic Lesson From The Tax Court

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from accountantsworld.com
Timing is at least as important in tax as it is in comedy. Although less common than it used to be before the age of direct deposit and mobile banking apps, the question sometimes arises about when must a taxpayer report as gross income a check received on December 31st but not cashed until January. The flip side is when may a taxpayer take a deduction for a check sent out on December 31st but not cashed until January.

Taxpayers tend to want to push off reporting income into a later year and tend to want to pull back deductions into the current year. Specifically taxpayers who receive a check on the last day of the year would like to say they don’t have income until they cash the check in January. But at the same time, taxpayers who write a check for a deductible expense on the last day of the year want to deduct that expense in that year and not the next.  See More

IRS issues guidance on small business accounting

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on new tax law changes that allow small business taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less in the prior three-year period to use the cash method of accounting.

The Revenue Procedure outlines the process that eligible small business taxpayers may use to obtain automatic consent to change accounting methods that are now permitted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA.  See More

Tax Reform 2.0 Features Tax Incentives for New Retirement Savings Vehicles

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
New retirement and savings vehicles figure prominently in the Tax Reform 2.0 framework that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released on Tuesday, just in time to give Republican lawmakers a strong pro-growth, pro-savings message to take home to constituents over August recess.

While the overall package, especially the section to make individual and corporate tax cuts permanent, is unlikely to garner enough support in the Senate to pass, chances for enacting potentially meaningful retirement and savings vehicles look much more promising.  See More

GOP Tax Reform and its effects on the taxation of foreign students and other non-resident aliens

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Source from blog.sprintax.com
At the end of 2017, the U.S. Congress passed the largest tax reform act in history. The act itself contains nearly 500 pages. Even the most experienced American tax accountants are needing to keep up with the constantly changes instructions to advise to clients. My suggestion for clients is: When you read articles about the U.S. tax reform, pay special attention to their sources, and confirm the content with your U.S. accountants/taxation attorneys, so that you can avoid economic loss caused by wrong information. This article will mainly include the effect of the new tax reform act as we know it today to U.S. tax residents and Non-residents. If you have additional questions, please contact me through wechat: harlessmin or mhuang@harlessandassociates.com. Thanks!  See More

Coping with the new entertainment expense and transportation fringe benefit rules

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Source: thetaxadviser.com
Now that new tax rules are in place, employers and their advisers are coping with the difficulties faced in implementing the changes, adjusting to a new normal. New tax laws are always a product of give-and-take, with many constituencies fighting to retain favorable rules and congressional staff putting the pieces together so there are enough votes to pass the legislation. The changes brought about by P.L. 115-97, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), are no exception.

The goal of lowering tax rates, primarily for businesses, needed to be tempered by eliminating certain business deductions or individual income tax exclusions so that federal revenues didn't decline too much. The elimination of employer deductions or individual income tax exclusions causes taxpayers to consider behavior adjustments to account for the increased cost of the formerly deductible or excludable expense. Never has this adjustment had to occur so quickly, with the TCJA legislation enacted on Dec. 22, 2017, and many effective dates occurring only 10 days later, on Jan. 1, 2018.  See More

July 2018 Tax Deadline Reminders

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

July 16
Employers. For Social Security, Medicare, withheld income tax, and nonpayroll withholding, deposit the tax for payments in June if the monthly rule applies.

July 31
Employers. For Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax, file Form 941 for the second quarter of 2018. Deposit any undeposited tax. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until August 10 to file the return.  See More

Buck market volatility with a retirement bucket plan

Thursday, June 28, 2018

by: Harless and Associates Staff
We have seen an increase in market volatility in early 2018. A steep pullback in stocks could be good news for working people who are building retirement funds, but those approaching or recently beginning retirement might be hurt.

Historically, stock market setbacks have proven to be buying opportunities for patient investors.

Example 1: Harry Walker was 50 years old in 2008, with most of his retirement savings invested in stock funds within his 401(k) account. Then, Harry’s holdings dropped heavily.  See More

Coping with summer vacations at your small business

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

by: Harless and Associates Staff
During the summer, it may be true that “the living is easy,” as the old song goes. The midyear season, though, is often not so easy at small businesses because many employees are taking vacations. Total work hours often shrink and so may company productivity.

Spreading vacation time over the rest of the year might not be practical, especially if many of your workers have school-age children and desire family vacations during summer break. You may prefer to squeeze most vacations into the summer so the disruption is minimal the remainder of the year. Nevertheless, you probably won’t welcome a warm weather slowdown, so it’s best to take steps to keep things running at an acceptable pace. See More