Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

IRS issues guidance on Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes on business expense

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on the business expense deduction for meals and entertainment following law changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

The 2017 TCJA eliminated the deduction for any expenses related to activities generally considered entertainment, amusement or recreation.

Taxpayers may continue to deduct 50 percent of the cost of business meals if the taxpayer (or an employee of the taxpayer) is present and the food or beverages are not considered lavish or extravagant. The meals may be provided to a current or potential business customer, client, consultant or similar business contact.  See More

Why Americans Are Retiring Later

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
Something significant is happening in Social Security: People are retiring and taking their benefits later. These trends are at least in part the consequence of policy changes made in the early 1980s that were purposefully delayed in their implementation.

Consider this: In 1997, 57 percent of men claiming their retirement benefits under Social Security were 62, the earliest age at which one can do so. By 2017, that share had dropped to 34 percent because more people elected to put off claiming their benefits. As a result, the average age of a new male beneficiary has risen by a full year. (These data exclude disabled workers. There are other ways of doing the calculations, but they all show the same phenomenon.)  See More

Here are facts to help taxpayers understand the different filing statuses

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Taxpayers don’t typically think about their filing status until they file their taxes. However, a taxpayer’s status could change during the year, so it’s always a good time for a taxpayer to learn about the different filing statuses and which one they should use.

It’s important a taxpayer uses the right filing status because it can affect the amount of tax they owe for the year. It may even determine if they must file a tax return at all. Taxpayers should keep in mind that their marital status on Dec. 31 is their status for the whole year.

Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to taxpayers. When that happens, taxpayers should choose the one that allows them to pay the least amount of tax.  See More

IRS alerts taxpayers: Scammers scheming around Oct. 15 deadline

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers to beware of criminals who continue using devious tactics to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting victims, especially as the fall season approaches.

The agency warns that scammers continue to pose as the IRS, making threatening phone calls and using email phishing schemes to lure taxpayers. The scams may be particularly prevalent ahead of the Oct. 15 tax-filing extension deadline. Another tax scam, where criminals pose as charity organizations, tends to peak during hurricane season or following a natural disaster. Taxpayers should learn about these ongoing tax scams and know what to do if they’re targeted.

The IRS urges taxpayers to look out for suspicious calls, emails and donation requests and take appropriate action if they experience any of the following:  See More

IRS wants taxpayers to know they have rights when interacting with the agency

Friday, September 21, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Taxpayers interact with the IRS for many reasons. In all these interactions with the IRS, even if taxpayers are simply asking an IRS representative questions about taxes or responding to an IRS letter, taxpayers have fundamental rights. These are outlined in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

Aside from making sure taxpayers are aware of these rights, the IRS educates its workforce about them. The IRS has an expectation that all employees will apply these rights to every encounter with taxpayers.  See More

Tax facts for seasonal job seekers

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Small business owners and self-employed taxpayers often get seasonal jobs to earn extra spending money or to save for later. But many don't realize that they need to report income from a part-time or temporary job to the IRS.

The IRS offers this fact sheet for those working seasonal jobs and other part-time employment to help them correctly file and pay their taxes. See also:

Tax Reform
Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax
Understanding Employment Tax  See More

IRS launches new easy-to-use webpages on tax reform

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 See More

Clarification for business taxpayers: Payments under state or local tax credit programs may be deductible as business expenses

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON — Business taxpayers who make business-related payments to charities or government entities for which the taxpayers receive state or local tax credits can generally deduct the payments as business expenses, the Internal Revenue Service said today.

Responding to taxpayer inquiries, the IRS clarified that this general deductibility rule is unaffected by the recent notice of proposed rulemaking concerning the availability of a charitable contribution deduction for contributions pursuant to such programs. The business expense deduction is available to any business taxpayer, regardless of whether it is doing business as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation, as long as the payment qualifies as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Therefore, businesses generally can still deduct business-related payments in full as a business expense on their federal income tax return.  See More

An estimated tax payment in 2018 could help avoid a penalty in 2019

Monday, September 17, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Taxes must be paid as you earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding, estimated tax payments or a combination of both. A Paycheck Checkup using the IRS Withholding Calculator can help you see if you need to make an additional payment to avoid an unexpected tax bill or underpayment penalty when you file your tax return next year.

You may need to make estimated payments if you:

— have multiple jobs—especially if you don’t have each employer withhold taxes
— are self-employed or an independent contractor
— are a representative of a direct-sales or in-home-sales company
— participate in sharing economy activities where you are not working as an employee
— receive pension income

IRS.gov to learn more. See More

Retirees with pension income should do a Paycheck Checkup ASAP

Friday, September 14, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Retirees should do a Paycheck Checkup to make sure they are paying enough tax during the year by using the Withholding Calculator, available on IRS.gov. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted in December 2017, changed the way tax is calculated for most taxpayers, including retirees.

Because of this law change, retirees who receive a monthly pension or annuity check may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they pay in during the year. The easiest way to do that is to use the Withholding Calculator or read Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. Though primarily designed for employees who receive wages, this online tool can also help those who receive pension or annuity payments on a regular schedule, usually monthly or quarterly.  See More