Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

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

IRS urges taxpayers to prepare for natural disasters

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON — Because a natural disaster can strike any time, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding individuals and businesses to take time now and create or update their emergency preparedness plan.

During 2018, the IRS has offered tax relief and assistance to millions of victims of natural disasters, including hurricanes, severe storms, flooding, tornados, wildfires, high winds, tropical storms, an earthquake and a volcano. See More

Tax reform changes affecting small business and self-employed taxpayers; third quarter estimated tax payment deadline is Sept. 17

Monday, September 10, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON – With the last third of the year now in full view, the IRS today reminded small business and self-employed taxpayers of the importance of meeting their tax obligations. Part of those obligations normally include making quarterly estimated tax payments.

This news release is part of an ongoing campaign aimed at helping small businesses understand tax reform changes that affect their bottom line.  See More

Options Available For U.S. Taxpayers with Undisclosed Foreign Financial Assets

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
The implementation of FATCA and the ongoing efforts of the IRS and the Department of Justice to ensure compliance by those with U.S. tax obligations have raised awareness of U.S. tax and information reporting obligations with respect to non-U.S. investments. Because the circumstances of taxpayers with non-U.S. investments vary widely, the IRS offers the following options for addressing previous failures to comply with U.S. tax and information return obligations with respect to those investments:

1)  Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program; Note: The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) is closing. Refer to the OVDP FAQs for an outline of the sunset provisions.

2)  Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures;  See More

Taxpayers should check out these helpful tax tools

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
Questions about taxes could come up any time of the year. Whether it’s about tracking a refund or paying a bill, taxpayers can find answers to their questions on IRS.gov. Here are some of the most popular IRS tools:

·  IRS Free File. Taxpayers who filed an extension can use IRS Free File to prepare and e-file a federal tax return. Free File is available at no cost for anyone with income below $66,000. Free File is available through Oct. 15 to file a 2017 tax return. IRS Free File is available through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app.

·  Direct Deposit. Direct Deposit is the best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund electronically deposited for free into their financial account. Combining direct deposit with electronic filing is the fastest way for a taxpayer to receive their refund.  See More

Avoid penalty for underpayment of taxesAvoid penalty for underpayment of taxes

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON ― With nearly 10 million U.S. taxpayers facing a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax last year, the Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to plan ahead, understand their options and avoid the penalty when they file in early 2019.

To help taxpayers avoid this common situation, the IRS is focusing four news releases this week on key areas to help taxpayers pay the right amount of tax and avoid an estimated tax penalty. The IRS is highlighting a variety of resources and tools – including the online Withholding Calculator – to help taxpayers determine if they need to make an additional tax payment to avoid an unwelcome surprise at tax time.  See More

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