Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

Safekeeping tax records

Friday, December 07, 2018

Source from irs.gov | WASHINGTON — With the tax filing season quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers to understand how long to keep tax returns and other documents.

This is the seventh in a series of reminders to help taxpayers Get Ready for the upcoming tax filing season. The IRS has recently updated its Get Ready page with steps to take now for the 2019 filing season.  See More

Tax reform affects if and how

Monday, December 03, 2018

Source from irs.gov | Tax reform that affects both individuals and businesses was enacted in December 2017. It’s commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, TCJA or simply tax reform. In addition to nearly doubling standard deductions, TCJA changed several itemized deductions that can be claimed on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.

This means that many individuals who formerly itemized may now find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction. Taxpayers may only do one or the other. They either take the standard deduction or claim itemized deductions.  See More

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

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 launches new easy-to-use webpages on tax reform

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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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

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

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

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