Remember the New FBAR Filing Deadline

Do you have an interest in — or authority over — a foreign financial account? If so, the IRS wants you to provide information about the account by filing a form called the "Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts" (FBAR). The annual deadline for filing FBARs has been changed. It now coincides with the tax filing deadlines for individuals, under the Surface Transportation and Veterans Continue Reading

4 Tips for Claiming Higher Education Credits

The Internal Revenue Code offers two federal income tax credits for post-secondary education expenses: the American Opportunity credit, and the Lifetime Learning credit. (See "The Basics of Higher Education Credits" at right.) The Basics of Higher Education Credits The American Opportunity credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student per year. More specifically, the credit equals: Continue Reading

Promote From Within Successfully: A Management Cookbook

Promoting non-supervisory employees to management roles can be a morale-booster for the promoted employee, and for others. Seeing a fellow employee move up the ladder gives coworkers reason to expect that, someday, they could rise to that level as well. Also, homegrown talent can be more economical, both by avoiding recruitment costs and because the initial compensation requirements of a promoted Continue Reading

Self-Employment Tax Reduction Strategies for Spouse-Owned Businesses

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you're probably fed up with high self-employment (SE) tax bills. Self-Employment Tax Basics For 2016, the maximum 15.3% self-employment (SE) tax rate hits the first $118,500 of net SE income. For 2017, the 15.3% rate hits the first $127,200 of net SE income. It includes 12.4% for the Social Security tax component and 2.9% Continue Reading

A Fresh Look at Incentive Compensation

Bonuses: They're not just for senior executives anymore. Many companies now offer performance-based incentives to rank-and-file personnel, too. But serious problems can occur when these incentives are too strong, poorly designed or insufficiently monitored. For example, in a widely reported recent case, a large national bank set aggressive sales goals that came with financial rewards. To meet Continue Reading

Separation Agreements May Provide Peace of Mind

Having an employee sign a separation agreement upon ending the employment relationship amounts to a form of insurance that he or she will not later take legal action against your company, based on the termination. Whether a separation was friendly (for example, due only to a reorganization or downsizing), or unfriendly, an agreement could prove worthwhile. Suppose your company downsized. After Continue Reading

Consider Section 179 Deductions for Real Estate Expenses

The Section 179 deduction for qualified real property expenses was made permanent under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. However, claiming this deduction isn't a no-brainer. Here are the pros and cons. Section 179 Deductions: The Basics The Sec. 179 deduction allows you to write off qualified expenses in the year the related business asset or property is placed Continue Reading

Seniors: Consider These Tax Breaks When Filing for 2016

Are you an "experienced" taxpayer? Here are a couple of age-based tax breaks that seniors shouldn't overlook when filing their 2016 returns. Claim Your Rightful Medical Expense Deductions If you're 65 years of age or older, you may have fallen into the habit of automatically claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing your deductions. Taking the standard deduction is often the Continue Reading

Remember RMDs this Tax Season

Did you know that, once you turn age 70½, you must start taking mandatory annual withdrawals from your traditional IRAs, including any simplified employee pension (SEP) accounts and SIMPLE IRAs that you set up as a small business owner? Beyond Your IRAs Different rules and conditions may apply to RMDs from inherited accounts and your qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans, Continue Reading

How S Corporations Can Save on Federal Employment Taxes

If you own an unincorporated small business, you may be getting fed up with high self-employment (SE) tax bills. One way to lower your SE tax liability is to convert your business to an S corporation. SE Tax Basics Sole proprietorship income as well as partnership income that flows through to partners (except certain limited partners) is subject to SE tax. These rules also apply to Continue Reading