The tax implications of a company car
The use of a company car is a valuable fringe benefit for business owners and key employees. This perk results in tax deductions for the employer and tax breaks for the owners and employees using the cars. (And of course, they get the nontax benefits of driving the cars!) For tax deduction purposes, a business will treat the car much the same way it would any other business asset. Providing an auto for an owner or key employee comes with complications and paperwork. Personal use will have to be tracked and valued under the fringe benefit tax rules and treated as income. We can help you stay in compliance with the rules and explain more about this prized perk.
The IRS is targeting business transactions in bitcoin and other virtual currencies
More businesses are accepting bitcoin and other virtual currency payments, and the IRS is taking notice. The agency just announced it is sending letters to taxpayers who potentially failed to report income and pay tax on virtual currency transactions or didn’t report them properly. The letters urge taxpayers to review their tax filings and, if appropriate, amend past returns to pay back taxes, interest and penalties. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers will receive these letters. The names of the taxpayers were obtained through IRS compliance efforts. Contact us if you have questions about virtual currency or if you receive a letter from the IRS about possible noncompliance.
It’s a good time to buy business equipment and other depreciable property
The Section 179 deduction has long provided a tax windfall to businesses, enabling them to claim immediate deductions for qualified assets, instead of depreciating them over time. For 2019, the maximum deduction is $1.02 million, subject to a phaseout rule if more than $2.55 million of eligible property is placed in service during the tax year. Even better, the Sec. 179 deduction isn’t the only avenue for immediate tax write-offs for assets such as machinery and equipment. Under the 100% bonus depreciation tax break, the entire cost of eligible assets placed in service in 2019 can be written off this year. Contact us to learn how your business can maximize the deductions.
Bartering: A taxable transaction even if your business exchanges no cash
Small businesses may find it beneficial to barter for goods and services instead of paying cash for them. If your business engages in bartering, be aware that the fair market value of goods that you receive in bartering is taxable income. And if you exchange services with another business, the transaction results in taxable income for both parties. Many business owners join barter clubs that facilitate barter exchanges. If you join a barter club, you’ll be asked to provide your Social Security number or employer identification number. You may receive a form reporting barter transactions and you may have to file forms with barter partners and the IRS. Contact us for more information.
Employers: Be aware (or beware) of a harsh payroll tax penalty
If payroll taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks aren’t remitted to the IRS, a severe tax penalty can be personally imposed on “responsible” individuals. The IRS can assess a penalty of 100% of the unpaid tax amount on shareholders, owners, directors, officers, employees and others. The Trust Fund Recovery Penalty (or “100% Penalty”) is assessed when there’s a willful failure to collect and pay over to the IRS taxes that are withheld from employees. Unlike some liability protections that a corporation or company may have, business execs can’t escape personal liability for payroll tax debts. Contact us for information about making tax payments.
Hire your children this summer: Everyone wins
If you’re a business owner with children, hiring them for the summer can provide many benefits. One is tax savings. By shifting business income to a child as wages for services performed, you can turn your high-taxed income into tax-free or low-taxed income. You may also be able to realize payroll tax savings (depending on the child’s age and how your business is organized) and enable retirement plan contributions for the children. Everybody wins! Many rules apply. Contact us to learn more.
How entrepreneurs must treat expenses on their tax returns
Have you recently started a new business or are you contemplating starting one? Keep in mind that not all start-up expenses can be deducted on your federal tax return right away. Some expenses probably must be amortized over time. You might be able to make an election to deduct up to $5,000 currently, but the deduction is reduced by the amount by which your total start-up costs exceed $50,000. You can also deduct $5,000 of the organizational costs of creating a corporation or partnership. Contact us. We can help you maximize deductions for a start-up business.
Divorcing business owners need to pay attention to tax implications
If you’re getting a divorce, you know it’s a highly stressful time. But if you’re a business owner, tax issues can complicate matters more. For example, you can generally divide most assets, including business ownership interests, between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse without any federal income or gift tax consequences. When an asset falls under the tax-free transfer rule, the spouse who receives the asset takes over its existing tax basis and existing holding period. Contact us. We can help minimize the adverse tax consequences of settling your divorce.