28February
2018
IRS Clarification: Home Equity Loan Interest May Still Be Deductible

The IRS recently announced that in many cases, taxpayers can continue to deduct interest paid on home equity loans. The tax agency issued the clarification because there were questions and concerns that such expenses were no longer deductible under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017. Background Basics Taxpayers can deduct interest on mortgage debt that’s “acquisition debt” under the tax law. Acquisition debt means debt that is: 1. Secured by the taxpayer’s principal home and/or a second home, and 2. Incurred in acquiring, constructing, or substantially improving the home. This rule hasn’t been…

22February
2018
Videoconferencing: Sharpen Your Company’s Focus

Travel costs can quickly mount for many companies, so you may want to look into videoconferencing as a way to keep the spending down and the bottom line solid. Surveys put the cost of the average domestic business trip at around $1,000, Drawbacks of the Future    Psychological. You may need to train people to change the way they think about meetings and make them aware that this new technology provides the same benefits as most face-to-face gatherings. For some top-level discussions and sensitive negotiations, live interaction remains critical. And, of course, some customers will insist on being able to look you…

22February
2018
Coping With a Nightmare: Firing a Relative in a Family Business

Of course, you love your family members. But let’s say you hired them — and their spouses and children — to work in the family business and one of them is not working out. In fact, an outside consultant has told you that the person is incompetent, destructive to the business morale and should be let go. This is a nightmare for a family business owner: How do you fire a relative who just isn’t up to par?               The chances are good you will have to face this challenge at some point in…

22February
2018
Take a Last Resort Stand on Layoffs

At the first sign of a southbound economy some companies rush into panic mode. They slash the staff and hope for the best. Certainly, labor is the biggest expense for most businesses, which is why many managers believe there is no faster, more efficient way to improve the bottom line than by cutting staff. But when you add up some of the costs of layoffs, such as severance payments, continued healthcare costs for some and higher unemployment charges, you may realize you are defeating your purpose. And that’s only part of the picture. Since layoffs create uncertainty, they often prompt:…

22February
2018
How the New Limit on SALT Deductions Affects Homeowners

The ability to deduct state and local taxes (SALT) has historically been a valuable tax break for taxpayers who itemize deductions on their federal income tax returns. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limits SALT deductions for 2018 through 2025. Here’s important information that homeowners should know about the new limitation. Thinking about Selling Your Home? There’s good news if you’re planning to sell a personal residence: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act retains the home sale gain exclusion. If you meet certain conditions, this valuable tax break allows you to exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000…

20February
2018
Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 Summary for Businesses and Individuals

On December 22, 2017, the president signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the “Act”), which represents one of the most extensive modifications to the tax code in recent history, significantly modifying the U.S. taxation for individuals and businesses.  Most of the provisions went into effect January 1, 2018. We have enclosed a comprehensive summary of all material provisions of the Act for your reference and review.  While this is a highly complex and voluminous law, we hope this will help highlight the items of importance for planning purposes. Please do not hesitate to contact us…

08February
2018
Crowdfunding — Capital for the 21st Century

One of the earliest examples of crowdfunding occurred in 1884 when funds ran short for building the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The publisher Joseph Pulitzer used his newspaper to appeal to Americans to donate the money needed to complete the pedestal’s construction. Over $100,000 in six months was raised from more than 125,000 people.1 But it took the Internet to truly put the wind in the sails of this unique form of fundraising. According to World Bank, crowdfunding in developing countries alone will reach nearly $100 billion by 2025.2 Crowdfunding Roots Up until now, the primary use of crowdfunding has…

08February
2018
Understanding the Benefits of S Corporations

Whether you’re setting up a new company or you’ve been in business for years, you need to evaluate which legal structure is best for your enterprise. No one option is best for every type of operation. The right choice depends on several factors including the number of owners, taxes and your business goals. These concerns lead many business owners to organize as S corps. The legal structure is similar to a C corporation but S status provides an escape from double taxation. Since choosing a business structure can be a complicated process with long-range consequences, you should consult your tax…

08February
2018
Your Children and Estate Planning

If you have a sizable estate that you’ll be leaving to your adult children, then your children probably need an estate plan of their own. To encourage them to plan their estates, consider these quick tips: Explain why estate planning is important. You don’t want to dictate what they should do with their estate, just emphasize the need for estate planning. When your children encounter major life events, such as marriage, divorce, or a child’s birth, remind them to review their estate plans. Encourage your children to get all important estate planning documents in place. At a minimum, every adult…

08February
2018
New Law Eases the Individual Alternative Minimum Tax

  Why the AMT Hits Upper-Middle-Income Taxpayers Under prior law, many high-income taxpayers weren’t affected by the AMT. That’s because, after numerous legislative changes, many of their tax breaks were already cut back or eliminated under the regular income tax rules. So, there was no need to address the AMT. For instance, the passive activity loss rules restrict the tax benefits that can be reaped from “shelter” investments like rental real estate and limited partnerships. If your income exceeds certain levels, you run into phaseout rules that chip away or eliminate other tax breaks. As a result, higher-income taxpayers had…