28March
2018
Last-Minute Tax Planning Tips for 2017

This year, Tax Day for individuals, sole proprietors and C corporations is Tuesday, April 17. You still have time to consider some moves in 2018 to potentially save federal (and possibly state) income taxes for 2017. Here are three last-minute planning ideas. Last-Minute Section 179 Option for Businesses Did your business make improvements to real property in 2017? If so, you might qualify for a special Section 179 deduction. The Sec. 179 deduction privilege often allows eligible businesses to deduct the entire cost of depreciable asset additions in the year they’re placed in service. For 2017, the limit is $510,000. However,…

22March
2018
A Guide to Identifying White Collar Employee Fraud Risks

You can call it psychology or human nature. When some managers or employees are exposed to certain conditions, the odds go up that these individuals will commit fraud against your business. The situation is worse if your company doesn’t have a full range of internal controls designed to stop fraud before it happens. In other words, when the motive for fraud meets the opportunity for fraud, watch out!  Specifically, beware of these red flags: Personal financial stress. Sometimes, managers or employees with access to company assets are under serious personal financial stress (due to bad investments, divorce, family illness, drug…

22March
2018
Will You Have to Pay Tax on Social Security Benefits?

Some people are under the misconception that Social Security benefits are always free from federal income tax. However, depending on how much income you have from other sources, you may have to report up to 85% of your benefits as income on Form 1040 and pay the resulting federal income tax. If this happens, you’re effectively getting taxed twice on the same dollars: First, you’re taxed during your working years when you have to pay federal income taxes on Social Security tax amounts that are taken out of your salary or self-employment earnings. Then, you’re taxed again if you have…

22March
2018
Succession Planning Requires Smart Strategies

Succession planning is important in any business, but it’s sometimes overlooked in family-owned operations. This is a big mistake. There are numerous former family-run companies that no longer exist due to poor or no succession plan. The plan needs to be well thought out and discussed with everyone affected. Don’t just assume that a son or daughter will want to carry on the family business. Even if your children say they will take over, they may not have the true desire required to continue a successful operation. The “heir to the throne” also may not have the business skills to…

08March
2018
Dynasty Trust Provides a Bridge to Keep on Giving

With a properly executed estate plan, your wealth can be enjoyed by your children and even their children. But did you know that by using a dynasty trust, you can extend the estate tax saving benefits for several generations, and perhaps indefinitely? A dynasty trust can build a bridge that protects your wealth from gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes and helps you leave a lasting legacy. And, with today’s higher lifetime gift and GST tax exemptions, a dynasty trust is all the more powerful. Dynasty Trust in Action Transfers that skip a generation — such as gifts or…

08March
2018
Protect Your Company Retirement Plan from an IRS Attack

When your company sponsors a qualified retirement plan, you must comply with complex rules established by the IRS and the Department of Labor. Ignore the rules and your firm could face costly penalties from federal regulators — and plan participants might sue you for mishandling trust assets. In the worst-case scenario, the IRS could disqualify your company’s plan if you engage in prohibited transactions.   This is no time to be a do-it-yourselfer. You need the help of a skilled professional who knows the requirements and can help you stay in compliance. Here’s why. Under the so-called “prudent investor” guidelines,…

08March
2018
Getting Your Estate in Order

Don’t let the changing estate tax environment prevent you from getting your estate in order. Whatever happens with the future of estate tax, you’ll still want to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. While most people will need the help of professionals to develop a formal estate plan, you can aid the process by organizing information and making basic decisions. Consider these steps: Calculate your estate’s value. In addition to assets you currently own, include assets your estate will acquire after your death, such as life insurance proceeds and pension benefits. For each asset, list the estimated…

08March
2018
Good News! More Families May Be Eligible for the Child Credit in 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was signed into law on December 22, 2017, made significant changes to the child credit. This credit is generally available to taxpayers with children under the age of 17, but the new law adds a new (smaller) credit for other dependents. Here are the details. Old Rules Under prior tax law, the child credit was $1,000 per “qualifying child.” But the credit was reduced for married couples filing jointly by $50 for every $1,000 (or part of $1,000) by which their adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeded $110,000. The phaseout thresholds were $75,000…