Keith Boyer is Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 3 decades of experience in full service accounting and tax expertise helping closely held businesses, individuals and families in Westchester County and New York City area.

Tax Reform: The latest brewing at Capitol Hill

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Under the deal worked out by committee member of the House and Senate

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Make the contribution now

--> If you are considering making a charitable contribution in the future, consideration should be given to accelerating that contribution into 2017 so as to secure the deduction thereby reducing current taxes. At this time we are unclear as to how charitable contributions will be treated under the tax bills currently making their way through Congress. Follow this scenario. If you loose your state and local tax deduction, your real estate tax deduction, you then are subject to the standard deduction of $24,000. Does that include your charitable contributions? If so, the contribution will not reduce your taxes to the extent the totality of your itemized deductions don't exceed $24,000. So make the charitable contribution now. -Keith Boyer, CPA  
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Some additional thoughts regarding tax legislation mixing through congress

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Although the bill was approved by both the house and senate it still has a long way to go. Both parties must now reconcile the bill by agreed to the same version before it can go to the President to sign into law. Many changes were made to the bill in order to win over the Senators who opposed parts of it, including a provision to keep the current individual alternative minimum tax (AMT), but with a higher exemption threshold. (The corporate AMT would also be retained.) An earlier version of the bill repealed the AMT. 
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How the new tax bill will effect our clients: Victory.....or not?

 

The Senate passed the much anticipated tax overhaul bill this morning. If enacted into law, sweeping changes to both individuals and businesses are on the horizon. In reviewing aspects of the legislation, here are some quick, off the cuff observations:

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 Administrative Assistant — Performs administrative and office support activities for multiple supervisors. Duties may include fielding telephone calls, faxing, and filing, receiving & distributing mail, receiving and directing visitors, word processing, drafting letters, creating spreadsheets and presentations, and filing. Extensive software skills, Internet research abilities, ability to multitask, problem solve and strong communication skills are required.

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A key limitation under Trump's new tax plan

A fundamental tax planning strategy is to accelerate deductible expenses into the current year. This typically will defer (and in some cases permanently reduce) your taxes. But there are exceptions. One is if the additional deductions this year trigger the alternative minimum tax (AMT).  Complicating matters for 2017 is the fact that tax legislation might be signed into law between now and year end that could affect year-end tax planning. For example, as released by the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would repeal the AMT for 2018 and beyond. But the bill would also limit the benefit of some deductions and eliminate others.

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Tax planning critical when buying a business

 

If you acquire a company, your to-do list will be long, which means you can’t devote all of your time to the deal’s potential tax implications. However, if you neglect tax issues during the negotiation process, the negative consequences can be serious. To improve the odds of a successful acquisition, it’s important to devote resources to tax planning before your deal closes.

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How to determine if you need to worry about estate taxes

Among the taxes that are being considered for repeal as part of tax reform legislation is the estate tax. This tax applies to transfers of wealth at death, hence why it’s commonly referred to as the “death tax.” Its sibling, the gift tax — also being considered for repeal — applies to transfers during life. Yet most taxpayers won’t face these taxes even if the taxes remain in place.

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Bunching medical expenses will be a tax-smart strategy for many in 2017

 

Various limits apply to most tax deductions, and one type of limit is a “floor,” which means expenses are deductible only if they exceed that floor (typically a specific percentage of your income). One example is the medical expense deduction. 

Because it can be difficult to exceed the floor, a common strategy is to “bunch” deductible medical expenses into a particular year where possible. If tax reform legislation is signed into law, it might be especially beneficial to bunch deductible medical expenses into 2017. 

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2 ways spouse-owned businesses can reduce their self-employment tax bill

 
 

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you probably find the high self-employment (SE) tax bills burdensome. An unincorporated business in which both spouses are active is typically treated by the IRS as a partnership owned 50/50 by the spouses. (For simplicity, when we refer to “partnerships,” we’ll include in our definition limited liability companies that are treated as partnerships for federal tax purposes.)  For 2017, that means you’ll each pay the maximum 15.3% SE tax rate on the first $127,200 of your respective shares of net SE income from the business. Those bills can mount up if your business is profitable. To illustrate: Suppose your business generates $250,000 of net SE income in 2017. Each of you will owe $19,125 ($125,000 × 15.3%), for a combined total of $38,250.  Fortunately, there are ways spouse-owned businesses can lower their combined SE tax hit. Here are two. 

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Put your audit in reverse to save sales and use tax

 

It’s a safe bet that state tax authorities will let you know if you haven’t paid enough sales and use taxes, but what are the odds that you’ll be notified if you’ve paid too much? The chances are slim — so slim that many businesses use reverse audits to find over payments so they can seek reimbursements.

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Here's one SIMPLE retirement plan for your business

Has your small business procrastinated in setting up a retirement plan? You might want to take a look at a SIMPLE IRA. SIMPLE stands for “savings incentive match plan for employees.” If you decide you’re interested in a SIMPLE IRA, you must establish it by no later than October 1 of the year for which you want to make your initial deductible contribution. (If you’re a new employer and come into existence after October 1, you can establish the SIMPLE IRA as soon as administratively feasible.

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How entity type affects tax planning for business owners

 

Come tax time, owner-employees face a variety of distinctive tax planning challenges, depending on whether their business is structured as a partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. Whether you’re thinking about your 2016 filing or planning for 2017, it’s important to be aware of the challenges that apply to your particular situation.

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ESOPs offer businesses tax and other benefits

 

With an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), employee participants take part ownership of the business through a retirement savings arrangement. Meanwhile, the business and its existing owner(s) can benefit from some potential tax breaks, an extra-motivated workforce and potentially a smoother path for succession planning. 

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Key deadlines for the remainder of 2017

 

While April 15 (April 18 this year) is the main tax deadline on most individual taxpayers’ minds, there are others through the rest of the year that are important to be aware of. To help you make sure you don’t miss any important 2017 deadlines, here’s a look at when some key tax-related forms, payments and other actions are due. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. 

Please review the calendar and let us know if you have any questions about the deadlines or would like assistance in meeting them.

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3 Midyear Tax Planning Strategies for Individuals

In the quest to reduce your tax bill, year end planning can only go so far. Tax-saving strategies take time to implement, so review your options now. Here are three strategies that can be more effective if you begin executing them midyear:

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Own a vacation home? Adjusting rental vs. personal might save some taxes

 

Now that we’ve hit midsummer, if you own a vacation home that you both rent out and use personally, it’s a good time to review the potential tax consequences:

If you rent it out for less than 15 days: You don’t have to report the income. But expenses associated with the rental (such as advertising and cleaning) won’t be deductible.

If you rent it out for 15 days or more: You must report the income. But what expenses you can deduct depends on how the home is classified for tax purposes, based on the amount of personal vs. rental use: 

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When it comes to IRS audits, be prepared!

 
 

If you recently filed for your 2016 income tax return (rather than filing for an extension) you may now be wondering whether it’s likely that your business could be audited by the IRS based on your filing. Here’s what every business owner should know about the process. We have had great success handling IRS and New York State Audits over the past decade.

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Turning next year's refund into cash in your pocket now




Each year, millions of taxpayers claim an income tax refund. To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. But it means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan for close to a year, which isn’t the best use of your money. 

Fortunately, there is a way to begin collecting your 2017 refund now: You can review the amounts you’re having withheld and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making, and adjust them to keep more money in your pocket during the year. 

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Claiming A Federal Tax Deduction for Moving Costs

Summer is a popular time to move, whether it’s so the kids don’t have to change schools mid-school-year, to avoid having to move in bad weather or simply because it can be an easier time to sell a home. Unfortunately, moving can be expensive. The good news is that you might be eligible for a federal tax deduction for your moving costs. 

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