As part of the “Fresh start” initiative by the IRS to encourage more corporate and individual tax compliance, a new voluntary program has been announced to encourage employers to properly classify employees as such, rather than as independent contractors. Under the program, employers can obtain substantial relief from federal payroll taxes they would have owed in the past, if they prospectively classify their hires as employees. To be eligible, an applicant must: [Read more…] about IRS INTRODUCES COMPLIANCE PROGRAM FOR EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION
All New Jersey employers received this week a Notice of Employer Contribution Rates. It clearly states, “This is not a bill”, but rather a summary of the manner in which the NJ Department of Labor calculates your employer contribution rate for unemployment and disability. Furthermore, this form enables you to determine whether a voluntary contribution would save you, or your clients, money in the subsequent year. A voluntary contribution increases the reserve balance and may reduce your contribution rate. [Read more…] about Reduce your NJ Unemployment Rates!
Dementia: A Growing Challenge
8 million Americans currently exhibit some signs of dementia and this population is steadily increasing. Eventually, few people will be spared the challenge of caring for a relative with this disease. In many cases, a physician may determine that the patient requires 24 hour supervision. If no relative or friend can provide the required supervision, it can result in considerable caregiver expenses. Often, people will hire unlicensed caregivers to minimize this cost. In a recent Tax Court case, the issue presented was whether or not these expenses are deductible for income tax purposes. [Read more…] about Dementia Caregiver Expenses Tax Deductable!
On June 30th, 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law portions of the legislature’s New Jersey budget that included a 25% decrease for the minimum corporate business tax on S-corporations. The new rates are as follows:
Gross Receipts Minimum Tax
$1 million or more $1,500
Less than $100,000 $375
The only exception to the decrease will be S-corporations which are members of affiliated or controlled groups with payrolls of $5,000,000 or more. Their minimum tax remains at $2,000.
This last exclusion from the new minimum corporate tax law seems to unfairly discriminate against staffing agencies and service corporations, as their primary expense is payroll. In fact, payroll IS the product being sold. Typically staffing agencies have controlled groups and reach the $5,000,000 threshold. Yet, solely due to their line of business, they will not benefit from the new reduction.
Traveling for business this summer? Let Uncle Sam chip in
Mixing business with pleasure can have several benefits if done the right way. As long as the trip was undertaken primarily for business reasons, the entire airfare is tax deductible in addition to the cost of lodging and 50% of meals while on business status. So if Penny Pincher, a self employed information technology specialist, flies from New York to Los Angeles on a 5 day business trip and wishes to go sightseeing for 3 days afterward, she can deduct the entire airfare and now her mini-vacation is, in effect, subsidized by the tax break.
Is It “Primarily For Business”?
There is no hard-and-fast rule for when a trip is considered to be primarily for business reasons. Each case has to be judged based on its own circumstances. One important factor is the way travelers split time between their business and personal pursuits. The concept here is to piggyback a personal vacation onto a business trip, not the other way around.
Get a Free Vacation
Although an employee’s out-of-town business chores conclude on Friday, he may extend his business trip to take advantage of a low-priced fare requiring a Saturday night stay over, where the savings in airfare are higher than the costs of the weekend meals and lodging. The employee doesn’t pay tax on the reimbursement for his Saturday meal and lodging expenses. In this case, the IRS said that under a “common sense test,” payments to the employee for the Saturday stay were deductible if a “hardheaded business person would have incurred such expenses under such circumstances”.
Stop On the Way
Not interested in your business destination? No problem – you can make a stop wherever youdesire, whether en route to or from your business destination, and still deduct the amount the travel would have cost without the stopover. To illustrate, suppose Sam Surfer, a business owner who always wanted to visit Hawaii must travel to Hong Kong for 6 days for business purposes. The airfare would have been $1,400, but with a 3 day stopover in Hawaii would amount to $1,700. The $1,400 would still be deductible despite the fact that he would be stopping over. It is important to keep a record of what the round-trip travel costs would have been without the personal stop.
Should I Bring My Spouse?
Although the expenses of a spouse or other companion accompanying a traveler are not deductible (unless (1) the spouse/companion is an employee of the taxpayer and is also traveling for business, and (2) his/her expenses would otherwise be deductible), a tax benefit may still be salvaged from traveling together. The rule is that any travel expense that would have been incurred had the traveler been alone is deductible no matter what. So if, for example, Lora Lonely would have paid $200 a night for a room at the hotel but instead brought her spouse and paid $150 per person, she would still be allowed to deduct $200 a night. Similarly, if she rented a car to get to the hotel and brought along her spouse she would be able to fully deduct the car rental expense.
Plan Your Getaway
So as you plan your summer business travel, don’t forget to consult with your tax advisor at Urbach & Avraham to see how much Uncle Sam can help you out with your summer vacation.
A new NJ law which helps small businesses was signed by Gov. Christie on April 28, 2011.
S2754 will allow small business owners who pay their taxes through the personal income tax (S-Corps, LLC’s, LLP’s, sole proprietorships or partnerships) to carry forward net operating losses for 20 years. This carry forward provision is phased in over a five year period. The new law will also allow businesses to offset gains and losses from one category of income to another. Under the old law, losses from rental property owned individually could only offset other rental income, owned in a similar manner, for NJ purposes. Per the new law, if your firm is an S corporation, then you can offset a percentage of the losses from your investments in rental property from your S corp income. This is the case even though the rental property is not owned by an S corporation. If there is no income from which one can deduct the rental loss, the loss can be carried forward until there is business or rental income for up to twenty years.
What Percentage of my Business Losses Can I Deduct?
The first tax year in which one may deduct losses is 2012. Taxpayers may deduct 10% of their business losses from business income in 2012. In 2013 one may deduct 20%. In 2014: 30%. In 2015: 40%. And in 2016 and subsequent years, one may deduct 50%.
Are there Planning Opportunities?
If you are the owner of a start-up company in 2011 operating as a sole proprietor, partnership or S corp, or if you expect a loss from your rental property in 2011, you should make efforts to defer the loss to 2012. By choosing different depreciation elections or methods and/or deferring expenses to 2012, you may be able to shift some of the loss into 2012, when 10% can offset other business income. Speak to one of our tax advisors for planning now before losing your loss. For a copy of the complete law see
NJ Law S2754– Deducting Business Losses