Monday, May 13, 2019

2019 IRS Income Tax Deductions For Automobile Costs



Businesses that use a car or other vehicle may be able to deduct the expense of operating that vehicle on their taxes.

Businesses generally can use one of the two methods to figure their deductible vehicle expenses:
        • Standard mileage rate
        • Actual car expenses
For 2019, here are the standard mileage rates for calculating the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes:
  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
Of course, business taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. Here are some facts to help business owners understand the differences between the two methods of figuring their deductible vehicle expenses:
  • Businesses that want to use the standard mileage rate for a car they own must choose to use the standard mileage rate in the first year they use the vehicle. Then, in later years, they can choose to use either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

  • If a business wants to use the standard mileage rate for a car they lease, they must use this rate for the entire lease period.

  • The business must make the choice to use the standard mileage rate by the due date of their return, including extensions. They can’t revoke the choice.

  • A business that qualifies to use both methods may want to figure their deduction both ways to see which gives them a larger deduction.

  • Here are some examples of actual car expenses that a business can deduct:
o Licenses
o Gas
o Oil
o Tolls
o Insurance
o Repairs
o Depreciation – limitations and adjustments may apply  

Businesses can see Publication 463, Travel, Gift and Car Expenses, for a full list of actual expenses and how to calculate them.

More Information:
IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2019
IRS Notice 2019-02
National Small Business Week


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User CSS For Firefox And Thunderbird

User CSS For Firefox And Thunderbird

User CSS Contributions For CustomizeMyBird and Custom CSS For FX

The repository at https://github.com/JYLD/User-CSS-For-Firefox-And-Thunderbird has user submitted CSS customizations for:
  1. The very excellent Firefox and Thunderbird add-ons by Aris-t2 at https://github.com/Aris-t2 ; and
  2. Other useful CSS contributions for Firefox and Thunderbird.
If you like Windows 7 or XP and you also like the Windows Classic XP/Win2000 look on Windows 7, then you may really like what the files mentioned here can do for you.

Note: I prefer the older look of Windows XP/2000 over the Windows 7 Aero interface. Therefore, I use the Classic Windows Theme on Win 7 as my starting point. Then I add the "Classic Start Menu" available from http://www.classicshell.net/ . Then for Firefox I use the "Classic Blue" theme from "ndnenigma" available for Firefox at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/5414873/ . This theme is a dark theme for the toolbar, bookmarks toolbar, and menu bar areas. For Thunderbird on my Windows 7 setup, I use the CustomizeMyBird and Theme and Font Size Changer add-ons. Plus my own custom CSS placed in the CustomizeMyBird user CSS window.

Various standard color choices from add-ons don't work as well as I would like (colorwise) with my Windows Classic Theme setup. Also, I like rounded tabs and spacing that is a little bit different from what the add-ons usually provide.

Therefore, I've had to modify some of the setup from Custom CSS For FX and CustomizeMyBird to get the look I find pleasing.

If you don't like the color choices in my CSS it can of course be easily modified.

If you want to further duplicate my color setup on Windows 7 then first select the Classic Windows Theme.  After that download the JYLD_Color_Choices.zip file to your computer and then double click the reg files it contains to add it to your registry.  You should save a copy of your current theme before doing this so you can go back to your original color choices.  Also note that my color choices work on Windows 7 and XP. On Windows 7 you must be using the Windows Classic Theme for these color choices to have any effect.  After adding the color choices reg file settings to your registry you will have to reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

NOTE: I have no idea how the color choices reg files would affect Windows 8 to 10, if at all. I don't even know if the Windows Classic Theme is available on Windows 8 to 10.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Six Things Taxpayers Should Know About The Sharing Economy And Their IRS Taxes

From renting spare rooms and vacation homes to car rides or using a bike…name a service and it’s probably available through the sharing economy. 

Taxpayers who participate in the sharing economy can find helpful resources in the IRS Sharing Economy Tax Center on IRS.gov. 


Here are six things taxpayers should know about how the sharing economy might affect their taxes:

1. The activity is taxable.
Sharing economy activity is generally taxable. It is taxable even when:
  • The activity is only part time
  • The activity is something the taxpayer does on the side
  • Payments are in cash
  • The taxpayer receives an information return – like a Form 1099 or Form W2
2. Some expenses are deductible.
Taxpayers who participate in the sharing economy may be able to deduct certain expenses. For example, a taxpayer who uses their car for business may qualify to claim the standard mileage rate, which is 58 cents per mile for 2019.

3. There are special rules for rentals.
If a taxpayer rents out their home or apartment, but also lives in it during the year, special rules generally apply to their taxes. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool, Is My Residential Rental Income Taxable and/or Are My Expenses Deductible? to determine if their residential rental income is taxable.

4. Participants may need to make estimated tax payments.
The U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go. This means that taxpayers involved in the sharing economy often need to make estimated tax payments during the year. These payments are due on April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15. Taxpayers use Form 1040-ES to figure these payments.

5. There are different ways to pay.
The fastest and easiest way to make estimated tax payments is through IRS Direct Pay. Alternatively, taxpayers can use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

6. Taxpayers should check their withholding.
Taxpayers involved in the sharing economy who are employees at another job can often avoid making estimated tax payments by having more tax withheld from their paychecks. These taxpayers can use the Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to determine how much tax their employer should withhold. After determining the amount of their withholding, the taxpayer will file Form W-4 with their employer to request the additional withholding.

IRS YouTube Videos:
Your Taxes in the Sharing Economy – English | ASL

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Physicians, Hospitals, Clinics, And Other Health Care Providers Beware HHS Interpretation Of HIPAA Compliance Rules

As MD Anderson has learned the hard way over the past couple years HHS' interpretation of Mandatory versus Addressable HIPAA compliance rules and regulations can vary from the business practices of many Physicians, Hospitals, and other Health Care Organizations.

HIPAA provides many compliance rules that health care organizations must follow.  Those must follow rules are commonly referred to as "Mandatory".  Mandatory rules and requirements must be implemented to avoid HIPAA compliance problems.  There are however another set of rules and requirements that are not listed as Mandatory.  Instead these rules and requirements are listed as "Addressable".  Addressable rules have been treated by many Health Care Organizations as optional or merely suggestions by the government.

HHS however has made it clear in pursuing large fines against MD Anderson that the Addressable rules and requirements are more mandatory than optional.

HHS has ruled in the MD Anderson case that Addressable rules and requirements, specifically in the MD Anderson case the use of encryption techniques to secure electronic protected health care information, are MANDATORY unless the health care organization can demonstrate reasonable reasons why any particular Addressable rule and requirement does not need to be followed.

In the MD Anderson case a laptop and a few thumb drives were lost or stolen.  As a result the unencrypted electronic protected health information was disclosed to unauthorized persons.  MD Anderson contended that since encryption was an Addressable rule and requirement it was optional and therefore MD Anderson was not at fault for the unauthorized disclosures.

HHS says MD Anderson is wrong.  HHS says Addressable rules and requirements such as encrypting electronic protected health information is MANDATORY, and NOT optional, unless the health care organization can demonstrate a reasonable basis for why the Addressable rule and requirement in question does not need to be followed.

HHS ruled MD Anderson had not made any showing of a reasonable basis for not following the Addressable encryption of data rule, and therefore levied substantial penalties on MD Anderson.

MD Anderson is appealing to the courts, but their legal fight seems to be an uphill battle.

Best practice for any physician or health care organization is to treat Addressable rules and requirements, such as encryption of data, as Mandatory, unless they have some very strong and reasonable reasons why any specific Addressable rule and requirement does not need to be followed.

For help with your legal needs contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

How IRS Tax Reform Affects Taxpayers Who Claim The Child Tax Credit


Many people claim the child tax credit to help offset the cost of raising children. Tax reform legislation made changes to that credit for 2018 and later. 

Here are some important things for taxpayers to know.


Credit amount. The new law increases the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. Eligibility factors for the credit have not changed. As in past years, a taxpayer can claim the credit if all of these apply:
  • the child was younger than 17 at the end of the tax year
  • the taxpayer claims the child as a dependent
  • the child lives with the taxpayer for at least six months of the year
Credit refunds. The credit is refundable, now up to $1,400. If a taxpayer doesn’t owe any tax before claiming the credit, they will receive up to $1,400 as part of their tax refund.

Earned income threshold. The income threshold to claim the credit has been lowered to $2,500 per family. This means a family must earn a minimum of $2,500 to claim the credit.

Phaseout. The income threshold at which the child tax credit begins to phase out is increased to $200,000, or $400,000 if married filing jointly. This means that more families with children younger than 17 qualify for the larger credit.
New credit for other dependents. Dependents who can’t be claimed for the child tax credit may still qualify for the new credit for other dependents.  This is a non-refundable credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. These dependents may also be dependent children who are age 17 or older at the end of the tax year. It also includes parents or other qualifying relatives supported by the taxpayer.

More information:
Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families
Tax Reform Small Business Initiative


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Monday, February 25, 2019

Five IRS Tax Facts About The New Form 1040

There are several changes to the 2018 Form 1040. However, taxpayers who file electronically may not notice the changes as the tax return preparation software guides people through the filing process.

The IRS worked closely with its partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform and tax form changes affecting tax year 2018, including the Form 1040. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their tax returns.

Here are five things taxpayers need to know about the 2018 Form 1040.
  • The 2018 Form 1040 replaces Forms 1040,1040A and 1040EZ with one 2018 Form 1040 that all taxpayers will file.

  • Forms 1040A and 1040EZ are no longer available. Taxpayers who used one of these forms in the past will now file Form 1040.

  • The 2018 Form 1040 uses a “building block” approach and allows taxpayers to add only the schedules they need to their 2018 tax return.

  • The most commonly used lines on the prior year form are still on the form. Other lines are moved to new schedules and are organized by category. These categories include income, adjustments to income, nonrefundable credits, taxes, payments, and refundable credits.

  • Many taxpayers will only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules. Those with more complicated tax returns will need to complete one or more of the 2018 Form 1040 Schedules along with their Form 1040. These taxpayers include people claiming certain deductions or credits, or owing additional taxes.
Electronic filers may not notice any changes because the tax return preparation software will automatically use their answers to the tax questions to complete the Form 1040 and any needed schedules.

For taxpayers who filed paper returns in the past and are concerned about these changes, this year may be the year to consider the benefits of filing electronically. Using tax software is convenient, safe and a secure way to prepare and e-file an accurate tax return.

More information:
About the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
Questions and Answers About the 2018 Form 1040
Get Ready for Tax Filing Season
Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families
Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals
IRS Tax Map


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Thursday, February 21, 2019

All Persons And Businesses Must Report Large Cash Transactions To The IRS - NOT JUST BANKS !!



Federal law requires a person to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 by filing IRS Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business.


The information on the form helps law enforcement combat money laundering, tax evasion, drug dealing, terrorist financing and other criminal activities.

Who is covered

By law, a “person” is an individual, company, corporation, partnership, association, trust or estate. For example, dealers in jewelry, furniture, boats, aircraft or automobiles; pawnbrokers; attorneys; real estate brokers; insurance companies and travel agencies are among those who typically need to file Form 8300.

Tax-exempt organizations are also “persons” and may need to report certain transactions. A tax-exempt organization doesn’t have to file Form 8300 for a charitable cash contribution. Note, however, that under a separate requirement, a donor often must obtain a written acknowledgement of the contribution from the organization. See Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, for details. But the organization must report noncharitable cash payments on Form 8300. For example, an exempt organization that receives more than $10,000 in cash for renting part of its building must report the transaction.

What’s cash

For Form 8300 reporting, cash includes coins and currency of the United States or any foreign country. It’s also a cashier’s check (sometimes called a treasurer’s check or bank check), bank draft, traveler’s check or money order with a face amount of $10,000 or less that a person receives for:
  • A designated reporting transaction or
  • Any transaction in which the person knows the payer is trying to avoid a report.
Note that under a separate reporting requirement, banks and other financial institutions report cash purchases of cashier’s checks, treasurer’s checks and/or bank checks, bank drafts, traveler’s checks and money orders with a face value of more than $10,000 by filing currency transaction reports.

A designated reporting transaction is the retail sale of tangible personal property that’s generally suited for personal use, expected to last at least one year and has a sales price of more than $10,000. Examples are sales of automobiles, jewelry, mobile homes and furniture.

A designated reporting transaction is also the sale of a collectible, such as a work of art, rug, antique, metal, stamp or coin. It is also the sale of travel and entertainment, if the total price of all items for the same trip or entertainment event is more than $10,000.

Reporting cash payments

A person must file Form 8300 if they receive cash of more than $10,000 from the same payer or agent:
  • In one lump sum.
  • In two or more related payments within 24 hours. For example, a 24-hour period is 11 a.m. Tuesday to 11 a.m. Wednesday.
  • As part of a single transaction or two or more related transactions within 12 months.

Examples of reporting situations

Automobile dealerships

  • If a husband and wife purchased two cars at one time from the same dealer, and the dealer received a total of $10,200 in cash, the dealer can view the transaction as a single transaction or two related transactions. Either way, it calls for only one Form 8300.
     
  • A dealership doesn’t file Form 8300 if a customer pays with a $7,000 wire transfer and a $4,000 cashier check. A wire transfer is not cash.
     
  • A customer purchases a car for $9,000 cash. Within 12 months, the customer pays the dealership cash of $1,500 for accessories for that car. The dealer doesn’t need to file Form 8300, unless they knew or had reason to know the transactions were connected.

Taxi company

Weekly lease payments in cash from a taxi driver to a taxi company within 12 months is considered the same transaction. The taxi company needs to file Form 8300 when the total amount exceeds $10,000. Then, if the company receives more than $10,000 cash in additional payments from the driver within 12 months, the company must file another Form 8300.

Landlords

Landlords need to file Form 8300 once they’ve received more than $10,000 in cash for a lease during the year. But a person not in the trade or business of managing or leasing real property, such as someone who leases their vacation home for part of the year, doesn’t need to report a cash receipt of more than $10,000.

Bail-bonding agent

A bail-bonding agent must file Form 8300 when they receive more than $10,000 in cash from a person. This applies to payments from persons who have been arrested or anticipate arrest. The agent needs to file the form even though they haven’t provided a service when they received the cash.

Colleges and universities

Colleges and universities must file Form 8300, if they receive more than $10,000 in cash in one or more transactions within 12 months.

Home builders

Home builders and contractors need to file Form 8300 if they receive cash of more than $10,000 for building, renovating or remodeling.

When to file Form 8300

A business must file Form 8300 within 15 days after the date the business received the cash. If a business receives later payments toward a single transaction or two or more related transactions, the business should file Form 8300 when the total amount paid exceeds $10,000.

Each time payments aggregate more than $10,000, the business must file another Form 8300.

How to file

A person can file Form 8300 electronically using the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s BSA E-Filing System. E-filing is free, quick and secure. Filers will receive an electronic acknowledgement of each submission.

Those who prefer to mail Form 8300 can send it to Internal Revenue Service, Federal Building, P.O. Box 32621, Detroit, MI  48232. Filers can confirm the IRS received the form by sending it via certified mail with return receipt requested or calling the Detroit Federal Building at 866-270-0733.

Taxpayer identification number

Form 8300 requires the taxpayer identification number (TIN) of the person paying with cash. If they refuse to provide it, the business should inform the person that the IRS may assess a penalty.

If the business is unable to obtain the customer’s TIN, the business should file Form 8300 anyway. The business needs to include a statement with Form 8300 that explains why the form doesn’t have a TIN. The business should keep records showing it requested the customer’s TIN and give the records to the IRS upon request.

Informing customers about Form 8300 filing

The business must give a customer written notice by Jan. 31 of the year following the transaction that it filed Form 8300 to report the customer’s cash transaction.
  • The government doesn’t offer a specific format for the customer statement, but it must:
  • Be a single statement aggregating the value of the prior year’s transactions,
  • Have the name, address and phone number of the person who needs to file the Form 8300 and
  • Inform the customer the business is reporting the payment to the IRS.
A business can give a customer who only had one transaction during the year a copy of the invoice or Form 8300 as notification if it has the required information. The government doesn’t recommend using a copy of Form 8300 because of sensitive information on the form, such as the employer identification number or Social Security number of the person filing the Form 8300.

A business may voluntarily file Form 8300 to report a suspicious transaction below $10,000. In this situation, the business doesn’t let the customer know about the report. The law prohibits a business from informing a customer that it marked the suspicious transaction box on the form.

More information:



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