Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top 10 Tips For Deducting Disaster Losses

If you suffer damage to your home or personal property, you may be able to deduct the losses you incur on your federal income tax return. 

Here are 10 tips you should know about deducting casualty losses:

1.    Casualty loss.  You may be able to deduct losses based on the damage done to your property during a disaster. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event. This may include natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. It can also include losses from fires, accidents, thefts or vandalism.

2.    Normal wear and tear.  A casualty loss does not include losses from normal wear and tear. It does not include progressive deterioration from age or termite damage.

3.    Covered by insurance.  If you insured your property, you must file a timely claim for reimbursement of your loss. If you don’t, you cannot deduct the loss as a casualty or theft. You must reduce your loss by the amount of the reimbursement you received or expect to receive.

4.    When to deduct.  As a general rule, you must deduct a casualty loss in the year it occurred. However, if you have a loss from a federally declared disaster area, you may have a choice of when to deduct the loss. You can choose to deduct the loss on your return for the year the loss occurred or on an amended return for the immediately preceding tax year. Claiming a disaster loss on the prior year's return may result in a lower tax for that year, often producing a refund.

5.    Amount of loss.  You figure the amount of your loss using the following steps:
  • Determine your adjusted basis in the property before the casualty. For property you buy, your basis is usually its cost to you. For property you acquire in some other way, such as inheriting it or getting it as a gift, you must figure your basis in another way. For more see Publication 551, Basis of Assets.
  • Determine the decrease in fair market value, or FMV, of the property as a result of the casualty. FMV is the price for which you could sell your property to a willing buyer. The decrease in FMV is the difference between the property's FMV immediately before and immediately after the casualty.
  • Subtract any insurance or other reimbursement you received or expect to receive from the smaller of those two amounts.
6.    $100 rule.  After you have figured your casualty loss on personal-use property, you must reduce that loss by $100. This reduction applies to each casualty loss event during the year. It does not matter how many pieces of property are involved in an event.

7.    10 percent rule.  You must reduce the total of all your casualty or theft losses on personal-use property for the year by 10 percent of your adjusted gross income.

8.    Future income.  Do not consider the loss of future profits or income due to the casualty as you figure your loss.                                              

9.    Form 4684.  Complete Form 4684, Casualties and Thefts, to report your casualty loss on your federal tax return. You claim the deductible amount on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.

10.    Business or income property.  Some of the casualty loss rules for business or income property are different than the rules for property held for personal use.

You can call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 for special help with disaster-related tax issues. For more on this topic and the special rules for federally declared disaster area losses see Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts. You can get it and IRS tax forms on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

Additional IRS Resources:
IRS YouTube Videos:
IRS Podcasts:


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It Isn't Paranoia If They Really Are Coming For You And Your Money


Today from the Telegraph: Forcing everyone to spend only by electronic means from an account held at a government-run bank would give the authorities far better tools to deal with recessions and economic booms, writes Jim Leaviss

Gee what a wonderful idea.  No cash.  No buying or selling with anonymity and privacy.  You get the wonderful double benefit of: (i) having the government control what, whom, and why persons can buy and sell using their one and only government issued debit card, and (ii) the government already has your money in their possession so makes it ever so much easier to confiscate at will.

Think this is far fetched?  Denmark is already working on such a law.  It is being proposed by the left wing liberals/progressives all over Europe, and no doubt will some day cross the Atlantic as an idea for the USA (because these liberal/progressive fantasies always make the crossing eventually).

They will try to sell it as a means to get out of the next liberal/progressive recession, as a means to "fairness", to end world hunger, and to allow dogs and cats to live together in perfect harmony.

Deferred Compensation Plans And IRC § 409A Compliance


If the plan documents and contracts of deferred compensation plans are not carefully drafted to comply with the requirements of Internal Revenue Code § 409A, a tax disaster can befall the employees intended to be benefited by such arrangements.


Many companies provide deferred compensation arrangements for important employees.  Deferred compensation arrangements can be done through "qualified" and/or "non-qualified" plans.  Often non-qualified plans are used. 

A non-qualified deferred compensation plan that fails to comply with the requirements of IRC § 409A will result in the affected employee having to recognize current and past deferred compensation in one lump sum.  Pay tax on that lump sum whether the money has actually been received or not, and then pay an additional 20% penalty tax and interest to the IRS.

Plans that are improperly drafted can be corrected to avoid this tax disaster for the company's employees, but only if the corrections are made BEFORE the tax year in which any portion of the deferred compensation vests.

The attorneys-CPAs at the law firm of AttorneyBritt are familiar with the complicated requirements of IRC § 409A deferred compensation plans, and are available to review the plan documents and contracts of companies that already have such plans.  We can also draft such plans for companies looking for ways to compensate key employees while providing incentives for such employees to remain employed by their employer.

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

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fast Track Trade Deal - If It Must Be Hidden From Public Then It Is A BAD DEAL

GOP leadership have shown themselves to be fools and puppets of huge corporation lobbyists for years now.  We elect individual conservatives to congress and they go to congress and vote for these old dinosaur RINO leaders.  It is disgraceful and frustrating to the point that it makes life long republican voters want to abandon the party completely.

After the Obamacare fiasco and Nancy Pelosi's "we have to pass the bill to see what is in it" why are GOP leaders conducting a super secret process that hides the language of this fast track trade bill from the public !!!

If Obama supports it.  If it has to be done in secret.  If it can't be disclosed to the public BEFORE it is voted on, THEN THIS IS A BAD DEAL THAT DOESN'T DESERVE THE SUPPORT OF ANY CONSERVATIVE.

It is amazing to me that I have to be grateful for democrats who have so far prevented the passage of this secret bill.  I doubt that my objections to the bill (if I knew what was in it) would be the same objections as asserted by the democrats, but the democrat opposition to this bill may do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

IF THIS FAST TRACK TRADE BILL WERE REALLY GOOD FOR THE COUNTRY THEN IT WOULDN'T NEED TO BE DONE IN SECRET AND OBAMA WOULDN'T BE FOR IT.

It really is just that simple.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Starting A New Business Or Expanding Your Operations? You Need Capital And Financing

Learn how to finance your new or existing business during a free workshop at the U.S. Small Business Administration San Antonio District Office.

Findout how the SBA Guaranty Loan Programs can be an option to take care of your business needs such as, working capital, buying land and building, equipment, inventory or leasehold improvements.

WHO: SBA San Antonio District Office
WHAT: Small Business Financing - Access to Capital Seminar
WHEN: May 12, 2015 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. BRING YOUR LUNCH BAG!
WHERE: SBA San Antonio District Office
                Hipolito F. Garcia Federal Building
                615 E. Houston Street, Suite 298, San Antonio, TX 78205
  • No RSVP is required. For directions call SBA Front Desk at 210-403-5900.
All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made by contacting the front desk at 210- 403-5903.

For help with your legal needs in forming, expanding, or acquiring a new business contact a business, tax, and health care law attorney at the offices of AttorneyBritt.

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Developing And Managing The Human Resource Performance

If you have an effective human resource performance, this will set the foundation for your company to be able to achieve rewarding excellence.

There are several steps when it comes to HR management but each step is a must so that you will have an HR division that is truly productive and efficient.

One of the first things that you have to do is to link the individual employees and their work efforts to the mission and the objective of the organization. This way, it will be easy for both the organization and the employees to understand how every effort and job accomplished contributes to the company.

Each company has their own human resources department that deals with the people working in the organization. This is one of the most important divisions in the company as this is the one that manages the all-important human resources. Because this is essential, there is a need for you to keep track of its health and you can do this by means of using human resource performance indicators. Aside from that, there are other ways that will help you manage the human resources department of your company.

The rest of this article can be found at  Management

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

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Tax Help For Small Business Success

IRS recognizes Small Business Week May 4 – 8, 2015, by highlighting some of its most popular educational products, videos and webinars to help your business thrive.

If you own a small business or are self-employed, visit IRS.gov for all your tax needs. Knowing the tax rules can help your business start, grow and succeed.

For example, see IRS Publication 4902, Tips for the Cosmetology and Barber Industry. Here are some of the topics included in this booklet or detailed on IRS.gov:
  • Business Structure.  One of the first things you need to decide is the type of structure for your business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. The type of business you choose will determine which tax forms you will file. You may have employees or rent space to someone who is self-employed. Visit IRS.gov for tips on starting and operating your business.
  • Report Tip Income.  All tips you receive are taxable income. If you have employees who receive $20 or more in cash tips in any one month, they must report them to you. You must withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on the reported tips. Learn more about these rules in the IRS video “Reporting Tips.
  • Business Expenses.  You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses that you pay to run your business. An ordinary expense is a common and accepted cost for that type of business. A necessary expense is a cost that is proper for that business. For example, cosmetologists are often required to get a license or pay for a permit or certification. You can deduct these costs as business expenses in most cases. See Publication 535, Business Expenses for more on this topic.  
  • Estimated Tax.  If you are self-employed you may need to make estimated tax payments. In most cases you pay this tax in four installments each year. If you do not pay enough tax during the year, you may owe a penalty. Use Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to figure the tax. Direct Pay, available on IRS.gov, now offers you the fastest and easiest way to make these payments.   
  • Depreciation of Assets. You can deduct the cost of some assets over a number of years. For example, if you buy equipment and furniture, you should depreciate the cost of those items since you will normally use them for more than one year. Check out the IRS webinar “Depreciation Basics” to learn more.
  • Filing Your Taxes.  If you have employees, the IRS offers electronic filing options for your federal payroll tax returns. IRS e-file is fast, safe and accurate. You'll also receive an electronic acknowledgment when the IRS accepts your e-filed return. You can use EFTPS to make any federal tax payments.
  • Keeping Records.  Everyone in business must keep records. You need good records to prepare your tax returns. You must have records to support the income, expenses, and credits that you report. Good records can help you keep track of your business. They can also increase the likelihood of business success. Watch the IRS video “Good Recordkeeping Helps Avoid Headaches at Tax Time” to find out some of the best practices.
Additional IRS References:

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

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