Do you own a vacation home? If you both rent it out and use it personally, you might save tax by taking steps to ensure it qualifies as a rental property this year. Vacation home expenses that qualify as rental property expenses aren’t subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA’s) new limit on the itemized deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) or the lower debt limit for the itemized mortgage interest deduction. Rental or personal property? If you rent out your vacation home for 15 days or more, what expenses you can deduct depends on how the home is classified for tax purposes, based on the amount of personal vs. rental use: Rental property. If you (or your immediate family) use the home for 14 days or less, or under 10% of the days you rent out the property, whichever is greater, the IRS will classify the home as a rental property. You can deduct rental expenses, including losses, subject to the real estate activity rules. Your deduction for property tax attributable to the rental use of the home isn’t subject to the TCJA’s new SALT deduction limit. And your deduction for mortgage interest on the home […] Details
When a supervisory position opens up, your immediate reaction as an employer may be to post a job opening to the general public. But don’t underestimate the value, efficiency and cost savings of an internal hire from your non-manager ranks. Although promoting from within isn’t always feasible, when it is, you’ll likely be boosting that employee’s loyalty, eliminating (or greatly shortening) the onboarding process, and saving dollars on hiring costs. But, if you take this step, be prepared. These new supervisors typically need special care to avoid rocky transitions. Cover the basics Don’t make the mistake of promoting an employee to supervisor and then immediately moving on to other priorities. Most newly minted supervisors, no matter how strongly they performed in previous positions, will need some training and mentoring to grow into their new roles. What specifically might they need? First, reflect upon your own experience for some ideas. If you had a smooth transition to a supervisory role, what made that possible? If it was a bumpy road, what would have made it smoother? Basic subjects that should be part of a supervisor boot camp include: • Employee goal-setting • Performance assessment • Performance management • Conflict resolution Also, […] Details
Classifying a worker as an independent contractor frees a business from payroll tax liability and allows it to forgo providing overtime pay, unemployment compensation and other employee benefits. It also frees the business from responsibility for withholding income taxes and the worker’s share of payroll taxes. For these reasons, the federal government views misclassifying a bona fide employee as an independent contractor unfavorably. If the IRS reclassifies a worker as an employee, your business could be hit with back taxes, interest and penalties. Key factors When assessing worker classification, the IRS typically looks at the: Level of behavioral control. This means the extent to which the company instructs a worker on when and where to do the work, what tools or equipment to use, whom to hire, where to purchase supplies and so on. Also, control typically involves providing training and evaluating the worker’s performance. The more control the company exercises, the more likely the worker is an employee. Level of financial control. Independent contractors are more likely to invest in their own equipment or facilities, incur unreimbursed business expenses, and market their services to other customers. Employees are more likely to be paid by the hour or week or […] Details
Not-for-profits use special events to raise large amounts in a short period of time. Most often, the donor receives a direct benefit from the event — such as dinner or participation in a gaming activity. But special events don’t always meet their fundraising goals. In fact, organizations can lose money on them. Following these steps can help boost your event’s potential and enable you to decide whether to hold it again in the future. Step 1: Make a budget Planning and holding a successful event is a process that should start with a budget. Estimate what you anticipate revenue to be. If costs are likely to be greater than revenue, consider forgoing the event. Of course, you can also come up with a less costly event or look for sponsors to help defray expenses. Step 2: Develop a marketing plan Determine the target audience for your event and the best way to reach that audience. For example, bingo nights are often popular with seniors. And they may be more likely to read about the event in the local newspaper than on your nonprofit’s blog. Step 3: Account for everything Track all of your event’s costs to arrive at an accurate […] Details
To avoid interest and penalties, you must make sufficient federal income tax payments long before your April filing deadline through withholding, estimated tax payments, or a combination of the two. The third 2018 estimated tax payment deadline for individuals is September 17. If you don’t have an employer withholding tax from your pay, you likely need to make estimated tax payments. But even if you do have withholding, you might need to pay estimated tax. It can be necessary if you have more than a nominal amount of income from sources such as self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, prizes, awards or the sales of assets. A two-prong test Generally, you must pay estimated tax for 2018 if both of these statements apply: 1. You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax after subtracting tax withholding and credits, and 2. You expect withholding and credits to be less than the smaller of 90% of your tax for 2018 or 100% of the tax on your 2017 return — 110% if your 2017 adjusted gross income was more than $150,000 ($75,000 for married couples filing separately). If you’re a sole proprietor, partner or S corporation shareholder, you generally have to make […] Details
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