Emil Estafanous

Who in a small business can be hit with the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty?”

There’s a harsh tax penalty that you could be at risk for paying personally if you own or manage a business with employees. It’s called the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty” and it applies to the Social Security and income taxes required to be withheld by a business from its employees’ wages. Because taxes are considered property of the government, the employer holds them in “trust” on the government’s behalf until… Read More »Who in a small business can be hit with the “Trust Fund Recovery Penalty?”

There’s currently a “stepped-up basis” if you inherit property — but will it last?

If you’re planning your estate, or you’ve recently inherited assets, you may be unsure of the “cost” (or “basis”) for tax purposes. The current rules Under the current fair market value basis rules (also known as the “step-up and step-down” rules), an heir receives a basis in inherited property equal to its date-of-death value. So, for example, if your grandmother bought stock in 1935 for $500 and it’s worth $1… Read More »There’s currently a “stepped-up basis” if you inherit property — but will it last?

Keeping remote sales sharp in the new normal

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the way people interact and do business. Even before the crisis, there was a trend toward more digital interactions in sales. Many experts predicted that companies’ experiences during the pandemic would accelerate this trend, and that seems to be coming to pass. As this transformation continues, your business should review its remote selling processes and regularly consider adjustments to adapt to the “new normal”… Read More »Keeping remote sales sharp in the new normal

Can taxpayers who manage their own investment portfolios deduct related expenses? It depends

Do you have significant investment-related expenses, including the cost of subscriptions to financial services, home office expenses and clerical costs? Under current tax law, these expenses aren’t deductible through 2025 if they’re considered investment expenses for the production of income. But they’re deductible if they’re considered trade or business expenses. For years before 2018, production-of-income expenses were deductible, but they were included in miscellaneous itemized deductions, which were subject to… Read More »Can taxpayers who manage their own investment portfolios deduct related expenses? It depends

10 facts about the pass-through deduction for qualified business income

Are you eligible to take the deduction for qualified business income (QBI)? Here are 10 facts about this valuable tax break, referred to as the pass-through deduction, QBI deduction or Section 199A deduction.  It’s available to owners of sole proprietorships, single member limited liability companies (LLCs), partnerships and S corporations. It may also be claimed by trusts and estates. The deduction is intended to reduce the tax rate on QBI… Read More »10 facts about the pass-through deduction for qualified business income

IRS audits may be increasing, so be prepared

The IRS just released its audit statistics for the 2020 fiscal year and fewer taxpayers had their returns examined as compared with prior years. But even though a small percentage of returns are being chosen for audit these days, that will be little consolation if yours is one of them. Latest statistics Overall, just 0.5% of individual tax returns were audited in 2020. However, as in the past, those with… Read More »IRS audits may be increasing, so be prepared

5 ways to take action on accounts receivable

No matter the size or shape of a business, one really can’t overstate the importance of sound accounts receivable policies and procedures. Without a strong and steady inflow of cash, even the most wildly successful company will likely stumble and could even collapse. If your collections aren’t as efficient as you’d like, consider these five ways to improve them: 1. Redesign your invoices. It may seem superficial, but the design… Read More »5 ways to take action on accounts receivable

Eligible Businesses: Claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) is a valuable tax break that was extended and modified by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), enacted in March of 2021. Here’s a rundown of the rules. Background Back in March of 2020, Congress originally enacted the ERTC in the CARES Act to encourage employers to hire and retain employees during the pandemic. At that time, the ERTC applied to wages paid after… Read More »Eligible Businesses: Claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit

Are you a nonworking spouse? You may still be able to contribute to an IRA

Married couples may not be able to save as much as they need for retirement when one spouse doesn’t work outside the home — perhaps so that spouse can take care of children or elderly parents. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a taxpayer earns compensation. However, there’s an exception involving a “spousal” IRA. It allows contributions to be made for nonworking spouses. For 2021, the amount… Read More »Are you a nonworking spouse? You may still be able to contribute to an IRA

IRS extends administrative relief for 401(k) plans

As mitigation measures related to COVID-19 ease, it will be interesting to see which practices and regulatory changes taken in response to the pandemic remain in place long-term. One of them might be relief from a sometimes-inconvenient requirement related to the administration of 401(k) plans. A virtual solution In IRS Notice 2021-40, the IRS recently announced a 12-month extension of its temporary relief from the requirement that certain signatures be… Read More »IRS extends administrative relief for 401(k) plans

Traveling for business again? What can you deduct?

As we continue to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be traveling again for business. Under tax law, there are a number of rules for deducting the cost of your out-of-town business travel within the United States. These rules apply if the business conducted out of town reasonably requires an overnight stay. Note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, employees can’t deduct their unreimbursed travel expenses… Read More »Traveling for business again? What can you deduct?

Are you a nonworking spouse? You may still be able to contribute to an IRA

Married couples may not be able to save as much as they need for retirement when one spouse doesn’t work outside the home — perhaps so that spouse can take care of children or elderly parents. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a taxpayer earns compensation. However, there’s an exception involving a “spousal” IRA. It allows contributions to be made for nonworking spouses. For 2021, the amount… Read More »Are you a nonworking spouse? You may still be able to contribute to an IRA