THOMAS J. KASICA, CPA, PA
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Tax writers in Congress are set to begin debating and writing tax reform legislation. On September 27, the White House and GOP leaders in Congress released a framework for tax reform. The framework sets out broad principles for tax reform, leaving the details to the two tax-writing committees: the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. How quickly lawmakers will write and pass tax legislation is unclear. What is clear is that tax reform is definitely one of the top issues on Congress’ Fall agenda.


As millions of Americans recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Congress is debating disaster tax relief. The relief would enhance the casualty loss rules, relax some retirement savings rules, and make other temporary changes to the tax laws, all intended to help victims of these recent disasters. At press time, a package of temporary disaster tax relief measures is pending in the House. The timeline for Senate action, however, is unclear.


IRS Exam staffing in fiscal year (FY) 2016, the latest tax year with statistics available, reached a 20-year low. As a result, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has reported that the IRS undertook fewer audits.


IRS Chief Counsel, in generic legal advice (AM-2017-003), recently described when a qualified employer may take into account the payroll tax credit for increasing research activities. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) created the payroll credit aimed at start-ups with little or no income tax liabilities. This tax break allows taxpayers to get the cash benefit of the payroll tax credit sooner as they reduce their payroll tax liability as payroll payments are made, instead of having to wait until the end of the quarter to receive the credit.


Yes, however, there are special timing rules for foreign adoptions. These rules differ from the timing rules for domestic adoptions and impact when you may claim qualified adoption expenses.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important federal tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of October 2017.


The term "luxury auto" for federal tax purposes is somewhat of a misnomer. The IRS's definition of "luxury auto" is likely not the same as your definition.

Although individual income tax returns don't have to be filed until April 15, taxpayers who file early get their refunds a lot sooner. The IRS begins accepting returns in January but does not start processing returns until February. Determining whether to file early depends on various personal and financial considerations. Filing early to somehow fly under the IRS's audit radar, however, has been ruled out long ago by experts as a viable strategy.


While 2009 holds great promise for new tax relief to help individuals and businesses recover from the current economic crisis, one of the first orders of business for all taxpayers in the New Year is to look back at the tax relief already on the books. Doing so will help you file your 2008 tax return with the lowest bottom-line tax liability possible. One effective tool in making sure you maximize your tax savings on your 2008 return is to look at what's new on federal tax forms for 2008.

Happy New Year! As 2009 gets underway, and you prepare for the 2008 filing season, it's important not to overlook a number of valuable tax planning opportunities that apply right away to the 2009 tax year. Here are 10 considerations for tax planning as 2009 starts.

If you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA earlier this year, incurred a significant amount of tax liability on the conversion, and then watched as the value of your Roth account plummeted amid the market turmoil, you may want to consider undoing the conversion. You can void or significantly lower your tax bill by recharacterizing the conversion, then reconverting your IRA back to a Roth at a later date. Careful timing in using the strategy, however, is essential.

If you are finally ready to part with those old gold coins, baseball cards, artwork, or jewelry your grandmother gave you, and want to sell the item, you may be wondering what the tax consequences will be on the disposition of the item (or items). This article explains some of the basic tax consequences of the sale of a collectible, such as that antique vase or gold coin collection.

With the economic downturn taking its toll on almost all facets of everyday living, from employment to personal and business expenditures, your business may be losing money as well. As a result, your business may have a net operating loss (NOL). Although no business wants to suffer losses, there are tax benefits to having an NOL for tax purposes. Moreover, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily enhances certain NOL carryback rules.

You have carefully considered the multitude of complex tax and financial factors, run the numbers, meet the eligibility requirements, and are ready to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The question now remains, however, how do you convert your IRA?

It is a common decision you may make every tax season: whether to take the standard deduction or itemize deductions. Most taxpayers have the choice of itemizing deductions or taking the applicable standard deduction amount, the choice resting on which figure will result in a higher deduction. Once you have determined the standard deduction amount that applies to you, the next step is calculating the amount of your allowable itemized deductions; not always a simple task.

In a period of declining stock prices, tax benefits may not be foremost in your mind. Nevertheless, you may be able to salvage some benefits from the drop in values. Not only can you reduce your taxable income, but you may be able to move out of unfavorable investments and shift your portfolio to investments that you are more comfortable with.

The high cost of energy has nearly everyone looking for ways to conserve and save money, especially with colder weather coming to many parts of the country. One surprising place to find help is in the financial markets rescue package (the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008) recently passed by Congress. Overshadowed by the financial provisions are some very important energy tax incentives that could save you money at home and in your business.

Nonbusiness creditors may deduct bad debts when they become totally worthless (i.e. there is no chance of its repayment). The proper year for the deduction can generally be established by showing that an insolvent debtor has not timely serviced a debt and has either refused to pay any part of the debt in the future, gone through bankruptcy, or disappeared. Thus, if you have loaned money to a friend or family member that you are unable to collect, you may have a bad debt that is deductible on your personal income tax return.

With the U.S. and world financial markets in turmoil, many individual investors may be watching the value of their stock seesaw, or have seen it plummet in value. If the value of your shares are trading at very low prices, or have no value at all, you may be wondering if you can claim a worthless securities deduction for the stock on your 2008 tax return.

Individuals with $400 or more of net earnings from self-employment must pay self-employment tax, in addition to any income tax imposed on the same income. This article can help you estimate any self-employment tax liability that you may owe for 2008.

Contributions to political campaigns are nondeductible. Nondeductible campaign contributions include, for example, contributions to pay for campaign expenses as well as contributions to pay for a candidate's personal expenses while the candidate is campaigning. The line sometimes gets gray, however, when a contribution is being made for a charitable purpose that is being sponsored by a political candidate or is being made to a charity that also appears to be endorsing a political candidate as opposed to a particular position within the public discourse.

Move over hybrids - buyers of Volkswagen and Mercedes diesel vehicles now qualify for the valuable alternative motor vehicle tax credit. Previously, the credit had gone only to hybrid vehicles. Now, the IRS has qualified certain VW and Mercedes diesels as "clean" as a hybrid.

Education continues to become increasingly expensive. The Tax Code provides a variety of significant tax breaks to help pay for the rising costs of education, from elementary and secondary school to college. Some people are surprised at what is available these days, as the dust settles on tax rules that have been in transition now for a number of years. A good place to start educating yourself on these education-related tax incentives - to help yourself or a member of your family better tackle the rising expense of education - is right here.


To ease the pain of the ever-escalating costs of healthcare, many employers provide certain tax-driven health benefits and plans to their employees. To help employers understand the differences and similarities among three popular medical savings vehicles - health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) - here's an overview.

The Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 (2008 Housing Act) gave a boost to individuals purchasing a home for the first time with a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit. The credit was enhanced from $7,500 to $8,000 and extended for certain purchases under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act). This article explains how to determine the credit for eligible first-time homebuyers.

The IRS allows taxpayers with a charitable inclination to take a deduction for a wide range of donated items. However, the IRS does provide specific guidelines for those taxpayers contributing non-cash items, from the type of charity you can donate to in order to take a deduction to the quality of the goods you contribute and how to value them for deduction purposes. If your summer cleaning has led, or may lead, you to set aside clothes and other items for charity, and you would like to know how to value these items for tax purposes, read on.

In response to the record high gas prices, the IRS has raised the business standard mileage reimbursement rate from 50.5 cents-per-mile to 58.5 cents-per-mile. This new rate is effective for business travel beginning July 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008. While the increase is much needed, businesses should evaluate whether the IRS has done enough, or whether a switch to the actual expense method of calculating vehicle expense deductions may make more sense for 2008.

With the prices of energy and food leading to rising inflation in the U.S., many people look to old stand-bys for investment options: Treasury Securities; as well as a relatively new variation, Treasury-Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). Although many times overlooked by investors, not only can these inflation-indexed Treasury bonds outperform conventional non-indexed bonds when inflation is on the rise, they can be a good addition to your tax-deferred retirement portfolio.

The flagging state of the economy has left many individuals and families to cope with rising gas prices and food costs, struggle with their mortgage and rent payments, and manage credit card debt and other common monthly bills. Whether individuals are contemplating how to pay off their credit card or obtain a mortgage amid the "credit crunch" and "economic downturn," many people may be considering alternative sources of financing to reach their goals, including the tapping of a retirement account.

Often, individuals end up with an unexpected tax liability on April 15. There are several options available to pay off your tax debt, stop accruing penalties and interest and secure peace of mind. Each payment method has its advantages and disadvantages depending on your financial, and personal, circumstances, and each option should be discussed with a tax professional prior to making a decision. Our office would be glad to answer any questions you have about each payment method.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act) extended the 50-percent additional first-year bonus depreciation allowed under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, providing a generous boost for many businesses in 2009 in light of the economic downturn. Under the 2009 Recovery Act, all businesses, large or small, can immediately depreciate an additional 50-percent of the cost of certain qualifying property purchased and placed in service in 2009, from computer software to plants and equipment.

If you've made, or are planning to make, a big gift before the end of 2009, you may be wondering what your gift tax liability, if any, may be. You may have to file a federal tax return even if you do not owe any gift tax. Read on to learn more about when to file a federal gift tax return.

A financially secure employee is a productive one. Employee benefits play a key role in attracting and retaining employees. Financial counseling, tax preparation and retirement planning services are increasingly popular benefits offered by employers to their employees. However, not all of these result in a tax-free perk to employees. If you are considering offering your employees financial, tax or retirement planning services, you need to understand the tax consequences to both you and your workforce.

Falling interest rates and the current slowdown in the U.S. economy are having a widespread affect on today's economy and individuals' financial resources, from savings accounts to personal loans and credit card debt. The drop in interest rates that has occurred over the course of the last few months has also produced strategic tax planning opportunities for individuals contemplating certain types of asset transfers.

No. Even though trash pickup and neighborhood oversight provided by a governmental entity such as a town or county can be figured into the amount of deductible property taxes paid by a homeowner, a payment to a nongovernmental entity is not a deductible tax.

The business incentives in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (2009 Recovery Act) are much anticipated and valuable. Three significant business incentives in the 2009 Recovery Act are an extended net operating loss (NOL) carryback provision, extended and enhanced Code Sec. 179 expensing, and extended bonus depreciation for 2009.

Like the Internet itself, the correct deductibility of a business's website development costs is still in its formative stages. What is fairly clear, however, is that it is highly unlikely that any single tax treatment will apply to all of the costs incurred in designing an internet site because the process encompasses many different types of expenses.

An accuracy-related penalty applies to a tax underpayment due to "negligence or disregard of the rules and regulations." "Negligence" for this purpose includes any failure to make a reasonable attempt to comply with the Tax Code, to exercise ordinary and reasonable care in preparing your tax return, to keep adequate books and records, or to properly substantiate items on your return. A return position that has a reasonable basis is not negligent. A taxpayer can also qualify for relief by showing reasonable cause and good faith.

On December 18, 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 (Mortgage Debt Relief Act), providing some major assistance to certain homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments. The centerpiece of the new law is a three-year exception to the long-standing rule under the Tax Code that mortgage debt forgiven by a lender constitutes taxable income to the borrower. However, the new law does not alleviate all the pain of all troubled homeowners but, in conjunction with a mortgage relief plan recently announced by the Treasury Department, the Act provides assistance to many subprime borrowers.

Only "qualified moving expenses" under the tax law are generally deductible. Qualified moving expenses are incurred to move the taxpayer, members of the taxpayer's household, and their personal belongings. For moving expenses to be deductible, however, a move must:

The amount of interest required to be paid for underpayment of tax is compounded daily. In order to calculate compound interest, you divide the Code Sec. 6621 interest rate by the number of days in the year, 365 (or 366 in a leap year, such as 2008) and then compound the daily interest rate each day.