Defer Capital Gains using Like-Kind Exchanges

like-kind exchangeIf you’re a savvy investor, you probably know that you must generally report as income any mutual fund distributions whether you reinvest them or exchange shares in one fund for shares of another. In other words, you must report and pay any capital gains tax owed.

But if real estate’s your game, did you know that it’s possible to defer capital gains by taking advantage of a tax break that allows you to swap investment property on a tax-deferred basis?

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Leaving a Business: Which Exit Plan is Best?

exitSelecting your business successor is a fundamental objective of planning an exit strategy and requires a careful assessment of what you want from the sale of your business and who can best give it to you.

There are four ways to leave your business: transfer ownership to family members, Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), sale to a third party, and liquidation. The more you understand about each one, the better the chance is that you will leave your business on your terms and under the conditions you want. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about each one.

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Recordkeeping for Charitable Contributions

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com
Digital Image by Sean Locke

You must keep records to prove the amount of any cash and noncash contributions you make during the year. Which records you must keep depends on the amount you contribute and whether they are cash or property contributions. New recordkeeping requirements were established for all contributions made after January 1, 2007. You cannot deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep as a record of the contribution, bank records (such as a cancelled check or bank statement containing the name of the charity, date and the amount) or a written communication from the charity.

This article discusses which records you must keep.

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Early Retirement Plan Withdrawals and your Taxes

early retirement
Taking money out early from your retirement plan may trigger an additional tax. Here are six things that you should know about early withdrawals from retirement plans.

  1.  An early withdrawal normally means taking money from your plan before you reach age 59 1/2.
  2.  If you made a withdrawal from a plan last year, you must report the amount you withdrew to the IRS. You may have to pay income tax as well as an additional 10 percent tax on the amount you withdrew.
  3.  The additional 10 percent tax does not apply to nontaxable withdrawals. Nontaxable withdrawals include withdrawals of your cost to participate in the plan. Your cost includes contributions that you paid tax on before you put them into the plan.
  4.  A rollover is a type of nontaxable withdrawal. Generally, a rollover is a distribution to you of cash or other assets from one retirement plan that you contribute to another retirement plan. You usually have 60 days to complete a rollover to make it tax-free.
  5.  There are many exceptions to the additional 10 percent tax such as using the money for qualified higher education expenses or unreimbursed medical expenses in excess of 10 percent of adjusted gross income. Some of the exceptions for retirement plans are different from the rules for IRAs.
  6.  If you make an early withdrawal, you may need to file Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, with your federal tax return.

The rules for retirement plans can be complex, but help is just a phone call away. Call now and make sure you file the right tax forms and get the tax benefits you’re entitled to.

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It’s Time for a Premium Tax Credit Checkup

checkupIf you have insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be getting advance payments of the premium tax credit. These are paid directly to your insurance company to lower your monthly premium.

Changes in your income or family size may affect your premium tax credit. If your circumstances have changed, now is the time for a checkup to see if you need to adjust the premium assistance you are receiving. You should report changes that have occurred since you signed up for your health insurance plan to your Marketplace as they occur.

Changes in circumstances that you should report to the Marketplace include:

  • an increase or decrease in your income
  • marriage or divorce
  • the birth or adoption of a child
  • starting a job with health insurance
  • gaining or losing your eligibility for other health care coverage
  • changing your residence

To estimate the effect that changes in your circumstances may have upon the amount of premium tax credit that you can claim–see this change in circumstances estimator.

Reporting the changes will help you avoid getting too much or too little advance payment of the premium tax credit. Getting too much means you may owe additional money or get a smaller refund when you file your taxes. Getting too little could mean missing out on premium assistance to reduce your monthly premiums.

Repayments of excess premium assistance may be limited to an amount between $300 and $2,500 depending on your income and filing status. However, if advance payments of the premium tax credit were made, but your income for the year turns out to be too high to receive the premium tax credit, you will have to repay all of the payments that were made on your behalf, with no limitation. Therefore, it is important that you report changes in circumstances that may have occurred since you signed up for your plan.

Changes in circumstances also may qualify you for a special enrollment period to change or get insurance through the Marketplace. In most cases, if you qualify for the special enrollment period, you will have sixty days to enroll following the change in circumstances.

Sign up for our newsletter to receive tax tips and timely articles delivered right to your inbox.    Read more articles from our September 2015 newsletter here.

How QuickBooks Helps You Accelerate Receivables

You’re meeting your sales goals. Keeping inventory balanced. Making sure that every billable hour gets invoiced. Taking advantage of vendor discounts. Basically, doing everything in your power to keep cash flow humming.

But you can’t control how quickly your customers pay you.

You can, though, use QuickBooks’ tools to:

  • Make it easier for customers to remit their payments,
  • Remind customers about unpaid balances, and
  • Keep a close eye on unpaid invoices.

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Keep Track of Miscellaneous Deductions

Miscellaneous deductions such as certain work-related expenses you paid for as an employee can reduce your tax bill, but you must itemize deductions when you file to claim these costs. If you usually claim the standard deduction, think about itemizing instead because you might be able to pay less tax. Here are some tax tips that may help you reduce your taxes.

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