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                  Income Tax Newsletter

February 2017 rlc-smileytjb_-01-10-17_biz_-linkedin-photo-rlc-01-25-17

from Rex Crandell’s Tax Office

Walnut Creek and San Francisco.

 February 2017

 

Who Should File a 2016 Tax Return?

Most people file a tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should–because you might be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. The six tax tips below should help you determine whether you’re one of them.

  1. General Filing Rules. Whether you need to file a tax return this year depends on several factors. In most cases, the amount of your income, your filing status, and your age determine whether you must file a tax return. For example, if you’re single and 28 years old you must file if your income, was at least $10,350. Other rules may apply if you’re self-employed or if you’re a dependent of another person. There are also other cases when you must file. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call.
  2. Premium Tax Credit.If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2016, you might be eligible for the Premium Tax Credit; however, you will need to file a return to claim the credit.

If you purchased coverage from the Marketplace in 2016 and chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit sent directly to your insurer during the year, you must file a federal tax return. You will reconcile any advance payments with the allowable premium tax credit.

You should have received Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. The new form has information that helps you file your tax return and reconcile any advance payments with the allowable Premium Tax Credit.

  1. Tax Withheld or Paid. Did your employer withhold federal income tax from your pay? Did you make estimated tax payments? Did you overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be due a refund. But you have to file a tax return to get it.
  2. Earned Income Tax Credit. Did you work and earn less than $53,505 last year? You could receive EITC as a tax refund if you qualify with or without a qualifying child. You may be eligible for up to $6,269. If you qualify, file a tax return to claim it.
  3. Additional Child Tax Credit. Do you have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If you don’t get the full credit amount, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit.
  4. American Opportunity Credit.The AOTC (up to $2,500 per eligible student) is available for four years of post-secondary education. You or your dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half-time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify; however, you must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a return to claim the credit.

Which Tax Form is Right for You?

You can generally use Form 1040EZ if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
  • You don’t claim dependents; and
  • Your interest income is $1,500 or less.

Note: You can’t use Form 1040EZ to claim the new Premium Tax Credit. You also can’t use this form if you received advance payments of this credit in 2016.

Form 1040A may be best for you if:

  • Your taxable income is below $100,000;
  • You have capital gain distributions;
  • You claim certain tax credits; and
  • You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.

You must use Form 1040 if:

  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
  • You claim itemized deductions;
  • You report self-employment income; or
  • You report income from sale of a property.

Questions?

Help is just a phone call away. Call or make an appointment today and get the answers you need right now.

 

IRS Tax Scams 2017: FAQs

As tax season approaches, taxpayers are reminded to be on the lookout for an array of evolving tax scams related to identity theft and refund fraud. Every year scam artists look for new ways to trick taxpayers out of their hard-earned money, sensitive financial information or even access to their computers. It seems that no matter how careful you are there’s always a possibility that identity thieves could steal your personal information and try to cash in by filing fraudulent tax returns in your name.

Here’s what you need to know this year:

Which tax scams should I be on the lookout for this tax season?

This tax season some of the most prevalent IRS-impersonation scams include:

Requesting fake tax payments: The IRS has seen automated calls where scammers leave urgent callback requests telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” These fake calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. Taxpayers may also receive live calls from IRS impersonators. They may demand payments on prepaid debit cards, iTunes and other gift cards or wire transfer. The IRS reminds taxpayers that any request to settle a tax bill using any of these payment methods is a clear indication of a scam.

Targeting students and parents and demanding payment for a fake “Federal Student Tax”: Telephone scammers are targeting students and parents demanding payments for fictitious taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

Sending a fraudulent IRS bill for tax year 2015 related to the Affordable Care Act: The IRS has received numerous reports around the country of scammers sending a fraudulent version of CP2000 notices for tax year 2015. Generally, the scam involves an email or letter that includes the fake CP2000. The fraudulent notice includes a payment request that taxpayers mail a check made out to “I.R.S.” to the “Austin Processing Center” at a Post Office Box address.

Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals: Payroll and human resources professionals should be aware of phishing email schemes that pretend to be from company executives and request personal information on employees. The email contains the actual name of the company chief executive officer. In this scam, the “CEO” sends an email to a company payroll office employee and requests a list of employees and financial and personal information including Social Security numbers (SSN).

Imitating software providers to trick tax professionals: Tax professionals may receive emails pretending to be from tax software companies. The email scheme requests the recipient to download and install an important software update via a link included in the e-mail. Upon completion, tax professionals believe they have downloaded a software update when in fact they have loaded a program designed to track the tax professional’s keystrokes, which is a common tactic used by cyber thieves to steal login information, passwords and other sensitive data.

“Verifying” tax return information over the phone: Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a Social Security number (SSN) or personal financial information, including bank numbers or credit cards.

Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry: The emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. The phishing schemes can ask taxpayers about a wide range of topics. E-mails or text messages can seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

What are the signs of identity theft?

Here are six signs that could indicate that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft:

  1. Your attempt to file your tax return electronically is rejected. You get a message saying a return with a duplicate Social Security number has been filed. First, check to make sure you did not transpose any numbers. Also, make sure one of your dependents, for example, your college-age child, did not file a tax return and claim themselves. If your information is accurate, and you still can’t successfully e-file because of a duplicate SSN, you may be a victim of identity theft. You should complete Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. Attach it to the top of a paper tax return and mail to the IRS.
  2. You receive a letter from the IRS asking you to verify whether you sent a tax return bearing your name and SSN. The IRS holds suspicious tax returns and sends taxpayers letters to verify them. If you did not file the tax return, follow the instructions in the IRS letter immediately.
  3. You receive income information at tax time from an employer unknown to you. Employment-related identity theft involves the use of your SSN by someone, generally an undocumented worker, for employment purposes only.
  4. You receive a tax refund that you did not request. You may receive a paper refund check by mail that the thief intended to have sent elsewhere. If you receive a tax refund you did not request, return it to the IRS. Write “VOID” in the endorsement section, and include a note on why you are returning it. If it is a direct deposit refund that you did not request, contact your bank and ask them to return it to the IRS.
  5. You receive a tax transcript by mail that you did not request. Identity thieves sometimes try to test the validity of the personal data they have chosen, or they attempt to use your data to steal even more information. If you receive a tax transcript in the mail and you did not request it, be alert to the possibility of identity theft.
  6. You receive a reloadable, prepaid debit card in the mail that you did not request. Identity thieves sometimes use your name and address to create an account for a reloadable prepaid debit card that they use for various schemes, including tax-related identity theft.

What are tax preparers and other tax professionals doing to protect my financial data?

Unfortunately, tax professionals are increasingly targets of cyber criminals seeking access to client data now as well. Criminals use this stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds; however, tax preparers and other tax professionals are able to protect their clients–and themselves in the event of a data breach by implementing critical steps such as:

Contacting the IRS and law enforcement:

Report client data theft to your local IRS Stakeholder Liaison. Liaisons will notify IRS Criminal Investigation and others within the agency on your behalf. Speed is critical. If reported quickly, the IRS can take steps to block fraudulent returns in your clients’ names. Contact local police to file a police report on the data breach, as well as the local FBI office and Secret Service (if directed).

Contacting states in which you prepare state returns:

Contacting the tax agency in each state in which you prepare returnsContact the State Attorneys General in each state in which you prepare returns. Most states require that the attorney general is notified of data breaches. This notification process may involve multiple offices.

Contacting experts:

Security experts can determine the cause and scope of the breach, what to do to stop the breach and prevent further breaches from occurring. A data breach should also be reported to your insurance company to determine if your insurance policy covers data breach mitigation expenses.

Contacting clients and other services:

  • The Federal Trade Commission offers tips and templates for businesses that suffer data compromise, including suggested language for informing clients.
  • Send an individual letter to any clients who have been a victim of a data breach to inform them of the breach but work with law enforcement on timing. Remember that you may need to contact former clients if their prior year data was still in your system.
  • Notify your tax software provider who may need to take steps to prevent inappropriate use of your account for e-filing.
  • It’s possible that your firm and client passwords may have been compromised and need to be reset, so it’s important to contact your website and/or client portal provider(s).
  • The Federal Trade Commission offers tips and templates for businesses that suffer data compromise, including suggested language for informing clients.
  • If required, notify a credit and/or ID theft protection agency. Certain states require offering credit monitoring and ID theft protection to victims of ID theft.
  • Notify credit bureaus if there is a compromise. Clients may seek their services.

What should I do if I’ve received a suspicious phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the IRS?

If you receive an unexpected call, unsolicited email, letter or text message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, be advised that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer or initiate contact by email or text message. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

If you receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

If you have any questions or believe that you’ve been a victim of an IRS tax scam, don’t hesitate to call.

 

Five Ways to Improve your Financial Situation

If you are having trouble paying your debts, it is important to take action sooner rather than later. Doing nothing leads to much larger problems in the future, whether it’s a bad credit record or bankruptcy resulting in the loss of assets and even your home. If you’re in financial trouble, then here are some steps to take to avoid financial ruin in the future.

If you’ve accumulated a large amount of debt and are having difficulty paying your bills each month, now is the time to take action–before the bill collectors start calling.

  1. Review each debt.Make sure that the debt creditors claim you owe is really what you owe and that the amount is correct. If you dispute a debt, first contact the creditor directly to resolve your questions. If you still have questions about the debt, contact your state or local consumer protection office or, in cases of serious creditor abuse, your state Attorney General.
  2. Contact your creditors.Let your creditors know you are having difficulty making your payments. Tell them why you are having trouble, perhaps it is because you recently lost your job or have unexpected medical bills. Try to work out an acceptable payment schedule with your creditors. Most are willing to work with you and will appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

Tip: Most automobile financing agreements permit your creditor to repossess your car any time you are in default, with no advance notice. If your car is repossessed you may have to pay the full balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. Do not wait until you are in default. Try to solve the problem with your creditor when you realize you will not be able to meet your payments. It may be better to sell the car yourself and pay off your debt than to incur the added costs of repossession.

  1. Budget your expenses.Create a spending plan that allows you to reduce your debts. Itemize your necessary expenses (such as housing and healthcare) and optional expenses (such as entertainment and vacation travel). Stick to the plan.
  2. Try to reduce your expenses.Cut out any unnecessary spending such as eating out and purchasing expensive entertainment. Consider taking public transportation or using a car sharing service rather than owning a car. Clip coupons, purchase generic products at the supermarket and avoid impulse purchases. Above all, stop incurring new debt. Leave your credit cards at home. Pay for all purchases in cash or use a debit card instead of a credit card.
  3. Pay down and consolidate your debts.Withdrawing savings from low-interest accounts to settle high-rate loans or credit card debt usually makes sense. In addition, there are a number of ways to pay off high-interest loans, such as credit cards, by getting a refinancing or consolidation loan, such as a second mortgage.

Tip: Selling off a second car not only provides cash but also reduces insurance and other maintenance expenses.

Caution: Be wary of any loan consolidations or other refinancing that actually increase interest owed, or require payments of points or large fees.

Caution: Second mortgages greatly increase the risk that you may lose your home.

You can regain financial health if you act responsibly. But don’t wait until bankruptcy court is your only option. If you’re having financial troubles, don’t hesitate to call.

 

Claiming an Elderly Parent or Relative as a Dependent

Are you taking care of an elderly parent or relative? Whether it’s driving to doctor appointments, paying for nursing home care or medical expenses, or handling their personal finances, dealing with an elderly parent or relative can be emotionally and financially draining, especially when you are taking care of your own family as well.

Fortunately, there is some good news: You may be able to claim your elderly relative as a dependent come tax time, as long as you meet certain criteria. Here’s what you should know about claiming an elderly parent or relative as a dependent:

Who Qualifies as a Dependent?

The IRS defines a dependent as a qualifying child or relative. A qualifying relative can be your mother, father, grandparent, stepmother, stepfather, mother-in-law, or father-in-law, for example, and can be any age.

There are four tests that must be met in order for a person to be your qualifying relative: not a qualifying child test, member of household or relationship test, gross income test, and support test.

Not a Qualifying Child

Your parent (or relative) cannot be claimed as a qualifying child on anyone else’s tax return.

Residency

He or she must be U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, or a resident of Canada or Mexico; however, a parent or relative doesn’t have to live with you in order to qualify as a dependent.

If your qualifying parent or relative does live with you, however, you may be able to deduct a percentage of your mortgage, utilities, and other expenses when you figure out the amount of money you contribute to his or her support.

Income

To qualify as a dependent, income cannot exceed the personal exemption amount, which in 2016 (and 2017) is $4,050. In addition, your parent or relative, if married, cannot file a joint tax return with his or her spouse unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.

Support

You must provide more than half of a parent’s total support for the year such as costs for food, housing, medical care, transportation and other necessities.

Claiming the Dependent Care Credit

You may be able to claim the child and dependent care credit if you paid work-related expenses for the care of a qualifying individual. The credit is generally a percentage of the amount of work-related expenses you paid to a care provider for the care of a qualifying individual. The percentage depends on your adjusted gross income. Work-related expenses qualifying for the credit are those paid for the care of a qualifying individual to enable you to work or actively look for work.

In addition, expenses you paid for the care of a disabled dependent may also qualify for a medical deduction (see next section). If this is the case, you must choose to take either the itemized deduction or the dependent care credit. You cannot take both.

Claiming the Medical Deduction

If you claim the deduction for medical expenses, you still must provide more than half your parent’s support; however, your parent doesn’t have to meet the income test.

The deduction is limited to medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income (For tax years 2013-2106, this amount is 7.5 percent if either you or your spouse was born before January 2, 1949), and you can include your own unreimbursed medical expenses when calculating the total amount. If, for example, your parent is in a nursing home or assisted-living facility. Any medical expenses you paid on behalf of your parent are counted toward the 10 percent figure. Food or other amenities, however, are not considered medical expenses.

What if you share caregiving responsibilities?

If you share caregiving responsibilities with a sibling or other relative, only one of you–the one proving more than 50 percent of the support–can claim the dependent. Be sure to discuss who is going to claim the dependent in advance to avoid running into trouble with the IRS if both of you claim the dependent on your respective tax returns.

Sometimes, however, neither caregiver pays more than 50 percent. In that case, you’ll need to fill out IRS Form 2120, Multiple Support Declaration, as long as you and your sibling both provide at least 10 percent of the support towards taking care of your parent.

The tax rules for claiming an elderly parent or relative are complex. If you have any questions, help is just a phone call away.

 

Five Tax Breaks that Expired in 2016

Many tax provisions were made permanent with the passage of the PATH Act in late 2015, but more than 36 others expired at the end of 2016. Here are the five that are most likely to affect taxpayers like you.

  1. Mortgage Insurance Premiums
    Mortgage insurance premiums (PMI) are paid by homeowners with less than 20 percent equity in their homes. These premiums were deductible in tax years 2013, 2014, 2015, and once again in 2016. Mortgage interest deductions for taxpayers who itemize are not affected.
  2. Exclusion of Discharge of Principal Residence Indebtedness
    Typically, forgiven debt is considered taxable income in the eyes of the IRS; however, this tax provision was extended through 2016, allowing homeowners whose homes have been foreclosed on or subjected to short sale to exclude up to $2 million of canceled mortgage debt. Also included are taxpayers seeking debt modification on their home.
  3. Energy Efficient Improvements
    This tax break has been around for a while, but if you made your home more energy efficient in 2016, now is your last chance to take advantage of this tax credit on your tax return. The credit reduces your taxes as opposed to a deduction that reduces your taxable income and is 10 percent of the cost of building materials for items such as insulation, new water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, or a wood pellet stove.

Note: This tax is cumulative, so if you’ve taken the credit in any tax year since 2006, you will not be able to take the full $500 tax credit this year. If, for example, you took a credit of $300 in 2015, the maximum credit you could take this year is $200.

  1. Qualified Tuition and Expenses

The deduction for qualified tuition and fees, extended through 2016, is an above-the-line tax deduction, which means that you don’t have to itemize your deductions to claim the expense. Taxpayers with income of up to $130,000 (joint) or $65,000 (single) can claim a deduction for up to $4,000 in expenses. Taxpayers with income over $130,000 but under $160,000 (joint) and over $65,000 but under $80,000 (single) can take a deduction up to $2,000; however, taxpayers with income over those amounts are not eligible for the deduction.

Qualified education expenses are defined as tuition and related expenses required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Related expenses include student-activity fees and expenses for books, supplies, and equipment as required by the institution.

  1. Exemption from Increase in Medical Expense Threshold Amounts

Starting in 2013, threshold amounts for medical expense deductions increased from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of AGI. Seniors (age 65 during or before the tax year) were temporarily exempt from the 10 percent threshold of adjusted gross income (AGI), which applied to tax years starting after December 31, 2012 and and ending before January 1, 2017.

Don’t miss out on the tax breaks you are entitled to.

If you’re wondering whether you should be taking advantage of these and other tax credits and deductions, please call today.

 

2017 Tax Filing Season; Tax Returns due April 18

The IRS began accepting electronic and paper tax returns on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. More than 153 million individual tax returns are expected to be filed in 2017, according to the IRS.

Taxpayers are reminded that a new law (more details, below) requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) until February 15, although due to weekends and the President’s Day holiday, many affected taxpayers may not have access to their refunds until the week of February 27. Taxpayers should file as usual, and tax return preparers should also submit returns as they normally do–including returns claiming EITC and ACTC.

April 18 Filing Deadline

The filing deadline to submit 2016 tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, rather than the traditional April 15 date. In 2017, April 15 falls on a Saturday, and this would usually move the filing deadline to the following Monday (April 17). However, Emancipation Day, which is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, will be observed on that Monday, which pushes the nation’s filing deadline to Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Under the tax law, legal holidays in the District of Columbia affect the filing deadline across the nation.

The IRS also has been working with the tax industry and state revenue departments as part of the Security Summit, a joint initiative between the IRS and representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft refund fraud and protect the nation’s taxpayers. A number of new provisions are being added in 2017 to expand progress made during the past year.

Refunds in 2017

The IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, but there are some important factors to keep in mind for taxpayers.

Beginning in 2017, a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until mid-February. Under the change required by Congress in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund (even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC) until at least February 15. This change helps ensure that taxpayers get the refund they are owed by giving the IRS more time to help detect and prevent fraud.

The IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds starting February 15. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely won’t arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of February 27 (assuming there are no processing issues with the tax return and the taxpayer chose direct deposit). This additional period is due to several factors, including banking and financial systems needing time to process deposits.

After refunds leave the IRS, it takes additional time for them to be processed and for financial institutions to accept and deposit the refunds to bank accounts and products. Many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day may affect their refund timing.

Need Help?

Don’t hesitate to call the office if you have any questions or need assistance filing your tax return this year.

 

Missing your Form W-2?

You should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from each of your employers for use in preparing your federal tax return. Employers must furnish this record of 2016 earnings and withheld taxes no later than January 31, 2017 (if mailed, allow a few days for delivery).

If you do not receive your Form W-2, contact your employer to find out if and when the W-2 was mailed. If it was mailed, it may have been returned to your employer because of an incorrect address. After contacting your employer, allow a reasonable amount of time for your employer to resend or to issue the W-2.

If you still do not receive your W-2 by mid-February, contact the IRS for assistance at 1-800-829-1040. When you call, have the following information handy:

  • the employer’s name and complete address, including zip code, and the employer’s telephone number;
  • the employer’s identification number (if known);
  • your name and address, including zip code, Social Security number, and telephone number; and
  • an estimate of the wages you earned, the federal income tax withheld, and the dates you began and ended employment. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.

If you misplaced your W-2, contact your employer. Your employer can replace the lost form with a “reissued statement.” Be aware that your employer is allowed to charge you a fee for providing you with a new W-2.

You still must file your tax return on time even if you do not receive your Form W-2. If you cannot get a W-2 by the tax filing deadline, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, but it will delay any refund due while the information is verified.

If you receive a corrected W-2 after your return is filed and the information it contains does not match the income or withheld tax that you reported on your return, you must file an amended return on Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

Important: 2016 Health Insurance Forms

Starting in 2016, most taxpayers received one or more forms relating to health care coverage they had during the previous year.

If you enrolled in 2016 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement by early February.

If you were enrolled in other health coverage for 2016, you should receive a Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, or Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health insurance Offer and Coverage by the end of March. Contact the issuer of the form (either the Marketplace, your coverage provider or your employer) if you think you should have received a form but did not get one.

If you are expecting to receive a Form 1095-A, you should wait to file your 2016 income tax return until you receive that form. However, it is not necessary to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C in order to file.

If you have questions about your Forms W-2 or 1099 or any other tax-related materials, please call or email the office.

 

Updated Withholding Tables for 2017

Updated income-tax withholding tables for 2017 have been released. The newly revised version contains percentage method income-tax withholding tables and related information that employers need to implement these changes.

In addition, employers should continue withholding Social Security tax at the rate of 6.2 percent of wages paid. The Social Security wage base limit increases to $127,200 ($118,500 in 2016). The Medicare tax rate remains at 1.45 percent each for the employee and employer.

The additional Medicare tax of 0.9 percent for employees (not employers) remains in effect and should be withheld from employee wages that exceed $200,000 in a calendar year, at the beginning in the pay period in which the employee’s wages exceed $200,000.

In 2017 the amount for one withholding allowance on an annual basis is $4,050 (same as 2016). Employers should start using the revised withholding tables and correct the amount of Social Security tax withheld as soon as possible in 2017, but not later than February 16, 2017. For any Social Security tax under-withheld before that date, employers should make the appropriate adjustment in workers’ pay as soon as possible, but not later than March 31, 2017.

Employers and payroll companies handle the withholding changes, so workers typically won’t need to take any additional action, such as filling out a new W-4 withholding form. Individuals and couples with multiple jobs, people who are having children, getting married, getting divorced or buying a home, and those who typically wind up with a balance due or large refund at the end of the year may want to consider submitting revised W-4 forms.

As always, it’s prudent for workers to review their withholding every year and, if necessary, fill out a new W-4 to give to their employer. For example, individuals and couples with multiple jobs, people who are having children, getting married, getting divorced or buying a home, and those who typically wind up with a balance due or large refund at the end of the year may want to consider submitting revised W-4 forms.

Please call the office if you have any questions about income tax withholding in 2017.

 

Kids’ Day Camp Expenses May Qualify for a Tax Credit

Day camps are common during school vacations and the summer months. Many parents enroll their children in a day camp or pay for day care so they can work or look for work. If this applies to you, your costs may qualify for a federal tax credit. Here are 10 things to know about the Child and Dependent Care Credit:

  1. Care for Qualifying Persons. Your expenses must be for the care of one or more qualifying persons. Your dependent child or children under age 13 generally qualify.
  2. Work-related Expenses. Your expenses for care must be work-related. In other words, you must pay for the care so you can work or look for work. This rule also applies to your spouse if you file a joint return. Your spouse meets this rule during any month they are a full-time student. They also meet it if they are physically or mentally incapable of self-care.
  3. Earned Income Required. You must have earned income. Earned income includes wages, salaries and tips. It also includes net earnings from self-employment. Your spouse must also have earned income if you file jointly. Your spouse is treated as having earned income for any month that they are a full-time student or incapable of self-care.
  4. Joint Return if Married. Generally, married couples must file a joint return. You can still take the credit, however, if you are legally separated or living apart from your spouse.
  5. Type of Care. You may qualify for the credit whether you pay for care at home, at a daycare facility or at a day camp.
  6. Credit Amount. The credit is worth between 20 and 35 percent of your allowable expenses. The percentage depends on your income.
  7. Expense Limits. The total expense that you can use in a year is limited. The limit is $3,000 for one qualifying person or $6,000 for two or more.
  8. Certain Care Does Not Qualify. You may not include the cost of certain types of care for the tax credit, including:
  • Overnight camps or summer school tutoring costs.
  • Care provided by your spouse or your child who is under age 19 at the end of the year.
  • Care given by a person you can claim as your dependent.
  1. Keep Records and Receipts.Keep all your receipts and records for when you file taxes next year. You will need the name, address and taxpayer identification number of the care provider. You must report this information when you claim the credit on Form 2441, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  2. Dependent Care Benefits.Special rules apply if you get dependent care benefits from your employer.

Keep in mind this credit is not just a school vacation or summer tax benefit. You may be able to claim it at any time during the year for qualifying care. For more information, please call the office.

 

Qualifying for a Health Coverage Exemption

With the 2017 tax filing season in full swing, it’s not too early to think about how the health care law affects your taxes. The Affordable Care Act requires you and each member of your family to do at least one of the following:

  • Have qualifying health coverage called minimum essential coverage
  • Qualify for a health coverage exemption
  • Make a shared responsibility payment with your federal income tax return for the months that you did not have coverage or an exemption

If you meet certain criteria for the tax year, you may be exempt from the requirement to have minimum essential coverage. You will not have to make a shared responsibility payment for any month that you are exempt. Instead, you’ll file Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, with your federal income tax return. For any month that you do not qualify for a coverage exemption, you will need to have minimum essential coverage or make a shared responsibility payment. You may be exempt if you meet one of the following:

  • The lowest-cost coverage available to you is considered unaffordable
  • You have a gap in coverage that is less than three (3) consecutive months
  • You qualify for an exemption for one of several other reasons, including having a hardship that prevents you from obtaining coverage or belonging to a group specifically exempt from the coverage requirement

The Federally-facilitated Marketplace is no longer granting exemptions for members of a health care sharing ministry, members of Indian Tribes, and incarceration. Eligible individuals can still claim these exemptions on a tax return. For a full list of exemptions and how to claim them, please call.

Federal tax returns that do not reflect at least one of these options–reporting health care coverage, claiming a coverage exemption or reporting a shared responsibility payment–will be rejected if the return is filed electronically. If filed on paper, tax returns that do not reflect at least one of these options will take longer to process and any refunds will be delayed. You should respond promptly to IRS correspondence about your health care coverage.

Questions?

To find out if you’re eligible for a coverage exemption or must make a payment, don’t hesitate to contact the office. Help is just a phone call away.

 

Tax Due Dates for February 2017

February 10

Employees – who work for tips. If you received $20 or more in tips during January, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time.

Farm Employers – File Form 943 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

Certain Small Employers – File Form 944 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2016. This tax due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

Employers – Nonpayroll taxes. File Form 945 to report income tax withheld for 2016 on all nonpayroll items. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

Employers – Federal unemployment tax. File Form 940 for 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

February 15

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

Individuals – If you claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year on the Form W-4 you gave your employer, you must file a new Form W-4 by this date to continue your exemption for another year.

All businesses. Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2016. You can use the appropriate version of Form 1099 or other information return.

February 16

Employers – Begin withholding income tax from the pay of any employee who claimed exemption from withholding in 2016, but did not give you a new Form W-4 to continue the exemption this year.

February 28

Businesses – File information returns (Form 1099) for certain payments you made during 2016. These payments are described under January 31. There are different forms for different types of payments. Use a separate Form 1096 to summarize and transmit the forms for each type of payment. See the 2016 Instructions for Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and W-2G for information on what payments are covered, how much the payment must be before a return is required, what form to use, and extensions of time to file.

If you file Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, or W-2G electronically (except Form 1099-MISC reporting nonemployee compensation), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms is still January 31.

Payers of Gambling Winnings – File Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, along with Copy A of all the Forms W-2G you issued for 2016. If you file Forms W-2G electronically (not by magnetic tape), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains January 31.

Large Food and Beverage Establishment Employers – with employees who work for tips. File Form 8027, Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. Use Form 8027-T, Transmittal of Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, to summarize and transmit Forms 8027 if you have more than one establishment. If you file Forms 8027 electronically (not by magnetic tape), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31.

Health Coverage Reporting – If you’re an Applicable Large Employer, file paper Forms 1094-­C, Transmittal of Employer–Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and 1095-­C with the IRS. For all other providers of minimum essential coverage, file paper Forms 1094-­B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns, and 1095-­B with the IRS. If you’re filing any of these forms with the IRS electronically, your due date for filing them will be extended to March 31.

March 1

Farmers and Fishermen – Farmers and fishermen. File your 2016 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due. However, you have until April 18 to file if you paid your 2016 estimated tax by January 17, 2017.

 

Rex Crandell Firm
3000 Citrus Circle, #207
Walnut Creek, CA, 94598
Phone: (925) 934-6320
RexCrandell@astound.net

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

 

Copyright © 2017  All materials contained in this document are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All other trade names, trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

THE END.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION………………..

………………………

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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)

3000 Citrus Circle

Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office

425 Market Street

22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net

Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com

Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com


Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

__________________________________

DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.

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Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
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I am sure you were wondering how a corporation dies and goes to heaven.  Now is your chance to satisfy your curiosity and find out.  The following information tells it like it is and how to do it.  See this report: HOW DO I LIQUIDATE OR DISSOLVE A CORPORATION SO THAT I PAY THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TAX?

So, you own a Corporation that is no longer needed and you want to close it down.

  • HOW DO I LIQUIDATE OR DISSOLVE A CORPORATION

  • SO THAT I PAY THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TAX?

 

 

   By Rex L. Crandell, CPA, Attorney

   The first issue to address information on reporting the liquidation from the C-Corporation’s perspective.

          When a corporation liquidates, the board of directors will vote and pass a documented corporate resolution to liquidate the corporation which will need to be confirmed in writing by the shareholders.  One person can have more than one title and should sign the documents for each title used.  For example:  #1 SHAREHOLDER, signs as a Director then   #1 SHAREHOLDER, signs as a shareholder.

      The corporation will prepare an IRS Form 966 to inform the IRS as to the upcoming liquidation.  The IRS Form 966 and related required form documentation is then filed with the IRS within thirty (30) days of the liquidation resolution.  The form filing should not wait until the C-Corporation tax returns are completed and submitted.  The IRS Form 966 should indicate that this is a complete liquidation (IRS Form 966, line 3) and that IRC§331 was the code section that the corporation will be liquidated (line 10).  See the IRS Form 966 for additional information and requirements.

        The corporation will treat the liquidation as a sale of all assets at their current Fair Market Value (hereafter referred to as FMV).  It is not permissible to report the asset transactions at their historical book values as indicated on the company’s Balance Sheet and Depreciation Schedule.  There should be a worksheet included in the corporate tax returns showing the sales transaction and the gain or loss between the FMV and book value for each asset.  Once the corporate tax returns are completed and ready to be submitted, it should include a copy of the IRS Form 966 that was already filed with the IRS.

        The transaction is taxable as a sale of assets by the C-corporation (IRS Form 1120).  The transaction is also treated as a sale of corporate stock by the shareholders IRS Form 1040.  This is the infamous double taxation that applies to C-Corporations.

   A C-Corporation distribution of retained earnings will be treated as a taxable dividend received by the shareholder.

   When a C Corporation liquidation is done by electing IRC §331 tax treatment, the payment of retained earnings to the shareholders is not considered a taxable dividend to the shareholder.  It is considered as an integral part of the presumed stock sale transaction.

   This is in contrast to an S-Corporation, because an S-Corporation’s retained earnings automatically flows through the S-Corporation to the shareholders as dividend regardless if the shareholder was paid the retained earnings in cash or if no distribution of cash took place.

  What should be the value of the Life Insurance policies?

       If you are unable to determine the FMV of assets, you can request the assistance of a professional appraiser or some other person with specialized skills to determine the current FMV.  An online search could be used to support the value of some assets.  In terms of the life insurance policies, since a willing buyer would pay at least the cash value of the policy, then the cash value would be the FMV less a nominal transaction and inconvenience fee to the hypothetical buyer.  If your insurance agent feels that the separate death benefit part of life insurance has a market value, then it should be used as the sales price.

   What should the shareholder’s basis be for the sales transaction?                    

      Shareholder basis is determined by considering the amount of money contributed to the corporation at the time the shares were acquired.  This is called outside basis in the hands of the shareholder.  This number may end up being different from the inside basis shown on the corporation’s balance sheet.  Then the evolving basis computation would include any additional funds that were contributed to the corporation or assets transferred to the corporation.  If the corporation had paid the shareholder an amount in excess of the retained earnings of the company, then it would have been considered a return of capital to reduce the stock basis.  If the shareholders have no way of calculating the shareholder’s basis, some people will end up reporting the basis on the corporation’s balance sheet as the closest reconstruction of data that is unavailable.

       The above basis calculation method is the way most stock basis computations are made.  However, if a shareholder received a stepped up basis under IRC §1014 because of the death of a spouse that was holding title in community property, then the starting point for the evolving basis computation will be the FMV of the stock as indicated on IRS Form 706 or other documentation.  From that point, increases or decreases could take place in the stock basis depending on the type of transactions discussed in “G” above.

      The shareholders will report the complete liquidation of their shares considering the transaction as a sale of stock for the value of the compensation, funds, assets received from the corporation.  The basis used for the sale cost basis will be the shareholder’s basis in the stock.

         The gain or loss of the sale of stock will then be reported on the shareholder’s annual IRS Form 1040 in the usual manner. IRS Form 1040, Schedule D after IRS Form 8949.  However, you should also consider the beneficial tax treatment under IRC §1202 Qualified Small Business Stock.  If the C-Corporation meets all of the requirements to be properly classified as Qualified Small Business stock, then you can claim the IRC §1202 exclusion of half of the gain on the sale of the shares.

      The shareholder’s individual income tax return should show a worksheet indicating how the gain or loss on the sale of the corporation was computed.  In addition, it is suggested that you also include a copy of the same IRS Form 966 that was filed by the corporation.

    DISSOLVE THE CORPORATE ENTITY WITH THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.

   You will need to petition the state to get the formal dissolution resolved at the state of California level to avoid paying the annual $800+ minimum franchise tax and to avoid the requirement to continue to file annual corporate tax returns for federal and California.

   CONCLUSION

   A liquidation of a corporation is treated as a sale of stock.  This factor should not be ignored by the liquidating corporation or the owner/shareholders of the corporate entity.  If the corporation never issued actual stock certificates to the owners of the corporation, it does not affect the taxability of the transaction.  True ownership is the determining factor and not the tangible paper called a stock certificate.

   You should distribute all the assets and pay off all liabilities before you dissolve the corporate entity and before filing your final federal and California corporate tax returns.

  I hope I was able to address and resolve all of your questions and concerns.  If there is any additional information that is needed or any additional concerns that I have not addressed, please you’re your questions and service requests to our office for evaluation.

   Very truly yours,

   Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell

Enrolled to Represent Taxpayers before the IRS
Enrolled to practice in the United States Tax Court
The Law Office of Rex Crandell
The Office of Rex Crandell, CPA, Inc.

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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)

3000 Citrus Circle

Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office

425 Market Street

22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net

Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com

Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com


Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

__________________________________

DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.

image

======================
Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
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  2017 Tax Changes for 2016 Tax Returns

 (from TaxRexCrandell.com)

Many of the tax changes affecting individuals and businesses for 2016 were related to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH) that modified or made permanent numerous tax breaks (the so-called “tax extenders”). To further complicate matters, some provisions were only extended through 2016 and are set to expire at the end of this year while others were extended through 2019. With that in mind, here’s what individuals and families need to know about tax provisions for 2016.


Standard Deductions

The standard deduction for married couples filing a joint return in 2016 is $12,600. For singles and married individuals filing separately, it is $6,300, and for heads of household the deduction is $9,300.
The additional standard deduction for blind people and senior citizens in 2016 is $1,250 for married individuals and $1,550 for singles and heads of household.

Income Tax Rates

In 2016 the top tax rate of 39.6 percent affects individuals whose income exceeds $415,051 ($466,951 for married taxpayers filing a joint return). Marginal tax rates for 2016–10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent–remain the same as in prior years.
Due to inflation, tax-bracket thresholds increased for every filing status. For example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15 percent bracket from the 25 percent bracket is $75,300 for a married couple filing a joint return.
Estate and Gift Taxes
In 2016 there is an exemption of $5.45 million per individual for estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes, with a top tax rate of 40 percent. The annual exclusion for gifts is $14,000.
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
AMT exemption amounts were made permanent and indexed for inflation retroactive to 2012. In addition, non-refundable personal credits can now be used against the AMT.
For 2016, exemption amounts are $53,900 for single and head of household filers, $83,800 for married people filing jointly and for qualifying widows or widowers, and $41,900 for married people filing separately.

Marriage Penalty Relief

The basic standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly in 2016 is $12,600.
Pease and PEP (Personal Exemption Phaseout)
Pease (limitations on itemized deductions) and PEP (personal exemption phase-out) limitations were made permanent by ATRA (indexed for inflation) and affect taxpayers with income at or above $259,400 for single filers and $311,300 for married filing jointly in tax year 2016.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are limited to $2,550 per year in 2016 (same as 2015) and apply only to salary reduction contributions under a health FSA. The term “taxable year” as it applies to FSAs refers to the plan year of the cafeteria plan, which is typically the period during which salary reduction elections are made.
Specifically, in the case of a plan providing a grace period (which may be up to two months and 15 days), unused salary reduction contributions to the health FSA for plan years beginning in 2012 or later that are carried over into the grace period for that plan year will not count against the $2,550 limit for the subsequent plan year.
Further, employers may allow people to carry over into the next calendar year up to $500 in their accounts, but aren’t required to do so.

Long Term Capital Gains

In 2016 taxpayers in the lower tax brackets (10 and 15 percent) pay zero percent on long-term capital gains. For taxpayers in the middle four tax brackets the rate is 15 percent and for taxpayers whose income is at or above $415,050 ($466,950 married filing jointly), the rate for both capital gains and dividends is capped at 20 percent.

Individuals – Tax Credits

Adoption Credit
In 2016 a nonrefundable (i.e. only those with a lax liability will benefit) credit of up to $13,460 is available for qualified adoption expenses for each eligible child.
Child and Dependent Care Credit
The child and dependent care tax credit was permanently extended for taxable years starting in 2013. If you pay someone to take care of your dependent (defined as being under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year or incapable of self-care) in order to work or look for work, you may qualify for a credit of up to $1,050 or 35 percent of $3,000 of eligible expenses.
For two or more qualifying dependents, you can claim up to 35 percent of $6,000 (or $2,100) of eligible expenses. For higher income earners the credit percentage is reduced, but not below 20 percent, regardless of the amount of adjusted gross income.
Child Tax Credit
For tax year 2016, the child tax credit is $1,000. A portion of the credit may be refundable, which means that you can claim the amount you are owed, even if you have no tax liability for the year. The credit is phased out for those with higher incomes.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
For tax year 2016, the maximum earned income tax credit (EITC) for low and moderate income workers and working families increased to $6,269 (up from $6,242 in 2015). The maximum income limit for the EITC increased to $53,505 (up from $53,267 in 2015) for married filing jointly. The credit varies by family size, filing status, and other factors, with the maximum credit going to joint filers with three or more qualifying children.
Individuals – Education Expenses
Coverdell Education Savings Account
You can contribute up to $2,000 a year to Coverdell savings accounts in 2016. These accounts can be used to offset the cost of elementary and secondary education, as well as post-secondary education.
American Opportunity Tax Credit
For 2016, the maximum American Opportunity Tax Credit that can be used to offset certain higher education expenses is $2,500 per student, although it is phased out beginning at $160,000 adjusted gross income for joint filers and $80,000 for other filers.
Employer-Provided Educational Assistance
In 2016, as an employee, you can exclude up to $5,250 of qualifying post-secondary and graduate education expenses that are reimbursed by your employer.


Lifetime Learning Credit

A credit of up to $2,000 is available for an unlimited number of years for certain costs of post-secondary or graduate courses or courses to acquire or improve your job skills. For 2016, the modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning credit begins to phase out is $108,000 for joint filers and $54,000 for singles and heads of household.


Student Loan Interest

In 2016 you can deduct up to $2,500 in student-loan interest as long as your modified adjusted gross income is less than $65,000 (single) or $130,000 (married filing jointly). The deduction is phased out at higher income levels. In addition, the deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not need to itemize your deductions.


Individuals – Retirement
Contribution Limits

For 2016, the elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is $18,000 (same as 2015). For persons age 50 or older in 2016, the limit is $24,000 ($6,000 catch-up contribution). Contribution limits for SIMPLE plans remain at $12,500 (same as 2015) for persons under age 50 and $15,500 for anyone age 50 or older in 2016. The maximum compensation used to determine contributions increased to $265,000.
Saver’s Credit
In 2016, the adjusted gross income limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and-moderate-income workers is $61,500 for married couples filing jointly, $46,125 for heads of household, and $30,750 for married individuals filing separately and for singles.
Please call if you need help understanding which deductions and tax credits you are entitled to.

2016 Recap: Tax Provisions for Businesses
Whether you file as a corporation or sole proprietor here’s what business owners need to know about tax changes for 2016.
Standard Mileage Rates
The standard mileage rates in 2016 are as follows: 54 cents per business mile driven, 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, and 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.
Health Care Tax Credit for Small Businesses
Small business employers who pay at least half the premiums for single health insurance coverage for their employees may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit as long as they employ fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers and average annual wages do not exceed $52,000 (adjusted annually for inflation) in 2016.
In 2016 (as in 2015 and 2014), the tax credit is worth up to 50 percent of your contribution toward employees’ premium costs (up to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers). For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit was 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.
Section 179 Expensing and Depreciation
The Section 179 expense deduction was made permanent at $500,000 by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH). For equipment purchases, the maximum deduction is $500,000 of the first $2.01 million of qualifying equipment placed in service during the current tax year. The deduction is phased out dollar for dollar on amounts exceeding the $2 million threshold amount (indexed for inflation) and eliminated above amounts exceeding $2.5 million. In addition, Section 179 is now indexed to inflation in increments of $10,000 for future tax years.
The 50 percent bonus depreciation has been extended through 2019. Businesses are able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and placed in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. However, the bonus depreciation is reduced to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019. The standard business depreciation amount is 24 cents per mile.
Please call if you have any questions about Section 179 expensing and the bonus depreciation.
Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
Extended through 2019, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit has been modified and enhanced for employers who hire long-term unemployed individuals (unemployed for 27 weeks or more) and is generally equal to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages paid to a new hire. Please call if you have any questions about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
SIMPLE IRA Plan Contributions
Contribution limits for SIMPLE IRA plans increased to $12,500 for persons under age 50 and $15,500 for persons age 50 or older in 2016. The maximum compensation used to determine contributions increases to $265,000.
Please contact the office if you need help understanding which deductions and tax credits you are entitled to.

Employee or Independent Contractor–Which is it?
If you hire someone for a long-term, full-time project or a series of projects that are likely to last for an extended period, you must pay special attention to the difference between independent contractors and employees.

Why It Matters

The Internal Revenue Service and state regulators scrutinize the distinction between employees and independent contractors because many business owners try to categorize as many of their workers as possible as independent contractors rather than as employees. They do this because independent contractors are not covered by unemployment and workers’ compensation, or by federal and state wage, hour, anti-discrimination, and labor laws. In addition, businesses do not have to pay federal payroll taxes on amounts paid to independent contractors.
Caution: If you incorrectly classify an employee as an independent contractor, you can be held liable for employment taxes for that worker, plus a penalty.

The Difference Between Employees and Independent Contractors

Independent Contractors are individuals who contract with a business to perform a specific project or set of projects. You, the payer, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work done by an independent contractor, and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result.
Example: Sam Smith, an electrician, submitted a bid of $6,400 to a housing complex for electrical work. Per the terms of his contract, every two weeks for the next 10 weeks, he is to receive a payment of $1,280. This is not considered payment by the hour. Even if he works more or less than 400 hours to complete the work, Sam will still receive $6,400. He also performs additional electrical installations under contracts with other companies that he obtained through advertisements. Sam Smith is an independent contractor.

Note: Labor laws vary by state. Please call if you have specific questions.

Employees provide work in an ongoing, structured basis. In general, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done. A worker is still considered an employee even when you give them freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.
Example: Sally Jones is a salesperson employed on a full-time basis by Rob Robinson, an auto dealer. She works 6 days a week and is on duty in Rob’s showroom on certain assigned days and times. She appraises trade-ins, but her appraisals are subject to the sales manager’s approval. Lists of prospective customers belong to the dealer. She has to develop leads and report results to the sales manager. Because of her experience, she requires only minimal assistance in closing and financing sales and in other phases of her work. She is paid a commission and is eligible for prizes and bonuses offered by Rob. Rob also pays the cost of health insurance and group term life insurance for Sally. Sally Jones is an employee of Rob Robinson.

The IRS, workers’ compensation boards, unemployment compensation boards, federal agencies, and even courts all have slightly different definitions of what an independent contractor is though their means of categorizing workers as independent contractors are similar.
One of the most prevalent approaches used to categorize a worker as either an employee or independent contractor is the analysis created by the IRS, which considers the following:
What instructions the employer gives the worker about when, where, and how to work. The more specific the instructions and the more control exercised, the more likely the worker will be considered an employee.

What training the employer gives the worker. Independent contractors generally do not receive training from an employer.

The extent to which the worker has business expenses that are not reimbursed. Independent contractors are more likely to have unreimbursed expenses.

The extent of the worker’s investment in the worker’s own business. Independent contractors typically invest their own money in equipment or facilities.

The extent to which the worker makes services available to other employers. Independent contractors are more likely to make their services available to other employers.

How the business pays the worker. An employee is generally paid by the hour, week, or month. An independent contractor is usually paid by the job.

The extent to which the worker can make a profit or incur a loss. An independent contractor can make a profit or loss, but an employee does not.

Whether there are written contracts describing the relationship the parties intended to create. Independent contractors generally sign written contracts stating that they are independent contractors and setting forth the terms of their employment.

Whether the business provides the worker with employee benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation pay, or sick pay. Independent contractors generally do not get benefits.

The terms of the working relationship. An employee generally is employed at will (meaning the relationship can be terminated by either party at any time). An independent contractor is usually hired for a set period.

Whether the worker’s services are a key aspect of the company’s regular business. If the services are necessary for regular business activity, it is more likely that the employer has the right to direct and control the worker’s activities. The more control an employer exerts over a worker, the more likely it is that the worker will be considered an employee.
Minimize the Risk of Misclassification

If you misclassify an employee as an independent contractor, you may end up before a state taxing authority or the IRS.
Sometimes the issue comes up when a terminated worker files for unemployment benefits and it’s unclear whether the worker was an independent contractor or employee. The filing can trigger state or federal investigations that can cost many thousands of dollars to defend, even if you successfully fight the challenge.
There are ways to reduce the risk of an investigation or challenge by a state or federal authority. At a minimum, you should:
Familiarize yourself with the rules. Ignorance of the rules is not a legitimate defense. Knowledge of the rules will allow you to structure and carefully manage your relationships with your workers to minimize risk.

Document relationships with your workers and vendors. Although it won’t always save you, it helps to have a written contract stating the terms of employment.

If you have any questions about how to classify workers, please call.

Understanding the Net Investment Income Tax
One of the most significant tax changes affecting higher income taxpayers was the Net Investment Income Tax that went into effect on January 1, 2013. While it tends to affect wealthier individuals most often, in certain circumstances, it can also affect moderate income taxpayers whose income increases significantly in a given tax year. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the Net Investment Income Tax?
The Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) is a 3.8 percent tax on certain net investment income of individuals, estates, and trusts with income above statutory threshold amounts, referred to as modified adjusted gross income or MAGI.
What is Included in Net Investment Income?
In general, investment income includes, but is not limited to interest, dividends, capital gains, rental and royalty income, nonqualified annuities, income from businesses involved in trading of financial instruments or commodities, and passive business activities such as rental income or income derived from royalties.
What is Not Included in Net Investment Income?
Wages, unemployment compensation; operating income from a nonpassive business, Social Security Benefits, alimony, tax-exempt interest, self-employment income, Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends, and distributions from certain Qualified Plans are not included in net investment income.
Individuals
Individuals with MAGI of $250,000 (married filing jointly) or $200,000 for single filers are taxed at a flat rate of 3.8 percent on investment income such as dividends, taxable interest, rents, royalties, certain income from trading commodities, taxable income from investment annuities, REITs and master limited partnerships, and long and short-term capital gains.
The NIIT is a flat rate tax that is paid in addition to other taxes owed, and threshold amounts are not indexed for inflation.
Non-resident aliens are not subject to the NIIT; however, if a non-resident alien is married to a US citizen and is planning to file as a resident alien for the purposes of filing married jointly, there are special rules. Please call if you have any questions.
Investment income is generally not subject to withholding, so NIIT is going to affect your tax liability for the 2016 tax year. In addition, even lower income taxpayers not meeting the threshold amounts may be subject to NIIT if they receive a windfall such as a one-time sale of assets that bumps their MAGI up high enough to be subject to the NIIT.
Strategies to Minimize NIIT
Tax planning is crucial–for this year as well as next. If you are anticipating a windfall this tax year or next, there are a number of strategies that you could use to minimize your MAGI and reduce or possibly eliminate tax liability when you file your tax return. These include but are not limited to:
Rental Real Estate (depreciation deductions)
Installment sales (including figuring out the best timing for sale)
Roth conversions
Charitable donations
Tax-deferred annuities
Municipal bonds
Sale of a Home
The Net Investment Income Tax does not apply to any amount of gain that is excluded from gross income for regular income tax purposes ($250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a principal residence from gross income for regular income tax purposes. In other words, only the taxable part of any gain on the sale of a home has the potential to be subject to NIIT, providing the taxpayer is over the MAGI threshold amount.
Estates and Trusts Affected
Estates and Trusts are subject to NIIT if they have undistributed net investment income and also have adjusted gross income over the dollar amount at which the highest tax bracket for an estate or trust begins for such taxable year. In 2016, this threshold amount is $12,400.
Special rules apply for certain unique types of trusts such a Charitable Remainder Trusts and Electing Small Business Trusts, and some trusts, including “Grantor Trusts” and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) are not subject to the NIIT.
Please note, however, that non-qualified dividends generated by investments in a REIT that are taxed at ordinary tax rates may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax.
Questions? If you need guidance on the NIIT and estates and trusts, help is just a phone call away.
Reporting and Paying the Net Investment Income Tax
Individual taxpayers should report (and pay) the tax on Form 1040. Estates and Trusts report (and pay) the tax on Form 1041.
Individuals, estates, and trusts that expect to be pay estimated taxes in 2016 or thereafter should adjust their income tax withholding or estimated payments to account for the tax increase in order to avoid underpayment penalties. For employed individuals, the NIIT is not withheld from wages; however, you may request that additional income tax be withheld.
Wondering how the Net Investment Income Tax affects you? Give the office a call today and find out.

Choosing a Retirement Destination
With health care, housing, food, and transportation costs increasing every year, many retirees on fixed incomes wonder how they can stretch their dollars even further. One solution is to move to another state where income taxes are lower than the one they currently reside in.
But some retirees may be in for a surprise. While federal tax rates are the same in every state, retirees may find that even if they move to a state with no income tax, there may be additional taxes they’re liable for including sales taxes, excise taxes, inheritance and estate taxes, income taxes, intangible taxes, and property taxes.
In addition, states tax different retirement benefits differently. Retirees may have several types of retirements benefits such as pensions, social security, retirement plan distributions (which may or not be taxed by a particular state), and additional income from a job if they continue to work in order to supplement their retirement income.
If you’re thinking about moving to a different state when you retire, here are five things to consider before you make that move.
1. Income Tax Rates
Retirees planning to work part-time in addition to receiving retirement benefits should keep in mind that those earnings may be subject to state tax in certain states, as well as federal income tax if your combined income (individual) is more than $25,000. Combined income is defined as your adjusted gross income + Nontaxable interest plus 1/2 of your Social Security benefits. If you file a joint return, you may have to pay taxes if you and your spouse have a combined income that is more than $32,000. If you see this scenario in your future, it may be in your best interest to consider a state with low income tax rates (Pennsylvania, Arizona, or New Mexico for instance) or no income tax such as Florida, Nevada, Alaska, or Washington state.
2. Income Tax on Retirement Income

Income tax on pension income varies for each state. Some states, including Pennsylvania and Mississippi, do not tax it at all. In other states a portion of pension income is exempt, and still other states tax pension income in its entirety. Remember however, that state tax laws, like federal tax laws are always changing. Call if you have any questions about tax law changes in your state.
3. Tax on Social Security

In 2016, thirteen states tax social security income in addition to taxing social security income at the federal level. Among them are Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia.
4. State and Local Property Taxes

Despite a decline in property values, property taxes have not decreased for most homeowners. Some states however, offer property tax exemptions to retirees who are homeowners and renters. Again, this varies by individual state. Please consult us if you have any questions about your state or the state you are planning to move to.
5. State and Local Sales Taxes

State and local sales taxes may or may not be a factor in the overall decision about where you decide to retire, but keep in mind that only five states, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon do not impose any sales or use tax.
6. Estate Taxes

Estate tax may or may not matter, depending on your estate and whether you care about what happens to your estate after you die. Like other state taxes, estate tax varies depending on which state you reside in. In eighteen states, there is a tax on estates below the federal threshold amount ($5.45 million in 2016, increasing to $5.50 million in 2017). Two states, Delaware and Hawaii use the same threshold amount as the IRS when figuring federal estate tax, and many states have no estate tax whatsoever including North Carolina (repealed in 2013), Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
So what’s the bottom line? When it comes to retirees, relocating, and taxes there are a number of factors to consider–including the overall tax burden. And, as you’ve read here, not all states are created equal. If you’re thinking about retiring to another state, please consult us first. We’ll help you figure out which state is best for your particular circumstances.

Reminder: College Tax Credits for 2016
With another school year in full swing, now is a good time for parents and students to see if they qualify for either of two college tax credits or other education-related tax benefits when they file their 2016 federal income tax returns next year.
American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit. In general, the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the taxpayer, spouse, and dependents. The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a credit for each eligible student, while the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a maximum credit per tax return.
Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. To claim these credits on their tax return, the taxpayer must file Form 1040 or 1040A and complete Form 8863, Education Credits.
The credits apply to eligible students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. The credits are subject to income limits that could reduce the amount taxpayers can claim on their tax return.
Normally, a student will receive a Form 1098-T from their institution by Jan. 31, 2017. This form shows information about tuition paid or billed along with other information. However, amounts shown on this form may differ from amounts taxpayers are eligible to claim for these tax credits.
Many of those eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student. Students can claim this credit for qualified education expenses paid during the entire tax year for a certain number of years:
The credit is only available for four tax years per eligible student.
The credit is available only if the student has not completed the first four years of post-secondary education before 2016.
Here are some more key features of the credit:
Qualified education expenses are amounts paid for tuition, fees and other related expenses for an eligible student. Other expenses, such as room and board, are not qualified expenses.
The credit equals 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000. That means the full $2,500 credit may be available to a taxpayer who pays $4,000 or more in qualified expenses for an eligible student.
Forty percent of the American Opportunity Tax Credit is refundable. This means that even people who owe no tax can get a payment of up to $1,000 for each eligible student.
The full credit can only be claimed by taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $80,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $160,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $180,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $90,000 or more.
Lifetime Learning Credit. The Lifetime Learning Credit of up to $2,000 per tax return is available for both graduate and undergraduate students. Unlike the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the limit on the Lifetime Learning Credit applies to each tax return, rather than to each student. Also, the Lifetime Learning Credit does not provide a benefit to people who owe no tax.
Though the half-time student requirement does not apply to the lifetime learning credit, the course of study must be either part of a post-secondary degree program or taken by the student to maintain or improve job skills. Other features of the credit include:
Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance qualify as do other fees required for the course. Additional expenses do not.
The credit equals 20 percent of the amount spent on eligible expenses across all students on the return. That means the full $2,000 credit is only available to a taxpayer who pays $10,000 or more in qualifying tuition and fees and has sufficient tax liability.
Income limits are lower than under the American Opportunity Tax Credit. For 2016, the full credit can be claimed by taxpayers whose MAGI is $55,000 or less. For married couples filing a joint return, the limit is $111,000. The credit is phased out for taxpayers with incomes above these levels. No credit can be claimed by joint filers whose MAGI is $131,000 or more and singles, heads of household and some widows and widowers whose MAGI is $65,000 or more.
Eligible parents and students can get the benefit of these credits during the year by having less tax taken out of their paychecks. They can do this by filling out a new Form W-4 with their employer to claim additional withholding allowances.
There are a variety of other education-related tax benefits that can help many taxpayers. They include:
Scholarship and fellowship grants–generally tax-free if used to pay for tuition, required enrollment fees, books and other course materials, but taxable if used for room, board, research, travel or other expenses.
Tuition and fees deduction claimed on Form 8917–for some, a worthwhile alternative to the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit.
Student loan interest deduction of up to $2,500 per year.
Savings bonds used to pay for college–though income limits apply, interest is usually tax-free if bonds were purchased after 1989 by a taxpayer who, at time of purchase, was at least 24 years old.
Qualified tuition programs, also called 529 plans, used by many families to prepay or save for a child’s college education.
Taxpayers with qualifying children who are students up to age 24 may be able to claim a dependent exemption and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
If you have any questions about college tax credits, don’t hesitate to call.

Take Retirement Plan Distributions by December 31
Taxpayers born before July 1, 1946, generally must receive payments from their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by December 31.
Known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), typically these distributions must be made by the end of the tax year, in this case, 2016. The required distribution rules apply to owners of traditional, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) and Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs but not Roth IRAs while the original owner is alive. They also apply to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
An IRA trustee must either report the amount of the RMD to the IRA owner or offer to calculate it for the owner. Often, the trustee shows the RMD amount on Form 5498 in Box 12b. For a 2016 RMD, this amount is on the 2015 Form 5498 normally issued to the owner during January 2016.
A special rule allows first-year recipients of these payments, those who reached age 70 1/2 during 2016, to wait until as late as April 1, 2017, to receive their first RMDs. What this means that those born after June 30, 1945, and before July 1, 1946, are eligible. The advantage of this special rule is that although payments made to these taxpayers in early 2017 can be counted toward their 2016 RMD, they are taxable in 2017.
The special April 1 deadline only applies to the RMD for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by December 31. So, for example, a taxpayer who turned 70 1/2 in 2015 (born after June 30, 1944, and before July 1, 1945) and received the first RMD (for 2015) on April 1, 2016, must still receive a second RMD (for 2016) by December 31, 2016.
The RMD for 2016 is based on the taxpayer’s life expectancy on December 31, 2016, and their account balance on December 31, 2015. The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner on Form 5498 in Box 5. For most taxpayers, the RMD is based on Table III (Uniform Lifetime Table) in IRS Publication 590-B. For a taxpayer who turned 72 in 2016, the required distribution would be based on a life expectancy of 25.6 years. A separate table, Table II, applies to a taxpayer whose spouse is more than ten years younger and is the taxpayer’s only beneficiary. If you need assistance with this, don’t hesitate to call.
Though the RMD rules are mandatory for all owners of traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and participants in workplace retirement plans, some people in workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMDs. Usually, employees who are still working can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions; however, there may be a tax on excess accumulations. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.
For more information on RMDs, please call.

Plan now to take Advantage of Health FSAs in 2017
FSAs provide employees a way to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by other health plans. Because eligible employees need to decide how much to contribute through payroll deductions before the plan year begins, now is when many employers are offering employees the option to participate during the 2017 plan year.
Interested employees who wish to contribute to an FSA during the new year must make this choice again for 2017, even if they contributed in 2016. Self-employed individuals are not eligible.
An employee who chooses to participate can contribute up to $2,600 during the 2017 plan year (up from $2,550 in 2016). Amounts contributed are not subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax or Medicare tax. If the plan allows, the employer may also contribute to an employee’s FSA.
Throughout the year, employees can then use funds to pay qualified medical expenses not covered by their health plan, including co-pays, deductibles and a variety of medical products and services ranging from dental and vision care to eyeglasses and hearing aids. Interested employees should check with their employer for details about eligible expenses and claim procedures.
Under the use or lose provision, participating employees often must incur eligible expenses by the end of the plan year, or forfeit any unspent amounts. But under a special rule, employers may, if they choose, offer participating employees more time through either the carryover option or the grace period option.
Under the carryover option, an employee can carry over up to $500 of unused funds to the following plan year–for example, an employee with $500 of unspent funds at the end of 2017 would still have those funds available to use in 2018. Under the grace period option, an employee has until 2 1/2 months after the end of the plan year to incur eligible expenses–for example, March 15, 2018, for a plan year ending on Dec. 31, 2017. Employers can offer either option, but not both, or none at all.
Employers are not required to offer FSAs. Accordingly, interested employees should check with their employer to see if they offer an FSA. Please call if you have any questions about how FSA contributions affect your taxes.

Retirement Contributions Limits Announced for 2017
Cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2017 have been announced by the IRS. Here are the highlights:
In general, income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs, and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2017. Contribution limits for SIMPLE retirement accounts for self-employed persons remains unchanged at $12,500.
Traditional IRAs
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions; however, if during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply. Here are the phase-out ranges for 2017:
For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $62,000 to $72,000, up from $61,000 to $71,000.
For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $99,000 to $119,000, up from $98,000 to $118,000.
For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $186,000 and $196,000, up from $184,000 and $194,000.
For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
Roth IRAs
The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $118,000 to $133,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $117,000 to $132,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $186,000 to $196,000, up from $184,000 to $194,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
Saver’s Credit
The income limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $62,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $61,500; $46,500 for heads of household, up from $46,125; and $31,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $30,750.
Limitations that remain unchanged from 2016
The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $18,000.
The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.
The limit on annual contributions to an IRA remains unchanged at $5,500. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.
If you have any questions about retirement contributions or pension plans, don’t hesitate to contact the office.

Seasonal Workers and the Health Care Law
Businesses often need to hire workers on a seasonal or part-time basis. For example, some businesses may need seasonal help for holidays, harvest seasons, commercial fishing, or sporting events. Whether you are getting paid or paying someone else, questions often arise over whether these seasonal workers affect employers with regard to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
For the purposes of the Affordable Care Act the size of an employer is determined by the number of employees. As such, employer-offered benefits, opportunities, and requirements are dependent upon your organization’s size and the applicable rules. For instance, if you have at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, you are an ALE (Applicable Large Employer) for the current calendar year.
If you hire seasonal or holiday workers, you should know how these employees are counted under the health care law:
A seasonal worker is generally defined for this purpose as an employee who performs labor or services on a seasonal basis, generally for not more than four months (or 120 days). Retail workers employed exclusively during holiday seasons, for example, are seasonal workers.
In contrast, a seasonal employee is an employee who is hired into a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less, where the term “customary employment” refers to an employee who typically works each calendar year in approximately the same part of the year, such as summer or winter.
The terms seasonal worker and seasonal employee are both used in the employer shared responsibility provisions but in two different contexts. Only the term seasonal worker is relevant for determining whether an employer is an applicable large employer subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions; however, there is an exception for seasonal workers:
Exception: If your workforce exceeds 50 full-time employees for 120 days or fewer during a calendar year, and the employees in excess of 50 during that period were seasonal workers, your organization is not considered an ALE.
For additional information on hiring seasonal workers and how it affects the employer shared responsibility provisions please contact the office.

Creating Reports in QuickBooks, Part 2
QuickBooks is a faster, safer, and more accurate method of doing your bookkeeping than using a manual system is. Still, you may occasionally tire of your daily tasks and wonder what all of these forms and records mean in terms of your overall financial health–and how to create the reports that go along with them.
The actual mechanics of creating reports in QuickBooks are fairly straightforward. You can go to the Report Center, make a selection, maybe change the date range, and voila! Your company’s related data appears in neat rows and columns.

Figure 1: You may be able to get some of the information you need by simply changing the date range on a QuickBooks report.

But perhaps you to see different columns than what QuickBooks’ report templates include. Furthermore, you might want to filter your output for more meaningful, targeted analysis. Some of QuickBooks’ reports–particularly those included in the categories Company & Financial and Accountant & Taxes–can be a little advanced for the average small businessperson with little bookkeeping experience. Yes, they’re easy to run, but they are also difficult to understand so you may need the assistance of a professional.
We strongly encourage you to let an experienced QuickBooks professional run these more complex reports, such as the Balance Sheet, for you on a regular (monthly or quarterly) basis. Balance sheets provide valuable insight when making critical business decisions.
But don’t be discouraged from working with QuickBooks’ reports on your own either. Some of the easier reports are A/R Aging Detail (to keep an eye on past-due payments) and Unpaid Bills Detail (to see where you stand with your own financial obligations).
Make Reports Yours
Sometimes, QuickBooks’ own report output is a bit too broad for your needs. So the program provides sophisticated customization options. You can work with these to narrow down and shape the data that appears in your reports.
First, columns. Building reports from scratch would be too time-consuming and frustrating for you to do all of the time. And it’s unnecessary since QuickBooks provides templates for its reports, sets of columns and data filters that would serve some businesses well, but which can be modified by each user.
Try this. Open the Profit & Loss Detail report and click on the Customize Report button in the upper left corner. You will see that the Modify Report window opens.

Figure 2: QuickBooks lets you modify the columns that appear in reports.

The Display tab should be highlighted. Change the Report Date Range if necessary by clicking on the down arrow to the right of the Dates field. You can also create your own custom date range by deleting the dates in the From and To fields and entering new ones, or by clicking on the small calendar icons and clicking on the desired dates.
Warning: Do you understand the difference between running reports as either Accrual or Cash? This is important. If you don’t, please call the office to go over some basic report concepts.

It’s easy to change the default columns that appear in reports. You can either enter a column label in the Search Columns box or scroll down the list of all possible labels. Click in the space in front of the ones you want to include, and click on existing check marks if you want to remove those labels. You can also designate a sort order, either Ascending or Descending.
If you want to work with the Advanced options, or if you come across a Display screen that puzzles you (depending on the report, you may have some complex choices). Please call for assistance if you need it.

Figure 3: QuickBooks report Filters screen

When you’re done here, click on the Filters tab. This is a powerful element of QuickBooks report customization. You can limit your report output to data that meet certain criteria. In the image above, for example, you can tell QuickBooks which subset of Accounts should be included. Click on the Billing Status filter, and you can limit the results to Any, Not Billable, Unbilled, or Billed. You get the idea.
You can apply multiple filters to a report. Every one that you select will appear in the list under Current Filter Choices.
The Header/Footer and Fonts & Numbers tabs are primarily cosmetic options you can explore on your own, but as you can see from this brief overview there are many ways to use QuickBooks reports as is or customized for your particular situation. We recommend that you work with reports regularly, both on your own and with a QuickBooks professional. The insight they provide can help your company grow and flourish instead of just getting by.

Tax Due Dates for December 2016
December 12
Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during November, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

December 15
Corporations – Deposit the fourth installment of estimated income tax for 2016. A worksheet, Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.

Employers Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax – If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.

Employers Nonpayroll withholding – If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.

Copyright © 2016 All materials contained in this document are protected by U.S. and internationalcopyright laws. All other trade names, trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.

Rex Crandell Firm
3000 Citrus Circle, #207
Walnut Creek, CA, 94598
Phone: (925) 934-6320
RexCrandell@astound.net

This video presents a few of the more important tax law changes that will need to be reflected on your 2016 individual IRS Form 1040  that you will be filing before April 15th 2017.

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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell 
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)

3000 Citrus Circle

Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office

425 Market Street

22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net

Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com

Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com


Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell 
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

__________________________________

DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.

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Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
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Congressman Trey Goudy roasts IRS Inspecter General for Wasting Taxpayer’s Money on a Sham “Training Event” that was more like an expensive employees vacation that anything of value.

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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell 
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)

3000 Citrus Circle

Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office

425 Market Street

22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net

Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com

Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com

Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell 
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

__________________________________

DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.

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Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation.

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Kongressabgeordneter Trey Goudy brütet IRS Inspektor-General für das Vergeuden des Steuerzahlers Geld auf einem Sham “Trainings-Ereignis”, das mehr wie ein teurer Angestellter Urlaub war, der etwas von Wert ist.

/ S / Rex L Crandell.

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El congresista Trey Goudy asa al IRS Inspecter General por desperdiciar el dinero del contribuyente en un “evento de entrenamiento” que se parecía más a unas vacaciones costosas para los empleados que cualquier cosa de valor.

/ S / Rex L Crandell

El Fin.

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From Rex L. Crandell, CPA, Esq.

A new online service was created by the IRS for taxpayer’s to access their accounts to see the status of tax refunds, tax due, penalties & interest assessed and a section to may online tax payments. Now when you receive a letter from the IRS you can go online and get additional information about what the IRS is attempting to communicate.

         Tuesday, December 13 2016

IRS Launches New Online Tool to Assist Taxpayers with Basic Account Information.

IR-2016-155, Dec. 1, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today the launch of an online application that will assist taxpayers with straightforward balance inquiries in a safe, easy and convenient way.

This new and secure tool, available on IRS.gov allows taxpayers to view their IRS account balance, which will include the amount they owe for tax, penalties and interest. Taxpayers may also continue to take advantage of the various online payment options available by accessing any of the payment features including: direct pay, pay by card and Online Payment Agreement. As part of the IRS vision for the future taxpayer experience, the IRS anticipates that other capabilities will continue to be added to this platform as they are developed and tested.

“This new tool is part of the IRS’s commitment to improve and expand taxpayer services by providing additional online taxpayer options,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “The new ‘balance due’ feature, paired with the existing online payment options, will increase the availability of self-service interactions with the IRS. This will give taxpayers another way to take care of their tax obligations in a fast and secure manner.”

Before accessing the tool, taxpayers must authenticate their identities through the rigorous Secure Access process. This is a two-step authentication process, which means returning users must have their credentials (username and password) plus a security code sent as a text to their mobile phones.

Taxpayers who have registered using Secure Access for Get Transcript Online or Get an IP PIN may use their same username and password. To register for the first time, taxpayers must have an email address, a text-enabled mobile phone in the user’s name and specific financial information, such as a credit card number or specific loan numbers. Taxpayers may review the Secure Access  process prior to starting registration.

As part of the security process to authenticate taxpayers, the IRS will send verification, activation or security codes via email and text. The IRS warns taxpayers that it will not initiate contact via text or email asking for log-in information or personal data. The IRS texts and emails will only contain one-time codes.

In addition to this new functionality, the IRS continues to provide several self-service tools and helpful resources available on IRS.gov for individuals, businesses and tax professionals.

        Thank you for visiting our site.

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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)

3000 Citrus Circle

Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office

425 Market Street

22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]

(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net

Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com

Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com


Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

__________________________________

DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.

image

======================
Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
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Newsletter

Our regularly updated newsletter provides timely articles to help you achieve your financial goals. Please come back and visit often. 

November 21, 2016

Feature Articles
Year-End Tax Planning for Individuals
Year-End Tax Planning for BusinessesWhen Disaster Strikes
ACA Requirements for
EmployersThe Overtime Rule: What Employers Need to KnowTax TipsTips for Taxpayers about Charity Travel ExpensesEmployers: Terms to Know about Health CoverageTax Relief for Drought-Stricken FarmersTax Tips for Separated or Divorced IndividualsEnergy Tax Credits Expire at the end of 2016

November 21, 2016

Tax Due Dates

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as athorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, wewould be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separateengagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

Year-End Tax Planning for Individuals
Tax planning strategies for individuals this year include postponing income and accelerating deductions, as well as careful consideration of timing related investments, charitable gifts, and retirement planning.
General tax planning strategies that taxpayers might consider include the following:
Sell any investments on which you have a gain or loss this year. For more on this, see Investment Gains and Losses, below.
If you anticipate an increase in taxable income in 2016 and are expecting a bonus at year-end, try to get it before December 31. Keep in mind, however, that contractual bonuses are different, in that they are typically not paid out until the first quarter of the following year. Therefore, any taxes owed on a contractual bonus would not be due until you file your 2017 tax return in 2018. Don’t hesitate to call the office if you have any questions about this.
Prepay deductible expenses such as charitable contributions and medical expenses this year using a credit card. This strategy works because deductions may be taken based on when the expense was charged on the credit card, not when the bill was paid.
For example, if you charge a medical expense in December but pay the bill in January, assuming it’s an eligible medical expense, it can be taken as a deduction on your 2016 tax return.
If your company grants stock options, you may want to exercise the option or sell stock acquired by exercise of an option this year if you think your tax bracket will be higher in 2017. Exercising this option is often but not always a taxable event; sale of the stock is almost always a taxable event.
If you’re self-employed, send invoices or bills to clients or customers this year to be paid in full by the end of December.
Caution: Keep an eye on the estimated tax requirements.
Accelerating Income and Deductions
Accelerating income into 2016 is an especially good idea for taxpayers who anticipate being in a higher tax bracket next year or whose earnings are close to threshold amounts ($200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married filing jointly) that make them liable for additional Medicare Tax or Net Investment Income Tax (see below).
In cases where tax benefits are phased out over a certain adjusted gross income (AGI) amount, a strategy of accelerating income and deductions might allow you to claim larger deductions, credits, and other tax breaks for 2016, depending on your situation.
The latter benefits include Roth IRA contributions, conversions of regular IRAs to Roth IRAs, child credits, higher education tax credits and deductions for student loan interest.
Caution: Taxpayers close to threshold amounts for the Net Investment Income Tax (3.8 percent of net investment income) should pay close attention to “one-time” income spikes such as those associated with Roth conversions, sale of a home or other large assets that may be subject to tax.
Tip: If you know you have a set amount of income coming in this year that is not covered by withholding taxes, increasing your withholding before year-end can avoid or reduce any estimated tax penalty that might otherwise be due.
Tip: On the other hand, the penalty could be avoided by covering the extra tax in your final estimated tax payment and computing the penalty using the annualized income method.
Here are several examples of what a taxpayer might do to accelerate deductions:
Pay a state estimated tax installment in December instead of at the January due date. However, make sure the payment is based on a reasonable estimate of your state tax.
Pay your entire property tax bill, including installments due in year 2017, by year-end. This does not apply to mortgage escrow accounts.
It may be beneficial to pay 2017 tuition in 2016 to take full advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, an above-the-line deduction worth up to $2,500 per student to cover the cost of tuition, fees and course materials paid during the taxable year. Forty percent of the credit (up to $1,000) is refundable, which means you can get it even if you owe no tax.
Try to bunch “threshold” expenses, such as medical and dental expenses–10 percent of AGI (adjusted gross income)–and miscellaneous itemized deductions. For example, you might pay medical bills and dues and subscriptions in whichever year they would do you the most tax good.
Note: The temporary exemption of 7.5 percent for individuals age 65 and older and their spouses ends on through December 31, 2016.
Threshold expenses are deductible only to the extent they exceed a certain percentage of adjusted gross income (AGI). By bunching these expenses into one year, rather than spreading them out over two years, you have a better chance of exceeding the thresholds, thereby maximizing your deduction.
If you haven’t signed up for health insurance this year, do so now and avoid or reduce any penalty you might be subject to. Depending on your income, you may be able to claim the premium tax credit that reduces your premium payment or reduces your tax obligations, as long as you meet certain requirements. You can choose to get the credit immediately or receive it as a refund when you file your taxes next spring. Please contact the office if you need assistance with this.
Additional Medicare Tax
Taxpayers whose income exceeds certain threshold amounts ($200,000 single filers and $250,000 married filing jointly) are liable for an additional Medicare tax of 0.9 percent on their tax returns, but may request that their employers withhold additional income tax from their pay to be applied against their tax liability when filing their 2016 tax return next April.
High net worth individuals should consider contributing to Roth IRAs and 401(k) because distributions are not subject to the Medicare Tax.
If you’re a taxpayer close to the threshold for the Medicare Tax, it might make sense to switch Roth retirement contributions to a traditional IRA plan, thereby avoiding the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax as well (more about the NIIT below).
Alternate Minimum TaxThe Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) exemption “patch,” which was made permanent by the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012, is indexed for inflation and it’s important not to overlook the effect of any year-end planning moves on the AMT for 2016 and 2017.
Items that may affect AMT include deductions for state property taxes and state income taxes, miscellaneous itemized deductions, and personal exemptions. Please call if you’re not sure whether AMT applies to you.
Note: AMT exemption amounts for 2016 are as follows:
$53,900 for single and head of household filers,
$83,800 for married people filing jointly and for qualifying widows or widowers,
$41,900 for married people filing separately.
Charitable Contributions
Property, as well as money, can be donated to a charity. You can generally take a deduction for the fair market value of the property; however, for certain property, the deduction is limited to your cost basis. While you can also donate your services to charity, you may not deduct the value of these services. You may also be able to deduct charity-related travel expenses and some out-of-pocket expenses, however.
Keep in mind that a written record of your charitable contributions–including travel expenses such as mileage–is required in order to qualify for a deduction. A donor may not claim a deduction for any contribution of cash, a check or other monetary gift unless the donor maintains a record of the contribution in the form of either a bank record (such as a cancelled check) or written communication from the charity (such as a receipt or a letter) showing the name of the charity, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
Tip: Contributions of appreciated property (i.e. stock) provide an additional benefit because you avoid paying capital gains on any profit.
Investment Gains and Losses
This year, and in the coming years, investment decisions are likely to be more about managing capital gains than about minimizing taxes per se. For example, taxpayers below threshold amounts in 2016 might want to take gains; whereas taxpayers above threshold amounts might want to take losses.
Caution: In recent years, extreme fluctuations in the stock market have been commonplace. Don’t assume that a down market means investment losses. Your cost basis may be low if you’ve held the stock for a long time.
If your tax bracket is either 10 or 15 percent (married couples making less than $75,300 or single filers making less than $37,650), then you might want to take advantage of the zero percent tax rate on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains. If you fall into the highest tax bracket (39.6 percent), the maximum tax rate on long-term capital gains is capped at 20 percent for tax years 2013 and beyond.
Minimize taxes on investments by judicious matching of gains and losses. Where appropriate, try to avoid short-term capital gains, which are usually taxed at a much higher tax rate than long-term gains–up to 39.6 percent in 2016 for high-income earners ($415,050 single filers, $466,950 married filing jointly).
Where feasible, reduce all capital gains and generate short-term capital losses up to $3,000.
Tip: As a general rule, if you have a large capital gain this year, consider selling an investment on which you have an accumulated loss. Capital losses up to the amount of your capital gains plus $3,000 per year ($1,500 if married filing separately) can be claimed as a deduction against income.
Tip: After selling a securities investment to generate a capital loss, you can repurchase it after 30 days. This is known as the “Wash Rule Sale.” If you buy it back within 30 days, the loss will be disallowed. Or you can immediately repurchase a similar (but not the same) investment, e.g., and ETF or another mutual fund with the same objectives as the one you sold.
Tip: If you have losses, you might consider selling securities at a gain and then immediately repurchasing them, since the 30-day rule does not apply to gains. That way, your gain will be tax-free; your original investment is restored, and you have a higher cost basis for your new investment (i.e., any future gain will be lower).
Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT)
The Net Investment Income Tax, which went into effect in 2013, is a 3.8 percent tax that is applied to investment income such as long-term capital gains for earners above certain threshold amounts ($200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly). Short-term capital gains are subject to ordinary income tax rates as well as the 3.8 percent NIIT. This information is something to think about as you plan your long-term investments. Business income is not considered subject to the NIIT provided the individual business owner materially participates in the business.
Please call if you need assistance with any of your long term tax planning goals.
Mutual Fund Investments
Before investing in a mutual fund, ask whether a dividend is paid at the end of the year or whether a dividend will be paid early in the next year but be deemed paid this year. The year-end dividend could make a substantial difference in the tax you pay.
Example: You invest $20,000 in a mutual fund at the end of 2016. You opt for automatic reinvestment of dividends, and in late December of 2016, the fund pays a $1,000 dividend on the shares you bought. The $1,000 is automatically reinvested.
Result: You must pay tax on the $1,000 dividend. You will have to take funds from another source to pay that tax because of the automatic reinvestment feature. The mutual fund’s long-term capital gains pass through to you as capital gains dividends taxed at long-term rates, however long or short your holding period.
The mutual fund’s distributions to you of dividends it receives generally qualify for the same tax relief as long-term capital gains. If the mutual fund passes through its short-term capital gains, these will be reported to you as “ordinary dividends” that don’t qualify for relief.
Depending on your financial circumstances, it may or may not be a good idea to buy shares right before the fund goes ex-dividend. For instance, the distribution could be relatively small, with only minor tax consequences. Or the market could be moving up, with share prices expected to be higher after the ex-dividend date.
Tip: To find out a fund’s ex-dividend date, call the fund directly.
Please call if you’d like more information on how dividends paid out by mutual funds affect your taxes this year and next.
Year-End Giving To Reduce Your Potential Estate Tax
The federal gift and estate tax exemption, which is currently set at $5.45 million, is set to increase to $5.49 million in 2017. ATRA set the maximum estate tax rate set at 40 percent.
Gift Tax. For many, sound estate planning begins with lifetime gifts to family members. In other words, gifts that reduce the donor’s assets subject to future estate tax. Such gifts are often made at year-end, during the holiday season, in ways that qualify for exemption from federal gift tax.
Gifts to a donee are exempt from the gift tax for amounts up to $14,000 a year per donee.
Caution: An unused annual exemption doesn’t carry over to later years. To make use of the exemption for 2016, you must make your gift by December 31.
Husband-wife joint gifts to any third person are exempt from gift tax for amounts up to $28,000 ($14,000 each). Though what’s given may come from either you or your spouse or both of you, both of you must consent to such “split gifts.”
Gifts of “future interests,” assets that the donee can only enjoy at some future time such as certain gifts in trust, generally don’t qualify for exemption; however, gifts for the benefit of a minor child can be made to qualify.
Tip: If you’re considering adopting a plan of lifetime giving to reduce future estate tax, don’t hesitate to call the office for assistance.
Cash or publicly traded securities raise the fewest problems. You may choose to give property you expect to increase substantially in value later. Shifting future appreciation to your heirs keeps that value out of your estate. But this can trigger IRS questions about the gift’s true value when given.
You may choose to give property that has already appreciated. The idea here is that the donee, not you, will realize and pay income tax on future earnings and built-in gain on sale.
Gift tax returns for 2016 are due the same date as your income tax return. Returns are required for gifts over $14,000 (including husband-wife split gifts totaling more than $14,000) and gifts of future interests. Though you are not required to file if your gifts do not exceed $14,000, you might consider filing anyway as a tactical move to block a future IRS challenge about gifts not “adequately disclosed.”
Tip: Call if you’re considering making a gift of property whose value isn’t unquestionably less than $14,000.
Income earned on investments you give to children or other family members are generally taxed to them, not to you. In the case of dividends paid on stock given to your children, they may qualify for the reduced child tax rate, generally 10 percent, where the first $1,050 in investment income is exempt from tax and the next $1,050 is subject to a child’s tax rate of 10 percent (0 percent tax rate on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends).
Caution: In 2016, investment income for a child (under age 18 at the end of the tax year or a full-time student under age 24) that is in excess of $2,100 is taxed at the parent’s tax rate.
Other Year-End Moves
Retirement Plan Contributions. Maximize your retirement plan contributions. If you own an incorporated or unincorporated business, consider setting up a retirement plan if you don’t already have one. It doesn’t actually need to be funded until you pay your taxes, but allowable contributions will be deductible on this year’s return.
If you are an employee and your employer has a 401(k), contribute the maximum amount ($18,000 for 2016), plus an additional catch-up contribution of $6,000 if age 50 or over, assuming the plan allows this and income restrictions don’t apply.
If you are employed or self-employed with no retirement plan, you can make a deductible contribution of up to $5,500 a year to a traditional IRA (deduction is sometimes allowed even if you have a plan). Further, there is also an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000 if age 50 or over.
Health Savings Accounts. Consider setting up a health savings account (HSA). You can deduct contributions to the account, investment earnings are tax-deferred until withdrawn, and amounts you withdraw are tax-free when used to pay medical bills.
In effect, medical expenses paid from the account are deductible from the first dollar (unlike the usual rule limiting such deductions to the excess over 10 percent of AGI). For amounts withdrawn at age 65 or later that are not used for medical bills, the HSA functions much like an IRA.
To be eligible, you must have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and only such insurance, subject to numerous exceptions, and must not be enrolled in Medicare. For 2016, to qualify for the HSA, your minimum deductible in your HDHP must be at least $1,300 for single coverage or $2,600 for a family.
Summary
These are just a few of the steps you might take. Please contact the office for assistance with implementing these and other year-end planning strategies that might be suitable to your particular situation.

Year-End Tax Planning for Businesses
There are a number of end of year tax planning strategies that businesses can use to reduce their tax burden for 2016. Here are a few of them:
Deferring Income
Businesses using the cash method of accounting can defer income into 2017 by delaying end-of-year invoices so payment is not received until 2017. Businesses using the accrual method can defer income by postponing delivery of goods or services until January 2017.
Purchase New Business Equipment
Section 179 Expensing. Business should take advantage of Section 179 expensing this year for a couple of reasons. First, is that in 2016 businesses can elect to expense (deduct immediately) the entire cost of most new equipment up to a maximum of $500,000 for the first $2,010,000 million of property placed in service by December 31, 2016. Keep in mind that the Section 179 deduction cannot exceed net taxable business income. The deduction is phased out dollar for dollar on amounts exceeding the $2.01 million threshold and eliminated above amounts exceeding $2.5 million.
Bonus Depreciation. Businesses are able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and placed in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. However, the bonus depreciation is reduced to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.
Qualified property is defined as property that you placed in service during the tax year and used predominantly (more than 50 percent) in your trade or business. Property that is placed in service and then disposed of in that same tax year does not qualify, nor does property converted to personal use in the same tax year it is acquired.
Note: Many states have not matched these amounts and, therefore, state tax may not allow for the maximum federal deduction. In this case, two sets of depreciation records will be needed to track the federal and state tax impact.
Please contact the office if you have any questions regarding qualified property.
Timing. If you plan to purchase business equipment this year, consider the timing. You might be able to increase your tax benefit if you buy equipment at the right time. Here’s a simplified explanation:
Conventions. The tax rules for depreciation include “conventions” or rules for figuring out how many months of depreciation you can claim. There are three types of conventions. To select the correct convention, you must know the type of property and when you placed the property in service.
The half-year convention: This convention applies to all property except residential rental property, nonresidential real property, and railroad gradings and tunnel bores (see mid-month convention below) unless the mid-quarter convention applies. All property that you begin using during the year is treated as “placed in service” (or “disposed of”) at the midpoint of the year. This means that no matter when you begin using (or dispose of) the property, you treat it as if you began using it in the middle of the year.
Example: You buy a $40,000 piece of machinery on December 15. If the half-year convention applies, you get one-half year of depreciation on that machine.
The mid-quarter convention: The mid-quarter convention must be used if the cost of equipment placed in service during the last three months of the tax year is more than 40 percent of the total cost of all property placed in service for the entire year. If the mid-quarter convention applies, the half-year rule does not apply, and you treat all equipment placed in service during the year as if it were placed in service at the midpoint of the quarter in which you began using it.
The mid-month convention:This convention applies only to residential rental property, nonresidential real property, and railroad gradings and tunnel bores. It treats all property placed in service (or disposed of) during any month as placed in service (or disposed of) on the midpoint of that month.
If you’re planning on buying equipment for your business, call the office and speak to a tax professional who can help you figure out the best time to buy that equipment and take full advantage of these tax rules.
Other Year-End Moves to Take Advantage Of
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. Small business employers with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (average annual wages of $52,000 in 2016) may qualify for a tax credit to help pay for employees’ health insurance. The credit is 50 percent (35 percent for non-profits).
Business Energy Investment Tax Credit. Business energy investment tax credits are still available for eligible systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2016, and businesses that want to take advantage of these tax credits can still do so.
Business energy credits include solar energy systems (passive solar and solar pool-heating systems excluded), fuel cells and microturbines, and an increased credit amount for fuel cells. The extended tax provision also established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. Utilities are allowed to use the credits as well.
Repair Regulations. Where possible, end of year repairs and expenses should be deducted immediately, rather than capitalized and depreciated. Small businesses lacking applicable financial statements (AFS) are able to take advantage of de minimis safe harbor by electing to deduct smaller purchases ($2,500 or less per purchase or per invoice). Businesses with applicable financial statements are able to deduct $5,000. Small business with gross receipts of $10 million or less can also take advantage of safe harbor for repairs, maintenance, and improvements to eligible buildings. Please call if you would like more information on this topic.
Partnership or S-Corporation Basis. Partners or S corporation shareholders in entities that have a loss for 2016 can deduct that loss only up to their basis in the entity. However, they can take steps to increase their basis to allow a larger deduction. Basis in the entity can be increased by lending the entity money or making a capital contribution by the end of the entity’s tax year.
Caution: Remember that by increasing basis, you’re putting more of your funds at risk. Consider whether the loss signals further troubles ahead.
Section 199 Deduction. Businesses with manufacturing activities could qualify for a Section 199 domestic production activities deduction. By accelerating salaries or bonuses attributable to domestic production gross receipts in the last quarter of 2016, businesses can increase the amount of this deduction. Please call to find out how your business can take advantage of Section 199.
Retirement Plans. Self-employed individuals who have not yet done so should set up self-employed retirement plans before the end of 2016. Call today if you need help setting up a retirement plan.
Dividend Planning. Reduce accumulated corporate profits and earnings by issuing corporate dividends to shareholders.
Budgets. Every business, whether small or large should have a budget. The need for a business budget may seem obvious, but many companies overlook this critical business planning tool.
A budget is extremely effective in making sure your business has adequate cash flow and in ensuring financial success. Once the budget has been created, then monthly actual revenue amounts can be compared to monthly budgeted amounts. If actual revenues fall short of budgeted revenues, expenses must generally be cut.
Tip: Year-end is the best time for business owners to meet with their accountants to budget revenues and expenses for the following year.
If you need help developing a budget for your business, don’t hesitate to call.
Call a Tax Professional First
These are just a few of the year-end planning tax moves that could make a substantial difference in your tax bill for 2016. If you’d like more information about tax planning for 2017, please call to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific tax and financial needs, and develop a plan that works for your business.

When Disaster Strikes
Special tax law provisions may help taxpayers and businesses recover financially from the impact of a disaster, especially when the federal government declares their location to be a major disaster area. With hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters affecting so many homeowners and businesses throughout the US this year, here is some useful information about disaster-related tax relief that taxpayers should know about:
Immediate relief. If you have damaged or lost property in a location declared by the President as a major disaster area, you may be able to get some money back from the IRS right now. Please call the office for more information.
Tax filing and penalty relief. The IRS automatically provides filing and penalty relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. Thus, taxpayers need not contact the IRS to get this relief. However, if an affected taxpayer receives a late filing or late payment penalty notice from the IRS that has an original or extended filing, payment or deposit due date falling within the postponement period, the taxpayer should call the number on the notice to have the penalty abated.
Taxpayers who live outside the disaster area. In addition, the IRS will work with any taxpayer who lives outside the disaster area but whose records necessary to meet a deadline occurring during the postponement period are located in the affected area. This also includes workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization. Don’t hesitate to contact the office if you need assistance with this.
Disaster-related losses. Individuals and businesses who suffer uninsured or unreimbursed disaster-related losses can choose to claim them on either the return for the year the loss occurred (in this instance, the 2016 return normally filed next year), or the return for the prior year (2015).
Retirement plan hardship distributions. Finally, employees and certain members of their families who live or work in disaster area localities affected by Hurricane Matthew who participate in employee sponsored retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, and state and local government employees with 457(b) deferred-compensation plans may be eligible to take loans and hardship distributions without incurring the 10 percent early withdrawal tax penalty.
Tax Relief Specifically for Victims of Hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew victims in much of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This includes an additional filing extension for those with valid extensions that were due on October 17, 2016.
This expanded relief applies to any area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for either individual assistance or public assistance. In addition, taxpayers in counties that are added later to the disaster area will automatically receive the same filing and payment relief.
The tax relief postpones various tax filing and payment deadlines that occurred starting on October 4, 2016. As a result, affected individuals and businesses will have until March 15, 2017, to file returns and pay any taxes that were originally due during this period. This includes the January 17 deadline for making quarterly estimated tax payments.
For individual tax filers, it also includes 2015 income tax returns that received a tax-filing extension until October 17, 2016. However, because tax payments related to these 2015 returns were originally due on April 18, 2016, those are not eligible for this relief.
A variety of business tax deadlines are also affected including the October 31 and January 31 deadlines for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. It also includes the special March 1 deadline that applies to farmers and fishermen who choose to forgo making quarterly estimated tax payments.
In addition, the IRS is waiving late-deposit penalties for federal payroll and excise tax deposits normally due on or after October 4 and before October 19 if the deposits are made by October 19, 2016.
Ready to Help
Please call the office if you have any questions about the impact of a natural disaster on your tax situation or need assistance figuring out what you need to do next.

ACA Requirements for Employers
The health care law contains tax provisions that affect employers. The size and structure of a workforce–small or large–helps determine which parts of the law apply to which employers. Calculating the number of employees is especially important for employers that have close to 50 employees or whose workforce fluctuates during the year.
Two parts of the Affordable Care Act apply only to applicable large employers. These are the employer shared responsibility provisions and the employer information reporting provisions for offers of minimum essential coverage.
The number of employees an employer has during the current year determines whether it is an applicable large employer (ALE) for the following year. For example, you will use information about the size of your workforce during 2016 to determine if your organization is an ALE for 2017.
Applicable large employers are generally those with 50 or more full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees. Under the employer shared responsibility provision, ALEs are required to offer their full-time employees and dependents affordable coverage that provides minimum value. Employers with fewer than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are not applicable large employers.
Who is a Full-time Employee?
There are many additional rules on determining who is a full-time employee, including what counts as hours of service, but in general:
A full-time employee is an employee who is employed on average, per month, at least 30 hours of service per week, or at least 130 hours of service in a calendar month.A full-time equivalent employee is a combination of employees, each of whom individually is not a full-time employee, but who, in combination, are equivalent to a full-time employee.An aggregated group is commonly owned or otherwise related or affiliated employers, which must combine their employees to determine their workforce size.
To determine your workforce size for a year, you add your total number of full-time employees for each month of the prior calendar year to the total number of full-time equivalent employees for each calendar month of the prior calendar year and divide that total number by 12. If the result is 50 or more employees, you are an applicable large employer.
Employers with Fewer than 50 Employees
If an employer has fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, the employer is not an ALE for the current calendar year. Therefore, the employer is not subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions or the employer information reporting provisions for the current year.
Information Reporting (Including Self-Insured Employers)
All providers of health coverage, including employers that provide self-insured coverage, must file annual returns with the IRS reporting information about the coverage and about each covered individual. The coverage is reported on a Form 1095-B, Health Coverage and the employer must also furnish a copy of Form 1095-B to the employee by March 2, 2017.
Tax Credits
Certain employers may be eligible for the small business health care tax credit if they:
cover at least 50 percent of employees’ premium costshave fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees with average annual wages of less than $52,000 in 2016 (indexed for inflation)purchase their coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program.
Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees or full-time equivalent employees are not subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions.
Employers with 50 or More EmployeesInformation Reporting
All employers including applicable large employers that provide self-insured health coverage must file an annual return for individuals they cover, and provide a statement to responsible individuals.
Applicable large employers must file an annual return–and provide a statement to each full-time employee–reporting whether they offered health insurance, and if so, what insurance they offered their employees.
ALEs are required to furnish a statement to each full-time employee that includes the same information provided to the IRS by March 2, 2017. ALEs that file 250 or more information returns during the calendar year must file the returns electronically.
Employer Shared Responsibility Payment
ALEs are subject to the employer shared responsibility payment if at least one full-time employee receives the premium tax credit and any one these conditions apply. The ALE:
failed to offer coverage to full-time employees and their dependentsoffered coverage that was not affordableoffered coverage that did not provide a minimum level of coverage
Questions? Don’t hesitate to call for assistance.

The Overtime Rule: What Employers Need to Know
Approximately 4.2 million employees are expected to benefit from the new overtime rule that goes into effect on December 1, 2016. Here’s what employers need to know about the new overtime regulations.
What is the Overtime Rule?
The final overtime rule raises the salary threshold for overtime eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year). What this means for employers is that if you have an employee that makes less than $47,476 ($913 a week), then he or she automatically qualifies for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week.
In accordance with the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) employers are required to pay at least a minimum wage for up to 40 hours per week and to pay overtime for hours in excess of 40; however, many workers with at least some managerial duties who make between $23,660 and $47,476 are currently considered “exempt” from overtime pay. The Final Overtime Rule is, among other things, intended to make sure that these workers are adequately compensated, ensuring all employees that make less than $47,476 ($913 a week) automatically qualify for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours per week.
What is the Effective Date?
Starting December 1, 2016, regular employees paid $913 per week will be eligible for overtime time for any works worked in excess of 40 hours effective on that date. Further, the exemption salary threshold for highly compensated employees (more on this below) rises to $134,004 per year. Exempt employees are not subject to overtime pay.
Future automatic updates to salary threshold amounts will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020. The Department of Labor will publish all updated rates in the Federal Register at least 150 days before their effective date, and also post them on the Wage and Hour Division’s website.
Are all Businesses Affected by the new Overtime Regulations?
All businesses are affected by the overtime regulations; however, because the overtime regulations fall under the FLSA, only businesses with gross annual sales of $500,000 or that are engaged in interstate commerce must comply with the new overtime rule.
How does the new Overtime Rule affect a Highly Compensated Employee (HCE)?
The Final Rule sets the HCE total annual compensation level equal to the 90th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004 annually).
To be exempt as an HCE, an employee must also receive at least the new standard salary amount of $913 per week on a salary or fee basis and pass a minimal duties test. The HCE annual compensation level set in this Final Rule brings this threshold more in line with the level established in 2004 and will avoid the unintended exemption of large numbers of employees in high-wage areas who are clearly not performing EAP (executive, administrative, and professional) duties.
Are Commissions or Bonuses Included in the Salary Calculation?
Up to 10 percent of total compensation meeting the salary threshold amount can be in the form of bonuses or commissions. Prior to the new rule, employers were not permitted to count these forms of compensation toward meeting the minimum salary threshold for overtime.
Employers will now be able to use non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments such as including commissions to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level. However, for employers to credit non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments toward a portion of the standard salary level test, payments must be paid on at least a quarterly basis. It is the employer’s discretion when the quarter will begin (i.e. not necessarily a calendar quarter).
Example: You pay an employee $821.70 per week and s/he also receives a bonus of $1,186.90 every quarter. The base pay plus the bonus ($91.30 x 13 weeks in a quarter) is equivalent to paying your employee a salary of $913 per week.
The Final Rule also allows an employer to make a “catch-up” payment. Catch-up payments are made when an employee doesn’t meet their sales quota in a given quarter (and doesn’t earn their expected quarterly commission) but exceeds a sales quota during the next quarter. In this case, an employer is able to make a catch-up payment and avoid paying overtime compensation.
Example: Let’s say your employee typically earns a commission of at least $1,500 every 13 weeks (quarter). You pay the employee a weekly salary of $821.70 (90 percent) and anticipate applying the 10 percent bonus commission ($91.30) toward the total salary requirement of $913 per week. However, the employee doesn’t meet his sales quota and only earns a commission of $1,000 or $76.92 per week, which is $14.38 less than required to meet the $913 per week requirement. In this example, employers are allowed to make a catch-up payment in the next quarter of $186.94 ($14.38 x 13 weeks) to maintain the employee’s exempt from overtime status.
Nondiscretionary bonuses. A form of compensation promised to employees, for example, to induce them to work more efficiently or to remain with the company.
Discretionary bonuses. The decision to award the bonus and the payment amount is at the employer’s sole discretion. For example, a previously unannounced holiday bonus qualifies as a discretionary bonus, because the bonus is entirely at the discretion of the employer, and therefore could not satisfy any portion of the standard salary threshold level of $913 per week.
Note: For businesses that pay employees large bonuses the amount attributable toward the standard salary level is capped at 10 percent of the required salary amount.
Non-discretionary bonuses and commissions continue to count toward the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees ($134,004) as long as the HCE receives at least the full standard salary amount each pay period ($913).
What are my Options as an Employer?
While the new overtime regulations don’t specify exactly what actions employers need to take, there are a number of ways that employers can comply such as:
Increasing workers’ salaries so they are exempt from the overtime salary thresholdPaying the mandatory time-and-a-half for overtime hours in excess of 40 hours per weekReducing base salaries, but keep overtime pay with the goal of keeping weekly pay the sameUsing a combination of the aboveAre you Ready for the new Overtime Rule?
The best way to prepare for the new overtime rule is to understand how it works and how it will affect your business and your employees. Please call the office if you have any questions or need assistance complying with the new regulations.

Tips for Taxpayers about Charity Travel Expenses
Do you plan to donate your time to charity this year? If travel is part of your charitable giving, for example, driving your personal auto to collect donations from local business, you may be able to these travel expenses on your tax return and lower your tax bill. Here are five tax tips you should know if you travel while giving your services to charity.
1. Qualified Charities. To deduct your costs, your volunteer work must be for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are generally qualified and do not need to apply to the IRS. Ask the group about its status before you donate. You can also use the “Exempt Organizations Select Check” search tool on IRS.gov to check a group’s status or call the office.
2. Out-of-Pocket Expenses. You can’t deduct the value of your services that you give to charity. But you may be able to deduct some out-of-pocket costs you pay to give your services. This can include the cost of travel, but they must be necessary while you are away from home. All out-of-pocket costs must be:
Unreimbursed,Directly connected with the services,Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, andNot personal, living or family expenses.
3. Genuine and Substantial Duty. Your charity work has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
4. Value of Time or Service. You can’t deduct the value of your time or services that you give to charity. This includes income lost while you serve as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified charity.
5. Travel You Can Deduct. The types of expenses that you may be able to deduct include: Air, rail and bus transportation, car expenses, lodging costs, cost of meals, and taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and your hotel.
6. Travel You Can’t Deduct. Some types of travel do not qualify for a tax deduction. For example, you can’t deduct your costs if a significant part of the trip involves recreation or vacation.
Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about travel expenses related to charitable work.

Employers: Terms to Know about Health Coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act, certain employers–known as applicable large employers–are subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions. You might be thinking about these topics as you make plans about 2017 health coverage for your employees.
If you are an employer that is subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions, you may choose either to offer affordable minimum essential coverage that provides minimum value to your full-time employees and their dependents or to potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS.
Here are definitions of key terms related to health coverage you might offer to employees:
Affordable coverage: If the lowest cost self-only only health plan is 9.5 percent or less of your full-time employee’s household income, then the coverage is considered affordable. Because you likely will not know your employee’s household income, for purposes of the employer shared responsibility provisions, you can determine whether you offered affordable coverage under various safe harbors based on information available to you as the employer.
Minimum essential coverage: For purposes of reporting by applicable large employers, minimum essential coverage means coverage under an employer-sponsored plan. It does not include fixed indemnity coverage, life insurance or dental or vision coverage.
Minimum value coverage: An employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value if it covers at least 60 percent of the total allowed cost of benefits that are expected to be incurred under the plan.
Help is Just a Phone Call Away
Please call if you have any questions or need more information about the employer shared responsibility provisions.

Tax Relief for Drought-Stricken Farmers
Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales. The relief applies to all or part of 37 states and Puerto Rico.
The one-year extension of the replacement period generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes due to drought. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, and poultry are not eligible.
Farmers and ranchers in these areas whose drought sale replacement period was scheduled to expire at the end of this tax year, Dec. 31, 2016, in most cases, will now have until the end of their next tax year. Because the normal drought sale replacement period is four years, this extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2012. But because of previous drought-related extensions affecting some of these localities, the replacement periods for some drought sales before 2012 are also affected. Additional extensions will be granted if severe drought conditions persist.
The IRS is providing this relief to any farm located in a county, parish, city, borough, census area or district, listed as suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), during any weekly period between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 31, 2016. Any county that borders a county listed by the NDMC also qualifies for this relief.
A taxpayer may determine whether exceptional, extreme, or severe drought is reported for any location in the applicable region by reference to U.S. Drought Monitor maps that are produced on a weekly basis by the National Drought Mitigation Center.
In addition, in September of each year, the IRS publishes a list of counties, districts, cities, boroughs, census areas or parishes (hereinafter “counties”) for which exceptional, extreme, or severe drought was reported during the preceding 12 months. Taxpayers may use this list instead of U.S. Drought Monitor maps to determine whether exceptional, extreme, or severe drought has been reported for any location in the applicable region.
To summarize:
If the drought caused you to sell more livestock than usual, you may be able to defer tax on the extra gains from those sales.You generally must replace the livestock within a four-year period; however, the IRS has the authority to extend the period if the drought continues. For this reason, the IRS has added an additional year to the replacement year.The one-year extension of time authorized by the IRS generally applies to certain sales due to drought.If you are eligible, your gains on sales of livestock that you held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes apply.Sales of other livestock, such as those you raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes and poultry, are not eligible.The IRS relief applies to farms in areas suffering exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) has listed all or parts of 37 states that qualify for relief (see above). Any county that is contiguous to a county that is on the NDMC’s list also qualifies.This extension immediately impacts drought sales that occurred during 2012. However, the IRS has granted previous extensions that affect some of these localities. This means that some drought sales before 2012 are also affected. Further, the IRS will grant additional extensions if severe drought conditions persist.
If you have any questions about whether you’re eligible for this particular tax relief, don’t hesitate to call.

Tax Tips for Separated or Divorced Individuals
If you are recently separated or divorced, taxes may be the last thing on your mind; however, these events can have a big impact on your wallet at tax time. Alimony, or a name or address change, are just a few items you may need to consider. Here are a few key tax tips to keep in mind:
1. Child Support. Child support payments are not deductible and if you received child support, it is not taxable.
2. Alimony Paid. You can deduct alimony paid to or for a spouse or former spouse under a divorce or separation decree, regardless of whether you itemize deductions. Voluntary payments made outside a divorce or separation decree are not deductible. You must enter your spouse’s Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on your Form 1040 when you file.
3. Alimony Received. If you get alimony from your spouse or former spouse, it is taxable in the year you get it. Alimony is not subject to tax withholding so you may need to increase the tax you pay during the year to avoid a penalty. To do this, you can make estimated tax payments or increase the amount of tax withheld from your wages.
4. Spousal IRA. If you get a final decree of divorce or separate maintenance by the end of your tax year, you can’t deduct contributions you make to your former spouse’s traditional IRA. You may be able to deduct contributions you make to your own traditional IRA.
5. Name Changes. If you change your name after your divorce, be sure to notify the Social Security Administration. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get the form on the Social Security Administration’s website (SSA.gov) or call 800-772-1213 to order it. The name on your tax return must match SSA records. A name mismatch can cause problems in the processing of your return and may delay your refund.
6. Health Care Law Considerations
Special Marketplace Enrollment Period. If you lose health insurance coverage due to divorce, you are still required to have coverage for every month of the year for yourself and the dependents you can claim on your tax return. You may enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period if you lose coverage due to a divorce.
The Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is defined as a specific length of time outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period when you can sign up for health insurance. You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you’ve had certain life events, including losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child.
If you qualify for the SEP, you generally have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If you miss that window, you have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period to apply.
Changes in Circumstances. If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit. If you do, you should report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace throughout the year. These changes include a change in marital status, a name change, a change of address, and a change in your income or family size. Reporting these changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance. This will also help you avoid getting too much or too little credit in advance.
Shared Policy Allocation. If you divorced or are legally separated during the tax year and are enrolled in the same qualified health plan, you and your former spouse must allocate policy amounts on your separate tax returns to figure your premium tax credit and reconcile any advance payments made on your behalf. Please call the office if you have any questions about the Shared Policy Allocation.
If you need more information about tax rules related to divorce or separation, please call the office.

Energy Tax Credits Expire at the end of 2016
Certain energy-efficient home improvements can cut your energy bills and save you money at tax time; however, these energy-related tax credits expire at the end of 2016. Here are some key facts that you should know about home energy tax credits:
Nonbusiness Energy Property CreditPart of this credit is worth 10 percent of the cost of certain qualified energy-saving items you added to your main home last year. This may include items such as insulation, windows, doors, and roofs.The other part of the credit is not a percentage of the cost. This part of the credit is for the actual cost of certain property. This may include items such as water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems. The credit amount for each type of property has a different dollar limit.This credit has a maximum lifetime limit of $500. You may only use $200 of this limit for windows.Your main home must be located in the U.S. to qualify for the credit.Be sure you have the written certification from the manufacturer that their product qualifies for this tax credit. They usually post it on their website or include it with the product’s packaging. You can rely on it to claim the credit, but do not attach it to your return. Keep it with your tax records.You must place qualifying improvements in service in your principal residence by Dec. 31, 2016.Residential Energy Efficient Property CreditThis tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment installed on or in your home.Qualified equipment includes solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment, wind turbines and fuel cell property.Qualified wind turbine and fuel cell property must be placed into service by Dec. 31, 2016. Hot water heaters and solar electric equipment must be placed into service by Dec. 31, 2021.The tax credit for qualified fuel cell property is limited to $500 for each one-half kilowatt of capacity. The amount for other qualified expenditures does not have a limit. If your credit is more than the tax you owe, you can carry forward the unused portion of this credit to next year’s tax return.The home must be in the U.S. It does not have to be your main home unless the alternative energy equipment is qualified fuel cell property.Use Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, to claim these credits.
For more information about this topic please call.

Tax Due Dates for November 2016
Anytime
Employers – Income Tax Withholding. Ask employees whose withholding allowances will be different in 2017 to fill out a new Form W-4. The 2017 revision of Form W-4 will be available on the IRS website by mid-December.
November 10
Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during October, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.
Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the third quarter of 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time.
November 15
Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in October.
Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in October.

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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:
Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.
You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
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or by e-mail at: rexcrandell@astound.net
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We would be happy to hear from you.
…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…
Please contact our office if you have any questions.
Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.
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August 2016

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Tax Due Dates

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

Seven Common Small Business Tax Misperceptions

One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in running your own business is staying on top of your numerous obligations to federal, state, and local tax agencies. Tax codes seem to be in a constant state of flux and increasingly complicated.

The old legal saying that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” is perhaps most often applied in tax settings and it is safe to assume that a tax auditor presenting an assessment of additional taxes, penalties, and interest will not look kindly on an “I didn’t know I was required to do that” claim.

On the flip side, it is surprising how many small businesses actually overpay their taxes, neglecting to take deductions they’re legally entitled to that can help them lower their tax bill.

Preparing your taxes and strategizing as to how to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket becomes increasingly difficult with each passing year. Your best course of action to save time, frustration, money, and an auditor knocking on your door, is to have a professional accountant handle your taxes.

Tax professionals have years of experience with tax preparation, regularly attend tax seminars, read scores of journals, magazines, and monthly tax tips, among other things, to correctly interpret the changing tax code.

When it comes to tax planning for small businesses, the complexity of tax law generates a lot of folklore and misinformation that also leads to costly mistakes. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the more common small business tax misperceptions.

1. All Start-Up Costs are Immediately Deductible

Business start-up costs refer to expenses incurred before you actually begin operating your business. Business start-up costs include both start-up and organizational costs and vary depending on the type of business. Examples of these types of costs include advertising, travel, surveys, and training. These start-up and organizational costs are generally called capital expenditures.

Costs for a particular asset (such as machinery or office equipment) are recovered through depreciation or Section 179 expensing. When you start a business, you can elect to deduct or amortize certain business start-up costs.

You can also elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred. Business start-up and organizational costs are generally capital expenditures. However, you can elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred. The $5,000 deduction is reduced by the amount your total start-up or organizational costs exceed $50,000. Any remaining costs must be amortized.

2. Overpaying the IRS Makes you “Audit Proof.”

The IRS doesn’t care if you pay the right amount of taxes or overpay your taxes. They do care if you pay less than you owe and you can’t substantiate your deductions. Even if you overpay in one area, the IRS will still hit you with interest and penalties if you underpay in another. It is never a good idea to knowingly or unknowingly overpay the IRS. The best way to “Audit Proof” yourself is to properly document your expenses and make sure you are getting good advice from a tax professional.

3. Being Incorporated Enables you to take more Deductions.

Self-employed individuals (sole proprietors and S Corps) qualify for many of the same deductions that incorporated businesses do, and for many small businesses, being incorporated is an unnecessary expense and burden. Start-ups can spend thousands of dollars in legal and accounting fees to set up a corporation, only to discover soon thereafter that they need to change their name or move the company in a different direction. In addition, plenty of small business owners who incorporate don’t make money for the first few years and find themselves saddled with minimum corporate tax payments and no income.

4. The Home Office Deduction is a Red Flag for an Audit.

While it used to be a red flag, this is no longer true–as long as you keep excellent records that satisfy IRS requirements. Because of the proliferation of home offices, tax officials cannot possibly audit all tax returns containing the home office deduction. In other words, there is no need to fear an audit just because you take the home office deduction. A high deduction-to-income ratio, however, may raise a red flag and lead to an audit.

5. If you don’t take the Home Office Deduction, Business Expenses are not Deductible.

You are still eligible to take deductions for business supplies, business-related phone bills, travel expenses, printing, wages paid to employees or contract workers, depreciation of equipment used for your business, and other expenses related to running a home-based business, whether or not you take the home office deduction.

6. Requesting an Extension on your Taxes is an Extension to Pay Taxes.

Wrong. Extensions enable you to extend your filing date only. Penalties and interest begin accruing from the date your taxes are due.

7. Part-time Business Owners Cannot Set Up Self-employed Pensions.

If you start up a company while you have a salaried position complete with a 401K plan, you can still set up a SEP-IRA for your business and take the deduction.

A tax headache is only one mistake away.

Whether it’s a missed estimated tax payment or filing deadline, an improperly claimed deduction, or incomplete records, understanding how the tax system works is beneficial to any business owner. And, even if you delegate the tax preparation to someone else, you are still liable for the accuracy of your tax returns. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call the office for assistance.

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Five Ways to Improve Your Financial Situation

If you are having trouble paying your debts, it is important to take action sooner rather than later. Doing nothing leads to much larger problems in the future, whether it’s a bad credit record or bankruptcy resulting in the loss of assets and even your home. If you’re in financial trouble, then here are some steps to take to avoid financial ruin in the future.

If you’ve accumulated a large amount of debt and are having difficulty paying your bills each month, now is the time to take action–before the bill collectors start calling.

1. Review each debt. Make sure that the debt creditors claim you owe is really what you owe and that the amount is correct. If you dispute a debt, first contact the creditor directly to resolve your questions. If you still have questions about the debt, contact your state or local consumer protection office or, in cases of serious creditor abuse, your state Attorney General.

2. Contact your creditors. Let your creditors know you are having difficulty making your payments. Tell them why you are having trouble–perhaps it is because you recently lost your job or have unexpected medical bills. Try to work out an acceptable payment schedule with your creditors. Most are willing to work with you and will appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

Tip: Most automobile financing agreements permit your creditor to repossess your car any time you are in default, with no advance notice. If your car is repossessed you may have to pay the full balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. Do not wait until you are in default. Try to solve the problem with your creditor when you realize you will not be able to meet your payments. It may be better to sell the car yourself and pay off your debt than to incur the added costs of repossession.

3. Budget your expenses. Create a spending plan that allows you to reduce your debts and itemize necessary expenses (such as housing and healthcare) and optional expenses (such as entertainment and vacation travel). Stick to the plan.

4. Try to reduce your expenses. Cut out any unnecessary spending such as eating out and purchasing expensive entertainment. Consider taking public transportation or using a car sharing service rather than owning a car. Clip coupons, purchase generic products at the supermarket and avoid impulse purchases. Above all, stop incurring new debt. Leave your credit cards at home. Pay for all purchases in cash or use a debit card instead of a credit card.

5. Pay down and consolidate your debts. Withdrawing savings from low-interest accounts to settle high-rate loans or credit card debt usually makes sense. In addition, there are a number of ways to pay off high-interest loans, such as credit cards, by getting a refinancing or consolidation loan, such as a second mortgage.

Tip: Selling off a second car not only provides cash but also reduces insurance and other maintenance expenses.

Caution: Be wary of any loan consolidations or other refinancing that actually increaseinterest owed, or require payments of points or large fees.

Caution: Second mortgages greatly increase the risk that you may lose your home.

You can regain financial health if you act responsibly. But don’t wait until bankruptcy court is your only option. If you’re having financial troubles, don’t hesitate to call.

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The Home-Based Business: Basics to Consider

More than 52 percent of businesses today are home-based. Every day, people are striking out and achieving economic and creative independence by turning their skills into dollars. Garages, basements, and attics are being transformed into the corporate headquarters of the newest entrepreneurs–home-based businesspeople.

And, with technological advances in smartphones, tablets, and iPads as well as rising demand for “service-oriented” businesses, the opportunities seem to be endless.

Is a Home-Based Business Right for You?

Choosing a home business is like choosing a spouse or partner: Think carefully before starting the business. Instead of plunging right in, take the time to learn as much about the market for any product or service as you can. Before you invest any time, effort, or money take a few moments to answer the following questions:

  • Can you describe in detail the business you plan on establishing?
  • What will be your product or service?
  • Is there a demand for your product or service?
  • Can you identify the target market for your product or service?
  • Do you have the talent and expertise needed to compete successfully?

Before you dive head first into a home-based business, it’s essential that you know why you are doing it and how you will do it. To succeed, your business must be based on something greater than a desire to be your own boss, and involves an honest assessment of your own personality, an understanding of what’s involved, and a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to plan ahead and make improvements and adjustments along the way.

While there are no “best” or “right” reasons for starting a home-based business, it is vital to have a very clear idea of what you are getting into and why. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you a self-starter?
  • Can you stick to business if you’re working at home?
  • Do you have the necessary self-discipline to maintain schedules?
  • Can you deal with the isolation of working from home?

Working under the same roof that your family lives under may not prove to be as easy as it seems. It is important that you work in a professional environment. If at all possible, you should set up a separate office in your home. You must consider whether your home has space for a business and whether you can successfully run the business from your home. If so, you may qualify for a tax break called the home office deduction. For more information see the article, Do You Qualify for the Home Office Deduction? below.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations

A home-based business is subject to many of the same laws and regulations affecting other businesses, and you will be responsible for complying with them. There are some general areas to watch out for, but be sure to consult an attorney and your state department of labor to find out which laws and regulations will affect your business.

Zoning

Be aware of your city’s zoning regulations. If your business operates in violation of them, you could be fined or closed down.

Restrictions on Certain Goods

Certain products may not be produced in the home. Most states outlaw home production of fireworks, drugs, poisons, sanitary or medical products, and toys. Some states also prohibit home-based businesses from making food, drink, or clothing.

Registration and Accounting Requirements

You may need the following:

  • Work certificate or a license from the state (your business’s name may also need to be registered with the state)
  • Sales tax number
  • Separate business telephone
  • Separate business bank account

If your business has employees, you are responsible for withholding income, social security, and Medicare taxes, as well as complying with minimum wage and employee health and safety laws.

Planning Techniques

Money fuels all businesses. With a little planning, you’ll find that you can avoid most financial difficulties. When drawing up a financial plan, don’t worry about using estimates. The process of thinking through these questions helps develop your business skills and leads to solid financial planning.

Estimating Start-Up Costs

To estimate your start-up costs include all initial expenses such as fees, licenses, permits, telephone deposit, tools, office equipment and promotional expenses.

In addition, business experts say you should not expect a profit for the first eight to ten months, so be sure to give yourself enough of a cushion if you need it.

Projecting Operating Expenses

Include salaries, utilities, office supplies, loan payments, taxes, legal services and insurance premiums, and don’t forget to include your normal living expenses. Your business must not only meet its own needs but make sure it meets yours as well.

Projecting Income

It is essential that you know how to estimate your sales on a daily and monthly basis. From the sales estimates, you can develop projected income statements, break-even points, and cash-flow statements. Use your marketing research to estimate initial sales volume.

Determining Cash Flow

Working capital–not profits–pays your bills. Even though your assets may look great on the balance sheet, if your cash is tied up in receivables or equipment, your business is technically insolvent. In other words, you’re broke.

Make a list of all anticipated expenses and projected income for each week and month. If you see a cash-flow crisis developing, cut back on everything but the necessities.

If a home-based business is in your future, then a tax professional can help. Don’t hesitate to call if you need assistance setting up your business or making sure you have the proper documentation in place to satisfy the IRS.

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Tax-Free Savings for College

According to a recent study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, researchers found that over a lifetime, the average U.S. college graduate will earn at least $800,000 more than the average high school graduate–even after taking into consideration the cost of college tuition and the four years of lost wages it entails. Despite this, most people still feel that a college education is worth the investment.

That said, however, the need to set money aside for their child’s education often weighs heavily on parents. Fortunately, there are two savings plans available to help parents save money as well as provide certain tax benefits. Let’s take a closer look.

The two most popular college savings programs are the Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs) or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Whichever one you choose, try to start when your child is young. The sooner you begin saving, the less money you will have to put away each year.

Example: Suppose you have one child, age six months, and you estimate that you’ll need $120,000 to finance his college education 18 years from now. If you start putting away money immediately, you’ll need to save $3,500 per year for 18 years (assuming an after-tax return of 7 percent). On the other hand, if you put off saving until your son is six years old, you’ll have to save almost double that amount every year for 12 years.

How Much Will College Cost?

College is expensive, and proper planning can lessen the financial squeeze considerably–especially if you start when your child is young. According to the College Board, average published tuition and fees for full-time in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities increased 2.9 percent before adjusting for inflation, rising from $9,145 in 2014-15 to $9,410 in 2015-16.

Average published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions increased 3.6 percent before adjusting for inflation, rising from $31,283 in 2014-15 to $32,405 in 2015-16. Undergraduates received an average of $14,210 in financial aid in 2014-15, including $8,170 in grants from all sources, $4,800 in federal loans, $1,170 in education tax credits and deductions, and $70 in Federal Work-Study.

Saving with Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs)

Qualified Tuition Programs, also known as 529 plans, are often the best choice for many families. Every state now has a program allowing persons to prepay for future higher education, with tax relief. There are two basic plan types, with many variations among them:

  1. The prepaid education arrangement. With this type of plan, one is essentially buying future education at today’s costs, by buying education credits or certificates. This is the older type of program and tends to limit the student’s choice to schools within the state; however, private colleges and universities often offer this type of arrangement.
  2. Education Savings Account (ESA). With an ESA, contributions are made to an account to be used for future higher education.

Tip: When approaching state programs, one must distinguish between what the federal tax law allows and what an individual state’s program may impose.

You may open a 529 plan in any state, but when buying prepaid tuition credits (less popular than savings accounts), you will want to know what institutions the credits will be applied to.

Unlike certain other tax-favored higher education programs, such as the American Opportunity Credit (formerly the Hope Credit) and Lifetime Learning Credit, federal tax law doesn’t limit the benefit to tuition, but can also extend it to room, board, and books (individual state programs could be narrower).

The two key individual parties to the program are the Designated Beneficiary (the student-to-be) and the Account Owner, who is entitled to choose and change the beneficiary and who is normally the principal contributor to the program.

There are no income limits on who may be an account owner. There’s only one designated beneficiary per account. Thus, a parent with three college-bound children might set up three accounts. Some state programs don’t allow the same person to be both beneficiary and account owner.

Tax Rules Relating to Qualified Tuition Programs

Income Tax. Contributions made by an account owner or other contributor are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes, but earnings on contributions do grow tax-free while in the program.

Distributions from the fund are tax-free to the extent used for qualified higher education expenses. Distributions used otherwise are taxable to the extent of the portion which represents earnings.

A distribution may be tax-free even though the student is claiming an American Opportunity Credit (formerly the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit, or tax-free treatment for a Coverdell ESA distribution, provided the programs aren’t covering the same specific expenses.

Distribution for a purpose other than qualified education is taxable to the one getting the distribution. In addition, a 10 percent penalty must be imposed on the taxable portion of the distribution, which is comparable to the 10 percent penalty in Coverdell ESAs.

The account owner may change the beneficiary designation from one to another in the same family. Funds in the account roll over tax-free for the benefit of the new beneficiary.

Tip: In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) added expenses for computer technology/equipment or Internet access to the list of qualifying expenses. Software designed for sports, games, or hobbies does not qualify, unless it is predominantly educational in nature. In general, however, expenses for computer technology are not considered qualified expenses.

Gift Tax. For gift tax purposes, contributions are treated as completed gifts even though the account owner has the right to withdraw them. Thus they qualify for the up-to-$14,000 annual gift tax exclusion in 2016 (same as 2015). One contributing more than $14,000 may elect to treat the gift as made in equal installments over the year of the gift and the following four years so that up to $56,000 can be given tax-free in the first year.

However, a rollover from one beneficiary to another in a younger generation is treated as a gift from the first beneficiary, an odd result for an act the “giver” may have had nothing to do with.

Estate Tax. Funds in the account at the designated beneficiary’s death are included in the beneficiary’s estate, another odd result, since those funds may not be available to pay the tax.

Funds in the account at the account owner’s death are not included in the owner’s estate, except for a portion thereof where the gift tax exclusion installment election is made for gifts over $14,000. For example, if the account owner made the election for a gift of $56,000 in 2016, a part of that gift is included in the estate if he or she dies within five years.

Tip: A Qualified Tuition Program can be an especially attractive estate-planning move for grandparents. There are no income limits, and the account owner giving up to $56,000 avoids gift tax and estate tax by living five years after the gift, yet has the power to change the beneficiary.

State Tax. State tax rules are all over the map. Some reflect the federal rules; some reflect quite different rules. For specifics of each state’s program, see College Savings Plans Network (CSPN). If you need assistance with this, please contact us.

Saving with Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

You can contribute up to $2,000 in 2016 to a Coverdell Education Savings account (a Section 530 program formerly known as an Education IRA) for a child under 18. These contributions are not tax deductible but grow tax-free until withdrawn. Contributions for any year, for example, 2016 can be made through the (unextended) due date for the return for that year (April 17, 2017). There is no adjustment for inflation; therefore the $2,000 contribution limit is expected to remain at $2,000.

Only cash can be contributed to a Coverdell ESA, and you cannot contribute to the account after the child reaches his or her 18th birthday.

The beneficiary will not owe tax on the distributions if they are less than a beneficiary’s qualified education expenses at an eligible institution. This benefit applies to higher education expenses as well as to elementary and secondary education expenses.

Anyone can establish and contribute to a Coverdell ESA, including the child. An account may be established for as many children as you wish; however, the amount contributed during the year to each account cannot exceed $2,000. The child need not be a dependent, and in fact, does not even need to be related to you. The maximum contribution amount in 2016 for each child is subject to a phase-out limitation with a modified AGI between $190,000 and $220,000 for joint filers and $95,000 and $110,000 for single filers.

A 6 percent excise tax (to be paid by the beneficiary) applies to excess contributions. These are amounts in excess of the applicable contribution limit ($2,000 or phase out amount) and contributions for a year that amounts are contributed to a Qualified Tuition Program for the same child. The 6 percent tax continues for each year the excess contribution stays in the Coverdell ESA.

Exceptions. The excise tax does not apply if excess contributions made during 2016 (and any earnings on them) are distributed before the first day of the sixth month of the following tax year (June 1, 2017, for a calendar year taxpayer). However, you must include the distributed earnings in gross income for the year in which the excess contribution was made. The excise tax does not apply to any rollover contribution.

The child must be named (designated as beneficiary) in the Coverdell document, but the beneficiary can be changed to another family member–to a sibling for example when the first beneficiary gets a scholarship or drops out. Funds can also be rolled over tax-free from one child’s account to another child’s account. Funds must be distributed not later than 30 days after the beneficiary’s 30th birthday (or 20 days after the beneficiary’s death if earlier). For “special needs” beneficiaries the age limits (no contributions after age 18, distribution by age 30) don’t apply.

Withdrawals are taxable to the person who gets the money, with these major exceptions: Only the earnings portion is taxable (the contributions come back tax-free). Also, even that part isn’t taxable income, as long as the amount withdrawn does not exceed a child’s “qualified higher education expenses” for that year.

The definition of “qualified higher education expenses” includes room and board and books, as well as tuition. In figuring whether withdrawals exceed qualified expenses, expenses are reduced by certain scholarships and by amounts for which tax credits are allowed. If the amount withdrawn for the year exceeds the education expenses for the year, the excess is partly taxable under a complex formula. A different formula is used if the sum of withdrawals from a Coverdell ESA and from the Qualified Tuition Program exceeds education expenses.

As the person who sets up the Coverdell ESA, you may change the beneficiary (the child who will get the funds) or roll the funds over to the account of a new beneficiary, tax-free, if the new beneficiary is a member of your family. But funds you take back (for example, withdrawal in a year when there are no qualified higher education expenses, because the child is not enrolled in higher education) are taxable to you, to the extent of earnings on your contributions, and you will generally have to pay an additional 10 percent tax on the taxable amount. However, you won’t owe tax on earnings on amounts contributed that are returned to you by June 1 of the year following contribution.

Professional Guidance

Considering the wide differences among state plans, federal and state tax issues, and the dollar amounts at stake, please call the office before getting started with any type of college savings plan.

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Charitable Contributions of Property

If you contribute property to a qualified organization, the amount of your charitable contribution is generally thefair market value of the property at the time of the contribution. However, if the property fits into one of the categories discussed here, the amount of your deduction must be decreased. As with many aspects of tax law, the rules are quite complex. If you’re considering a charitable contribution of property, here’s what you need to know:

After discussing how to determine the fair market value of something you donate, we’ll discuss the following categories of charitable gifts of property:

  • Contributions subject to special rules
  • Property that has decreased in value;
  • Property that has increased in value;
  • Food Inventory.
  • Bargain Sales.

Determining Fair Market Value

Fair market value is the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither having to buy or sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of all of the relevant facts.

Used Clothing and Household Items.

The fair market value of used clothing and used household goods, such as furniture and furnishings, electronics, appliances, linens, and other similar items is typically the price that buyers of used items actually pay clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops. Be prepared to support your valuation of other household items, which must be in good used condition unless valued at more than $500 by a qualified appraisal, with photographs, canceled checks, receipts from your purchase of the items, or other evidence.

Cars, Boats, and Aircraft

The FMV of a donated car, boat, or airplane is generally the amount listed in a used vehicle pricing guide for a private party sale, not the dealer retail value, of a similar vehicle. The FMV may be less than that, however, if the vehicle has engine trouble, body damage, high mileage, or any type of excessive wear.

Except for inexpensive small boats, the valuation of boats should be based on an appraisal by a marine surveyor because the physical condition is so critical to the value.

If you donate a qualified vehicle to a qualified organization, and you claim a deduction of more than $500, you can deduct the smaller of the gross proceeds from the sale of the vehicle by the organization or the vehicle’s fair market value on the date of the contribution. If the vehicle’s fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to figure the deductible amount.

Paintings, Antiques, and Other Objects of Art.

Deductions for contributions of paintings, antiques, and other objects of art should be supported by a written appraisal from a qualified and reputable source unless the deduction is $5,000 or less.

  1. Art valued at $20,000 or more. If you claim a deduction of $20,000 or more for donations of art, you must attach a complete copy of the signed appraisal to your return. For individual objects valued at $20,000 or more, a photograph of a size and quality fully showing the object, preferably an 8 x 10-inch color photograph or a color transparency no smaller than 4 x 5 inches, must be provided upon request.
  2. Art valued at $50,000 or more. If you donate an item of art that has been appraised at $50,000 or more, you can request a Statement of Value for that item from the IRS. You must request the statement before filing the tax return that reports the donation.

Contributions Subject to Special Rules

Special rules apply if you contribute:

  • Clothing or household items,
  • A car, boat, or airplane,
  • Taxidermy property,
  • Property subject to a debt,
  • A partial interest in property,
  • A fractional interest in tangible personal property,
  • A qualified conservation contribution,
  • A future interest in tangible personal property,
  • Inventory from your business, or
  • A patent or other intellectual property.

Donating Property That Has Decreased in Value

If you contribute property with a fair market value that is less than your basis in it (generally, less than what you paid for it), your deduction is limited to its fair market value. You cannot claim a deduction for the difference between the property’s basis and its fair market value. Common examples of property that decreases in value include clothing, furniture, appliances, and cars.

Donating Property That Has Increased in Value

If you contribute property with a fair market value that is more than your basis in it, you may have to reduce the fair market value by the amount of appreciation (increase in value) when you figure your deduction. Again, your basis in the property is generally what you paid for it. Different rules apply to figuring your deduction, depending on whether the property is Ordinary income property, Capital gain property, or Ordinary Income Property.

Ordinary Income Property

Property is ordinary income property if its sale at fair market value on the date it was contributed would have resulted in ordinary income or in short-term capital gain. Examples of ordinary income property are inventory, works of art created by the donor, manuscripts prepared by the donor, and capital assets held 1 year or less.

Equipment or other property used in a trade or business is considered ordinary income property to the extent of any gain that would have been treated as ordinary income under the tax law, had the property been sold at its fair market value at the time of contribution.

Capital Gain Property

Property is capital gain property if its sale at fair market value on the date of the contribution would have resulted in a long-term capital gain. Capital gain property includes capital assets held more than 1 year.

Capital assets. Capital assets include most items of property that you own and use for personal purposes or investment. Examples of capital assets are stocks, bonds, jewelry, coin or stamp collections, and cars or furniture used for personal purposes. For purposes of figuring your charitable contribution, capital assets also include certain real property and depreciable property used in your trade or business and, generally, held more than 1 year.

Real property. Real property is land and generally, anything that is built on, growing on, or attached to land.

Depreciable property. Depreciable property is property used in business or held for the production of income and for which a depreciation deduction is allowed.

Ordinary or capital gain income included in gross income. You do not reduce your charitable contribution if you include the ordinary or capital gain income in your gross income in the same year as the contribution. This may happen when you transfer installment or discount obligations or when you assign income to a charitable organization.

Food Inventory

Special rules apply to certain donations of food inventory to a qualified organization. Please call if you would like information about donations of food inventory.

Bargain Sales

A bargain sale of property to a qualified organization (a sale or exchange for less than the property’s fair market value) is partly a charitable contribution and partly a sale or exchange. The part of the bargain sale that is a sale or exchange may result in a taxable gain.

Seek advice from a tax professional.

Stiff penalties may be assessed by the IRS if you overstate the value or adjusted basis of donated property. If you’re considering a charitable contribution of property, don’t hesitate to call the office to speak with a qualified tax professional.

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Deducting Moving Expenses

If you’ve moved–or are planning to move–this year to start a new job you may be able to deduct certain moving-related expenses on your tax return. You may also be able to deduct these expenses even if you kept the same job but moved to a different location.

1. Expenses must be close to the time you start work. Generally, you can consider moving expenses that you incurred within one year of the date you first report to work at a new job location.

2. Distance Test. Your move meets the distance test if your new main job location is at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your previous main job location was from your former home. For example, if your old main job location was three miles from your former home, your new main job location must be at least 53 miles from that former home.

3. Time Test. Upon arriving in the general area of your new job location, you must work full-time for at least 39 weeks during the first year at your new job location. Self-employed individuals must meet this test, and they must also work full time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months upon arriving in the general area of their new job location. If your income tax return is due before you have satisfied this requirement, you can still deduct your allowable moving expenses if you expect to meet the time test. There are some special rules and exceptions to these general rules. Please call if you’d like more information.

4. Travel. You can deduct lodging expenses (but not meals) for yourself and household members while moving from your former home to your new home. You can also deduct transportation expenses, including airfare, vehicle mileage, parking fees and tolls you pay, but you can only deduct one trip per person.

5. Household goods. You can deduct the cost of packing, crating and transporting your household goods and personal property, including the cost of shipping household pets. You may be able to include the cost of storing and insuring these items while in transit.

6. Utilities. You can deduct the costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities.

7. Nondeductible expenses. You cannot deduct the following moving-related expenses: any part of the purchase price of your new home, car tags, a driver’s license renewal, costs of buying or selling a home, expenses of entering into or breaking a lease, or security deposits and storage charges, except those incurred in transit and for foreign moves.

8. Form. You can deduct only those expenses that are reasonable for the circumstances of your move.

9. Reimbursed expenses. If your employer reimburses you for the costs of a move for which you took a deduction, the reimbursement may have to be included as income on your tax return.

10. Update your address. When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive mail from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS.

Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about deducting moving expenses or need help figuring out the amount of your deduction for moving expenses.

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Do You Qualify for the Home Office Deduction?

If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home, provided you meet certain IRS requirements.

1. Generally, in order to claim a business deduction for your home, you must use part of your home exclusively and regularly:

  • as your principal place of business, or
  • as a place to meet or deal with patients, clients or customers in the normal course of your business, or
  • in any connection with your trade or business where the business portion of your home is a separate structure not attached to your home.

2. For certain storage use, rental use or daycare-facility use, you are required to use the property regularly but not exclusively.

3. Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your deduction for certain expenses will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses.

4. There are special rules for qualified daycare providers and for persons storing business inventory or product samples.

5. If you are an employee, additional rules apply for claiming the home office deduction. For example, the regular and exclusive business use must be for the convenience of your employer.

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for the home office deduction, please contact the office. Help is only a phone call away.

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Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

If you sell your home and make a profit, do you know that the gain may not be taxable? That’s just one key tax rule that you should know. Here are ten facts to keep in mind if you sell your home this year.

1. If you have a capital gain on the sale of your home, you may be able to exclude your gain from tax. This rule may apply if you owned and used it as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.

2. There are exceptions to the ownership and use rules. Some exceptions apply to persons with a disability. Some apply to certain members of the military and certain government and Peace Corps workers. For additional details, please call.

3. The maximum amount of gain you can exclude is $250,000. This limit is $500,000 for joint returns. In addition, the Net Investment Income Tax will not apply to the excluded gain.

4. If the gain is not taxable, you may not need to report the sale to the IRS on your tax return.

5. You must report the sale on your tax return if you can’t exclude all or part of the gain. And you must report the sale if you choose not to claim the exclusion. That’s also true if you get Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. Keep in mind that if you report the sale you may be subject to the NIIT.

6. Generally, you can exclude the gain from the sale of your main home only once every two years.

7. If you own more than one home, you may only exclude the gain on the sale of your main home. Your main home usually is the home that you live in most of the time.

8. If you claimed the first-time homebuyer credit when you bought the home, special rules apply to the sale.

9. If you sell your main home at a loss, you can’t deduct it.

10. After you sell your home and move, be sure to give your new address to the IRS. You can send the IRS a completed Form 8822, Change of Address, to do this.

Important note about the Premium Tax Credit. If you receive advance payment of the Premium Tax Credit in 2016, it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. You should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please call.

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It’s Time for a Premium Tax Credit Checkup

If you or anyone in your family receive advance payments of the premium tax credit, now is a good time to check on whether you need to adjust your premium assistance.

Because advance payments are paid directly to your insurance company (thereby lowering out-of-pocket cost for your health insurance premiums), changes to your income or family size may affect your credit. Therefore, you should report changes that have occurred since the time that you signed up for your health insurance plan.

Changes in circumstances include any of the following and should be reported to your Marketplace when they happen:

  • Increases or decreases in your household income including, lump sum payments; for example, lump sum payment of Social Security benefits
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Other changes affecting the composition of your tax family
  • Gaining or losing eligibility for government sponsored or employer-sponsored health care coverage
  • Moving to a different address

Reporting the changes when they happen helps you to avoid getting too much or too little advance payment of the premium tax credit. Getting too much may mean that you owe additional money or receive a smaller refund when you file your taxes. Getting too little could mean missing out on premium assistance that reduces your out-of-pocket monthly premiums.

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 generally have 60 days to enroll following the change in circumstances. Information about special enrollment can be found by visiting HealthCare.gov.

You can use the Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator to help you estimate how your premium tax credit will change if your income or family size changes during the year; however, this estimator tool does not report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace. To report changes and to adjust the amount of your advance payments of the premium tax credit you must contact your Health Insurance Marketplace.

Need more information?

Don’t hesitate to contact the office if you have any questions about the Premium Tax Credit.

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Best Filing Status for Married Couples

Summer is wedding season. While tax returns and filing status are probably not high on your to-do list, you should be aware that with marriage, come tax changes–such as choosing the best filing status.

After you say, “I do” you’ll have two filing status options to choose from when filing your 2016 tax returns: married filing jointly, or married filing separately.

Married Filing Jointly

If you’re married as of Dec. 31, that’s your marital status for the whole year for tax purposes. You can choose married, filing jointly as your filing status if you are married and both you and your spouse agree to file a joint return. On a joint return, you report your combined income and deduct your combined allowable expenses. You can file a joint return even if one of you had no income or deductions.

If you and your spouse decide to file a joint return, your tax may be lower than your combined tax for the other filing statuses. Also, your standard deduction (if you do not itemize) may be higher, and you may qualify for tax benefits that do not apply to other filing statuses.

Joint Responsibility. Both of you may be held responsible, jointly and individually, for the tax and any interest or penalty due on your joint return. One spouse may be held responsible for all the tax due even if all the income was earned by the other spouse.

Married Filing Separately

If you are married, you can also choose married filing separately as your filing status. This filing status may benefit you if you want to be responsible only for your own tax or if it results in less tax than filing a joint return.

Call the office if you’re not sure which status to file under. If you and your spouse each have income, your tax will be figured both ways to determine which filing status gives you the lowest combined tax.

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Tax Due Dates for August 2016

August 1

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the second quarter of 2016. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until August 10 to file the return.

Employers – Federal unemployment tax. Deposit the tax owed through June if more than $500.

Employers – If you maintain an employee benefit plan, such as a pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan, file Form 5500 or 5500-EZ for calendar-year 2015. If you use a fiscal year as your plan year, file the form by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends.

Certain Small Employers – Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2016 but less than $2,500 for the second quarter.

August 10

Employees Who Work for Tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during July, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the second quarter of 2016. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time.

August 15

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in July.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in July.
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February 2016

This months Tax Topics.

Are your Social Security Benefits Taxable?

Some people must pay taxes on part of their Social Security benefits while others find that their benefits aren’t taxable at all. If you receive Social Security, a tax professional can help you determine if some – or all – of your benefits are taxable.

Five Ways to Improve Your Financial Situation
If you are having trouble paying your debts, it is important to take action. Doing nothing leads to much larger problems in the future, whether it’s a bad credit record or bankruptcy resulting in the loss of assets and even your home. If you’re in financial trouble here are some steps to take to avoid financial ruin in the future.

Roth IRAs: The Basics
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that with certain exceptions, is similar to a traditional IRA and subject to the rules that apply to a traditional IRA.

Three Most Common Budgeting Errors
Do you find it tricky to maintain a budget for your business? Here’s how to avoid three of the most common budgeting mistakes and take control of your company’s finances.

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Tax Tips for Fary
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1.  Missing You Form W-2?
Updated Withholdin Tables for 2016
2.  Reduce your Taxes
3.  Job Search Expenses May be Deductible

First we will look at tax due dates.

Tax Due Dates
February 1

Employers – Give your employees their copies of Form W-2 for 2015 byFebruary 1, 2016. If an employee agreed to receive Form W-2 electronically, post it on a website accessible to the employee and notify the employee by February 1, 2016.

Businesses – Give annual information statements to recipients of 1099 payments made during 2015.

Employers – Federal unemployment tax. File Form 940 for 2015. If your undeposited tax is $500 or less, you can either pay it with your return or deposit it. If it is more than $500, you must deposit it. However, if you already deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2015. Deposit any undeposited tax. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return.

Employers – Nonpayroll taxes. File Form 945 to report income tax withheld for 2015 on all nonpayroll items, including backup withholding and withholding on pensions, annuities, IRAs, gambling winnings, and payments of Indian gaming profits to tribal members. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time, you have until February 10 to file the return.

Individuals – who must make estimated tax payments. If you did not pay your last installment of estimated tax by January 15, you may choose (but are not required) to file your income tax return (Form 1040) for 2015. Filing your return and paying any tax due by February 1, 2016 prevents any penalty for late payment of last installment.

Payers of Gambling Winnings – If you either paid reportable gambling winnings or withheld income tax from gambling winnings, give the winners their copies of Form W-2G.

Certain Small Employers – File Form 944 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2015. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules. If your tax liability is $2,500 or more from 2015 but less than $2,500 for the fourth quarter, deposit any undeposited tax or pay it in full with a timely filed return.

All businesses – Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2015. You can use the appropriate version of Form 1099 or other information return.

February 10

Employees – who work for tips. If you received $20 or more in tips during January, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

 

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time.

 

Farm Employers – File Form 943 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

 

Certain Small Employers – File Form 944 to report Social Security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2015. This tax due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

 

Employers – Nonpayroll taxes. File Form 945 to report income tax withheld for 2015 on all nonpayroll items. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

 

Employers – Federal unemployment tax. File Form 940 for 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year in full and on time.

February 16

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

Individuals – If you claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year on the Form W-4 you gave your employer, you must file a new Form W-4 by this date to continue your exemption for another year.

All businesses. Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2015. You can use the appropriate version of Form 1099 or other information return.

February 17

Employers – Begin withholding income tax from the pay of any employee who claimed exemption from withholding in 2015, but did not give you a new Form W-4 to continue the exemption this year.

February 29

Businesses – File information returns (Form 1099) for certain payments you made during 2015. These payments are described under February 1. There are different forms for different types of payments. Use a separate Form 1096 to summarize and transmit the forms for each type of payment. See the 2015 Instructions for Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and W-2G for information on what payments are covered, how much the payment must be before a return is required, what form to use, and extensions of time to file.

If you file Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, or W-2G electronically (not by magnetic media), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms is still February 1.

Farmers and Fishermen – Farmers and fishermen. File your 2015 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due. However, you have until April 18 to file if you paid your 2015 estimated tax by January 15, 2016.

Payers of Gambling Winnings – File Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, along with Copy A of all the Forms W-2G you issued for 2015. If you file Forms W-2G electronically (not by magnetic tape), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains February 1.

Employers – File Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, along with Copy A of all the Forms W-2 you issued for 2015.

If you file Forms W-2 electronically (not by magnetic media), your due date for filing them with the SSA will be extended to March 31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms is still February 1.

Employers – with employees who work for tips. File Form 8027, Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. Use Form 8027-T, Transmittal of Employer’s Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, to summarize and transmit Forms 8027 if you have more than one establishment. If you file Forms 8027 electronically (not by magnetic tape), your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to March

Please call us at (925) 934-6320 if you have any questions.

Rex Crandell Firm 
3000 Citrus Circle, #207
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

http://www.rexcrandell.com http://www.TaxRexCrandell.com
(925) 934-6320

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Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

 

Income Tax Policy:
Ideas on how to Improve the Income Tax “Experience” for Taxpayers and government agencies.
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Watch “Smart Taxation – A winning strategy” on Tax-News-Online-Tube.
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Einkommensteuerrichtlinien. Ideen, wie man die Einkommensteuer “Experience” für die Steuerzahler und Behörden zu verbessern.
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Política de Impuesto sobre la Renta y Ingresos. Ideas sobre cómo mejorar el Impuesto sobre la Renta y Ingresos “experiencia” para los contribuyentes y agencias gubernamentales.
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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
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San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
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E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
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All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Any accounting, business, legal or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
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Kids say the darndest things.
Watch “When I Grow Up, I want to be a Tax Accountant – Before and After” on Rex AdventureTube.
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The IRS installed a new treadmill for the public to get in shape and see what it feels like to be an unsuspecting taxpayer trying to handle their own tax audit without professional representation. Guess this fellow got off to a bumpy start. But he did learn several things that he might not want to do again in the future. (Ya think?)
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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Rex Crandell, CPA~TAX NEWS LETTER. April 11, 2015 Walnut Creek, CA and San Francisco, CA Accounting Firm | Newsletter Page | Rex Crandell Firm
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http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/newsletter.php?date=042015

Newsletter April 11, 3015
Our regularly updated newsletter provides timely articles to help you achieve your financial goals. Please come back and visit often. 

April 11, 2015

Feature Articles
—-Five Last Minute Tax Tips for 2015
—-What Income is Taxable?
—-Lost Your Job?
—-There Could Be Tax Consequences
—-Tax Tips
—-Estimated Tax Payments –

—-Q and A:
—Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity
—-Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction
—-Top Ten Facts about Adoption Tax Benefits 
—-Tax Due Dates
======================
Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.
======================

Five Last Minute Tax Tips for 2015

Are you one of the millions of Americans who hasn’t filed (or even started) your taxes yet? With the April 15 tax filing deadline less than a week away, here is some last minute tax advice for you.

1. Stop Procrastinating. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. It takes time to prepare accurate returns and additional information may be needed from you to complete your tax return.

2. Include All Income. If you had a side job in addition to a regular job, you might have received a Form 1099-MISC. Make sure you include that income when you file your tax return because you may owe additional taxes on it. If you forget to include it you may be liable for penalties and interest on the unreported income.

3. File on Time or Request an Extension.This year’s tax deadline is April 15. If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension, bringing the filing date to October 15, 2015. You should keep in mind, however, that filing the extension itself does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will still owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late-payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

Call the office if you need to file an extension or file for late-filing penalty relief.

4. Don’t Panic If You Can’t Pay. If you can’t immediately pay the taxes you owe, there are several alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but processing companies generally charge a convenience fee. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government’s financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April due date, with no fee.

5. Sign and Double Check Your Return. The IRS will not process tax returns that aren’t signed, so make sure that you sign and date your return. You should also double check your social security number, as well as any electronic payment or direct deposit numbers, and finally, make sure that your filing status is correct.

Remember: To avoid delays, get your tax documents to the office as soon as you can.

======================

What Income is Taxable?

Are you wondering if there’s a hard and fast rule about what income is taxable and what income is not taxable? The quick answer is that all income is taxable unless the law specifically excludes it. But as you might have guessed, there’s more to it than that.

Taxable income includes any money you receive, such as wages and tips, but it can also include non-cash income from property or services. For example, both parties in a barter exchange must include the fair market value of goods or services received as income on their tax return.

Nontaxable Income

Here are some types of income that are usually not taxable:

Gifts and inheritancesChild support paymentsWelfare benefitsDamage awards for physical injury or sicknessCash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buyReimbursements for qualified adoption expenses

In addition, some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:

Life insurance proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.Income from a qualified scholarship is normally not taxable. This means that amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required books, are not taxable. However, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.If you received a state or local income tax refund, the amount may be taxable. You should have received a 2014 Form 1099-G from the agency that made the payment to you. If you didn’t get it by mail, the agency may have provided the form electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Be sure to report any taxable refund you received even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.
======================
Important Reminders about Tip Income

If you get tips on the job from customers, that income is subject to taxes. Here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to receiving tips on the job:

Tips are taxable. You must pay federal income tax on any tips you receive. The value of non-cash tips, such as tickets, passes or other items of value are also subject to income tax.Include all tips on your income tax return.You must include the total of all tips you received during the year on your income tax return. This includes tips directly from customers, tips added to credit cards and your share of tips received under a tip-splitting agreement with other employees.Report tips to your employer. If you receive $20 or more in tips in any one month, from any one job, you must report your tips for that month to your employer. The report should only include cash, check, debit and credit card tips you receive. Your employer is required to withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on the reported tips. Do not report the value of any noncash tips to your employer.Keep a daily log of tips. Use the Employee’s Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer (IRS Publication 1244), to record your tips.
======================
Bartering Income is Taxable

Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Small businesses sometimes barter to get products or services they need. For example, a plumber might trade plumbing work with a dentist for dental services. Typically, there is no exchange of cash.

If you barter, the value of products or services from bartering is taxable income. Here are four facts about bartering that you should be aware of:

1. Barter exchanges. A barter exchange is an organized marketplace where members barter products or services. Some exchanges operate out of an office and others over the Internet. All barter exchanges are required to issue Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. The exchange must give a copy of the form to its members who barter and file a copy with the IRS.

2. Bartering income. Barter and trade dollars are the same as real dollars for tax purposes and must be reported on a tax return. Both parties must report as income the fair market value of the product or service they get.

3. Tax implications. Bartering is taxable in the year it occurs. The tax rules may vary based on the type of bartering that takes place. Barterers may owe income taxes, self-employment taxes, employment taxes or excise taxes on their bartering income.

4. Reporting rules. How you report bartering on a tax return varies. If you are in a trade or business, you normally report it on Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business.

If you have any questions about taxable and nontaxable income, don’t hesitate to contact the office.

======================
Lost Your Job? There Could Be Tax Consequences

Given current economic conditions, you may be faced with tax questions surrounding a job loss and unemployment issues. Here are some answers:

Q: What if I received unemployment compensation in 2014?

A: Unemployment compensation you received under the unemployment compensation laws of the United States or of a state are considered taxable income and must be reported on your federal tax return. If you received unemployment compensation, you should receive Form 1099-G showing the amount you were paid and any federal income tax you elected to have withheld.

Types of unemployment benefits include:

Benefits paid by a state or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust FundRailroad unemployment compensation benefitsDisability payments from a government program paid as a substitute for unemployment compensationTrade readjustment allowances under the Trade Act of 1974Unemployment assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act

You must also include benefits from regular union dues paid to you as an unemployed member of a union in your income. However, other rules apply if you contribute to a special union fund and your contributions are not deductible. If this applies to you, only include in income the amount you received from the fund that is more than your contributions.

Q: Can I have federal income tax withheld?

Yes, you can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment benefits by filling out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you complete the form and give it to the paying office, they will withhold tax at 10 percent of your payments. If you choose not to have tax withheld, you may have to make estimated tax payments throughout the year.

Q: What if I lost my job?

A: The loss of a job may create new tax issues. Severance pay and unemployment compensation are taxable. Payments for any accumulated vacation or sick time are also taxable. You should ensure that enough taxes are withheld from these payments or make estimated tax payments to avoid a big bill at tax time. Public assistance and food stamps are not taxable.

Q: What if I searched for a job?

A: You may be able to deduct certain expenses you incurred while looking for a new job, even if you did not get a new job. Expenses include travel, resume preparation, and outplacement agency fees. Moving costs for a new job at least 50 miles away from your home may also be deductible.

Q: What if my employer went out of business or into bankruptcy?

A: Your employer must provide you with a 2014 W-2 Form showing your wages and withholdings by February 2, 2015. You should keep up-to-date records or pay stubs until you receive your Form W-2. If your employer or its representatives fail to provide you with a Form W-2, contact the IRS. They can help by providing you with a substitute Form W-2. If your employer liquidated your 401(k) plan, you have 60 days to roll it over into another qualified retirement plan or IRA.

If you have experienced a job loss and have questions, please call. You need to be prepared for the tax consequences.

======================
Estimated Tax Payments –
Q and A

Question: How do I know if I have to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

Answer: If you owed additional tax for the prior tax year, you may have to make estimated tax payments for the current tax year.

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder, and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

If you are filing as a corporation you generally have to make estimated tax payments for your corporation if you expect it to owe tax of $500 or more when you file its return.

If you had a tax liability for the prior year, you may have to pay estimated tax for the current year; however, if you receive salaries and wages, you can avoid having to pay estimated tax by asking your employer to withhold more tax from your earnings.

There are special rules for farmers, fishermen, certain household employers, and certain higher taxpayers.

The first estimated payment for 2015 is due April 15, 2015. Contact us if you are unsure whether you need to make an estimated tax payment.

======================
Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity

Keeping good records is key to qualifying for the full charitable contribution deduction allowed by law. In particular, this includes ensuring that they have received required statements for two contribution categories–each gift of at least $250 and donations of vehicles. Therefore, taxpayers planning to claim charitable donations should make sure they have the records they need before filing their 2014 tax returns.

First, to claim a charitable contribution deduction, donors must get a written acknowledgment from the charity for all contributions of $250 or more. This includes gifts of both cash and property. For donations of property, the acknowledgment must include, among other things, a description of the items contributed.

In addition, the law requires that taxpayers have all acknowledgements in hand before filing their tax return. These acknowledgments are not filed with the return but must be retained by the taxpayer along with other tax records.

Second, special reporting requirements generally apply to vehicle donations, and taxpayers wishing to claim these donations must attach any required documents to their tax return. The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. Form 1098-C or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return.

Only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible so taxpayers must also be sure that any charity they are giving to is a qualified organization. Select Check, a searchable online tool available on IRS.gov, lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.

Only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim gifts to charity. Thus, taxpayers who choose the standard deduction cannot deduct their charitable contributions. This includes anyone who files a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ).

A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the 2014 Form 1040, Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.

Besides Schedule A, taxpayers who give property to charity usually must attach a special form for reporting these noncash contributions. If the amount of the deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly completed Form 8283 is required.

Additionally, there are special rules that apply to charitable contributions of used clothing and household items, monetary donations, and year-end gifts. These include:

Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items

This includes furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens. Clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better to be tax-deductible. Clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return.
======================
Guidelines for Monetary Donations

A taxpayer must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to deduct any donation of money, regardless of the amount. The record must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, and bank, credit union and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.
======================
Year-End Gifts

Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2014 count for 2014, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2015. Also, checks count for 2014 as long as they were mailed in 2014.

Need help? Call the office today to set up an appointment with a tax and accounting specialist.

======================
Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction

If you’re one of the more than 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home (commonly referred to as the home office deduction), don’t forget about the simplified option that is now available for taxpayers.

The optional deduction is capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet. It is expected to reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually.

Currently, taxpayers claiming the home office deduction are generally required to fill out a 43-line form (Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Taxpayers claiming the optional deduction will complete a significantly simplified form.

Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method. Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible.

Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the new option.

If you need more details about the new simplified home office deduction for tax year 2014 (or 2015), don’t hesitate to call.

======================
Top Ten Facts about Adoption Tax Benefits

If you adopted or tried to adopt a child in 2014, you may qualify for a tax credit. If your employer helped pay for the costs of an adoption, you may be able to exclude some of your income from tax. Here are ten things you should know about adoption tax benefits.

1. Credit or Exclusion. The credit is non-refundable. This means that the credit may reduce your tax to zero. If the credit is more than your tax, you can’t get any additional amount as a refund. If your employer helped pay for the adoption through a written qualified adoption assistance program, you may qualify to exclude that amount from tax.

2. Maximum Benefit. The maximum adoption tax credit and exclusion for 2014 is $13,190 per child.

3. Credit Carryover. If your credit is more than your tax, you can carry any unused credit forward. This means that if you have an unused credit in 2014, you can use it to reduce your taxes for 2015. You can do this for up to five years, or until you fully use the credit, whichever comes first.

4. Eligible Child. An eligible child is under age 18. This rule does not apply to persons who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

5. Qualified Expenses. Adoption expenses must be directly related to the adoption of the child and be reasonable and necessary. Types of expenses that can qualify include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and travel.

6. Domestic Adoptions. For domestic adoptions (adoption of a U.S. child), qualified adoption expenses paid before the year the adoption becomes final are allowable as a credit for the tax year following the year of payment (even if the adoption is never finalized).

7. Foreign Adoptions. For foreign adoptions (adoption of an eligible child who is not yet a citizen or resident of the U.S.), qualified adoption expenses paid before and during the year are allowable as a credit for the year when it becomes final.

8. Special Needs Child. If you adopted an eligible U.S. child with special needs and the adoption is final, a special rule applies. You may be able to take the tax credit even if you didn’t pay any qualified adoption expenses.

9. No Double Benefit. Depending on the adoption’s cost, you may be able to claim both the tax credit and the exclusion. However, you can’t claim both a credit and exclusion for the same expenses. This rule prevents you from claiming both tax benefits for the same expense.

10. Income Limits. The credit and exclusion are subject to income limitations. The limits may reduce or eliminate the amount you can claim depending on the amount of your income.

Questions? Contact the office today. Help is just a phone call away.
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Tax Due Dates for April 2015

April 10

Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 15

Individuals – File an income tax return for 2014 (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or you can get an extension by phone if you pay part or all of your estimate of income tax due with a credit card. Then file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 15.

Household Employers – If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2014 to a household employee, file Schedule H (Form 1040) with your income tax return and report any employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2013 or 2014 to household employees. Also report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

Individuals – If you are not paying your 2015 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2015 estimated tax. Use Form 1040-ES.

Partnerships – File a 2014 calendar year return (Form 1065). Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1065), Partner’s Share of Income, Credits, Deductions, etc., or a substitute Schedule K-1. If you want an automatic 5-month extension of time to file the return and provide Schedule K-1 or a substitute Schedule K-1, file Form 7004. Then file Form 1065 by September 15.

Electing Large Partnerships – File a 2014 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004. Then file Form 1065-B by October 15. March 16 was the due date for furnishing the Schedules K-1 to the partners.

Corporations – Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2015. A worksheet, Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 30

Employees – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File form 941 for the first quarter of 2015. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until May 11 to file the return.

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Copyright © 2015  All materials contained in this document are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All other trade names, trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
======================
Rex Crandell Firm
3000 Citrus Circle, #207
Walnut Creek, CA, 94598
Phone: (925) 934-6320
RexCrandell@astound.net
======================

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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

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We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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Newsletter
Our regularly updated newsletter provides timely articles to help you achieve your financial goals. Please come back and visit often. 

April 2015

Feature Articles:
>>>Five Last Minute Tax Tips for 2015
>>>What Income is Taxable?
>>>Lost Your Job? There Could Be Tax Consequences
>>>Tax Tips
>>>Estimated Tax Payments – Q & A
>>>Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity
>>>Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction
>>>Top Ten Facts about Adoption Tax Benefits

RSS Feed

Tax Due Dates

Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

======================
Five Last Minute Tax Tips for 2015
======================
image

Are you one of the millions of Americans who hasn’t filed (or even started) your taxes yet? With the April 15 tax filing deadline less than a week away, here is some last minute tax advice for you.

1. Stop Procrastinating. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. It takes time to prepare accurate returns and additional information may be needed from you to complete your tax return.

2. Include All Income. If you had a side job in addition to a regular job, you might have received a Form 1099-MISC. Make sure you include that income when you file your tax return because you may owe additional taxes on it. If you forget to include it you may be liable for penalties and interest on the unreported income.

3. File on Time or Request an Extension.This year’s tax deadline is April 15. If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension, bringing the filing date to October 15, 2015. You should keep in mind, however, that filing the extension itself does not give you more time to pay any taxes due. You will still owe interest on any amount not paid by the April deadline, plus a late-payment penalty if you have not paid at least 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

Call the office if you need to file an extension or file for late-filing penalty relief.

4. Don’t Panic If You Can’t Pay. If you can’t immediately pay the taxes you owe, there are several alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but processing companies generally charge a convenience fee. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government’s financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April due date, with no fee.

5. Sign and Double Check Your Return. The IRS will not process tax returns that aren’t signed, so make sure that you sign and date your return. You should also double check your social security number, as well as any electronic payment or direct deposit numbers, and finally, make sure that your filing status is correct.

Remember: To avoid delays, get your tax documents to the office as soon as you can.

=====================
What Income is Taxable?
=====================
image

Are you wondering if there’s a hard and fast rule about what income is taxable and what income is not taxable? The quick answer is that all income is taxable unless the law specifically excludes it. But as you might have guessed, there’s more to it than that.

Taxable income includes any money you receive, such as wages and tips, but it can also include non-cash income from property or services. For example, both parties in a barter exchange must include the fair market value of goods or services received as income on their tax return.
image

Nontaxable Income

Here are some types of income that are usually not taxable:

Gifts and inheritances, Child support payments, Welfare benefits, Damage awards for physical injury or sickness, Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy, Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses.

In addition, some types of income are not taxable except under certain conditions, including:

Life insurance proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person are usually not taxable. However, if you redeem a life insurance policy for cash, any amount that is more than the cost of the policy is taxable.Income from a qualified scholarship is normally not taxable. This means that amounts you use for certain costs, such as tuition and required books, are not taxable. However, amounts you use for room and board are taxable.If you received a state or local income tax refund, the amount may be taxable. You should have received a 2014 Form 1099-G from the agency that made the payment to you. If you didn’t get it by mail, the agency may have provided the form electronically. Contact them to find out how to get the form. Be sure to report any taxable refund you received even if you did not receive Form 1099-G.
=====================
Important Reminders about Tip Income
======================
image

If you get tips on the job from customers, that income is subject to taxes. Here’s what you should keep in mind when it comes to receiving tips on the job:

Tips are taxable. 
You must pay federal income tax on any tips you receive. The value of non-cash tips, such as tickets, passes or other items of value are also subject to income tax.Include all tips on your income tax return.You must include the total of all tips you received during the year on your income tax return. This includes tips directly from customers, tips added to credit cards and your share of tips received under a tip-splitting agreement with other employees.Report tips to your employer. If you receive $20 or more in tips in any one month, from any one job, you must report your tips for that month to your employer. The report should only include cash, check, debit and credit card tips you receive. Your employer is required to withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on the reported tips. Do not report the value of any noncash tips to your employer.Keep a daily log of tips. Use the Employee’s Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer (IRS Publication 1244), to record your tips.

Bartering Income is Taxable

Bartering is the trading of one product or service for another. Small businesses sometimes barter to get products or services they need. For example, a plumber might trade plumbing work with a dentist for dental services. Typically, there is no exchange of cash.

If you barter, the value of products or services from bartering is taxable income. Here are four facts about bartering that you should be aware of:

1. Barter exchanges. A barter exchange is an organized marketplace where members barter products or services. Some exchanges operate out of an office and others over the Internet. All barter exchanges are required to issue Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions. The exchange must give a copy of the form to its members who barter and file a copy with the IRS.

2. Bartering income. Barter and trade dollars are the same as real dollars for tax purposes and must be reported on a tax return. Both parties must report as income the fair market value of the product or service they get.

3. Tax implications. Bartering is taxable in the year it occurs. The tax rules may vary based on the type of bartering that takes place. Barterers may owe income taxes, self-employment taxes, employment taxes or excise taxes on their bartering income.

4. Reporting rules. How you report bartering on a tax return varies. If you are in a trade or business, you normally report it on Form 1040, Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business.

If you have any questions about taxable and nontaxable income, don’t hesitate to contact the office.

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Lost Your Job? There Could Be Tax Consequences
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Given current economic conditions, you may be faced with tax questions surrounding a job loss and unemployment issues. Here are some answers:

Q: What if I received unemployment compensation in 2014?

A: Unemployment compensation you received under the unemployment compensation laws of the United States or of a state are considered taxable income and must be reported on your federal tax return. If you received unemployment compensation, you should receive Form 1099-G showing the amount you were paid and any federal income tax you elected to have withheld.

Types of unemployment benefits include:

Benefits paid by a state or the District of Columbia from the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund, Railroad unemployment compensation benefits, Disability payments from a government program paid as a substitute for unemployment compensation, Trade re-adjustment allowances under the Trade Act of 1974, Unemployment assistance under the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act

You must also include benefits from regular union dues paid to you as an unemployed member of a union in your income. However, other rules apply if you contribute to a special union fund and your contributions are not deductible. If this applies to you, only include in income the amount you received from the fund that is more than your contributions.

Q: Can I have federal income tax withheld?

Yes, you can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment benefits by filling out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you complete the form and give it to the paying office, they will withhold tax at 10 percent of your payments. If you choose not to have tax withheld, you may have to make estimated tax payments throughout the year.

Q: What if I lost my job?

A: The loss of a job may create new tax issues. Severance pay and unemployment compensation are taxable. Payments for any accumulated vacation or sick time are also taxable. You should ensure that enough taxes are withheld from these payments or make estimated tax payments to avoid a big bill at tax time. Public assistance and food stamps are not taxable.

Q: What if I searched for a job?

A: You may be able to deduct certain expenses you incurred while looking for a new job, even if you did not get a new job. Expenses include travel, resume preparation, and outplacement agency fees. Moving costs for a new job at least 50 miles away from your home may also be deductible.

Q: What if my employer went out of business or into bankruptcy?

A: Your employer must provide you with a 2014 W-2 Form showing your wages and withholdings by February 2, 2015. You should keep up-to-date records or pay stubs until you receive your Form W-2. If your employer or its representatives fail to provide you with a Form W-2, contact the IRS. They can help by providing you with a substitute Form W-2. If your employer liquidated your 401(k) plan, you have 60 days to roll it over into another qualified retirement plan or IRA.

If you have experienced a job loss and have questions, please call. You need to be prepared for the tax consequences.

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Estimated Tax Payments – Q & A
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Question: How do I know if I have to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

Answer: If you owed additional tax for the prior tax year, you may have to make estimated tax payments for the current tax year.

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder, and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

If you are filing as a corporation you generally have to make estimated tax payments for your corporation if you expect it to owe tax of $500 or more when you file its return.

If you had a tax liability for the prior year, you may have to pay estimated tax for the current year; however, if you receive salaries and wages, you can avoid having to pay estimated tax by asking your employer to withhold more tax from your earnings.

There are special rules for farmers, fishermen, certain household employers, and certain higher taxpayers.

The first estimated payment for 2015 is due April 15, 2015. Contact us if you are unsure whether you need to make an estimated tax payment.

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Good Records Key to Claiming Gifts to Charity
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Keeping good records is key to qualifying for the full charitable contribution deduction allowed by law. In particular, this includes ensuring that they have received required statements for two contribution categories
A. each gift of at least $250 and
B. donations of vehicles. Therefore, taxpayers planning to claim charitable donations should make sure they have the records they need before filing their 2014 tax returns.

First, to claim a charitable contribution deduction, donors must get a written acknowledgment from the charity for all contributions of $250 or more. This includes gifts of both cash and property. For donations of property, the acknowledgment must include, among other things, a description of the items contributed.

In addition, the law requires that taxpayers have all acknowledgements in hand before filing their tax return. These acknowledgments are not filed with the return but must be retained by the taxpayer along with other tax records.
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Second, special reporting requirements generally apply to vehicle donations, and taxpayers wishing to claim these donations must attach any required documents to their tax return. The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. Form 1098-C or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return.

Only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible so taxpayers must also be sure that any charity they are giving to is a qualified organization. Select Check, a searchable online tool available on IRS.gov, lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.

Only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim gifts to charity. Thus, taxpayers who choose the standard deduction cannot deduct their charitable contributions. This includes anyone who files a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ) does not get to itemize their deductions separately..

A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the 2014 Form 1040, Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.

Besides Schedule A, taxpayers who give property to charity usually must attach a special form for reporting these noncash contributions. If the amount of the deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly completed IRS Form 8283 is required.
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Additionally, there are special rules that apply to charitable contributions of used clothing and household items, monetary donations, and year-end gifts. These include:
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Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items
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This includes furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens. Clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better to be tax-deductible. Clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return.

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

A taxpayer must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to deduct any donation of money, regardless of the amount. The record must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, and bank, credit union and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date. Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

Year-End Gifts

Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2014 count for 2014, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2015. Also, checks count for 2014 as long as they were mailed in 2014.
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Need help? Call the office today to set up an appointment with a tax and accounting specialist.
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Simplified Option for the Home Office Deduction
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If you’re one of the more than 3.4 million taxpayers claimed deductions for business use of a home (commonly referred to as the home office deduction), don’t forget about the simplified option that is now available for taxpayers.

The optional deduction is capped at $1,500 per year based on $5 a square foot for up to 300 square feet. It is expected to reduce the paperwork and recordkeeping burden on small businesses by an estimated 1.6 million hours annually.

Currently, taxpayers claiming the home office deduction are generally required to fill out a 43-line form ( IRS Form 8829) often with complex calculations of allocated expenses, depreciation and carryovers of unused deductions. Taxpayers claiming the optional deduction will complete a significantly simplified form.
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Though homeowners using the new option cannot depreciate the portion of their home used in a trade or business, they can claim allowable mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses on the home as itemized deductions on Schedule A. These deductions need not be allocated between personal and business use, as is required under the regular method. Business expenses unrelated to the home, such as advertising, supplies and wages paid to employees are still fully deductible.
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Current restrictions on the home office deduction, such as the requirement that a home office must be used regularly and exclusively for business and the limit tied to the income derived from the particular business, still apply under the deductability limitation rules.
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If you need more details about the new simplified home office deduction for tax year 2014 (or 2015 or 2016), don’t hesitate to call.

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Top Ten Facts about Adoption Tax Benefits
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If you adopted or tried to adopt a child in 2014, you may qualify for a tax credit. If your employer helped pay for the costs of an adoption, you may be able to exclude some of your income from tax. Here are ten things you should know about adoption tax benefits.

1. Credit or Exclusion. The credit is non-refundable. This means that the credit may reduce your tax to zero. If the credit is more than your tax, you can’t get any additional amount as a refund. If your employer helped pay for the adoption through a written qualified adoption assistance program, you may qualify to exclude that amount from tax.

2. Maximum Benefit. The maximum adoption tax credit and exclusion for 2014 is $13,190 per child.

3. Credit Carryover. If your credit is more than your tax, you can carry any unused credit forward. This means that if you have an unused credit in 2014, you can use it to reduce your taxes for 2015. You can do this for up to five years, or until you fully use the credit, whichever comes first.

4. Eligible Child. An eligible child is under age 18. This rule does not apply to persons who are physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

5. Qualified Expenses.  Adoption expenses must be directly related to the adoption of the child and be reasonable and necessary. Types of expenses that can qualify include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, and travel.

6. Domestic Adoptions. For domestic adoptions (adoption of a U.S. child), qualified adoption expenses paid before the year the adoption becomes final are allowable as a credit for the tax year following the year of payment (even if the adoption is never finalized).

7. Foreign Adoptions. For foreign adoptions (adoption of an eligible child who is not yet a citizen or resident of the U.S.), qualified adoption expenses paid before and during the year are allowable as a credit for the year when it becomes final.

8. Special Needs Child. If you adopted an eligible U.S. child with special needs and the adoption is final, a special rule applies. You may be able to take the tax credit even if you didn’t pay any qualified adoption expenses.

9. No Double Benefit.  Depending on the adoption’s cost, you may be able to claim both the tax credit and the exclusion. However, you can’t claim both a credit and exclusion for the same expenses. This rule prevents you from claiming both tax benefits for the same expense.

10. Income Limits. The credit and exclusion are subject to income limitations. The limits may reduce or eliminate the amount you can claim depending on the amount of your income.

Questions? Contact the office today. Help is just a phone call away.

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Tax Due Dates for April 2015
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April 10

Employees who work for tips – If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 15

Individuals – File an income tax return for 2014 (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or you can get an extension by phone if you pay part or all of your estimate of income tax due with a credit card. Then file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by October 15.

Household Employers – If you paid cash wages of $1,900 or more in 2014 to a household employee, file Schedule H (Form 1040) with your income tax return and report any employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2013 or 2014 to household employees. Also report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

Individuals – If you are not paying your 2015 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2015 estimated tax. Use IRS Form 1040-ES and CA FTB Form 540-ES.

Partnerships – File a 2014 calendar year return (IRS Form 1065, with the related Schedule K-1 for each owner). Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K-1 (IRS Form 1065), Partner’s Share of Income, Credits, Deductions, etc., or a substitute Schedule K-1. If you want an automatic 5-month extension of time to file the return and provide Schedule K-1 or a substitute Schedule K-1, file IRS Form 7004. Then file IRS Form 1065 by September 15.

Electing Large Partnerships – File a 2014 calendar year return (IRS Form 1065-B). If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file IRS Form 7004. Then file IRS Form 1065-B by October 15. March 16 was the due date for furnishing the Schedules K-1 to the partners.

Corporations – Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2015. A worksheet, IRS Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.

Employers – Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

Employers – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

April 30

Employees – Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File IRS Form 941 for the first quarter of 2015. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until May 11 to file the return.
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Copyright © 2015  All materials contained in this document are protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All other trade names, trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
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Rex Crandell Firm
3000 Citrus Circle, #207
Walnut Creek, CA, 94598
Phone: (925) 934-6320
Phone: 1 (800) 464-6595
RexCrandell@astound.net
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch “Hitler Works as an Income Tax Accountant in a Large CPA Firm.” Watch as he Solves Client Tax Problems With His Helpful Staff on RexAdventureTube. Spoof.
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch: I was born to be a Tax Accountant because…: ” on RexAdventureTube.
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

__________________________________

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch “10 things a tax accountant would never say” on RexAdventureTube.
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=====================================

USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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NEW TAXES and PENALTIES.
Check out the new Affordable Care Act Tax (ACA) Features. Expect to answer questions about your health coverage when preparing your 2014 personal income tax returns before April 15th 2015 (soon).
 
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Update:

Each year the Health Insurance Marketplace has an open enrollment period.  The open enrollment period to purchase health care insurance for 2015 runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015. Contact the Marketplace at HealthCare.gov to enroll and to get information about financial assistance to purchase health care coverage for you and your family.

On Sept. 10, 2014, IRS Commissioner John A. Koskinen testified before the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on Health. The commissioner’s testimony focused on the IRS’s role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and what the IRS is doing to ensure that taxpayers know how provisions of the law may affect them.

Effect of Sequestration on Small Business Health Care Tax Credit – Tax-Exempt Employers Only
Due to sequestration, refund payments issued to certain small tax-exempt employers claiming the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit under Internal Revenue Code section 45R, are subject to sequestration. This means that refund payments processed on or after Oct. 1, 2014, and on or before Sept. 30, 2015, issued to a tax-exempt taxpayer claiming the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit under section 45R will be reduced by the fiscal year 2015 sequestration rate of 7.3 percent (regardless of when the original or amended tax return was received by the IRS). The sequestration reduction rate will be applied unless and until a law is enacted that cancels or otherwise impacts the sequester, at which time the sequestration reduction rate is subject to change.  Sequestration only affects the refundable portion of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit filed by tax-exempt employers.  Sequestration does not impact Small Business Health Care Tax Credit claims by non-tax-exempt employers, as the credit is not a refundable credit for non-tax-exempt employers.

Affected taxpayers will be notified through correspondence that a portion of their requested payment was subject to the sequester reduction and the amount.
IRC §7216, Disclosure or Use of Information by Tax Return Preparers
Final Treasury Regulations on rules and consent requirements relating to the disclosure or use of tax return information by tax return preparers became effective Dec. 28, 2012. For additional information about how these apply to services and education related to the Affordable Care Act, please see our questions and answers. 

Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)
Beginning in 2011, insurance companies are required to spend a specified percentage of premium dollars on medical care and quality improvement activities, meeting a medical loss ratio (MLR) standard. Insurance companies that are not meeting the MLR standard will be required to provide rebates to their consumers beginning in 2012. For information on the federal tax consequences to an insurance company that pays a MLR rebate and an individual policyholder who receives a MLR rebate, as well as information on the federal tax consequences to employees if a MLR rebate stems from a group health insurance policy, see our frequently asked questions.
Reporting Employer Provided Health Coverage in Form W-2
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan on an employee’s Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, in Box 12, using Code DD. Many employers are eligible for transition relief for tax-year 2012 and beyond, until the IRS issues final guidance for this reporting requirement.
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The amount reported does not affect tax liability, as the value of the employer excludible contribution to health coverage continues to be excludible from an employee’s income, and it is not taxable. This reporting is for informational purposes only, to show employees the value of their health care benefits.

More information about the reporting can be found on Form W-2 Reporting of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage.

Net Investment Income Tax
A new Net Investment Income Tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax applies to individuals, estates and trusts that have certain investment income above certain threshold amounts. On Nov. 26, 2013, the IRS and the Treasury Department issued final regulations, which provide guidance on the general application of the Net Investment Income Tax and the computation of Net Investment Income. In addition, on Nov. 26, 2013, the IRS and the Treasury Department issued proposed regulations on the computation of net investment income as it relates to certain specific types of property. Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail or hand delivered to the IRS. For additional information on the Net Investment Income Tax, see our questions and answers.
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Additional Medicare Tax
A new Additional Medicare Tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The 0.9 percent Additional Medicare Tax applies to an individual’s wages, Railroad Retirement Tax Act compensation and self-employment income that exceeds a threshold amount based on the individual’s filing status. The threshold amounts are $250,000 for married taxpayers who file jointly, $125,000 for married taxpayers who file separately and $200,000 for all other taxpayers. An employer is responsible for withholding the Additional Medicare Tax from wages or compensation it pays to an employee in excess of $200,000 in a calendar year. On Nov. 26, 2013, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury issued final regulations which provide guidance for employers and individuals relating to the implementation of Additional Medicare Tax, including the requirement to withhold Additional Medicare Tax on certain wages and compensation, the requirement to report Additional Medicare Tax, and the employer process for adjusting underpayments and overpayments of Additional Medicare Tax. In addition, the regulations provide guidance on the employer and individual processes for filing a claim for refund for an overpayment of Additional Medicare Tax.
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Minimum Value.
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On April 26, 2012, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2012-31, which provides information and requested public comment on an approach to determining whether an eligible employer-sponsored health plan provides minimum value. Additionally, on April 30, 2013, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued proposed regulations relating to minimum value of eligible employer-sponsored plans and other rules regarding the premium tax credit. Starting in 2014, whether such a plan provides minimum value will be relevant to eligibility for the premium tax credit and application of the employer shared responsibility payment. 
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On November 4, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2014-69, which provides additional guidance regarding whether an employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value coverage if the plan fails to substantially cover in-patient hospitalization services or physician services.
Information Reporting on Health Coverage by Employers.
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On March 5, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued final regulations on employer health insurance coverage information reporting. The information reporting relates to health insurance coverage that is offered by certain employers, referred to as applicable large employers, and reporting is to be provided by each member of an applicable large employer. Additionally, on July 9, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2013-45, announcing transition relief for 2014 from this annual information reporting. For additional information on the employer health insurance coverage information reporting see our questions and answers and this fact sheet issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 
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On July 24, 2014, the IRS released draft forms that employers will use to report on health coverage that they offer to their employees. In accordance with the IRS’ normal process, these draft forms are being provided to help stakeholders, including employers, tax professionals and software providers, prepare for these new reporting provisions and to invite comments from them. On Aug. 28, 2014, draft instructions relating to the forms were posted to IRS.gov. Both the forms and instructions will be finalized later this year.
Information Reporting on Health Coverage by Insurers
On March 5, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued final regulations on minimum essential coverage information reporting. The information reporting is to be provided by health insurance issuers, certain sponsors of self-insured plans, government agencies and certain other parties that provide health coverage. Additionally, on July 9, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2013-45 announcing transition relief for 2014 from this annual information reporting.
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On July 24, 2014, the IRS released draft forms that insurers will use to report on health coverage that they provide for individuals that they cover. In accordance with the IRS’ normal process, these draft forms are being provided to help stakeholders, including insurers, employers, tax professionals and software providers, prepare for these new reporting provisions and to invite comments from them. On August 28, 2014, draft instructions relating to the forms were posted to IRS.gov. Both the forms and instructions will be finalized later this year.
Disclosure of Return Information.
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On Aug. 13, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations with rules for disclosure of return information to the Department of Health and Human Services that will be used to carry out eligibility determinations for advance payments of the premium tax credit, Medicaid and other health insurance affordability programs.
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Small Business Health Care Tax Credit:
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This credit helps small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations afford the cost of covering their employees and is specifically targeted for those with low- and moderate-income workers. The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. In general, the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage for their employees. On June 26, 2014, the Department of Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations on the credit, which include information on the requirement to purchase health insurance coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace. The final regulations are applicable for taxable years beginning in or after 2014. Additionally, IRS Notice 2014-06 provides transition relief for employers in certain counties in Washington and Wisconsin with no SHOP coverage available. For taxable years beginning in 2010 through 2013, taxpayers can rely on the guidance in the proposed regulations, Notice 2010-44 and Notice 2010-82. Learn more by browsing our page on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers.
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Application of the Affordable Care Act to Health Reimbursement Arrangements, Health Flexible Spending Arrangements and Certain Other Employer Healthcare Arrangements
The Affordable Care Act’s market reforms apply to group health plans. On Sept. 13, 2013, the IRS issued Notice 2013-54, which explains how the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms apply to certain types of group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and certain other employer healthcare arrangements, including arrangements under which an employer reimburses an employee for some or all of the premium expenses incurred for an individual health insurance policy. The notice also provides guidance on employee assistance programs or EAPs and on section 125(f)(3), which prohibits the use of pre-tax employee contributions to cafeteria plans to purchase coverage on an Affordable Insurance Exchange (also known as a Health Insurance Marketplace). The notice applies for plan years beginning on and after Jan. 1, 2014, but taxpayers may apply the guidance provided in the notice for all prior periods.  
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DOL has issued a notice in substantially identical form to Notice 2013-54, DOL Technical Release 2013-03. On Jan. 24, 2013, DOL and HHS issued FAQs that address the application of the Affordable Care Act to HRAs. On Nov. 6, 2014, DOL issued additional FAQs that address the application of the Affordable Care Act to HRAs and other payment arrangements.
Additional information is also available regarding consequences to the employer if the employer does not establish a health insurance plan for its own employees, but reimburses those employees for premiums they pay for health insurance (either through a qualified health plan in the Marketplace or outside the Marketplace).
On Jan. 9, 2014, DOL and HHS issued FAQs that addressed, among other things, future rules relating to excepted benefits.
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Health Flexible Spending Arrangements
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the cost of an over-the-counter medicine or drug cannot be reimbursed from Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) or health reimbursement arrangements unless a prescription is obtained. The change does not affect insulin, even if purchased without a prescription, or other health care expenses such as medical devices, eye glasses, contact lenses, co-pays and deductibles. This standard applies only to purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2011. A similar rule went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs). Employers and employees should take these changes into account as they make health benefit decisions. For more information, see news release IR-2010-95, Notice 2010-59, Revenue Ruling 2010-23 and our questions and answers. FSA and HRA participants can continue using debit cards to buy prescribed over-the-counter medicines, if requirements are met. For more information, see news release IR-2010-128 and Notice 2011-5. Additionally, Notice 2013-57 provides information about the definition of preventive care for purposes of high deductible health plans associated with HSAs. 
In addition, starting in 2013, there are new rules about the amount that can be contributed to an FSA. Notice 2012-40 provides information about these rules and flexibility for employers applying the new rules. On Oct. 31, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2013-71, which provides information on a new $500 carryover option for employer-sponsored healthcare flexible spending arrangements. Learn more by reading the news release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Further, Notice 2013-54 provides guidance regarding the application of the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms to certain health FSAs.   
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Medical Device Excise Tax
On Dec. 5, 2012, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury issued final regulations on the new 2.3-percent medical device excise tax (IRC §4191) that manufacturers and importers will pay on their sales of certain medical devices starting in 2013. On Dec. 5, 2012, the IRS and the Department of the Treasury also issued Notice 2012-77, which provides interim guidance on certain issues related to the medical device excise tax. Additional information is available on the Medical Device Excise Tax page and Medical Device Excise Tax FAQs on IRS.gov.
Changes to Itemized Deduction for Medical Expenses
Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, you can claim deductions for medical expenses not covered by your health insurance when they reach 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. This change affects your 2013 tax return that you will file in 2014. There is a temporary exemption from Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2016, for individuals age 65 and older and their spouses. For additional information, see our questions and answers.
Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit.
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Starting in 2014, individuals and families can take a new premium tax credit to help them afford health insurance coverage purchased through an Affordable Insurance Exchange (also known as a Health Insurance Marketplace). The premium tax credit is refundable so taxpayers who have little or no income tax liability can still benefit. The credit also can be paid in advance to a taxpayer’s insurance company to help cover the cost of premiums. On May 18, 2012, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations, which provide guidance for individuals who enroll in qualified health plans through Marketplaces and claim the premium tax credit, and for Marketplaces that make qualified health plans available to individuals and employers. On Jan. 30, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and IRS released final regulations on the premium tax credit affordability test for related individuals. On April 30, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations relating to minimum value of eligible employer-sponsored plans and other rules regarding the premium tax credit. On November 4, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2014-69, which provides additional guidance regarding whether an employer-sponsored plan provides minimum value coverage if the plan fails to substantially cover in-patient hospitalization services or physician services. Notice 2013-41, issued on June 26, 2013, provides information for determining whether or when individuals are considered eligible for coverage under certain Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, TRICARE, student health or state high-risk pool programs. This determination will affect whether the individual is eligible for the premium tax credit. On November 7, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and IRS issued Notice 2014-71, which advises that an individual enrolled in a qualified health plan who becomes eligible for Medicaid coverage for pregnancy-related services that is minimum essential coverage, or for CHIP coverage based on pregnancy, is treated as eligible for minimum essential coverage under the Medicaid or CHIP coverage for purposes of the premium tax credit only if the individual enrolls in the coverage. On May 2, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations on the reporting requirements for Marketplaces. On July 24, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued proposed, temporary and final regulations providing further guidance on the premium tax credit. In particular, the regulations provide relief for certain victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment from the requirement to file jointly in order to claim the premium tax credit. In addition, the regulations provide special allocation rules for reconciling advance credit payments, address the indexing in future years of certain amounts used to determine eligibility for the credit and compute the credit, and provide rules for the coordination between the credit and the deduction under section 162(l) for health insurance costs of self-employed individuals. Rev. Proc. 2014-41, also released on July 24, 2014, provides methods for determining the section 162(l) deduction and the premium tax credit for health insurance costs of self-employed individuals who claim the deduction under section 162(l).
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Individual Shared Responsibility Provision
Starting in 2014, the individual shared responsibility provision calls for each individual to either have minimum essential coverage for each month, qualify for an exemption, or make a payment when filing his or her federal income tax return. On June 26, 2013, the IRS released Notice 2013-42, which provides transition relief for employees eligible to enroll in a non-calendar year employer-sponsored health plan that begins in 2013 and ends in 2014. On Aug. 27, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations on the individual shared responsibility provision. On Jan. 23, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued proposed regulations addressing several issues that were identified in the preamble to the final regulations. On July 24, 2014, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2014-46, which provides the 2014 monthly national average premium for qualified health plans that have a bronze level of coverage. This amount is used to determine the maximum individual shared responsibility payment that may be due. On November 21, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued regulations finalizing the January 2014 proposed regulations. The final regulations address the treatment of health reimbursement arrangements, cafeteria plans, and wellness program incentives for purposes of determining the unaffordability exemption for individuals with offers of employer sponsored coverage.  The regulations also provide that certain limited benefit Medicaid and TRICARE coverage is not minimum essential coverage (Notice 2014-10, issued on Jan. 23, 2014, provides transition relief from the shared responsibility payment for months in 2014 in which individuals have this limited benefit coverage).  On November 21, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-76, which identifies the hardship exemptions from the individual shared responsibility payment that a taxpayer may claim on a Federal income tax return without obtaining an exemption certification from a Health Insurance Marketplace. For additional information on the individual shared responsibility provision, see our ISRP page and questions and answers. Additional information on exemptions and minimum essential coverage is available in final regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 
Health Coverage for Older Children
Health coverage for an employee’s children under 27 years of age is now generally tax-free to the employee. This expanded health care tax benefit applies to various work place and retiree health plans. These changes immediately allow employers with cafeteria plans –– plans that allow employees to choose from a menu of tax-free benefit options and cash or taxable benefits –– to permit employees to begin making pre-tax contributions to pay for this expanded benefit. This also applies to self-employed individuals who qualify for the self-employed health insurance deduction on their federal income tax return. Learn more by reading our news release or this notice.
Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning Services
A 10-percent excise tax on indoor UV tanning services went into effect on July 1, 2010. Payments are made along with Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return. The tax doesn’t apply to phototherapy services performed by a licensed medical professional on his or her premises. There’s also an exception for certain physical fitness facilities that offer tanning as an incidental service to members without a separately identifiable fee. For more information on the tax and how it is administered, see the Indoor Tanning Services Tax Center.
Adoption Credit.

For tax years 2010 and 2011, the Affordable Care Act raised the maximum adoption credit per child and the credit was refundable. For more information related to the adoption credit for tax years 2010 and 2011, see our news release, tax tip, questions and answers, flyer, Notice 2010-66, Revenue Procedure 2010-31, Revenue Procedure 2010-35 and Revenue Procedure 2011-52.
For tax year 2012, the credit has reverted to being nonrefundable, with a maximum amount (dollar limitation) of $12,650 per child. If you adopted a child in 2012, see Tax Topic 607 for more information. 
Transitional Reinsurance Program.
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The ACA requires all health insurance issuers and self-insured group health plans to make contributions under the transitional Reinsurance Program to support payments to individual market issuers that cover high-cost individuals. For information on the tax treatment of contributions made under the Reinsurance Program, see our frequently asked questions.
Medicare Shared Savings Program.
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The Affordable Care Act establishes a Medicare shared savings program (MSSP) which encourages Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to facilitate cooperation among providers to improve the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries and reduce unnecessary costs. More information can be found in Notice 2011-20, which solicited written comments regarding what additional guidance, if any, is needed for tax-exempt organizations participating in the MSSP through an ACO. This guidance also addresses the participation of tax-exempt organizations in non-MSSP activities through ACOs. Additional information on the MSSP is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released final regulations describing the rules for the Shared Savings Program and accountable care organizations. Fact Sheet 2011-11 confirms that Notice 2011-20 continues to reflect IRS expectations regarding the Shared Savings Program and ACOs, and provides additional information for charitable organizations that may wish to participate. 
On October 24, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2014-67, which describes the conditions under which a hospital or other health care facility with tax-exempt bonding authority may participate in an ACO without jeopardizing the tax-exempt status of the bonds financing that facility.
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Qualified Therapeutic Discovery Project Program
This program was designed to provide tax credits and grants to small firms that show significant potential to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support U.S. jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness. Applicants were required to have their research projects certified as eligible for the credit or grant. IRS guidance describes the application process.
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Submission of certification applications began June 21, 2010, and applications had to be postmarked no later than July 21, 2010, to be considered for the program. Applications that were postmarked by July 21, 2010, were reviewed by both the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the IRS. All applicants were notified by letter dated October 29, 2010, advising whether or not the application for certification was approved. For those applications that were approved, the letter also provided the amount of the grant to be awarded or the tax credit the applicant was eligible to take.
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The IRS published the names of the applicants whose projects were approved as required by law. Listings of results are available by state.
Learn more by reading the IRS news release, the news release issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the page on the HHS website and our questions and answers.
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Group Health Plan Requirements.
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The Affordable Care Act establishes a number of new requirements for group health plans. Interim guidance on changes to the nondiscrimination requirements for group health plans can be found in Notice 2011-1, which provides that employers will not be subject to penalties until after additional guidance is issued. Additionally, TD 9575 and REG-140038-10, issued by DOL, HHS and IRS, provide information on the summary of benefits and coverage and the uniform glossary. Notice 2012-59 provides guidance to group health plans on the waiting periods they may apply before coverage starts. On June 20, 2014, HHS, DOL and IRS issued final regulations on the ninety-day waiting period limitation.. 
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More information on group health plan requirements is available on the websites of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor and in additional guidance.
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Further, Notice 2013-54 provides guidance regarding the application of the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms to certain types of group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and certain other employer healthcare arrangements, including arrangements under which an employer reimburses an employee for some or all of the premium expenses incurred for an individual health insurance policy. 
Annual Fee on Health Insurance Providers
The Affordable Care Act created an annual fee on certain health insurance providers beginning in 2014. On Nov. 26, 2013, the Treasury Department and IRS issued final regulations on this annual fee imposed on covered entities engaged in the business of providing health insurance for United States health risks. On Aug. 12, 2014, the Treasury Department and IRS issued Notice 2014-47 clarifying the scope of the term “covered entity” and the fact that reporting is not required in 2014 for an entity that would not qualify as a covered entity, even if it is a member of a controlled group that is a covered entity.
For additional information visit our Affordable Care Act Provision 9010 – Health Insurance Providers Fee page. 
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Tax-Exempt 501(c)(29) Qualified Nonprofit Health Insurance Issuers
The Affordable Care Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan program (CO-OP program). It also provides for tax exemption for recipients of CO-OP program grants and loans that meet additional requirements under section 501(c)(29). IRS Notice 2011-23 outlined the requirements for tax exemption under section 501(c)(29) and solicited written comments regarding these requirements as well as the application process. Revenue Procedure 2012-11, issued in conjunction with temporary regulations and a notice of proposed rulemaking, sets out the procedures for issuing determination letters and rulings on the exempt status of organizations applying for recognition of exemption under 501(c)(29).
An overview of the CO-OP program is available on the HHS website.
Medicare Part D Coverage Gap “donut hole” Rebate
The Affordable Care Act provides a one-time $250 rebate in 2010 to assist Medicare Part D recipients who have reached their Medicare drug plan’s coverage gap. This payment is not taxable. This payment is not made by the IRS. More information can be found at http://www.medicare.gov.
Additional Requirements for Tax-Exempt Hospitals
The Affordable Care Act added new requirements for charitable hospitals (see Notice 2010-39 and Notice 2011-52). On June 26, 2012, the IRS published proposed regulations that provide information on the requirements for charitable hospitals relating to financial assistance and emergency medical care policies, charges for emergency or medically necessary care provided to individuals eligible for financial assistance, and billing and collections. On April 5, 2013, the IRS published proposed regulations on the requirement that charitable hospitals conduct community health needs assessments (CHNAs) and adopt implementation strategies at least once every three years. These proposed regulations also discuss the related excise tax and reporting requirements for charitable hospitals and the consequences for failure to satisfy the section 501(r) requirements. On August 15, 2013, the IRS published temporary regulations and proposed regulations providing information on which form to use when making an excise tax payment for failure to meet the CHNA requirements and the due date for filing the form. Notice 2014-2 confirms that hospital organizations can rely on proposed regulations under section 501(r) of the Internal Revenue Code published on June 26, 2012 and April 5, 2013, pending the publication of final regulations or other applicable guidance. Notice 2014-3 contains a proposed revenue procedure that provides correction and disclosure procedures under which certain failures to meet the requirements of section 501(r) will be excused.
Annual Fee on Branded Prescription Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Importers
The Affordable Care Act created an annual fee payable beginning in 2011 by certain manufacturers and importers of brand name pharmaceuticals. On July 24, 2014, the IRS issued final and temporary regulations on the branded prescription drug fee. The regulations describe the rules related to the fee, including how it is computed and how it is paid. Also on July 24, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-42, which provides additional guidance on the branded prescription drug fee for the 2015 fee year and subsequent fee years. For information on the fee for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 fee years, see Notice 2011-92 , Notice 2012-74 and Notice 2013-51. 
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For additional information, visit our Affordable Care Act Provision 9008 Branded Prescription Drug Fee page.
Modification of Section 833 Treatment of Certain Health Organizations.
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The Affordable Care Act amended section 833 of the Code, which provides special rules for the taxation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations and certain other organizations that provide health insurance. IRS Notice 2010-79 provides transitional relief and interim guidance on the computation of an organization’s taxpayer’s Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) for purposes of section 833, the consequences of nonapplication and changes in accounting method. Notice 2011-04 provides additional information and the procedures for qualifying organizations to obtain automatic consent to change its method of accounting for unearned premiums. Notice 2012-37 extends the transitional relief and interim guidance provided in Notice 2010-79 for another year to any taxable year beginning in 2012 and the first taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2012. 
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On January 6, 2014, the IRS issued final regulations that describe how the MLR for purposes of section 833 is computed.
Limitation on Deduction for Compensation Paid by Certain Health Insurance Providers (amended section 162(m)).
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The Affordable Care Act amended section 162(m) of the Code to limit the compensation deduction available to certain health insurance providers. The amendment goes into effect for taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2012, but may affect deferred compensation attributable to services performed in a taxable year beginning after Dec. 31, 2009. On Sept. 18, 2014, the Treasury Department and IRS issued final regulations on this provision. 
Employer Shared Responsibility Payment
The Affordable Care Act establishes that certain employers must offer health coverage to their full-time employees or a shared responsibility payment may apply. On Feb. 10, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations on the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions. For additional information on the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions and the proposed regulations, see our questions and answers. On July 9, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS announced transition relief from the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions for 2014. For more information, please see Notice 2013-45. For additional transition relief generally applicable to 2015, see the preamble to the final regulations. On Sept. 18, 2014, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued Notice 2014-49, which provides guidance on how to apply the look-back measurement method in situations in which the measurement period applicable to an employee changes. 
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Fee
The Affordable Care Act established the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund, the institute will help patients, clinicians, purchasers and policy-makers make informed health decisions by advancing clinical effectiveness research. The trust fund will be funded in part by fees paid by issuers of certain health insurance policies and sponsors of certain self-insured health plans.

The IRS and the Department of the Treasury have issued final regulations (PDF) on this fee. On Sept. 18, 2014, the IRS issued Notice 2014-56, which establishes the applicable dollar amount for policy and plan years ending after Sept. 30, 2014, and before Oct. 1, 2015. Additional information on the fee is available on the PCORI page and in our questions and answers and chart summary. Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, was revised to provide for the reporting and payment of the PCORI fee. Although Form 720 is a quarterly return, for PCORI, Form 720 is filed annually only, by July 31. If for any reason you need to make corrections after filing your annual Form 720 for PCORI, write “Amended PCORI” at the top of the second filing.
Retiree Drug Subsidies
Under § 139A of the Internal Revenue Code, certain special subsidy payments for retiree drug coverage made under the Social Security Act  are not included in the gross income of plan sponsors. Plan sponsors receive these retiree drug subsidy payments based on the allowable retiree costs for certain qualified retiree prescription drug plans. For taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013, new statutory rules affect the ability of plan sponsors to deduct costs that are reimbursed through these subsidies. See our questions and answers for more information.
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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 10-Dec-2014.
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

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We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch “Webinar: New Small Business Owner Tax Filing Tips” on TaxOnlineNewsReportTube. BUSINESS OWNERS:http://youtu.be/q-mlBvWXrNE
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Watch “Webinar: Tax Planning for Small Business” on TaxOnlineNewsReportTube
BUSINESS OWNERS:http://youtu.be/zup1iJtQiFk
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Watch “2014 Tax Update” on TaxOnlineNewsReportTube
BUSINESS OWNERS:2014 Tax Update: http://youtu.be/r95-VsuvYrA
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch Income Tax English Translator George Carlin Explain “How to Read and Apply Complex Govt. Tax Rules into Plane Everyday English That Everyone Can Understand” on Online Tax News Report – RexTube.
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Federal Baffel-Gab Verbal Obsfucation Training Using Flying Vocabulary Examples. FAA and IRS Butchering English Language Made Easy. [Live from NYC ’92]: http://youtu.be/46fOtLfYC4Q
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====================================================

USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

__________________________________

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grossgliederung_Europas-en.svg

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Europe by Ethnic and Geo regions

Description:

Deutsch: Großgliederung Europas, Vorschlag desStändigen Ausschuss für geographische Namen (StAGN), Engels SVG-Version

English: European regions as proposed by Ständiger Ausschuss für geographische Namen (StAGN), English SVG version

Français : Carte des régions d’Europe, en allemand, selon le Ständigen Ausschuss für geographische Namen (StAGN), SVG version anglais

Grossgliederung_Europas.svgNordWestderivative: Dch
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Azərbaycanca | Беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎ |বাংলা | Català | Čeština | Dansk | Deutsch |Zazaki | English | Esperanto | Español | Eesti |فارسی | Suomi | Français | Galego | עברית |Hrvatski | Magyar | Հայերեն | Italiano | 日本語 |ქართული | ភាសាខ្មែរ | 한국어 | Kurdî |Македонски | മലയാളം | Bahasa Melayu |Plattdüütsch | Nederlands | Polski | Português |Română | Русский | Slovenščina | Српски / srpski | Svenska | ไทย | Türkçe | Українська |Vèneto | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ |中文(台灣)‎ | +/−
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Das ist alles, freundliche Menschen.
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Watch IRS Commissioner: What the IRS is Doing to Bring Propaganda Education To Taxpayers Before All the Whining About the Affordable Care Act (O. B. Care) Hits the Public in the Face on Your 2014 Income Tax Returns from Online Tax News Report, TaxTube…:
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http://youtu.be/PbbepRPHtMs
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When the public finally understands the penalties, red tape entanglements, that IRS will be in charge of their medical services, and that the new system is designed to hide the fact the Feds are bankrupting Medicare and hiding it under a new program where everyone has to pay for medicare a second time, you are going to hear the complaints grow exponentially.
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You can blame the legislators, but not the Commissioner of the IRS, because he had nothing to do with the statute being enacted into law.
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Ladies and gentlemen, introducing…
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The Honorable, John Koskinen, Commissioner of the United States of America, Internal Revenue Service.

John Koskinen is the 48th IRS Commissioner. As Commissioner, he presides over the nation’s tax system, which collects approximately $2.4 trillion in tax revenue each year. This revenue funds most government operations and public services. Mr. Koskinen manages an agency of about 90,000 employees and a budget of approximately $11 billion.

In his role leading the IRS, Mr. Koskinen is working to ensure that the agency maintains an appropriate balance between taxpayer service and tax enforcement and administers the tax code with fairness and integrity.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Koskinen served as the non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac from 2008 to 2012 and its acting chief executive officer in 2009. Previously, Mr. Koskinen served as President of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Deputy Mayor and City Administrator of Washington D.C., Assistant to the President and Chair of the President’s Council on Year 2000 Conversion and Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Koskinen also spent 21 years in the private sector in various leadership positions with the Palmieri Company, including President and Chief Executive Officer, helping to turn around large, troubled organizations. He began his career clerking for Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in 1965, practiced law with the firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher and served as Assistant to the Deputy Executive Director of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission. Mr. Koskinen also served as Legislative Assistant to New York Mayor John Lindsay and Administrative Assistant to Sen. Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut.

Mr. Koskinen holds a Law Degree from Yale University School of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University. He also studied International Law for one year in Cambridge, England. He and his wife Patricia have two grown children and live in Washington, DC.

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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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.

.

.

.

.
STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

__________________________________

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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  Before we get started here, readers should be aware that TIGTA is a seperate governmental agency authorized by Congress to perform audits on IRS systems and procedures to help Congress and the IRS improve its mission for tax administration in the United States of America.  TIGTA is not under the control or supervision of the IRS. This report is reprinted for third party distribution by a non-governmental news and information services provider. Now for the news…
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Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Office of Audit

THE INFORMATION REPORTING AND DOCUMENT MATCHING 
CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM COULD NOT BE DEPLOYED

Issued on September 29, 2014

Highlights

Highlights of Report Number: 2014-20-088 to the Internal Revenue Service Chief Technology Officer.

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
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In January 2012, the IRS issued a Tax Gap report estimating taxes owed but not paid at about $450 billion.  A significant portion of this is attributed to noncompliance from businesses and corporations that underreport income.  The IRS has long concluded that compliance is higher when income is subject to third-party reporting or withholding. 
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Congress enacted Information Reporting and Document Matching (IRDM) legislation to narrow the Tax Gap by requiring third-party payors, such as banks and brokerage firms, to submit information returns to the IRS reporting income earned by businesses on merchant payment card and cost basis for securities transactions.  The IRS deployed four of five IRDM information technology projects to assimilate and correlate data submitted on filed business tax returns to information returns and select individual sole proprietor and business returns for examinations.
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WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

The overall objective was to determine how system development risks for the IRDM Case Management (IRDMCM) System were being mitigated and whether established business and information technology requirements to improve compliance and reduce the Tax Gap were adequately addressed.  Specifically, TIGTA evaluated requirements management, change management, and the controls over System Acceptability Testing.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

The IRDMCM System requirements were not sufficient.  User Acceptance Testing generated a high number of problem tickets, 50 percent of which were to clarify requirements and business rules.  After a year of User Acceptance Testing, IRS officials acknowledged that the IRDMCM System could not effectively process business cases containing underreported income and could not be deployed into the IRS production environment.  In the absence of an IRDMCM System, thousands of business taxpayer cases containing underreported income could not be processed.  The IRS spent approximately $8.6 million from Fiscal Years 2009 through 2013 developing the IRDMCM System.  Based on available data from the IRS, TIGTA estimated that unprocessed 2011 cases could have potentially resulted in assessed taxes of $54.9 million.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA recommended that the Chief Technology Officer should ensure that:  1) requirements management processes for future IRDMCM System development include using Business Process Modeling to specify well-defined requirements; 2) IRDMCM System requirements are completely identified; 3) case management capabilities of Entellitrak® are thoroughly assessed, and IRS Information Technology organization officials act promptly to implement an IRDM case management application to avoid losing significant tax assessment revenue in the future.

The IRS agreed with two of the recommendations, but did not provide an implementation date for one of its corrective actions.  The IRS partially agreed with the third recommendation, stating that while it is currently determining how the Entellitrak case management solution can meet business needs, significant budget constraints could affect future work on the IRDMCM System.
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READ THE FULL REPORT

To view the report, including the scope, methodology, and full IRS response, go to:

http://www.treas.gov/tigta/auditreports/2014reports/201420088fr.html.

Phone Number: 202-622-6500

Website: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta

 
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Update your subscriptions. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit subscriberhelp.govdelivery.com.

This service is provided to you at no charge byTreasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

 
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The original message was sent using GovDelivery, on behalf of: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration · 1125 15th St NW · Washington, DC 20005 · (800) 366-4484
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====================================================

USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
.

.

.

.

This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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.
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.

.

.

.
STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

__________________________________

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.

.
.
DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
.

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.

====================================================

USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

image002

============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
—————————
E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
.

.

IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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The following is the full unabridged TIGTA report.
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TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION

 

 

The Information Reporting and Document Matching Case 
Management System Could Not Be Deployed

 

 

 

September 29, 2014

 

Reference Number:  2014-20-088

 

 

 

This report has cleared the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosure review process and information determined to be restricted from public release has been redacted from this document.

 

 

Phone Number  /  202-622-6500

E-mail Address / TIGTACommunications@tigta.treas.gov

Website           /  http://www.treasury.gov/tigta

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

THE INFORMATION REPORTING AND DOCUMENT MATCHING CASE 
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM COULD NOT BE DEPLOYED

Highlights

Final Report issued on September29, 2014

Highlights of Reference Number:  2014-20-088 to the Internal Revenue Service Chief Technology Officer.

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS

In January 2012, the IRS issued a Tax Gap report estimating taxes owed but not paid at about $450 billion.  A significant portion of this is attributed to noncompliance from businesses and corporations that underreport income.  The IRS has long concluded that compliance is higher when income is subject to third-party reporting or withholding.  Congress enacted Information Reporting and Document Matching (IRDM) legislation to narrow the Tax Gap by requiring third-party payors, such as banks and brokerage firms, to submit information returns to the IRS reporting income earned by businesses on merchant payment card and cost basis for securities transactions.  The IRS deployed four of five IRDM information technology projects to assimilate and correlate data submitted on filed business tax returns to information returns and select individual sole proprietor and business returns for examination.  

WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT

The overall objective was to determine how system development risks for the IRDM Case Management (IRDMCM) System were being mitigated and whether established business and information technology requirements to improve compliance and reduce the Tax Gap were adequately addressed.  Specifically, TIGTA evaluated requirements management, change management, and the controls over System Acceptability Testing.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND

The IRDMCM System requirements were not sufficient.  User Acceptance Testing generated a high number of problem tickets, 50 percent of which were to clarify requirements and business rules.  After a year of User Acceptance Testing, IRS officials acknowledged that the IRDMCM System could not effectively process business cases containing underreported income and could not be deployed into the IRS production environment.  In the absence of an IRDMCM System, thousands of business taxpayer cases containing underreported income could not be processed.  The IRS spent approximately 
$8.6 million from Fiscal Years 2009 through 2013 developing the IRDMCM System.  Based on available data from the IRS, TIGTA estimated that unprocessed 2011 cases could have potentially resulted in assessed taxes of $54.9 million.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED

TIGTA recommended that the Chief Technology Officer should ensure that:  1) requirements management processes for future IRDMCM System development include using Business Process Modeling to specify well-defined requirements; 2) IRDMCM System requirements are completely identified; 3) case management capabilities of Entellitrak® are thoroughly assessed, and IRS Information Technology organization officials act promptly to implement an IRDM case management application to avoid losing significant tax assessment revenue in the future.

The IRS agreed with two of the recommendations, but did not provide an implementation date for one of its corrective actions.  The IRS partially agreed with the third recommendation, stating that while it is currently determining how the Entellitrak case management solution can meet business needs, significant budget constraints could affect future work on the IRDMCM System. 

 

September 29, 2014

 

 

MEMORANDUM FOR CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

 

FROM:                       Michael E. McKenney /s/ Michael E. McKenney

                                  Deputy Inspector General for Audit

 

SUBJECT:                 Final Audit Report – TheInformation Reporting and Document Matching Case Management System Could Not Be Deployed (Audit # 201420012)

 

This report presents the results of our review of the Information Reporting and Document Matching Case Management System to determine whether system development risks were being mitigated and whether established business and information technology requirements to improve compliance and reduce the Tax Gap were adequately addressed.  This audit is included in our Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Audit Plan and addresses the four major management challenges of Modernization, Tax Compliance Initiatives, Fraudulent Claims and Improper Payments, and Achieving Program Efficiencies and Cost Savings.

Management’s complete response to the draft report is included as Appendix VI.

Copies of this report are also being sent to the Internal Revenue Service managers affected by the report recommendations.  If you have any questions, please contact me or Danny Verneuille, Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Security and Information Technology Services).

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Background

Results of Review

Insufficient Requirements and Failure to Pass User Acceptance Testing Contributed to Unsuccessful Deployment for the Information Reporting and Document Matching Case Management System

Recommendations 1 through 3:

Appendices

Appendix I – Detailed Objective, Scope, and Methodology

Appendix II – Major Contributors to This Report

Appendix III – Report Distribution List

Appendix IV – Outcome Measures

Appendix V – Glossary of Terms

Appendix VI – Management’s Response to the Draft Report

 

Abbreviations

 

IRDM

Information Reporting and Document Matching

IRDMCM

Information Reporting and Document Matching Case Management

IRM

Internal Revenue Manual

IRS

Internal Revenue Service

IT

Information Technology

SAT

System Acceptability Testing

SB/SE

Small Business/Self-Employed

TY

Tax Year

UAT

User Acceptance Testing

 

Background

 

Since 2009, Congress has enacted a number of provisions in the Internal Revenue Code to enhance business tax filing accuracy and compliance by automating the matching of data reported on the legislatively mandated information returns to the data submitted on filed business tax returns.

According to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) latest estimate (January 2012), the Tax Gap,[1] which is the amount of tax liability owed by taxpayers that is not paid on time, is about $450 billion.  A significant portion of this is attributed to noncompliance from businesses and corporations that underreport income.  The IRS has long concluded that compliance is higher when income is subject to third-party reporting or withholding.  Congress enacted Information Reporting and Document Matching (IRDM) legislation to narrow the Tax Gap by increasing the voluntary compliance of business taxpayers through information reporting.

Since Fiscal Year 2009, Congress has enacted a number of provisions in the Internal Revenue Code to enhance business tax filing accuracy and compliance by automating the matching of data reported on the legislatively mandated information returns to the data submitted on filed business tax returns.  Under the legislation, third-party payors[2] will submit the information returns to the IRS showing the amount of revenue earned by the businesses.  The IRS established the IRDM Program to create the infrastructure needed to implement legislation related to third-party reporting to help reduce the Tax Gap.  The IRDM legislation requires new information reporting to the IRS for three issues that contribute to the Tax Gap.  The three transaction types involve merchant payment cards, cost basis for securities, and certain Government payments.  The following provides information on the transaction types and effective dates: 

Merchant Payment Cards – The merchant payment card transactions under Regulation 6050W apply to tax returns for calendar years beginning after December 31, 2010.  The two types of merchant card transactions are third-party network transactions and payment card transactions.

1.     Third-Party Network Transactions:  A third-party network transaction involves a third‑party settlement organization.  A third-party settlement organization is the organization that has the contractual obligation to make payments to participating payees in a third-party payment network.  The most common example of a third-party settlement organization is an online auction-payment facilitator, which operates as an intermediary between buyer and seller by transferring funds between accounts in settlement of an auction/purchase.  Third-party settlement organizations charge sellers a fee for facilitating the transaction.  Under the new reporting requirements, settlement organizations must complete Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, when there are more than 200 transactions and payments to payees exceed $20,000.

2.     Payment Card Transactions:  A payment card transaction involves a bank or other entity that makes a payment to a merchant or other business, in settlement of payment card transactions, which includes credit cards, debit cards, and stored-value cards.  The entity that transfers funds to the merchant’s account is responsible for preparing and furnishing Form 1099-K to the merchant and to the IRS.

Cost Basis for Securities –Starting in Tax Year (TY) 2011, brokers began reporting on Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, the adjusted basis and whether any gain or loss from the sale of “covered securities” is classified as short term or long term.  The IRS revised the Form 1099-B to include new boxes beginning with TY 2011.  The term “covered securities” generally means shares of corporate stock acquired on or after January 1, 2011.  The Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued a notice advising that implementation of the security transactions was delayed until January 1, 2014.  At the time of our audit, the IRS had not initiated any system development efforts related to the cost basis for securities. 

Certain Government Payments– In May 2011, the IRS initially delayed the 3 percent withholding requirement until after December 21, 2012.  Subsequently, after repeated momentum to repeal the withholding requirement, on November 21, 2011, President Obama signed the Three Percent Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act[3] into law.  It repeals the requirement, originally created under the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005,[4]for the Government to withhold 3 percent of certain payments to contractors. 

Implementation of the IRDM Program involves five system development projects.  In IRDM Release 1, four of the five projects have been deployed as follows:

1.     Data Assimilation:  Assimilation identifies the link between tax forms and information returns filed for the same taxpayer to identify potential underreporter cases.  The project groups them into specific categories to support IRS compliance programs associated with merchant payment cards and securities cost basis transactions.  (Deployed)

2.     Data Correlation:  Correlation matches tax return and information return data and applies business rules to identify potential underreporter cases for use in the IRDM case selection process.  After case selection, data correlation builds a complete case record for analysis by a tax examiner to support IRS compliance programs associated with merchant payment cards and securities cost basis transactions.  (Deployed)

3.     Business Master File Analytics:  Analytics provides IRS users with the ability to define and execute logic for the intelligent selection of business taxpayer case inventory to ensure that cases selected result in the largest financial return.  (Deployed)

4.     Case Inventory Selection and Analytics:  The IRDM Program primarily involves business transactions but does include individual transactions when individuals are self-employed and report their business transactions on their individual tax returns.  The IRDM Case Inventory Selection and Analytics Project provides IRS users with the ability to define and execute logic for the intelligent selection of individual taxpayer case inventory and creates an analytical environment that offers a greater ability to evaluate case data to improve the selection of cases to be worked.  The individual transactions are processed by the Automated Underreporter System.  (Deployed)

5.     Case Management (IRDMCM):  The case management system enables IRS tax examiners to manage and work business cases selected through the IRDM Business Master File Analytics Project with identified discrepancies that could potentially affect tax liabilities on business tax returns.  The IRDMCM System manages selected potential underreporter business cases as the cases are being worked by Small Business/Self‑Employed (SB/SE) Division tax examiners.  During Fiscal Years 2009 to 2013, the IRS spent $8,620,851 on the development of the IRDMCM System.  (Not Deployed)

Figure 1 provides a graphic of the IRDM Program showing data assimilation, data correlation, analytics, case selection, and case management processing.

Figure 1:  IRDM Program Graphic

Figure 1 was removed due to its size.  To see Figure 1, please go to the Adobe PDF version of the report on the TIGTA Public Web Page.

Source:  IRDM Solution Architecture Diagrams.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol; HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure; 
ETL – Extraction/Transformation/Load; CRUD – Create, Read, Update, Delete; IPM – Integrated Production Model; IRMF- Information Returns Master File.

The IRDMCM Team planned to use the Waterfall systems development path to deliver the following functionality over four phases:

1.     Phase 1 Case Creation:  All the necessary case data are downloaded from the IRDM Data Correlation and the Taxpayer Information File system and loaded into the IRDMCM database.  All the cases are built into batches, which are then divided into work units to be analyzed by tax examiners.  Screening batches are requested by technical units to be worked.  It is the manager’s responsibility to monitor and control work coming through their units.  Several reports are available to monitor inventory and the volume of mail sent to taxpayers.

2.     Phase 2 Case Screening:  Tax examiners’ screening of cases includes verification of discrepancies, calculation of tax, preparation and issuance of notices and/or letters, and closure of cases with invalid discrepancies.  Tax examiners perform in-depth analysis of each case using various application screens.  A process code, which is a four-digit number used to identify the action taken on a case, is assigned to the case and resides in the IRDMCM System until it is uploaded to the Integrated Data Retrieval System.  If the identified income discrepancy amount is resolved, the case is generally closed with no taxpayer contact.  If the discrepancy was not included on the return or otherwise resolved, the taxpayer is sent either a letter indicating that a case has been closed, or a letter acknowledging that the taxpayer correspondence has been received and that further actions may be taken.

3.     Phase 3 Case Response:  The tax examiner reviews the cases based upon the taxpayer’s response or lack of response to the notice.  The tax examiner’s review of the response or if no response is received can lead to several actions:  a) recalculation of tax based on the taxpayer’s response to the notice; b) the case can be resolved and closed; c) a Statutory Notice of Deficiency can be issued; or d) additional tax can be assessed or the case can be transferred or referred to other units.

4.     Phase 4 Case Closure/Statutory Notice:  This final phase adds the issuance of and the resolution of any issues addressed in the Statutory Notice of Deficiency.  The response from the taxpayer may resolve the issues in the Statutory Notice of Deficiency.  The case is defaulted when the response from the taxpayer does not resolve the issue, if no response is received, if the statutory suspense period has expired, or if the notice was undeliverable and the IRS has no record of a better address.

The scope of our audit was limited to reviewing the system development activities of the IRDMCM Project.  Figure 2 presents a timeline of the IRDMCM System development activities.

Figure 2:  IRDMCM System Development Timeline

IRDMCM System Development Activity

Date

System Development Initiated for IRDMCM Release 1

April 2009

Requirements Baselined

July 2010

System Acceptability Testing (SAT) Release 1

September 2011 – January 2013

SAT Release 1.5

July 2012 – 
December 2013

Planned Initial Deployment Date

November 2012

User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

January 2013 – January 2014

IRDM Change Requests Added Critical Functionality as Release 1.5

May 2013 – 
August 2013

Development Halted

January 2014

Source:  The IRS IRDMCM Team.

The following groups and organizations share responsibilities for developing the IRDMCM System.

·       IRDM Executive Steering Committee is co-chaired by the IRS Chief Technology Officer and the SB/SE Division Commissioner.  

·       IRDM Governance Board reports to the IRDM Executive Steering Committee and is chaired jointly by the IRS Information Technology (IT) organization and the SB/SE Division.  Key representatives include the:

o   IRS IT organization Assistant Chief Information Officer, Applications Development.

o   IRS IT organization Deputy Assistant Chief Information Officer, Applications Development.

o   IRS IT organization Director, Applications Development, Compliance Domain.

o   SB/SE Division Director, Communications, Outreach, Systems, and Solutions.

o   SB/SE Division Director, Campus Compliance Services.

·       IRS SB/SE Division is the business owner of the IRDM Program.  

·       IRS IT organization Applications Development is responsible for building, testing, delivering, and maintaining integrated information applications systems, i.e., software solutions, to support IRS systems and the production environment. 

·       A contractor provided the IRS IT organization application development support, including architecture activities, Enterprise Life Cycle support, scheduling, weekly minutes, project status reports, and IRDM Program and Project documentation.

·       IRS IT organization Enterprise Services, Enterprise Systems Testing, was responsible for managing the SAT for the IRDM Program.

·       The IRS IT organization Enterprise Information Technology office, Program Management office, has an emphasis on major Business System Modernization programs as well as enterprise solutions for such services as case management.

This review was performed at the IRS IT organization facilities in the IRS Western Development Center in Ogden, Utah; the Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; and the New Carrollton Federal Building in Lanham, Maryland, during the period January through May 2014.  We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.  Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective.  We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective.  Detailed information on our audit objective, scope, and methodology is presented in Appendix I.  Major contributors to the report are listed in Appendix II.

 

Results of Review

 

Insufficient Requirements and Failure to Pass User Acceptance Testing Contributed to Unsuccessful Deployment for the Information Reporting and Document Matching Case Management System  

The process of requirements development is important to successfully describe the activities that go into specifying the required functionality and characteristics of the IRS’s business systems.[5]  Key activities include identifying, capturing, recording, refining, and approving requirements.  This process includes clarifying the needs of the customer and translating those needs into system specifications.  For IRS systems, the Business System Requirements Report is the main deliverable for documenting users’ requirements.  During the system development life cycle, the Business System Requirements Report becomes the approved requirements baseline and the respective Configuration Control Board needs to approve any changes to the baseline requirements.

Functional requirements involve the users’ interactions with the system and specify what the information system is expected to do – its functionality.  Section 4.1 of the Requirements Handbook describes the characteristics of well-written, valid, high-quality requirements.  The requirements should be clearly and properly stated, understandable, complete, state exactly one requirement, be specific enough to implement and test, and be verifiable.  Requirements must be specific enough for a design team to work on design activities. 

Our review identified three conditions that existed during the development of the IRDMCM System:  1) key baseline requirements were not sufficiently detailed; 2) all essential requirements were not included in the requirements baseline in July 2010; and 3) the IRDMCM System did not successfully pass the UAT. 

Key baseline requirements were not sufficiently detailed

Our review identified that 173 of approximately 4,010 approved baseline requirements in the Business System Requirements Report did not contain descriptions specifying required functionality for the IRDMCM System.  Based on our review of these 173 baseline requirements, we determined that they involved capabilities that are critical to protect and accurately process tax returns and make proper adjustments to tax accounts.  For example, the requirements affected tax calculations, system interfaces, encryption, batch processing, and tax notices to taxpayers.  The following examples detail two critical baseline functional requirements for the IRDMCM System that did not contain sufficient descriptions: 

·       Payer Agent – The Payer Agent file is a compilation of payer information return documents that have been verified as erroneously filed or processed.  During a tax examiner’s review of an underreporter case, the case analysis screen includes a Payer Agent Indicator that alerts the tax examiner that the Payer Agent file contains data for the information return in question.  The data presented include the payer’s name, the type of document, and a synopsis of the reporting problem.  If the tax examiner’s review of the data does not resolve the issue of underreported income, the tax examiner will continue normal processing of the case.

·       Compute Assessment – The Compute Assessment module is a significant component of the IRDMCM System.  The module contains a form that allows the tax examiner to view the computed assessment and make modifications to the taxpayer’s tax liability.  For instance, the tax examiner can change the transaction codes and reason codes.  These changes are validated by the system using a set of defined business rules that are available as part of the Compute Assessment Validation process. 

While this problem did not exist for the majority of the requirements for the IRDMCM System, the requirements for which the problem did exist are essential to the overall system solution.  Further, without descriptions that were sufficiently understood and agreed upon, the IRDMCM System was not properly designed, developed, coded, tested, or deployed for customer use. 

During our interviews with the system developers and SAT testers, they stated that:  a) the requirements should have been more detailed; b) the developers sometimes proceeded with coding based on assumptions whenever requirements were not adequate; and c) the SB/SE Division business processes continued to be established and requirements continued to change during the SAT.  Finally, IRS officials advised us that when the requirements were entered into the Requisite Pro automated tool, some of the descriptions were inadvertently lost.

All essential requirements were not included in the requirements baseline in July 2010

The requirements baseline established for the IRDMCM System in July 2010 did not include four essential IRDMCM System requirements concerning interest provisions, Power of Attorney, batch processing, and expanding the case history screen.  These requirements were added to the IRDMCM System using approved change requests.  The IRDMCM Team advised us that they became aware of the interest provision in August 2013 when they received an approved change request.  They stated that the other three changes were clarifications to earlier requirements.  The following describes two of these four essential requirements:   

·       Two percent interest penalty assessment – Internal Revenue Code Section 6621(c) imposes a 2 percent interest penalty assessment on large corporations if they underpay their taxes by more than $100,000.  Errors made in applying the 2 percent penalty assessment against large corporations could result in millions of dollars being wrongly assessed or abated by the IRS.  The IRS advised us that this requirement was to identify cases subject to the additional 2 percent penalty, and it was added to the IRDMCM System after the IRS made an internal decision that the Integrated Data Retrieval System would no longer perform this calculation and assessment. 

·       Priority Batches – This requirement was essential because the majority of IRS tax processing is performed using batch processing.  A batch is a collection of tax returns, correspondence, or cases that have been grouped together for processing.  IRS processes included a received date restriction that prevented IRS users from creating priority batches of cases.  This requirement removed that restriction and allowed IRS users to create priority batches of cases within the IRDMCM System.  The IRS advised that this requirement was a clarification of earlier requirements.

The IRDMCM System did not successfully pass the UAT

The UAT is conducted by IRS business owners to ensure that systems, as delivered, satisfy stated business requirements.  During the UAT, the SB/SE Division staff learned that the IRDMCM System could not process the business underreporter cases from beginning to end without generating problem tickets, including tickets involving numerous interface issues and clarifying system requirements.  For example, in November 2013, the IRDMCM Team advised the IRDM Executive Steering Committee that the majority of UAT-generated problem tickets, 95 of 191 (or 50 percent), were to clarify requirements and business rules for the IRDMCM System.  After a year of the UAT, IRS officials acknowledged that the IRDMCM System could not effectively process the business cases containing underreported income and could not be deployed into the IRS production environment.

The IRS has experienced adverse effects due to the unsuccessful deployment of the IRDMCM System

IRS officials advised us that due to budget constraints and the difficulties SB/SE Division users encountered during a year of UAT, the IRS decided to “strategically pause” development of the IRDMCM System effective at the end of January 2014.  IRS officials decided they would focus on building a case management capability using Entellitrak®software.  We identified the following three major consequences of insufficient requirements and failed UAT for the IRDMCM System.

The IRS spent millions of dollars on unsuccessful development for the IRDMCM System 

The IRS does not currently have a plan in place or an estimated time frame for restarting the IRDMCM System.  If the IRS does not complete development of the IRDMCM System or implement an alternative solution, it may not realize the full benefit from its IRDMCM System investment.  We obtained IRDMCM System costs from IRS management for the period of development from Fiscal Years 2009 to 2013.  During this time, the IRS spent $8,620,851 on the development of the IRDMCM System.  The $8.6 million does not include contractor costs that benefited the overall IRDM Program and were not captured separately for each IRDM project. 

Office of Audit Comment:  In their response to the report, IRS management did not agree that $8.6 million spent on this project constitutes an inefficient use of resources (as we note in Appendix IV).  Management stated that any future enterprise-wide case management solution implementation would benefit from the requirements that were identified during the IRDMCM Project, and they expect to reuse significant portions of the IRDMCM System programming code once the budget allows the IRS to address these needs.  Notwithstanding management’s assertion, they have not been able to demonstrate the likelihood or feasibility of this.  The $8.6 million was clearly intended for the development and deployment of the IRDMCM System, which has not been deployed as planned.  As a result, the IRS has not yet realized expected benefits of an operational, automated IRDMCM System.

There is no automated case management system to process and manage thousands of business taxpayer cases containing underreported income 

The IRS does not have an effective and efficient case management system capable of processing thousands of identified IRDM business taxpayer cases containing underreported income.  Tens of thousands of business cases with potentially underreported income were not processed when IRS officials decided to halt development of the IRDMCM System. 

The IRS identified an inventory of 97,406 business taxpayer cases for TY 2011 with potential underreported income.  IRS SB/SE Division staff advised that not all of these cases had to be processed.  Instead, they analyzed the cases and selected 37,965 of those cases with the highest potential to generate additional tax assessments.

Of the TY 2011 cases, the IRS staff processed 22,767 of the 37,965 cases and reported additional tax assessments of $83,696,052, or an average assessment of $3,676.  However, 14,945 of the high potential TY 2011 cases were not processed when IRS officials decided to halt IRDMCM System development.  IRS officials advised that the statute of limitations has passed on examining and assessing taxes on these TY 2011 cases.  Projecting the average over the 
14,945 TY 2011 cases that were not processed indicates that the IRS could have increased the revenue assessed by potentially $54.9 million if it had been able to implement the IRDMCM System as originally planned in November 2012.[6]

Figure 3 provides the status and results of IRS processing of selected IRDM TY 2011 cases. 

Figure 3:  IRS Processing of Identified IRDM 
Business Underreporter Cases as of August 8, 2014

Category

TY 2011 Cases

Total Business Taxpayer Cases Identified With Potentially Underreported Income

97,406

Total Cases Selected for Review

37,965

Total Cases Completely Processed

22,767

Total Cases Still in Process

     253

Additional Assessments From Completed Cases

$83,696,052

Cases That Were Not Processed Because the System Was Not Deployed

14,945

Source:  The IRS IRDMCM Team.[7]

Next steps for a case management solution to support the IRDM Program are being reconsidered 

IRDMCM System development has been shut down since March 2014.  The IRS informed us that the IRDM projects currently in production would be managed under Operations and Maintenance status.  IRS officials have advised us that Entellitrak has been selected as the commercial off-the-shelf solution for future case management capabilities that will support the IRDM Program. 

During our review of the IRDMCM System, we learned that there are more than 200 case management applications in operation across the IRS enterprise.  Twenty-three of these case management applications are based on nine installations of a single commercial off-the-shelf product called Entellitrak, owned by MicroPact.  Regarding the Entellitrak product, we recently issued a report on case management development for the Taxpayer Advocate Service.[8]  Our review of that development effort identified unresolved risks related to Entellitrak case management functionality for the Taxpayer Advocate Service Integrated System. 

During our discussion with IRS officials about the planning process for a new enterprise case management solution, we asked how system specific and business process requirements are being considered.  However, the IRS could not confirm that its selection of a commercial off‑the‑shelf solution for enterprise case management would verify that the product could meet essential business needs including SB/SE Division case management requirements for the IRDM Program.  Further, as of April 2014, IRS officials acknowledged three outstanding risks related to case management for the IRDM Program.  First, IRDMCM System requirements were not yet complete.  Second, the IRS has not fully evaluated Entellitrak as a possible case management solution for the IRDM Program.  Finally, the IRS did not have a viable plan for implementing Entellitrak as a replacement for the IRDMCM System. 

Several issues contributed to the IRS’s inability to deploy the IRDMCM System

Our review found several causes for the insufficient requirements and the unsuccessful UAT for the IRDMCM System.

An IT organization business analyst was not assigned to interpret and validate system requirements. 

The IRDMCM Team explained that there were no IT organization business analysts assigned to assist in identifying and interpreting IRDMCM System business requirements.  The IRDMCM Team advised that the need for business analysts was elevated to the Associate Chief Information Officer, Applications Development.  Unfortunately, the Applications Development organization was not given hiring authority for these positions. 

IRS IT organization policy did not stipulate the need for business process modeling techniques to specify well-defined requirements until February 2013. 

Business process modeling is a software development technique typically used to develop business and information requirements.  The development of requirements based on the contents of the business model (process, organization, location, and data models) allows for a comprehensive view of requirements as a whole to ensure that all requirements are interrelated without being contradictory or redundant.  The objective of business process modeling is to produce fully defined future state processes and associated requirements that will be key inputs to the business rules, organization, and location modeling activities.  The business process model, when complete, provides a holistic representation of the business requirements that will be used for information system design, build, and implementation. 

The IRDMCM Team explained that during Release 1, they did not develop formal business process models.  The IRDMCM Team did not use business process modeling techniques for specifying the initial requirements in July 2010 because modeling was not required at that time, although it was an industry best practice.  After the independent SAT was completed in January 2013, the IRS contracted with the MITRE Corporation to perform an independent review of the IRS IT organization development processes that had been followed for the IRDMCM System.  One of the action items from the review stated that the existing requirements process being followed could be improved by employing business process modeling.  The IRDMCM Team used business process modeling to develop requirements for IRDMCM Release 1.5.

The Requirements Handbook, Section 5.5.2.2, dated March 2007, states that the use of models to provide the detail needed to explicitly state the requirements are recommended, where appropriate. 

As a leader among its peers, the IRDMCM Team wrote their Requirements Management Plan, Section 4.1.2.2, dated July 2010, to state that business modeling techniques will be used to support requirements analysis and specification.  The section further states that business and technical models are required during the system development Domain Architecture (Milestone 2) and Preliminary Design (Milestone 3) phases and can be used to decompose requirements.

Finally, Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) 2.110.1.1.4,Requirements Engineering, Requirements Engineering Directive, dated February 2013, outlined IRS IT organizational directives and mandates to analyze requirements, develop models,e.g., business process, data, interface, system, and perform verification activities, e.g., peer reviews, for establishing well-defined requirements.  Prior to issuance of this mandate, IRS IT organization policies and procedures did not mandate that business process modeling be used when developing system requirements. 

Management Action:  In 2013, the IRDMCM Team began using business process models to specify the system requirements for Release 1.5.

Three key IRDMCM System interfaces were minimally tested during the SAT. 

The SAT is conducted by independent testers to verify that IRS systems, as delivered, satisfy defined business requirements.  From September 2, 2011, through January 10, 2013, the IRS IT organization Enterprise Systems Testing Office performed SAT testing for the IRDMCM System.  During the SAT, independent testers wrote problem tickets to document issues in testing IRDMCM System interfaces.  Similar concerns were identified with IRDMCM System interfaces during the UAT.  In November 2013, IRDM Executive Steering Committee executives were advised that there were repeated IRDMCM System interface testing concerns.  Incomplete SAT interface testing increases the likelihood that systemic errors will not be identified and that the system will not satisfy its intended business needs. 

The SAT Chief advised us that because the SAT test environment is not fully integrated, three IRDMCM System interfaces were not fully tested during the SAT and these interfaces continued to create problems during the UAT.  The interfaces that were not fully tested included the downloading and uploading of interest calculations, which are critical to the correct determination of tax liability.  In addition, during the UAT, the SB/SE Division staff used a tool to validate the interest calculations; however, this tool was not available to SAT testers.  The IRS stated that the tool has licensing requirements and typically involves a six‑month learning curve to master simple tax calculations.  The SAT Chief explained three constraints that existed during SAT testing for the IRDMCM System:

·       Enterprise System Testing Office’s priority during IRDMCM System testing was to test the system’s core functionality before testing its interfaces.

·       The IRS did not have a fully integrated test environment containing all the tax modules that are needed to properly test system interfaces.

·       Mid-way through Calendar Year 2012, the Enterprise System Testing Office moved the SAT environment forward to test data formats for the upcoming filing season; accordingly, the SAT environment was no longer available to test earlier data formats like those processed through a compliance system like the IRDMCM System.

Recommendations

The Chief Technology Officer should ensure that:

Recommendation 1:  The requirements management processes for future IRDMCM System development activityare performed in accordance with established guidelines, to include using business process modeling to specify well-defined requirements.

Management’s Response:  TheIRS agreed with thisrecommendation.  The various IT organizations leading andsupporting IRDM Programmanagement activities will continue to follow applicableEnterprise Life Cyclemethodology, milestones, and where appropriate, will use business process modeling tospecify requirements.  The IRS stated it is currently using the process.

Recommendation 2:  The IRDMCM System requirements are completely identified.

Management’s Response:  The IRS agreed with this recommendation, but added a qualification stating it would continue to follow established Enterprise Life Cycle paths for IRDMCM System and would identify requirements at the appropriate level for the various milestones of the Enterprise Life Cycle chosen for the IRDMCM System, as future budgets allow.

Office of Audit Comment:  The IRS agreed with this recommendation, but did not identify an implementation date for completely identifying IRDM case management requirements.  We remain concerned that the IRS has selected Entellitrak as its IRDMCM System solution before fully considering IRDM case management requirements.

Recommendation 3:  Case management capabilities of Entellitrak, or its replacement solution, are thoroughly assessed to ensure that it satisfies the IRDMCM System requirements and meets stated business needs.  IRS IT organization officials should also act promptly to implement an IRDM case management application to avoid losing significant tax assessment revenue in the future.

Management’s Response:  The IRS partially agreed with this recommendation.  The IRS stated that it is currently engaging the commercial off-the-shelf solution vendor to conduct product technical demonstrations to determine how various project/program business needs and requirements can best be met.  The IRS is currently under significant budget constraints and is expecting additional budget cuts in Fiscal Year 2015.  Therefore, the funding of the IRDMCM System is subject to overall budgets and prioritization of essential taxpayer operations.

 

Appendix I

 

Detailed Objective, Scope, and Methodology

 

The overall audit objective was to determine how system development risks for the IRDMCM Project are being mitigated and whether established business and information technology requirements to improve compliance and reduce the Tax Gap[9] are adequately addressed.  To accomplish this objective, we:

I.                 Determined whether requirements management and change management guidelines were followed in developing and managing changes to the IRDMCM System requirements.

A.    Reviewed the requirements and configuration management plans.

B.    Reviewed the IRM guidelines for requirements and configuration management.

C.    Interviewed the IRDMCM Team to determine whether the guidelines were followed in developing the requirements.

D.    Determined whether the Requirement Traceability Verification Matrix was developed and used to trace requirements to test cases and the test results were recorded as required by the IRM guidelines.

E.     Reviewed the approved change requests associated with the new requirements developed and added via the IRDMCM System Release 1.5.

F.     Reviewed the IRDMCM System requirements to determine whether they were prepared in accordance with the guidelines.

G.    Determined the number of TY 2011 underreporter cases identified and their processing status, including the number of cases that were not processed, and those that resulted in additional tax assessments.

1.     Determined that the IRS identified an inventory of 97,406 TY 2011 business taxpayer cases with potential underreported income. 

2.     Determined that the IRS selected for processing 37,965 of the 97,406 TY 2011 cases identified.  The IRS selected those cases containing the highest potential to generate additional tax assessments.[10]

3.     Determined that the IRS staff completely processed 22,767 of the 37,965 selected cases.[11]

4.     Determined that the IRS did not process 14,945 of the 37,965 cases when IRS officials decided to halt development of the IRDMCM System.

II.               Determined whether the SAT of the IRDMCM System was performed in accordance with established IRS testing guidelines.

A.    Reviewed the SAT test guidance in the IRM.

B.    Reviewed the IRDMCM System SAT Test Plan to ensure that the plan was developed in accordance with testing guidelines.

C.    Reviewed the Requirement Traceability Verification Matrix to ensure that test cases were completed for approved requirements, test cases were executed, and test results were recorded.

D.    Interviewed the SAT Chief to determine whether the guidelines were followed in testing the IRDMCM System.

E.     Reviewed the IRDMCM System Release 1 End of Test Status Report and the End of Test Completion Report to ensure that key controls such as audit trails were not failed, waived, or deferred to future releases.

Internal controls methodology

Internal controls relate to management’s plans, methods, and procedures used to meet their mission, goals, and objectives.  Internal controls include the processes and procedures for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling program operations.  They include the systems for measuring, reporting, and monitoring program performance.  We determined that the following internal controls were relevant to our audit objective:  the IRM and related IRS guidelines and the processes followed in the development of the information technology project.  We evaluated these controls by conducting interviews with management and staff and reviewing and analyzing IRDM Program documentation such as the Requirements Management Plan, the SAT Test Plan, and other documents that provided evidence of whether IRS system development processes were adequately followed.

 

Appendix II

 

Major Contributors to This Report

 

Alan R. Duncan, Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Security and Information Technology Services)

Danny R. Verneuille, Acting Assistant Inspector General for Audit (Security and Information Technology Services)

Gwendolyn A. McGowan, Director

Carol L. Taylor, Audit Manager

Wallace C. Sims, Lead Auditor

Andrea R. Barnes, Senior Auditor

Charlene L. Elliston, Senior Auditor

Hung Q. Dam, Information Technology Specialist

 

Appendix III

 

Report Distribution List

 

Commissioner  C

Office of the Commissioner – Attn:  Chief of Staff  C

Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support  OS

Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement  SE

Commissioner, Small Business/Self-Employed Division  SE:S

Deputy Chief Information Officer for Operations  OS:CTO

Deputy Chief Information Officer for Strategy and Modernization  OS:CTO

Associate Chief Information Officer, Applications Development  OS:CTO:AD

Associate Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Services  OS:CTO:ES

Director, Campus Compliance Services  SE:S:CCS

Director, Communications, Outreach, Systems, and Solutions  SE:S:COSS

Director, Compliance  OS:CTO:C

Director, Enterprise Systems Testing  OS:CTO:ES:EST

Chief Counsel  CC

National Taxpayer Advocate  TA

Director, Office of Legislative Affairs  CL:LA

Director, Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Analysis  RAS:O

Office of Internal Control  OS:CFO:CPIC:IC

Audit Liaisons:

Director, Business Planning and Risk Management  OS:CTO:SP:RM

Director, Program Management  OS:CTO:AD:PM

 

Appendix IV

 

Outcome Measures

 

This appendix presents detailed information on the measurable impact that our recommended corrective actions will have on tax administration.  These benefits will be incorporated into our Semiannual Report to Congress.

Type and Value of Outcome Measure:

·       Inefficient Use of Resources – Potential; $8.6 million (see page 8).

Methodology Used to Measure the Reported Benefit:

The IRDMCM System is an application designed to allow IRS SB/SE Division[12] users to manage and work identified business taxpayer cases that have discrepancies in the income reported which could potentially affect taxpayers’ tax liabilities.  The IRDMCM System Release 1 was designed to manage the cases selected while they are being worked by IRS tax examiners.  However, in January 2014, IRS officials decided to halt development of the IRDMCM System due to Fiscal Year 2014 budget constraints and the problems experienced in more than a year of the UAT.  IRS officials decided they would focus on building a case management capability using Entellitrak®.   

Currently, there is neither a plan in place nor a time period for restarting the IRDMCM System.  Moreover, the IRS does not have a viable plan for implementing an alternative commercial off-the-shelf solution for the IRDMCM System.  If the IRS does not complete the development of the IRDMCM System or implement an alternative solution, it may not realize the full benefit from its investment.  During Fiscal Years 2009 to 2013, the IRS spent $8,620,851 on the development of the IRDMCM System.  We obtained the IRDMCM System costs from IRS management for this period.  The $8.6 million does not include contractor costs that benefited the overall IRDM Program.

Type and Value of Outcome Measure:

·       Increased Revenue – Potential; $54.9 million[13] (see page 8).

Methodology Used to Measure the Reported Benefit:

The IRS does not have an effective and efficient case management system capable of processing thousands of identified IRDM business taxpayer cases containing underreported income.  Tens of thousands of business cases with potentially underreported income were not processed when IRS officials decided to halt development of the IRDMCM System. 

The IRS identified an inventory of 97,406 business taxpayer cases for TY 2011 with potential underreported income.  The IRS SB/SE Division staff advised that not all of these cases had to be processed.  Instead, they analyzed the 97,406 cases and selected 37,965 of those cases with the highest potential to generate additional tax assessments.[14]  Of the selected TY 2011 cases, the IRS staff completely processed 22,767 cases and reported additional tax assessments of $83,696,052.  However, 14,945 of the high potential TY 2011 cases were not processed when IRS officials decided to halt IRDMCM System development.  IRS officials advised that the statute of limitations has passed on examining and assessing taxes on these cases.

The average assessment of additional taxes for the TY 2011 cases that were completely processed is $3,676 ($83,696,052/22,767).  Projecting that average over the 14,945 TY 2011 cases that were not processed suggests the IRS could have increased the revenue assessed by potentially $54,937,820 ($3,676 x 14,945) if it had been able to implement the IRDMCM System as originally planned in November 2012. 

Figure 1 provides details of our estimate of the lost tax assessments associated with the unprocessed TY 2011 business cases containing potential underreported income.

Figure 1:  Estimate of Tax Assessments Lost 
From Unprocessed TY 2011 Business Underreporter Cases

 

Estimated Potential Lost Tax Assessments

Tax Return Category

Lower Limit

Point Estimate

Upper Limit

Unprocessed TY 2011 Business Underreporter Cases

$50,405,655

 

$54,940,809

 

$59,475,963

 

Source:  Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration contract statistician.

 

Appendix V

 

Glossary of Terms

 

Term

Definition

Applications Development

The IRS organization responsible for building, testing, delivering, and maintaining integrated information applications systems, i.e., software solutions to support IRS modernized systems and the production environment.

Assessment

Assessment is a change to the amount of tax on the taxpayer’s account.

Automated Underreporter System

An inventory control system used in the Individual Master File Underreporter Program. 

Business Analyst

The analyst who leads and coordinates the development of business architecture and design models (process, organization, location, and business rules) from which some requirements can be deduced. 

Business Master File

The IRS database that consists of Federal tax-related transactions and accounts for businesses.  These include employment taxes, income taxes on businesses, and excise taxes.

Business System Requirements Report

Within the Enterprise Life Cycle, the Business System Requirements Report documents a feasible, quantified, verifiable set of requirements that define and bind the business system or subsystem(s) being developed or enhanced by the project.  These requirements form the basis for business system design, development, integration, and deployment.

Commercial Off‑the‑Shelf

Pre-packaged, vendor-supplied software that will be used with little or no modification to provide all or part of the solution. 

Configuration Control Board

A group of technical experts and managers with the assigned authority and responsibility to make decisions on the configuration of a baselined product.

Default

If the response from the taxpayer does not resolve the issue, there is no response, or if the Post Office returns the notice to the taxpayer as undeliverable, the Statutory Notice of Deficiency defaults.  The IRS completes the assessment and closes the case.

Domain Architecture Phase (Milestone 2)

The Domain Architecture Phase includes the portion of the life cycle between Milestones 1 and 2, and includes development of a business system concept, business system requirements, and business system architecture.

Encryption

The process of making data unreadable by other humans or computers for the purpose of preventing others from gaining access to its contents. 

Entellitrak®

A commercial off-the-shelf software created by MicroPact consisting of pre-configured applications that reflect best practices, business rules, and terminology for case management solutions.

Enterprise Life Cycle

The approach used by the IRS to manage and effect business change.  The Enterprise Life Cycle provides the direction, processes, tools, and assets for accomplishing business change in a repeatable and reliable manner. 

Executive Steering Committee

A committee that oversees investments, including validating major investment business requirements and ensuring that enabling technologies are defined, developed, and implemented. 

Filing Season

The period from January 1 through April 15 when most individual income tax returns are filed.

Functional Requirements

Requirements that involve the users’ interaction with the system.  Functional requirements specify what the information system is expected to do – its functionality – which may include existing system functionality that the new or enhanced system will retain.

Infrastructure

The fundamental structure of a system or organization.  The basic, fundamental architecture of any system (electronic, mechanical, social, political, etc.) determines how it functions and how flexible it is to meet future requirements. 

Integrated Data Retrieval System

IRS computer system capable of retrieving or updating stored information.  It works in conjunction with a taxpayer’s account records.

Interface

Data exchange between one or more systems.

Internal Revenue Code

Federal statutes pertaining totaxes that are imposed by theFederal Government are compiled into Title 26 of theUnited States Code.  This title is commonly referred to as the “Internal Revenue Code” or, often by tax practitioners, as the “Code.”

MITRE Corporation

The MITRE Corporation was hired by the IRS as a Federally Funded Research and Development Center to assist with the IRS’s systems modernization effort. 

Power of Attorney

A form authorizing a representative to perform certain acts on the taxpayer’s behalf.

Preliminary Design Phase (Milestone 3)

One of the eight phases in the System Life Cycle Layer of the Enterprise Life Cycle Framework.  The Preliminary Design Phase includes the portion of the life cycle between Milestones 2 and 3, and includes development of application requirements and logical design of the system.

Rational Requisite Pro (ReqPro)

A software tool used to track system requirements.

Reason Code

A taxpayer is issued a notice of adjustment when the IRS takes an action on the taxpayer’s tax account.  The notice includes an explanation of the action.  The reason code determines the type of notice generated to the taxpayer and the statement that will be printed to explain the tax adjustment. 

Requirements Baseline

A requirements baseline is a specification or product that has been formally reviewed and approved and serves as a basis for further development.  It is changed only through formal change procedures.

Small Business/
Self-Employed Division

The SB/SE Division has approximately 22,000 employees who serve 
54 million taxpayers.  The SB/SE Division serves roughly one-third of the overall taxpayer base.  Its mission is to help small business and 
self-employed taxpayers understand and meet their tax obligations, while applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.

Statutory Notice of Deficiency

Legal notification sent to taxpayers by certified mail, which explains the taxpayer’s right to file a petition with the Tax Court and the IRS’s right to change tax without taxpayer consent if no timely petition is filed.

Statutory Suspense Period

The time period, either 90 days or 150 days, that a taxpayer has to file a petition with the Tax Court after receiving a Statutory Notice of Deficiency. 

System Acceptability Testing

A system test conducted to verify that the system satisfies application requirements.

Tax Examiner

Employees in field offices who conduct examinations through correspondence.  Among other duties, a tax examiner processes tax returns, establishes and edits tax account records, and determines proper tax liabilities.

Tax Gap

The Tax Gap is the estimated difference between the amount of tax that taxpayers should pay and the amount that is paid voluntarily and on time.

Tax Module

Part of a taxpayer’s account which reflects tax data for one tax class (Master File Tax) and one tax period.

Taxpayer Information File

A file containing entity and tax data processed at a given campus for all Taxpayer Identification Numbers.

Transaction Code

A three-digit code used to identify actions being taken to a taxpayer’s account.

User Acceptance Testing

Testing conducted to validate that the system works as designed and implemented and satisfies the business requirements of the system.

Waterfall

Distinguished by development of a solution with frequent reviews and formal approvals required at multiple points in the life cycle prior to additional work being performed. 

 

Appendix VI

 

Management’s Response to the Draft Report

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20224

 

CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

 

 

September 19, 2014

 

MEMORANDUM FOR DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR.AUDIT

 

FROM:                             Terence V. Milholland /s/ Terence V. Milholland

                                          Chief Technology Officer

 

SUBJECT:                       Draft Audit Report – Information Reporting and Document Matching Case Management System Could Not be Deployed (Audit #201420012) (e-trak # 2014-58587)

 

Thank you for the opportunity to review and respond to the audit report.

 

Since 2009, Congress has enacted a number of provisions in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to enhance business tax filing accuracy and compliance by automating the matching of data reported on information returns to the data submitted on filed business tax returns.  The Information Reporting and Document Matching (IRDM) Program was established to ensure IRS (1) provided information return filers with the proper support to file their returns and (2) effectively utilized the new information returns in taxpayer assistance and compliance programs.  To this end, IRS completed four significant systems implementation’s; Data Assimilation, Data Correlation, Business Master File Analytics, and Case Inventory Selection and Analytics projects.  These deployed projects are currently in production and providing valuable capability to the agency, identifying potential under-reporting by businesses.

 

Another piece of the IRDM development was the case management system (IRDMCM).  IRDMCM was designed to provide the IRS with an automated system to manage the significant number of cases being identified.  In January 2014, IRS, through our established governance process, decided to strategically pause development of the IRDMCM system due to budget constraints and the inability to certify that the ongoing case management functionality deployment would not have an adverse impact on taxpayers.

 

Since then, IRS has determined that future case management systems will be developed utilizing software called entellitrak©.  We have identified entellitrak© as our enterprise standard to allow us to more efficiently and effectively provide IT systems across the organization.  As part of our re-planning of IRDMCM we intend to use entellitrak©.  Once our budget allocations improve, we will continue the re-planning effort.  Meanwhile, we will continue to process cases manually and will integrate IADM data into existing compliance workstreams.

 

The IRS disagrees with the Outcome Measure of inefficient use of Resources of $8.6 million.  Any future enterprise-wide case management COTS solution implementation will benefit from the requirements that were identified & refined by the IRDMCM project.  Most of the IRDMCM system programming code was written in JAVA programming language, we expect to leverage and re-use significant portions of that code base as part of any IRDMCM COTS based solution, once the budget allows IRS to address these needs.

 

The IRS agrees with the Outcome Measure of potential increased revenue of $55.1 million, however due to budgetary constraints and the lack of an automated case management system, we can only process cases with the highest potential to generate additional tax assessments.  Until a systemic case management system is available, we will continue to process cases manually at maximum levels and will integrate IRDM data into existing compliance workstreams.   Once our budget allows and a certified system to automate case management can be deployed, we will be able to systemically process larger volumes of cases.

 

We value your continued support and the assistance your organization provides.  If you have any questions, please contact me at (240) 613-9373, or a member of your staff may contact Lisa Starr, Senior Manager of Program Oversight, at (240) 613-4219.

 

Attachment

 

RECOMMENDATION #1:  The CTO should ensure that the requirements management processes for future IRDMCM activity are performed in accordance with established guidelines, to include using Business Process Modeling to specify well-defined requirements.

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION #1:  The IRS agrees with this recommendation.  The various IT organizations leading& supporting IRDM Program Management activities will continue to follow applicable Enterprise Lifecycle (ELC) methodology, milestones and, where appropriate, will use Business Process Modeling to specify requirements.

 

IMPLEMENTATION DATE:  N/A- currently using process

 

RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL:  Associate Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Services & Associate Chief Information Officer, Applications Development

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION MONITORING PLAN:  We enter accepted Corrective Actions into the Joint Audit Management Enterprise System (JAMES) and monitor them on a monthly basis until completion.

 

RECOMMENDATION #2:  The CTO should ensure that IRDMCM requirements are completely identified.

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION #2:  The IRS agrees with this recommendation with the following clarification:  we will continue to follow established Enterprise Life Cycle path(s) for IRDMCM and will identify requirements at the appropriate level for the various milestones of the ELC chosen for IRDMCM, as future budgets allow.

 

IMPLEMENTATION DATE:  NA- When IRS budget allows IRDMCM to be restarted, the proper requirements methods will be applied.

 

RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL:  Associate Chief Information Officer, Applications Development &Associate Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Services

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION MONITORING PLAN:  We enter accepted Corrective Actions into the Joint Audit Management Enterprise System (JAMES) and monitor them on a monthly basis until completion.

 

RECOMMENDATION #3:  Case management capabilities of Entellitrak, or its replacement solution, are thoroughly assessed to ensure that it satisfies the IRDMCM System requirements and meets stated business needs.  IRS IT officials should also act promptly to implement an IRDM case management application to avoid losing significant tax assessment revenue in the future.

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION #3:  The IRS partially agrees with this recommendation.  We are currently engaging the COTS solution vendor to conduct product technical demonstrations to determine how various project/program business needs and requirements can best be met.  The IRS is currently under significant budget constraints and the Service is expecting additional budget cuts in FY15.  Therefore; the funding of the IRDMCM is subject to overall budgets and prioritization of essential taxpaying operations.

 

IMPLEMENTATION DATE:  October 25; 2015

 

RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL:  Associate Chief Information Officer; Enterprise Services

 

CORRECTIVE ACTION MONITORING PLAN:  We enter accepted Corrective Actions into the Joint Audit Management Enterprise System (JAMES) and monitor them on a monthly basis until completion.

[1] See Appendix V for a glossary of terms.

[2] Third-party payors include merchant banks that make payments on credit cards, brokerage firms that sell securities, and Government entities that withhold 3 percent of the payments made to businesses for providing property or services.

[3] Public Law 112-56 125 Stat. 711.

[4] Public Law No. 109-222 120 Stat. 345.

[5] IRS IT organization’s Requirements Handbook, Section 5.1 (Mar. 2007).

[6] Our contract statistician assumed that the 22,767 cases worked were a representative sample of the population of 37,965 cases; therefore, we are 95 percent confident that the true total assessment amount not obtained is between $50,405,655 and $59,475,963.

[7] The number of cases and related assessment dollars were provided by the SB/SE Division and were not independently verified by the auditors.  

[8] Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Ref. No. 2014-20-071, Information Technology:  Improvements Are Needed to Successfully Plan and Deliver the New Taxpayer Advocate Service Integrated System (Sept. 2014).

[9] See Appendix V for a glossary of terms.

[10] We discussed the IRS case selection methodology with a contract statistician.  The IRS attempted to prioritize the review of cases so that those cases with the greatest likelihood of yielding additional assessments were worked first.  However, this was the first year that this prioritization methodology was used for this application, and the IRS was unable to provide any historical data from prior years as evidence to validate that this methodology actually worked. 

[11] The contract statistician assumed that the 22,767 cases worked were a representative sample of the population of 37,965 cases.

[12] See Appendix V for a glossary of terms.

[13] The contract statistician assumed that the 22,767 worked cases are a representative sample of the population of 37,965 cases; therefore, we are 95 percent confident that the true total assessment amount not obtained is between $50,405,655 and $59,475,963.

[14] The IRS attempted to prioritize the review of cases so that those cases with the greatest likelihood of yielding additional assessments were worked first.  However, this was the first year that this prioritization methodology was used for this application, and the IRS was unable to provide any historical data from prior years as evidence to validate that this methodology in fact worked.

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by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
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San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
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E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
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All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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Watch: Tax Problems for President J. C. Junker (E.U. Commission) One Week After Taking Office. He Ran Tax Haven Luxembourg For Years and is Now Supposed To Combat Tax Havens for Europe from Tax News Online Report on RexTube.

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Tax haven Luxembourg: Juncker in a bind – http://dw.de/p/1DiYV

INTERNATIONAL TAXATION EU

Luxembourg tax deals with global firms under fire after news leaks.

Luxembourg is under fire after leaked documents revealed its huge tax avoidance deals with hundreds of top global firms, putting its former premier Jean-Claude Juncker under the spotlight in his first week as EU commission chief.

Household names such as Pepsi, IKEA and Deutsche Bank were among companies named by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) following a six-month investigation of 28,000 leaked documents.

Billions of dollars were funnelled through the tiny European duchy of Luxembourg thanks to complex financial structures that allowed companies to slash their tax liabilities, depriving hard-up governments around the world of vital revenue.
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The revelation comes at a particularly awkward moment for Juncker, who took office Saturday as head of the EU’s executive arm after 19 years as Luxembourg prime minister, during which many of the deals were made.

Luxembourg’s current prime minister, Xavier Bettel, insisted Thursday that the sweetheart tax deals were legal. “I want to underline that these (tax) rulings conform to international laws,” Bettel said.

Juncker presided over the tax affairs of Luxembourg for over two decades, guiding the country from being a sleepy European backwater to a prized destination where hundreds of the world’s biggest companies now base their affairs.
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Watch: Why Luxembourg is the best place to invest offshore on RexTube…: http://youtu.be/Zu2TEuCWGh0

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Juncker won’t influence probe

Juncker’s spokesman said the European Commission was already investigating whether Luxembourg’s tax deals with US Internet shopping giant Amazon and the financial arm of Italian carmaker Fiat amounted to illegal state aid.
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“If the decision is negative, Luxembourg will have to take corrective actions,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas explained.

On Wednesday, asked about the tax policies he once led, Juncker told journalists that he “had his ideas” about the matter but would do nothing to affect the EU’s investigation “as this would be indecent”.

In its investigation, the ICIJ found that global accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers had helped multinationals in question secure at least 548 tax rulings in Luxembourg between 2002 and 2010.

The documents uncovered details of so-called Advance Tax Agreements — pre-negotiated deals which set out how companies will be taxed.

“It’s like taking your tax plan to the government and getting it blessed ahead of time,” the ICIJ  quoted Connecticut School of Law tax expert Richard Pomp as saying.

The controversial practice, also called “tax rulings”, is the subject of the EU’s probes into Luxembourg’s deals with Amazon and Fiat.

The EU has power over member states tax affairs as such, but it can probe whether they amount to illegal state aid, which breaches the 28-nation bloc’s rules on free trade and competition.
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Similar cases have been opened against Ireland for tax deals with tech giant Apple and the Netherlands with coffee chain Starbucks.

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Watch: European Parliament Calls for a Europe-Wide Tax Haven Crack Down on Tax News Online Report…http://youtu.be/-yyrnYfLvb8
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There are two problems with that objective.

1. The EU Parliament can not introduce bills to be voted on to become law. Only the EU Commission can introduce bills so that the EU Parliament can vote them into law.
2. The new EU Commission President is Jean-Claude Junker who has left being President of tax haven Luxembourg for many years. Good luck with that objective parliamentarians.

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[Editor Observation] It was noted that Martin Schulz was re-elected President of the European Parliament. MEPs re-elected Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament on Tuesday morning for another two and a half year term.
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But… Martin Schulz is a German member of the communist party, and he had tried to become the president of the E.U. Commission and Junker won the election. It appears that Junker may be pro-business and economic growth. Communist platforms in the past have been anti-business and in favor of the government owning the means of production. Now when the parliamentarians call for and end to the law abiding countries and business owners that are following the law, are they really saying the independent countries should not have any rights against an overbearing EU communust leaning government. And are they really trying to drive businesses out of the EU because it cost too much to pay for wealth distributing and less than productive socialists who are always trying to take and spend someone elses money for what think are better than allowing private property rights. It is possible that Martin Scholz was behind the Luxemburg press leaks as part of a sour grapes smear campaign because Mr. Scholz was not picked for the EU Commision presidency. Of course this hypothsis is speculative, but very plausable indeed.
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Now on with the news.

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EU TAX HAVENS MEET WITH PUBLIC OBJECTION, EVEN IF NOT BREAKING THE LAW on Tax News Online Report_Tube.
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Warch: Observers call EU for fiscal war against tax havens on Tax News Online Report. : http://youtu.be/BXxJiN8bNQA
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USA ~ EAGLE & FLAG Mov Gif 04FEB14

A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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============================================

FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
————————-
San Francisco Office
425 Market Street
22nd Floor [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(800) 464-6595
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E-Mail: mailto:rexcrandell@astound.net
Internet: http://www.rexcrandell.com
Internet 2nd Web http://taxrexcrandell.com
Internet 3rd Web http://estateplanningreport.wordpress.com
Internet 4th Web https://taxnewsonlinereport.wordpress.com/ 
Skype Address rex.crandell
Fax: (925) 934-6325
———————–

All U.S. Mail items [Except if Signature is required]:
P.O. Box 30305-Dept.  Tax News Blog Update
Walnut Creek, California 94598-9305 United States of America
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IT'S TAX TIME.  BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY EARLY. IT’S TAX TIME. BETTER GET YOUR PAPERS AND FILES READY.
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This newsletter is intended to provide generalized information that is appropriate in certain situations. It is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The contents of this newsletter should not be acted upon without specific professional guidance. Please call us if you have questions.

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STATEMENT PURSUANT TO IRS CIRCULAR 230: The drafter of this document did not intend nor write this document for the purpose that this document would be used to avoid any penalty imposed by a taxing authority, for promoting, marketing or recommending this advice to another party. The recipient of this document may not use this document for that purpose. Rex Crandell Firm would be pleased to prepare or arrange to have prepared by legal counsel, as applicable, a document that would meet the specific requirements of IRS Circular 230 and could be used for those purposes. Please advise us if you desire such a document.

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DISCLAIMER: The sponsors and editors of this privately owned website are not goverment employees and do not represent nor speak for any governmental agency.
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How to Go to Sleep on Time: 10 Steps + on Tax News Online Report.
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http://m.wikihow.com/Go-to-Sleep-on-Time
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How to Go to Sleep on Time

Do you keep telling yourself that you need more sleep, but just can’t seem to get to bed on time? Sleep is very important, but sometimes life is too busy or distracting. Here are some tips to help make your bedtime a healthy habit.

1 Determine how much sleep you need. Everyone’s personal sleep requirements differ, and it’s important to know your own needs so you can set an appropriate bedtime and stick to it. This may not be evident to you if you’ve been pushing your sleep to fit the rest of your life but the main indicator is feeling refreshed on waking. Too many hours of sleep can make you feellethargic and sleepy while too little can leave you feeling irritable and exhausted.Start keeping an eye on the time you go to bed and equate that with how you feel when you wake up. Don’t check the time too often or it’ll get worse. Try different times to see which bedtime gives you the optimal feeling when you wake up.

2 Figure out what time you need to go to sleep, taking into account the optimal hours you need personally and the time you need to be up each day.Determine when you have to be up in the morning and count back the number of hours of sleep you need. This is your bedtime.Use the sleepyti.me bedtime calculator to help you work out your best bedtime. It is found at:http://sleepyti.me/Be aware that even with the best of wills, most adults aged 18-45 and older don’t function that well if they’re not in bed by midnight (shift-workers excepted) and that the optimal going to bed time seems to be between 9pm and midnight.[1] There is even a saying that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours after![2]
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3 Don’t balk if the time you need to get up is earlier than you want it to be. A time on the clock is nothing more than a number. Staying up past midnight is not a mark of coolness, and going to bed before 8:00 does not make you one of the kids. Time is what you make of it and the idea is to make the most of it and stay energized each day.Aim to always get up at the same time every day, no matter how badly you may have slept or how late you got to bed. Your body needs to establish its own regular routine and once this happens, the rest of your life fits around your sleep schedule.

4 Remind yourself of the reasons to get a good night’s sleep. These include better cardiovascular health, decreased blood pressure and stress hormones, increased alertness and energy, better memory and clarity of thought, improved mood and less risk of depression, better appetite regulation, and more time for your body to heal itself from daily wear-and-tear.[3] If that’s not enough to convince you, think of the downside of not getting enough sleep: your irritability increases, creativity plummets, you feel less inspired and you can become more stubborn, while you may also experience headaches, stomach upsets and other bodily signs.[4]
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5 Plan ahead. Determine what needs doing during your waking hours, how much time the tasks require, and when you will be doing them. Schedule tasks into the time you have and don’t add in additional tasks for which you do not have time. Time-adding tasks will also add stress and make it more difficult to get things done and get to bed on time. And remind yourself that though you may feel as if you’re making the most of the day by doing more tasks, your ability to perform them efficiently wanes the longer you work at them and the tireder you become.
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6 Make a bedtime routine.Keep it short, but a good routine will help both your mind and body relax and prepare for sleep. Do similar things each night that signal bedtime, such as cleaning your teeth and having a shower, having a hot drink, checking the doors are locked and maybe some meditation.Read How to have a good bedtime routine and How to get off a bad sleep schedule for more ideas.
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7 Eliminate distractions.
Bedtime is not TV-watching time or internet-surfing time. If you like doing any of these activities later at nt, do them well before your appointed sleep time. However, it’s not advised to use electronics in the bedroom as they disturb the peace of the bedroom and any such use in the hour prior to bedtime will keep you too alert to sleep. Reading however is good, it is calming and often makes you go to sleep quicker.

8 Make bedtime an appointment with yourself and go to bed. 
Write into your diary if you must! Remind yourself of the benefits again, and just do it.

9 Look for the benefits. The better you get at going to bed on time and getting enough sleep, the more you will see these benefits in your life. You’ll notice greater energy, a more positive outlook, faster thinking ability, better reflexes and all the other positive things that come with being alert and refreshed. Look for these positive signs and use them as motivation to continue with your good bedtime habit.
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10 If nothing else works, use melatonin. It’s a fast, effective oil that does NOT make you wake up drowsy.

Sleep can be affected by the seasons, with some of us needing more sleep during winter and less during summer.[5]
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Before going to bed, turn on “do not disturb” mode on your iPhone or other tablet device. If you receive a text, email, or other alert, the phone will not make a noise, causing you no interruption throughout the night. Alarms will still sound.

Turn down the lights well before bedtime, including on your computer monitor, to ready your body for sleep.

Try to keep your waking and sleeping times consistent. Your body will become accustomed to sleeping at these times and it will be easier to actually go to bed when you get sleepy at the right time.
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Remove all electronics from reach an hour before bedtime.

If your bedtime works out to be at a time that is still light or noisy, look for ways to reduce the noise or light in your sleeping room.

Exercise. The move your exercise/workout, the sooner you sleep. Cardiovascular exercise improves quality of sleep too.
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Read a book. Read the income tax code.

Put an eye mask on if there is too much light in your room. This blocks the light out in all areas.

Meditate with twists of neck, holding each twist at least 4 breaths. This will immediately relax you and prepare for a good sleep.

Don’t let others distract you from your bedtime. If they do, gently remind them that you have an appointment with yourself. It might help to explain your reasons. They might make an effort to get to bed on time, too!

Taking melatonin with certain other medications (such as anti-depressants) can be very dangerous. If you take medications, ask your doctor before taking melatonin.
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Comfortable bed, right room temperature

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http://m.wikihow.com/Sleep-When-You-Are-Not-Tired
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How to Sleep When You Are Not Tired

You go to bed early, or for a nap, but for whatever reason, you’re not tired or sleepy. There are many tricks you can use to relax your mind and body to make yourself fall into sleep mode more easily. If trying to sleep when you’re not tired is a constant problem in your life, you can also change your routine to make it easier for you to fall asleep at night, even if you feel wide awake. See Step 1 below to get started.

Part One of Three

Relaxing Your Body

1 Adjust the temperature. The temperature in the room should be slightly cooler than what’s comfortable for you. A slight drop in temperature induces sleep. [1] But don’t let yourself get too cold, especially your feet; cold feet can be disruptive to sleep, so put on some socks. You may wake up and have to take off those socks in the middle of the night, but that’s better than letting those cold feet keep you awake.
It can take several hours for your body temperature to cool down after exercise or exposure to excessive heat, so make sure your body is at normal temperature when you get ready for sleep.

2 Adjust the lighting. If you prefer a completely dark room, cover all lights such as digital alarm clocks, or any other electronic device in your bedroom that has a light on it. If you prefer to sleep with dim lighting, wear an eye mask or lower your lights until you are comfortable enough to sleep. Do not sleep with your lights on, as this disrupts sleep and makes it hard to become tired and relaxed.[2]
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3 Adjust the sound level. Consider putting on some white noise (sound machine, fan blowing etc.), which has been shown to make people fall asleep more quickly. Also, people find the ticking of a watch or clock soothing. [3] If you prefer everything quiet, turn off anything that causes noise.
You can also consider wearing earplugs before you go to bed. It can take some time to get used to them, but they can help block out sounds you didn’t even know were keeping you from sleeping. They can also be particularly useful if you share a bed with a partner who can wake you up.

4 Adjust your sleeping position. Keep your back straight, and make sure that your neck isn’t resting too high or too low. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as forcing your head to one side is hard on the spine and neck. If you sleep on your side, put a narrow pillow or rolled-up towel between your knees to keep your hips in a neutral position. Even turning from your right side to your left can help you fall asleep if you’re feeling wide awake in the same old position.

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5 Make your bed comfier. Swap your over or under-stuffed pillows for the ones you keep in the guest room. If your mattress is lumpy, flip it over or cover it with a foam pad or other blankets. The more conducive to sleep your bed is, the more likely you will be to feel ready for bed. We’ve all lied in a nice, cozy hammock in the sunlight and fallen asleep when we weren’t even feeling particularly tired, haven’t we? Well, a cozy bed can have the same effect.

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6 Get some exercise at least three hours before bed. Go for a run, hit up the gym, take a long walk, or do some stretches to help you get your heart rate going before you ease into bed. This will work out your body and will make you more tired; doing this at least three hours before bed will keep your adrenalin from pumping right before bedtime and keeping you awake. If you work out shortly before bed, then you will feel more awake than ever.[4]

7 Avoid alcohol or caffeine right before bed. Though a glass of wine may initially make you feel drowsy, if you consume alcohol right before bed, then it will disrupt your sleep cycle and make you fall into a less deep sleep. If you do like to have a nightcap, just have it 2-3 hours before bed so it doesn’t keep you up. As for caffeine, you should avoid caffeine after 2-3 pm, or ideally even after noon, because it can take up to eight hours for the caffeine to fully leave your system, which can definitely make you feel not so tired even when you want to fall asleep.[5]

8 Drink cherry juice. Or snack on a variety of other foods that are rich in melatonin, which are known to help you feel sleepier and to help you drift off faster. Though you should avoid eating right before bed or you may be up with indigestion or general discomfort, eating some of these foods a few hours before bed can help you drift off: [6] [7]
Barley
Tomatoes
Rice
Sweet corn
Oats
Oranges
Bananas

9 Curl your toes. When you get in bed, curl your toes upward for a few seconds, relax them, and then repeat the gesture. This can help you relax your mind and your body, so performing a series of ten of these if you are feeling way too alert for your own good can help you fall asleep when you’re not tired.[8]

10 Drink herbal tea. Herbal tea, whether it’s chamomile or peppermint, has been shown to calm your body and mind and to help you feel tired and relaxed. Have a cup an hour or two before bed — you don’t want to drink too much liquid right before bed or you’ll be more likely to have to get up to urinate. If you make drinking herbal tea part of your pre-bed routine, this will help you fall asleep even faster.

11 Eat a healthy, lighter dinner. Get a healthy dose of carbs, proteins, and fruits or veggies with your daily dinner. Avoid spicy or overly heavy meals that are rich in fat or sugars, or your body will be more alert and uncomfortable throughout the night. Just a healthy, balanced dinner will do the trick in making you feel more tired. Make sure to eat it at least three hours before bedtime so your body has time to digest the food. Here are some great dinner options that can help you feel tired while still feeling healthy:[9]
Lighter pasta with cheese
Tofu with couscous
A glass of warm milk with oatmeal
A kale salad, salmon, and rice noodles

Part Two of Three:

Calming Your Mind

1 Recreate boredom. This varies from person to person, but whatever that activity is, it should lull your brain, not engage it. Slow, calming music lends itself well to this. Reading something that is completely uninteresting to you is good as well. Try reading the income tax code. Some types of puzzles or games may work as well, such as Sudoku or Solitaire. Listen to a very dry podcast. Play tic-tac-toe with yourself. Organize that stack of paper on your desk. Do whatever you think is the most boring thing possible.

2 Perform breathing exercises. Try abdominal breathing, yogic pranayam, or a one-minute breathing exercise. Close your eyes and focus on the breath falling in and out of your body. As you do this, picture each part of your body relaxing, one at a time. Focusing on your body will keep you from thinking about anything else from the outside world.

3 Visualize something relaxing and repetitive. For example, think of small, warm waves washing over your body at regular intervals to coincide with your breathing. Meditate to calm yourself and clear your head. Don’t pick anything too exciting or thrilling, or you will start to work yourself up. Picture a calming beach, a gorgeous, lush forest, or a beautiful rose garden. Imagine yourself walking through it all.

Think of one of the most beautiful and calming places you have ever been to (a clear stream of running water in a field of wildflowers in the mountains to a peaceful lake). This should help you relax.

4 Read. Reading can help calm your mind and take your thoughts off of anything that might have been troubling you that day. Read something light and a not too gripping, such as the local news, a paperback, or a piece of historical non-fiction. If you read a gripping thriller or an emotionally disturbing news story, then that will keep you up even longer, and will make you feel even more awake if you just can’t stop reading.
Challenge yourself and read the most boring thing you can find, from your old chemistry textbooks to a dry report about the state of another country’s economy.

5Turn off all visual stimuli at least an hour before bed. Put away the iPad, phone, computer with Netflix all cued up, and turn off that television. Your eyes should begin to start to rest and to stop seeing all of the images that will make you feel more awake, jumpy, and less able to focus. Stop being the person who drifts off while watching television or with a cell phone in her hand and get rid of all of those high-sensory distractions, which are guaranteed to make your mind feel more alert when it’s time for bed.[10]

6 Stick to the fifteen-minute rule. This rule is simple: if you’ve been lying in bed for more than fifteen minutes and are unable to fall asleep because you’re not tired, then try something else. If you continue to lie there, your mind will continue churning, and you may even work yourself up and feel even more awake than you did when you first closed your eyes. Once fifteen minutes have passed and you’re no closer to catching those z’s, do something else that is not very taxing. Read a magazine. Pace around your room. Drink some herbal tea. Hum to yourself. Sit up and stare at your hands. Do something new and you will start to drift off.
Whatever you do, though, make sure to keep the lights dim — even reasonably dim if you’re reading.

7 Avoid intense conversations before bed. Five minutes before bed time is not the time to get into a big fight with your significant other or to call up your best friend and complain about all of the stress you’re facing at work in great detail. If you live with someone and have to talk right before bed, make sure you don’t bring up anything more intense than the type of herbal tea you’re going to buy at the store tomorrow. Otherwise, the conversation will make you feel even more alert and awake, and it will take you even longer to fall asleep.
If you live with someone who loves intense conversations right before bed, reschedule them for two to three hours before bed instead, if you can.
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8 Think about everything you did that day. Another way to calm your mind is to go through everything you did that day, up to the most boring little detail. Start with how many blackberries you placed in your morning oatmeal and end with which quadrant of your teeth you decided to brush last. Try to break it down hour by hour and see how specific you can get and how many things you can end up remembering. Unless you’re a superhero or an ER doctor for a living, chances are that this alone will be boring enough to put you to sleep.
If you’ve gone through your whole day and still feel wide awake, try going through your entire week. Surely that should be boring enough to make you drift off.

Part Three of Three:

Developing a Sleep-Friendly Routine

1 Find your sleepy time routine. If you want to feel tired when you want to go to bed, then you have to find a routine that helps you decompress and fall right into bed that starts at least half an hour before it’s time to get some shut eye. This can include some light reading, listening to classical music, reading the newspaper, or doing whatever light, low-intensity activities help you forget your problems and start to recognize that your body needs rest.[11]
Once you find this routine, stick to it, and if you know you have to get to bed a little earlier one night though you’re not tired, start the routine earlier and you can trick your mind into feeling tired a bit faster.

2 Go to bed around the same time every night. You may not be feeling tired because you’re trying to go to bed three hours earlier than you normally do — probably because you have to wake up earlier. If you want to make it easier for yourself to fall asleep, then you have to get used to falling asleep at around the same time every night and waking up around the same time every morning. That way, your body will get used to feeling more tired at the same time every night or more alert at the same time every morning.

3 Only use your bed for sleeping and sex. If you want to regularly be able to fall asleep, even if you’re not tired, then you can’t watch TV in bed, do your homework in bed, talk to friends on the phone in bed, or do anything in your bed other than have sex or try to fall asleep. If your mind and body associate your bed only with sleep and sex, then it’ll be easier for you to drift off when you close your eyes, instead of getting all worked up about the weird phone call you just got from your best friend or about all of the homework you still have to do.
Find a space in your home or room that is designated for “work only.” This will help you save the relaxing stuff for your bed.

4 Get out in the sunlight as soon as you wake up. Once you roll out of bed, head for the window or the balcony as soon as you can. The bright light from the sun will tell your body’s biological clock that it’s wakey-wakey time, and this same clock will help you get to bed in about 14-16 hours, helping you stabilize your waking up and going to bed routine.[12]

5 Set aside a “worry time” for earlier in the day. If one of the reasons you don’t feel tired when you go to bed is because you stay up for two hours worrying about your relationship, your health, your status at work, etc, then you need to work on setting aside a “worry time” earlier in the day so that there’s nothing on your mind by the time you’re ready to hit the hay. It may sound silly, but if you say, “I’m going to worry from 5-5:30 PM every day” and do nothing but worry, write down your worries, or say them aloud during that time, then you’ll get them off your chest.
If you wait until bed time to slow down and really think about your troubles, then yeah, you’re bound to feel wide awake for a long time.

6 Avoid hot baths before bed. Though many people think that nothing will help them fall asleep faster than taking a hot, relaxing bath right before bed, the truth is that taking that late hot bath will actually keep you awake for longer. Taking a hot bath will, not surprisingly, turn up your body temperature, which can take up to 6 hours to return to normal. And the higher your body temperature is, the harder it will be for you to fall asleep, so avoid those hot baths before bedtime because they will have the opposite of their intended effect.[13]

7 Kick fluffy (or Spot ) out of the room. Another way to develop a healthy routine that keeps you from staying awake for longer than necessary is to stop letting your dog or cat share the bed with you. Though you may love nothing more than the feeling of this furry, cuddly creature sleeping beside you, studies show that people who sleep with their pets have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep because those cuddly creatures can wake you up in the middle of the night.[14]
You may think that having your dear pet next to you will help you fall asleep when you’re not feeling tired, but it will actually make you even more awake

Tips ^^

Sleep with a large pillow or stuffed animal, because no one likes to sleep alone.

Cuddle up to your favorite stuffed animal, close your eyes, and think of anything that makes you happy.

Clear your mind of all thoughts, try to think of positive memories and visualise calming scenes.

Daydream. It will get your mind off of anything stressful or worrisome and just let you drift off into whatever world you create.

Use the bathroom to make yourself more comfortable and prevent having to get back up any time soon.

Lay still and relax. Close your eyes, and try to clear your mind.

Surround yourself with calm, peaceful things that may help you slow down.

Fluff your pillow if it’s hard, so you can go to sleep.
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If you wash your hair, make sure that the wet hair isn’t pressing against your neck or you can dry it. Wet hair can be cold and prevent you from sleeping.

Have a warm beverage about an hour before you go to bed. Avoid coffee or anything with caffeine. Warm milk is usually a good choice.
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Don’t stress out about falling asleep, thinking “I have to sleep now or else…” This creates anxiety that prevents sleep. Instead, be laid back about it: “It’d be great to sleep right now, but if I don’t, no big deal. At least I’ll get some rest, and have a chance to relax.”
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A MESSAGE FROM REX CRANDELL’S TAX OFFICE:

Our firm provides income tax preparation and planning services for individuals, families, C Corporations, S Corporations, LLC Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, domestic partners, for income and deductions generated in California, the United States, and assist taxpayers internationally comply with the USA income tax reporting requirements. Rex Crandell, Esq. also provides services in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Probate Procedures, Advance Healthcare Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney for Financial Management, and Advance Health Care Directives.

You can contact Rex Crandell’s offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco, California
by calling; 1 (800) 464-6595;
or (925) 934 6320, Walnut Creek, California;  or  (415) 982-1110, San Francisco, California

or by e-mail at:    rexcrandell@astound.net

http://www.rexcrandell.com/

http://www.taxrexcrandell.com/

We would be happy to hear from you.

…FROM REX CRANDELL’s OFFICE…

Please contact our office if you have any questions.

Very truly yours,
/s/ Rex L. Crandell
Rex L. Crandell. CPA, Esq.

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FROM:

Rex L. Crandell Firm

Walnut Creek Office (For UPS/FedEx/OR if Signature Req’d Documents)
3000 Citrus Circle
Suite 207 – West Wing [ Click For MAP TO OUR OFFICE]
(925) 934-6320
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