Here are some examples of holiday gifts you provide to members of your family, employees and others that may also yield tax benefits.
Gifts for Employees – It is common practice this time of year for employers to give employees gifts. Although gifts are generally excluded from the recipient’s gross income, an employee cannot exclude gifts from his or her employer as a gift.
People often say that an expense is “a tax write-off” and most everyone interprets this to mean that the expense will have a tax benefit. Generally, such a benefit takes the form of either a deduction or a credit; these benefits’ effects are quite different, however, and each type has various categories. As a result, the tax implications may not be as expected. This is especially true when the write-off claim comes from a salesperson who is touting the tax benefits of a product or service, as such individuals often leave out key details. In general, a deduction reduces taxable income, whereas a credit reduces the tax itself.
At their core, tax credits are a very particular type of benefit designed to offset the actual tax liability associated with SMBs around the country. This isn’t the same thing as a tax deduction, which lowers that business’s actual income. Tax credits are typically offered to incentivize everything from hiring more workers in order to stimulate the economy to making meaningful contributions to specific industries.
The late-2017 tax-reform package changed the rules for personal casualty losses, which now are only deductible if they occur in a federally declared disaster area. As a result, if a home is destroyed in a forest fire or other disaster within a declared disaster zone, the homeowner can claim a casualty loss on that year’s tax return.
If you could not complete your 2018 tax return by the normal April filing due date and are now on extension, that extension expires on October 15, 2019. Failure to file before the extension period runs out can subject you to late-filing penalties.
Every year, the vast majority of taxpayers file their returns with the IRS between the end of January and the April due date. However, the IRS does not just take taxpayers’ word regarding the information on their returns. For this reason, tax season is followed by “matching season,” when the IRS attempts to match the information on each taxpayer’s return with the information from the various returns that other entities (employers, financial firms, educational institutions, the insurance marketplace, etc.) have filed. The goal is to identify possible accidental oversights and intentional omissions.
If you own cryptocurrency, you need to know that the IRS has owners of cryptocurrency in its sights because many cryptocurrency owners are not reporting or paying taxes on their cryptocurrency transactions. In fact, the IRS is so focused on this issue that it recently issued warning letters to over 10,000 taxpayers it suspects might have an under-reporting problem.
You have your 2018 tax return filed, or perhaps on extension, and now it is time to look forward to the changes that will impact your 2019 return when you file it in 2020.
Although audits are relatively rare, as fewer than 1% of taxpayers grouped by income level will get that dreaded notice on IRS letterhead. But don’t panic!
Per the linked statistics, for the average American who earned $50‒70K per year, only about half a percent of those tax returns got audited. If you made between $25‒50K or between $75‒100K, less than half a percent of those returns were under audit. Only 6.66% of tax returns reporting an eight-figure adjusted gross income were audited as well. Additionally, the IRS has less funding and about one-third fewer agents on board compared to less than a decade ago, so this keeps audit figures down.
It Makes a Difference for Taxes – Now More than Ever
Taxpayers are often confused by the differences in tax treatment between businesses that are entered into for profit and those that are not, commonly referred to as hobbies. Recent tax law changes have added to the confusion. The differences are: