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Too Much Paperwork? What You Can Throw Away After Filing

New FTC Final Rule Bans Most Noncompete Agreements

Using a noncompete agreement or a noncompete clause in an employment contract has been a standard business practice for years. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that about 30 million American workers — almost one out of every five — are subject to agreements restricting their rights upon termination of employment. But now the FTC […]

DOL Expands Overtime to Millions of Workers

In April 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new final rule that’s slated to expand the number of workers who are eligible for overtime pay under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It’s expected to affect four million workers. The rule, which dramatically increases the salary threshold for so-called exempt workers, […]

Updated Guidance on Business Vehicle  Depreciation

The rules for deducting depreciation expenses on vehicles used for business purposes have been liberalized under current tax law, but they remain complicated. In addition, annual inflation adjustments make allowable depreciation deductions moving targets. (See “First-Year Depreciation Deductions under the TCJA,” below.) Here’s how to calculate depreciation deductions for cars, SUVs, pickups and vans used […]

Does Your Business Have a Detailed Weather Emergency Plan?

Weather emergencies take many forms and, depending on your location, you’re likely more vulnerable to some forms than others. These disasters — such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and wildfires — pose major risks to businesses. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that about 25% of companies don’t reopen after a major disaster […]

How New Retirement Plan Emergency Savings Accounts Work

Starting in 2024, employers can offer their nonhighly compensated employees the option to participate in emergency savings accounts that are linked to their company defined contribution retirement plan accounts. This option was introduced in the SECURE 2.0 Act. Defined contribution plans include 401(k) plans. Employees can then make contributions out of their salary to fund […]

Money Matters – Buying versus Leasing a Car

Some people approach buying a car almost the way they approach marriage, “until death do us part.” Others prefer to keep their options open, trading in every few years for the latest body style, the hottest technology, or the highest horsepower. Whichever describes you best, we all face a similar decision when it comes to […]

Answers to Your Questions about Marital Status and Tax Returns

When a couple ties the knot or gets divorced, taxes are probably not the first thing on their minds. But many decisions that couples make do affect their tax returns — and the amount they ultimately owe the federal government. Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about marital status and taxes. Q. […]

Federal Tax News for Individuals

Little Bits of Income Still Count It’s easy to overlook smaller amounts of income when it’s time to prepare your tax return. Taxpayers must generally include all income, not just the amount they find on an employer-generated W-2 form. For example, did you make goods and sell them on an online marketplace or at a […]

Key Rules for Home Office Deductions

Do you work from home all or part of the time? If you’re self-employed and meet certain requirements, you can write off a portion of your home office expenses, even if you perform work at other locations. The deduction may be based on the actual expenses you’re able to substantiate — or it may be […]

Smart Ways to Detect Internal Fraud

Internal fraud is difficult to detect, which is understandable given the wide variety of techniques that range from stealing cash and supplies, to falsifying expense reports and benefit claims, embezzling funds, and accepting kickbacks from vendors, contractors, and suppliers. But catching dishonest employees isn’t impossible if you focus on the task, take a strong stand […]

Social Security Tax Update: How High Can It Go?

Employees, self-employed individuals and employers all pay the Social Security tax, and the bite the Social Security tax takes gets bigger every year. Here’s what you should know — and why you should be concerned. Social Security Tax on Employee Wages As an employee, your wages are hit with the 12.4% Social Security tax up […]

Follow Detailed Recordkeeping Rules for Vehicle Expense Deductions

Many business owners fail to follow the strict tax rules for substantiating vehicle expenses. But if your business is audited, the IRS will most likely ask for mileage logs if you deducted vehicle expenses — and it tends to be especially critical of the amount deducted if you’re self-employed or you employ relatives. While the […]

New Twists and Turns Taken by EV Credits

Did you buy an electric vehicle (EV) in 2023? Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed late in 2022, you may be eligible for a new-and-improved tax credit, beginning on your 2023 federal income tax return. But the new law also bars certain high-income taxpayers from claiming the credit. What’s more, if you’re looking to […]

IRS makes changes for reporting 1099s, W-2s and other forms

Starting for tax year 2023, if you have 10 or more information returns, they must be filed electronically.  This also includes Forms W-2, e-filed with the Social Security Administration. Final e-file regulation details are linked here:

Itemizing Deductions on Your Federal Income Tax Return

Once the 2023 tax year is over and the numbers are generally set in stone, you can itemize deductions on your federal income tax return if your total allowable itemized write-offs for the year exceeds your standard deduction allowance for the year. Otherwise, for 2023, you will claim the standard deduction, which is relatively high […]

How Municipal Bonds Can Help Investors Manage Tax Exposure

Municipal bonds (often referred to as “munis”) can be attractive to income-seeking investors because they provide an income stream exempt from federal and, in certain cases, state and local income taxes. Like other fixed-income investments, munis involve risk. But as part of a broadly diversified portfolio, they can offer you an effective way to increase […]

Qualified charitable distributions allow eligible IRA owners up to $100,000 in tax-free gifts to charity

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today reminded individual retirement arrangement (IRA) owners age 70½ or over that they can transfer up to $100,000 to charity tax-free each year. These transfers, known as qualified charitable distributions or QCDs, offer eligible older Americans a great way to easily give to charity before the end of the year. […]

Year-End Holiday Parties and Gifts: What’s Taxable?

The holidays are just around the corner, and now is the time for employers to start thinking about treating their employees with holidays parties or gifts. Such gestures are always a nice idea. Plus in a tight labor market, they can be a smart way to show appreciation and boost retention. But you need to […]

Will Your Crypto Transactions Be Reported on a Form 1099?

Some taxpayers may be unaware of all the federal tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions — especially when it comes to issuing and receiving a Form 1099 for 2023. If you buy something with cryptocurrency, you won’t receive one. However, you may receive a Form 1099 if you receive a crypto payment. There are several […]

Update on New Retirement Account Catch-Up Contribution Rules

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act brought numerous changes to the retirement and estate planning landscape in late 2019. Congress followed up with the SECURE 2.0 Act in late 2022. This law introduced some additional taxpayer-friendly changes, including an increase in the limits for retirement account catch-up contributions for individuals who […]

How to Curb Automotive Hacking

Automotive hacking is on the rise. The number of cyberattacks into vehicle computer systems increased by a staggering 380% from 2021 to 2022, according to Upstream’s 2023 Global Automotive CyberSecurity Report. Don’t buckle up without taking precautions.  What Is Automotive Hacking? The term “automotive hacking” refers to attempts by outsiders to use technology to invade […]

How the Risk of Detection Reduces Fraud

Do your employees feel like they’re being watched? If they don’t, they may be emboldened to steal. In the same way that putting more police officers on streets tends to reduce crime, making your company’s anti-fraud activities more visible can discourage fraud perpetrators. Good internal controls are critical to preventing fraud. But many companies have […]

6 Types of Payroll Tax Obligations Employers Should Know

There’s more to paying taxes than just federal and state income taxes. Another major tax chore for employers is payroll taxes. These expenditures can be significant, and the reporting requirements can be onerous. So it’s important for small business owners to understand the basics. First off, employers are required to report and deposit payroll taxes […]

Be Careful When Saving for Your Kids’ Education

Here’s a little-known secret for parents planning to send their children to college in the future: Some of the tax-saving moves you make now could hurt your student’s chances for getting financial aid later. That’s because of the way the financial aid system treats different assets. Retirement plans and IRAs don’t count for college aid […]

Do Your Kids Know the Value of a Silver Spoon?

You taught them how to read and how to ride a bike, but have you taught your children how to manage money? Many college students and graduates carry a significant amount of student loan debt. Unfortunately, many of them will either default or be delinquent in repaying those loans, which may affect decisions they make for […]

Delinquent Taxpayers May Experience Passport Issues

Let’s say a person is planning to take a plane trip out of the country. And further suppose that individual owes the federal government a fair amount of back taxes. The person may not be able get a passport if he or she owes the government a significant amount of back taxes. The IRS is […]

Inflation Boosts Federal Gift and Estate Tax Breaks

Inflation is generally bad news. But a favorable side effect is bigger annual inflation adjustments to federal tax breaks. In fact, many federal tax parameters for the 2023 tax year are up about 7% over the amounts for 2022. Here are the details — plus inflation-adjusted estimates for the 2024 tax year to tide you […]

Independent Contractors Offer Advantages — and One Major Risk

Hiring someone as an independent contractor can have many advantages for employers. Among them are that independent contractors: Perhaps the biggest risk of engaging an independent contractor is that the IRS will eventually determine that the person is actually an employee. In such an event, you could be held liable for back taxes, penalties and […]

Update on Deducting Business Meal and Entertainment Expenses

The federal income tax treatment of business-related meal and entertainment expenses has been a moving target the last few years. If you’re confused about what rules currently apply, you’re not alone. Here’s a refresher on what’s currently deductible — and what’s not. TCJA Impact Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect, […]

New Tax Law Improves QCD Benefits

Seniors who must take withdrawals from their IRAs may be able to benefit from a special tax provision for qualified charitable distributions (QCDs). Briefly stated, this provision allows people in their 70s and older to transfer funds directly from an IRA to a charity without any adverse tax consequences. The new SECURE 2.0 law enhances […]