Business Taxes, cannabis, Chicago cannabis, Family Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Debt, Tax Deductions, Tax Planning, Tax Reduction, Uncategorized

Proprietors and Partners Mistakenly Pay Themselves Illegal W-2 Wages

activity board game connection desk

In our Chicago South Loop Tax Preparation office, we often see sole proprietors and partners who are above the Section 199A thresholds look for W-2 wages as a means to salvage the 20 percent deduction allowed by Section 199A. They also often look enviously at the fringe benefits that are available to employees and not to them as sole proprietors or partners.

To overcome getting shorted on the Section 199A deduction or being denied fringe benefits, some sole proprietors and partners instruct their payroll services to make them W-2 employees. When the payroll services do this, the proprietors and partners believe they are now legitimate employees of their proprietorships and partnerships. Wrong. Totally wrong.

  • The sole proprietor may not be a W-2 employee of his or her sole proprietorship.
  • A partner may not be a W-2 employee of a partnership.
  • Some sole proprietors and partners have had their Certified Professional Employer Organization (CPEO) treat them as employees. Also, wrong!
  • Using a CPEO does not create the possibility of paying a W-2 wage to a partner or a sole proprietor.

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Takeaways

The sole proprietor is not a W-2 employee of the proprietorship. He or she is self-employed and operates under the rules for the self-employed. The partner is not a W-2 employee of the partnership. He or she is a partner and is treated as a partner under the
tax rules. Partners receive remuneration for services as guaranteed payments, which are subject to self employment taxes.

The single-member LLC is a proprietorship unless the member elects treatment as an S or a C corporation. Similarly, a multi member LLC is a partnership unless it elects treatment as an S or a C corporation.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Taxes, Family Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Debt, Tax Deductions, Tax Planning, Tax Reduction, Uncategorized

How I went to IRS tax jail, aka IRS withholding compliance program.

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Author: Trudy M. Howard

Have you ever gotten away with something, and found yourself doing it again? Did you keep doing it thinking that you would never get caught, or if you did get caught, you could talk your way out of it? Well that was also me when it came to going exempt on my Federal taxes.

When I was 25 I started working for a major phone company, and I was earning about $70,000 per year. $70,000 wasn’t a shabby salary for a 25 year old single mother, but when the Federal taxes were deducted, I felt as if I was paying more in taxes than I was earning. With the increase in salary I no longer qualified for the earned income tax credit, I didn’t qualify for daycare assistance programs, and I was kicked out of the welfare office when I asked for medical help or food stamps! So what was a girl to do when she felt that she needed more money to survive? Was I supposed to create a budget and stick to it? Should I have stopped dining out? Maybe I should have picked up a side business (which would have created tax planning opportunities) and supplemented my income? While all of these things sound like viable, and reasonable options, 25 year old Trudy was not reasonable, and she certainly wasn’t going to discipline herself to stick to a budget. While discussing my financial crisis (don’t judge me) with a friend, she told me about a “magical thing” called “going exempt from Federal income tax.”
Schedule-button-nbor click here to call us 1-855-743-5765.

In order to stop the government from taking $300 and $400 out of my paychecks, “all I had to do (which is the opening statement for all bad ideas)” was write exempt on my W4, hand the form to my employer, and magically, all of the deductions would stop. The first time that I went exempt I was afraid. Was the IRS going to come after me? Was my job going to fire me for not paying taxes? Would I owe the IRS a gazillion dollars? To my surprise (and eventual demise) none of these things happened. In fact, nothing happened, life continued on, and I was happy as jay bird; that is until tax time arrived.

In June of 2002 I received my first IRS tax bill (notice CP51A). I ignored it. More letters came; I ignored them. Certified letters came; I refused to pick them up. The only letter that caught my attention was the CP504 intent to levy, and it only caught my attention because it mentioned the word assets. Me being me, I waited until the last minute to contact the IRS, and after my bank account was levied, I finally understood that when the IRS sends letters, it’s best to call them immediately. One would think that the levy would have changed my ways, but nope! All the levy did was teach me to get tax debt help, and work out a payment plan with the IRS.

Schedule-button-nbor an with the IRS click here to call us 1-855-743-5765.

After resolving my tax debt issues, I began the crazy cycle of racking up tax debt, and asking for an installment plan. 10 years into this cycle I finally reached the mother of all IRS agents, and she told me “be careful, because an IRS agents can see that you keep racking up debt, and that you don’t have enough withholding. When you don’t have enough withholdings, the IRS can force you to increase your withholding.” My internal response was “girl bye… I’ve been doing this for years, run the payment plan and shut up” but my external response was “Really they can do that? I always figured that I would settle up with the IRS at the end of the year. I’ll do better this year, I promise.” Little did I know the gig was up, and I was on my way to IRS tax jail.

Merriam Webster defines prison as: “a state of confinement or captivity, or  a place of confinement especially for lawbreakers.” While IRS tax jail is not a physical jail with walls, those that have been placed into the IRS withholding compliance program can tell you that it certainly feels like jail! Once the taxpayer becomes a lawbreaker (by not paying their taxes as they go), they are eventually placed into the IRS withholding compliance program (aka IRS tax jail), and held captive for a minimum of 3 years. During this 3 year period the IRS states that: “your employer must withhold income tax from your wages as if you’re single with zero allowances.”

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To illustrate, in 2019, if a person is earning $70,000 (and there were thrown into IRS tax jail aka withholding compliance program), they would have $400.87 withheld from each paycheck to cover their Federal income taxes. In addition to the Federal tax deduction, every paycheck would also have deductions for Social Security ($166.92), Medicare ($39.04), and state taxes ( I live in Illinois, and in IL the tax would be $133.27. After taxes, the taxpayer would be left with a net pay of $1,952.21, not including deductions for health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, union dues, and so on. So if the IRS tax jail isn’t physical, how is one cast into IRS tax jail? The IRS sends tax payers to IRS tax Jail by sending letter 2800C to the taxpayers employer. 

Once your employer receives letter 2800C per IRS.gov: “within 60 days the employer must “begin withholding income tax from this employee’s wages based on a withholding rate (or marital status) single, and withholding allowances of 0.” No amount of pleading, threatening, or arguing with your employer will change this. If you switch employers, the IRS will find you. The only thing that you can do is contact the IRS yourself (for the DIY crowd), or you can work with a professional tax debt resolution firm to negotiate with the IRS on your behalf.. Depending on your number of dependents, and marital status, the IRS may show you some mercy. There is always the option of doing nothing, and if you choose to do nothing, you can expect your lock in rate to begin within 60 days, and you will remain in IRS tax jail for a minimum of 3 years.

As with every good story, there is always a silver lining. If during your 3 year bid, you remain a good little taxpayer (by paying your taxes & staying in tax compliance) the warden can release you from IRS tax jail. 

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Taxes, Family Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Debt, Tax Deductions, Tax Planning, Tax Reduction, Uncategorized

DID YOUR CPA REALLY FILE YOUR TAXES?

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Here in our Chicago South Loop Tax Preparation office, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people that have paid CPA’s to file their taxes, only to find that their taxes were never filed! Many people aren’t aware of the fact that their taxes haven’t been filed until they receive a letter or notice from the IRS requesting tax returns for the years in questions.
While you can file a complaint against professional tax preparers, the IRS still holds individual taxpayers responsible for ensuring that their tax returns were filed. Because individual taxpayers are responsible for filing their returns (and for what’s on their returns) we recommend that every taxpayer request a copy of their tax return transcript every 2-3 years. Keep reading to find out how to access your tax return transcript.
4 Ways to Get IRS Transcripts

1.) ONLINE: Access the IRS online system at  Get Transcript Online . You will need to have the following:

  • A wireless phone IN YOUR NAME.
  • Most recent tax return.
  • Account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan/ line of credit or auto loan.

2.) BY MAIL: If you’re unable to register online, or you prefer not to use Get Transcript Online, you may order a tax return transcript and/or a tax account transcript using Get Transcript by Mail Please allow 5 to 10 calendar days for delivery.

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3.) BY PHONE: call 800-908-9946. Please allow 5 to 10 calendar days for delivery.

4.) BY FAX/MAIL: Complete Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return to 855-298-1145, unless you live in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York,
Pennsylvania, Vermont. If you live in one of the aforementioned states, you will fax your form to 855-821-0094. 
We’ve included a sample of how to complete form 4506 below.

f4506T Transcript Tax Return EXAMPLE_Page_1.jpg

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Taxes, Family Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Deductions, Tax Planning, Tax Reduction, Uncategorized

How to Handle Multiple Rental Activities and the 199A Deduction

apartment

In our  Chicago tax preparation office we often prepare real estate investor taxes. With the fairly new tax laws, there’s still a lot of confusion out there around your rental activity and Section 199A. Your Section 199A considerations multiply when you have multiple rental activities. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Are your rental activities multiple trades or businesses, or one trade or business?
  • Can you aggregate the rentals for Section 199A purposes? Do you want to?
  • How does the Section 199A rental safe harbor impact your Section 199A deduction if you use it?

Whether your rental activities are each a trade or business, or they constitute one trade or business, is inherently based on the facts of your particular situation. The IRS also believes that multiple trades or businesses will generally not exist within an entity unless it can use different methods of accounting for each trade or business under the Section 466 regulations. These regulations explain that you can’t consider a trade or business separate and distinct unless you keep a complete and separable set of books and records for that trade or business.

This determination is an important factor for you if any one rental activity (taken individually) doesn’t rise to the level of a trade or business, but all the rental activities (viewed collectively) do rise to the level of a trade or business. One of the factors the IRS looks to when determining whether a rental activity is a trade or business is the number of properties rented.

Aggregation

The Section 199A regulations allow you to aggregate multiple trades or businesses such that you treat the aggregated group as one trade or business for determining your Section 199A deduction. This is an important consideration if one or more of your rental businesses have insufficient wages or unadjusted basis in assets (UBIA) to get the maximum Section 199A deduction for that property.
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The final regulations tell us you can aggregate, in most circumstances, provided that the rental activities share centralized administrative functions, such as accounting, legal, and human resources functions. The big wrinkle is the type of rental business: you generally can’t aggregate residential rental businesses and commercial rental businesses with each other because they aren’t the same type of property.

Rental Safe Harbor

Along with the final regulations, the IRS gave you an optional safe harbor to deem your rental activities as qualifying for the Section 199A deduction. The safe harbor isn’t the best strategy because most rentals qualify as a trade or business anyway.
Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Taxes, Family Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Deductions, Tax Reduction, Uncategorized

Deduct Your Costs of Sponsoring Sports Teams

woman athletes playing soccer

In our south loop Chicago tax preparation office, when we prepare small business tax returns, we are often asked if a company can deduct the costs of sponsoring a sports team. Have you wondered what it takes to deduct the costs of sponsoring a sports team? What if you play on the team? Could you pay for the team travel expenses?

Revenue Ruling 70-393 states that the monies spent to outfit and support a sports team are similar to monies spent on other methods of advertising; accordingly, you may deduct them as business expenses for federal income tax purposes.

In the Strong case, Strong Construction Co. Inc. advertised its business primarily through either word of mouth or athletic sponsorships. As part of the athletic sponsorships, the corporation paid for the uniforms, logo design, hats, T-shirts, sweatpants, coats, bags, and pants for all players on its sponsored teams (broomball, softball, wrestling, etc.). The court ruled that the expenses were ordinary and necessary business expenses and that Strong could deduct them as advertising or promotion.
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In the Bower case, James Bower sponsored the Lafayette Bower Housing Hustlers basketball team, and he was both an assistant coach and a player. As the Hustlers’ sponsor, Bower paid for the team’s travel, lodging, food, promotions, AAU fees, tournament fees, gym rental, and uniforms. The court noted that Bower’s sponsorship increased his commodity brokerage commissions and generated additional clients; accordingly, the court ruled that Bower’s sponsorship expenses were deductible business expenses.

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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What is the De Minimis safe harbor $2,500 Expensing ($5,000 with AFS)?

adult chill computer connection

It’s a new year, and in preparation for the Chicago small business tax preparation season, you can elect the de minimis safe harbor to expense assets costing $2,500 or less ($5,000 with audited financial statements or something similar).

The term “safe harbor” means that the IRS will accept your expensing of the qualified assets if you properly abided by the rules of the safe harbor.

Here are four benefits of this safe harbor:

  1. Safe harbor expensing is superior to Section 179 expensing because you don’t have the recapture period that can complicate your taxes.
  2. Safe harbor expensing takes depreciation out of the equation.
  3. Safe harbor expensing simplifies your tax and business records because you don’t have the assets cluttering your books.
  4. The safe harbor does not reduce your overall ceiling on Section 179 expensing.

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Here’s how the safe harbor works. Say you are a small business that elects the $2,500 ceiling for safe harbor expensing and you buy two desks costing $2,100 each. On the invoice, you see the quantity “two” and the total cost of $4,200, plus sales tax of $378 and a $200 delivery and setup charge, for a total of $4,778.

Before this safe harbor, you would have capitalized each desk at $2,389 ($4,778 ÷ 2) and then either Section 179 expensed or depreciated it. You would have kept the desks in your depreciation schedules until you disposed of them.

Now, with the safe harbor, you simply expense the desks as office supplies. This makes your tax life much easier.

To benefit from the safe harbor, you and I do a two-step process. It works like this:Schedule-button-nb

Step 1. For safe harbor protection, you must have in place an accounting policy—at the beginning of the tax year—that requires expensing of an amount of your choosing, up to the $2,500 or $5,000 limit. We can help you with this.

Step 2. When we prepare your tax return, Howard Tax Prep LLC make the election on your tax return for you to use safe harbor expensing. This requires that I attach the election statement to your federal tax return and file that tax return by the due date (including extensions).

Although we’ve given you the basics, this is not an all-inclusive article. Should you have tax debt help questions, need Chicago business tax preparation, business entity creation, business insurance, or business compliance assistance please contact us online, or call our office toll free at 1-855-743-5765 or locally in Chicago or Indiana at 1-708-529-6604. Make sure to join our newsletter for more tips on reducing taxes, and increasing your wealth.

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Business Taxes, General Information, General Tax Topics, Self Employed, Small Business, Tax Deductions, Uncategorized, Vehicles

Commercial Fuel Card Without A Personal Guarantee.

gas card

Commercial Fuel Card

Gas Cards Without A Personal Guarantee

Would you like to free up some cash so that you can increase your marketing budget, purchase more supplies, or reward your employees? Have you heard about obtaining business credit without a personal guarantee, but haven’t been able to secure your own business credit? Are you a small business owner that has damaged personal credit? Have you been told that you can’t get business credit if you have bad personal credit? If any of these things apply to you, you’ve come to the right place!
To start, let us explain what a “personal guarantee is.” A personal guarantee means that the owners will be held personally liable for the debts of their business. Suppose you have a LLC Howard Tax Prep LLC has partnered with a national gas chain (comparable with Exon Mobil, Citgo, etc. with over 18,000 locations worldwide) to offer small business owners (being defined as businesses with revenues under 1 million dollars) fuel cards that report business payment history to Dunn and Brad Street, and Equifax every 30 days!
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Only verified businesses that are structured as a LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp with a Dun and Brad Street number will qualify. Because this is not a publicly marketed program, your business must be verified, prior to receiving the name of the fuel company (but trust us, you can find a station near you).  

The best part about this offer? THE CARDS ARE ISSUED WITHOUT ANY PERSONAL LIABILITY TO THE OWNERS, & WITHOUT THE USE OF THE OWNERS PERSONAL CREDIT. If you need a truck driver fuel card, Uber driver fuel card, Lyft driver fuel card, or just a general small business owner fuel card, we can help! 

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?

  • National fuel provider. Qualified businesses that are ready to move forward will be given the name of the fuel company prior to paying the 1 time $49.95 Howard Tax Prep LLC processing fee.
  • Minimum deposit of $200 for a $500 credit line is required.
  • Accounts are reviewed every quarter for credit line increases.
  • After 12 months of ON TIME PAYMENTS, your deposit will be returned.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?

  • Business Must Be Structured As A LLC, Corporation, or S-corporation.
  • Must have a BUSINESS CHECKING account.
  • Must Agree To Make ON-TIME Payments.
  • Deposit Payment Can Only Be Drafted From Business Checking account.

Who should use fuel cards?

Owner Operator Truck Driver

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Owner Operator Truck Drivers no longer have to use personal credit cards or cash profits to purchase fuel! Reduce driver fraud by setting fuel limits & restricting usage. Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score.     

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

GET YOUR CARD NOW!

Small Business Owner

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Small business owners no more using your profits & personal credit cards to cover fuel cost. Use the cash you save and apply it toward marketing, inventory, and more! Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score. 

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

GET YOUR CARD NOW! 

Uber & Lyft Driver

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Uber and Lyft Drivers that would like to build their business credit, and free up their cash flow. Use your additional cash flow for brake repairs, oil changes, and more! Save on fuel cost, while building your business credit Paydex score.  

  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

 GET YOUR CARD NOW!  

How easy it to use the card?

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 1-2-3 Driver Instructions 

  • Swipe card
  • Enter driver ID when prompted (may also be call DIN or PIN)
  • Enter odometer reading when prompted
  • The principal or owner is not personally liable for any bad debt.
  • The account will be in the name of the business.
  • Helps to Establish & build business credit.
  • Account payment history reported to DnB and Equifax every 30 days.
  • Accepted at over 18,000 locations Worldwide.
  • Free online invoicing.
  • Activate new cards as needed.
  • Restrict cards with fuel only limits & purchase restrictions during non-business hours.
  • Save up to 6¢/gal* on fuel purchases at thousands of locations in the U.S.
  • Earn rebates on fuel at branded locations.

 GET YOUR CARD NOW!