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Preparing for the New Surtax

As part of the Affordable Care Act (the new health care legislation), a new tax kicks in this year. The official name of this tax is the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution Tax, and even though the name implies it is a contribution, don’t get the idea that it is voluntary or that you can deduct it as a charitable contribution. It is actually a surtax levied on the net investment income of taxpayers in the higher income brackets. And although it is perceived as an additional tax on higher-income taxpayers, it can affect even those who normally ...

What is Basis

An important tax term that everyone should know is “basis”, especially if you’re in real estate. The odds are very high that you will encounter the term sometime during your lifetime, and it can have a profound impact on your tax liability.

Simply stated, “basis” is the monetary value from which a taxable gain or loss is calculated when an asset is sold. For example, you purchase 100 shares of ABC stock for $10 a share. Your basis for those shares of stock is $1,000 (100 x $10). Then, if the stock were sold for $1,500, you&...

Are You Required to File 1099s

A business that pays an independent contractor $600 or more in a year must file Form 1099-MISC. Form W-9 is used to collect the independent contractor’s data. Deadlines for issuing 2013 1099-MISCs are January 31, 2014 (to independent contractors) and February 28, 2014 (to the IRS).

If you use independent contractors to perform services for your business and you pay them $600 or more for the year, you are required to issue them a Form 1099-MISC after the end of the year to avoid facing the loss of the deduction for their labor and expenses. The 1099s for 2013 must be provided to ...

What is the Alternative Minimum Tax AMT

The alternative minimum tax, originally created to curb tax shelters and tax preferences of the wealthy, can now apply to the average taxpayer. Six commonly encountered deductions routinely cause the average taxpayer to be hit by the AMT. Incentive stock options can also have a profound impact on the AMT.

There are two ways to determine your federal tax liability - the regular way that most everyone understands, and the alternative minimum tax method. Your tax will be the higher of the two.

So what is the alternative minimum tax and why are you getting ...

Can You Take a Home Office Deduction

If you run your business out of your home, you may want to “write off” many of your household expenses. But how do you know what is deductible and what is not?

Generally, expenses related to the rent, purchase, maintenance and repair of a personal residence are not deductible. However, if you use part of your home for business purposes, you may be able to take a deduction for the business use of your home on your self-employed business schedule. This deduction is commonly referred to as the home-office deduction, but it need not necessarily ...