The President’s action to defer payroll taxes: What does it mean for your business?

On August 8th,President Trump has signed a Presidential Memorandum to defer the employee portion of Social Security taxes for some people. The action only defers the taxes, which means they must be paid in the future. However, the action directs the U.S. Treasury Secretary to explore ways to eliminate the obligation to pay the taxes deferred. Employers have questions and concerns. For example, will employers have to withhold more taxes from employees’ paychecks in the future to pay the taxes back? Without a law to forgive the taxes, will employers be liable to pay them? What if employers can’t change their software by the Sept. 1 start of the deferral? Is the deferral required? Contact us with questions.

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More parents may owe “nanny tax” this year, due to COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, many parents are hiring nannies and babysitters because daycare centers and summer camps have closed. This may result in federal “nanny tax” obligations. You may be liable for federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax and federal unemployment tax.

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Are scholarships tax-free or taxable?

If your child has been awarded a scholarship, congratulations! But be aware that there may be tax implications. Scholarships and fellowships are generally tax-free for students at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as those attending college, graduate school or accredited vocational schools. It doesn’t matter if the scholarship makes a direct payment to the student or reduces tuition. However, certain conditions must be met. A scholarship is tax-free if it’s used to pay for: Tuition and fees required to attend the school, and fees, books, supplies and equipment required of students. Room and board, travel, research and clerical help don’t qualify. Contact us to learn more.

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Businesses: Get ready for the new Form 1099-NEC

There’s a new IRS form for business taxpayers who pay or receive nonemployee compensation. Beginning with tax year 2020, payers must complete Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, to report any payment of $600 or more to a payee. (Prior to 2020, Form 1099-MISC was filed to report payments of at least $600 in a calendar year for services performed in a business by someone who isn’t treated as an employee.) 

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Take advantage of a “stepped-up basis” when you inherit property

If you’re planning your estate, or you’ve inherited assets, you may be unsure of the “cost” (or “basis”) for tax purposes. Under the fair market value basis rules (also known as the “step-up and step-down” rules), an heir receives a basis in inherited property equal to its date-of-death value. For example, if your grandfather bought stock in 1935 for $500 and it’s worth $5 million at his death, the basis is stepped up to $5 million in the hands of your grandfather’s heirs — and all of that gain escapes federal income tax forever. A “step-down” occurs if someone dies owning property that has declined in value. Contact us for tax assistance when estate planning or after inheriting assets.

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Conduct a “paycheck checkup” to make sure your withholding is adequate

A big tax bill or a large refund may mean you don’t have the correct amount of tax withheld from your paycheck. Here’s how to avoid this next year.

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Some people are required to return Economic Impact Payments that were sent erroneously

Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) are being sent to eligible individuals in response to the financial impact caused by COVID-19. However, the IRS says some payments were sent erroneously and should be returned.

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If you’re selling your home, don’t forget about taxes

Traditionally, spring and summer are popular times for selling a home. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a slowdown in sales. Still, many people are selling this year. If you’re one of them, it’s a good time to review the tax implications. Contact us with questions.

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Rioting damage at your business? You may be able to claim casualty loss deductions

The recent riots around the country have resulted in many storefronts, office buildings and business properties being destroyed. In the case of stores and businesses with inventory, looters stole products after ransacking property. A commercial insurance property policy should generally cover some, or all, of the losses. But a business may also be able to claim casualty property loss or theft deductions on its tax return. Contact us for more information about your situation.

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Seniors: Can you deduct Medicare premiums?

If you’re age 65 and older, and you have basic Medicare insurance, you may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage you want. The premiums can be costly, especially if you’re married and both you and your spouse are paying them. But there may be a silver lining: You may qualify for a tax break for paying the premiums. However, it can be difficult to qualify to claim medical expenses on your tax return. For 2020, you can deduct medical expenses only if you itemize deductions and only to the extent that total qualifying expenses exceeded 7.5% of adjusted gross income. Contact us if you want more information about deducting medical expenses, including Medicare premiums.

Read more: Seniors: Can you deduct Medicare premiums?

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