Sales Tax Holidays – Hype or Help?

Every year, usually around August for the back-to-school sales period, many states begin issuing their “sales tax holidays” for a couple of days, making a few select items sales-tax-exempt in order to promote spending and to offer a small break for cash-strapped consumers. The holidays are occasionally offered during other time periods as well. Some [...]

The Difference in California Income Tax for a Single Person vs a Dual-Income Married Couple?

For many years, people have complained about the “marriage penalty” that is inherent in many income tax calculations, but what does the term actually mean, and does it really exist? The “marriage penalty” refers to the fact that under some income tax regulations, a married couple will pay more in income taxes than would two [...]

Tax Preparers vs. Accountants

If you’ve ever struggled with preparing your own business tax return, you’ve probably considered letting someone else do it. Of course, the next question is who should you let prepare it? A professional tax preparer, an accountant, or what about your accounting savvy sister-in-law who would love to get her hands on your books? Any [...]

Appreciating Your Depreciation

As an income tax deduction, depreciation can be somewhat challenging to determine. While it enables taxpayers to obtain an allowance for the wear and tear, deterioration, or obsolescence of property purchased, it must meet specific requirements in the eyes of the IRS. For example, the property must be used in business or in an income-producing [...]

What You Need to Know about the Saver’s Credit

Thanks to the IRS’s Saver’s Credit, you may now be able to take advantage of a tax credit to help you save for retirement. Formerly known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, the Saver’s Credit applies to individuals with the following filing status/income combinations: Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to [...]

The International Tax Gap: What Is It?

Not many individuals are aware of the international tax gap, but the IRS has had a long history with trying to close it.  The international tax gap at its simplest is a gap between those that should be paying taxes, and those that actually are. The historic problem the IRS has faced is how to [...]

What You Need to Know about 529 Plans

With high school graduations in full-swing, it’s a good time to take a closer look at an education savings plan that can help you set aside funds for college costs. Named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code, 529 Plans are operated by state or qualified educational institutions to help families save for college [...]

Should I File a DBA?

A “Doing Business As” name, also called a DBA, is used to differentiate a business name from your personal name, names of your partners, or an officially registered name of an LLC or corporation. These names are also frequently called assumed or trade names. DBAs are filed with the state in which the business is [...]

Choosing to Be a Sole Proprietor or a Disregarded LLC

While you may not want to be disregarded in your personal life, there are times when it might be smart to designate your business as a Disregarded LLC. A Disregarded LLC, also called a Disregarded Entity, is a limited liability company (LLC) owned by an individual. LLCs are typically partnerships with liability protection. Unless the [...]

Amended Returns

We are all human. We all make mistakes, right? Even the dreaded Internal Revenue Service gives you a second chance if you make a mistake! It has happened to the best of us. You are diligent and gather all your tax documents. You double check everything on the tax return. You happily drop it in [...]