Employees who work for tips - If you received $20 or more in tips during November, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.
Corporations - Deposit the fourth installment of estimated income tax for 2020. A worksheet, Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.
Employers Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax - If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.
Employers Nonpayroll withholding - If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in November.more
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted last spring, includes several temporary tax changes that help charitable organizations. One such provision allows taxpayers to deduct cash donations of up to $300 made before December 31, 2020.
Designed especially forpeople who choose to take the standard deduction, rather than itemize. Intax-year 2018, the most recent year for which complete figures are available,more than 134 million taxpayers claimed the standard deduction, just over 87percent of all filers.
Under this new change,individual taxpayers can claim an "above-the-line" deduction of up to$300 for cash donations made to charity during 2020. This means the deductionlowers both adjusted gross income and taxable income – translating into taxsavings for those making donations to qualifying tax-exemptorganizations.
Before making adonation, however, taxpayers should use the special Tax Exempt OrganizationSearch (TEOS) tool on IRS.gov to make sure the organization is eligible fortax-deductible donations.
Cash donations includethose...more
There's never an off-season when it comes to scammers and thieves who want to trick people to scam them out of money, steal their personal information, or talk them into engaging in questionable behavior with their taxes. While scam attempts typically peak during tax season, taxpayers need to remain vigilant all year long.
For example, there are many reports of taxpayers being asked to pay a fake tax bill through the purchase of gift cards. While gift cards are a popular and convenient gift for all occasions, they are also a tool that scammers use to steal money from people.
Scammers often target taxpayers by asking them to pay a fake tax bill with gift cards. They may also use a compromised email account to send emails requesting gift card purchases for friends, family or co-workers. The IRS reminds taxpayers gift cards are for gifts, not for making tax payments.
The most common way scammers request gift cards is over the phone through a government impersonation scam. However, they will also request gift cards by sending a text message, email or through social...more
Farmers and ranchers who were forced to sell livestock due to drought may have an additional year to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales. The relief generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, or poultry, are not eligible.
Here are seven facts about this to help farmers understand how the deferral works and if they are eligible.
1. The one-year extension gives eligible farmers and ranchers until the end of the tax year after the first drought-free year to replace the sold livestock.
2. To qualify for relief, the farm or ranch must be in an applicable region. This is a county or other jurisdiction designated as eligible for federal assistance plus counties contiguous to it.
3. This extension is granted to farms and ranches located in the applicable region that qualify for the four-year replacement period if any county that is included...more
Certain energy-efficient home improvements can cut your energy bills and save you money at tax time. While many of these tax credits expired at the end of 2016, tax credits for residential and non-business energy-efficient solar technologies do not expire until December 31, 2021. Here are some key facts that you should know about these tax credits:
Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit
- This tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment installed on or in your home.
- Qualified equipment includes solar hot water heaters and solar electric equipment placed into service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
- There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
- The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
- If your credit is more than the tax you owe, you can carry forward the unused portion of this credit to next year's tax return.
- At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling's water must be from solar in...
Cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for 2021 are as follows:
401(k), 403(b), 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plan. Contribution limits for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $19,500. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $6,500.
SIMPLE retirement accounts. Contribution limits for SIMPLE retirement accounts for self-employed persons remains unchanged in 2021 as well at $13,500.
Traditional IRAs. The limit on annual contributions to an IRA remains at $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions; however, if during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work,...more
If you're thinking of starting a nonprofit organization, there are a few things you should know before you get started. First, is understanding how nonprofits work under state and federal law. For example, two things you should understand is that state law governs nonprofit status. Nonprofit status is determined by an organization's articles of incorporation or trust documents while federal law governs tax-exempt status (i.e., exemption from federal income tax). Whether you're starting a charity, a social organization, or an association here are the steps you need to take before you can apply for tax-exempt status.
1. Determine the type of organization.
Before a charitable organization can apply for tax-exempt status, it must determine whether it is a trust, corporation or association. Here is how each one is generally defined:
- A trust is defined as a relationship in which one person holds title to property, subject to an obligation to keep or use the property for the benefit of another. It is formed under state law.
- A corporation...
Tax breaks for charitable giving aren't limited to individuals, your small business can benefit as well. If you own a small to medium-size business and are committed to giving back to the community through charitable giving, here's what you should know.
1. Verify that the Organization is a Qualified Charity
Once you've identified a charity, you'll need to make sure it is a qualified charitable organization under the IRS. Qualified organizations must meet specific requirements as well as IRS criteria and are often referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations. Note that not all tax-exempt organizations are 501(c)(3) status, however.
There are two ways to verify whether a charity is qualified:
- Use the IRS online search tool; or
- Ask the charity to send you a copy of their IRS determination letter confirming their exempt status.
2. Make Sure the Deduction is Eligible
Not all deductions are created equal. In order to take the deduction on a tax return, you need to make sure it qualifies. Charitable giving includes the following: cash...more
When COVID-19 struck last March, employers quickly switched to a work-from-home model for their employees, many of whom began working in a state other than the one in which their office was located. While some workers have returned to their offices, many have not.If you're working remotely from a location in a different state (or country) from that of your office, then you may be wondering if you will have to pay income tax in multiple jurisdictions or whether you will need to file income tax returns in both states.
Generally, states can tax income whether you live there or work there. Whether a taxpayer must include taxable income while living or working in a particular jurisdiction depends on several factors, including nexus, domicile, and residency.
Many states - especially those with large metro areas where much of the workforce resides in surrounding states - have agreements in place that allow credits for tax due in another state so that you aren't taxed twice. In metro Washington, DC, for example, payroll tax withholding is based on the state of residency...more
Here's what business owners need to know about tax changes for 2020.
Standard Mileage Rates
The standard mileage rate in 2020 is 57.5 cents per business mile driven.
Health Care Tax Credit for Small Businesses
Small business employers who pay at least half the premiums for single health insurance coverage for their employees may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit as long as they employ fewer than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers and average annual wages do not exceed $50,000 (adjusted annually for inflation). This amount is $55,200 for 2020 returns.
In 2020 (as in 2014-2018), the tax credit is worth up to 50 percent of your contribution toward employees' premium costs (up to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers).
Section 179 Expensing and Depreciation
Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Section 179 expense deduction increases to a maximum deduction of $1.04 million of the first $2.59 million of qualifying equipment placed in service during the current...more
As we close out the year and get ready for tax season, here's what individuals and families need to know about tax provisions for 2020.
Personal exemptions are eliminated for tax years 2018 through 2025.
The standard deduction for married couples filing a joint return in 2020 is $24,800. For singles and married individuals filing separately, it is $12,400, and for heads of household, the deduction is $18,650.
The additional standard deduction for blind people and senior citizens in 2020 is $1,300 for married individuals and $1,650 for singles and heads of household.
Income Tax Rates
In 2020 the top tax rate of 37 percent affects individuals whose income exceeds $518,400 ($625,050 for married taxpayers filing a joint return). Marginal tax rates for 2020 are as follows: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. As a reminder, while the tax rate structure remained similar to prior years under tax reform (i.e., with seven tax brackets), the tax-bracket...more
All employers - Give your employees their copies of Form W-2 for 2020 by February 1, 2021. If an employee agreed to receive Form W-2 electronically, post it on a website accessible to the employee and notify the employee of the posting by February 1.
Employees - who work for tips. If you received $20 or more in tips during December 2020, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070, Employee's Report of Tips to Employer.
Employers - Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in December 2020.
Individuals - Make a payment of your estimated tax for 2020 if you did not pay your income tax for the year through withholding (or did not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES. This is the final installment date for 2020 estimated tax. However, you do not have to make this payment if you file your 2020 return (Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR) and pay any tax due by...more
Prior to tax reform, an employee was able to deduct unreimbursed job expenses, along with certain other miscellaneous expenses, that was more than two percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) as long as they itemized instead of taking the standard deduction. Starting in 2018, however, most taxpayers can no longer claim unreimbursed employee expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions unless they are a qualified employee or an eligible educator.
No other type of employee is eligible to claim a deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses. In other words, employee business expenses can be deducted as an adjustment to income only for eligible educators and specific employment categories such as:
- Armed Forces reservists
- Qualified performing artists
- Fee-basis state or local government officials
- Employees with impairment-related work expenses
A qualified expense is one that is:
- Paid or billed during the tax year
- Used for carrying on a trade or business of being an employee,...
Starting December 13, 2020, the IRS began masking sensitive data on business tax transcripts. Previously, only sensitive data on individual tax transcripts was masked.
Here's what you need to know about this new initiative to protect business taxpayers from identity theft:
What is a tax transcript?
A tax transcript is a summary of a tax return and is often used by tax professionals to prepare prior year tax returns or when representing a client before the IRS. Lenders and others use tax transcripts for income verification purposes.
What is visible on the new tax transcript?
- Last four digits of any Employer Identification Number listed on the transcript: XX-XXX1234
- Last four digits of any Social Security number or Individual Tax Identification Number listed on the transcript: XXX-XX-1234
- Last four digits of any account or telephone number
- First four characters of the first, and last name for any individual (first three characters if the name has only four letters)
- First four...
An excise tax is a tax that is generally imposed on the sale of specific goods or services, or on certain uses. Examples of things a federal excise tax is usually imposed on include the sale of fuel, airline tickets, heavy trucks and highway tractors, indoor tanning, tires, and tobacco, as well as other goods and services. Excise taxes are imposed on a wide variety of goods, services and activities and may be imposed at the time of:
- Sale by the manufacturer
- Sale by the retailer
- Use by the manufacturer or consumer
Many excise taxes go into trust funds for projects related to the taxed product or service, such as highway and airport improvements. Excise taxes are independent of income taxes. Often, the retailer, manufacturer or importer must pay the excise tax to the IRS and file the Form 720. They may pass the cost of the excise tax on to the buyer.
Some excise taxes are collected by a third party. The third party then sends the tax to the IRS and files the Form 720. For example, the tax on an airline ticket generally is...more
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, H.R. 133 included funding for the government, extensions for expiring tax extenders, COVID tax relief under the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020, and many more items. Passed by both the House and Senate, it was signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020.
Let's take a look at a few of the highlights related to pandemic taxpayer relief:
Economic impact payments. $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married taxpayers filing jointly) and an additional $600 per qualifying child (under age 17). The recovery rebate payment begins to phase out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. These payments are similar to the ones many taxpayers received earlier this year under the CARES Act.
Unemployment benefits. Additional unemployment insurance in the amount of $300 has been extended for an 11-week period beginning from December 26,...more
Creditors keep their evaluation standards secret, making it difficult to know just how to improve your credit rating. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand the factors that determine creditworthiness. Periodically reviewing your credit report can also help you protect your credit rating from fraud - and you from identity theft.
Credit Evaluation Factors
Many factors are used in determining credit decisions. Here are some of them:
- Payment history/late payments
- Charge-offs (Forgiven debt)
- Closed accounts and inactive accounts
- Recent loans
- Cosigning an account
- Credit limits
- Credit reports
- Debt/income ratios
Obtaining Your Credit Reports
Credit reports are records of consumers' bill-paying habits but do not include FICO credit scores. Also referred to as credit records, credit files, and credit histories, they are collected, stored, and sold by three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act...more
Starting in January 2021, the IRS Identity Protection PIN Opt-In Program will be expanded to all taxpayers who can properly verify their identity. Previously, IP PINs were only available to identity theft victims.
What is an Identity Protection PIN?
An identity protection personal identification number (IP PIN) is a six-digit number assigned to eligible taxpayers to help prevent their Social Security number from being used to file fraudulent federal income tax returns. This number helps the IRS verify a taxpayer's identity and accept their tax return. Taxpayers with either a Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number who can verify their identity are eligible for the program and the number is valid for one year. Each January, the taxpayer must get a new one.
How to get an IP PIN
The preferred method of obtaining an IP PIN - and the only one that immediately reveals the PIN to the taxpayer - is the Get an IP PIN tool located on the IRS website. The tool is available starting mid-January 2021 and uses Secure Access authentication...more
Every year, it's a sure bet that there will be changes to current tax law and this year is no different. From standard deductions to health savings accounts and tax rate schedules, here's a checklist of tax changes to help you plan the year ahead.
In 2021, a number of tax provisions are affected by inflation adjustments, including Health Savings Accounts, retirement contribution limits, and the foreign earned income exclusion. The tax rate structure, which ranges from 10 to 37 percent, remains similar to 2020; however, the tax-bracket thresholds increase for each filing status. Standard deductions also rise, and as a reminder, personal exemptions have been eliminated through tax year 2025.
In 2021, the standard deduction increases to $12,550 for individuals (up from $12,400 in 2020) and to $25,100 for married couples (up from $24,800 in 2020).
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
In 2021, AMT exemption amounts increase to $73,600 for individuals (up from $72,900 in 2020) and $114,600 for...more
Starting January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup, or panel truck are as follows:
- 56 cents per mile driven for business use, down 1.5 cents from the rate for 2020
- 16 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, down 1 cent from the rate for 2020, and
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.
The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas, and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil. The charitable rate is set by law.
Taxpayers always have the option of claiming deductions based on the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than the standard mileage rates.
Before tax reform, these optional standard mileage rates were used to calculate the...more