Working with Jerry has literally taken a load off my back. He explains what you can and cannot do with clarity and makes “year end” a painless concept and not the nightmare we are all expecting to face. Jerry truly listens to our problems and concerns and customizes a product to our needs. He has put us “in control” of our business. You can’t go wrong when Jerry has your back!
Shirley & Jack S., Owner, Apex Grading
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IRS Issues 2020 Standard Mileage Rates

mileage log calculator

The optional standard mileage rates for business use of a vehicle will decrease slightly in 2020 after increasing significantly in 2019, the IRS announced on Tuesday (Notice 2020-05 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irsdrop/n-20-05.pdf)). For business use of a car, van, pickup truck, or panel truck, the rate for 2020 will be 57.5 cents per mile in 2020, down from 58 cents per mile last year after increasing from 54.5 cents per mile in 2018. Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile.

Because the law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), P.L. 115-97, suspended the miscellaneous itemized deduction under Sec. 67 for unreimbursed employee business expenses from 2018 to 2025, the notice explains that the standard mileage rate cannot be used to claim a deduction for those expenses during that period.

However, self-employed taxpayers can deduct automobile expenses if they qualify as ordinary and necessary business expenses. And an exception to the disallowance of a deduction for unreimbursed employee business expenses applies to members of a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces, state or local government officials paid on a fee basis, and certain performing artists. They are permitted to deduct mileage expenses on line 11 of Schedule 1 of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, (an above-the-line deduction) and may continue to use the 57.5 cents-per-mile business standard mileage rate.

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New Retirement-Savings Law Likely to Help 401(k) Plans, but Not IRAs. Here's Why.

Jerry Jones 401K info

A hefty piece of federal legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in December has been hailed as one of the most far-reaching retirement savings reforms in at least a decade – a package that will broaden the reach of workplace 401(k) plans.

While the legislation makes several important tweaks to Individual Retirement Accounts, too, it’s not likely to enhance their popularity all that much.

Granted, IRAs already are popular, accounting for $9.7 trillion, or 33%, of all retirement assets as of a mid-2019 tally by the Investment Company Institute, a mutual fund trade group.

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Inheriting a parent's IRA or 401(k)? Here's how the Secure Act could create a disaster

Inheriting a parent's IRA or 401(k)? Here's how the Secure Act could create a disaster

Beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts may not see their inheritances for a decade under the newly passed Secure Act, and when they do get the money, they may be taxed heavily for it.

Congress passed the SECURE Act, a retirement bill intended to expand retirement security for Americans across the country, but one provision may actually hinder that.

Under the new retirement legislation, which was signed into law just days before Christmas, beneficiaries of inherited IRAs will need to withdraw that money within 10 years — that is, if they have access to it at all within that time.

Previously, nonspousal beneficiaries could opt to take only required minimum distributions over their life expectancy, rather than taking all the money within five years. (Required minimum distributions are calculated with factors such as the beneficiary’s age, life expectancy and account balance.) That tax-advantaged possibility disappears with the Secure Act, which only allows one option: up to 10 years to drain the account.

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Don't Be Like These Celebrities Convicted of Tax Evasion

Tax Evasion, Offshore Account

Celebrities Convicted of Tax Evasion

Every American has to pay taxes, and some celebrities have learned the hard way that they’re not above the law. Whether they deliberately falsified a tax return or inadvertently chose an inept tax advisor, Uncle Sam always finds out. These are just a few celebrities who were caught committing tax fraud.


Wesley Snipes

In 2008, Wesley Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2001. During this time, he kept $7 million in taxes from the federal government, reported the New York Daily News.

The “Blade” actor was sentenced to three years in a Pennsylvania federal prison. He began serving in December 2010, before being released to house arrest in April 2013, which Reuters reported was scheduled to end July 19, 2013.

But Snipes’ tax woes didn’t end there. In November of 2018, Snipes was ordered by the Internal Revenue Service to pay $9.5 million in back taxes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.


Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino

“Jersey Shore” star Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino pled guilty to tax evasion in January 2018, reported TMZ. The reality star was accused of failing to pay taxes in full on nearly $9 million in earnings from 2010 to 2012. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, and he began serving his term in January 2019 and was released on September 12, 2019.


Stephen Baldwin

In March 2013, actor Stephen Baldwin pled guilty to not paying New York state income taxes for 2008, 2009 and 2010, totaling $400,000, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Baldwin told reporters his tax avoidance was not deliberate, but that he had received bad advice from lawyers and accountants. He dodged jail time and paid the debt off within one year, which allowed him to avoid probation, according to CBS News.

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It’s Not Certain Ben Franklin Was First with That Famous Quote

ben franklin

IT'S NOT CERTAIN BEN FRANKLIN WAS FIRST WITH THAT FAMOUS QUOTE

As Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Although he's often credited with the idea, that line comes from a 1789 letter, and similar quotes date to 1716 and 1724.

How to Spend Your Retirement Savings Without Triggering a Tax Penalty

tax deductible word abstract in wood type

It's not just saving for retirement you need to worry about but drawing down your money at the right time.

The IRS requires savers to make withdrawals from their retirement accounts starting at age 70½.

"They've allowed you to defer taxes, but they need to come collecting at some point," said Arielle O'Shea, a retirement and investing expert at personal finance website Nerdwallet.

The dreaded required minimum distributions, known as RMDs, apply to most individual retirement accounts, as well as work-based accounts such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans. One exception is the Roth IRA, to which after-tax contributions are made. However, inherited Roth IRAs are subject to the requirements.

Your first mandatory withdrawal typically must be taken by April 1 after the year you've turned 70½. Following that, you'll need to take them by Dec. 31 of each year.

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What are Robocalls and Scam Calls?

What spam is to email, robocalls are to your phone. They’re annoying, automated, and often illegal pre-recorded messages. Cybercriminals use robocalls to steal information and money from victims.

Robocaller

As we’ve reported in a previous Malwarebytes blog, what spam is to email, a robocall is to telecommunications devices, such as home phones, mobile phones, and VoIP landlines. There is usually no real human behind a robocall, only an automated, pre-recorded message. And as the name suggests, the calls are made by computers.

Illegal robocalls generally contact recipients with the intention of stealing something from them. As such, they use scams, attempting to swindle you out of your contact number, your financial information, your identity, or anything else of value through dishonest means.

There is legislation that addresses robocalling and the scams they attempt to pull off. Just for good measure, here’s how The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) defines a robocall, also known as “voice broadcasting.” It is any telephone call that delivers a prerecorded message using an automatic (computerized) telephone dialing system, more commonly referred to as an automatic dialer or “autodialer. (more…)

How to Report Self-Storage Income

Is a self-storage facility in the business of providing customers with a service or merely renting space?  The distinction is important for income taxes. In fact, those who answered “service” and whose self-storage facility is profitable, may need to file amended tax returns to recoup taxes paid.

Self Storage Income tax tips

About Self-Employment Taxes

One of the distinctions between service and rental income is that rental income is not subject to self-employment taxes. Self-employment taxes include Social Security and Medicare taxes. The tax can be significant. The tax rate is 15.3 percent, but half of the tax is deductible.

Those who operate as sole proprietors or are taxed as partnerships are subject to self-employment taxes on income for services they provide. Rental income is not subject to self-employment tax. The distinction between a service and rental activity is not always clear. This is particularly true with self-storage, where some owners provide ancillary services in addition to renting space. Luckily, the courts have weighed in on this topic. (more…)


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Jerry Jones, CPA
The "Tax Planning" CPA
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