Baucus & Camp Talk Reform As Tax Road Show Rolls On

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) made a stop in Philadelphia as part of their bipartisan roadshow for tax reform. Small business owners talked tax and business – and no surprise, simplification and certainty topped their wish list.

Hot Tips For Safeguarding Business & Tax Records

The rains and extreme weather continues to pound parts of the country this week. Earlier, I posted about taking steps to protect your personal documents and financial records in the event of a weather related disaster. But what about your business? When it comes to business, Scan, scan, scan. Businesses deal with so much paper. Scanning and digitally archiving files can be stored and accessed easily – great for tax purposes. It may also save storage space (you should see our stacks and stacks of files – and we do scan) as well as offer piece of mind. Have a …

Extreme Weather Serves Up Important Reminders To Taxpayers

I’ve spent much of this week de-icking my house. I’ve bailed water out of my basement, wiped mildew off of furniture and emptied the dehumidifier more times than I care to count. I’m hardly alone: it’s been a wet one on the east coast. Heavy rains have been reported this summer from Maine to Florida. And in my neck of the woods, June 2013 was officially the wettest June in 142 years of record-keeping in Philadelphia. As of last week’s deluge, the rain gauge at Philadelphia [entity display=”International” type=”section” active=”true” key=”/international” natural_id=”channel_2section_66″]International[/entity] Airport indicated a June total of 10.11 inches. …

Ask The Taxgirl: Home Offices And Capital Improvements

Taxpayer asks: I’m confused. Both my wife and I have home offices, each using about 5% of the total home square footage. Last year, we replaced the both the hot water heater and the washer/drier. For the hot water heater, I think it’s very clear, that improvement directly impacts our home office use, so I have no issues with claiming deductions for those costs. I work from home 40+ hrs/wk and expect to be able to wash my hands after using the bathroom. However, we also replaced the washer & dryer, at a cost of $2k+. My first thought is …

Some Small Businesses Take A Hit From Sequestration

March 1 came and went and the world was still standing. Sequestration made a big splash at the end of February. Taxpayers were worried… How would it affect Tax Day? Would refunds be slowed down? Would the lights stay on in Congress? But as March kicked off, tax season was (finally!) in full swing and it was business as usual in D.C. Nothing of any importance was happening, right? Don’t be fooled. While a lot of the cuts were, in fact, hyped, the reality is that sequestration is going to affect taxpayers. We just have to figure out the “Who?” …

Ask the taxgirl: Tax ID Numbers and 1099s

Taxpayer asks: Am I legally required to have tax ID#’s on file for individuals who perform services for my organization if I know the payments will not total more than $600 in any calendar year? taxgirl says: I was asked a similar question from a client years and years ago. The client ran a sort of affiliate program which rewarded third parties who endorsed the client’s product. Most of the payments were pretty small so the client didn’t want to bother with asking the third parties for their tax ID number if the client didn’t have to. It felt like …

Ask the taxgirl: Promotional Expenses and “Lost” Revenue

Taxpayer asks: Hi, Tax Girl, With all the electronic sales these days, publishers and authors can promote their books for free for a period of time in order to gain readers and increase their rankings on sites like amazon.com. Even though there is no cost to author or publisher for the free electronic giveaways, can an author take a deduction for the royalties not received by giving away the books? Thank you. taxgirl says: Promotional expenses are certainly deductible for publishers and authors. To the extent you spend money to promote your books whether through giveaways, contests or the like, …

Ask the taxgirl: Filling Out a Form W-9

Taxpayer asks: Is there a way to complete the W9 form that is technically legal that will avoid being 1099’d for income paid to you? taxgirl says: No, not legally. The rules about when a form 1099 must be issued are pretty clear and there’s no magic language or box that you can check that will change that. Moreover, there’s this little bit on the form W-9: When you sign the form, you’re swearing that you’re telling the truth. Just saying. — Be sure to read my disclaimer… Remember, I’m a lawyer and we love disclaimers. But you know who …