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Here is a reminder about the W2 reporting requirements attached to the Affordable Care Act and employer sponsored group health plans.
Many small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for the small business health care tax credit. This credit can enable small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations to offer health insurance coverage for the first time. It also helps those already offering health insurance coverage to maintain the coverage they already have. The credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations that primarily employ 25 or fewer workers with average income of $50,000 or less.
Here is what small employers need to know so they don’t miss out on the credit for tax year 2010:
- Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and other recent disaster-related tax relief postponed certain tax filing and payment deadlines to Oct. 31, 2011. Qualifying businesses affected by these natural disasters still have time to file and claim the small employer health care credit on Form 8941 and claim it as part of the general business credit on Form 3800, which they would include with their tax return. For more information on the disaster relief visit IRS.gov.
- Sole proprietors who file Form 1040, Partners and S-corporation shareholders who report their income on Form 1040 and had requested an extension have until Oct. 17 to complete their returns. They would also use Form 8941 to calculate the small employer health care credit and claim it as a general business credit on Form 3800, reflected on line 53 of Form 1040.
- Tax-exempt organizations that file on a calendar year basis and requested an extension to file to Nov. 15 can use Form 8941 and then claim the credit on Form 990-T, Line 44f.
- Businesses who have already filed can still claim the credit. For small businesses that have already filed and later determine they are eligible for the credit, they can always file an amended 2010 tax return. Corporations use Form 1120X and individual sole proprietors use Form 1040X.
- Businesses that couldn’t use the credit in 2010 may be eligible to claim it in future years. Some businesses that already locked into health insurance plan structures and contributions for 2010 may not have had the opportunity to make any needed adjustments to qualify for the credit for 2010. So these businesses may be eligible to claim the credit on 2011 returns or in years beyond. Small employers can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013 and for two additional years beginning in 2014.
For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit for eligible small business employers is 35 percent of premiums paid and for eligible tax-exempt employers the maximum credit is 25 percent of premiums paid. Beginning in 2014, the maximum tax credit will go up to 50 percent of premiums paid by eligible small business employers and 35 percent of premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.
Additional information about eligibility requirements and calculating the credit can be found on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers page of IRS.gov.
- Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums (PDF)
- Form 3800, General Business Credit (PDF)
- Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers
By Stacie Kitts, CPA
There are so many people looking for work, I agree it’s was a good idea to remind people that there is a tax deduction waiting for taxpayers. Although – I think some of the restrictions here are totally bogus as it applies to this economy. I think the restrictions should be lifted. But that’s just my opinion.
Here are seven things the IRS wants you to know about deducting costs related to your job search.
- To qualify for a deduction, the expenses must be spent on a job search in your current occupation. You may not deduct expenses you incur while looking for a job in a new occupation. [This restriction irks me. Rather than wasting away on unemployment, any attempt to get a job should be rewarded]
- You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you pay while looking for a job in your present occupation. If your employer pays you back in a later year for employment agency fees, you must include the amount you receive in your gross income, up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year.
- You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of your résumé to prospective employers as long as you are looking for a new job in your present occupation.
- If you travel to an area to look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area. You can only deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. The amount of time you spend on personal activity compared to the amount of time you spend looking for work is important in determining whether the trip is primarily personal or is primarily to look for a new job.
- You cannot deduct job search expenses if there was a substantial break between the end of your last job and the time you begin looking for a new one. [In this economy, I think this restriction is stupid also]
- You cannot deduct job search expenses if you are looking for a job for the first time. [Okay well maybe I can go along with this one]
- The amount of job search expenses that you can claim on your tax return is limited. You can claim the amount that is more than 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. You figure your deduction on Schedule A. [bogus – these should not be limited – all attempts to find employment – again in this economy – in my opinion should be fully deductible]
IRS Patrol – IRS Announces New Voluntary Worker Classification Settlement Program; Past Payroll Tax Relief Provided to Employers Who Reclassify Their Workers as Employees
If you or your clients think there might be an issue with the classification of employees – that is, are your workers independent contractors or not, now is the time to look into correction.
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service launched a new program that will enable many employers to resolve past worker classification issues and achieve certainty under the tax law at a low cost by voluntarily reclassifying their workers.
This new program will allow employers the opportunity to get into compliance by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit.
This is part of a larger “Fresh Start” initiative at the IRS to help taxpayers and businesses address their tax responsibilities.
“This settlement program provides certainty and relief to employers in an important area,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “This is part of a wider effort to help taxpayers and businesses to help give them a fresh start with their tax obligations.”
The new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) is designed to increase tax compliance and reduce burden for employers by providing greater certainty for employers, workers and the government. Under the program, eligible employers can obtain substantial relief from federal payroll taxes they may have owed for the past, if they prospectively treat workers as employees. The VCSP is available to many businesses, tax-exempt organizations and government entities that currently erroneously treat their workers or a class or group of workers as nonemployees or independent contractors, and now want to correctly treat these workers as employees.
To be eligible, an applicant must:
- • Consistently have treated the workers in the past as nonemployees,
- • Have filed all required Forms 1099 for the workers for the previous three years
- • Not currently be under audit by the IRS, the Department of Labor or a state agency concerning the classification of these workers
Interested employers can apply for the program by filing Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, at least 60 days before they want to begin treating the workers as employees.
Employers accepted into the program will pay an amount effectively equaling just over one percent of the wages paid to the reclassified workers for the past year. No interest or penalties will be due, and the employers will not be audited on payroll taxes related to these workers for prior years. Participating employers will, for the first three years under the program, be subject to a special six-year statute of limitations, rather than the usual three years that generally applies to payroll taxes.
- IRS Announces – Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (alliancepayroll.wordpress.com)
- IRS Gives Employers a Break on Payrolls (online.wsj.com)
- IRS targets employers on withholding tax (huffingtonpost.com)
- IRS Gives Employers a Break on Payrolls (online.wsj.com)
Are you self-employed? Did you know you have many of the same options to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis as employees participating in company plans?
Here are highlights of a few of your retirement plan options.
Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE IRA Plan)
- You can put all your net earnings from self-employment in the plan: up to $11,500 (plus an additional $2,500 if you’re 50 or older) in salary reduction contributions and either a 2% fixed contribution or a 3% matching contribution.
- Establish the plan:
- Form 5305-SIMPLE, Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) – for Use With a Designated Financial Institution,
- Form 5304-SIMPLE, Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE) – Not for Use With a Designated Financial Institution, or
- an IRS-approved “prototype SIMPLE IRA plan” offered by many mutual funds, banks and other financial institutions, and by plan administration companies; and
- open a SIMPLE IRA through a bank or another financial institution.
- Set up a SIMPLE IRA plan at any time January 1 through October 1. If you became self-employed after October 1, you can set up a SIMPLE IRA plan for the year as soon as administratively feasible after your business starts.
Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)
Contribute as much as 25% of your net earnings from self-employment (not including contributions for yourself), up to $49,000.
- Establish the plan:
- Form 5305-SEP, Simplified Employee Pension – Individual Retirement Accounts Contribution Agreement, or
- an IRS-approved “prototype SEP plan” offered by many mutual funds, banks and other financial institutions, and by plan administration companies; and
- open a SEP-IRA through a bank or other financial institution.
Set up the SEP plan for a year as late as the due date (including extensions) of your income tax return for that year.
- Make salary deferrals up to $16,500 (plus an additional $5,500 if you’re 50 or older) of your compensation from the business either on a pre-tax basis or as a designated Roth contribution.
- Contribute up to an additional 25% of your net earnings from self-employment (not including contributions for yourself), up to $49,000 including salary deferrals.
- Tailor the plan to allow you access to the money in the plan through loans and hardship distributions.
- A one-participant 401(k) plan is sometimes referred to as a “solo-401(k),” “individual 401(k)” or “uni-401(k).” It is generally the same as other 401(k) plans, but because there are no other employees, other than the spouse, that work for the business, it is exempt from discrimination testing.
Other Defined Contribution Plans
- Profit-sharing plan: allows you to decide how much to contribute on an annual basis, up to 25% of compensation (not including contributions for yourself) or $49,000.
- Money purchase plan: requires you to contribute a fixed percentage of your income every year, up to 25% of compensation (not including contributions for yourself), according to a formula stated in the plan.
Traditional pension plan with a stated annual benefit you will receive at retirement, usually based on salary and years of service.
Benefit may also be defined based on a cash balance formula in a hypothetical individual account (a cash balance plan).
Maximum annual benefit can be up to $195,000.
Contributions are calculated by an actuary based on the benefit you set and other factors (your age, expected returns on plan investments, etc.); no other annual contribution limit applies.
Retirement plans for self-employed people were formerly referred to as “Keogh plans” after the law that first allowed unincorporated businesses to sponsor retirement plans. Since the law no longer distinguishes between corporate and other plan sponsors, the term is seldom used.
Dollar figures are for 2011 and are subject to annual cost-of-living adjustments.
- Self Directed Brokerage Accounts (401k-plan-blog.com)
- SBO 401K for Partnership Businesses: Easy Method of Making Retirement Contributions (401k-plan-blog.com)
- 100% Contributions with Solo 401k (401k-plan-blog.com)
By Stacie Kitts, CPA
When I read a story about someone who appears to have been messing with the tax system for some thirty years, it makes me wonder…..who in the heck did their taxes, and why did it take so long to get busted.
The Orange County District Attorney is reporting that James and Dorothy Klinger, owners of Jamo’s Gardening and Modern Tree Services Inc. are charged with 28 counts of failing to file a return with intent to evade tax, 28 counts of willful failure to pay taxes, and some felony counts for lying about their business to a worker’s compensation insurance company.
These two are looking at spending the rest of their lives in prison if convicted.
They appear to have used an old school tax crook technique and kept two sets of books. You know, one that showed the “real” dollars and one that was a work of fiction.
Was it worth it? You decide….
They are accused of underreporting about $3.6 million in income and $3 million in wages. This translates to about 1.9 million that should have been paid over in taxes (give or take) that they got to keep – for a little while anyway.
I don’t know about you, but $2 million isn’t enough money to risk a 40 year prison sentence. Am I Right!?
- Anonymously ‘squeal’ on tax cheats (dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com)
- Top 10 tax tips from CPAs, also known as Letterman’s annual spoofing of taxes (dontmesswithtaxes.typepad.com)
- IRS Reminds Taxpayers How To Provide Earthquake Relief For Japan (staciesmoretaxtips.wordpress.com)
- 2011 Depreciation Deduction Limitations – (and a classic video from The Cars) (staciesmoretaxtips.wordpress.com)