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2 ways spouse-owned businesses can reduce their self-employment tax bill

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you probably find the high self-employment (SE) tax bills burdensome. An unincorporated business in which both spouses are active is typically treated by the IRS as a partnership owned 50/50 by the spouses. (For simplicity, when we refer to “partnerships,” we’ll include in our definition limited liability companies that are treated as partnerships for federal tax purposes.)

“Bunching” medical expenses will be a tax-smart strategy for many in 2017

Various limits apply to most tax deductions, and one type of limit is a “floor,” which means expenses are deductible only if they exceed that floor (typically a specific percentage of your income). One example is the medical expense deduction.

Use a giving day to raise money — and awareness — for your nonprofit

What are you doing November 28? If that date doesn’t ring a bell, your not-for-profit probably hasn’t made plans to participate in National Giving Tuesday. But considering the opportunities associated with it, maybe it should.

Tax planning is critical when buying a business

If you acquire a company, your to-do list will be long, which means you can’t devote all of your time to the deal’s potential tax implications. However, if you neglect tax issues during the negotiation process, the negative consequences can be serious. To improve the odds of a successful acquisition, it’s important to devote resources to tax planning before your deal closes.

Investors: Beware of the wash sale rule

A tried-and-true tax-saving strategy for investors is to sell assets at a loss to offset gains that have been realized during the year. So if you’ve cashed in some big gains this year, consider looking for unrealized losses in your portfolio and selling those investments before year end to offset your gains. This can reduce your 2017 tax liability.

Prepare financial statements that will impress your nonprofit’s stakeholders

Annual financial statements that have been audited by a professional auditor can help assure funders and lenders that your not-for-profit is financially sound. Here are three critical audit issues to understand when preparing financial statements:

Larger deduction might be available to businesses providing meals to their employees

When businesses provide meals to their employees, generally their deduction is limited to 50%. But there are exceptions. One is if the meal qualifies as a de minimis fringe benefit under the Internal Revenue Code.

Why you should boost your 401(k) contribution rate between now and year end

One important step to both reducing taxes and saving for retirement is to contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, contributing to that is likely your best first step.

How your nonprofit can avoid investment fraud

Investment fraud, such as Ponzi schemes, can cause significant financial losses for not-for-profits. But the harm it can cause an organization’s reputation with donors and the public may be even worse. Nonprofits are required to disclose on their Forms 990 whether they’ve experienced a significant loss to any illegal “diversion” that exceeds the lesser of 5% of gross receipts, 5% of total assets or $250,000. Such data becomes public and is likely to be reported by charity watchdog groups and the media.

Should your business use per diem rates for travel reimbursement?

Updated travel per diem rates went into effect October 1. To simplify recordkeeping, they can be used for reimbursement of ordinary and normal business expenses incurred while employees travel away from home.

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