The Final Responsibility: Being an Executor

Know what you don't know.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

An executor of a will carries out the last wishes of someone close who has died. The executor ensures that the rules that govern the administration of a probate estate are followed.

MORE: Three Steps to Giving a Raise | Seven Changes in the New Taxpayer First Act Clients Need to Know | Alternative Minimum Tax: What’s It Like Today? | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible
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Here are three key tasks of the executor job:
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Three Steps to Giving a Raise

Man putting dollars into suit pocketIf employees leave, find out if money is why.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

If you run a business with employees, you have at some point wondered how you should compensate them for good work. It's actually a much trickier task than people realize.

MORE: Seven Changes in the New Taxpayer First Act Clients Need to Know | How Manufacturers Can Use the R&D Tax Credit | The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations | How Clients Should Gather Their Papers for Taxes | The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | How to Challenge Property Taxes | Real Estate, IRAs & Clients | Percentage-Withholding for Clients | Bitcoin: What Clients Need to Know
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You have to take into account employee morale, employee performance and market averages. To get a fuller picture of how to fairly distribute raises to your employees, keep reading.
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Seven Changes in the New Taxpayer First Act Clients Need to Know

Young man under rain-covered umbrellaOne Congressman says it "levels the playing field."

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

The Taxpayer First Act of 2019 is redesigning how the IRS works with taxpayers, even though it may take a while for many of the provisions to take effect.

MORE: How Manufacturers Can Use the R&D Tax Credit | Padding Your Tax Deductions? The Consequences Are Serious | Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | Charitable Giving under TCJA
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Some experts have highlighted the following aspects of the bill as especially important:
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How Manufacturers Can Use the R&D Tax Credit

Bottles of sunflower oil on an assembly lineThere's a 4-part test.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Many manufacturing companies fail to take advantage of the generous research and development (R&D) tax credit simply because they don’t have staff working in a lab. The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) definition of R&D is codified at Internal Revenue Code Section 41 and its related regulations – and it may not be exactly what you think it is.

MORE: Padding Your Tax Deductions? The Consequences Are Serious | Alternative Minimum Tax: What’s It Like Today? | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible
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From 2018 to 2027, the estimated value of R&D tax credits to be claimed by U.S. companies is estimated at $163 billion, with $148 billion of that going to corporations.
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Padding Deductions? Clients Need to be Warned

Drawing of unhappy face and arrow pointing from it to happy faceSome critical clarifications.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

"In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes" is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. With that in mind, it's best to be prepared, at least financially, for taxes and tax season each year.

MORE: Alternative Minimum Tax: What’s It Like Today? | The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations | How Clients Should Gather Their Papers for Taxes | The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | Real Estate, IRAs & Clients | Percentage-Withholding for Clients | Basis: Turning a Common Client Question into New BusinessThe W-4 Time-Bomb and What To Do About It
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The Risks

When it comes to deductions, things can get a little sticky. What's the harm in taking a little extra here or a little extra there?
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What to Do with an Inherited Mortgage

4 specific tips.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

The right of inheritance applies to all property, including properties with mortgages attached to them.

MORE: Alternative Minimum Tax: What’s It Like Today? | The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations | The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | How to Challenge Property Taxes | Real Estate, IRAs & Clients | Percentage-Withholding for Clients | Bitcoin: What Clients Need to Know | Supreme Court Wayfair Ruling Sows Confusion – And Opportunity
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If your client inherits a mortgaged property, a number of questions and concerns may pop up, including whether the mortgage can be assumed. Your client may wonder how to record the deed and take title to the property.
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Alternative Minimum Tax: What’s It Like Today?

There are only two brackets for 2018.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made many changes to the individual tax law, including the alternative minimum tax.

MORE: The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations | Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | Charitable Giving under TCJA | Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption
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One of the goals of the new tax law was to reduce the impact of the AMT or even to repeal it entirely. A modification was made – let's see what it could mean to your clients.
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The Latest Rules on Charitable Donations

5 guidelines.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Charitable contributions are deductible, says the IRS, only if you itemize deductions.

MORE: Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible | Social Security Hike the Largest in 7 Years | How to Talk to Clients about ‘Basis’ | Basis: Turning a Common Client Question into New Business | The W-4 Time-Bomb and What To Do About It
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But how do your clients know that the charity they are donating to is qualified?
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Medical and Dental Expenses: What Can You Deduct?

Man taking medication from caretakerInsurance premiums can be deducted ... in part.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Can your clients deduct medical and dental expenses? That's a complicated question.

MORE: Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment | 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible | Social Security Hike the Largest in 7 Years | Basis: Turning a Common Client Question into New Business
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To start with, their deductions must exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. And they have to fall into an IRS-approved category.
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Beware the Taxes of Self-Employment

Senior executive in home office with two monitors and keyboard on leather desk and looking at paperwork on deskThat 15.3% is likely to be a stunner.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Your clients are self-employed if they're in business for themselves – including a part-time business. That means they're also their own tax manager!

MORE: 6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes | How Clients Should Gather Their Papers for Taxes | The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | How to Challenge Property Taxes | Real Estate, IRAs & Clients | Percentage-Withholding for Clients | Bitcoin: What Clients Need to Know
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Your clients can be self-employed as a sole proprietor/an independent contractor, or a member of a partnership or of a limited liability company. As such, they need to file an annual income tax return and pay estimated taxes throughout the year on their income.
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6 Key Facts About Excise Taxes

Unexpected reasons the government wants more money.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Everyone knows about income taxes and sales taxes, but we tend to forget about excise taxes, because they're not obvious.

MORE: How Clients Should Gather Their Papers for Taxes | Charitable Giving under TCJA | Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption | Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now
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Excise taxes are paid when purchases are made on specific goods or activities, such as wagering or highway usage by trucks. The producers or merchants pay the tax and typically include the additional tax in the price to the end consumer.
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How Clients Should Gather Their Papers for Taxes

Woman holding paper at deskThey don't have to eat the rhino all in one bite.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

Don't let your clients find themselves frantically searching for information they need to file their tax returns at the last minute. Help them reduce filing difficulties and possibly their tax bills by knowing what documents to have at your fingertips.

MORE: Charitable Giving under TCJA | Gifts to Charity: 6 Facts about Written Acknowledgments | Yes, Home Equity Loans May Still Be Deductible | How to Talk to Clients about ‘Basis’
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Most of the papers they need to document the income, interest and withheld taxes they report arrive in your mailbox in January, with investment-related 1099s often coming in February. They can get ready for that arrival by creating print and online folders. It's a good idea to create a paper and an email tax folder for messages relating directly to tax information.
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Charitable Giving under TCJA

Donor-advised funds can be a simpler option.

By Barry J. Friedman, CPA
IndustryNewsletters

The new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction for individuals and families, simplifying the filing process for millions of Americans, but complicating giving strategies for many who have made a habit of deducting their charitable contributions.

MORE: The Latest Fraud Problem: Synthetic Identities | Why Padding Tax Deductions Is a Risky Proposition | Portability: Sharing the Estate Tax Exemption | Tariffs: What Clients Need to Know Now
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Indeed, an estimate from the Washington, D.C., Tax Policy Center is that the number of itemizers will drop from 46 million to 13 million. That means most taxpayers will have little tax incentive to donate cash or stock to charity, reducing giving by $13 billion to $20 billion a year.
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