IRS Announces New Inflation Adjustments for 2017

While the 2016 tax year is still not quite over, the IRS has already announced some important inflation adjustments for the 2017 tax year, which taxpayers will file for in 2018. While you might be more worried about your upcoming tax return, there are some important changes to know about. However, that being said, with the new president-elect set to take office in January, some, or all of these changes could be changed again, as Donald Trump has already made it clear he wants to rewrite the nation’s tax policy.

In the meantime, the IRS stated that the standard deduction for taxpayers who are married filing jointly will increase by $100 to $12,700. However, the personal exemption for single filers will stay the same as last year at $4,050. The inflation adjustments also increased the top income levels of the tax brackets, but if Trump’s planned changes occur then these brackets would be obsolete, as the president-elect has already stated he wants to drop the current seven bracket system and replace it with just three.

Another tax that would be affected is the estate tax, which currently kicks in on estates with assets that surpass $5.45 million. In 2017 that number increases to $5.49 million. However, Trump has also stated that he would like to completely wipe out the estate tax so this could also be of little consequence by this time next year. Inflation adjustments will also affect the limit above which itemized deductions can be reduced, the maximum amount for earned income credit and the Alternative minimum tax.

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Tax Tips for Entrepreneurs

If you’re looking to start a new company in the coming year then you certainly have a lot on your mind, not the least of which is how you will get started, what will you do to market your company and what are your chances of achieving success. The concerns and issues are endless for entrepreneurs, so it’s no wonder that sometimes they can overlook a few things. However, this can be dangerous and ultimately lead to failure.

One of these things that entrepreneurs can’t afford to overlook are taxes. However, by understanding a few important principles you can avoid some of the common tax mistakes that could stop you in your tracks. The first thing you must decide is which type of company you will form, as all of them have different tax implications. Your choices include an S Corporation, a C Corporation or an LLC.

As a general rule, if you are getting help from outside investors go with a C Corporation. If your company structure is small with only one or two owners an S Corporation is probably fitting. If the owners desire more flexibility then consider an LLC, or even a C Corp.

There are several other issues that you must consider, including determining if your stock qualifies as a Qualified Small Business Stock. You also need to consider sales tax issues, payroll tax issues, and net operating losses and whether or not you want to be paid as an employee or as an independent contractor. These are just a few of the tax issues to consider if you’re an entrepreneur. If you have more questions, then please contact us today at GROCO. We can help you set up your company and get you aimed in the right direction for taxes. Click here or call 1-877-CPA-2006.

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IRS Changes Deadlines for 1099 Forms

It’s almost January. Are you ready for taxes? Of course, Form 1099s are an important part of any tax season, and this coming year will be no different. As a taxpayer, if you receive any kind of Form 1099 don’t ignore it. The IRS will get the same form and you will be held accountable for its contents. So, make sure you keep and report all Form 1099s that you receive.

On the other hand, if you are a business and you need to issue any of these forms to others there are some changes you need to know about. The IRS has announced changes to some of these Form 1099s. Here’s what you need to know. Starting next year, for the 2016 reporting season, the deadline for Forms 1099-MISC reporting nonemployee compensation in box 7, has been moved to January 31, which is the same deadline for when they need to be sent to recipients.

Previously, filers had more time, up to a month or two, to get those sent to the IRS, but that’s no longer the case. The good news is that for Forms 1099-MISC that don’t report in box 7, the filing dates have not changed. They must be mailed to the recipients by January 31 and to the IRS by the end of February.

The bottom line, whether you are going to give or receive any type of Form 1099, make sure you check the deadlines and do your due diligence. Don’t give the IRS any reason to pay extra attention your taxes return.

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Which Stocks Stand to Gain From Trump Victory?

News of Donald Trump’s victory on November 8th sent shockwaves around the world and initially sent the stock market down. However, the market has since stabilized and reports of a major decline have not panned out. Of course, the stock market is in constant flux and things can change at any time. However, for the time being, the market is maintaining a normal cycle.

That being said, many wonder what a Trump presidency will do to the stock market over the long haul. Will there be certain stocks that prosper and others that falter because Trump is in the Oval Office? Only time will tell, but there are certain stocks that might see a boost thanks to the new president-elect.

First off, Trump has made it clear that he would like to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, which would help almost all companies. Trump has also expressed a desire to cut back on the amount of red tape that banks have to deal with by easing regulations. There are other industries that could also be ripe for gains thanks to other Trump proposals.

Therefore, there are several stocks that could see a significant increase in the coming weeks and months, including Altria Group, AutoNation, CVS Health, Discover Financial Services, J.B. Hunt Transport and Republic Services, to name just a few. Stay tuned.

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Another Federal Tax Record Set in October

As the year winds down and we look ahead to another tax season, the Federal Reserve is looking at another record tax collection in October. According to the latest numbers released in the Monthly Treasury Statement, October set an all time record high for the month, with $221,692,000,000 collected. What a great way to start the fiscal year for the Treasury. That was an increase of more than $6.7 billion from last October.

However, despite the incredible numbers coming in, the federal government still had a deficit of more than $44 billion in the month, thanks to expenditures of more than 265 billion. Meantime, if you were to break down the numbers in October, on average the Federal Reserve collected roughly $1,459 from everyone who worked either full- or part-time during the month.

So where did the majority of that record revenue come from, you ask? The answer is largely from individual tax returns. According to the Treasury, Americans paid $121,576,000,000 in income taxes in October. But the tax bill for Americans doesn’t stop there. Collectively the country paid another $79,361,000,000 in Social Security and additional payroll taxes.

The rest of the money came from corporate taxes: $2,27 billion; excise taxes: $5.7 billion; and estate and gift taxes: $3.06 billion.

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Top Tech Issues to Watch With Trump

Now that Donald Trump is set to become the nation’s 45th president, there is a lot of talk about his proposed tax policies and how they will affect taxpayers from all walks of life. Taxes are of course a huge issue so it makes sense that they are currently receiving so much attention. However, there are several other important sectors and issues that could be affected positively or negatively by Trump’s presidential plan.

One such industry that is likely watching the Trump presidency closely is the tech industry, and not just because of taxes. There are several factors that will directly or indirectly affect the top tech companies.

Clean Energy – Trump has expressed doubt about global warming and he apparently does not see much value in climate-change spending. This could mean he will eventually scrap government incentives for companies that use alternative energy methods.

Immigration – One of the biggest issues that voters had with Trump was his stance on immigration. If he follows through with his proposed deportation efforts this could affect many of the big companies’ hiring practices, since employees with H-1B visas are so common in Silicon Valley.

Trade – Trump has strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the tech industry has strongly endorsed. In fact, trump has talked tough against trade in general. If he follows through with his threats it could have major impacts on tech companies doing trade with foreign countries.

Manufacturing – Trump has stated his preference for bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. It will be interesting to watch which policies, if any, he can employ to either force or encourage tech companies to bring these jobs back to America.

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Voters in Multiple States Choose Higher Taxes for the Wealthy


Of course, the big news from the election earlier this month was that Donald Trump shocked the world and defeated Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States. However, there were several other important national, as well as local, election races and issues that were decided on November 8th. Not the least of which were several state measures aimed at raising taxes on high net worth individuals.

To that end, voters in both California and Maine decided that the rich needed to pay more taxes. In Maine, the vote to raise the state’s top tax rate from 7.15 percent to 10.15 percent was extremely close, passing by a narrow 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent margin. That means Maine will have the second highest top tax rate in the country in 2017, surpassing Oregon, which was number two in 2016 at 9.9 percent.

In California, meanwhile, the vote wasn’t even close, with 62 percent voting to extend temporary tax hikes already in place. Proposition 55 extended the hikes originally implemented in 2012 with Proposition 30. That means top earners, those who make $1 million or more a year, will continue to pay a tax rate of 13.3 percent at least until 2030. California will continue to have the highest tax rate for top earners in 2017.

So, while all signs point to Donald Trump lowering the federal tax rates, if you live in California or Maine and you’re a top earner, you won’t see any relief in the coming years in your state taxes.

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U.S. Treasury Making Push to Keep More Corporate Taxes Home


For any company considering a tax inversion, the latest news form the U.S. Treasury will likely make it reconsider. Tax inversions, which are used by American companies to reduce their tax bill, occur when a company acquires or opens a subsidiary in a foreign country in order to change its tax address and save millions. Many companies have employed this tactic in recent months, which has caused the government to increase its efforts to stop them.

According to the Treasury Department, the new regulations are aimed at fixing the country’s broken tax system. Specifically, the new regulations from the IRS and the Treasury will seek to put an end to the “earnings stripping” process. This occurs when a company pays deductible interest to an affiliate or parent company in another country, which has lower taxes.

While many corporations have expressed displeasure with the government’s efforts the current White House administration, along with the IRS and the Treasury, has pushed forward to make these changes, especially to target earnings stripping. The department did announce that it would offer a “broad exemption” for short-term loans and cash pools. It also said the effective date won’t be until January 1, 2018, so companies will have more time to prepare and comply with the changing regulations.

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Why Are the Wealthy Paying Fewer Estate Taxes?


The estate tax was a hot topic throughout the election process and now that we have a new president-elect it’s sure to get an even closer look when White House leadership changes hands early next year. Or course, both candidates had different views regarding this tax, but it’s interesting to note that despite the possible changes that could be coming, there might be very little actual impact to the revenue collected from this tax.

It seems that many high-net-worth individuals have found ways to reduce their estate tax bill, without the help of any new policies. Why is that? How are wealthy individuals avoiding paying more in estate taxes? According to the most recent numbers available from the IRS, taxpayers paid $16.4 billion in federal estate taxes in 2014. Compare that to 2006 when the total was $24.6 billion and it’s clear that the numbers are in decline.

The fact is estate tax dollars only account for 1 percent of all revenue collected by the IRS. So how are the nation’s highest earners – especially those in the top 1 percent – paying so little in estate taxes? One big reason is the increasing number of exemptions that now exist. First off, the exemption threshold has increased to $5.5 million, so anyone who receives less than that is excluded. The top tax rate has also fallen from 70 percent in 1981 to just 40 percent today.

Wealthy taxpayers have also learned how to avoid this tax, by implementing many different estate-planning tools, including trusts, like the grantor-retained trust, to help make passing their wealth on much easier and more tax-friendly. Therefore, unless a massive overhaul of the estate tax is implemented it’s likely that wealthy taxpayers will continue to avoid it, or at the very least, minimize its impact.

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Want to Avoid Taxes in Retirement – Try This


There’s been no shortage of thoughts and opinions regarding Donald Trump’s tax returns since the election process began, especially since his leaked return hit the mainstream media a few weeks ago. One could argue at length regarding those numbers and whether or not they paint a positive picture of Trump and his finances. However, there’s no question that Trump was able to use his losses to help offset gains in years to come.

This is just one of many tricks that the wealthy use to help reduce their taxes in retirement. There are several others that both the wealthy and the everyday average taxpayer can use to help offset their retirement tax bill. One of the most obvious is by using an employer retirement account, which helps offset taxes now and when you’re done working. In addition, you can open a Roth IRA, which is an excellent way to save after tax income. All Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free once you’ve owned the account for five years and you are at least 59 ½ years old.

Having a health savings account is also a great way to save. The money you place in an HSA is pre-tax so you won’t get hit upfront and it’s tax-free when you withdraw it, as long as you use it for medical expenses. Given that most people experience more health problems in their retirement years than earlier in life, this is a great tax savings tip to save you money.

These are just a few of the ways to help save money on your retirement taxes, but there are several more, including using long term capital gains, your home equity and a charitable remainder trust. If you have more questions about tax savings in retirement then please contact GROCO today.

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