The CBD Blog

Find peer advice, partner insights, and industry updates – all here in the CBD blog, ‘At The Helm’! With contributions from our entire team, we blog about the things that interest you.

Remember the New FBAR Filing Deadline

Did you have an interest in (or authority over) a foreign financial account during 2016? If so, you’ll need to electronically file a form called the “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR). That form which is due on April 18, 2017 may be reviewed by IRS examiners as part of its efforts to unearth offshore tax evasion. Here’s an overview of how to comply with the IRS regulations on reporting foreign accounts.

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Relying on Audit Techniques Guides

IRS examiners use Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) to prepare for audits and so can small business owners. These publications provide detailed information about an industry or audit-prone business transaction. For example, some ATGs are devoted to cash-intensive businesses, such as restaurants and bars. Another recently updated guide covers golden parachutes paid in corporate takeovers. Here, we explain ATGs and the types of information they may provide.

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There’s Still Time to Set Up a SEP for 2016

Self-employed individuals and small business owners can still claim a deduction on their 2016 tax return for contributions to simplified employee pensions (SEPs) that are made before their tax return due date. If you haven’t set up a retirement plan yet, consider using a SEP to lower your 2016 tax bill. Here are the details on how these accounts work.

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Seniors: Consider These Tax Breaks When Filing for 2016

There are some special tax breaks that can help “experienced” taxpayers reduce their federal income tax bills, including the bill for last year. Here are the details to help you decide if the tax-saving opportunities for itemized medical expenses and catch-up contributions to retirement accounts can work for you and your senior friends and family members.

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Consider Section 179 Deductions for Real Estate Expenses

The Sec. 179 deduction for qualified real property expenses is now a permanent feature of the tax law but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you. Here are the basic considerations, including which expenses qualify. But beware: There is a potential downside to taking this deduction when it comes time for individual taxpayers to recognize gains from selling the related real property.

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Remember RMDs this Tax Season

If you’re 70 or older, you’re required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA (or IRAs) every year. Here are the requirements including an extended April 1 deadline for taking RMDs for the year you turn 70 as well as details about a tax-free alternative that can satisfy the RMD rules for charitably inclined seniors.

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10 Important Tax-Related Developments for 2016

Do you recall the major federal tax law changes that happened last year? From HRAs and premium tax credits to delayed refunds and FBAR reporting, 2016 was eventful. Reviewing recent tax-related developments can give individuals and businesses a jumpstart on tax season 2017. In fact, many changes will be reflected on your 2016 tax return. A sidebar discusses the “extenders” that Congress left in limbo when it adjourned last year.

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IRS Reports a Significant Increase in Whistleblower Awards

The IRS Whistleblower Office is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. According to a recent report, fiscal year 2016 was “very productive” and “transformative” for the program. It collected nearly $369 million in unpaid tax liabilities and awarded more than $61 million to informants. Here’s more on how the IRS program works, along with a list of federal laws that provide whistleblower programs for employees and others.

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Tax Fraud Awareness: How to Protect Your Identity and Assets

Do you know the warning signs that you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft? Here we explain those signs along with ways thieves can turn your personal information into quick cash. Tax season starts on January 23. There’s no time like the present to take simple steps to safeguard your data online and at home from identity thieves.

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Consider State Taxes When Deciding Where to Live in Retirement

For years, you’ve dreamed about your ideal retirement home. Regardless of whether you prefer the beach, the mountains or a location close to the grandkids, state taxes are an important financial consideration. Here, we explain the full range of state taxes to consider including income, property and estate taxes and then we highlight the importance of establishing domicile to prevent both your old and new states from claiming you owe them taxes.

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Important Tax Figures for 2017

Every year, the dollar amounts allowed for various federal tax benefits are subject to change based on inflation adjustments and legislation. Here are some important tax figures for 2017, compared with 2016, including the estate tax exemption, Social Security wage base, qualified retirement plan and IRA contribution limits, driving deductions, allowable business write-off amounts and more.

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Cures Act Approves HRAs for Small Employers

A new law goes into effect on New Year’s Day that will allow small employers to set aside money in standalone Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) without incurring penalties under the Affordable Care Act. Here, we explain how these tax-advantaged accounts work, which employers are eligible to use standalone HRAs without incurring penalties and how to provide notice to employees about these arrangements.

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Employee, Partner or Both? Recent Developments Help You Decide

Long-standing IRS guidance says a partner can’t also be an employee of the same partnership. Unless the IRS makes some exceptions to this guidance, taxpayers with even a small ownership interest in a partnership will be classified as partners. Here, we discuss these rules and highlight two recent cases that support the IRS’s hard-line stance on recognizing partnership income. (Warning to LLC members: This IRS guidance also extends to you.)

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FBI Case Exposes Massive Telefraud Scheme

Your telephone could become a tool for fraudsters to steal your money, if you’re unaware of the latest ploys and fail to apply a healthy dose of skepticism when answering calls from unfamiliar sources. Here’s the story of a recent FBI indictment of a multinational fraud ring that caused millions of dollars in losses in the United States and information on how to avoid becoming the next telefraud victim.

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Spotlight On Business Tax Trends

What’s the most popular choice of entity: sole proprietorship, C corporation, S corporation, partnership or limited liability company? A recent report by the Joint Committee on Taxation answers this question and highlights trends in how businesses have been structured over the last 35 years. With the recent election and proposed tax reforms in the works for 2017, however, it’s possible that these trends could reverse or slow down in the future.

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New Overtime Rules Suspended for Now

Although new overtime regulations were set to kick in on December 1, a federal district court has moved to block the changes, at least temporarily. What does this mean for employers and what should they do now? Whether businesses should immediately drop plans to comply with the new rules, or move forward anyway, may not be a simple question for employers to answer. Here’s more.

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Year-End Reminder: Don’t Forget FSAs

November is benefits enrollment time for most companies. Do you know how health care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), child care FSAs and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) differ? Here, we explain the differences and provide year-end spending and budgeting strategies. Beware: Employees who don’t spend the remaining funds in their FSAs before year end could forfeit what’s left over, unless a special provision applies.

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It's Time for Individuals to Plan for Taxes in 2016 and Beyond

The election is finally over, and it’s time to focus on the future. Republicans are calling for tax reform and when they take control of Congress and the White House in 2017, tax rates and other rules could change. Have you factored the election results into your year-end tax plans? Here are some tips for individual taxpayers to consider before December 31.

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Year-End Tax Strategies for Small Businesses

Are you looking for last-minute strategies to help lower the 2016 tax bill for your small business? Here are some effective tax-saving moves, based on current tax law, that may be worthwhile. Strategies include timing income and deductible expenses, buying vehicles and equipment, selling qualified small business corporation stock, and taking advantage of net operating losses.

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