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.

5 Last-Minute Ideas to Lower Your 2018 Taxes

Tax Day is right around the corner. Every year, thousands of people delay filing their taxes until the last minute or they file an extension. That’s especially true now, as taxpayers try to decipher what’s changed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Fortunately, there may be a few simple strategies that many individuals can still use to lower last year’s tax liability even though 2018 ended months ago.

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If Adopted, Overtime Pay Rules May Expand to More Employees

Newly proposed Department of Labor regulations, if finalized as written, will mean roughly 1.3 million workers who are currently treated as exempt will become eligible for overtime pay, beginning next year. Another provision sets a higher threshold for “highly compensated employee” status, potentially impacting another 200,000 workers. Here’s what it means.

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Update on Deducting Personal Casualty Losses

The rules for claiming disaster-related casualty losses to personal-use property have changed for 2018 through 2025 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As a result, taxpayers generally can’t deduct losses unless the casualty event qualifies as a federally declared disaster. Here’s what you need to know, including how to calculate casualty losses and possible safe-harbor methods for measuring losses.

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Tax Issues to Consider When Small Business Owners Get Divorced

If business owners file for divorce, tax issues can complicate matters. Though most assets can be transferred tax-free between soon-to-be-ex-spouses, there may be tax bills when those assets are eventually sold. So, it’s important to consider current and future tax obligations. Here’s how taxes factor into divorce settlements under today’s tax law, including the new treatment for alimony payments under post-2018 divorce agreements.

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Federal Investigators Find Labor Law Violations in Several Cases

The U.S. Department of Labor recently finished seven investigations and found employers had violated laws involving minimum wages, overtime, work visas and more. The cases serve as a warning to employers about the implications of not complying with labor laws. We’ll also tell you about how off-duty police officers providing private security services were found to be employees entitled to overtime.

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Women in Business: Who’s the Boss?

More women serve as leaders in business and politics than ever before. But there are still gender-based gaps in terms of pay and opportunities, according to several recent surveys. Businesses that allow women to participate in management often reap significant benefits. If you’re a business owner or organization executive, here’s what you can do to promote women to leadership positions.

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SIMPLE IRA vs. Solo 401(k): Which Is Right for Your Small Business?

Retirement plan options can be overwhelming for small business owners. Two popular alternatives SIMPLE IRAs and solo 401(k) plans may allow you to make larger annual deductible contributions than you could to a traditional defined contribution or profit-sharing plan. But they’re not right for everyone. Here’s what you need to know to help you save more money for retirement.

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I-9 Audits Are On the Rise: Be Prepared

Employers face growing hazards if they fail to comply with I-9 documentation. While this has always been an important topic, the federal government is stepping up its audits of how employers are handling I-9 forms. Don’t take compliance lightly. Can your practices stand up to a government audit? Here’s what you need to know to be prepared.

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Payment Card Fraud on the Rise Despite Use of Chip Technology

For in-store purchases made after October 2015, liability for credit card fraud shifted from credit card companies to merchants that weren’t chip-card enabled. However, a recent study found that criminals can still steal and clone chip-enabled payment cards in the United States. Here are the reasons, along with some ways merchants and credit card companies may be able to chip away at future losses.

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Is an HSA Right for You?

Health savings accounts (HSAs) allow people with high deductible health plans to pay for their medical expenses with pretax dollars. But some people are confused about how HSAs work. Here’s what you need to know to determine whether you qualify for these tax-advantaged accounts and, if so, how much you can (and should) contribute.

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Making Smart Mergers and Acquisitions under Today’s Tax Law

The M&A market is currently hot in some industries. However, before your business combines with another, it’s important to understand the federal tax issues that may apply to your transaction. Although it’s not the only consideration, minimizing taxes is key to a deal’s success. Here are some tax-savvy strategies to consider in structuring a deal under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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IRS Issues Final QBI Deduction Regulations

Owners of eligible pass-through businesses can now deduct up to 20% of qualified business income (QBI). This tax break is only allowed for individuals, estates and trusts. Here’s a summary of new final regulations that address rental activities, the impact of net capital gains, carryovers of negative QBI amounts, and how to calculate various components of the QBI deduction and its limitations.

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OSHA Log Posting Tips

If you’re in business and have at least 10 employees, you’re probably familiar with the injury and illness reports required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Not only do these forms involve detailed reporting and record maintenance, but for three months each year they must also be posted for employees to see. Keep reading for a reminder of your responsibilities and for some tips to help avoid common reporting errors.

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IRS Offers QBI Deduction Safe-Harbor Rule for Rental Real Estate

The IRS recently issued guidance to help real estate investors understand the new deduction for qualified business income (QBI). This break may be available to eligible noncorporate owners of so-called “pass-through” business entities for tax years beginning in 2018 and extending through 2025. Here’s how the new guidance helps clarify the rules for rental property owners.

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How to Combine Home Sale Gain Exclusion with a Like-Kind Exchange

Homeowners, beware: You may be hit with a large federal tax bill when you sell your principal residence if your property is in an area where market values have skyrocketed over the years. Fortunately, two breaks might reduce the tax hit: 1) the home sale gain exclusion, and 2) tax-deferred like-kind exchanges. Here’s a strategy that could potentially save you and your family significant tax dollars.

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Could Medicare Premiums Lower Your Taxes?

Medicare health insurance options can be confusing, and the premiums can be more expensive than you might think. This article explains how Medicare coverage works and how some people may be able to lower their tax bills by deducting Medicare health insurance premiums and other qualifying medical expenses.

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Warning: E-Scooters May Pose Risks to Your Business and Its Employees

If you live or work in a city, you’ve probably seen electric scooters quietly gliding around in recent months. Unfortunately, this new technology-driven mode of transportation can pose risks to unwary employers. Here are some issues related to using so-called “e-scooters” for business purposes, along with a way to safeguard your business and its employees from the negative side effects.

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2018 Income Tax Withholdings: Too Much, Too Little or Just Right?

Many individuals still aren’t familiar with all the changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. So, they don’t know whether their 2018 withholding and estimated quarterly payments will be sufficient. Here’s an overview of the provisions that might affect your tax situation, along with recent queries to the IRS about possible penalty relief for those who didn’t pay enough to the IRS for the 2018 tax year.

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Should You Switch Your Business to C Corporation Status?

Based on prior tax law, many businesses chose to operate as sole proprietorships and pass-through entities, including partnerships, LLCs and S corporations, to help lower their taxes. Now some business owners are rethinking their business structures under the current tax law. But before you switch, it’s important to learn about the potential pitfalls of operating as a C corporation.

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