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Archive for January, 2018

At first blush, you might think I’m a little late to the game with my annual “New Year’s Resolution” post. But my delay was actually a stroke of strategic genius. By waiting a few days to publish, I was allowing ample time for all of your original goals for 2018 to fail miserably. And look at you now: It’s only January 5th, and you’re already back on gluten. You’ve giving Jim a second chance. And you told the guy at the gym that you needed a full refund because you tore a muscle that, according to the latest medical research, does not actually exist.

But you can still salvage 2018. You can still leave the year a better person than the one who entered. Now, I can’t whip you into shape, or get you to put down the pizza, or convince you that Jim is the worst (and he is), but I can make you a better tax professional. All you need to do are these five things:

Embrace the Moment

No, no…I’m not suggesting that we put down our phone and spend more time with our kids. That never works, and for good reason. After all, the stuff on Twitter is far more interesting than anything Junior has to say.

What I am suggesting, however, is that as tax professionals, we look at the recent overhaul of the tax law not as a burden, but as an opportunity. Allow me to explain what I mean with a little story:

A few months ago, my 8 year old boy was invited to a birthday party at the local bowling alley. It wasn’t one of those “drop off and bail” parties, so I had to stick around for the duration. I didn’t know any of the other parents, so the prospect of killing two hours with 10 total strangers quickly grew uncomfortable, made only more so by the fact that like any tried-and-true tax guy, I’m inherently anti-social to being with.

Eventually, the conversation among the adults turned where it always does when no one knows what else to say: discussing what we do for a living. When it was my turn, I fessed up: I was a CPA who made my living in the tax law.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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Two short weeks ago, we dissected perhaps the most widely-anticipated but least-understood aspect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: the new deduction available to business owners. As a reminder, under the new law, after January 1, 2018, the owner of a:

  • sole proprietorship reported directly on Schedule C
  • rental activity reported directly on Schedule E
  • S corporation, or
  • partnership…

…is entitled to take a deduction equal to 20% of the “qualified business income” earned from the business.

Qualified business income is best thought of as the ordinary, non-investment income of the business. Stated in another way, this is the revenue the business was designed to generate, less the applicable expenses. So we ignore things like interest or dividend income or capital gains from the sale of property.

The deduction, however, is limited to the LESSER OF:

  • 20% of qualified business income, or
  • 50% of the total W-2 wages paid by the business.

There is also an alternative limitation based on the owner’s allocable share of 2.5% of the unadjusted basis of certain business assets, but let’s cast that aside for today.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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When you arose from your Titos-induced slumber on the morning of January 1st, it was more than just your pants and dignity that had gone missing. While you were ringing in the New Year, the Internal Revenue Code you’d come to know and love had disappeared, replaced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the most comprehensive overhaul of the tax law in 31 years.

Fortunately for you, with enough money, both trousers and self-respect are easily recouped. An understanding of the tax law, however? That can’t be bought. As a result, you’ve got to start over, diving into the wholesale changes that took effect on New Year’s Day in hopes of regaining the same level of comfort you enjoyed with the previous version. And that’s not going to be a quick process, because as we’re quickly learning, for every straightforward tweak to the law– the doubling of the standard deduction, the elimination of personal exemptions — there is a corresponding influx of complexity that requires you to pop on the ol’ thinking cap.

In last week’s Tax Geek Tuesday, we took on perhaps the most intimidating and impactful provision of the new law: the “20% of qualified business income” deduction available to sole proprietors and owners of pass-through entities. It was a productive endeavor, but our work is far from over.

Today, we’ll move on to the next big challenge posed by the new law: understanding the changes that have been made to the way we depreciate assets purchased for use in a business.

Continue reading on, Forbes.com

Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

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