New IRS Guidance on Changing Accounting Method for Retail Inventory
Many stores use the retail inventory method to approximate ending inventory without taking physical inventory counts. The IRS recently issued final regulations on certain changes within this method and then followed up with procedures for obtaining automatic IRS approval to comply with the changes. This article provides an overview of the retail inventory method and explains the latest IRS guidance.
How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child? Plenty
Back in 1960, parents could expect to spend just over $25,000 to raise a child from birth through age 17. Those were the good old days! See how the cost of raising a child has increased, according to an annual report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Hint: Inflation isn't the only reason for child-rearing costs going up.)
New FCC Text-to-911 Rules: Obstacles and Reminders
Emergency texting can enhance public safety in certain situations, such as home intrusions and for people with disabilities. The Federal Communications Commission passed new rules, requiring mobile providers and some messaging services to allow emergency texts. But full text-to-911 capability won't be available everywhere for several more years due to implementation obstacles. Read this article to find out if 911 texting is available where you live and work.
Can You Squeeze in a Home Office Deduction?
Working from home has benefits. Not only can you skip the commute, you might be eligible to deduct home office expenses on your tax return. Normally, you must use part of your home "regularly and exclusively" for business to qualify. But what if you live in a studio apartment? The U.S. Tax Court recently addressed that issue. This article explains the case, as well as the rules to qualify for home office deductions.
Retirement Planning: Foresee to Provide for the Future
Remember the Aesop's Fable about the ants and the grasshopper? While the ants actively stockpile food, the grasshopper parties the summer away and starves in winter. In terms of retirement savings, are you an ant or a grasshopper? A recent Federal Reserve survey found that many Americans aren't saving for retirement. Here are some planning tips, as well as some surprising statistics on U.S. household finances.
IRS ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights’ Is Now in Six Languages
The IRS just announced that its "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" has now been translated into five languages in addition to English. The document was adopted by the tax agency in June. It was compiled to help taxpayers understand their rights and to compile them in one place. Previously, taxpayers' rights were scattered throughout the Internal Revenue Code. This article shows the 10 provisions of the Bill of Rights.
Who Will Have Access to Your 'Digital Assets' When You Die?
Without proper estate planning, your "digital assets" may cause problems for your loved ones, executors and other fiduciaries when you die. Unfortunately, many people's plans -- and most state laws -- haven't kept up with the times. In July, the Uniform Law Commission passed a model digital asset law that might help bring continuity to this complicated issue involving access to e-mail accounts, social media profiles, online photos archives and more.
DOs and DON’Ts for Deducting Meals, Entertainment and Travel
Meals, entertainment, auto and travel expenses are IRS hot buttons. You're allowed to deduct "ordinary and necessary" expenses incurred in operating a business, but you must keep detailed records to substantiate those expenses. If not, they might be disallowed, as illustrated by one recent Tax Court decision. Here are some best practices for substantiating these items on your business or personal tax return.
Who Are the Latest IRS Targets? A List of 22 Audit Triggers
Many taxpayers ask: How can I avoid an IRS audit? There's no 100 percent guarantee that you won't be picked because some tax returns are chosen randomly. However, completing your returns in a timely and accurate fashion with your trusted tax adviser certainly works in your favor. And it helps to know the red flags that might catch the attention of the IRS. Here's a look at the latest audit statistics and 22 triggers that could result in an examination.
New 'SupplierPay' Program: Faster Payments, More Favorable Terms
Twenty six major corporations recently promised to pay small suppliers faster under the "SupplierPay" program launched by the White House and the Small Business Administration. Managing working capital is a perpetual challenge for small companies -- and it is even harder during tough times. This article explains the program and provides tips for narrowing the "cash gap."
Conflicting Court Rulings involving ACA Tax Subsidies in Some States
On the very same day, two federal courts took up an issue involving tax credits for health insurance premiums paid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The courts reached opposite conclusions, which creates uncertainty for qualified individuals in some states who are counting on the tax breaks to help pay for health insurance. This article describes the new court cases, as well as what they could mean for employers.
Need a New Vehicle? Save Money with Hot End-of-Summer Deals
Many people mistakenly think that dealerships offer the best prices on new vehicles in December. But 2015 models will be arriving at dealerships near you in late August, and many stores are offering hot incentives to clear out last year's models. Here are some tips for minimizing haggling and monthly car payments for you -- or a family member.