Tax Rules & Laws

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 56 cents per mile for business miles driven 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

2014 Standard Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23.5 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business, medical, and moving expense rates decrease one-half cent from the 2013 rates.  The charitable rate is based on statute.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.  In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.  Notice 2013-80 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

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As a business owner, you should be aware that you can save family income and payroll taxes by putting junior family members on the payroll.

As a business owner, you should be aware that you can save family income and payroll taxes by putting junior family members on the payroll. You may be able to turn high-taxed income into tax-free or low-taxed income, achieve social security tax savings (depending on how your business is organized), and even make retirement plan contributions for your child.

In addition, employing a child age 18 (or if a full-time student, age 19–23) may be a way to save taxes on the child’s unearned income, as explained below.

Here are the key considerations.

Turning high-taxed income into tax-free or low-taxed income. You can turn some of your high-taxed income into tax-free or low-taxed income by shifting some of your business earnings to a child as wages for services performed by him or her. In order for your business to deduct the wages as a business expense, the work done by the child must be legitimate and the child’s salary must be reasonable.

For example, suppose a business owner operating as a sole proprietor is in the 36.9% tax bracket. He hires his 17-year-old daughter to help with office work full-time during the summer and part-time into the fall. She earns $6,100 during the year (and doesn’t have any other earnings).

The business owner saves $2,250.90 (36.9% of $6,100) in income taxes at no tax cost to his daughter, who can use her $6,100 standard deduction (for 2013) to completely shelter her earnings. The business owner could save an additional $2,029.50 in taxes if he could keep his daughter on the payroll longer and pay her an additional $5,500. She could shelter the additional income from tax by making a tax-deductible contribution to her own IRA.

Family taxes are cut even if the child’s earnings exceed his or her standard deduction and IRA deduction. That’s because the unsheltered earnings will be taxed to the child beginning at a rate of 10%, instead of being taxed at the parent’s higher rate.

Keep in mind that bracket-shifting works even for a child who is subject to the kiddie tax, which causes the child’s investment income in excess of $2,000 for 2013 to be taxed at the parent’s marginal rate. The kiddie tax has no impact on the child’s wages and other earned income.

The kiddie tax doesn’t apply to a child who is age 18 or a full-time student age 19 through 23, if the child’s earned income for the year exceeds one-half of his or her support. Thus, employing a child age 18 or a full-time student age 19–23 could also help to avoid the kiddie tax on his or her unearned income.

For children under age 18, there is no earned income escape hatch from the kiddie tax. But in all cases, earned income can be sheltered by the child’s standard and other deductions, as noted above, and earnings in excess of allowable deductions will be taxed at the child’s low rates.

What about income tax withholding? Your business probably will have to withhold federal income taxes on your child’s wages. Usually, an employee can claim exempt status if he or she had no federal income tax liability for last year, and expects to have none for this year. However, exemption from withholding can’t be claimed if (1) the employee’s income exceeds $1,000 for 2013, and includes more than $350 of unearned income (such as dividends) for 2013, and (2) the employee can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. Keep in mind that your child probably will get a refund for part or all of the withheld tax when he or she files a return for the year.

Social security tax savings, too. If your business isn’t incorporated, you can also save some self-employment (i.e., social security) tax dollars by shifting some of your earnings to a child. That’s because services performed by a child under the age of 18 while employed by a parent isn’t considered employment for FICA tax purposes.

For example, let’s say a sole proprietor who usually takes $120,000 of earnings from the business pays $5,700 to her 17-year-old child. The sole proprietor’s self-employment income would be reduced by $5,700, saving her $165.30 (the 2.9% HI portion of the self employment tax she would have paid on the $5,700 shifted to her daughter). This doesn’t take into account a sole proprietor’s income tax deduction for one-half of his or her own social security taxes.

A similar but more liberal exemption applies for FUTA (unemployment) tax, which exempts earnings paid to a child under age 21 while employed by his or her parent. The FICA and FUTA exemptions also apply if a child is employed by a partnership consisting solely of his parents.

Note that there is no FICA or FUTA exemption for employing a child if your business is incorporated or a partnership that includes non-parent partners. However, there’s no extra cost to your business if you’re paying a child for work you’d pay someone else to do, anyway.

Retirement benefits. Your business also may be able to provide your child with retirement benefits, depending on the type of plan it has and how it defines qualifying employees. For example, if it has a simplified employee pension (SEP), a contribution can be made for the child up to 25% of his or her earnings but the contribution cannot exceed $51,000 for 2013. The child’s participation in the SEP won’t prevent the child from making tax-deductible IRA contributions as long as adjusted gross income (computed in a special way) is below the level at which deductions for IRA contributions begin to be disallowed. For 2013, that figure is $59,000 for a single individual.

If you have any questions about how these rules apply to your particular situation, please don’t hesitate to call. Also keep in mind that some of the rules about employing children (such as the maximum amount they can earn tax-free) change from year to year, and may require your income-shifting strategy to change, too.

Fox Peterson Team

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Affordable Care Act – Action Notice

Beginning October 1st, employers are required to provide written notices to all employees – regardless of benefit enrollment status or full / part-time status – about health coverage options. This includes notifications about federal and state health insurance marketplaces.  These government-run marketplaces will be open this fall.

Employers can send the notices by mail or electronically.  Effective January 1st, 2014, employers will have 14 days from the employees start date to provide a notice. The Department of Labor has provided two sample notices or employers who currently offer coverage and for employers who do not offer health insurance.

Links to model notice from the United States Department of Labor:

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithoutplans.pdf

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/FLSAwithplans.pdf

Employers can also create their own notices, which must include:

  •  Explanation of the marketplaces
  • Reference to www.healthcare.gov
  • Information about premium subsidies that may be available if employees purchase a qualified health plan through the marketplace
  • Notification that employees may lose their employer contribution to the health plan if it is obtained through the marketplace

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act please visit the US Department of Labor site at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/healthreform/

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Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be: 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven. 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes. 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2013 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven.
  • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The rate for business miles driven during 2013 increases 1 cent from the 2012 rate. The medical and moving rate is also up 1 cent per mile from the 2012 rate.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2012-72 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

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the theory and system of setting up, maintaining, and auditing the books of a firm; artof analyzing the financial position and operating results of a business house from a study of its sales, purchases, overhead, etc. (distinguished from bookkeeping).

ac·count·ing

[uh-koun-ting] noun

1.

the theory and system of setting up, maintaining, and auditing the books of a firm; art of analyzing the financial position and operating results of a business house from a study of its sales, purchases, overhead, etc. (distinguished from bookkeeping).
2.

a detailed report of the financial state or transactions of a person or entity: an accounting of the estate.
3.

the rendering or submission of such a report.
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