H2R CPA Blog
Tax Reform Resource Center
by H2R CPA Team
Does your small business engage in qualified research activities? If so, you may be eligible for a research tax credit that you can use to offset your federal payroll tax bill.
This relatively new privilege allows the research credit to benefit small businesses that may not generate enough taxable income to use the credit to offset their federal income tax bills, such as those that are still in the unprofitable start-up phase where they owe little or no federal income tax.
Under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, a qualified small business (QSB) can elect to use up to $250,000 of its research credit to reduce the Social Security tax portion of its federal payroll tax bills. Under the old rules, businesses could use the credit to offset only their federal income tax bills. However, many small businesses owe little or no federal income tax, especially small start-ups that tend to incur significant research expenses.
by Paul K. Rudoy, CPA/PFS
One of the provisions of the Trump Tax Proposal (TTP) is the repeal of the Federal Estate Tax. This is an onerous tax that taxes people’s net worth after they pass away. Taxation begins currently at $5.49M, or married couples have the opportunity to increase this limit to $10.98M.
Generally, this means that the tax hits only about .2% of people who die or about 1 in every 500. Sounds like great news for those over the $10.98M stratosphere. It likely is for those taxpayers.
The down side is that one discussed way to pay for this is to eliminate the Step-Up in Basis rules. This is where assets cost basis are re-set to Market Value at death. For the under $10.98M, or $5.49M for singles, your heirs can acquire many assets like stocks and mutual funds, sell them after inheritance, and pay no income tax.
by H2R CPA Team
For families with disabled loved ones who are potentially eligible for means-tested government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), estate planning can be a challenge. On the one hand, you want to provide the most comfortable life possible for your family member. On the other hand, you don’t want to jeopardize his or her eligibility for needed government benefits.
For many years, the most effective solution to this problem has been to set up a special needs trust (SNT). But beginning in 2014, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act created Internal Revenue Code Section 529A, which authorizes the states to offer tax-advantaged savings accounts for the blind and severely disabled, similar to Sec. 529 college savings plans.
How ABLE Accounts Work
The ABLE Act allows family members and others to make nondeductible cash contributions to a qualified beneficiary’s ABLE account, with total annual contributions limited to the federal gift tax annual exclusion amount (currently, $14,000). To qualify, a beneficiary must have become blind or disabled before age 26.
The account grows tax-free, and earnings may be withdrawn tax-free provided they’re used to pay “qualified disability expenses.” These include health care, education, housing, transportation, employment training, assistive technology, personal support services, financial management and legal expenses.
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