Transferring Assets Through the Kiddie Tax

Transferring-Assets-Through-the-Kiddie-Tax

Many people wonder how they can save taxes by transferring assets into their children’s names. This tax strategy is called income shifting. It seeks to take income out of your higher tax bracket and place it in the lower tax brackets of your children. When transferring assets through the kiddie tax, be sure you’re aware of the rules.

Kiddie Tax Rules and Rates

While some tax savings are available through this approach, the “kiddie tax” rules impose substantial limitations if:

  1. The child hasn’t reached age 18 before the close of the tax year, or
  2. The child’s earned income doesn’t exceed half of their support and the child is age 18 or is a full-time student aged 19 to 23.

The kiddie tax rules apply to your children who are under the cutoff age(s) described above, and who have more than a certain amount of unearned (investment) income for the tax year — $2,300 for 2022. While some tax savings on up to this amount can still be achieved by shifting income to children under the cutoff age, the savings aren’t substantial.

If the kiddie tax rules apply to your children and they have over the prescribed amount of unearned income for the tax year ($2,300 for 2022), they’ll be taxed on that excess amount at your (the parents’) tax rates if your rates are higher than the children’s tax rates. This kiddie tax is calculated by computing the “allocable parental tax,” and special allocation rules apply if the parents have more than one child subject to the kiddie tax.

Note: Different rules applied for the 2018 and 2019 tax years, when the kiddie tax was computed based on the estates’ and trusts’ ordinary and capital gain rates instead of the parents’ tax rates.

Be aware that to transfer income to a child, you must transfer ownership of the asset producing the income. You can’t merely transfer the income itself. Property can be transferred to minor children using custodial accounts under state law.

Possible Saving Vehicles

The portion of investment income that’s taxed under the kiddie tax rules may be reduced or eliminated if the child invests in vehicles that produce little or no current taxable income. These include:

  • Securities and mutual funds oriented toward capital growth;
  • Vacant land expected to appreciate in value;
  • Stock in a closely held family business, expected to become more valuable as the business expands but pays little or no cash dividends;
  • Tax-exempt municipal bonds and bond funds;
  • U.S. Series EE bonds, for which recognition of income can be deferred until the bonds mature, the bonds are cashed in, or an election to recognize income annually is made.

Investments that produce no taxable income — and therefore aren’t subject to the kiddie tax — also include tax-advantaged savings vehicles such as:

A child’s earned income (as opposed to investment income) is taxed at the child’s regular tax rates, regardless of the amount. Therefore, to save taxes within the family, consider employing the child at your own business and paying reasonable compensation.

If the kiddie tax applies, it’s computed and reported on Form 8615, which is attached to the child’s tax return.

We Can Help You with Reporting Options

Parents can elect to include the child’s income on their own return if certain requirements are satisfied. This is done on Form 8814 and avoids the need for a separate return for the child.

The tax professionals at Ramsay & Associates can help with transferring assets through the kiddie tax. If you have questions about the rules for income shifting, contact us. We can help.

About the author

Brady is the owner of Ramsay & Associates. He specializes in financial statement preparation and personal, fiduciary and corporate tax and accounting.

His professional experience includes seven years' experience for local and national CPA firms before joining Ramsay & Associates in 2006.

He has a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, an Eagle Scout, as well as an active volunteer in the community.

What to Know If Your Business Closes its Doors

What-to-Know-If-Your-Business-Closes-its-Doors

Sadly, many businesses have been forced to shut down recently due to the pandemic and the economy. If this is your situation, we can assist you, including taking care of the various tax responsibilities that must be met. Here’s what to know if your business closes its doors.

Filing a Final Tax Return

Of course, a business must file a final income tax return and some other related forms for the year it closes its doors. The type of return to be filed depends on the type of business you have. Here’s a rundown of the basic requirements.

Sole proprietorships. You’ll need to file the usual Schedule C, “Profit or Loss from Business,” with your individual return for the year you close the business. You may also need to report self-employment tax.

Partnerships. A partnership must file Form 1065, “U.S. Return of Partnership Income,” for the year it closes. You also must report capital gains and losses on Schedule D. Indicate that this is the final return and do the same on Schedule K-1, “Partner’s Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.”

All corporations. Form 966, “Corporate Dissolution or Liquidation,” must be filed if you adopt a resolution or plan to dissolve a corporation or liquidate any of its stock.

C corporations. File Form 1120, “U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return,” for the year you close. Report capital gains and losses on Schedule D. Indicate this is the final return.

S corporations. File Form 1120-S, “U.S. Income Tax Return for an S Corporation,” for the year of closing. Report capital gains and losses on Schedule D. The “final return” box must be checked on Schedule K-1.

All businesses. You may need to file other forms to report sales of business property and asset acquisitions if you sell your business.

Personnel and Contractors

If you have employees, you must pay them final wages and compensation owed, make final federal tax deposits, and report employment taxes. Failure to withhold or deposit employee income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes can result in full personal liability for what’s known as the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty.

If you’ve paid any contractors at least $600 during the calendar year in which you close your business, you must report those payments on Form 1099-NEC, “Nonemployee Compensation.”

Additional Tax Matters

If your business has a retirement plan for employees, you’ll want to terminate the plan and distribute benefits to participants. There are detailed notice, funding, timing and filing requirements that must be met by a terminating plan. There are also complex requirements related to flexible spending accounts, Health Savings Accounts, and other programs for your employees.

You may come upon other complicated tax issues related to closing your business. We can assist you with matters including debt cancellation, use of net operating losses, freeing up any remaining passive activity losses, depreciation recapture, and possible bankruptcy issues.

In addition, we can advise you on the length of time you need to keep business records. You also must cancel your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and close your IRS business account.

If your business is unable to pay all the taxes it owes, we can explain the available payment options to you.

We Can Help

When it comes to tax obligations, the business tax professionals at Ramsay & Associates can help you understand what to know if your business closes its doors. Contact us to discuss these issues and get answers to any questions.

About the author

Brady is the owner of Ramsay & Associates. He specializes in financial statement preparation and personal, fiduciary and corporate tax and accounting.

His professional experience includes seven years' experience for local and national CPA firms before joining Ramsay & Associates in 2006.

He has a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, an Eagle Scout, as well as an active volunteer in the community.

Own an EV? Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Own-an-EV-Take-Advantage-of-Tax-Credits

According to several sources, sales and registrations of electric vehicles (EVs) increased dramatically in the U.S. in 2022. However, while they’re still a small percentage of the cars on the road today, they’re increasing in popularity all the time. Do you own an EV? You may be able to take advantage of tax credits if you qualify.

Tax Credit Fine Print

If you buy an EV, you may be eligible for a federal tax break. The tax code provides a credit to purchasers of qualifying plug-in electric drive motor vehicles, including passenger vehicles and light trucks.

The credit is equal to $2,500 plus an additional amount, based on battery capacity, that can’t exceed $5,000. Therefore, the maximum credit allowed for a qualifying EV is $7,500.

Be aware that not all EVs are eligible for the tax break, as we’ll describe below.

What Defines an Electric Vehicle

For purposes of the tax credit, a qualifying vehicle is defined as one with four wheels that’s propelled to a significant extent by an electric motor, which draws electricity from a battery. The battery must have a capacity of not less than four kilowatt hours and be capable of being recharged from an external source of electricity.

The credit may not be available because of a per-manufacturer cumulative sales limitation. Specifically, it phases out over six quarters beginning when a manufacturer has sold at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles for use in the United States (determined on a cumulative basis for sales after December 31, 2009).

For example, Tesla and General Motors vehicles are no longer eligible for the tax credit. And Toyota is the latest auto manufacturer to sell enough plug-in EVs to trigger a gradual phase out of federal tax incentives for certain models sold in the U.S.

Several automakers are telling Congress to eliminate the limit. In a letter, GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota asked Congressional leaders to give all electric car and light truck buyers a tax credit of up to $7,500. The group says that lifting the limit would give buyers more choices, encourage greater EV adoption, and provide stability to auto workers.

Here’s What Else to Know

The IRS provides a list of qualifying vehicles on its website, and it recently added some eligible models.

Here are some additional points about the plug-in electric vehicle tax credit:

  • It’s allowed in the year you place the vehicle in service.
  • The vehicle must be new.
  • An eligible vehicle must be used predominantly in the U.S. and have a gross weight of less than 14,000 pounds.

Want to Know More? Ask Us

These are only the basic rules for those who own an EV and want to take advantage of tax credits. There may be additional incentives provided by your state. If you want more information about the federal plug-in electric vehicle tax break, the tax professionals at Ramsay & Associates can help. Contact us today.

About the author

Brady is the owner of Ramsay & Associates. He specializes in financial statement preparation and personal, fiduciary and corporate tax and accounting.

His professional experience includes seven years' experience for local and national CPA firms before joining Ramsay & Associates in 2006.

He has a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, an Eagle Scout, as well as an active volunteer in the community.

IRS Upped Business Travel Rates

IRS-Upped-Business-Travel-Rates

Business owners know that gas prices are historically high, which has made their vehicle costs soar. Fortunately, there is some relief. The IRS upped business travel rates for the last six months of 2022. The tax agency announced an increase in the optional standard mileage rate in the hopes that the increase helps offset vehicle costs for business owners. Taxpayers may use the optional cents-per-mile rate to calculate the deductible costs of operating a vehicle for business. Keep reading to learn more.

Prices and Rates

The average nationwide price of a gallon of unleaded regular gas on June 17 was $5, compared with $3.08 a year earlier, according to the AAA Gas Prices website. A gallon of diesel averaged $5.78 a gallon, compared with $3.21 a year earlier.

With higher prices come increased rates. For the second half of 2022 (July 1–December 31), the standard mileage rate for business travel will be 62.5 cents per mile. This is up from 58.5 cents per mile for the first half of the year (January 1–June 30). There are different standard mileage rates for charitable and medical driving.

Unusual Circumstances

Raising the standard mileage rate in the middle of the year is unusual. Normally, the IRS updates the mileage rates once a year at the end of the year for the next calendar year. However, the tax agency explained that “in recognition of recent gasoline price increases, the IRS made this special adjustment for the final months of 2022.” But while the move is uncommon, it’s not without precedent. The standard mileage rate was increased for the last six months of 2011 and 2008 after gas prices rose significantly.

While fuel costs are a significant factor in the mileage figure, there were other contributing elements. The IRS notes that “other items enter into the calculation of mileage rates, such as depreciation and insurance and other fixed and variable costs.”

Two Mileage Options

The optional standard mileage rate is one of two methods a business can use to compute the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes. Taxpayers also have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicles rather than using the standard mileage rate. This may include expenses such as gas, oil, tires, insurance, repairs, licenses, vehicle registration fees and a depreciation allowance for the vehicle.

From a tax standpoint, you may get a larger deduction by tracking the actual expense method than you would with the standard mileage rate. But many taxpayers don’t want to spend time tracking actual costs. Be aware that there are rules that may prevent you from using one method or the other. For example, if a business wants to use the standard mileage rate for a car it leases, the business must use this rate for the entire lease period.

We’re Here to Help

Your business may get a helping hand now that the IRS upped business travel rates for the last half of the year. If you have additional questions about your business’s vehicle expenses, the knowledgeable team at Ramsay & Associates is here to help. Consult with us about your unique circumstances to determine the best course of action.

About the author

Brady is the owner of Ramsay & Associates. He specializes in financial statement preparation and personal, fiduciary and corporate tax and accounting.

His professional experience includes seven years' experience for local and national CPA firms before joining Ramsay & Associates in 2006.

He has a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, an Eagle Scout, as well as an active volunteer in the community.

How to Gauge Benefits Tax

How-to-Gauge-Benefits-Tax

Some people who begin claiming Social Security benefits are surprised to find out they’re taxed by the federal government on the amounts they receive. If you’re wondering whether you’ll be taxed on your Social Security benefits, the answer is: It depends. Here’s what to know and how to gauge benefits tax.

The taxation of Social Security benefits depends on your other income. If your income is high enough, then between 50 percent and 85 percent of your benefits could be taxed. (This doesn’t mean you pay 85 percent of your benefits back to the federal government in taxes. It merely means that you’d include 85 percent of them in your income subject to your regular tax rates.)

Formulas and Fine Print

To determine how much of your benefits are taxed, first calculate your other income, including certain items otherwise excluded for tax purposes (for example, tax-exempt interest). Add to that the income of your spouse if you file a joint tax return. To this, add half of the Social Security benefits you and your spouse received during the year. The figure you come up with is your total income plus half of your benefits. Now apply the following rules:

  1. If your income plus half your benefits isn’t above $32,000 ($25,000 for single taxpayers), none of your benefits are taxed.
  2. If your income plus half your benefits exceeds $32,000 but isn’t more than $44,000, you will be taxed on one half of the excess over $32,000, or one half of the benefits, whichever is lower.

Here is an example to illustrate:

Let’s say you and your spouse have $20,000 in taxable dividends, $2,400 of tax-exempt interest, and combined Social Security benefits of $21,000. So, your income plus half your benefits is $32,900 ($20,000 + $2,400 + half of $21,000). You must include $450 of the benefits in gross income (½ [$32,900 − $32,000]).

(If your combined Social Security benefits were $5,000, and your income plus half your benefits were $40,000, you would include $2,500 of the benefits in income: ½ [$40,000 − $32,000] equals $4,000, but half the $5,000 of benefits [$2,500] is lower, and the lower figure is used.)

Note: If you aren’t paying tax on your Social Security benefits now because your income is below the floor, or you’re paying tax on only 50 percent of those benefits, an unplanned increase in your income can have a triple tax cost. You’ll have to pay tax on the additional income. You’ll have to pay tax on (or on more of) your Social Security benefits (since the higher your income the more of your Social Security benefits are taxed). And you may get pushed into a higher marginal tax bracket.

For example, this situation might arise if you receive a large distribution from an IRA during the year or if you have large capital gains. Careful planning might avoid this negative tax result. You might be able to spread the additional income over more than one year, or liquidate assets other than an IRA account, such as stock showing only a small gain or stock with gain that can be offset by a capital loss on other shares.

Stay Ahead of the Game

If you know your Social Security benefits will be taxed, you can voluntarily arrange to have the tax withheld from the payments by filing a Form W-4V. Otherwise, you may have to make quarterly estimated tax payments. Keep in mind that most states do not tax Social Security benefits, but 12 states do tax them. Contact the experienced professionals at Ramsay & Associates for assistance on how to gauge benefits tax or for more information on social security benefits.

About the author

Brady is the owner of Ramsay & Associates. He specializes in financial statement preparation and personal, fiduciary and corporate tax and accounting.

His professional experience includes seven years' experience for local and national CPA firms before joining Ramsay & Associates in 2006.

He has a Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPA's, an Eagle Scout, as well as an active volunteer in the community.