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As lawmakers return to work after their August recess, Hurricane Harvey has increased expectations on Congress to quickly pass disaster-relief tax breaks. September is also expected to bring Congressional hearings on tax reform and possibly the unveiling of tax reform legislation. At the same time, lawmakers must address the federal government’s budget, including the IRS.


Parents incur a variety of expenses associated with children. As a general rule, personal expenditures are not deductible. However, there are several deductions and credits that help defray some of the costs associated with raising children, including some costs related to education. Some of the most common deductions and credits related to minors are the dependency exemption, the child tax credit, and the dependent care credit. Also not to be overlooked are tax-sheltered savings plans used for education, such as the Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).


Two recent court cases indicate that, although use of a conservation easement to gain a charitable deduction must continue to be arranged with care, some flexibility in determining ultimate deductibility may be beginning to be easier to come by. The IRS had been winning a string of cases that affirmed its strict interpretation of Internal Revenue Code Section 170 on conservation easement. The two latest judicial opinions, however, help give taxpayers some much-needed leeway in proving that the rules were followed, keeping in mind that Congress wanted to encourage conservation easements rather than have its rules interpreted so strictly that they thwart that purpose.


A partnership is created when persons join together with the intent to conduct unincorporated venture and share profits. Intent is determined from facts and circumstances, including the division of profits and losses, the ownership of capital, the conduct of parties, and whether a written agreement exists. Despite such nuances in the process, however, distinguishing the existence of a partnership from other joint investments or ventures is often critical in determining tax liability and reporting obligations.


Gross income is taxed to the individual who earns it or to owner of property that generates the income. Under the so-called “assignment of income doctrine,” a taxpayer may not avoid tax by assigning the right to income to another.


As an individual or business, it is your responsibility to be aware of and to meet your tax filing/reporting deadlines. This calendar summarizes important federal tax reporting and filing data for individuals, businesses and other taxpayers for the month of September 2017.


It is never too early to begin planning for the 2016 filing season, the IRS has advised in seven new planning tips published on its website. Although the current filing season has just ended, there are steps that taxpayers can take now to avoid a tax bill when April 2016 rolls around. For example, the IRS stated that taxpayers can adjust their withholding, take stock of any changes in income or family circumstances, maintain accurate tax records, and more, in order to reduce the probability of a surprise tax bill when the next filing season arrives.


A major repair to a business vehicle is usually deductible in the year of the repair as a "maintenance and repair" cost if your business uses the actual expense method of deducting vehicle expenses. If your business vehicle is written off under the standard mileage rate method, your repair and maintenance costs are assumed to be built into that standard rate and no further deduction is allowed.

In many cases, employees can elect to reduce their salary and contribute the amounts to a retirement plan. These plans include 401(k) cash or deferred arrangements, 403(b) tax-sheltered annuities, eligible Code Sec. 457 deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt entities, simple retirement accounts, and plans for self-employed persons such as a SEP individual retirement account (SEP IRA).

Parents of a child under age 13 can take a tax credit for child care expenses to enable them to work. The credit can be taken for care of two or more children. Child care expenses are amounts you paid for someone to come to your home, for care at the home of a day care provider, and for care at a day care center.

In a final session, Congress approved a $45.1 billion package of tax extenders and other tax breaks during the night of December 8-9. The Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (H.R. 6111) renews many valuable - but temporary - tax breaks for individuals and businesses, including the state and local sales tax deduction, the higher education tuition deduction and employer tax incentives. The new law also extends some energy tax breaks, makes Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) more attractive and creates new tax incentives.

Only 50 percent of the cost of meals is generally deductible. A meal deduction is customarily allowed when the meal is business related and incurred in one of two instances: