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Tax reform discussions continue on Capitol Hill with legislation expected to be released very soon. GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate appear to be aiming for a comprehensive overhaul of the Tax Code. President Trump and Republicans in Congress have set out an ambitious schedule of passing a tax reform bill before year-end. 


Year-end tax planning can provide most taxpayers with a good way to lower a tax bill that will otherwise be waiting for them when they file their 2017 tax return in 2018. Since tax liability is primarily keyed to each calendar tax year, once December 31, 2017 passes, your 2017 tax liability for the most part – good or bad – will mostly be set in stone.


As the 2018 filing season nears, the IRS is reminding taxpayers that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains on the books. The ACA’s reporting requirements for individuals have not been changed by Congress. At the same time, the Trump Administration has proposed administrative changes to the ACA, which could expand health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), the use of short-term, limited duration health insurance, and association health plans.


Holiday gifts made to customers are generally deductible as ordinary and necessary business expenses as long as the taxpayer can demonstrate that such gifts maintain or improve customer goodwill. Such gifts must bear a direct relationship to the taxpayer's business and must be made with a reasonable expectation of a financial return commensurate with the amount of the gift. However, the $25 annual limitation per recipient on deductibility is applicable to holiday gifts, unless a statutory exceptions applies.


For purposes of federal tax, employers must withhold and pay FICA taxes (7.65%) if they paid a household employee cash wages of at least $2,000 in 2016 or in 2017 ($2,100 in 2018). Employers must pay FUTA tax (6%) if they paid total cash wages of at least $1,000 in a calendar quarter to household employees. A homeowner may be an “employer” to a housekeeper; or, if enough evidence is shown, merely a recipient of services by an independent contractor or self-employed individual.


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 November 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: