Thirty years ago, when I was a real accountant (haha), January was one of the most hectic months of the year. The preparation of annual payroll tax returns marks the quiet beginning of tax season. You should now start to receive W-2’s, 1099’s, and other tax forms to be set aside for the preparation of your 2020 individual income tax return. Many of our regular readers are now working from home on either an intermittent or permanent basis. For those of you in this category, you may be able to take advantage of the employee home office deduction. In the past, the standards for deducting home office use have proven notoriously prohibitive. Pursuant to the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, requirements for W-2 wage earners clearly stipulate that for its costs to qualify, a given home office must: Be used at the convenience of the employer Constitute a specifically allocated area used expressly for work-related purposes and Have space for storing work-related materials. There are of course numerous other requirements, but historically these have proven sufficient barriers for many remote employees. But since the advent of COVID-19, two novel legislative pathways have opened up: Section 139 (Disaster Relief Payments) and Section 165 (Losses) The primary purpose of this blog post is to briefly discuss both of these two sections of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 139 (Disaster Relief Payments) Section 139 provides that any funds an individual may receive as Qualified Disaster Relief Payments cannot be included in […]
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Home Office Deduction Considerations During COVID-19
Posted in Economic Damages, on Jan 2021, By: Mark S. GottliebShare
It seems like a lifetime ago that I sat down at my desk with a pile of folders ready to attack “tax season”. Perhaps it was. It’s been almost 30 years since I moved to be “exclusive” with business valuation, forensic accounting and litigation support. Although I am no longer routinely prepare income tax returns, I still keep up with the tax code – for no other reason than to be fluent when asked to lecture at various legal conferences or provide expert testimony. So, in the season of giving, I thought I would provide some thoughts regarding a few selected tax issues you should consider before the end of the year. Year-end tax strategies for accrual-basis businesses The last month or so of the year offers accrual-basis taxpayers an opportunity to make some timely moves that might enable them to save money on their 2018 tax bills. The key to saving tax as an accrual-basis taxpayer is to properly record and recognize expenses that were incurred this year but won’t be paid until 2019. Doing so will enable you to deduct those expenses on your 2018 federal tax return. Common examples of such expenses include commissions, salaries and wages; payroll taxes; advertising; and interest. Also look into expenses such as utilities, insurance and property taxes. You can also accelerate deductions into 2018 without paying for the expenses in 2018 by charging them on a credit card. (This works for cash-basis taxpayers, too.) In addition, review all prepaid expense accounts […]