The tax-smart way to replace a business vehicle

10_31_16-ThinkstockPhotos-515365876_SBTB_560x292.jpgAlthough a vehicle’s value typically drops fairly rapidly, the tax rules limit the amount of annual depreciation that can be claimed on most cars and light trucks. Thus, when it’s time to replace a vehicle used in business, it’s not unusual for its tax basis to be higher than its value. This can be costly tax-wise, depending on how you dispose of the vehicle:

Ensure your year-end donations will be deductible on your 2016 return

11_29_16_537605798_ITB_560x292.jpgDonations to qualified charities are generally fully deductible, and they may be the easiest deductible expense to time to your tax advantage. After all, you control exactly when and how much you give. To ensure your donations will be deductible on your 2016 return, you must make them by year end to qualified charities.

Mentoring can make your succession plan better

11_02_16_476483392_BB_560x292.jpgThe owners of many companies launch their enterprises with a business plan — a written document outlining the company’s strategic objectives and practical means of accomplishing them. Likewise, many owners leave their businesses via a succession plan, a written document outlining how the company’s ownership will transition.

What the self-employed need to know about employment taxes

10_18_16-484956724_ITB_560x292.jpgIn addition to income tax, you must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on earned income, such as salary and self-employment income. The 12.4% Social Security tax applies only up to the Social Security wage base of $118,500 for 2016. All earned income is subject to the 2.9% Medicare tax.

Are you coordinating your income tax planning with your estate plan?

10_11_16-486896088_ITB_560x292.jpgUntil recently, estate planning strategies typically focused on minimizing federal gift and estate taxes, such as by giving away assets during life to reduce the taxable estate. Today, however, the focus has moved toward income taxes, making the coordination of income tax planning and estate planning more important.

Tax-smart options for your old retirement plan when you change jobs

10_04_16-493245164_ITB_560x292.jpgThere’s a lot to think about when you change jobs, and it’s easy for a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan to get lost in the shuffle. But to keep building tax-deferred savings, it’s important to make an informed decision about your old plan. First and foremost, don’t take a lump-sum distribution from your old employer’s retirement plan. It generally will be taxable and, if you’re under age 59½, subject to a 10% early-withdrawal penalty. Here are three tax-smart alternatives:

Get 2 tax benefits from 1 donation: Give appreciated stock instead of cash

09_27_16-585153656_ITB_560x292.jpgIf you’re charitably inclined, making donations is probably one of your key year-end tax planning strategies. But if you typically give cash, you may want to consider another option that provides not just one but two tax benefits: Donating long-term appreciated stock.