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April 2021

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Tax Tips

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Any accounting, business or tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor is it sufficient to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

Federal Tax Deadline Extended To May 17

The federal income tax filing due date for individual taxpayers, including individuals who pay self-employment tax, has been extended to Monday, May 17, 2021, for the 2020 tax year. There is no need to file any forms to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.

Individual taxpayers will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by May 17; however, penalties, interest, and additions to tax will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of May 17, 2021. The extended tax return due date applies to any individual who files a federal individual income tax return - or has a federal tax payment reported on one of these forms that would otherwise be due April 15, 2021 - using the Form 1040 series, including Form 1040, 1040-SR, and 1040-PR. Additionally, foreign trusts and estates with federal income tax filing or payment obligations that file Form 1040-NR now have until May 17, 2021.

The extended deadline also applies to schedules, returns, and other forms that are filed with a Form 1040 or are required to be filed by the due date of the Form 1040, such as Schedules H, Schedule SE, and Forms 965-A, 3520, 5329, 5471, 8621, 8858, 8865, 8915-E, and 8938.

This extended deadline does not apply to:

  • Any other type of federal tax or any federal information returns, including estates, trusts, corporations, and other businesses.
  • Quarterly estimated payments related to self-employment income, dividends, and rental income.
  • Gift tax returns (Form 709). If you are not filing an extension, you must file Form 8892, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Form 709 and/or Payment of Gift/Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax.
  • U.S. citizens, resident aliens and any domestic legal entity that files an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) due April 15, 2021.

File as Soon as Possible for Refunds

Even with the new deadline, however, taxpayers should consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the fastest way to get refunds and can help some taxpayers receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.

Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until October 15, 2021, by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. If you think you need an extension, please contact the office as soon as possible.

Filing Form 4868 gives taxpayers until October 15 to file their 2020 tax return; it does not grant an extension of time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17, 2021, to avoid interest and penalties.

Contributions to IRAs and Health Savings Accounts

The May 17 extended deadline also applies to individuals making 2020 contributions to their individual retirement arrangements (IRAs and Roth IRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSAs), and Coverdell education savings accounts (Coverdell ESAs). The date for reporting and payment of the 10% additional tax on amounts includible in gross income from 2020 distributions from IRAs or workplace-based retirement plans is also automatically postponed until May 17, 2021.

Estimated Tax Payments

This relief does not apply to estimated tax payments that are due on April 15, 2021. These payments are still due on April 15. As a reminder, taxes must be paid as taxpayers earn or receive income during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. In general, estimated tax payments are made quarterly to the IRS by people whose income isn't subject to income tax withholding, including self-employment income, interest, dividends, alimony, or rental income.

Most taxpayers automatically have their taxes withheld from their paychecks and submitted to the IRS by their employer and do not need to pay estimated taxes.

State Tax Returns

The extended federal tax filing deadline of May 17, 2021, only applies to individual federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments that are normally due April 15, 2021. As such, taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline, and it is up to individual states to decide whether to extend tax return deadlines.

Unclaimed Refunds Deadline Extended to May 17

There is a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund on prior-year tax returns. If taxpayers do not file a return within three years, the money becomes property of the U.S. Treasury. For tax year 2017 Federal income tax returns, the normal April 15 deadline to claim a refund has also been extended to May 17, 2021. Taxpayers must properly address, mail, and ensure the tax return is postmarked by the May 17, 2021, due date.

Help is Just a Phone Call Away

Please call if you have any questions or concerns about your tax situation this year.

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Highlights of the American Rescue Plan Act

Signed into law on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) contains several tax provisions affecting individuals and families. Let's take a look:

Economic Impact Payments (EIP3). A third round of economic impact payments (EIP3) will be sent to qualifying taxpayers; individuals will receive $1,400 ($2,800 for married taxpayers filing jointly) plus $1,400 for each dependent, which includes college students and relatives who can be claimed as dependents. These payments are sent out as advance payments of the recovery rebate credit. Anyone not receiving EIP3 will be able to claim the recovery rebate credit when they file a 2021 tax return next year. There are specific income phaseouts, and eligibility is determined using a taxpayer's 2019 adjusted gross income unless the taxpayer has already filed a 2020 return. For more information, see, Economic Impact Payments: Round Three, below.

Student Loan Debt Forgiveness. Normally, canceled debt - including student loan debt - is considered taxable income and taxed as such. Under the ARPA, however, for eligible loans, the discharge of student loan debt - either full or partial - will not be viewed as taxable income for tax years 2021 through 2025. Eligible loans are those that have been used solely for post-secondary education and that are made, insured, or guaranteed by the US government.

COBRA: Continuing Health Coverage. ARPA requires employers to subsidize at 100 percent premiums paid for COBRA continuation coverage for assistance eligible individuals (AEIs) and is in effect for the period April 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021. Employer costs for the subsidy are offset by a payroll tax credit against the employers' quarterly taxes. Employers whose credit is greater than the amount of payroll tax owed receive a refund when they submit Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return.

Unemployment Benefits. A $300-per-week supplement to federal unemployment benefits that would have expired March 14, 2021, is now extended through September 6, 2021. ARPA also gives eligible taxpayers a special tax break for 2020: the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits is tax-free for taxpayers whose income is less than $150,000 per year. For more information about this topic see, Q & A: the $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break, below.

Child Tax Credit. ARPA includes several important changes pertaining to families, which are summarized below:

  • The amount of the credit is $3,000 per child ($3,600 for children under age 6)
  • The credit is reduced by $50 for each additional $1,000 of income above the following threshold limits: $150,000 and up for married taxpayers filing jointly, $112,500 for heads of household, and $75,000 for single taxpayers and married filing separately.
  • The amount of child tax credit is to be paid monthly in advance in the amount of one-twelfth of an annual amount estimated by the IRS. Payments begin in July 2021 and continue through December 2021.

Child and Dependent Care Credit. For tax year 2021, the child and dependent care credit is refundable and is a maximum of $4,000 for one qualifying individual and a maximum of $8,000 for two or more. The credit begins to decrease for households whose income exceeds $125,000 - and as much as 20 percent for households whose income is more than $400,000.

Earned Income Tax Credit. Several special rules pertain to individuals without children. For 2021, the age range of workers without children is expanded to include adults ages 19-24 and older adults age 65 and over. Students under age 24 who are attending school at least part-time are excluded. The maximum earned income credit increases threefold and income levels required to qualify for the credit increase from $16,000 to $21,000. Additional changes under ARPA include:

  • Allowing taxpayers to temporarily use 2019 instead of 2021 income if that income is greater
  • Allowing certain separated spouses to take the credit
  • Increasing the amount of investment income that would disqualify a taxpayer from receiving the EITC from $2,200 to $10,000.

Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit. For 2020, taxpayers who received premium tax credits in advance that were more than what they should have received will not have to repay the excess amount. It applies to taxpayers who have received, or have been approved to receive, unemployment compensation for any week beginning during 2021.

Taxes are Complicated

If you have any questions or would like more information about how recent tax law changes affect your tax situation, please call.

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Economic Impact Payments: Round Three

On March 12, following the American Rescue Plan Act's approval and signing, the IRS began sending out the third round of Economic Impact Payments. Most payments were sent out via direct deposit, but approximately 150,000 checks were mailed by the Treasury Department as well. Taxpayers who received EIP1 or EIP2 but didn't receive a third payment (EIP3) via direct deposit will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a prepaid debit card (EIP Card).


  • The third stimulus payment will generally be larger for most people. Most eligible people will get $1,400 for themselves (those filing joint returns will get $2,800) and $1,400 for each of their qualifying dependents claimed on their tax return. Eligible families will get a payment based on all of their qualifying dependents claimed on their return, including older relatives like college students, adults with disabilities, parents, and grandparents. Unlike the first two payments, the third stimulus payment is not restricted to children under 17. Typically, this means a single person with no dependents will get $1,400, while a family of four (married couple with two dependents) will get $5,600.
  • Under the new law, an EIP3 cannot be offset to pay various past-due federal debts or back taxes.

  • The first batch of payments primarily went to eligible taxpayers who provided direct deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 returns, including people who don't typically file a return but who successfully used the Non-Filers tool on last year. Additional batches and payments will be sent in the coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card.
  • The payments are automatic and, in many cases, similar to how people received their first and second round of Economic Impact Payments in 2020. No action needs to be taken by most taxpayers, and contacting either financial institutions or the IRS on payment timing will not speed up their arrival.
  • Income levels in this new round of stimulus payments have changed. As such, some people will not be eligible for the third payment even if they received a first or second Economic Impact Payment or claimed a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. Payments begin to phase out for individuals making $75,000 or above in Adjusted Gross Income ($150,000 for married filing jointly). The payments end at $80,000 for individuals ($160,000 for married filing jointly); people above these levels are ineligible for a payment.
  • Taxpayers who received EIP1 or EIP2 but didn't receive a third payment (EIP3) via direct deposit will generally receive a check or, in some instances, a prepaid debit card (referred to as an "EIP Card).
  • A payment will not be added to an existing EIP card mailed for the first or second round of stimulus payments.

  • If a taxpayer's payment is less than the full amount and is based on their 2019 return, they may qualify for a supplemental payment after filing their 2020 return. The IRS will automatically reevaluate their eligibility. If they are entitled to a larger payment or the full payment, then a supplemental payment will be sent covering the difference. If the reevaluated amount is smaller, they won't need to pay back the difference. Aside from filing a 2020 tax return, no additional action needs to be taken.

Paper Checks and Prepaid Debit Cards

Taxpayers who did not receive a direct deposit by March 24 should check their mail carefully in the coming weeks for a paper check or a prepaid debit card, known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, or EIP Card.

The form of payment for the third EIP may be different than earlier stimulus payments. More people are receiving direct deposits, whereas those receiving the economic impact payments in the mail may get either a paper check or an EIP Card. This may be different from how they received their previous stimulus payments.

Paper Checks. Paper checks will arrive by mail in a white envelope from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. For those taxpayers who received their tax refund by mail, this paper check will look similar but referenced as an "Economic Impact Payment" in the memo field.

EIP Card. The EIP Card will also come in a white envelope prominently displaying the seal of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The card has the Visa name on the front and the issuing bank, MetaBank, N.A., on the back. The information included with the card will explain that this is an Economic Impact Payment. Each mailing will include instructions on how to activate and use the card securely.

None of the EIP cards issued for any of the three rounds is reloadable; recipients will receive a separate card and will not be able to reload funds onto an existing card. EIP Cards are safe, convenient, and secure. EIP Card recipients can make purchases online or in stores anywhere Visa Debit Cards are accepted.

They can get cash from domestic in-network ATMs, transfer funds to a personal bank account, and obtain a replacement EIP Card if needed without incurring any fees. They can also check their card balance online, through a mobile app, or by phone without incurring fees. The EIP Card provides consumer protections against fraud, loss, and other errors and is sponsored by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and issued by Treasury's financial agent, MetaBank, N.A. The IRS does not determine who receives a prepaid debit card.

Social Security and Other Federal Beneficiaries

Most Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries, railroad retirees, and recipients of veterans benefits who are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment do not need to take any action to receive a payment. These payments will be automatic, and Social Security and other federal beneficiaries will generally receive this third payment the same way as their regular benefits.

Anyone who didn't file a return but receives Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Affairs benefits, will receive their third round of economic impact payments the same way as their regular benefits - similar to the first and second rounds of Economic Impact Payments.

If You Don't Normally File a Tax Return

While payments will be automatic for many people based on their federal benefits information, some may need to file a 2020 tax return - even if they don't usually file - to provide information the IRS needs to send payments for any qualified dependent. People in this group should file a 2020 tax return to be considered for an additional payment for their dependent as quickly as possible.

People who don't normally file a tax return and don't receive federal benefits may also qualify for these stimulus payments, including those experiencing homelessness and others. If you're eligible and didn't get a first or second Economic Impact Payment (that is, an EIP1 or EIP2) or got less than the full amounts, you may be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit but will need to file a 2020 tax return.

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Q & A: The $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break

Generally, unemployment compensation received under the unemployment compensation laws of the United States or a state is considered taxable income and must be reported on your federal tax return. However, a new tax break - in effect only for the 2020 tax year - lets you exclude the first $10,200 from taxable income. Here's what you should know:

What do I need to do to get the tax break?

The tax break, which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA is available to all taxpayers whose 2020 modified adjusted gross income is less than $150,00 and allows you to exclude the first $10,200 of unemployment compensation received in 2020. For joint returns, the first $10,200 per spouse (i.e., $20,400 for two workers who are married filing jointly) is not included in gross income.

Amounts over $10,200 for each individual taxpayer are still considered taxable income and the tax break only applies to federal income taxes.

Who doesn't qualify for the tax break?

Taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income of $150,000 or more last year do not qualify for the tax break and are required to file taxes on the full amount of unemployment compensation.

The $150,000 earnings limit does not include amounts received as unemployment compensation.

How do I know how much unemployment compensation I received and how much tax was taken out?

If you received unemployment compensation, you should have received Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments (Info Copy Only). Form 1099-G shows the amount of unemployment compensation paid and any federal income tax you elected to have withheld. Many taxpayers chose to have federal income tax withheld from their unemployment benefits by filling out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you completed the form and gave it to the paying office (e.g., your state's Department of Labor), they should have withheld tax at 10 percent of your payments.

What if I already filed my 2020 tax return?

If you already filed your 2020 tax return and paid tax on unemployment compensation that qualifies for the tax break, in most cases, there is no need to file an amended return. Taxpayers should only file an amended return if the calculations make the taxpayer newly eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on the original tax return. Taxpayers may want to review their state tax returns as well.

The IRS can adjust returns for those taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and because the exclusion changed the income level, may now be eligible for an increase in the EITC amount, which may result in a larger refund. However, taxpayers would have to file an amended return if they did not initially claim the EITC or other credits but now are eligible because the exclusion changed their income.

The IRS will determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax. If there is any overpayment of tax, it will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed. The recalculations will take place in two phases; single filers and other taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion, followed by married filing jointly taxpayers eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns.


Don't hesitate to contact the office if you have any questions regarding unemployment compensation and your taxes.

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PPP Loan Deadline Extended Through May 31

The Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 31, 2021, extending the deadline to apply for a loan by an extra 60 days, from March 31 to May 31, 2021. The law also gives the Small Business Administration (SBA) an additional 30 days after the May 31 deadline to review and process loan applications.

The passage of the PPP Extension Act does not provide additional funding; however, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, an additional $7.25 billion was earmarked for the Paycheck Protection Program to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services.

In February 2021, SBA also made four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses, generally small and low- and moderate-income (LMI) businesses who have not received the needed relief a forgivable PPP loan provides. Congress set a $15 billion set-aside for small and LMI First Draw borrowers. To advance these goals, SBA has:

  • Allowed sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP's funding formula for these categories of applicants
  • Eliminated an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal
  • Eliminated PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP
  • Ensured access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP

Prior to addressing these inequities, the current 2021 round of PPP loans had only deployed $2.4 billion to small LMI borrowers, in part because a disproportionate amount of funding in both wealthy and LMI areas is going to firms with more than 20 employees. As a result, in February 2021, SBA established a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees. The program opened to all borrowers on March 10, 2021, and, as mentioned, has been extended through May 31, 2021.

Business owners who have not received a PPP loan previously can apply for a First Draw Loan. Certain businesses that have already received a PPP loan are eligible for a Second Draw PPP loan.

Finally, borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. First Draw PPP loans made to eligible borrowers qualify for full loan forgiveness if during the 8 to 24-week covered period following loan disbursement:

  • Employee and compensation levels are maintained
  • The loan proceeds are spent on payroll costs and other eligible expenses; and
  • At least 60 percent of the proceeds are spent on payroll costs

Second Draw PPP loans made to eligible borrowers qualify for full loan forgiveness under the same requirements as First Draw PPP loans provided employee and compensation levels are maintained in the same manner as required for the First Draw PPP loan.

If you're thinking about applying for a PPP loan, don't hesitate to contact the office with any questions.

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Include Gig Economy Income on Tax Returns

The gig economy is also referred to as the on-demand, sharing, or access economy. People involved in the gig economy earn income as a freelancer, independent worker or employee. Typically, an online platform is used to connect people with potential or actual customers to provide goods or services. Examples include renting out a home or spare bedroom and providing meal delivery services or rides.

During the pandemic, many people joined the ranks of the gig economy to help make ends meet. Whether you are part of the gig economy because it's a primary source of income or want to make extra money with a side business, all taxpayers need to understand that they must report gig economy income on their tax return.

Here's what you should know about the gig economy and your taxes:

1. Money earned through this work is usually taxable.

2. There are tax implications for both the company providing the platform and the individual performing the services.

3. This income is usually taxable even if:

  • The taxpayer providing the service doesn't receive an information return, like a Form 1099-NEC, Form 1099-MISC, Form 1099-K, or Form W-2.
  • The activity is only part-time or side work.
  • The taxpayer is paid in cash.

4. People working in the gig economy are generally required to pay:

  • Income taxes.
  • Federal Insurance Contribution Act or Self-employment Contribution Act tax.
  • Additional Medicare taxes.

5. Independent contractors may be able to deduct business expenses. These taxpayers should double-check the rules around deducting expenses related to the use of things like their car or house. They should remember to keep records of their business expenses.

6. Special rules usually apply to rental property also used as a residence during the tax year. Taxpayers should remember that rental income is generally fully taxable.

7. Workers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay have two ways to pay their taxes in advance. Here are these two options:

  • Gig economy workers who have another job where their employer withholds taxes from their paycheck can fill out and submit a new Form W-4. The employee does this to request that the other employer withholds additional taxes from their paycheck. This additional withholding can help cover the taxes owed from their gig economy work.
  • The gig economy worker can make quarterly estimated tax payments. They do this to pay their taxes and any self-employment taxes owed throughout the year.

For more information on the gig economy, please call the office.

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Self-Employed Can Claim Sick & Family Leave Tax Credit

A new form is available for self-employed individuals to claim sick and family leave tax credits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA, passed in March 2020, allows eligible self-employed individuals who, due to COVID-19, are unable to work or telework for reasons relating to their own health or to care for a family member to claim refundable tax credits to offset their federal income tax.

Self-employed individuals who are eligible for the credits determine their qualified sick and family leave equivalent tax credits by using a new IRS form, Form 7202, Credits for Sick Leave and Family Leave for Certain Self-Employed Individuals. The tax credits are equal to either their qualified sick leave or family leave equivalent amount, depending on circumstances.

For leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, taxpayers can claim the credit on 2020 tax returns (on Form 1040). They can also claim the credit next year when filing their 2021 tax return (Form 1040) for leave taken between January 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021.

Filing Form 7202

Eligible self-employed individuals are those who:

  • Conduct a trade or business that qualifies as self-employment income, and
  • Are eligible to receive qualified sick or family leave wages under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act or Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act as if the taxpayer was an employee.

As always, taxpayers must maintain appropriate documentation establishing their eligibility for the credits as an eligible self-employed individual. Please don't hesitate to call if you need assistance calculating the credit, determining if you are eligible, or have any other tax questions.

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Coronavirus-Related Distributions and Loans

The Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act made it easier to access savings in IRAs and workplace retirement plans for those affected by the coronavirus. This relief provided favorable tax treatment for certain withdrawals from retirement plans and IRAs, including expanded loan options.

Distributions: Certain distributions made from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 30, 2020, from IRAs or workplace retirement plans to qualified individuals may be treated as coronavirus-related distributions. These distributions are not subject to the 10% additional tax on early distributions (including the 25 percent additional tax on certain SIMPLE IRA distributions).

Taxes on coronavirus-related distributions are includible in taxable income:

  • Over a three-year period, one-third each year, or
  • If elected, in the year you take the distribution.

Coronavirus-related distributions may be repaid to an IRA or workplace retirement plan within three years.

If you had an outstanding loan balance when you left employment, the plan sponsor usually offsets the loan balance against your benefit.

  • For loan offsets in 2020, you have until the due date of your tax return (plus extensions) to repay that amount to another retirement plan or IRA.
  • If you're a qualified individual, you can treat the loan offset as a coronavirus-related distribution and have three years to repay to an IRA or include in income tax ratably over three years.

RMDs: An IRA owner or beneficiary who received an RMD in 2020 had the option of returning it to their account or other qualified plan to avoid paying taxes on that distribution. RMDs in 2020 that were not rolled over or repaid may be eligible to be treated as coronavirus-related distributions if the individual is a qualified individual. A 2020 RMD that otherwise qualifies as a coronavirus-related distribution may be repaid over a 3-year period or have the taxes due on the distribution spread over three years.

A withdrawal from an inherited IRA to a qualified individual may also be a coronavirus-related distribution. Income from the withdrawal may be spread over three years for income inclusion; however, the withdrawal may not be repaid to the inherited IRA.

The one rollover per 12-month period limitation and the restriction on rollovers to inherited IRAs did not apply to repayments made by August 31, 2020. The RMD suspension did not apply to qualified defined benefit plans.

The CARES Act included special rules for plan loans made to qualified individuals. Plans could suspend loan repayments for up to one year. However, typically, repayments resumed in January 2021 effectively give up to six years (instead of five) to repay a typical plan loan.

As always, don't hesitate to call the office with any questions.

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Personal Protective Equipment Qualifies for Deduction

As a quick reminder, the purchase of personal protective equipment, such as masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes, for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus are deductible medical expenses.

The amounts paid for personal protective equipment are also eligible to be paid or reimbursed under health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs), Archer medical savings accounts (Archer MSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), or health savings accounts (HSAs).

Medical costs that exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) can be deducted on tax returns. For example, if your AGI is $50,000, you can claim the deduction only for medical expenses exceeding $3,750. Medical expenses are only deductible if you itemize on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040.

For more information on determining what a deductible medical expense is, please call the office for assistance.

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Donating a Car To Charity as a Tax Write-Off

If you donate a car to a qualified charitable organization and intend to claim a deduction, you should be aware of the special rules that apply to vehicle donations.

Charities typically sell donated vehicles. If the charitable organization sells the vehicle you donated it to, the deduction claimed by the donor (you) may not exceed the gross proceeds from the sale.

If the donated vehicle sells for less than $500, you can claim the fair market value of your vehicle up to $500 or the amount it is sold for if less than fair market value without the need to file any additional paperwork with the IRS. The donee organization should furnish you with Copy B of Form 1098-C, , Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, stating the donation amount.

The taxpayer can generally deduct the vehicle's Fair Market Value (FMV), if:

  • The charitable organization makes significant intervening use of the vehicle, such as using it to deliver meals on wheels.

  • The charitable organization donates or sells the vehicle to a needy individual at a significantly below-market price if the transfer furthers the charitable purpose of helping a poor person in need of a means of transportation.

  • The charitable organization makes a material improvement to the vehicle, i.e., major repairs that significantly increase its value and not mere painting or cleaning.

If the donated vehicle sells for more than $500 and your deduction is $500 or more, you must obtain written, contemporaneous (timely) acknowledgment of the donation from the charitable organization. You must also attach Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, to your tax return.

The written acknowledgment generally must include your name and taxpayer identification number, the vehicle identification number, the date of the contribution, and one of the following:

  • A statement that the charity provided no goods or services in return for the donation, if that was the case,
  • A description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that the charity provided in return for the donation, or,
  • A statement that goods or services provided by the charity consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits, if that was the case.

If the written acknowledgment does not contain all of the required information, the deduction may not exceed $500.

For more information about donating a car to charity, please contact the office.

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Tax Due Dates for April 2021

April 12

Employees who work for tips - If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 15

Employers - Nonpayroll withholding. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

Employers - Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in March.

Individuals - If you are not paying your 2021 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2021 estimated tax. Use Form 1040-ES.

Corporations - File a 2020 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6-month extension of time to file the return, file Form 7004 and deposit what you estimate you owe in taxes.

Corporations - Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2021. A worksheet, Form 1120-W, is available to help you estimate your tax for the year.

April 30

Employers - Federal unemployment tax. Deposit the tax owed through March if more than $500.

Employers - Social Security, Medicare, and withheld income tax. File form 941 for the first quarter of 2021. Deposit any undeposited tax. (If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return.) If you deposited the tax for the quarter in full and on time, you have until May 10 to file the return.

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Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Business Tax Professional

Tax season is hectic for all types of businesses. The rush to meet filing deadlines increases the likelihood of committing errors that might attract IRS scrutiny. Although it’s possible to file your returns in-house, it’s more beneficial to hire a tax professional. They provide long-term savings by identifying deductions, credits, and other strategies that reduce your taxable income. Need more proof? Here are some additional reasons to hire a business tax professional.

Business Taxes Are Complex

The tax code is not only complicated, but you also have to comply with local, state, and federal regulations. Some of the reasons for this complexity are varying income streams, business structures, and investment types. The government also uses the tax code to influence several social and economic systems, including home ownership, childcare, and employment.

Periodic sweeping changes to tax laws mean even tax experts have to keep up with new regulations. This takes time most business owners don’t have. With a financial specialist in your corner, you’ll have the resources you need to mitigate issues as they come up. Whether you’re self-employed, run a franchise, or a corporation, a tax professional can provide the expertise you need to remain compliant.

Maximize Credits & Deductions

Credits and deductions play a central role in your tax plan. They encourage your business to adopt policies that serve your interests and those of other stakeholders. The IRS extends these incentives to organizations that meet strict requirements. To take advantage of these, you need concrete evidence in the form of accurate documentation that proves you qualify. A tax professional can create and update the relevant statements within the desired schedule. Tax courts and the IRS generally prefer professionally-created paperwork.

While some people use the terms credits and deductions interchangeably, they’re two different concepts. The main similarity is that they both reduce the total taxes owed. Deductions reduce your gross income, which in turn reduces the taxable amount. A few strategies include funding retirement plans, buying equipment that qualifies for depreciation deductions, and writing off bad debts. It’s also possible to reduce your taxable income by making prepayments and increasing expenses such as purchasing new inventory.

The federal government uses credits to encourage your business to adopt particular policies. Examples are going green, working with minorities, and offering healthcare to employees. They’re part of the extensive General Business Credit, meaning you’re likely to be eligible for some. Your tax professional will use Form 3800 to compile all the credits that can benefit your business.

Errors Are Costly & Risky

Failure to involve a tax professional in your business dealings can result in costly errors. A common mistake is failing to attach documents that correspond with your business structure while filing returns. It’s also possible to skip quarterly and payroll taxes and forget to send 1099 and W-2 forms to employees. Other errors include:

  • Underreporting or underestimating taxes
  • Recording personal spending as business expenses
  • Failing to keep proper documentation
  • Applying for the wrong deductions

These mistakes could invite an IRS audit that is costly and disrupts normal operations. Although it’s possible to fix some simple errors, others attract heavy fines. In extreme circumstances, you could face civil and criminal fraud charges in addition to punitive monetary penalties.

Your Time is Money

Tax professionals help you save before, during, and after tax preparation. One of their key roles is tax planning, which they implement throughout the year as part of a long-term objective. They also help you save the time you’d spend keeping up with tax code changes such as 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). As your business advisor, they provide the best tips for running your company efficiently in a way that minimizes taxes.

Your tax expert can also help by preparing both business and personal taxes. In case you receive an audit notice, they’ll help you collect the necessary evidence and represent you before the IRS. All of these services allow you to prioritize more productive aspects of your business. Your overall savings and gains are significantly higher than the amount you’ll spend on hiring a tax professional.

Hiring a Business Tax Professional Brings Peace of Mind

Although various financial experts can help with taxes, it’s advisable to work with IRS-recognized professionals. In addition to being licensed to practice in your state, CPAs have comprehensive accounting, tax planning, and preparation skills. They also take part in continuous training to ensure their knowledge is up to date. Enrolled Agents are qualified to prepare your taxes and represent you before the IRS. You also receive crucial advice based on prevailing trends and the performance of your competitors.

Hiring professionals gives you peace of mind and a confident understanding of your financial position.

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What You Need to Know About FBAR & FATCA

Do you operate foreign bank accounts, own assets, or engage in international financial dealings? The IRS expects you to report such transactions and also pay taxes on any income they generate. These requirements are part of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The federal government passed these pieces of legislation to curtail money laundering and other financial crimes.

What is FBAR?

If your international financial dealings are worth over $10,000, the IRS requires you to provide a yearly Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Doing so through FinCEN Form 114 helps you comply with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970. These annual filings with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) disclose your monetary interests and the relevant signatory authority.

What is FATCA?

Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010. The law requires non-US financial organizations to identify accounts held by US citizens. They should also disclose this information to the IRS just as a US financial institution would. If you own currency and other assets in foreign countries, you’re required to outline them via Form 8938. Also known as the Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, it’s an attachment that you submit together with your tax returns.

Requirement Differences

Although FBAR and FATCA have some overlapping features, they also have differences. The main one is that you report FBAR with Form 114 to the Treasury Department (FinCEN), while FATCA’s Form 8938 is an attachment that you submit to the IRS within Form 1040. Other differences include:

Who Files: FATCA is primarily applicable to individual taxpayers who are US citizens and residents. You must also comply if you’re a non-resident alien with taxable financial assets. FBAR covers entities such as estates, trusts, and other holdings with foreign fiscal interests. Although residents and entities of US overseas territories are required to comply with FBAR, they’re exempt from FATCA regulations.

Thresholds: FBAR demands disclosure if your foreign assets are cumulatively worth at least $10,000. FATCA has more comprehensive reporting thresholds. If you’re unmarried, you should disclose any assets worth at least $75,000 any time of the year or $50,000 at the end. These amounts rise to $300,000 and $200,000 respectively if you’re a foreign resident.

If you’re married and filing jointly, the threshold is $150,000 at any time of the year or at least $100,000 at the end. This limit rises to $600,000 and $400,000 respectively if you’re foreign residents.

Type of Interest: Some disclosures are specific to FATCA. They include private equity funds, foreign securities, and partnership interests. FBAR applies to assets in overseas branches of American banks and accounts with your signatory authority. Examples of non-reportable foreign holdings are real estate, foreign currency, art, and jewelry that you hold directly. Some foreign asset disclosures appear on both Form 8938 and Form 114. Apart from financial accounts, they include mutual funds, retirement accounts, and life insurance with a cash valuation.

Filing Deadlines: The IRS requires all taxpayers to submit their FBAR reports and FATCA disclosures by April 15 together with their tax returns. While it’s possible to receive an extension for the latter, the agency rarely extends this privilege for FBAR submissions.

Penalties for Not Filing: Although missed deadlines attract penalties for both FATCA and FBAR, the amounts can vary. FATCA violations attract a maximum fine of $60,000. It includes a $10,000 fee for failure to disclose eligible assets and a similar amount every 30 days you don’t comply after being notified by the IRS. FBAR penalties can be significantly higher depending on circumstances. For willful failure, you could pay $100,000 or half the value of the foreign assets. Non-willful failure attracts penalties of up to $10,000.

How a Professional CPA Can Help

Every financial situation is unique. That’s why you need a tax professional to offer customized solutions. CPA’s and EA’s understand the complex and ever-changing tax code provides immeasurable benefits as you make foreign investments. You can always consult them for advice to ensure you never encounter the IRS’s notices, audits, penalties, fines, and criminal proceedings. Hire a qualified and licensed expert to experience financial peace of mind.

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Government Programs That Can Benefit Your Small Business

It’s in the federal government’s best interest to create a favorable environment for small businesses. That’s because these entities account for a significant chunk of revenue via taxes. They also help in advancing employment, health insurance, retirement, and overall economic growth. For these reasons, the government provides some incentives to benefit your small enterprise. The Small Business Administration contains the resources you need to plan, launch, manage, and grow your trade.

What is a Small Business Grant?

This type of funding refers to the seed money the government extends to businesses that meet particular criteria. As opposed to loans, you’re not required to repay grants. They’re particularly crucial for startups experiencing cash flow and operational hiccups. Examples of small business grants are:

  • Environmental Protection Agency Grants: The EPA provides funding for organizations that prioritize awareness about a healthier and cleaner environment. You’re more likely to succeed if your project addresses one of several concerns. They include climate change, green energy investments, environmental justice, and solid waste management.
  • Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR): This grant also funds broad projects such as land revitalization, safe water, chemical processing, and clean air. SBIR is a two-phase process. The first entails solicitation for viable research proposals on specific topics and offers up to $100,000 for six months. If your application passes the proof of concept stage, you may apply for a further $400,000 in Phase II. This funding allows you to develop and commercialize it, as well as seek third-party investment.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA): This grant seeks to promote minority-owned businesses by incorporating them into progressive private and public sector initiatives. The funds also support various research centers that study and propose suitable policies for such organizations.

Additional Funding Options for Small Businesses

Other than grants, you have several other government funding alternatives for your small business. One of them is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. It offers up to $2 million to entities that experience economic harm resulting from declared disasters. It helps you cover business obligations as you would if the calamity hadn’t occurred. Although this loan doesn’t replace lost revenue or sales, it allows you to maintain an appropriate working capital position.

The SBA also has a microloan program that offers up to $50,000 in startup capital and expansion assistance. The amount mainly covers equipment leasing or purchase, inventory, and fixtures. You may also qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program, which incentivizes businesses to keep their employees on the payroll. The Biden administration recently announced plans to make it more equitable. You may apply and qualify for PPP loan forgiveness if you follow the terms of this loan.

Contract Assistance Programs

These programs help your business grow by increasing your chances of winning a portion of federal contracts. The government ensures small businesses clinch at least 23% of these commitments every year. Participating in contract assistance programs enables you to enjoy various benefits. You can receive business mentoring and training on federal contracting procedures, partner with acclaimed contractors, and clinch exclusive contracts.

A key example is the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) contracting program. It aims to award up to 5% of annual federal contracting dollars to female-owned organizations. Congress and the SBA recently improved certification requirements to make it easier for more eligible businesses to benefit.

Industry-Specific Grants

Some grants are tailor-made to spur growth in specific niches. The best example is the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Rural Relief Small Business Grants. Although LISC isn’t a federal agency, it receives funding from the government, among other institutions. They include banks, foundations, and corporations. This grant focuses on helping businesses located in rural areas, particularly those with 50,000 residents or less. LISC is one of the largest sources of financial assistance for small businesses across the country.

It constantly updates its eligibility criteria in its bid to ensure as many entities as possible receive support. For instance, you should document how your company impacts the community. You’re also currently required to show the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse effects on your operations.

If you own multiple businesses, it’s advisable to apply through the largest one. Nonsprofit organizations are not eligible for this particular grant. LISC gives priority to companies owned by women, entrepreneurs of color, and veterans. You’re more likely to qualify if you submit complete and accurate information.

Get the Assistance You Need

In addition to federal programs, states and local authorities also offer financial assistance. You can access free resources on how to apply and qualify for grants and low-interest loans. They include,,, and Please understand that this is a long process that requires ample research and commitment. Your chances of success will rise if you narrow your search to the programs that fit your industry and goals.

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The Importance of Separating Personal & Business Expenses

Accurate bookkeeping is an essential component of any business. Keeping up with financials is much easier when business expenses are separate from personal spending. Having a bank account reserved exclusively for business is recommended to avoid any confusion later. Take some time to learn more about the importance of separating personal and business expenses.

Tax Reasons

It is much less challenging to track tax-deductible expenses with a dedicated business account for spending. Ensuring business expenditures are separate will also protect your personal assets in the event of an audit. When tax season comes, you’ll be better prepared and more confident that the information provided is correct.

Even the slightest oversights on taxes can add up to a considerable amount of unclaimed savings over time. In some cases, tax errors can result in costly penalties or fees. To prevent any potential tax issues, avoid using a single account for both personal and business purposes.

Protect Your Personal Finances

Creating a separate account strictly for business use will ensure your personal financial information remains protected. If your company is involved in litigation, a lack of distinction between personal and business expenses can cause problems. Paying invoices and bills with an isolated business account will minimize your liability exposure.

Using a business account also helps to maintain the professional image and credibility of your business. Payments made to vendors or third parties will reflect the name of your business instead of your personal information, ensuring there are no misunderstandings.

Tips for Separating Your Finances

Comprehensive financial planning is necessary for any successful business. There are several ways to ensure your balance sheet is better organized and all expenses recorded consistently. For ideas on how to separate your finances, here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Get a Business Checking Account: Using a personal checking account for business purposes can make matters complicated. Open a checking account for your business at a local bank to handle your transactions. Using a separate account is the single best way to keep your work finances separated from personal income.
  • Apply for a Business Credit Card: Use a business credit card for work-related purchases and potentially earn some reward points in the process. When unexpected expenses arise, a business credit card is a valuable resource to have. Using credit will also make extra funds accessible for emergencies, such as when your budget is slightly overextended, or cash isn’t readily available.
  • Create a Budget: Develop a detailed budget for your business and allocate resources accordingly. Following a budget will help you better forecast payroll, overhead, or other costs associated with your business. Budgeting also helps keep your expenditures within a certain threshold from quarter to quarter, saving you money.
  • Consider Incorporation: An incorporated business is eligible for several tax benefits. For instance, an incorporated company can carry over losses from a previous year to reduce taxable income. Bear in mind that the tax liabilities for S and C corporations, LLCs, and other entities differ widely. Take the time to find the right option for your business.
  • Pay Yourself: Before setting money aside for expenses, make sure you are paying yourself first. This will help prevent any overlap between personal income and business. Paying expenses right away can become problematic, especially when several bills come due at the same time.

Seek the Assistance of a Professional

For additional guidance on managing finances, it’s a good idea to speak with a professional experienced in bookkeeping, accounting, or financial planning. Their insights and experience will help you make more informed decisions about separating business expenses from your personal income. Financial experts will also ensure your business is taking advantage of all possible tax deductions to help keep costs low.

If you’re having trouble handling the financial side of your business, it’s best to seek assistance. With professional bookkeeping and accounting support, your business will have a greater chance of generating higher profits in the future.

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