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Friday, April 12, 2013

How and When to Report Investment Expenses on Your Income Tax Return

 JC Leahy, MA Accounting

 For my friend Joe:
Capital vs Expense

Not all outlays for an investment property are expenses.  Outlays to acquire, renovate, or extend the useful life of an investment property must be capitalized.  On the other hand, ordinary and necessary expenses to hold, operate and maintain an investment property are deductible as investment expenses.

How To Report Investment Expenses 

To deduct your investment expenses, you must itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). Enter your deductible investment interest expense on Schedule A (Form1040), line 14. Include any deductible short sale expenses.  Also attach a completed Form 4952 if you used that form to figure your investment interest expense.  Enter the total amount of your other investment expenses (other than interest expenses) on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23. List the type and amount of each expense on the dotted lines next to line 23. (If necessary, you can show the required information on an attached statement.)  If your thinking includes rental real estate as an investment, obviously those expenses are reported on Schedule E. 

When To Report Investment Expenses

If you use the cash method, you generally deduct your expenses, except for certain prepaid interest, in the year you pay them.  If you use an accrual method, you generally deduct your expenses when you incur a liability for them, rather than when you pay them.


Uplifting Springtime News: It's Better to Go Bra-less !!!

I kid you not.   This was one of Yahoo's lead stories this morning.  Apparently, researchers in France (where else?!) have completed a 15 year study of women's breasts.  The upshot is that wearing a bra causes breasts to sag at an average rate of 7mm per year.  Cool.  CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Who Must File a Pennsylvania Tax Return ??

Who must file a personal income tax return? If you are a  Pennsylvania resident, nonresident or a part-year PA resident, you must file a  PA tax return if:
• You received total PA gross taxable income in excess of $33, even if no tax is due with your PA return; and/or
• You incurred a loss from any transaction as an individual, sole proprietor, partner in a partnership or PA S corporation shareholder.

PA law does not exempt a minor from the above requirements to file a PA tax return even if claimed as a dependent on a federal return.

The executor, administrator, or other person responsible for the affairs of a decedent must file a PA tax return if the decedent met the above requirements.

Pennsylvania taxes eight classes of income: (1) compensation; (2) net profits from the operation of a business, profession or farm; (3) net gains or income less net losses from dispositions of property; (4) net gains or income from rents, royalties, patents and copyrights; (5) dividends; (6) interest; (7) gambling winnings (except Pennsylvania Lottery winnings); and (8) net gains or income derived through estates or trusts.

Really Strange News: Beaver Videoed Killing Man !!

JC Leahy

Odd news.  A beaver killed a man trying to photograph him.  Here's the video.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Employee Business Expense Income Tax Deduction

JC Leahy, MA Accounting

If your employer does not reimburse all of your employment-related expenses, you might be able to deduct them on your federal income tax return. They would go on your Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), line 21, “un-reimbursed employee expenses.” 

Two Hurdles for You to Jump

In order to deduct employee business expenses, you must jump over 2 hurdles: the 2% Floor and the Standard Deduction.  “The 2% Floor" is 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income.   Your un-reimbursed employee business expenses must total greater than 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income. You can deduct only the expenses over that amount.  The second hurdle is your Standard Deduction.  All of the deductions listed on your Schedule A generally must exceed your Standard Deduction.  The amount of your Standard Deduction generally depends on your filing status.  For tax year 2012, the standard deduction amounts are:
  • $11,900 married filing jointly
  • $5,950 married filing separately
  • $8,700 head of household
(One wrinkle in this picture is that if you are married filing separately and your spouse itemized, you also must itemize.)

Commuting Costs

You cannot deduct the typical costs of traveling to and from work within your metropolitan area.  This includes costs for automobile travel, parking train, car, cab or bus.  These expenses are called commuting costs.  They are considered personal expenses—even if you do work on the trip. The cost of parking at your permanent place of work is not deductible, but parking to attend a business meeting is. Similarly, tolls and gas are not deductible for regular transportation to work, but are deductible for work-related trips.  Note, however, that once you arrive at work, if you have to travel between offices or to client sites that cost is deductible.
If you use your car for deductible business purposes you can deduct either the standard mileage rate (55.5¢ per mile in 2012) or actual car expenses for the year. For leased cars, whichever method you choose in the first year is the one you will be required to use for the remaining years of the lease.

All of your un-reimbursed employee business expenses must be incurred during the tax year, must be trade-or business-related, and must be “ordinary and necessary.” The expenses don’t have to be required, however: "Ordinary and necessary" means that they are helpful and appropriate for your business.
Here are some of the more common employee business deductions.

If you use your car for deductible business purposes you can deduct either the standard mileage rate (55.5¢ per mile in 2012) or actual car expenses for the year. For leased cars, whichever method you choose in the first year is the one you will be required to use for the remaining years of the lease.

Other Common Deductions
  • Out of town work related travel. This includes  taxi, plane, train, car, laundry, meals, baggage, telephone, and tips while you are on business in a temporary setting.   For meals,you have a choice about how to deduct the cost of meals. They must be business-related, or eaten while on an un-reimbursed travel excursion. You can deduct 50% of the actual meal cost, or take 50% of the per diem rate for the location of your travel. A list of these cities is available on the IRS web site at www.IRS.govSee my earlierarticle on deductible travel expenses.
  • Dues to professional societies, excluding lobbying and political organizations.
  • Home office costs. The office must be your principal place of business and be for the convenience of your employer—not just helpful in conducting your job.
  • Job search expenses in your current occupation, even if you don’t land a new job. This includes everything from the cost of producing and copying your resume to travel expenses you incur while interviewing or searching for a job.
  • Legal fees related to doing or keeping your job.
  • The cost of a passport for a business trip.
  • Union dues and expenses. However, you cannot deduct the portion of the fees that pays for sick, accident or death benefits or for a pension fund, even if the fees are required dues.
  • Work clothes and uniforms that are not suitable for everyday use and are a condition of your employment.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Quiz Question of the Day: What Does AISC Stand For??

AISC -- Do you know what that stands for?  I didn't.  A friend's kids got ahold of her cellphone today and exchanged a few texts with me.  At one point Justin simply said "AISC"  So I went to Google and looked AISC up.  Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge??  American Institute of Steel Construction??  American Indian Studies Center??  Nope -- wrong generation by a couple.  AISC stands for Awesome Is Sooo Cool !!   That's what I think of the picture another friend, Gloria, sent today:  CLICK HERE.  That's the cast of the Sound of Music, then and now.  I doubt that many of them are recognized on the street anymore!!