Koontz & Associates Blog

4 Months Later: Revisiting Same-Sex Marriage Benefits

Monday, October 26, 2015

As of June 26th, 2015 all states in America must legally recognize same-sex unions. Did you know same-sex unions have been legally recognized in Florida since January 6, 2015 due to the ruling of Brenner v. Scott. The result of these cases allows married same-sex couples to receive the same benefits as married opposite-sex couples.

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The Battle Between The Beaches and The Parks

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Florida is a very popular state to visit. Businessinsider.com ranked the state number 2 in 2014.

If you didn't know, the entire state of Florida is surrounded by beaches. The west coast features white sand beaches and slow rolling waters while the east coast has slightly coarser sand and actual waves. Regarding the water, you won't find the California-esque tubular waves, but you will see people in the water all year around.

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4 Important Steps to Take Before You Sell Your Business

Friday, May 29, 2015

The small business community in the Sarasota area is thriving. If you’re one of the entrepreneurs running a business in the area, you may have considered selling your business in the future — whether for retirement, profit, or the pursuit of other projects. The logistics of transferring business ownership are a huge undertaking and you may think you have ...

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Be Aware of These Deal Killers When you Sell your Home

Friday, May 22, 2015

Selling your home can be a stressful process. You have to worry about pricing your home, staging your home, finding a real estate agent who can market your home effectively… and you may even be searching for a new home at the same time. When a buyer submits a great offer on your home, you want to do everything possible to make sure the process goes smoothly so the ...

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LLC or Corporation: Tax Differences You Need to Consider When Forming a Company

Friday, May 15, 2015

One of the most common mistakes business owners make is neglecting to formally incorporate the company. Deciding which type of entity is best for your business can be confusing, but make sure you speak with an attorney early on to take the necessary steps. By default, if you do nothing to establish an entity your business will automatically be considered a general ...

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5 Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make (and How to Avoid Them)

Friday, May 8, 2015

As you start a company, you may not be concerned about legal issues. Especially if you run a small operation, you could be under the assumption that legal problems only arise for large corporations. The truth is, any business — large or small — can become susceptible to lawsuits or other legal snags if the proper precautions are not taken.

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The Legal Logistics of Moving to Florida: Behind the Scenes at K&A

Friday, May 1, 2015

It’s been a big year for the K&A team. We’ve gone through a lot of changes over the past few months, and we’ve been working on something very exciting behind the scenes. You already know the Sarasota area is a vibrant place to live with plenty to offer the business and residential communities — it’s probably why you live here yourself! ...

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Missed the Tax Deadline? These Tips Will Help You

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 15 always seems to fly by, and the tax filing deadline along with it. If you still haven't filed your taxes, you're not the only one — but it's important that you take some immediate steps to avoid potential penalties.

 

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Is Your Business Growing? Think Twice Before Hiring Employees

Friday, April 17, 2015

Are you starting to feel the crunch of an expanding business? You might feel overworked, and stressed about the workload and your employees’ ability to manage the expansion. It’s time to hire additional staff. (Or, if you’re currently running solo, you’re ready for your first hire — congratulations! Your first instinct may be to hire a ...

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Think You're Ready to Buy a House? Read This First

Friday, April 10, 2015

The real estate market in Sarasota is thriving. We have real estate agents on our radio show almost every week talking about growth areas and new trends in buying and selling patterns. If you’re considering buying a home in the heart of the Gulf Coast, make sure you’re prepared. By following the steps below, you can make the process much easier and less ...

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Does Your Business Really Need an Operating Agreement?

If you're launching a business in 2015 you probably have an overflow of ideas, priorities, and questions running through your head. You might be overwhelmed by everything you need to do, or you might be wondering what the next step should look like. A common question we hear from our clients is: Does my business really need an operating agreement? An operating agreement ...

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How to Handle the Extra Pay Period in 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015

It happens once every 11 years, and it usually sneaks up on employers. Not this time! Typically, because our calendar year is 52 weeks, employers who pay their workers bi-weekly see 26 pay periods. In 2015, however, there is a total of 27 pay periods. That may sound strange, but when you run the numbers it actually makes a lot of sense. 26 bi-weekly pay periods cover ...

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5 Things Entrepreneurs Should Consider When Choosing Real Estate

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It seems like everyone wants to do business online these days. We live in a world where commerce is accessible globally with the click of a button, and the possibilities for business owners are endless — but let’s not forget the value of doing business face to face. The Sarasota community is extremely business-friendly and offers plenty of resources for small ...

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Retirement Tax Planning Strategies for Entrepreneurs

Friday, February 13, 2015

Entrepreneurs need to pay special attention to their retirement planning. When budgets are tight and you're working hard to grow your business, it can be tough to imagine parting with a few extra dollars to save for retirement. But with some careful planning now, you can put yourself in a good position later for tax benefits and a reasonable retirement fund — even ...

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What's New in 2015 at the K&A Office

Friday, January 30, 2015

They say the only thing that stays the same is that nothing will ever stay the same. This is definitely true in business, and the K&A family has been evolving! Now that we’re elbow-deep into 2015, we have some exciting updates to share. A new member joined us at K&A in the fall. We’re so happy to welcome Kathrine Lupo to the team! Kathrine is a Stetson ...

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Annual Resale Certificate: What you need to know about sales tax exemptions in 2015

Thursday, January 15, 2015

If you run a business in Florida, there’s a chance that you qualify for certain sales tax exemptions. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, products or services that you purchase with the intent to resell are often exempt from sales tax. But what does this mean, exactly? Let’s say you run a hair salon. You probably buy plenty of hair styling products ...

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Obamacare and Your 2014 Taxes: What You Need to Know

Monday, January 5, 2015

It’s only January, but you may already be growing weary of all the tax season talk. Don’t tune out, though - the tax code is more complicated this year than ever, and it’s important to stay informed so you can maximize your tax refund (or minimize your payments) without risking an audit. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, definitely adds some stress ...

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Are You Committing a Labor Law Violation?

Monday, December 29, 2014

If you run a small business, you have a lot to think about: sales, expenses, taxes, and more. If you hire workers of any kind — such as full-time or part-time employees, temporary employees, or independent contractors — you also need to make sure that you're complying with the applicable labor laws. Labor laws were created to prevent companies from taking ...

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Are You A New Bride?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Planning for a wedding can prove to be quite the mind-boggling experience. There’s a lot to consider from choosing invitations, locating a venue, picking out flowers and cake designs, finding “the dress,” and figuring out which guests to sit where. The last thing a bride is going to want to contend with is what tax issues she needs to address after ...

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What Working Parents Need To Know

Monday, November 17, 2014

Millions of families find that they need two wage-earners in order to buy a home, pay the rent, go on vacations or simply, maintain the family budget. In most communities, two-working-parent families are the norm in American Society. Day Care is a necessity, now more than ever, especially since many grandparents find themselves working past the ages of 65 and 70 and no ...

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Growing Your Small Business Brand

Monday, November 10, 2014

This country is made up of small businesses, whether they’re of an independent consultant nature or a family-owned trade and/or service. Americans favor small businesses much more than large corporations because of what they represent: hard-working individuals who are honest, genuine, supporters of the community, and treat their customers like family. As a small ...

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Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

Monday, November 3, 2014

There’s something to be said for Small Business Owners … they are creative individuals not afraid to take risks and are living their dream with passion. Our country is made up of thousands of those like minds, now more than ever, and they are making our country stronger and more viable. Stepping out in the very beginning is not only a test of the ...

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How To Safeguard Tax Records Before Disaster Strikes

Thursday, October 23, 2014

There is nothing like living in a sunshine state and the perks one gets to enjoy are awesome … beautiful sandy beaches, tropical breezes, and glorious weather greeting you nearly every new day. But like everything else in life, you have to accept the good with the bad; and in Florida, that means contending with severe tropical storms and hurricanes. When the local ...

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Energy Efficient Appliances Tax Holiday

Monday, September 15, 2014

Energy Efficient Appliances Tax Holiday The State of Florida Sales Tax Holiday for energy efficient appliances and products runs from Friday, September 19 through Sunday, September 21, 2014, and applies to the first $1,500 of the sales price of a new Energy Star or Water Sense product. However, the exemption only applies to one purchase of each specified type of Energy ...

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School Supply Sales Tax Holiday

Monday, July 28, 2014

School Supply Sales Tax Holiday The State of Florida School Supply Sales Tax Holiday runs from Friday, August 1 through Sunday, August 3, 2014, and covers (a) clothing, footwear, wallets, and bags (including backpacks and handbags) selling for $100 or less; (b) school supplies selling for $15 or less per item; and (c) the first $750 of the sales price for personal ...

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June 16 Deadline for Taxpayers Living Abroad

Friday, June 13, 2014

Deadline for Taxpayers Living Abroad Taxpayers living abroad who automatically qualified for the two-month extension must file their 2013 federal income tax returns by Monday, June 16, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The normal file date is June 15, however it falls on a Sunday this year. The automatic June 16 extension deadline applies to any U.S. citizen or ...

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Florida Sales Tax Holidays in 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Three Florida Sales Tax Holidays in 2014 Governor Rick Scott recently signed legislation providing for three separate sales tax holidays in 2014 for purchases of hurricane supplies, school supplies, and energy efficient appliances. The sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies runs from May 31 through June 8, 2014, and covers (a) portable self-powered light sources ...

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Tax Refund Identity Theft

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tax Refund Identity Theft Incidents of tax refund identity theft are on the rise. It is important to know how to prevent this from happening to you. In 2010, 15 percent of identity theft complaints were related to tax returns; by 2013, this had risen to 43 percent. The IRS reports that there were 1.6 million victims of tax refund identity theft in the first half of ...

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May 1, 2014 Changes to the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Report Act of 2012

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 1, 2014 Changes to the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Report Act of 2012 Effective May 1, 2014, certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Report Act of 2012 have been repealed. When originally enacted, Biggert-Waters eliminated eligibility for subsidies for buildings newly purchase or newly insured on or after July 6, 2012 and caused major premium ...

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Flood Zone Updates

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flood Zone Update Realtors should be aware that flood areas are in the process of being updated. Areas not previously considered in flood zones now are. Use the link below to find out the status of flood zone updates by zip code. To find out more, please go to https://www.floodsmart.gov.

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From the IRS: Amended Tax Returns

Saturday, April 26, 2014

From the IRS: Amended Tax Returns The Internal Revenue Service projects that almost 5 million taxpayers will amend their returns by filing Form 1040X during 2014. Taxpayers who need to amend their returns should file this form only after filing the original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, taxpayers must file Form 1040X within 3 years, including extensions, ...

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Annual Reports Due May 1

Friday, April 25, 2014

Annual Reports Due May 1 All Florida Businesses registered with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations must file an annual report by May 1 of each year. The deadline for this year is coming up quickly and if the payment is late, a $400 penalty (that cannot be waived!) will be imposed. Additionally, if you do not renew, the business will ultimately be ...

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From the IRS: Make Plans Now for Next Year’s Tax Return

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: Make Plans Now for Next Year’s Tax Return Most people stop thinking about taxes after they file their tax return. But there’s no better time to start tax planning than right now. And it’s never too early to set up a smart recordkeeping system. Here are six IRS tips to help you start to plan for this year’s ...

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Annual Report Filing Deadline on May 1st

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Annual Report Filing Deadline on May 1st Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner released the following statement reminding business entities in Florida that the deadline for filing their annual reports is May 1, 2014. The filing deadline is approaching on May 1, and I encourage all business entities to file their annual reports as soon as possible,” said Secretary ...

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From the IRS: IRS Reminds Those with Foreign Assets of U.S. Tax Obligations

Monday, April 21, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: IRS Reminds Those with Foreign Assets of U.S. Tax Obligations The Internal Revenue Service reminds U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship who have lived or worked abroad during all or part of 2013, that they may have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement in 2014. The filing deadline is Monday, ...

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How to Adequately Prepare for an Audit

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to Adequately Prepare for an Audit Do you find the audit process to be a downright burden? Businesses and entities often find themselves unprepared for an audit. Here are some tips on how to prepare for an audit. Remember, the results of the audit are your responsibility. As such, you should be preparing all year long, not just during audit season. Here are a few ...

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Chance of Audit Declines

Monday, April 21, 2014

Chance of Audit Declines From: ACCOUNTINGTODAY.COM By: Michael Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Washington, D.C. (April 17, 2014) The Internal Revenue Service is anticipating the chances of a tax return being audited to be the lowest in years. The IRS audited less than 1 percent of individual tax returns in 2013, the lowest rate since 2005, and the number of individual returns ...

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From the IRS: Eight Facts about Penalties for Filing and Paying Late

Friday, April 18, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: Eight Facts about Penalties for Filing and Paying Late April 15 is the tax day deadline for most people. If you’re due a refund there’s no penalty if you file a late tax return. But if you owe taxes and you fail to file and pay on time, you’ll usually owe interest and penalties on the taxes you pay late. Here are eight ...

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IRS Virtual Currency Guidance: Virtual Currency Is Treated as Property for U.S. Federal Tax Purposes

Thursday, April 17, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: Virtual Currency Is Treated as Property for U.S. Federal Tax Purposes; General Rules for Property Transactions Apply The Internal Revenue Service recently issued a notice providing answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on virtual currency, such as Bitcoin. These FAQs provide basic information on the U.S. federal tax implications ...

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From the IRS: Ten Facts about Amended Tax Returns

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: Ten Facts about Amended Tax Returns Did you discover that you made a mistake after you filed your federal tax return? You can make it right by filing an amended tax return. Here are the top ten things to know about filing an amended tax return. 1. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct errors on your tax ...

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IRS Settlement with an Offer in Compromise (OIC)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Settlement with an Offer in Compromise If you owe money to the IRS, you may be able to reach an Offer in Compromise (OIC) to pay the money that you owe. An OIC provides a way to have a large portion of your tax debt forgiven. You must agree to pay a smaller amount in a timely fashion. Both the amount and the time is agreed upon by both you and the IRS. You may be able to ...

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From the IRS: Eight Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid

Thursday, April 3, 2014

From the IRS: Eight Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid The Internal Revenue Service offers these following tips to avoid income tax return errors. We all make mistakes. But if you make a mistake on your tax return, the IRS may need to contact you to correct it. That will delay your refund. You can avoid most tax return errors by using IRS e-file. People who do their taxes on ...

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From the IRS: Time is Expiring to Claim 2010 Tax Refund

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

From the Internal Revenue Service: Time is Expiring to Claim $760 Million in Refunds for 2010 Tax Returns If you did not file a tax return for 2010, you may be one of over 900,000 taxpayers who may be due a refund from that year. If you are, you must claim your share of almost $760 million by the April 15 tax deadline. To claim your refund, you must file a 2010 federal ...

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Tips on Deducting Charitable Contributions from the IRS

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tips on Deducting Charitable Contributions If you are looking for a tax deduction, giving to charity can be a ‘win-win’ situation. It’s good for them and good for you. Here are eight things you should know about deducting your gifts to charity: 1. You must donate to a qualified charity if you want to deduct the gift. You can’t deduct gifts to ...

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President Obama Signs Flood Relief Law on March 21, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

From the Associated Press on Friday, March 21, 2014 WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeowners living in flood-prone areas are getting relief from big spikes in insurance costs under legislation President Barack Obama signed into law Friday. Lawmakers from both parties supported the measure in response to angry homeowners who faced sharp premium hikes after an overhaul of the ...

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How to Avoid Identity Theft with your Income Tax Return

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Avoid Identity Theft with your Income Tax Return The IRS reports that cyber-crimes often occur with tax returns. Cyber thieves are crafty and their numbers are increasing. Here are seven ways you can avoid identity theft. 1. File as early as possible. Once a return has been filed and it is associated with a specific social security number, the IRS ...

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Methods of Ownership and Holding Title to Real Property

Monday, March 17, 2014

Real Property Ownership and Interests Methods of Ownership and Holding Title Tenancy by the Severalty When ownership of real property is in the hands of an individual or corporation it is referred to as a severalty estate. The law considers a corporation an individual which must act by corporate resolution with official decisions by the board of directors. The word ...

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Senate Passes Flood Insurance Fix Bill

Friday, March 14, 2014

Senate Passes Flood Insurance Fix Bill On Thursday Congress passed a bill to undo the federal flood insurance Biggert-Waters bill that imposed sharply higher premiums for property owners across the country and Florida. The U.S. Senate passed this corrective bill that will stop the big rate hikes faced by many primary homeowners while still stabilizing the flood ...

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Establishing Domicile in the State of Florida

Friday, February 21, 2014

Establishing Domicile in the State of Florida Welcome to Florida! To establish domicile in Florida, you should complete as many of the tasks listed below as are possible: 1. File a Florida Declaration of Domicile form with the Clerk of the Court, County Comptroller 2. File an application for Homestead Exemption on Florida residence 3. Register to vote, and actually ...

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Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act Not Extended – And Why That Isn’t Bad News!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MDFRA expired December 31, 2013 and has not been extended to 2014; although an extension is being considered by Congress. In December of 2007, Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act (MDFRA) to provide relief to struggling homeowners potentially facing crippling tax liability. When the United States Senate and House passed the 2012 American Tax Payer ...

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Tax Season Has Begun!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tax Season Has Begun with the IRS sending out valuable information and videos on U Tube! IRS Kicks Off 2014 Tax Season; Individual Returns Can Be Filed Now; Free Online Services Available to Help With Filing, Refunds, EITC IRS YouTube Videos: Do It Yourself Free Tax Preparation: When Will I Get My Refund?: IRS Social Media: WASHINGTON — The Internal ...

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National Association of Realtors Flood Insurance Update

Monday, January 20, 2014

National Association of Realtors Flood Insurance Update: January 17, 2014 By Austin Perez, National Association of Realtors On Jan. 16, 2014, Congress passed the Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 3547) to fund the federal government through Sept. 30, 2014. The bill prohibits FEMA from implementing future premium increases on “grandfathered properties” for nine ...

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Sarasota Association of Realtors Reports Sales Up in November

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sarasota Association of Realtors Report Single Family Home Median Prices Up 20.6 Percent in November In their January news posting, the Sarasota Association of Realtors provided the following information on the Sarasota real estate market for November. Median sale prices for single family homes sold in Sarasota County in November 2013 were up 20.6 percent over last ...

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In the Market for a Home Loan? ACT FAST before Mortgage Loan Limits Change in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In the Market for a Home Loan? ACT FAST before Mortgage Loan Limits Change in 2014. Important news if you are in the market for a home loan: Effective January 1, 2014, the loan limit for FHA for Sarasota and Manatee Counties has been REDUCED to $285,200. This means that if you have been sitting on the fence about obtaining a mortgage, NOW is the time to apply for a ...

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5 Questions for Attorney Jo Ann Koontz

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 Questions for Attorney Jo Ann Koontz Here are five questions for real estate attorney and certified public accountant, Jo Ann Koontz. Jo Ann is founder of Koontz & Associates, PL, a law firm that focuses on Residential and Commercial Real Estate Law, Business Law, and Tax Law. Jo Ann is uniquely qualified to handle real estate legal matters and help to minimize ...

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IRS Issues Final Regulations on Installment Agreements, Offers-in-Compromise

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The IRS has issued final regulations that provide user fees charged for processing installment agreements and offers-in-compromise. The regulations affect taxpayers who want to pay their federal tax liabilities through installment agreements and offers-in-compromise. These regulations are effective on December 2, 2013, and apply to installment agreements entered into, ...

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Beware of Phishing Scams!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BEWARE of Phishing Scams and Email Fraud! Recently, a client received a fairly official looking email from what appeared to be the IRS. Upon closer inspection, it was not from the IRS at all. Instead, it was a bogus notice fraudulently posing as the Internal Revenue Service. The attempt was to acquire social security numbers and personal financial information. NOTE: The ...

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IRS Delays Processing of 2013 Taxes

Monday, December 2, 2013

IRS Delays Processing of 2013 Taxes The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that due to the 16-day government shutdown, they will begin processing tax returns one- to two-weeks later than planned. The original start date was January 21, 2014. With this delay, the tax season could begin no earlier than January 28 or as late as February 4, 2014. The IRS will not ...

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Why do I need a real estate attorney?

Monday, November 18, 2013

WHY DO I NEED A REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY? There is an old lawyer joke: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Fifty four. Eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to object, one to demur, two to research precedents, one to dictate a letter, one to stipulate, five to turn in their time cards, one to depose, one to write interrogatories, two to ...

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Flood Insurance Rates Impact Florida Real Estate

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Flood Insurance Rate Increase Impacts SW Florida Real Estate Purchases Buyers considering the purchase of a coastal Florida home need to be aware of recent changes in flood insurance coverage. Properties located in designated flood zones V, A (except AR and A99) or D are facing significant flood insurance rate increases over 2012 rates due to the change in federal ...

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Real Property Ownership in an LLC - Taxation

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Limited Liability Company (LLC) has become an increasingly popular vehicle for the foreigner buyer, or real estate investor seeking to establish a level of personal liability and asset protection, while minimizing their tax liability. An LLC with foreign members has the flexibility to decide whether to be taxed as a partnership, C corporation or, in the case of a ...

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Simplified Loan Modification Initiative

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer a new, simplified loan modification initiative to minimize losses and to help troubled borrowers avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. Beginning July 1 2013, servicers will be required to offer eligible borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their mortgage an easy ...

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Real Property Ownership in an LLC

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Many Florida real estate investors, or individuals seeking to purchase homes, have likely heard about the growing trend of taking ownership of real property in a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Owning real property in an LLC has many benefits due to the legal liability protections afforded its owners, as well as the asset protection it provides owners from their ...

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Foreclosure Settlements

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Federal banking regulators recently announced a new mortgage foreclosure settlement to replace a 2011 settlement between the regulators and certain home loan servicers. Lenders participating in this new settlement, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, Sun Trust, U.S. Bank and Aurora, have agreed to distribute $8.5 billion to settle complaints alleging that some homeowners were improperly foreclosed upon. A portion of the settlement, in the amount of $5.2 billion, will be provided to certain borrowers in the form of loan modifications, forgiveness of deficiency judgments and other relief, while the balance of the settlement will be paid directly to other eligible borrowers

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April 1st Deadline for Required Retirement Plan Distributions

Friday, March 29, 2013

The IRS reminds taxpayers who turned 70-1/2 during 2012 that, in most cases, they must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMD) from individual retirement accounts (IRA) and workplace retirement plans by Monday, April 1, 2013. The April 1 deadline applies to owners of traditional IRAs but not Roth IRAs. Normally, it also applies to participants in various ...

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Do I Need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Social Security Number (SSN) is used by a U.S. person and third parties for purposes of reporting income, loss, and interest realized by that particular person. The SSN allows IRS to track the accuracy and satisfaction of each person’s tax filing and payment obligations. For a person, who does not qualify for an SSN, but does have a tax filing and/or payment obligation, IRS may assign an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN may be assigned regardless of an applicant’s immigration status because the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) imposes tax filing obligations on both resident and nonresident aliens. The primary use and purpose of issuing an ITIN is to ensure a non-citizen’s compliance with the IRC. Therefore, to qualify for and obtain an ITIN, an applicant must have a tax filing obligation and file a return, subject to certain exceptions. To ensure ITINs are being used for legitimate tax purposes, IRS recently revised certain procedures to provide that new ITINs will expire after five years.

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Time is Running Out…Corporate Tax Returns due March 15th.

Monday, March 11, 2013

For Corporations (Form 1120) and S-Corporations (Form 1120-S) with a fiscal year-end of December 31, the deadline to file a tax return is March 15. For many of these businesses, the required documentation may not have been finalized or available to prepare the return, so an extension of time to file may have been requested. The IRS will allow an automatic 6 month extension to file the return if a Form 7004 is filed by the original tax deadline. An extension does not extend the amount of time to pay the tax due on the return. It is an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay. Any taxes due are still due on the initial deadline or additional penalties and interest will be assessed from the original filing deadline.

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Buying a Short Sale as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or Corporation?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Did you know that if the buyer of a Short Sale is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or Corporation, there are specific documents that must be completed? If required documents are not provided, processing of the Short Sale will be delayed, and ultimately the file will be closed if not supplied timely.

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Foreclosure Settlements

Monday, January 28, 2013

Federal banking regulators recently announced a new mortgage foreclosure settlement to replace a 2011 settlement between the regulators and certain home loan servicers. Lenders participating in this new settlement, including Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Bank, PNC, Sovereign, Sun Trust, U.S. Bank and Aurora, have agreed to distribute $8.5 billion to settle complaints alleging that some homeowners were improperly foreclosed upon. A portion of the settlement, in the amount of $5.2 billion, will be provided to certain borrowers in the form of loan modifications, forgiveness of deficiency judgments and other relief, while the balance of the settlement will be paid directly to other eligible borrowers.

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The Bank of America Cooperative Short Sale Program

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Bank of America Cooperative Short Sale Program may be able to help homeowners complete a short sale if they owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth and do not qualify for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) short sale program. This program can streamline the approval process and offers financial assistance to help homeowners with relocation and moving expenses.

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2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act – Part 2

Thursday, January 10, 2013

After weeks, indeed months of proposals and counter-proposals, seemingly endless negotiations and down-to-the-wire drama, Congress has passed legislation to avert the tax side of the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The American Taxpayer Relief Act permanently extends the Bush-era tax cuts for lower and moderate income taxpayers, permanently “patches” the alternative minimum tax (AMT), provides for a permanent 40 percent federal estate tax rate, renews many individual, business and energy tax extenders, and more. In one immediately noticeable effect, the American Taxpayer Relief Act does not extend the 2012 employee-side payroll tax holiday.

Businesses

The business tax incentives in the new law, while not receiving as much press as the individual tax provisions, are valuable. Two very popular incentives, bonus depreciation and small business expensing, are extended as are many business tax “extenders.”

Bonus Depreciation/Small Business Expensing. The new law renews 50 percent bonus depreciation through 2013 (2014 in the case of certain longer period production property and transportation property). Code Sec. 179 small business expensing is also extended through 2013 with a generous $500,000 expensing allowance and a $2 million investment limit. Without the new law, the expensing allowance was scheduled to plummet to $25,000 with a $200,000 investment limit.

Small Business Stock. To encourage investment in small businesses, the tax laws in recent years have allowed non-corporate taxpayers to exclude a percentage of the gain realized from the sale or exchange of small business stock held for more than five years. The American Taxpayer Relief Act extends the 100 percent exclusion from the sale or exchange of small business stock through 2013.

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2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act – Individuals Overview

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tax Rates: The American Taxpayer Relief Act extends permanently the Bush-era income tax rates for all taxpayers except for taxpayers with taxable income above certain thresholds:

$400,000 for single individuals, $450,000 for married couples filing joint returns, and $425,000 for heads of households. For 2013 and beyond, the federal income tax rates are 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6 percent. In comparison, the top rate before 2013 was 35 percent. The IRS is expected to issue revised income tax withholding tables to reflect the 2013 rates as quickly as possible and provide guidance to employers and self-employed individuals.

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Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act - Extended

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The United States Senate and House have passed the 2013 American Tax Payer Relief Act; extending the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act (MFDRA) until January 1, 2014.

 

The Long and the Short of the Tax Impact of Short Sales

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2012 Year-End Tax Planning for Businesses

Friday, December 28, 2012

Recently, end of year tax planning for businesses has been complicated by uncertainty over the future availability of many tax incentives. The 2012 year end is no different. In 2010, Congress extended many business incentives for one or two years. These incentives are about to expire. In addition, many of the “Bush-era” tax cuts are scheduled to sunset at the end of 2012. It is unclear if Congress will provide further extensions as they debate across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect in 2013. In addition, businesses must prepare to comply with healthcare reform. This combination of events provides tax planning considerations unique to 2012 that requires a multi-year strategy taking into account a variety of scenarios and outcomes.

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HAFA Short Sale Program Expiration

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Time is running out for area homeowners looking to participate in government sponsored Short Sale programs. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative (HAFA) program will expire on December 31, 2012. The HAFA program is a government-sponsored program aimed to provide additional alternatives to foreclosure. Aside from loan modification (the ...

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Jo Ann Koontz

joann@koontzassociates.com 941-225-2615