B.A. Harris Blog

Estate Taxes, Portability, and Planning for All Married Couples

One of the many provisions made permanent by the American Taxpayer Relief Act on January 1, 2013 was a $5 million exclusion (adjusted annually for inflation) for estates of decedents dying after December 31, 2012. This is great news as otherwise it would have reverted back to a $1 million exclusion. Along with the higher exemption, another permanent provision is “portability” between spouses. Portability refers to the ability to allow the surviving spouse to apply the unused portion of the deceased spouse’s $5 million exclusion in addition to the applicable $5 million exclusion available to the surviving spouse .


Vacation Rentals Beware

If you have a second home, maybe in McCall or Sun Valley, and occasionally rent it out on weekends, odds are you have a sales tax liability that you have not been complying with. According to Idaho statutes a vacation rental is really no different from a hotel. Any rental for which the rental period is less than 30 days is subject to sales tax (6%), tourism and convention tax (2%), and quite possibly local taxes.


Year-end Tax Planning

As the calendar is drawing to a close in 2012 it marks an unprecedented period of uncertainty for tax professionals and our clients. A host of reduced tax rates, credits, deductions, and other incentives (collectively called the "Bush-era" tax cuts) are scheduled to expire after December 31, 2012 and over 50 tax extenders are up for renewal, either having expired at the end of 2011 or scheduled to expire after 2012.


The Dreaded IRS Notice

In an attempt to close the $450 billion tax gap, which is the difference between what is collected and what would be collected if the tax system had 100% compliance, the IRS has initiated a number of different procedures.  Among these procedures is a drastic increase in the volume of IRS notices that it sends to taxpayers. In 2009, the IRS issued more than 201 million taxpayer notices, up from 30 million in 2001.


What If Your Employer Doesn’t Give You a W-2?

This isn’t a problem that arises often. When it does, it typically happens to your child. They may have had several jobs during the summer and perhaps the employer didn’t get an accurate address. The business may have failed, which is not unusual in our current difficult economic environment. It can also happen to adults for a variety of reasons. The IRS recently published a “tax tip” dealing with this issue and we thought it was relevant and timely enough to pass it on!

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