Reclassifying Business Expenses as Constructive Dividends

To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your business.

The IRS sometimes challenges deductions claimed for certain types of business expenses. In doing so, an examiner might claim payments made by a corporation to a shareholder for personal items or that are above or below fair market value constitute "constructive dividends." Reclassifying business expenses as dividends has adverse tax consequences, as a recent case demonstrates.


Green Tax Breaks: Are You Claiming All the Credits You Deserve?

In recent years, the IRS has offered "green" tax credits to individuals who purchase qualifying residential energy-efficient equipment and certain electric vehicles. Some of these breaks expired at the end of 2016. But others are still ripe for the taking in 2017 and beyond. Here is what you need to know to take advantage.


Tax Considerations Before Tying the Knot

Minneapolis Tax Planning - Minneapolis CPA

Summer — the traditional wedding season — is just around the corner. Marriage changes life in many ways. Here is how it may affect your tax situation.


Marital Status

Your marital status at year end determines your tax filing options for the entire year. If you are married on December 31, you will have two federal income tax filing choices for 2017:

  • File jointly with your spouse, or
  • Opt for "married filing separate" status and then file separate returns based on your income and your deductions and credits.

Here are two reasons most married couples file jointly:

10 Simple Ways to Cut Taxes This Summer

It is already starting to feel like summer in many parts of the country. But the forecast for Washington remains unclear as officials continue to discuss various tax-related issues. No matter what happens in Washington, do not get stuck in a holding pattern yourself. Give some attention to business and personal tax planning this summer.


Here are 10 ideas that combine tax planning with summertime fun.


Six Financial Survival Tips for Recent College Graduates

Graduation can be one of the most exciting — and intimidating — times in your life. You are officially an adult, and with that new-found independence comes financial responsibilities. No pressure, but the decisions you make today about spending and saving can mean the difference between struggling for the rest of your life and building a solid financial future.

Here's a list of important questions to consider as you start your journey:


Establishing Residency for State Tax Purposes

Establishing Residency for State Tax Purposes

Have you been contemplating moving to another state with lower taxes? Your move could lower your state tax bill, but you want to make sure to establish that the new state is your place of legal residency (also known as your "domicile") for state tax purposes. Otherwise, the old state could come after you for taxes after you have moved. In the worst-case scenario, your new state could expect to get paid, too. Here is what you need to do to establish residency in the new state — and why moving your pet could be a deciding factor.


Spring Cleaning: When Can You Purge Your Old Financial Records?

When Can You Purge Your Old Financial Records?

Feeling the urge to purge? Tomorrow, April 18, is the deadline for individuals and C corporations to file their federal income tax returns for 2016 (or to file for an extension). Before you clear your filing cabinets of old financial records, it is important to make sure you won't be caught empty-handed if an IRS auditor contacts you.


For Individuals

In general, you must keep records supporting items shown on your individual tax return until the statute of limitations runs out — generally, three years from the due date of the return or the date you filed, whichever is later. That means that now you can generally throw out records for the 2013 tax year, for which you filed a return in 2014.

Preventing Fraud: Tips for Hospitality Businesses

Preventing Fraud | Hospitality Accounting | Red Wing CPA

Is your hospitality business protected from fraudulent activities? Do you have the necessary procedures in place to detect and prevent fraud and theft? Hospitality businesses need strong internal controls to increase the likelihood of fraudulent activities being discovered. Internal controls is particularly important for hospitality businesses because of the amount of cash sales transactions and high industry turnover rates.
There are many areas susceptible to fraudulent activities in the hospitality industry. The three high risk areas for theft are:

Business Valuation Approaches As Easy As 1-2-3

How would you value a business? The three approaches appraisers use to value a business are essentially a matter of common sense. You start with the balance sheet and adjust the book values of assets and liabilities to their market values. Then you turn to the income statement and evaluate how much cash the business is expected to generate in the future. Finally, you investigate how much competitors have sold for in the past.

Although these techniques sound simple, do-it-yourself appraisals can generate misleading results. Each approach requires subtle nuances and fine-tuning, and each business requires a customized approach.


What's in a Name?

In business valuation jargon, the three approaches are called:

Transportation Industry: Retirement Plan Design Insights

Transportation Industry: Retirement Plan Design Insights - Minneapolis CPA

The transportation industry faces a unique set of challenges in today’s marketplace. Some of the specific challenges driving the industry today include: