By Bob Lantz (CPA)
Hi, my name is Bob Lantz and I am going to hosting a new monthly column on taxes. I know what you think about taxes; but you know what they say about, "death and taxes" so please bear with me and Ill try to keep this as painless as possible.
I am a CPA and have been practicing for 24 years. I have my own practice in Naperville, Illinois (west of Chicago) and I specialize in working with privately held businesses and individuals. See below on how to reach me.
During the coming year will talk about preparing returns for the past year and planning for the current one.
THE 1998 RETURN
Its a little late to do any planning for 1998, so well concentrate on doing the best we can with what we have. FIRST - LETS GET ORGANIZED:
W-2s, 1099s and other tax info should arrive by the end of January and you should be ready to file as soon as possible after you have all your info. WHY?
The sooner you file, the sooner you get your refund. February refunds take a couple of weeks, April ones take many. Also consider electronic filing and/or having your refund deposited directly into your bank account both will speed up your money.
If you own Uncle Sam, (our planning for 1999 should make this a problem of the past) finding out how much as soon as possible allows you time to find the money because you dont have to pay Uncle until April 15th.
WHATS NEW FOR 1998 & WHAT CAN STILL BE DONE FOR 1998
(Look for details in future columns)
IRAs, including the new Roth IRAs
New holding periods for low Capital Gain Rates (12 months vs. 18 months)
Kid credits ($400 in 1998, $500 in 1999)
Student loan interest deductible
Education tax credits
PLAN FOR 1999
Start planing now for 1999 taxes.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PLANNING YOU CAN DO IS - DONT LET TAXES CONTROL YOUR ECONOMIC DECISIONS. MAKE GOOD ECONOMIC DECISIONS AND THEN FIND THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THE DECISION FOR TAX PURPOSES.
The first key is record keeping:
If you plan to deduct auto, cell phone or computer expenses you need logs showing the details of the deductible usage. Keep a log in your car, get the itemized billing option for your cell phone and track computer usage between business and personal.
Get receipts and keep good records for travel and entertainment expenses.
Convert non-business expenses to business expenses:
New easier HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION rules in 1999
Consider medical reimbursement plan for your business
Put your kids on the payroll they must do real work
Time to wrap it up (I have to go and crunch some numbers now).
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions for future columns please let me know.
You can e-mail your Income Tax questions to Bob Lantz at:
(A one-line link is just $100.00
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