What’s better for Tax & Investment Purposes? Election of a Partnership or an S-Corp?

April 3, 2017 · Posted in Accounting, Profitability Tips, Tax Planning · Comment 

Let’s get QuizziCAL: LLCs and Partnerships

Here’s a stumper for our tax experts!

Your client Esteban, a chef of growing acclaim, recently left New York because he couldn’t stand the thought of a burrito being classified as a sandwich and was forced to pay sales tax on his most notable creation, the Spicy Mayan Lobster Burrito con Mojo. He came to California to be a part of the wildly expanding culinary scene in Los Angeles and plans to open his own restaurant at Row DTLA, an exciting and massive complex in the downtown Arts District. In the meantime, he has met Siouxzi, a creative mixologist who makes an astonishing cranberry lime margarita. The two want to form a business.

Esteban and Siouxzi are trying to decide whether to form as an S corporation or an LLC. They plan to invest $25,000 each, and they believe they will operate at a $75,000 loss per year for the first two years. To cover the losses, the business will have a $100,000 line of credit, which they both must personally guarantee. Under which business structure will Esteban and Siouxzi be able to deduct all of the losses?

Answer:

The should form an LLC, because they will be able to include the loan guarantee as part of their basis; whereas the S corporation basis is limited to their contributions and loans they personally make to the business. For more information,

Documenting Improvements to Real Property – Don’t get Screwed!

We often work with Companies constructing improvements to Real Property, including Commercial and Residential Real Estate that they own or lease. As we know,  these additions to the real property are essential in determining your investment in, or basis, in the property.  Down the road, when the Company taxpayer goes to sell the property, maintaining accurate records makes the difference between an optimal capital gain or loss calculation, and a less than optimal. We all know about the difference between these two.

Our clients rely on us to document to the California Board of Equalization (BOE), in order to establish the personal income tax adjusted basis of real property sold by them, based on information provided by the taxpayers’ external accountants, who tracked all costs and expenses of construction on the property and maintained bank and other financial records, receipts, and information.

When our clients rely on us to maintain the construction accoutning, the BOE always finds that the information compiled and provided by us, our client’s Accountants, was the most reliable.  The BOE notes that the evidence submitted by the Accountants  reflected amounts for capitalized construction loan interest and capitalized mortgage interest included in the adjusted basis reported by the taxpayers. Those amounts were tracked meticulously on a detailed schedule that reflected the exact amounts of interest that were paid and whether the taxpayers had claimed those mortgage interest payments as current year deductions or had capitalized those amounts. So, we do go the extra mile. We do provide exactly what is needed to support and defend our Client’s interests. So, contact us for your Real Estate Project. We’re Real Estate Experts, and we know exactly what the BOE, the IRS and the FTB is requiring. You’ll be so thankful, and so will we.

Happy New Year’s 2017 to all our Readers – here’s some valuable details for you to Digest!

December 28, 2016 · Posted in Accounting, Decision-Making Tips, Profitability Tips, Tax Planning · Comment 

Here are the most essential updated limits for 2017; as we have identified for our Business Owner and Family clients.

Social Security maximum wage base for 2017 increased to $127,200. Amounts withheld at the 6.2% rate from an employee will now be $7,886.40 with the employer matching it. A self-employed person will pay the employee’s and employer’s shares which will be almost $15,772.80. The 1.45% Medicare tax is in addition to this and there is no salary cap on that. The employer will match employee’s amount and the self-employed will pay both shares. The employee’s total withholding tax will be7.65% and self-employed will be 15.3% on amounts up to the wage base and 1.45% and 2.9% on amount over that.

Capital Gains: Maximum rate is 20% plus 3.8% if the Net Investment Income Tax applies. The 0% rate will apply to extent ordinary income is taxed at a rate below 25%. A 15% rate is for individuals taxed at a 25% ordinary income tax rate or higher but below the 39.6% rate. The rate is 25% for unrecaptured Section 1250 depreciation; and 28% for long term sales of collectibles.

Alternative Minimum Tax exemption for those married filing jointly will be $84,500 and for singles $54,300. The exemption starts to phase out when joint and single income exceeds $160,900 and $120,700.

Personal exemption is $4,050 and starts to phase out when joint and single AGI reaches $313,800 and $259,400.

Section 179 Depreciation: $510,000 with this amount being reduced when the cost of qualifying property exceeds $2,030,000.

Gift Tax Annual Exclusion: $14,000 per person receiving a gift. This is doubled if there is a consenting spouse.

Estate and Gift Tax Lifetime Exemption: $5,490,000. For gifts this is doubled if there is a consenting spouse.

IRA contribution limit is $5,500 and an extra $1,000 for those who are age 50 and over. The limits apply for both traditional and Roth IRAs. There are phase outs for traditional IRAs for taxpayers covered by an employer plan; and for Roth IRAs based on AGI.

401k, 403b and most 457 plan contribution limits: $18,000 plus $6.000 for taxpayers past their 50th birthday.

Defined contribution limits: $54,000 plus $6,000 for those past their 50th birthday. SEP plans are not eligible for the over age 50 additional contributions.

Solo 401k plan combined with a SEP: $54,000 plus $6,000 for those past their 50th birthday.

SIMPLE plan limits are $12,500. The extra over age 50 amount is $3,000.

Medicare Part B premiums for those over age 65: Joint Modified AGI up to $170,000, $134.00 per month; MAGI over $170,000 up to $214,000, $187.50; MAGI over $214,000 up to $320,000, $267.00; MAGI over $320,000 up to $428,000, $348.30; MAGI over $428,000, $428.60. The single limits are half of the joint MAGI amounts for the premiums shown. These amounts will be reduced somewhat if you have the Medicare premiums deducted from your monthly Social Security benefits. Tip: These payments are deductible as medical insurance premiums which is especially beneficial for self-employed taxpayers. The Modified AGI reported on your 2015 tax return determines your 2017 premiums. To reduce your MAGI for 2017 (almost too late for 2016) consider transferring part or all of your 2017 Required Minimum Distributions (up to $100,000) directly to a charity. This might help reduce your 2019 premiums. You should consult with a tax advisor for other strategies to reduce MAGI. Starting early in the year will give you the best opportunities for tax planning.

Retirement plan tip: Consider making your 2017 contributions in January 2017 or as early in the year as you could so the tax deferred earnings start. Also, some plan contributions for 2016 can be made in 2017 and some of the plans can be opened in 2017 for the 2016 tax year. Further, do not overlook IRA contributions for non-working spouses. Self-employed people with no employees should consider a solo 401k combined with a SEP – if you qualify for 2016, open it ASAP! This must be done before Dec 31, 2016.

There are other items but these cover the most items we get questions about. All of these amounts and limits should be checked for amount and applicability with our office as your tax advisor.

What does it mean for Real Estate Investors “To do Business in California”?

The State of California, by legislation, incorporates the following activities, as sufficient to require registration in California, with the Secretary of State office (http://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/faqs#form).

  1. Does your business conduct regular and continuous activities in the State of CA? ……… as an example, do you fix and flip houses ? do you wholesale houses? How about Property Management?
  2. Do you have employees who live and work in CA? do you have independent contractors working on your projects?
  3. Do you need to conduct litigation against another business in the State of CA regarding your business activities?

So, the net result, is that if you are active in any of the above items, you are required to register in the State of CA, and also to pay income and/or franchise tax to the State of CA for California’s share of your revenues.

We want to help you structure your entities in such a way to minimize franchise taxes. We want to assist with planning your business process to help you address the following important issues:

  1. Structuring your Franchise Taxes appropriately (minimum $800 per year per entity)
  2. Ensure strong outside charging order protection – shelter your assets from charging orders due to liability concerns
  3. Consider the usage of a Holding LLC as nominee Manager for the active LLC
  4. Too many damn attorneys in the State of CA  – make yourself appear worthless to the outside world, and to the Government
  5. Income Taxes in the State of CA – do I have to pay CA taxes on income generated outside the State of CA ?

What about Activities that do not qualify for the doing business in CA?

  1. Owning Real Estate
  2. Maintain a trading account, and you are an active trader
  3. Private money lending, where you make the loan (c0nsidered the activity) outside of the State of CA, meaning the borrower and the property is outside of CA.

We’re experts in this field – why not work with our legal and tax team to coordinate a plan consistent with your goals. You should work with experts to secure your investments. Please open, review and complete this form, ( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1epIax5YfvecdZmLg-cpq9MdYkH5kBnkAd83hqcshjlE/edit) and we will follow up with you to schedule your complimentary 30 minute interview. Or, just call us at (949) 502-4680 and we can talk.

Use the Federal and State Tax Code to the Best of Your Advantage

Our business is built entirely on advising Entrepreneurs on profit and growth strategies, using accurate accounting and management reporting; and then we show them tax efficient investment plans and strategies to keep their wealth. In order to do this effectively, we structure our relationship with our Clients to meet regularly for review and updating of their plans and strategies so they fit into the present circumstances and goals. A big part of that is year-end timing and income/spending decisions to minimize the impact of taxes over the lifetime of the business. We can help your business succeed in these critical areas. We focus on achieving these goals for our Customers daily, so that when the time comes, we are ready to deliver results that matter to you. Please review our year-end Tax Guide, then drop me at note or place a call so we can set up a time to discuss your specific situation and requirements. You’ll be happy you did this, and your views about Accountants may change as well.

Peter P Cullen

peterc@coreperformance.net

949 478-4795

2016-year-end-tax-planning

We help individuals, businesses, and exempt organizations get back on the right track

October 5, 2016 · Posted in Accounting, Profitability Tips, Tax Planning · Comment 

FreshBooksCertified (1)bbblogo

cqbc_mediumIs your IRS or FTB problem causing financial difficulty, or do you believe an IRS procedure isn’t working as it should? if so, please contact us at http://coreperformance.net/contact/ – and a team member will respond the same business day.

Our tax resolution engagements generally fit into one of the following types:

1) Where a taxpayer is experiencing some financial difficulty, emergency, or hardship, and the IRS needs to move much faster than it usually does under its normal procedures. If the IRS doesn’t act quickly (for example, to remove a levy or release a lien), the taxpayer will experience even more financial harm.

2) Where many different IRS units and steps are involved, and the case needs a “coordinator” or “traffic cop” to make sure everyone does their part. We play that role.

3)Where the taxpayer has tried to resolve a problem through normal IRS channels but those channels have broken down.

4) Where the taxpayer is presenting unique facts or issues (including legal issues), and the IRS is applying a “one size fits all” approach, isn’t listening to the taxpayer, or doesn’t recognize that it needs new guidance for those circumstances.

We can assist you in quickly resolving these issues. Just contact us!

Why it’s Important to understand your future Tax expense and what this has to with Click Thru Nexus?

May 10, 2016 · Posted in Accounting, Profitability Tips, Tax Planning · Comment 

Work Local Awards - FBFreshBooksCertified (1)This may sound like an unusual title for a Blog Post. And yet, I believe when you see the logic and how the evidence is laid out, you will see that State and Local Sales and Income tax revenues in the near future will look very different than they do now. First some basic facts about the current state of business, Company formation, the broader economy, governmental budget pressures, and how this all fits together:

• Businesses are less inclined to station their own employees and property in any given location. People work virtually, which means they have the potential to establish nexus in multiple jurisdictions. Thereby, incurring tax liabilities in multiple States and jurisdictions.

• E-commerce companies are increasing in numbers and in capabilities, meaning a greater number of buyers are using vendors without physical presence in the state of delivery. This is putting pressure on the States to change they way they govern and tax online transactions.

• Actions and inaction by the federal government and courts cause confusion regarding acceptable standards for nexus. It’s cloudy out there, like the wild wild west when it comes to defining taxing jurisdictions.

• States want to increase revenue, and the perception that E-commerce is evading tax assessment and impatience/aggravation with guidance from the federal government is leading to greater disparity in standards between states.

• Businesses are operating under the new normal circumstances of doing more with less. This is a growing wave, and we are in the early stages.

• More and more State legislatures are defining the sale of Digital Goods as a taxable event in their state.

•  Impact of digital currency – The larger states are now defining Digital Currency as Cryptocurrency – A digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. This allows the states and the Federal Government to treat Digital Currency as property, like Inventory, or an Investment, e.g. taxable.

• Businesses will now look at Accruing Loss Contingencies, for sales/use tax liabilities, when it is probable that a State will assess a tax.

All this points out that Tax Expense, which used to be directly connected to the business transactions done within your own State, are increasingly shifting to Indirect Tax, which can come about from many places at the same time, based on differing interpretations of Commerce, Click thru Nexus, and a State’s desire to claw back at online sellers. You need a tax expert who thinks about and applies logic to every business situation, so that proper business structuring, using tax planning as a key ingredient, will become paramount. If it has not done so already. Please contact us to discuss your business situation, and how we can help you mitigate the very real risk that these imminent pressures will impact your business operations.

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How do we convert all of the newly available insight into better decisions ?

I have been saying for awhile now that technology frees finance & accounting departments of the time-consuming manual responsibilities of the past. As a result, today’s accounting and business finance professionals are expected to take advantage of these efficiencies – to show results and plan strategically. To accomplish this, Accountants must incorporate analytics into their daily work, in order to develop expertise at using the results of the analytics. What are these results of improved analytics? ….. better data, more aligned with Customer requirements, and agile enough to bend with changing times.

Cloud Accounting technology gives us the ability to store and organize large sets of data over time so that results can be analyzed effectively, KPIs can be benchmarked against companies in a specific peer group and resources can be allocated appropriately. These unconventional activities provide an opportunity for us to elevate the value of our businesses’ accounting function by demonstrating our ability to turn data into knowledge and ultimately provide client companies with a competitive market advantage.

ANALYTICS AND BENCHMARKING

Analytical tools are designed to help you gather insight from your data and develop a business wealth creation strategy for your company. With access to benchmarking results, you can quickly compare your company results to those within your peer group—a game-changing advantage.

The key point here is that analysis and insight not only gives you an opportunity to plan strategically, but it can also provide your company with a tangible competitive edge. Now that you know how cloud accounting technologies enable you to glean business insight from your data, learn more about how Core Performance delivers better results for its clients, stay tuned to this blog.

State of CA Business personal property tax statements are due soon

February 25, 2016 · Posted in Accounting, Management Tips, Profitability Tips, Tax Planning · Comment 

We at Core Performance believe it is critical to understand the filing requirements to avoid penalties and over-assessments. Should you want to speak with us about this topic, please call the office at 949 381-5629, or send an email to info@coreperformance.net

This Article written by Kathryn Zdan, EA

Unlike real property, business personal property is reappraised annually. Business owners with taxable personal property having an aggregate cost of at least $100,000 must file a business property statement with the county assessor, detailing costs of all supplies, equipment, and fixtures at each business location.

Most counties have mailed their business personal property tax statements to business owners, and while the due dates for returning the completed statements vary by county, the deadline to avoid penalties is May 9, 2016. Most counties use Form BOE-571-L, Business Property Statement.

Find your local assessor

For your county assessor’s contact information, go towww.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/assessors.htm.

Penalties

If a business is required to file the statement and fails to do so, the county assessor will estimate a value and add a penalty of 10% of the estimated assessed value of the unreported property.1 As a result, failure to return Form BOE-571-L can result in an overassessment.

The tax rate is usually a little more than 1% of the assessed value. However, the tax bill might also include special assessments voted into effect within the property’s taxing jurisdiction. Generally, using a rate of 1.2% will give a conservative estimate.

For example, if the assessed value is $12,000, the property taxes on the business asset will be about $144 ($12,000 × 1.2%).

Penalty abatement

Effective January 1, 2016, AB 571 (Ch. 15-501) changed the reasonable cause exception to the penalty for failure to file business personal property tax statements, and failure to report a change in ownership to the BOE.2

Penalty abatement will now be granted if the failure to file the property statement or change in ownership statement was “due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the assessee’s control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care in the absence of willful neglect.”

Previously the exception simply stated, “due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect.”

Electronic filing

Many counties provide online filing for most businesses. In most of these counties, once a taxpayer chooses the e-file option, the taxpayer will no longer receive a paper copy of Form BOE-571-L unless one is specifically requested.

For a list of the counties participating in the e-file program, go to www.calbpsfile.org.

Which assets are subject?

Every business that owns taxable personal property (other than a manufactured home) having an aggregate cost of $100,000 or more for any assessment year must file a property statement with the county assessor.

Businesses with property below the threshold value are required to file only if the county assessor mails the business a property statement to complete. Alternatively, the assessor may use direct billing.3 Direct billing may be used for smaller, established businesses whose aggregate property cost is under $100,000 and the value of which changes very little from year to year. These businesses may only be required to file statements every three or four years.4

All machinery, office furniture, computers, equipment, and supplies are subject to tax. Business inventories, licensed vehicles, and intangible assets are exempt from assessment.5

Assessment begins with the cost of the asset, including sales tax, freight, and installation, but not including any trade-in value. The assessor applies an index factor to the asset’s cost and then applies a depreciation factor to the result, and this becomes the assessed value. The assessor’s depreciation schedule is different from the franchise or income tax depreciation schedule, as it is based on expected economic life.6

Payment dates

Property tax statements are due May 9. After the statements are filed, the counties will assess the businesses, and property tax bills will be issued. For taxpayers who do not own the real property where the business is conducted, the business personal property tax bill should arrive about the middle of July. Payment is due by the end of August.

For taxpayers who do own the real property, the assessed value of the business assets will be added to the value of the real property, and the tax will be paid in the December and April tax payments.

Audits

Remember that property listed on Form BOE-571-L should also be listed on the depreciation schedules on the tax return. At least once every four years, county assessors are required to audit the books and records of any trade or business whose business personal property and trade fixtures have a FMV of $400,000 or more.7

Property tax and the repair regulations

Because the IRC §263(a) repair regulations were never adopted for California property tax purposes, businesses preparing a California Business Property Statement may be required to keep separate sets of fixed asset records. For more information on this, see “IRC §263(a) repair regulations and California property taxes” in the November 2015 issue of Spidell’s California Taxletter®.

1 R&TC §§441, 463, 501
2 R&TC §§463(d), 483
3 R&TC §441
4 BOE Assessor’s Handbook, Section 504, available at: www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/pdf/ah504.pdf
5 R&TC §§212, 219, 224
6 BOE Assessor’s Handbook, Section 504
7 R&TC §469

What story does your Company’s financial statement tell ?

Narrative and Numbers:  Story Telling using Visionary Accounting tools, as well as solid number crunching

Are your financial statements in a strong position to tell an accurate reading of your Company, it’s past, present, and future?

Because we perform real-time business accounting using mature cloud accounting and reporting solutions, we are able to effectively leverage our traditional analytical and number crunching skills to paint an accurate picture of your Company. Given the current competitive landscape, more than ever, our clients are looking to their accounting adviser for guidance on how to grow their business and drive profitability.

With cloud accounting, time that was once spent keying in data can now be spent critically reviewing and analysing the information to draw out useful insights. This means the small business receives not only complete and accurate data, but also real insights on performance, facilitating more strategic and effective decision-making.  The benefits of the cloud are no secret. It enables our firm, and yours, to boost productivity with access to needed information from anywhere, at any time and on any device. Most importantly, it means you have access to a full picture of your business’ finances in real time so the advice we provide is based on accurate data.

We do not believe that the only things that matter are the numbers and that imagination/creativity are dangerous distractions. Both are critical to tell the story – – problem is, most Accountants and Bookkeepers are so buried in the details of the Accounts and the data entry process, that they’re not available to do the analysis, interpretation, and address the big picture.

We also do not believe that the full story is found just by story tellers, who build on the stories that can be told about companies and how these stories will bring untold wealth. In our view, you need both sides persisting to lead the storyline; and being used to cross-check and audit the other side of the story. Stories matter, but only if they are connected with numbers, and numbers are empty, unless they are connected with narratives. In our firm, we have designed accounting practices and procedures by which we help you build your Company’s narrative, we check them against reality and transition them into passionate business stories that capture the imagination.

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