Tax and Business Alert - November 2014



Welcome to this month's edition of the Tax and Business Alert. Our goal is to provide you with current articles on various tax and business topics. The articles are intended to keep you up to date on trends and issues that may impact your business and personal financial affairs. Please contact us if you have questions about any of the issues discussed.

INDIVIDUAL YEAR END TAX PLANNING IDEAS
As year end approaches, it's again time to focus on last-minute moves to save taxes - both on the 2014 return and in future years. This article offers four methods: maximizing the benefit of the standard deduction, deferring income, securing a deduction for nearly worthless securities, and investing in tax-free securities. Read more...

EIGHT TIPS FOR DEDUCTING CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
Giving to charity can be a "win-win" situation. It's good for both the charity and the donor. This article lists eight things to know about deducting contributions to charity, including what qualifies for a deduction and the documentation that might be required. Read more...

DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED A BUY/SELL AGREEMENT?
It is important that businesses with more than one owner have a written buy/sell agreement specifying what happens when an owner withdraws from the business. A buy/sell agreement is a contract between the owners (or the owners and the business entity itself) that establishes rules and restrictions applicable to changes in ownership. Not only can it avoid conflicts at a fragile time, but it can also offer estate planning benefits by establishing a value for the business prior to an owner's death. This article notes three common methods for determining the purchase price under a buy/sell agreement. Read more...

THE TAX BENEFITS OF SELLING RATHER THAN TRADING IN BUSINESS VEHICLES
Although a vehicle's value typically drops fairly rapidly, the tax rules limit the amount of annual depreciation that can be claimed on most cars and light trucks. Thus, when it's time to replace a vehicle used in a business, it's not unusual for its tax basis to be higher than its value. This article explains how that can affect tax deductions. Read more...

WRITE OFF DAMAGED OR OBSOLETE INVENTORY ITEMS
Regardless of the valuation method used, the end-of-the-year inventory should be reviewed to detect obsolete or damaged items. This brief article discusses the procedure for writing down the carrying cost of any such items to their probable selling price (net of selling expenses). Read more...

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS (FSAS)
An employee wishing to take advantage of an employer's health care and/or dependent care FSA must specify, before year end, how much of his or her 2015 salary to convert into tax-free contributions to the plan. It's then possible to take tax-free withdrawals next year as reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses and qualifying dependent care costs. But FSAs are "use-it-or-lose-it" accounts, so it's important for employees to not set aside more than what they'll likely have in qualifying expenses for the year. This article offers an example of how a couple with a high income and a low one can allocate their funds to an FSA in the most tax-efficient manner. Read more...

This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters, and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. The information contained in this newsletter was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of (1) avoiding tax-related penalties prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting or marketing any tax-related matter addressed herein. © 2014