A tax is a financial charge or other levy imposed on an individual or a legal entity by a state or a functional equivalent of a state. Taxes could also be imposed by a subnational entity. Taxes consist of direct tax or indirect tax, and may be paid in money or as corvée labor. In modern, capitalist taxation systems, taxes are levied in money, but in-kind and corvée taxation are characteristic of traditional or pre-capitalist states and their functional equivalents. In the rush to get tax returns prepared and filed by April 15th, many overpay their taxes. Following are a few tax reduction tips that could help you save a bundle.
Tax Credit for Starting A Small Business Pension Plan:
Establishing a pension plan can help you retain important employees. What many business owners don’t realize is a tax credit can be claimed if the business has 100 or fewer employees. Meet this requirement and you can take a tax credit of up to $500 in each of the first three years of the plan. Tax credits are extremely valuable because they are deducted directly from the taxes you owe, not gross revenues. The credit is 50% of certain start up costs you incur in each of the first three years. The costs include the expenses incurred in establishing and maintaining the plan. They also include the cost of any educational retirement planning programs you provide for employees.
Share investment tax reduction:
Investors who invest in shares may be able to claim tax credits through “dividend imputation”. The divedends from company shares which have been taxed at the full rate are not taxed again in the hands of the investor.
Where the rate of tax paid by the company over and above your personal tax rate. Divedends which attract these tax credits are called”frank dividends”.
Not all share investments produce “franked” dividends. Ask your financial planning adviser to prepare a portfolio that suits your needs.
Personal Loans To Business:
Many business owners lose track of loans they make to their business. As a result, they incorrectly classify the proceeds of the loan as part of their gross revenues. This artificially raises the gross revenues of the business and adds to the tax liability. Closely review your records for 2004 to make sure you are not making this mistake. Pay particular attention to charges on personal credit cards. You will be surprised how quickly the numbers add up.
SUV Deduction Wounded, But Still Alive:
Much has been made about the “SUV Tax Deduction” that allowed purchasers of SUVs over 6,000 pounds to immediately deduct up to $100,000 of the cost. Many mistakenly believe that the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 eliminated this deduction. It did not. Instead, it reduced the deduction to $25,000 with the remaining amount allocated to depreciation. This is still a significant immediate deduction. If you purchased a non-SUV truck that weighed over 6,000 pounds in 2004, you are not restricted to a “mere” $25,000 deduction.
Insurance Bonds and Tax Reduction:
For investors who do not require income from their investments, Insurance Bonds and friendly Society Bonds, offer you a high level of security as well as tax advantages. This is long term investments and provided you hold your bonds for ten years, the returns are tax free in your hands.
Sales Tax Deduction:
If you itemize deductions, you have a choice of deducting your state and local income taxes OR your state and local sales tax. This option is available for the 2004 and 2005 tax years. If you live in a state that does not collect income tax, the optional sales tax deduction should be claimed for significant tax savings. See IRS Publication 600 for more information.
Deduction for Discrimination Lawsuit Costs:
If you were required to pay attorney’s fees and court costs associated with a discrimination lawsuit, you may be able to claim a tax deduction. The deduction is available only for costs and fees incurred after October 22, 2004 in relation to a judgment and settlement. The deduction is not limited by the alternative minimum tax. Realistically, this deduction will be more viable for the 2005 tax year, but a few taxpayers may be eligible this year.
Tsunami Relief Contributions Paid in 2005:
Millions of Americans contributed to charitable organizations providing relief to Tsunami victims. Typically, charitable contributions are deducted in the year they are made. New legislation, however, allows you to deduct Tsunami contributions you made in January 2005 on your 2004 tax returns. Alternatively, you can wait and deduct the donation on 2005 returns. Unfortunately, you cannot deduct the contribution on both!