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taxes - iStockThe month of January, of course, brings the start of the tax filing season.  As such, there are a couple of items to think about. These two particular items are mainly directed at businesses, however, individuals who own rental properties or who are sole proprietors may be impacted as well.

1099 Reporting

First, 1099 reporting has become a hot topic in recent years due to the increasing penalties for failure to file.  Any payments for services (including rents) exceeding $600 annually in the ordinary course of business requires the issuance of a 1099 to that entity.  Of course with any IRS rule, there are a couple of exceptions.  The first is that you do not have to issue a 1099 if the payee is a corporation (unless it is for attorney’s fees; see next rule).  The 1099 rule also stipulates that all attorney’s fees paid in the ordinary course of business require the issuance of a 1099.

The best practice is to provide the payee the 1099s no later than February 1st.  Filing of the actual forms can come as late as March 31st, if filing them electronically.

Tangible Property

Second, the other hot topic this year is the new tangible property regulations.  The way that businesses are looking at how they capitalize property will completely change.  Effective for tax years beginning on or after 1/1/2014: Nearly every business with tangible property will have a change in accounting method and will require a Form 3115. Additionally, most businesses will have to also file an election to adopt some of the new rules that apply to the current year and forward.

If you or your business is in need assistance with these new rules, be sure to contact a CPA.

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Real estate conceptThe British government announced recently that 4 million historical wills have been digitized and are now available for download by the public. As in the United States, these documents were previously available by traveling to the probate court and searching the available public records. Now anyone with an internet connection and a credit card can search and download a copy of a will (including that of Charles Dickens, Alan Turing, and more).

I have to wonder if, as the barrier to obtaining public records lessens, perhaps privacy will become more of a concern for those drafting estate plans. Even if the other reasons for creating a revocable trust and avoiding the probate process do not apply, maybe the appeal of keeping assets and distribution provisions private will give increasingly sufficient cause for going the extra mile and setting up a trust. This is yet another example of “information planning” as an increasingly important component of estate planning in the digital era.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/new-digital-archive-will-allow-public-to-view-wills-of-historic-names-9945567.html

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Becoming an Organ Donor

by Jamie Held on January 15, 2015

Becoming an organ donor is easy. You can indicate that you want to be a donor in the following ways:

Register with your state’s donor registry.

Most states have registries. Check the list at OrganDonor.gov. In Minnesota, the registry can be found here.  Once registered, you will receive a welcome packet in the mail including postcards to share with your family and friends to inform them of your generous decision to save lives through donation.

Designate your choice on your driver’s license.

Do this when you obtain or renew your license.

Sign and carry a donor card.

Cards are available from OrganDonor.gov.

Tell your family.

Signing PicMake sure your family knows your wishes regarding donation. The best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out is to put them in writing. Include your wishes in your living will or Health Care Directive, if you have one. If you have designated someone to make health care decisions for you if you become unable to do so, make sure that person knows that you want to be an organ donor. It’s also very important to tell your family that you want to be a donor. Hospitals seek consent from the next of kin before removing organs, although this is usually not required if you’re registered with your state’s donor registry. Keep in mind that you can also choose not to make a designation in writing and simply leave it to your family to decide.

Consider becoming a living donor.

Organs that can be donated by living donors include a kidney, lobe of a lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas or intestine. You can find more information online at Be the Match.

If you are interested in making sure your family knows your wishes, consult an attorney regarding a living will or Health Care Directive. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can complete a health care directive for free here.

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What is Organ Donation?

by Jamie Held January 12, 2015 Estate Planning 101

Whether to be an organ donation is a question most of us face only when we renew our drivers’ license. We may be faced with the decision again if we visit an estate planning attorney […]

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What to do When You Get a Traffic Ticket

by James Gempeler January 5, 2015 Guest Articles

At some point in your life, you’re bound to get a traffic ticket – most likely a speeding ticket. If you are smart (and lucky) enough to avoid this, take a bow. But for the […]

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Year End Tax Planning Part 4: Minnesota Changes

by ET Kelly & Associates, LLC December 30, 2014 Guest Articles

In addition to changes intended to align Minnesota tax with Federal calculations, the state also made several additional benefits available. If any of these may apply to you, please a tax professional for more in-depth […]

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Year-End Tax Planning Part 3: Health Care Reform

by ET Kelly & Associates, LLC December 24, 2014 Guest Articles

This is the first year that taxpayers are required to carry health insurance. Administration of the various health care payments, penalties and credits flows through the individual tax return. Health Care Reform Tax Penalty For […]

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Year-End Tax Planning Part 2: 2014 Tax Law Changes & Planning Ideas

by ET Kelly & Associates, LLC December 22, 2014 Business

For 2014 and subsequent years, the individual income tax rate schedules reflect a continuation of the rates in place for 2013. The 2014 individual tax rates are as follows: Tax Rate                Income (Single Taxpayer)                 Income […]

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Year-End Tax Planning Part 1: Overview

by ET Kelly & Associates, LLC December 18, 2014 Business

This is the first in a series of posts over the next two weeks to assist Epilawg readers with year-end tax planning. The opportunity to take advantage of income timing exists particularly for taxpayers who […]

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Helping Families Today, Tomorrow & for the Future Generations – Part 2

by Anne Denny December 16, 2014 Guest Articles

Part 1 of Anne’s post focused on the 5 strategies of an effective healthcare directive. This week’s post shares insights regarding the selection of healthcare agent(s). Well-written healthcare directives require more than checking boxes on […]

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In the News – The Estate of James Brown

by Jennifer Santini December 14, 2014 In the News

It will be the 8th anniversary of James Brown’s death on Christmas of this year and yet his estate still has not been administered according to his wishes in his Will. As we have witnessed […]

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