Maximize deductions and credits for 2016 by making payments of expenses giving rise to the deduction or credit by December 31.
When parents divorce, issues can arise as to which parent is entitled to the dependency exemption and related tax benefits from supporting their children.
The dependency exemption is governed by Code Section 152 and includes what seems like a simple rule. Basically, when parents of a child do not file a joint return, the child is the “qualifying child” or dependent, of the parent with whom the child resided for the longest period of time during the year.
In the case of divorce, there is an exception to the above if the custodial parent releases his/her claim to the dependency exemption. A written declaration is required for the custodial parent to release his/her claim.
If the divorce documents were executed in 2009 or after, the noncustodial parent must attach Form 8332, “Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent” signed by the custodial parent to his/her tax return. The custodial parent can either release his/her claim to the dependency exemption for the current year or for future years on the Form 8332. The form can also be used to revoke the release of the custodial parent’s claim to the dependency exemption for future years.
Based on the above, the divorce agreement should be clear about how parents intend to claim their children as dependents. If the intent is for the custodial parent to release the claim for all future years, the noncustodial parent will prefer to have a signed Form 8832 that says “all future years”. However, the custodial parent does have the ability to revoke the release of the exemption for future years or may instead just prefer to execute a new Form 8332 each year.
If the parents divorced before 2009, certain pages from the divorce agreement can be attached to the tax return in lieu of Form 8332. Form 8332 does not apply after a child turns 19.
The dependency rules for divorced parents can be complex and the outcome affects not only the dependency exemption but also the child credit and other child-related provisions.
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Salaries paid to your children from your business for work they performed are not deductible if excessive in amount. Salaries are deductible by a business for amounts that are reasonable for the personal services actually rendered to the business. When an amount deducted as wages involves a familial relationship, particularly a parent-child relationship, the I.R.S. may scrutinize the wages paid to determine if there is a bona fide employer-employee relationship and whether the payments were made for services actually performed for the business and reasonable in amount.Read full post...
Employers will have less time next year to file Forms W-2 with the Social Security Administration. The new due date for filing the 2016 W-2s is now January 31, 2017, regardless of whether you file using paper forms or electronically. Previously, the deadlines for filing the Forms W-2 were February 28 and March 31, for paper forms and electronic filing, respectively. The new January 31 due date will match the date for sending copies of the forms to employees.
The new January 31 deadline also applies to Forms 1099-MISC that report nonemployee compensation.
The IRS says having these forms earlier will help it to spot tax ID theft and fraudulent returns.
Also note that only the final four digits of the Social Security numbers will need to go on the W-2s sent to employees and the 1099-MISC sent to independent contractors. The full number will still need to be listed on the copy the service gets.Read full post...
Taxpayers who have owned and used a home as their principal residence for at least two of the five years leading up to the sale can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married filing jointly) of the gain when they sell the home. Taxpayers who don’t meet these conditions can qualify for a reduced exclusion if the sale is because of a change in place of employment, health, or unforeseen circumstances.
Unforeseen circumstances are events the taxpayer could not reasonably have anticipated before purchasing and occupying the residence. The regulations define several specific-event safe harbors as unforeseen circumstances, and include:
Unforeseen circumstances, outside of the specific-event safe harbors listed above, depend on the facts and circumstances. In general such circumstances include an increase in the number of dependents living under one roof, environmental factors such as crime or noise, or job-related factors.Read full post...
The new annual due date for filing the FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), is April 15 with an automatic six-month extension
to Ocitber 15. A specific request for this extenion is not required. The FBAR is required to be filed by all U.S. Persons with financial
interests in, or signature authority on, foreign financial accounts with total a value exceeding $10,000 at any time duringthe reporting year.
A U.S. Person means: United States citizens (including minor children); United States residents; entities, including but not limited to, corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States; and trusts or estates formed under the laws of the United States.
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