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In the News: You Got Tax Questions? We Got Answers!

Tax-questionIt’s been more than a month since my (legendary?) first post of this tax season and there has been a ton of recent media coverage. In my second tax season post, I’ll share a few articles for those of you who haven’t filed yet. In addition, I promise to throw in some good information for people who have their refunds already and are just rubbernecking.

Once again this year, members of the AICPA are using their expertise to answer one daily tax question from USA TODAY readers and help the public understand how to approach some common filing issues.

Thus far, readers have asked questions regarding the requirements for claiming adult children as dependents and how to handle the tax implications of rolling over an IRA.

Readers can submit their questions to taxadvice@usatoday.com through April 15.

CNBC spoke to Mackey McNeill, CPA/PFS, on some things last minute tax filers (and there are a lot of you out there!) can do at this late stage of the game to lower their 2012 tax burden.

Those who are self-employed can cut their tax bills using Simplified Employee Pension plan retirement accounts. "You get a current tax deduction and save for your retirement," McNeill explains.

McNeill advises her self-employed clients to put away at least 30 percent of their gross income to allow them to fund things like retirement accounts. The reason? Not saving regularly "is the number one reason people don't take advantage of their tax deductions," she says.

When I think of tax season, it is through the prism of an individual, rather than a business. But I know businesses have to contend with filing their taxes as well. In fact, according to the National Small Business Association, 64% of business owners spent more than 40 hours per week last year dealing with federal taxes. 

A Street.com article notes that ”the American Institute of CPAs rides to the rescue with tax tips designed to make life easier for entrepreneurs and business owners.” With the AICPA’s over 386,000 members – that’s a pretty big horse

The tips featured in the article include:

  • Not claiming deductions that exceed your income for more than one year, which is a red flag for the IRS.
  • Not holding back on paying payroll taxes in order to finance business operations, which may cause the IRS to go after the business owner’s personal assets to collect the unpaid payroll taxes.
  • Keeping close track of expenses so it will be less intimidating to prepare your return and easier to identify all legitimate business costs if you have a log that’s up-to-date and detailed.

You can read all ten tax tips for small business owners on the AICPA website.

If you see an article featuring a CPA giving great tax advice - share it in the comments section!

, AICPA Staff.


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