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Workman’s Comp Coverage – What it Means for Your Business

Workers CompWhile rules and regulations for workman’s comp insurance change from state-to-state, there some general guidelines you need to know and follow no matter where your business might be located.

First, as an employer, you are required to protect employees that are killed on the job, are injured, or become ill. Most employers obtain either state sponsored or private insurance. Others will use self-insurance. Regardless of which option you select, it is the employer who foots the bill.

Secondly, workman’s comp is a state based program as opposed to a federal program. Most states require some form of workman’s comp, and as the employer, you are expected to accept the rules and regulations. For those businesses with under four employees, there is an exemption to carrying the coverage, at least in some states.

Workers Comp2Next, workman’s comp pays four different types of benefits. These are survivor’s benefits, disability benefits, rehabilitation benefits, and medical benefits. The injured employee or their heirs receive a lump sum payment which then relieves the business of any further liability.

Also, employees are covered with a few exceptions. These exceptions include business owners, independent contractors, unpaid volunteers and domestic employees in private homes.

In addition, workers’ comp is paid on the no-fault basis. This means that regardless of who is at fault for the injury, the employee receives the benefits, and the business does not have to admit liability.

Finally, even when an employee is outside of the workplace, they may be covered. This can include traveling for business purposes, running work related errands, or attending a required business social event.

The state rules and regulations for workman’s comp insurance can be tricky, but they do protect both the employee and employer. When purchasing this insurance, it is always best to work with a professional that can ensure your business’s needs are met.

Tax Rules on Vacation Home Rentals

Vaca Home RentalsIf you have ever considered renting out your vacation home, before you do there are several tax rules you will need to keep in mind to help you stay on the right side of the IRS. Luckily, they aren’t too complex, but they will guide you in determining how you want to use your vacation home.

Number of Rental Day’s Per Year

It is important to understand that the number of days you rent your vacation home has a direct impact on how the IRS views the property. For example, if you rent your vacation home for 14 or fewer days, you will not need to report the income on your taxes.

If, however, you decide to rent your home for more than 14 days, you become a landlord, and all rental income will need to be reported. You can also deduct rental expenses, but keep in mind, the expenses will need to be allocated between when the home is used as a rental property and when the home is used for personal vacations.

Finally, if you use the home more than 10% of the number of days it is rented, or more than 14 days for personal use, it is still considered personal property, but you are allowed to take a deduction for rental expenses up to the amount of rental income received; although, losses cannot be taken as a deduction.

The Definition of Personal Use Days

What becomes most important, besides the number of days you rent the home, is the number of personal use days. Even when a family member is occupying the home, instead of yourself, the IRS considers those days personal use, regardless of whether or not the family member is paying rent. This is also true of days you donate the home to a charity auction.

The advantage to keeping your personal days to 14 days or less or 10% of the rental days is that the home is then considered a business. As such, you can deduct expenses and take up to a $25,000 loss each year you rent the property depending on your income. It’s important to know that the days you spend maintaining the property are not included in personal use days.

If you are tired of overpaying taxes and worrying about tax rules, call 410-466-3779 and ask for Steven Graber.  We have two convenient office locations and have been serving the Baltimore metro since 1993.

 

Graber & Associates is a Baltimore CPA Accounting firm with offices on International Drive in the Legg Mason Building and Pikesville.  Our practice offers additional expertise in real estate accounting for commercial property owners, investor groups, property management companies and investor groups.

 

Tax Extenders for Baltimore Businesses

Tax BreaksTax extenders are a group of fifty tax breaks that apply not only to small businesses but teachers and individuals as well. What you need to be concerned with are those that apply directly to small businesses. While these tax breaks are temporary in nature, they can have a serious impact on how you conduct your business for the next year.

In 2013, these tax breaks actually expired on December 31st, but the United States Congress retroactively extended the tax breaks into 2014. They typically do this at the last moment of the year, or right after the first of the new year, making it difficult for small businesses to plan ahead. These tax breaks are also only renewed for one year meaning they will have need to extend them again before the end of 2014, so they can carry over into 2015.

Currently, the tax extenders for small businesses include such items as a work opportunity tax credit of $1,375, a 15-year straight line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements for restaurant and retail establishments of $2,382, and bonus depreciation of $1,492.

Additional tax extenders include:

  • Exclusion of 100% of gain on certain types of small business stocks
  • A reduction in the S Corporation recognition period for built-in gains tax
  • Qualified zone academy bonds
  • An employer wage credit for activated military reservists
  • A new market tax credit

While not all tax extenders are good policy for the government or businesses, some of the tax breaks do help level the playing field and provide companies a way to define actual business expenses with less effort.

If you are tired of overpaying taxes, then call 410-466-3779 and ask for Steve Graber.  Our initial consultation for small businesses is free.  

 

Graber & Associates is a full service Baltimore CPA Firm.  Our firm has been servicing small businesses and individuals throughout Baltimore for over twenty years.  We provide two convenient office locations, Downtown Inner Harbor on International Drive and Park Heights near Pikesville MD.

Corporate Inversions – This Loophole Needs Fixing

A corporate inversion, simply put, is a method corporations use to reduce their tax responsibilities. While this loophole may present a sound tax solution for the corporation in question, it has a direct impact on tax revenue collected by the United States government, as well as on competition between companies.

Corp InversionsA corporate inversion takes place when a U.S. corporation renounces it’s citizenship by merging with a smaller company in a foreign country. This country typically has a more favorable corporate tax structure as well as tax rules that allow the U.S. corporation to reduce its tax burden.

Once the corporation merges with the foreign entity, it declares the new country as its place of residency. At that point, the United States can no longer impose or collect taxes on the corporation for future or past income. While this may be a positive situation for the company, it does has a negative effect as it reduces tax revenue for the U.S. as well as creates an atmosphere of unbalanced competition between corporations that have transacted an inversion and those that have not.

Over the last decade, corporate migration has increased to the point that now only one-tenth of total tax revenues collected come from corporations. That’s down from one-third in the 1950s. In fact, in the past ten years, a total of 47 U.S. corporations have performed corporate inversions and changed their legal residences to countries outside of the United States.

While it stands to reason that a corporation should do all it can to reduce its tax burden, and it could even argue that doing so is its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders, this particular tax loophole is stripping tax revenues from the U.S. government at an unsustainable rate.

In addition it is also pitting the corporations that have made an inversion against the corporations that have not creating a toxic business environment which is why this is one loophole that needs to be fixed.