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IRS and states provide tax information & forms online

Do you know if there is a web-site where I can get IRS publications? B.B., Indianapolis As backwards as the IRS sometimes seems, they are right up there in the world of high technology when it comes to a presence on the Internet. You can download tax forms, publications, and recent tax news from the IRS' s own web site at

You can work more hours, but you'll share more with Uncle Sam

I have an opportunity to work a lot of overtime this year, which will generate more money for me. If I shoot into a new tax bracket (over $50,000 in income), should I go ahead and work the overtime and get more money, or would I get taxed so much that it wouldn't be worth my while? S.P., Indianapolis

Medical insurance reimbursement shows up on next year's return

We took a deduction for medical expenses on our 1997 tax return. This Spring we received a medical insurance reimbursement and part of the money we received was for medical expenses we deducted. Should we amend last year's tax return? L.S., Zionsville You don't have to amend your 1997 tax return, leave it filed as is. However, you're not completely off the hook.

Entertainment expenses must pass tax tests of the IRS

With Race season upon us once again, it's time to consider the tax status of the business-related purchases of seats to the Indy 500, NBA playoffs, and like events. Purchasing event tickets under the guise of a business expense falls into the category of entertainment, an area of the tax law that piques the interest of many a hungry IRS agent.

Avoid audit causing errors when planning taxes

It's never too soon to start planning for your next tax return. Now that your 1997 tax return is behind you (unless you decided to drag out the agony a bit further and filed for an extension), you can start planning your strategy for your 1998 tax return. Before you get too creative, however, take a look at this list of tax situations that are notorious for attracting the attention of the IRS.

Only part of a broker's fee is tax-deductible

I pay my broker a fee for managing my investments, making trades for me, and giving advice. Am I correct that all of this fee is allowed as an itemized deduction on my tax return? D.P., Avon Yes and no. If part of your fee is for managing assets which produce tax-free income, you are expected to prorate the fee so that your deduction is only for the part of the fee that relates to taxable income. Also, if you pay a custodial fee for an IRA account, that fee is not deductible.

Owners decide expense vs. asset treatment of purchases

I own a little business. When I purchase tools and equipment for the business, I make kind of arbitrary decisions about when to depreciate the items and when to expense them. What are the rules for deciding if something is expensed or depreciated? A.H., Greenwood

IRS will likely let you slide on minor tax form errors

When I was looking over my 1996 taxes (while I was doing the 1997 one), I noticed I put my Schedule C income on the wrong line (alimony line I think) on the 1040. Do you think they will figure out the mistake since they have the Schedule C, or do you think I need to send them a letter or an amended return, or just let well enough alone? P.H., Indianapolis

You must itemize to deduct gambling losses

I recently won a lump sum gambling out of state. Must I itemize my taxes next year to be able to deduct my gambling losses? Also, does it matter from which state my gambling losses come? S.B., Indianapolis Yes and no.

Roof can be depreciated separately from office

I own a small office building which I've been depreciating over 31.5 years. I've had the building for 6 years. I just put a new roof on the building. Do I add the cost of the roof to the cost of the building and keep depreciating for the remaining amount of years? Or do I have to start over on the roof with 31.5 years? That would mean I' m still depreciating the roof when the building is finished. Can you depreciate a roof if the building under it is supposedly used up? C.B., Indianapolis

Windows Tip: A Shortcut to Shortcuts

If you have several Windows open and can't quickly locate a shortcut on your desktop, click on START in the lower left corner of your screen, then RUN, and simply type a period in the space and click OK. A display of all your desktop icons is displayed.

AccountingWEB Weekly News Wrap-up - Issue 29

The AccountingWEB Friday Wrap-Up Newswire - Issue 29February 11, 2000http://www.accountingweb.comIn the news this week:1. IRS Target Audit Areas: What Are They? 2. CCH Debuts Online Tax Preparation For $7.503. Statistics on the "Vampires of the Bottom Line"4. New York Wants Martha Stewart To Pay Up5. H&R Block Website Shuts Down Temporarily - But Not Because of Hackers6. Andersen Consulting Takes Stake In Dot Com Companies7.

Hacker Attack Focuses on College, Business Venues

This week’s hacker attack that forced some of the world’s most popular and most lucrative Web sites to temporarily shut down has the FBI investigating leads that colleges and businesses as possible sources for where hackers reside.Justice officials also report that these “cyber-attackers” may reside overseas.The FBI feels colleges and businesses are ideal environments because of the quantity of computer systems hackers used to send their denial-of-service messages.Some of the sites that shut down included Yahoo!, E-Trade and

Feb. 15 Last Day for IMA Nominations

Tuesday, Feb. 15 is the final deadline for nominations in the Institute of Management Accountants’ (IMA) and Accountants on Call (AOC) Financial Executive of the Year Awards program.Winners will be announced March 1.
Practice Management

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Web Site Development

Because I have helped develop a couple of Web sites – one large in scale and the other pretty small – I have a sense of how frustrating and confusing Web site development can be. Not only are you working with another "language," but the variables are unlimited and the costs can be, too. Web developers can charge anywhere from $500 to hundreds of thousands of dollars to build your Web site. Use these ideas to make your next Web site development project run smoothly.The key to Web site development is planning.

IRS has formula for storm damage

During a March snowstorm, I lost five oak trees that were between 60-70 years old each'Can I write this loss off on my taxes? If so, what do I do? R.D., Portage

$400 Child Tax Credit goes to $500 in 1999

Please tell me about the new child tax credit'Who gets to take it, and which children qualify? I’ve heard that the credit is $400 and I’ve heard that it is $500'Which is right? Is it so much per child, or is it one credit per family? O.H., Indianapolis

Self-employed individual's insurance deduction on the rise (again)

I am self-employed'If companys can give health insurance to their employees and take a tax deduction for the insurance costs, can I buy health insurance for myself in my company name and take a tax deduction for it on my Schedule C? D.I., Indianapolis

Holidays are time for last minute tax maneuvers

Once again, it’s time for my annual holiday tax checklist'Just because the year is quickly coming to a close doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of several last minute tax saving tips'Here are some holiday treats that can help cut your 1998 tax bill'All of the items below may not apply to you, but if you’re facing a hefty tax bill next April, you may be able to make a few changes before the year ends'Take a quick look at your income and withholding for 1998'Try to rough out an estimate of what you expect to owe for 1998 taxes'If it appears your withholding is too low

Purpose for party could net you tax deduction

I recently hosted a party at my home and invited several business associates and potential clients'Am I allowed a tax deduction for the expense of the party? If so, how do I show this on my tax return? M.C., Fishers


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