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Tax and Tax Information - Income Tax

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Tax and Tax Information * Income Tax

Tax Tips for IT Consultants and Contractors   
Stephen L. Nelson, CPA

I live and work, quite literally, down the road from the main Microsoft campus. No surprise, then, that I'm commonly asked by freelance consultants for the best ways that these self-employed independent contractors can minimize their income taxes.


If I can, I try to weasel my way out of the discussion, offering up such basic tidbits as, "Well, be sure to look at the home office deduction." And "make sure you're taking advantage of deductions for health insurance and pension funds."

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

NARUC Asks For Clarification On Broadband Grant Tax Status (Broadcasting And Cable)
Association says money should be tax...

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Usually, those simplistic answers work. Everyone once in a while, though, I encounter some guy who's really motivated to save on taxes. Usually, someone now making good money consulting or contracting... When I can't deflect their questions in some other way, I tell them about the three best ways that independent contractors have to save on taxes.


Technique #1: Smooth Your Income

Article to continue below----------------------------------------------

No Blowing Smoke: Group Discusses SC Cigarette Tax (AP Via Yahoo! Finance)
Doctors and an anti-smoking group discuss efforts to raise South Carolina's 7-cent-a-pack cigarette tax that is the lowest in the nation.
Tax Tips For The Unemployed (CNN Money)
Tax time can be a painful time for many of us, and it's especially tough for people without jobs. If you're unemployed, there are a few twists and turns in the tax code that can work to your benefit.

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Whatever you think of the US Internal Revenue Code, you need to know that it's quite progressive. That progressivity means the more you make, the more you pay. The progressivity also means that if your income fluctuates, your income taxes go up even if you make the same money on average as someone else makes.


To give you an example of this, suppose that you compare two consultants, John and Jane. If John makes a steady $60,000 a year and has a mortgage, a spouse and couple of kids, he might pay about $1000 over four years (net of tax credits for these like his children.)


In comparison, suppose that Jane averages $60,000 a year, but sees her income fluctuate between $30,000 a year and $90,000 a year. If she also has a spouse, two kids and a mortgage, she'll probably pay $8,000 to $10,000 over those same four years.


Please note that over the same four years, the two consultants make the same amount of money: $240,000. But what they pay in taxes differs radically. Jane pays eight to ten times what John pays. Bummer.


What can Jane do? Well, let's bring this back to the example of working consultants. Jane can probably smooth her income. She can make sure that she's not stacking two big retainers or performance bonuses in the same year. She can spread out year-end payments over the ending and beginning year in ways that smooth her income out. She can even try to stuff more of her expenses into the good years. In the good years, for example, she can buy new computers, take those graduate classes, or top off her pension.


Technique #2: Setup an LLC and Elect S Corporation Status


I've written and talked much about how S corporations save taxpayers money and how the right way to set up an S corporation is first create a limited liability company and then ask the IRS to treat the LLC as an S corporation for tax purposes.


Let me review the basics here again, however. Suppose that you're making $90,000 a year as a consultant or contractor. If you just treat your business as a sole proprietorship, you might pay $12,000 in income taxes on the $90,000 and then another 15.3% self-employment tax, or roughly $13,500 on the $90,000.


If you set up an LLC and have the LLC treated as an S corporation, you'll still pay the same $12,000 in income taxes. But you'll only pay the 15.3% self-employment tax on that portion of the profit that you categorize as wages. If you categorize, say, $50,000 of the profits as wages, you'll pay $7,500 in self-employment taxes. (The other $40,000 in remaining profits, by the way, gets paid out as a dividend-like "distribution.")


Note, then, that the S corporation saves you roughly $6,000 every year. Sweet, right?


Two quick points about S corporations: First, S corporations require some extra tax and accounting so you don't get to spend all of your savings. Some of the savings go to the lawyer, the accountant, and the bank. Second, you absolutely must set your salary to a reasonable level.


Technique #3: Relocate Your Residency


One final, easy planning gambit if you telecommute. Remember that there are states like Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Texas and Washington that don't charge residents state income taxes. Accordingly, if you relocate to one of these states, you'll automatically drop your overall tax bill because you won't have state income taxes.


Sometimes, one of the benefits of independent contracting and freelance consulting is that is that you do get to live wherever you want. Why not choose a place that doesn't tax your income?


But a caution: Do be careful that you don't get blindsided by the other taxes a state levies. For example, Washington state where I live charges a one and half percent excise tax on service revenue. This is probably still less than the income taxes that many other states charge. But it highlights an important caveat: Before you move to some other state, you definitely want to run the numbers and compare your current state to the possible new state.


Florida LLC formation expert Stephen L. Nelson CPA has written more than 150 books. Formerly an adjunct tax professor at Golden Gate University, Nelson is also the author of Quicken for Dummies. Copyright © by 2006 by Stephen L. Nelson and http://www.llcsexplained.com/doityourself_Florida.htm

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Taxes and Bankruptcy: The Nuts and Bolts by Richard K. Gustafson, II

Taxes and Bankruptcy: The Nuts and BoltsThe filing and subsequent discharge of either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may eliminate some types of personal income tax liability. There are, however,...

IRS Provides Foreclosure Tax Relief For Homeowners by Raynor James

As if a foreclosure on your home isn't bad enough, do you realize there could be dire tax consequences? Fortunately, the IRS is taking steps to mitigate much of the double disaster. Many have accused the...

So you've never heard of a Roth Ira by Elizabeth Gough

Well I think this is one of the best retirement savings options allowed by the tax department. It is especially beneficial to middle income Americans, specifically those earning less than $95,000 per year.This...

Utilizing Tax Tips by Carl LaFresnaye

Tax tips can be found from a variety of different sources, but individuals must be careful to determine whether those sources are professional and legitimate or if they are from average people who are...

How to Use an Early Retirement Plan to Secure Your Future by Scott Taylor

<p>In fact many of these people had no intention of retiring and used these generous packages to move into second careers. They did not retire at all until much later, in their sixties. Nowadays,...

Use Child Tax Credit for Tax Savings by Keith Hoyng

Now, here's a real tax savings to the individual taxpayer with dependents. The child tax credit is a direct federal income tax credit based on the number of dependent children in your family. This federal...

How Wealth Tax Is Better Than Income Tax by Jim Thio

Wealth TaxDo you want to move money from the wealthy to the poor? Well, tax wealth.Wealth tax causes far less market distortion, and hence, much fairer than income tax. Wealth tax hurt productivity less....

Last-Minute Tax Help by David C Skul

Even if in most cases people don't want to hear about the word "taxes" until March, preparing early and staying organized will give you no headaches later. But, for most of the people, the deadline is...

Checking The Status Of Your Federal Tax Refund by Carl LaFresnaye

You've completed your taxes and were delighted to discover you will get a tax refund! Regardless of whether it is large or small, you want it – and you want it now! You can start planning how you will...


Who are the CPA Moms?      Your Tax Professional Forever!!!!

“CPA Moms - Tax Moms - EA Moms" are trade names given to Accounting and Tax Professionals who chose to work in an “relaxed” environment. Some "Moms" work from home, other work from personal offices. Not all are Moms, there are some Dads. We call them Mr. Tax Moms. CPA Dads or Enrolled Agents Dads.
Each Mom is independent. Once a client starts working with a Mom, the client will keep the same “Mom” year after year regardless of where the client moves or relocates. Being in a “relaxed” environment has many advantages. Lower overhead, faster response time, more availability, etc.
To be a member a CPA Mom, Tax Moms, or an Erolled Moms the Tax Professional must ALWAYS be in good standing with their state licensing agency, experienced, and must demonstrate a high level of ethics, professionalism and proficiency.
Tax Net Inc, the parent company for all CPA Moms, Tax Moms and Enrolled Moms, developed the marketing and on-line systems to help qualified Tax Professionals who "choose" work from their “relaxed” environment and offer better service at a lower price to the consumer.
Since the “Moms” do taxes and accounting of all complexities, there is always a Mom available for every level of work. Since each Mom has a private 800 number, you are just a phone call away, regardless of where you live.
For reliability and dependability of Tax Net, Inc, the parent company of the “Moms” organization click on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) icon.

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Index of Articles about Taxes

What Other Authors say about Taxes

Taxes and Bankruptcy: The Nuts and Bolts by Richard K. Gustafson, II

Taxes and Bankruptcy: The Nuts and BoltsThe filing and subsequent discharge of either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may eliminate some types of personal income tax liability. There are, however,...

IRS Provides Foreclosure Tax Relief For Homeowners by Raynor James

As if a foreclosure on your home isn't bad enough, do you realize there could be dire tax consequences? Fortunately, the IRS is taking steps to mitigate much of the double disaster. Many have accused the...

So you've never heard of a Roth Ira by Elizabeth Gough

Well I think this is one of the best retirement savings options allowed by the tax department. It is especially beneficial to middle income Americans, specifically those earning less than $95,000 per year.This...

Utilizing Tax Tips by Carl LaFresnaye

Tax tips can be found from a variety of different sources, but individuals must be careful to determine whether those sources are professional and legitimate or if they are from average people who are...

How to Use an Early Retirement Plan to Secure Your Future by Scott Taylor

<p>In fact many of these people had no intention of retiring and used these generous packages to move into second careers. They did not retire at all until much later, in their sixties. Nowadays,...

Use Child Tax Credit for Tax Savings by Keith Hoyng

Now, here's a real tax savings to the individual taxpayer with dependents. The child tax credit is a direct federal income tax credit based on the number of dependent children in your family. This federal...

How Wealth Tax Is Better Than Income Tax by Jim Thio

Wealth TaxDo you want to move money from the wealthy to the poor? Well, tax wealth.Wealth tax causes far less market distortion, and hence, much fairer than income tax. Wealth tax hurt productivity less....

Last-Minute Tax Help by David C Skul

Even if in most cases people don't want to hear about the word "taxes" until March, preparing early and staying organized will give you no headaches later. But, for most of the people, the deadline is...

Checking The Status Of Your Federal Tax Refund by Carl LaFresnaye

You've completed your taxes and were delighted to discover you will get a tax refund! Regardless of whether it is large or small, you want it – and you want it now! You can start planning how you will...