Category Archives: Tax Advantages

New Standard Mileage Rates Now Available; Just Announced

OdometerNew Standard Mileage Rates Just Announced by IRS ; Business Rate to Rise in 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2015 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2015, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be:


  • 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, up from 56 cents in 2014
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down half a cent from 2014
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil. The charitable rate is set by law.

Taxpayers always have the option of claiming deductions based on the actual costs of using a vehicle rather than the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after claiming accelerated depreciation, including the Section 179 expense deduction, on that vehicle. Likewise, the standard rate is not available to fleet owners (more than four vehicles used simultaneously). Details on these and other special rules are in Revenue Procedure 2010-51, the instructions to Form 1040 and various online IRS publications including Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Besides the standard mileage rates, Notice 2014-79, posted today on, also includes the basis reduction amounts for those choosing the business standard mileage rate, as well as the maximum standard automobile cost   that may be used in computing an allowance under  a fixed and variable rate plan.

Notice 2014-79 provides the optional standard mileage rates for substantiating the amount of deductible expenses for using an automobile for business, moving, medical, or charitable purposes.  For 2015, the standard mileage rates are 57.5 cents for business use of an automobile, 14 cents for use of an automobile as a charitable contribution, and 23 cents for use of an automobile as a medical or moving expense.

Notice 2014-79 also provides the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

The rules for using the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2014-79 will be in IRB IRB 2014-53, dated December 29, 2014.

Planning To Form An LLC or Corporation? Wait!

Yellow CAUTION signEntity creation has a cost!

If you are thinking of forming an LLC or corporation PLEASE call me before you do anything.  Over 90% of the entities we see are dissolved within the first 4 years of existence.  When creating an entity you will incur ongoing  addition business expenses that may not be necessary.  You can reach me at 619-589-8680.

IRS Back-to-School Reminder for Parents and Students

Check Out College Tax Credits for 2014 and Years Ahead

WASHINGTON ― With another school year now in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service reminded parents and students that now is a good time to see if they will qualify for either of two college tax credits or any of several other education-related tax benefits when they file their 2014 federal income tax returns. Continue reading

Cost Segregation? Standard Depreciation?


shutterstock_165755561Cost segregation deals with the depreciation of real estate enabling investors to dramatically increase the amount of depreciation they write off every year.

For many investors, this tax write-off can help restructure the cash flow of their properties, allowing them to make more income, while still increasing their tax benefits.


Shifting portions of the property to non-structural status allows a reduction of income tax by generating an extra 30% to 70% in tax depreciation deductions.  The result is increased cash flow.  Additionally,  extra depreciation converts ordinary rental income at your current tax rate to tax-deferred capital gain when you dispose of the property.  This effectively increases your return on investment.  The higher your tax bracket, the more savings to you.

To learn more, or to understand how cost segregation can work for you, read Understanding Cost Segregation 

Medical and Dental Expense Deduction – FTB CA


FTB CAFederal changed the allowable medical and dental expense deduction amount for federal purposes. A deduction is allowed for unreimbursed allowable medical and dental expenses that exceed 10 percent of federal adjusted gross income (AGI) California allows a deduction for medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of federal AGI. For more information, go to and search for Schedule CA 540.

TRANSLATION:  If you have medical and dental expenses that exceed the 7.5% threshold in California, you will be able to claim these expenses under California Tax Law even if you don’t have enough  to meet the 10% federal threshold.

Tax information is not tax advice.  If you need your questions answered, call 619-589-8680 for an appointment.  Pat Michael and his team at  is your best source for professional tax preparation services with more than 30 years experience and thousands of satisfied clients.

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How Can You Avoid the New 3.8 % Obamacare Tax


Cropped Doctor Patient Pic copyWhatever the name, taxes can be painful and the new tax is known by a few: the Affordable Care Act tax, the Obamacare tax, the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), or Medicare Tax.  Most media (and even the President) is using the name “Obamacare Tax”, so we will use that name for this writing.  For a full Q&A on the new tax, please see our Q&A on NIIT aka Obamacare Tax.

This is a tax on UNEARNED INCOME.  Unearned income is defined as income derived from sources other than  employment, such as interest and dividends from investments, or from rental property (source: The types of income that will be affected by the new Obamacare tax are. Continue reading

Use of Home For Two or More Businesses ?

Did you know the same home office can be the principal place of business for two or more separate business activities?  

According to Publication 587, Cat. No. 15154T : January 5, 2013 – yes it can be, but whether it qualifies as the principal place of business for two or more businesses is evaluated by a set of criteria:

  • The principal place of business for one or more of your trades or businesses,
  • As a place to meet or deal with patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of one or more of your trades or businesses,
  • If your home office is a separate structure, in connection with one or more of your trades or businesses. Continue reading

Moves To Lower Your 2013 Tax Bill

Ways to reduce your 2013 tax bill. 

December 31 is approaching quickly – and there are some things you can do to lower your tax bill.  We encourage our clients to come in for a review, especially if there are life-situation changes. Did they marry or divorce? Is there are new child? Is there unscheduled income, or benefits. We want to look at that before the close of the year.   

As part of our updates on the laws that are changing, we are sharing valuable articles for your convenience.

This article is the first of two we will bring you from one of MarketWatch of the Wall Street Journal.


Continue reading


Larger IRS2014 Inflation Adjustments

IR-2013-87, Oct. 31, 2013

WASHINGTON — For tax year 2014, the Internal Revenue Service announced today annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2013-35 provides details about these annual adjustments.

The tax items for tax year 2014 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts.

  • The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $406,750 ($457,600 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $400,000 and $450,000, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds are described in the revenue procedure.
  • The standard deduction rises to $6,200 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,400 for married couples filing jointly, up from $6,100 and $12,200, respectively, for tax year 2013. The standard deduction for heads of household rises to $9,100, up from $8,950.
  • The limitation for itemized deductions claimed on tax year 2014 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $254,200 or more ($305,050 for married couples filing jointly).
  • The personal exemption rises to $3,950, up from the 2013 exemption of $3,900. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $254,200 ($305,050 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $376,700 ($427,550 for married couples filing jointly.)
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2014 is $52,800 ($82,100, for married couples filing jointly). The 2013 exemption amount was $51,900 ($80,800 for married couples filing jointly).
  • The maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,143 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,044 for tax year 2013. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phaseouts.
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2014 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,340,000, up from a total of $5,250,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2013.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000 for 2014.
  • The annual dollar limit on employee contributions to employer-sponsored healthcare flexible spending arrangements (FSA) remains unchanged at $2,500.
  • The foreign earned income exclusion rises to $99,200 for tax year 2014, up from $97,600, for 2013.
  • The small employer health insurance credit provides that the maximum credit is phased out based on the employer’s number of full-time equivalent employees in excess of 10 and the employer’s average annual wages in excess of $25,400 for tax year 2014, up from $25,000 for 2013.

Details on these inflation adjustments and others not listed in this release can be found in Revenue Procedure 2013-35, which will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-47 on Nov. 18, 2013.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 31-Oct-2013

Starting Social Security?


I’m sure you know that the earlier you start Social Security, the amount you receive differs greatly across 62-66-70, considered the “key ages”.

  • Early Benefit.  Start receiving at age 62.  If you start at age 62 your benefit is reduced by 25% (from what your earnings history makes you eligible for). On top of that, if you start between 62 and 66 – the deduction is prorated over the 48 months.  THIS IS YOUR BENEFIT FOR LIFE.  There is an earnings limit until you turn 66.  Then it stops.
  • Normal Benefit.  Age age 66, you receive the “normal amount, with yearly inflation adjustments.  No earnings limits apply.  In fact, earnings will now increase your benefit slightly.
  • Delayed Benefit.  For every month you delay after age 66, your benefit increase – but – NOT AFTER AGE 70.  The annual figure is about 8%.  No earnings limit apply.

Reduce Your Taxes with Miscellaneous Deductions

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2013-15, August 5, 2013

small IRS logo for bloggingIf you itemize deductions on your tax return, you may be able to deduct certain miscellaneous expenses. You may benefit from this because a tax deduction normally reduces your federal income tax.  Here are some things you should know about miscellaneous deductions:

Deductions Subject to the Two Percent Limit.  You can deduct most miscellaneous expenses only if they exceed two percent of your adjusted gross income. These include expenses such as: Continue reading

Retirement planning using IRAs

Using IRAs in tax planning during retirement

TAX: Because of the flexibility of IRA distributions, it’s easy to move income among years

By Richard Malamud, CPA, J.D., LL.M., and Tim Hilger, CPA

Those of us who are age 59½ and older and still working face some interesting decisions. After decades of hearing the mantra, “Defer, Defer, and then Defer” maybe it is time to change that to “Accelerate” — at least sometimes. It is the thing to do if you assume tax rates will not be going down and the future may bring us large capital gains or other income that could cause us to owe the new Medicare tax. Continue reading

Advantages to having a home-based business

The United States tax law encourages business activity by offering many tax benefits to entrepreneurs. Specifically, the tax code provides advantages to small business owners, depending on how you choose to organize your business. Running a home business has its advantages, as home-based businesses qualify for several additional deductions and tax credits. By maximizing these deductions, the home business owner can reduce his tax liability. Continue reading

Advantages of Running a Home Business

The United States tax law encourages business activity by offering many tax benefits to entrepreneurs. Specifically, the tax code provides advantages to small business owners, depending on how you choose to organize your business. Running a home business has its advantages, as home-based businesses qualify for several additional deductions and tax credits. By maximizing these deductions, the home business owner can reduce his tax liability. Continue reading