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Benefits of a living trust for your estate

(Date posted: May 31, 2023)

You may think you don’t need to make any estate planning moves because of the generous federal estate tax exemption of $12.92 million for 2023 (effectively $25.84 million if you’re married).

However, if you have significant assets, you should consider establishing a living trust to avoid probate. Probate is a court-supervised legal process intended to make sure a deceased person’s assets are properly distributed. However, going through probate typically means red tape, legal fees and your financial affairs becoming public information. You can avoid this with a living trust (also commonly called a family trust, grantor trust and revocable trust).

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Keep these DOs and DON’Ts in mind when deducting business meal and vehicle expenses

(Date posted: May 25, 2023)

If you’re claiming deductions for business meals or auto expenses, expect the IRS to closely review them. In some cases, taxpayers have incomplete documentation or try to create records months (or years) later. In doing so, they fail to meet the strict substantiation requirements set forth under tax law. Tax auditors are adept at rooting out inconsistencies, omissions and errors in taxpayers’ records, as illustrated by one recent U.S. Tax Court case.

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Being a gig worker comes with tax consequences

(Date posted: May 23, 2023)

In recent years, many workers have become engaged in the “gig” economy. You may think of gig workers as those who deliver take-out restaurant meals, walk dogs and drive for ride-hailing services. But so-called gig work seems to be expanding. Today, some nurses have become gig workers and writers in Hollywood who recently went on strike have expressed concerns that screenwriting is becoming part of the gig economy.

There are tax consequences when performing jobs that don’t involve taxes being deducted from a regular paycheck. The bottom line: If you receive income from freelancing or from one of the online platforms offering goods and services, it’s generally taxable. That’s true even if the income comes from a side job and even if you don’t receive an income statement reporting the amount of money you made.

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If you’re hiring independent contractors, make sure they’re properly handled

(Date posted: May 18, 2023)

Many businesses use independent contractors to help keep their costs down — especially in these times of staff shortages and inflationary pressures. If you’re among them, be careful that these workers are properly classified for federal tax purposes. If the IRS reclassifies them as employees, it can be an expensive mistake.

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