Master This Green!

by Kenneth Hoffman in , ,

The calendar may say that spring officially begins on March 21. But for millions of golfers across the country, the season didn't really start until this weekend — specifically, when Bubba Watson outplayed 20-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth to claim his second green jacket at the 2014 Masters. 

Augusta National Country Club, home of the Masters, is America's temple of golf. Augusta's "perennial ryegrass" fairways are manicured to a smoother finish than your living room carpet, and its greens are so hard and fast you could play billiards on them. So, with all that lush green stretching as far as the eye can see, would it surprise you to learn that the residents of Augusta have "mastered" a lucrative tax break? It's become so identified with the legendary golf tournament that it's known as "the Augusta rule." But if you own your own business, you may be able to take advantage of it yourself.

Augusta, Georgia, is a small city with about 200,000 year-round residents. But for the second week of April every year, it becomes the center of the sports universe. Wealthy golfers descend upon the town from around the world. They want quality accommodations. But the nearest Ritz-Carlton is a looong drive away. (81 miles, to be exact. You don't even want to know what par that is.)

For many of those fans, the answer is to rent a house in town, just a chip shot from the tournament. Augusta National and the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce have even teamed up to create the Masters Housing Bureau to pitch week-long rentals — for up to $40,000. For lots of Augusta homeowners, that's a hole in one! (Of course, homeowners outside Augusta have taken advantage of the same rule for events like the Olympic games, the Final Four, and the Super Bowl.)

Now, ordinarily the IRS would take a big divot out of that $40,000 windfall. (Pro golfers typically tip their caddies 10% of their winnings, and if you think that's enough for Uncle Sam, think again!) But here's where the Augusta rule comes in. Code Section 280(A)(g)(2) provides that if you rent your home (or vacation home) for less than 15 days a year, there's no tax due on that income. In fact, IRS Publication 527 says you shouldn't even report it. So, if you have a house in Augusta, you've got that going for you! Which is nice.

Don't have a house in Augusta? Don't despair! Let's say you own your own business, and you want to host a customer appreciation event. You could hold it at your house and deduct the cost of meals and entertainment you provide for your customers. But the Augusta rule also lets you rent your home to your business — for a commercially reasonable "fair market value," of course. Your business will deduct the rent it pays, which gives you a birdie on your tax bill. But so long as you don't do it more than 14 days per year, you won't have to report the income on your personal return. Pretty slick, right?

If you're a golfer, you've almost certainly dreamed of someday playing Augusta. But you wouldn't dream of doing it without an experienced caddy — because, when you sign that scorecard, you want as few strokes as possible. When it comes to taxes, that's our job. We give you the plan you need, so that when you sign your 1040 . . . well, you get the picture. So call us before you "hit the course." And remember, we're here for the rest of your foursome as well!

Let's Talk! For a deeper conversation on our services, or to become a client, call Kenneth Hoffman at (954) 591-8290 Monday - Friday for a no cost consultation, or drop me a note.

Kenneth Hoffman of K.R. Hoffman & Co., LLC is a highly sought after tax and business counselor. As a trusted senior advisor and counselor working closely with Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Select Individuals, Mr. Hoffman provides counsel to his clients who are navigating through the complexity of today's business, tax, and accounting challenges.

Click here to schedule an appointment with Kenneth Hoffman.

If you found this article helpful, I invite you to leave a comment and  please share it on twitter,facebook or your favorite social media site and  with your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you.

I truly value your business and I appreciate your referrals. Refer your family, friends, acquaintances, and business colleagues to KR Hoffman & Co., LLC. 

Follow us on Twitter at @TaxReturnCoach, and let us know how we're doing.

It Pays To Seek Tax and Business Advice

by Kenneth Hoffman in , ,

Get good advice before jumping in. An hour discussing what you want to do with a tax and business expert could save you a substantial amount.

In one case two individuals started a delivery business. They didn't realize they'd have to file as a partnership. They then decided to incorporate and elect S status. Because of the timing they filed a partnership for the last few months of one year and as an S corporation the next year.

Because of the switch in entities, they couldn't take the Section 179 expense deduction. Moreover, a transfer of equipment from the partnership to the S corporation was delayed and they had to pay sales tax a second time. Add to that the extra accounting and legal fees and the mistake cost them over $5,000, a substantial amount considering the size of the business.

At KR Hoffman & Co., LLC, we want to help you turn your idea into your ideal business. Start your company the right way and get a head start on success. Call us at 954-591-8290 to discuss any tax and business concerns you may have.

K.R. Hoffman & Co., LLC, counsels Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Select Individuals in taking control of their taxes, and businesses. Discover how we can help you overcome your tax and business challenges. For more information or to become a client, call Kenneth Hoffman at (954) 591-8290 Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a no cost consultation, or drop me a note.

I truly value your business and I appreciate your referrals. Refer your family, friends, acquaintances, and business colleagues to KR Hoffman & Co., LLC. If your referral retains our services, we will send you a $25 gift card and your referral will receive a $25 discount on their first invoice.

Follow us on Twitter at @TaxReturnCoach, and let us know how we're doing.

Tax Choices for Startups

by Kenneth Hoffman in , , ,

Choosing which entity to operate your business involves two fundamental choices: 1) will you remain personally liable for business debts; 2) how will you and your business pay tax? There’s no “pat” answer, and in many cases you’ll want more than one entity. Consider these options as starting points:

  • Proprietorship: This is a business you operate yourself, in your own name or trade name, with no partners or formal entity. You remain personally liable for business debts. You report income and expenses on your personal return and pay income and self-employment tax on your profits. These are best for startups and small businesses with no employees in industries with little legal liability.
  • Partnership: This is an association of two or more partners. General partners (“GPs”) run the business and remain liable for partnership debts. Limited partners (“LPs”) invest capital, but don’t actively manage the business and aren’t liable for debts. The partnership files an informational return and passes income and expenses to partners. GP distributions are taxed as ordinary income and subject to self-employment tax; LP distributions are taxed as passive income.
  • “C” Corporation: This is a separate legal person organized under state law. Your liability for business debts is generally limited to your investment in the corporation. The corporation files its own return, pays tax on profits, and chooses whether or not to pay dividends. Your salary is subject to income and employment tax; dividends are taxed at preferential rates. These are best for owners who need limited liability and want the broadest range of benefits.
  • “S” Corporation: This is a corporation that elects not to pay tax itself. Instead, it files an informational return and passes income and losses through to shareholders according to their ownership. Your salary is subject to income and employment tax; pass-through profits are subject to ordinary income but not employment tax. These are best for businesses whose owners are active in the business and don’t need to accumulate capital for day-to-day operations.
  • Limited Liability Company (“LLC”): This is an association of one or more “members” organized under state law. Your liability for business debts is limited to your investment in the company, and LLCs may offer the strongest asset protection of any entity. Single-member LLCs are taxed as proprietors, unless you elect to be taxed as a corporation. Multi-member LLCs choose to be taxed as partnerships or corporations. This flexibility and asset-protection strength makes LLCs the entity of choice for many new businesses.

If you expect your business to lose money at first, consider a proprietorship, LLC, or “S” corporation. Losses from these entities (up to your basis in the business) offset outside income from salaries, investments, and other businesses. If losses exceed that income, they generate net operating losses (“NOLs”) that you can carry back two years or forward 20.

Filing Guide

Proprietors and single-member LLCs file Schedule C then carry profits or losses to Form 1040. Partnerships and LLCs taxed as partnerships file Form 1065, then report partners’ income and expenses on Form K1 “C” corporations file Form 1120 or 1120-A. “S” corporations file Form 1120S, then report shareholder income and expenses on Form K1.

IRS Publication 334:
Tax Guide for Small Business
IRS Publication 535:
Business Expenses
IRS Publication 536:
Net Operating Losses
IRS Publication 583:
Starting a Business and Keeping Records

If you have any questions about this topic, tax law changes, business tips, or how to become a client, please call us at 954-591-8290 or use our Contact form.

Need a Blog or Website?

by Kenneth Hoffman in

KR Hoffman & Co., LLC uses SquareSpace as its hosting provider.

Prior to switching to SquareSpace, I used a well known hosting company with a site I designed myself.  I am not a designer.  Even though I was an engineer (electrical) in another life, I cannot draw a straight line with a ruler.

A friend suggested that I try SquareSpace.  SquareSpace is a template driven host, all of which are customizable.  I can chage my site design in the background, on the fly, customize it and make it go live, all without taking down the original site.

Since switching to SquareSpace, my website has gone from less than 10 hits per week, to over 3000 hits in the last two months.  Some are repeat viewers.  Most importantly, my phone is ringing, I am getting messages via my contact form and emails.  The majority of which said they liked my site.

Give SquareSpace a look see, and if you have any questions I can be reached at 954.591.8290 or via my Contact form.



A Man, A Van and $500 Income

by Kenneth Hoffman in

We've all been there. Trapped in line at the DMV. Or stuck on hold while trying to call a city agency. It's easy to complain about government bureaucracy. But it's the rare person who sees such inefficiency as a business opportunity.

Meet Adam Humphreys. He lives in New York City, and he wanted to travel to China for a vacation. His bureaucratic hassles with the Chinese consulate launched a whole new business.

 It started simply enough. Adam found out he needed a visa to travel to China. He went online. Filled out a long, complicated form. And Adam showed up at the Chinese Consulate only to find out that he had filled out the wrong form.

Continue reading at Planet Money.

10 Tips from a Successful Small Business Owner

by Kenneth Hoffman in

Small business owners wear a million different hats. From product development to customer service to order fulfillment to basic HR functions, you do it all in the course of a typical day. But how do you ensure the success of your business when you're focused so much on day-to-day survival? We talked to successful small business owners to see what advice they had to share, and we've pulled their best tips together right here.

Read more at the Ink from Chase website.