Author Archives: Eric Buechler

This Could Get A Little Complicated!

Minnesota taxpayers now are discovering that what works on their federal income tax returns doesn’t always work on state returns. There is an unusual disconnect between the two systems this tax season. In short, the federal government made sweeping changes that began in the 2018 tax year, and Minnesota’s government hasn’t yet coordinated with them as it has in the past. The result?  Minnesotan and their tax preparers now are dealing with numerous adjustments and some extra forms to undo those federal changes when filing state returns. Let’s take a couple of examples that affect most taxpayers. The tax reforms … Continue reading

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Despite Federal Lapse, Tax Season Arrives On Schedule

While the federal government largely remains on “Stop!”, the month-long shutdown apparently will not stand in the way of a normal beginning to the tax filing season. The Internal Revenue Service has called in about two-thirds of its work force to start processing of 2018 tax returns on Monday, Jan. 28. Of course, those 46,000 workers will be working without pay, like other government employees caught in the partial shutdown. The Minnesota Department of Revenue also kicks off its annual income tax rush on Monday.  Minnesota Revenue did note that many individual taxpayers who use tax professionals or tax prep … Continue reading

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Too Late To Trim Some Taxes?

It’s New Year’s Eve and the clock has just a few hours to tick away until the beginning of 2019! Benevolent taxpayers might still be able to reduce their 2018 income taxes with a very last-minute donation to a favorite charity. In fact, some non-profits have been reminding their benefactors about an opportunity to contribute. Making a donation online today or mailing a check in a letter postmarked on Dec. 31 are two ways that often can beat the year-end deadline. However, from a tax standpoint, donors also will want to remember that their gifts still are itemized deductions. Last … Continue reading

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Uncle Sam Will Still Split The Dinner Check!

The tax status of a business meal with a client has been a perplexing problem for companies and their tax pros since last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect. Deductible? Not allowed? Partially taxed? It’s been clear that businesses no longer can deduct 50 per cent of entertainment expenses bought for clients – tickets to events, golf outings, fishing trips, night clubs, hotel stays, etc. – even if they are business-related. But, in the words of the Internal Revenue Service, “the Act does not specifically address the deductibility of expenses for business meals.” Well, in October, the IRS … Continue reading

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Sales Tax Talk Just In Time For The Holidays!

’ Tis the year’s big selling season and those sales come with sales taxes. New business owner, seasoned proprietor with tax questions and bookkeepers in all industries can delve into the details of Minnesota’s state and local sales taxes without spending too much time on Dec. 6. The Minnesota Department of   Revenue is bringing its free Basic Sales and Use Tax class from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to the Heintz Center of Rochester Community and Technical College. The Center is at 1926 College View Road East. The course covers information about sales and local taxes, exceptions to them, and … Continue reading

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Find More Than Street Names On This Map!

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. The holiday shopping season is underway again! The Minnesota Department of Revenue can’t tell how much you’ll spend for gifts this year. But it has just drawn out a quick way to tell how much you can expect pay in state and local taxes. Holiday shoppers now can pull up a Minnesota map on their computers or smartphones and find out whether they will pay only the state’s 6.875 percent sales tax or more on their merry purchases this season. The interactive Sales Tax Rate Map shows counties and cities; it also can drill down to … Continue reading

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It’s A Humongous Change!

Amid the biggest tax code overhaul in 30 years comes this not-so-surprising warning:  The 2019 tax season might start later than normal. The Internal Revenue Service itself might not agree. But the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration is not convinced that the IRS will be accepting filings of 2018 tax returns on the normal schedule. That skepticism came in a Sept. 25 report.  See it at: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2018reports/201824064fr.pdf Usually, taxpayers can count on the season starting by the last week of January. The TIGTA is skeptical because of the large number of code changes made by Congress in last … Continue reading

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How Did You Spend Your Summer, Tax-wise?

We’ve talked before (July) about checking withholding rates from paychecks because of changes made by last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They take effect for 2018. A check-up still a good idea, even if it only affects the final four months of the year. The Internal Revenue Service figures more than 7 out of 10 taxpayers had too much money withheld from their pay in 2016. The IRS provides this calculator online as a quick way to figure whether you need a change: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator. Here are some IRS guidelines. Check withholding if you: Have a double-income family (on the … Continue reading

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A Refresher On Minnesota Employment Taxes at Rochester

Southeastern Minnesota small business operators, here is a close-by opportunity to hear the latest about state employment taxes and other worker-related rules. The Minnesota Business Tax Education Partnership is offering a free, half-day briefing on Aug. 16 at Rochester Community and Technical College. It’s scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to noon in Room HA102 in the Heintz Center at the college, 1926 College View Road East. There’s no charge, but advance registration is required. Reserve a seat online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/employer-seminar-state-tax-withholding-and-unemployment-insurance-8162018-rochester-registration-44772387416 Experts from the state Department of Revenue and the Unemployment Insurance Program will take on topics ranging from the nuts and … Continue reading

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How Now, W-4?

Your old W-4 form, which determines how much federal and state tax is withheld from your paycheck, might be yesterday’s news now. Federal tax reform is taking effect this year, and it promises to revamp tax returns with higher standard deductions, new tax brackets, boosts in Child Tax Credits and cuts in deductions, among other alterations. That could bring good or bad news for individual returns, depending on your circumstances. Clearly, some taxpayers will want to tweak their W-4s to avoid withholding too much – or, worse, too little – of their income for Uncle Sam before Tax Time. Do … Continue reading

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