Your Federal Tax Guide

Help With Your Federal Income Tax, Articles and stories related to the IRS, taxes, tax credits, EITC and tax deductions and updated tax news

Friday, August 8, 2008

Tax Calendar for Small Businesses

Are you running a small business? Would you like a calendar packed with valuable business tax information? The IRS is offering a free calendar to help you keep track of tax deadlines and important dates throughout the year.

You might be surprised to learn that the IRS publishes a calendar, like our popular Web site,, the calendar is part of our many services to help owners and operators of small businesses.

The Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed Individuals from the Internal Revenue Service is a 12-month calendar filled with deadline reminders, important information such as changes in deductible mileage rates and business tips such as how to organize business and travel expenses.

This widely-used special business tax calendar provides the small business owner with a ready resource for meeting his or her tax obligations.

Each page of the calendar highlights different tax issues and tips such as business planning, accounting methods, tracking your records, and protecting your information that are especially relevant to small-business owners. The calendar has room each month to add notes, state tax dates or business appointments.

Topics include information on general business taxes, IRS and Social Security Administration customer assistance, electronic filing and paying options, retirement plans, business publications and forms, common tax filing dates, federal holidays and much more.

The 2008 IRS Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed, Publication 1518, is now available in both English and Spanish versions. For an online version of the calendar, visit the Small Business Self-Employed pages on the IRS Web site at On you can download the tax calendar due dates and actions, and import them into Outlook or iCal. Printed copies of the tax calendar can also be ordered online or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Remember that for the genuine IRS Web site be sure to use .gov. Don't be confused by internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tax Tip: Charitable Contributions

Charitable Contributions

Did you make a cash contribution to your favorite charity? Have you recently spent a weekend cleaning stuff out of your garage or basement that you then donated to a local charity?

Charitable contributions can be tax deductible, but you must have the proper records to support your deduction. Due to the Pension Protection Act of 2006 the rules on recordkeeping for charitable contributions became a little more strict beginning in January 2007.

To deduct a charitable cash donation, regardless of the amount, you must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Acceptable bank records would include canceled checks or bank or credit union statements containing the name of the charity, the date and the amount of the contribution.

Under the previous rules, records such as personal bank registers, diaries or notes made around the time of the donation could often be used as evidence of cash donations. Personal records like this are no longer sufficient.

Here are some additional tips to help you deduct your charitable contributions on your 2008 federal tax return.

  • Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions using Form 1040.
  • Contributions must be made to a qualified organization.
  • Used clothing and household items such as furniture, linens and appliances must be in good used condition.
  • Vehicle donations are subject to special rules.
  • To deduct charitable contributions of items valued at $250 or more you must have a written acknowledgment from the qualified organization.
  • To deduct charitable contributions of items valued at $500 or more you must complete a Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, and attached the form to your return.

More information is available on the IRS Web site at A good resource is IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, found on the web site or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Remember that for the genuine IRS Web site be sure to use .gov. Don't be confused by internet sites that end in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. The address of the official IRS governmental Web site is


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The tax consequences of converting a non-Roth IRA annuity to a Roth IRA

This document contains final regulations that amend the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR Part 1) under section 408A of the Code relating to Roth IRAs. Section 408A of the Code, which was added by section 302 of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Public Law 105-34 (111 Stat. 788), establishes the Roth IRA as a type of individual retirement plan, effective for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 1998.

The identifying characteristic of Roth IRAs is that all contributions to Roth IRAs are after-tax contributions (that is, an IRA owner cannot take a deduction for a contribution made to a Roth IRA) but qualified distributions are tax-free. A qualified distribution from a Roth IRA is a distribution that is made: (1) at least 5 years after the account owner (or the account owner's spouse) made a Roth IRA contribution, and (2) after age 59\1/2\, after death, on account of disability, or for a first-time home purchase.

A taxpayer whose modified adjusted gross income for a year does not exceed $100,000 (and who, if married, files jointly) \1\ may convert an amount held in a non-Roth IRA(that is, a traditional IRA or SIMPLE IRA) to an amount held in a Roth IRA. If a taxpayer converts an amount held in a non-Roth IRA to a Roth IRA, the taxpayer must include the value of the non-Roth IRA being converted in gross income (to the extent the conversion is not a conversion of basis in the non-Roth IRA).

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