E-ssentials Bulletin

E-ssentials Bulletin

General Business, Management & HR Issues

Are your salaries high enough to keep your top talent?
With the economy on the upswing again, your best employees must be given a “compelling reason to stay,” says a major staffing organization. No matter how many accolades, benefits and company perks your best employees receive, they aren't going to really be happy if they feel they are underpaid for the job they do.

Customer power: How to deal with online complaints
There's no getting away from the fact that, no matter how strong your product is, at some point, you're going to have dissatisfied customers - hopefully not too many, but likely a few. Today, customer complaints can take on a much higher volume when they appear on online sites. How should your company deal with online complaints?

Are you capturing the knowledge of retiring workers?
Baby Boomers have begun to retire in record numbers. When they leave your company, will they take with them years of accumulated knowledge and know-how? Or do you have processes in place to capture that knowledge and pass it on to employees of the future?

Wealth Advice, Retirement & Estate Planning

Which state's retirees maintain living standards most?
The amount of money retirees have to live on varies quite a bit state by state. And the states where retirees live on highest - and lowest - percentages of their preretirement income might surprise you. Learn more about what others throughout the country will be living on in retirement.

Retirement savings limits raised for 2015
Each year, the IRS considers cost-of-living adjustments for contributions to retirement savings plans. For 2015, the amount of money taxpayers can contribute to their 401(k)s has been raised - but the contribution amount for IRAs remains the same as for 2014. See what else has changed - and for how much.

Would your estate benefit from a gifting strategy?
A comprehensive gifting plan can greatly reduce the size of the donor's estate and minimize future estate tax liability. Gifting also allows the donor to make gifts to heirs and see how those gifts are used and enjoyed. This can be a very fulfilling experience for many donors.

Washington Tax Update

Unemployment compensation is taxable

It may surprise many to learn that,  effective for tax years 2010 and thereafter, all unemployment compensation is taxable. But unemployment compensation is not subject to income tax withholding. To avoid a big tax bill at the end of the year, the person receiving the unemployment compensation may request that federal income tax be withheld at the rate of 10 percent.

Real estate professional? Taxpayer failed the burden of proof

In the case of Howard C. Cantor and Patricia M. Allen v. Commissioner, the question before the Tax Court was whether the taxpayer's real estate activities qualified him as a real estate professional for tax deductions. How did the court find?

Cash-basis taxpayers must pay mortgage interest to deduct it

The U.S. Tax Court denied taxpayers a deduction for mortgage interest that was capitalized into part of the principal of their new loan. Learn more in the case of Charles Copeland and Arlene Copeland v. Commissioner.

Take advantage of the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit

Thresholds have been raised for 2014 and 2015 for the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit, also known as the Saver's Credit. You still have time to contribute or defer money to a qualifying retirement program. What are the limits this year?

The technical information here is necessarily brief. No final conclusion on these topics should be drawn without further review and consultation. Please be advised that, based on current IRS rules and standards, the information contained herein is not intended to be used, nor can it be used, for the avoidance of any tax penalty assessed by the IRS.

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