SAVINGS FOR EMPLOYERS: The HIRE Act went into effect on March 18, 2010. This Act allows employers to claim a payroll tax credit for the employer share of Social Security taxes for employees hired after February 3, 2010 and before January 1, 2011. The covered employee must have worked less than 40 hours during the 60 days prior to the date employment begins. Also, the new hire can't be hired to replace another employee unless the other employee quit or was terminated for cause and must not be related to the employer. Employees must complete and sign a Form W-11. The credit is claimed on your quarterly 941 or annual 944. Not sure if you qualify or need more information - call or e-mail me - I'll be glad to help.
TAX CHANGES FOR 2009
MILITARY SPOUSES - A new law was signed into effect on November 11, 2009 (retroactive to January 1, 2009) allowing you to keep your residency when you move with your military spouse. What this means for you is that your earned wages in your new home "may" not be taxable at the new state's level (but "may" be taxable in your state of residency). For example, if you are an Alaska resident and you move with your military spouse to a new duty station outside of Alaska and work at your new home, you will be allowed to maintain your Alaska residency and your wages may be considered Alaska income, rather than income of your new location. Different states are interpreting the law differently (California requires the military member and the spouse to have the same resident state). You will need to decide what the best move is for you - If you claim residency in a no or low tax state, you will want to maintain your residency. If your new home has a lower tax rate, you may want to change your residency. For more information or to see how this new law affects you, call or e-mail me.
VEHICLE SALES TAX DEDUCTION – If you purchase a new vehicle between February 16 and December 31, 2009, you may be able to deduct the sales and excise tax paid on the first $49,500 of the purchase price. If you live in a “no” sales tax state (such as Alaska), you may be able to deduct any state or local government fees that are charged on a per unit basis or are based on the vehicle’s cost. The deductions phase out for single filers with adjusted gross income over $125,000 and joint filers over $250,000.
COBRA Health Insurance – Were you laid off from your job? You may be eligible for subsidized COBRA Health Insurance premiums. Your previous employer is generally required to pay 65% of the premiums for up to 9 months. The employer may be able to recoup the subsidized expenses through a payroll tax credit or reduced payroll tax deposits. WARNING: If you are eligible for coverage under a spouse’s plan, the employer is not required to subsidize your premiums.
FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER – Did you purchase and occupy a new home in 2009 or will you sign a contract on a new home by April 30, 2010 and close by June 30, 2010? Have you (or your spouse) owned a principal residence in the last three years? If your answer is yes to the first question and no to the second, you may be eligible for the First Time Homebuyer’s Credit. The credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price or $8,000 (whichever is less). Also, so long as you live in the home for three years, you don’t have to pay it back (unlike the 2008 First Time Homebuyer’s Credit which you pay back over 15 years). The credit may be claimed on your 2009 return for 2009 purchases or on your 2009 or 2010 return for 2010 purchases (HINT: If you will be signing a contract by April 30, 2010 and closing by June 30, 2010 – file an extension for your 2009 return and file the return after you close. You’ll receive your refund much sooner than if you file by April 15, 2010 and then file an amended return.) You will need to attach a copy of your settlement statement, a current mortgage invoice and two other proofs of residency to your return.
CURRENT HOMEOWNER CREDIT – If you’ve owned a home for five consecutive years of the last eight (as of the date of purchase of the new home) and purchase a new home between November 6, 2009 and April 30, 2010, you may be eligible for this new credit of 10% of the purchase price or $6,500 (whichever is less if you are married filing jointly – singles may only claim a maximum of $3,250). The new home must be occupied as your primary residence. (HINT: If you will be closing and occupying your new home by April 30, 2010 – file an extension for your 2009 return and file the return after you close. You’ll receive your refund much sooner than if you file by April 15, 2010 and then file an amended return.) You will need to attach a copy of your settlement statement to your return.