Hurricane Katrina ? How To Use Your Business Loss To Get A Refund on 2004 Taxes
With the massive losses caused by Katrina, the economy of the Gulf Coast region is in extremely bad shape. Fortunately, there is a quirk in the tax code that can help you generate a large refund from your 2004 taxes.
Apply Losses to 2004 Taxes
When a large geographic area suffers a disaster, the President can declare it a federal disaster area. President Bush has made such a declaration for the Gulf Coast area.
While you've probably heard such declarations occur over the years, I doubt it means much to you. The declaration, however, has major implications for recovery efforts. Initially, the declaration of a federal disaster area means the federal government is going to provide disaster relief loans, special grants that don't have to be repaid, unemployment benefits and a variety of other assistance. It also signifies a major tax break for impacted businesses.
When a business suffers a loss, the deduction must typically be made in the year the loss occurred. With Hurricane Katrina, the deduction would typically occur when you file taxes in 2006. The problem, of course, is 2006 is a very long time from now if your business is destroyed. You will find this hard to believe, but the IRS is here to help.
The IRS is going to give you cash. Under current tax law, you may make a special election to deduct your business losses caused by Katrina on your 2004 taxes. By doing this, you do not have to wait till 2006 to get a tax refund. You don't have to do this, but it may be the key to getting necessary cash.
To make the special election, you must claim it on your 2004 taxes. If you have already filed taxes for 2004, you can file an amended tax return claiming the deduction.
Using this tax strategy can help generate badly needed cash. Make sure you pursue the strategy with the help of your tax professional. If all your records are destroyed, you can order copies of past tax returns from the IRS.
Richard Chapo is with http://www.businesstaxrecovery.com - recovering overpaid taxes for small businesses. Visit our article page - http://www.businesstaxrecovery.com/articles - to read more tax articles.
Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to Recover Money
Small Businesses Filing Amended Federal Tax Returns to Recover Money By Darren Oliver April 15th may be gone but, but certainly not forgotten ? especially if you, like millions of small businesses, unknowingly overpaid your federal taxes and can recover money by filing an amended return. According to the IRS tax code, you have three years from the filing date for the tax year in question to file an amended return. For example, if returns for the 2003 tax year were filed on March 1, 2004, the taxpayer has until March 1, 2007 to file an amended return. This same rule also applies if the taxpayer feels they have made errors resulting in a balance. Most business owners either prepare their business taxes themselves or have a tax preparer or accountant do them. With either method, the tax liability can be calculated as higher than it actually is because of missed deductions, unrecognized changes in tax laws or just plain being given bad advice. There are a number of applicable deductions which many tax preparers often miss from home office deductions to self-employed health insurance to personal assets converted to business use. Although some deductions may seem minor, over an entire year, they can add up to thousands of dollars. Another area, which causes many businesses to overpay, is being given incorrect advice by their tax preparer or even the IRS directly. In a poll performed by Money Magazine, the average tax preparer produces an average of 480 returns between February 1 and April 15, making it difficult for each return to get the time and attention it deserves. This same poll also found there was an average discrepancy of 300% between what the tax preparers said was due and what was actually due. Furthermore, in the IRS's 2001 assessment of their own call centers, they found that 50% of the time, their representatives gave incorrect or insufficient advice. Whether a business owner does their taxes themselves and had to call the IRS for clarification on an issue or a CPA did, odds are the answer was not correct. The United States tax law is one of the most complex in the world. Not to mention, tax laws change every year and have changed tremendously in the last couple of years. Even the best tax preparer, CPA or even IRS representative can, like all humans do, easily make a mistake. In 2002 alone, 3.3 million taxpayers filed an amended return. Samuel Rowley, owner of Muffler Masters in Colorado, was able to recover $14,500 through the filing of an amended return when it was found that he overpaid FICA and payroll taxes. Another small business owner, Karen McClafflin, owner of home-based Secret Canyon Realty, was able to recover $11,000 when her tax preparer failed to include home office and automobile deductions in her past returns. Why is it that when faced with a life-threatening surgery a second opinion is immediately sought after but, when trusting thousands or millions of dollars to an individual or entity, it's done without question? Businesses must get a second opinion, whether it is done before or after the return is filed, to ensure they are not overpaying or simply to ensure their returns are accurate in all aspects. If not, they could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
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