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Ken Berry

CPA Practice Advisor Tax Correspondent

Ken Berry, Esq., is a nationally-known writer and editor specializing in tax and financial planning matters. During a career of more than 35 years, he has served as managing editor of a publisher of content-based marketing tools and vice president of an online continuing education company in the financial services industry. As a freelance writer, Ken has authored thousands of articles for a wide variety of newsletters, magazines and other periodicals, emphasizing a sense of wit and clarity.  

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Product & Service Guide

Traveling Abroad for Business? Keep These Deduction Tips in Mind

As with domestic travel (i.e., travel within the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia), you can deduct all of your travel expenses if the trip is entirely for business purposes. Otherwise, you’re entitled to travel deductions only if the primary purpose of the trip is business-related. Again, the days spent on business versus pleasure are critical, although the IRS is lenient in treating certain days as “business days.”

Human Resources & Payroll

Pensions, Defined Benefit Plans are Still a Good Option for Some

Do you remember those traditional pension plans from days of yore? Although such plans are nowhere near as prevalent as they were back in your grandfather’s day – especially for employers that must cover dozens of employees or more -- there’s still a time and place for the “defined benefit plan.” In fact, this option might be a perfect fit for a small business with just one or just a handful of full-time workers in the fold.

Product & Service Guide

Summertime Tax Tip #10: Taking Business Clients to the Country Club? That’s Entertainment!

It all has to do with the current tax rules for business entertainment. To be deductible as entertainment that is “associated with” your business, the activity must take place immediately before or after a substantial business discussion. Usually, this means the discussion has to be on the same day as the entertainment, but it could occur either the preceding or following day if the clients are from out of town.

Product & Service Guide

Summertime Tax Tip #9: Going Back to School? It Might Qualify as a Tax Deductible Business Expense

It’s smart to try to get ahead in your field or at least keep pace with the latest developments. So some of your clients may be planning to put down their work tools and pick up books again as another school year beckons. Can a taxpayer deduct any education expenses if he or she is already working? Regardless of your intentions, it all depends on whether or not you pass the tax law test.

Product & Service Guide

Summer Time Tax Tip #8: Deductions for Medical Expenses: When a Swimming Pool is Deductible

However, there’s a silver tax lining if the pool is needed by a family member to alleviate arthritis or some other specific illness. For a medically-necessary improvement made by a homeowner, the deductible amount is equal to the cost above the corresponding increase in the home's value. In addition, the annual maintenance costs associated with the pool — chlorine, repairs, utilities, cleaning services, etc. -- also qualify for the deduction. Note that the entire cost of a qualified improvements, plus the maintenance costs, is deductible by tenants.

Product & Service Guide

IRS Gives an Inch on Once-A-Year IRA Rollover Rule

The IRS isn’t backing off on its tough stance involving the “once-a-year-IRA rollover” rule. In the aftermath of a new case tightening the restriction for IRA owners (Bobrow, TC Memo 2014-21), it recently announced it intends the follow the Tax Court’s lead on this issue. However, showing some leniency, the IRS now says it won’t implement the new rule until 2015, providing clients with leeway for the rest of this year (Announcement 2014-15)

Product & Service Guide

Summertime Tax Tip #7: Salvage Tax Deductions by Donating Household Items

It’s a common practice during the summer: After a spring cleaning, people try to sell the household items they no longer need or want in a “garage sale” (known as a “lawn sale, “tag sale” or some other name in parts of the country). But what do they do with those items that are left over at the end of the day? Instead of simply discarding them, they may be able to donate them to charity and take a tax deduction for their troubles.

Product & Service Guide

IRS Nixes "Pump-and-Dump" Obamacare Strategy

Employers can’t get around the Obamacare “shared responsibility” provision simply by giving employees tax-free cash to pay for health insurance from a state-run exchange. In effect, this would pump up a worker’s pay and dump them in the marketplace. According to a new question and answer (Q&A) posted on the IRS website, as initially reported by the New York Times on May 25, the agency authoritatively states that the scheme won’t be allowed.

Product & Service Guide

IRS Offers 7 Tax Tips on Health Care Credit

The Obama administration is relying on various federal agencies and organizations to help implement the complex rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the comprehensive health care legislation otherwise known as “Obamacare.” Naturally, the IRS is expected to play a major role, including enforcement of the penalties for failing to obtain minimum coverage and imposition of the 3.8% Medicare surtax on “net investment income” (NII) for certain upper-income investors.

Product & Service Guide

New Obamacare Rules Let Existing Health Insurance Plans Continue Until 2016

On March 5, the government released a second set of comprehensive regulations relating to the controversial health care legislation. Previously, regulations had extended the employer mandate for certain mid-sized firms by one year to January 1, 2016, while all responsible firms had benefited from a prior one-year delay. Now, following an earlier reprieve, the grace period for individual policies that don’t meet the law’s requirements has been extended by two years, to October 1, 2016.

Human Resources & Payroll

Introducing the MyRA: Boom or Bust?

President Obama didn’t drop any bombshells in his State of the Union address delivered on January 28. But he did unveil a new retirement-saving concept called the “MyRA” (a wordplay on IRA). As the president explained, this account will be designed to encourage retirement savings by workers who don’t have access to employer plans like 401(k)s. It is hoped that the MyRA can help bridge the gap facing millions of Americans who haven’t set aside enough for retirement. But will it turn into a dud?