HOBBY OR BUSINESS? WHY IT MATTERS

HOBBY OR BUSINESS? WHY IT MATTERS

Income Tax Service For Small Businesses – Millions of Americans have hobbies such as sewing, woodworking, fishing, gardening, stamp and coin collecting, but when that hobby starts to turn a profit, it might just be considered a business by the IRS.

DEFINITION OF A HOBBY VS. A BUSINESS
The IRS defines a hobby as an activity that is not pursued for profit. A business, on the other hand, is an activity that is carried out with the reasonable expectation of earning a profit.

The tax considerations are different for each activity so it’s important for taxpayers to determine whether an activity is engaged in for profit as a business or is just a hobby for personal enjoyment.

Of course, you must report and pay tax on income from almost all sources, including hobbies. But when it comes to deductions such as expenses and losses, the two activities differ in their tax implications.

IS YOUR HOBBY ACTUALLY A BUSINESS?
If you’re not sure whether you’re running a business or simply enjoying a hobby, here are some of the factors you should consider:
• Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?
• Do you depend on income from the activity?
• If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?
• Have you changed methods of operation to improve profitability?
• Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?
• Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past?
• Does the activity make a profit in some years?
• Do you expect to make a profit in the future from the appreciation of assets used in the activity?

An activity is presumed to be for profit if it makes a profit in at least three of the last five tax years, including the current year (or at least two of the last seven years for activities that consist primarily of breeding, showing, training, or racing horses).

The IRS says that it looks at all facts when determining whether a hobby is for pleasure or business, but the profit test is the primary one. If the activity earned income in three out of the last five years, it is for profit. If the activity does not meet the profit test, the IRS will take an individualized look at the facts of your activity using the list of questions above to determine whether it’s a business or a hobby. (It should be noted that this list is not all-inclusive.)

Business Activity: If the activity is determined to be a business, you can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses for the operation of the business on a Schedule C or C-EZ on your Form 1040 without considerations for percentage limitations. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate for your business.

Hobby: If an activity is a hobby, not for profit, losses from that activity may not be used to offset other income. You can only deduct expenses up to the amount of income earned from the hobby. These expenses, with other miscellaneous expenses, are itemized on Schedule A and must also meet the 2 percent limitation of your adjusted gross income in order to be deducted.

WHAT ARE ALLOWABLE HOBBY DEDUCTIONS?
If your activity is not carried on for profit, allowable deductions cannot exceed the gross receipts for the activity.

Note: Internal Revenue Code Section 183 (Activities Not Engaged in for Profit) limits deductions that can be claimed when an activity is not engaged in for profit. IRC 183 is sometimes referred to as the “hobby loss rule.”

Deductions for hobby activities are claimed as itemized deductions on Schedule A, Form 1040. These deductions must be taken in the following order and only to the extent stated in each of three categories:
• Deductions that a taxpayer may claim for certain personal expenses, such as home mortgage interest and taxes, may be taken in full.
• Deductions that don’t result in an adjustment to the basis of property, such as advertising, insurance premiums, and wages, may be taken next, to the extent gross income for the activity is more than the deductions from the first category.
• Deductions that reduce the basis of property, such as depreciation and amortization, are taken last, but only to the extent gross income for the activity is more than the deductions taken in the first two categories.
If your hobby is regularly generating income, it could make tax sense for you to consider it a business because you might be able to lower your taxes and take certain deductions.

Still wondering whether your hobby is actually a business? Give us a call; we’ll help you figure it out. We’re here to help. For no obligation free consultation contact us today!
ABA Tax Accounting
info@abataxaccounting.com
(952) 583-9108
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Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FBAR filing deadline is rapidly approaching

EXPATRIATE TAX – U.S. residents with $10,000 or more in foreign bank accounts must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts by the end of the month or risk substantial fines.

The FBAR (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) is due the year after the year that the $10,000 threshold in met. The FBAR due date cannot be extended and failure to file an FBAR may result in civil and/or criminal penalties. Considering a Tax Professional? For no obligation free consultation contact us today!
ABA Tax Accounting
info@abataxaccounting.com
651-621-5777
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Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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Tips for Taxpayers with Foreign Income

Tips for Taxpayers with Foreign Income
If you are living or working outside the United States, you generally must file and pay your tax in the same way as people living in the U.S. This includes people with dual citizenship.

Here are some tips taxpayers with foreign income should know:
1. Report Worldwide Income. The law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income. This includes income from foreign trusts, and foreign bank and securities accounts.
2. File Required Tax Forms. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to file Schedule B, Interest and Ordinary Dividends, with their tax returns. Some taxpayers may need to file additional forms. For example, some may need to file Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, while others may need to file Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, with the Treasury Department.
3. Consider the Automatic Extension. U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad on April 15, 2013, may qualify for an automatic two-month extension to file their 2012 federal income tax returns. The extension of time to file until June 17, 2013, also applies to those serving in the military outside the U.S. Taxpayers must attach a statement to their returns explaining why they qualify for the extension.
4. Review the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Many Americans who live and work abroad qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. This means taxpayers who qualify will not pay taxes on up to $95,100 of their wages and other foreign earned income they received in 2012.
5. Don’t Overlook Credits and Deductions. Taxpayers may be able to take either a credit or a deduction for income taxes paid to a foreign country. This benefit reduces the taxes these taxpayers pay in situations where both the U.S. and another country tax the same income.
For no obligation free consultation contact us today!
Aba Tax Accounting
Amare Berhie, Enrolled Agent
Amare@Abataxaccounting.Com
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Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm  Comments (1)  
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Year- End Tax Planning – Income From Foreign Sources

Year- End Tax Planning Income From Foreign Sources

Income From Foreign Sources – Many U.S. citizens earn money from foreign sources. But unless it is exempt under federal law, taxpayers sometimes forget that they have to report all such income on their tax return. 

As such, some U.S. taxpayers living abroad have failed to timely file U.S. federal income tax returns or Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs). Some of these taxpayers have recently become aware of their filing requirements and want to comply with the law. 

Effective September 1, 2012, taxpayers who are low compliance risks are able to get current with their tax requirements without facing penalties or additional enforcement action. These taxpayers generally have simple tax returns and owe $1,500 or less in tax for any of the covered years. 

U.S. citizens are taxed on their income regardless of whether they live inside or outside the United States. The foreign income rule also applies regardless of whether the person receives a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or Form 1099. 

Foreign source income includes earned and unearned income, such as:

  • Wages and tips
  • Interest
  • Dividends
  • Capital gains
  • Pensions
  • Rents
  • Royalties

But there is some good news. Citizens living outside the United States may be able to exclude up to $95,100 of their 2012 foreign source income if they meet certain requirements. This will increase to $97,600 in 2013.

If you’re married and you and your spouse both work abroad and meet either the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test, each of you can choose the foreign earned income exclusion. Together, you can exclude as much as $190,200 for the 2012 tax year.

Caution: The exclusion does not apply to payments made to U.S. government employees or folks in the military living outside the United States.

If you earn income from outside the country, please be sure to meet with us about it. We can advise you on how to address all of the tax implications of this situation. For no obligation free consultation contact us today!

ABA Tax Accounting

info@abataxaccounting.com

866-936-0430 Toll Free

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Published in: on November 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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