Coeur d’Alene Stock Market Trading: Tax-Favored Treatment

Are You a Regular Investor or a Tax-Favored Securities Trader?


Recent stock market volatility makes us focus on the question of exactly who is eligible for the favorable federal income tax treatment accorded to individuals who trade stocks with sufficient intensity to be classified as securities traders in the eyes of the IRS.

Not-so-favorable federal income tax treatment applies if you trade stocks fairly actively but without enough vigor to be considered anything other than a garden-variety investor.

There’s no bright-line distinction between trader and investor status, so we must rely on court decisions to assess the issue.

Let’s summarize the important federal income tax advantages of securities trader status for those who qualify. You may be among them—or not.


If You’re a Trader, You Can Deduct Expenses on Schedule C and Make the Taxpayer-Friendly Mark-to-Market Election


If you can be classified as a securities trader for federal income tax purposes, as opposed to being a garden-variety investor, you’re considered to be in the business of trading securities. That means you can deduct your trading-related expenses on Schedule C of Form 1040. Good!

Garden-variety investors cannot deduct any of their investment-related expenses under our current federal income tax regime.

The most important advantage of trader status is that you’re eligible to make the Coeur d’Alene Idaho taxpayer-friendly mark-to-market election. That election is not available to garden-variety investors.

When you have a mark-to-market election in force, you gain two important federal income tax advantages.


Advantage 1: Exemption from the Capital Loss Deduction Limitation

Because you are a mark-to-market trader, your trading gains and losses are simply considered business income and expenses, respectively. So, if you have an awful trading year, as many traders did in 2022, you can deduct your trading losses in full.

In contrast, if you’re a garden-variety investor, you’re subject to the $3,000 annual limit on deductible net capital losses, or $1,500 if you use married-filing-separately status.


Advantage 2: Exemption from the Wash Sale Rule

Because you are a mark-to-market trader, your trading portfolio is exempt from the dreaded wash sale rule that would otherwise defer tax losses when you acquire substantially identical securities within 30 days before or after a loss sale.

When the wash sale rule applies, the disallowed loss is added to the basis of the substantially identical securities that triggered the rule.


Key point. Gaining an exemption from the wash sale rule via the mark-to-market election saves you from lots of non-productive calendar-watching and bookkeeping.


The Price of the Mark-to-Market Election


As a Couer d’Alene trader who has made the mark-to-market election, you must pay a price for the aforementioned tax advantages. Here’s the price: On the last trading day of the year, you must pretend to sell your entire trading portfolio at market and book the resulting gains and losses for federal income tax purposes.

You’re then deemed to immediately buy back everything in your trading portfolio for the same prices. So, the securities in your trading portfolio begin the next year with tax basis equal to market value and with no unrecognized tax gains or losses.

But if you have little or nothing in your trading portfolio at year end, as may often be the case, these imaginary mark-to-market transactions have little or no tax impact.


Deadline for Making the Mark-to-Market Election


If you’re a Coeur d’Alene  trader who uses the calendar year for federal income tax purposes, you’ve already missed the deadline for making the mark-to-market election for your 2022 tax year, assuming you did not already make the election for an earlier year.

According to IRS rules, you must make the election for a calendar year by the unextended due date of your Form 1040 for the previous year. So, the deadline to make the election for your 2022 tax year was April 18, 2022. That’s way back in your rearview mirror.

Deadline alert. If you’re a calendar-year taxpayer, the deadline to make the mark-to-market election for your 2023 tax year is April 18, 2023. That date will be here before you know it!

Make the election by including a statement with your 2022 Form 1040 filed by that date or with a Form 4868 extension request for your 2022 return filed by that date.


Passing the Test to Qualify as a Securities Trader


To be classified as a securities trader rather than a garden-variety investor, your trading activities must constitute a business, and you must meet both of the following requirements.

· Your trading must be frequent and substantial.
· You must seek to profit from short-term market swings rather than profit from longer-term strategies.

Major Tax Changes That Will Affect You in 2023

Say Goodbye to 100 Percent Bonus Depreciation in 2023

All good things must come to an end. On December 31, 2022, one of the best tax deductions ever for businesses will end: 100 percent bonus depreciation.

Since late 2017, businesses have used bonus depreciation to deduct 100 percent of the cost of most types of property other than real property. But starting in 2023, bonus depreciation is scheduled to decline 20 percent each year until it reaches zero in 2027.

For example, if you purchase $100,000 in equipment for your business and place it in service in 2022, you can deduct $100,000 using 100 percent bonus depreciation. If you wait until 2023, you’ll be able to deduct only $80,000 (80 percent).

Does this mean you should rush out and purchase business property before 2022 ends to take advantage of the 100 percent bonus depreciation? Not necessarily. For many businesses, an alternative is not going away: IRC Section 179 expensing.

Both IRC Section 179 expensing and bonus depreciation allow business owners to deduct in one year the cost of most types of tangible personal

property, plus off-the-shelf computer software. Both can be used for new and used property acquired by purchase from an unrelated party. Both also can be used to deduct various non-structural improvements to non-residential buildings after they are placed in service.

Moreover, the two deductions aren’t mutually exclusive. You can apply Section 179 expensing to qualifying property up to the annual limit and then claim bonus depreciation for any remaining basis. Starting in 2023, when bonus depreciation will be less than 100 percent, any basis left after applying Section 179 and bonus depreciation will be deducted with regular depreciation over several years.


But there are some significant differences between the two deductions:

  • Section 179 expensing is subject to annual dollar limits that don’t apply to bonus depreciation. But the limits are so large that they don’t affect most smaller businesses.
  • Section 179 expensing requires more than 50 percent business use to qualify for and retain the Section 179 deduction. For bonus depreciation, you face the more than 50 percent business use requirement only for vehicles and other listed property.
  • Unlike bonus depreciation, Section 179 expensing is limited to your net taxable business income (not counting the Section 179 deduction) and cannot result in a loss for the year.
  • The 2022 Section 179 deduction is limited to $27,000 for SUVs. There is no such limit on bonus depreciation.
  • You can use bonus depreciation to deduct land improvements with a 15-year class life, such as sidewalks, fences, driveways, landscaping, and swimming pools.


Generally, there is no great need to purchase and place the property in service by the end of 2022 to take advantage of 100 percent bonus depreciation. But there can be exceptions.

For example, if you own a rental property and want to make substantial landscaping or other land improvements, you’ll get a larger one-year depreciation deduction using 100 percent bonus depreciation in 2022 than if you wait until 2023, when the bonus will be only 80 percent.


Buying an Electric Vehicle? Know These Tax Law Changes

There’s good and bad news if you’re in the market for an electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

The good news is that the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act includes a wholly revamped tax credit for electric vehicles that starts in 2023 and continues through 2032.

The bad news is that the credit, now called the “clean vehicle credit,” comes with many new restrictions.


The clean vehicle credit remains at a maximum of $7,500. But beginning in 2023, to qualify for the credit,

  • you will need an adjusted gross income of $300,000 or less for marrieds filing jointly or $150,000 or less for singles; and
  • you will need to buy an electric vehicle with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price below $80,000 for vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, or $55,000 for other vehicles.


But that’s not all. The 2023-and-later credit includes new domestic assembly and battery sourcing requirements.

The new law reduces or eliminates the credit when the vehicle fails the battery sourcing requirements. Currently, no electric vehicle will qualify for the full $7,500 credit. Manufacturers are working feverishly to change this, but it could take a few years.

The new credit is not all bad—it eliminates the cap of 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer. Thus, popular electric vehicles manufactured by GM, Toyota, and Tesla can qualify for the new credit if they meet the price cap and other requirements.

And then, starting in 2024, you can qualify for a credit of up to $4,000 when purchasing a used electric vehicle from a dealer (not an individual). But income caps also will apply to this credit.

Also, starting in 2024, you’ll be able to transfer your credit to the dealer in return for a cash rebate or price reduction. This way, you can benefit from the credit immediately rather than waiting until you file your tax return.

If you are locked out of the new credit because your income is too high or you wish to purchase a too-expensive electric vehicle, consider buying a qualifying electric vehicle (assembled in North America) on or before December 31, 2022.

If you buy an electric vehicle for business use in 2023, you have a second option: the commercial clean vehicle credit.


Claim Your Employee Retention Credit

If you had W-2 employees in 2020 and/or 2021, you need to look at the Employee Retention Credit (ERC).

As you likely know, it’s not too late to file for the ERC. And now is a good time to get this done.

You can qualify for 2020 credits of up to $5,000 per employee and 2021 credits of up to $7,000 per employee for each of the first three quarters. That’s a possibility of $26,000 per employee.

One of our clients—let’s call him John—had 10 employees during 2020 and 2021. He qualified for $260,000 of tax credits (think cash). You could be like John.


You have three ways to qualify for the ERC:

  1. Significant decline in gross receipts. Here, you compare the gross receipts quarter by quarter to those in 2019. To trigger any ERC under this test, you need a drop of more than 50 percent in 2020 and a drop of more than 20 percent in 2021.
  2. Government order that causes more than a nominal effect. Here, your best bet is to use the safe harbor for nominal effect. This requires looking at either your 2019 quarterly receipts or your 2019 quarterly hours worked by employees and seeing that the 2020 or 2021 shutdown order would have affected the 2019 figures by more than 10 percent.
  3. Government order causes a modification to your business. Here, you also have a safe harbor. The IRS deems that the federal, state, or local COVID-19 government order had a more-than-nominal effect on your business if it reduced your ability to provide goods or services in the normal course of your business by not less than 10 percent.


The ERC can help all businesses that qualify, even those businesses that did not suffer during the COVID-19 pandemic.



How To Treat Cryptocurrency on Your Idaho Tax Return

The IRS recently issued new cryptocurrency guidance and is hot on your trail if you bought and sold cryptocurrency and didn’t report it on your tax return.

Here are the tax basics: You’ll treat cryptocurrency as property for tax purposes:

  • If you receive bitcoin in exchange for your services, then your income is the fair market value of the bitcoin received. Your basis in the bitcoin received is its fair market value at the time of receipt plus any transaction fees incurred.
  • If you receive bitcoin in exchange for your property, then your gain or loss is the fair market value of the bitcoin received less the adjusted basis of your property given up. Your basis in the bitcoin is its fair market value at the time of receipt plus any transaction fees incurred.
  • If you give bitcoin in exchange for services, then the value of the expense is the fair market value of the bitcoin given. Also, the value of the services received less the adjusted basis of the bitcoin is a gain or loss to you.
  • If you give bitcoin in exchange for someone’s property, then your gain or loss is the fair market value of the property you received less the adjusted basis of your bitcoin.


Cryptocurrency is a capital asset (provided you aren’t a trader). Therefore,
  • you pay tax on any gain at reduced rates, and
  • losses are subject to capital loss limitation rules.



In the cryptocurrency world, a fork occurs when the digital register that logs transactions of a particular cryptocurrency diverges into a new digital register. There are two types of forks:

  • one in which you don’t get cryptocurrency, and
  • one in which you get new cryptocurrency.


The IRS ruled that

  • a fork in which you don’t get cryptocurrency is not a taxable event, and
  • a fork in which you get new cryptocurrency is a taxable event and you’ll recognize ordinary income equal to the fair market value of the new cryptocurrency received.


Example. You own J, a cryptocurrency. A fork occurs and you receive three units of K, a new cryptocurrency. At the time of the fork, K has a value of $20 per unit. You’ll recognize $60 of ordinary income due to the fork.


Specific Identification

When selling property, you generally sell it on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis, unless you are eligible to use the specific identification method. You want to use the specific identification method if you can because you can select the amount of gain or loss your sale will create. With FIFO, you have no choice.


To use the specific identification method, you’ll have to either
  • document the specific unit’s unique digital identifier, such as a private key, public key, and address, or
  • keep records showing the transaction information for all units of a specific virtual currency, such as bitcoin, held in a single account, wallet, or address.


This information must show
  • the date and time you acquired each unit;
  • your basis and the fair market value of each unit at the time you acquired it;
  • the date and time you sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of each unit;
  • the fair market value of each unit when you sold, exchanged, or disposed of it; and
  • the amount of money or the value of property received for each unit.


Do You Have Unfiled Tax Returns?

Do You Have Unfiled Tax Returns?

Here’s What to Do.

Filing your taxes is never a fun thing to do, but if you don’t file them at all then the IRS will come calling. They have unbridled power to file a return on your behalf in theirs, not yours, best interest.

They have powerful collection tools and an unforgiving nature that makes this one of the worst mistakes anyone could make. Getting on their bad side isn’t easy; having years worth of unfiled returns only adds fuel to the fire!

The IRS is always on the lookout for taxpayer’s who haven’t filed legally required income or payroll tax returns. If you have unfiled tax returns, it’s only a matter of time before they find out and demand the return and their money with penalties and interest! When it gets to a point where the IRS contacts you, the amount they claim you owe will be far greater than the amount you actually owe if you haven’t filed. You don’t want this situation and unfortunately in these circumstances the amount they claim you owe is what you will have to pay unless you prove otherwise.

Before we jump into it, if you have back tax debt or years of unfiled tax returns, contact our firm for a consultation or call (208) 415-1850. You won’t have to talk to, or meet with, the IRS and our firm can provide the peace of mind you need to resolve your tax issue.

The longer you wait, the worse the situation will become. Here are some important steps you can take if you have unfiled returns with the IRS.


Get Your Documentation

If you’ve been neglecting your taxes for too long, it’s time to take care of things. An experienced tax resolution firm can help get things back on track and oftentimes, even if the records are missing or destroyed, there are alternative methods to reconstruct your tax return. However, only a tax resolution professional will be able to accomplish this.

If you are missing W2 and 1099 forms from past years an experienced tax resolution pro has the ability to retrieve these as well.


Go Through the Numbers

The fear of not having the money to pay has caused many people to avoid filing their returns altogether, but those worries are often misplaced.

According to the IRS statistics approximately one-third (34%) of all unfiled federal tax forms may actually be due a refund! Now that you have all the documentation you need, it is time to run the numbers. And while you may not be able to get exact figures without filing the returns, you can get an idea of how much you might owe.


Hire a Professional

Whether you are an individual, partnership or corporation there is a strong temptation to let your past mistakes go. But doing so would put both financial security and freedom at risk – which makes filing those old tax

returns seem like tempting fate instead of bravely taking on the challenge ahead! It is a misdemeanor and possible jail time for failing to file legally required income tax returns. Don’t let this happen to you.

The IRS will assess a 25% failure to file penalty as well as up to a 25% failure to pay penalty, plus interest. Just filing your return, even if you can’t pay, will save you big time!

When you’re dealing with back taxes, it’s important to have someone on your side who knows what they are doing. A tax resolution professional can give invaluable advice and guidance about how to lower the amount that the IRS claims you owe and the best steps moving forward for your situation.

You’re not alone in the battle against the IRS. The IRS is ready and waiting for you, so it’s best to have an expert on your side who knows how to get the help you need and deserve.

A tax resolution professional can give advice about what needs to be done; from gathering documents like W-2s or 1099’s right down to making sure everything looks perfect when filing those unfiled returns.

Contacting the IRS on your own is not only a scary thought, it’s highly not recommended, but avoiding them will make your situation worse. When you don’t file your taxes and lose track of what’s owed to the government it can have devastating consequences for both yourself personally as well as financially. The IRS stores detailed records of everyone in their database

and chances are, you are already on their radar due to your lack of compliance.

Filing those returns ASAP will go miles in helping you get back on track before any more damage becomes irreversible. Filing your taxes might seem like a daunting task, but there is help for you. The right professional can make things right with the IRS and relieve the stress from this difficult situation.

Get Rid of the Stress

The stress of not filing taxes can be enough to make you lose sleep. What’s worse, IRS problems usually affect all aspects of one’s life. Do yourself and your sanity a favor by filing your returns now; it isn’t nearly as scary or daunting as receiving the final collection letter from the IRS or getting your bank accounts levied.

If you are looking for tax relief, we can help! To help ease the stress from your situation, we offer a free consultation with one of our tax resolution experts. You don’t have to worry about the cost because the consultation is completely free.


5 Critical Reasons to Hire a Tax Resolution Professional

5 Critical Reasons to Hire a Tax Resolution Professional

Dealing with tax issues can often be a challenge and feel overwhelming for many people. Choosing to work with a tax resolution professional is often a great choice if you are dealing with the IRS. These tax relief specialists can guide you throughout the entire process to help you avoid making costly mistakes. You will also have much less stress knowing that an experienced professional is working hard on your behalf.

The IRS is no stranger to audit and it can be a stressful process. If you’ve received a notice from them, don’t panic! There are many things that could help relieve the stress – like working with one of our top-rated tax resolution professionals who will fight hard on your behalf so there’s less risk for penalties or interest charges along with preserving any possible defenses against accusations from this difficult situation.

Here are 5 critical reasons why you need to partner with a tax resolution expert.


1)  Relief from the IRS & Your State of Mind

When you receive the first letter from the IRS, it can make your stomach drop and your heartbeat a little faster, but working with a tax resolution expert can set your mind at ease because you have a professional working on your case to help you through this gut-wrenching experience. As an

added bonus more often than not, once you hire a tax resolution expert you won’t have to meet or speak with the IRS.


2)  Guidance from a Professional

One of the benefits of hiring a tax resolution professional is that it gives you access to professionals that do this type of work on a daily basis. Working with a tax resolution expert is especially important if you are dealing with any back taxes. They understand the latest laws impacting your case to help you make the best decision for your situation.


3)  Saves You Money

An added benefit of hiring a tax resolution professional is that it can save you a lot of money. Yes it will cost money to hire them, but it’s a lot less expensive compared to having no representation at all. A tax resolution professional also has more experience with handling different issues compared to an accountant, which is why it’s recommended to hire a tax resolution professional if you are dealing with the IRS.


4)  Get Your Time Back

Trying to research all of the regulations involving the tax code is nearly impossible for most people. However, working with a tax resolution professional is a great way to resolve your tax issue as they must keep up to date with the latest laws. These professionals understand all of the in’s and out’s of the IRS maze and can help you negotiate the lowest possible settlement amount or the lowest possible monthly payment amount, allowed by law.


5)  Avoid Costly Mistakes

Mistakes can easily happen while you are dealing with the IRS without you even knowing it. Unfortunately, even small mistakes can lead to significant penalties and cause plenty of headaches. Hiring a tax resolution professional is a great option for avoiding these mistakes. They deal with these situations on a daily basis and understand how to work with the IRS to ensure you can save the most amount of money.


Closing Thoughts

Working with a tax resolution professional is something that many people find to be both beneficial and necessary. They can help you avoid costly mistakes when filing taxes or during an IRS audit, as well offer much needed guidance throughout the process of doing so! By partnering up for this kind of work, you’ll have saved yourself tons of time by working together instead of spending hours trying to figure out what’s wrong on your own – while avoiding stress altogether.



If you owe the IRS or state $10,000+ and are feeling blindsided every year by a huge tax bill – don’t wait. We can help! Contact us today for more information about how we’ll work to settle your debt so that it doesn’t become impossible tomorrow. It’s always difficult when faced with major financial problems such as unpaid taxes; however there is relief available through reputable organizations like Coeur d’Alene Tax Returns & Resolution which specializes in settling debts without going into collections agencies.


A Roadmap to Tax Resolution

A Roadmap to Tax Resolution

What to Expect When Resolving Your Tax Debt

Many of our clients who retain our tax relief services are interested in knowing two things:

1) Can you settle this for less than I owe; and 2) How long will this take?

Upon retaining our firm to resolve your tax issue, some of the relief will be immediate and some will be over time. It is important to keep in mind that IRS problems didn’t come about overnight and will take time to resolve. The good news is that generally you won’t have to meet or speak with the IRS while we are representing you. An average Offer in Compromise (OIC) case can take anywhere from 6-12 months (or longer) depending on the amount of tax liability owed, the complexity of the case, and your individual facts and circumstances.

Road Map to Resolution

Free Consultation: If you have never been a client of ours, the first step is to call for your confidential, no obligation free consultation. At this meeting, an experienced tax resolution consultant, CPA, Attorney or Enrolled Agent will evaluate your situation and discuss all available options for resolving your matter. This generally takes about 30-45 minutes; however, there are times where the information provided at this meeting is not sufficient to determine a course of action. It is advised therefore to have all recent notices and correspondence from the IRS available during our first telephone consultation. The first step is to hire us to obtain your IRS transcripts and Record of Account so we can best evaluate all of your alternative settlement options.


1. Retaining Our Firm:

At the end of your consultation, and if selected as a good “fit” for our firm, you will be given the opportunity to retain us as your tax representative. You will be required to sign an Engagement Letter and make financial arrangements in order to pay for our tax help services.

We will file a Power of Attorney (POA) with the IRS. This will provide you with immediate relief because We will attempt to get a collection hold (no enforced collection) on your account and from this point forward, the IRS will be required to contact us instead of you. If an IRS representative should happen to contact you, all you need to do is provide our contact information, including phone number, and politely request that he or she contact “Coeur d’Alene Accounting & Tax Resolution” directly. A separate POA will be required for any state problem you have retained us for as well.


2. Beginning the Tax Resolution Process:

You will be assigned a case manager who is in charge of your case. All of our case managers are licensed professionals and are extremely qualified. Our case managers are Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants or Enrolled Agents. Together we will develop a phased strategy for resolving your case and advise you on what steps to take for the most effective resolution.


3. IRS Compliance:

Generally, before any negotiation/settlement will be accepted by the IRS, you must become a compliant taxpayer. Compliance means that all past due delinquent income tax returns must be prepared and filed. Compliance also means you have to be “current” on you quarterly estimated income tax payments and you must be withholding at the correct rate if a wage earner. If you cannot furnish records necessary to prepare your taxes, do not worry we have developed an easy method, in accordance with IRS regulations, for completing the preparation of tax returns in order to get them filed right away.

4. Your (the Client’s) Responsibilities:

Clients who achieve successful resolution of their matters have the following traits in common: They view the relationship with us as a collaborative one. They view this as a “project” that requires cooperation. They follow through, on a TIMELY basis, with our requests for information and documentation. Clients who achieve stated resolution goals return our phone calls and emails timely, and stay in contact with us throughout the duration of their case.

5. Tax Settlement Negotiation:

We will propose a plan of resolution to the IRS that you can live with and see through to acceptance. We have an excellent IRS settlement track record rate and pride ourselves in obtaining the best (lowest) settlement for you under the law. It is rare, however, that a proposal is accepted right away. Through diligence, persistence, and follow-up our knowledgeable staff will monitor, provide additional information to the IRS as needed, and negotiate your proposed resolution until a resolution is achieved.

6. Tax Resolution is Reached:

We will review the final resolution of your case by the IRS to make sure it is as agreed upon. If not, we will insist that it be changed to reflect what was agreed to. If the IRS is unwilling to do this, we will advise you as to what your options are for the next step. Finally, you will be advised on what you must do in order to succeed with your resolution and avoid future tax problems.


New Meals Deduction Rules for Your Idaho Business

Here’s good news for business meals: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) removed the “directly related and associated with” requirements from Coeur d’Alene business meals.

The net effect of this change is to subject business meals once again to the pre-1963 “ordinary and necessary” business expense rules.

You are going to like these rules.


Restaurants and Bars

Question 1. If, for business reasons, you take a customer to breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant or hotel, or to a bar for a few drinks, but you do not discuss business, can you deduct the costs of the meals and drinks?

Answer 1. Yes. Even though you did not discuss business, the law provides that if the circumstances are of a type generally considered conducive to a business discussion, you may deduct the expenses for meals and beverages to the extent they are ordinary and necessary expenses.

Consider this “no discussion” meal a “quiet business meal.”

Question 2. What are circumstances conducive to a business discussion?

Answer 2. This depends on the facts, taking into account the surroundings in which the meals or beverages are furnished, your business, and your relationship to the person entertained. The surroundings should be such that there are no substantial distractions to the discussion.

Generally, a restaurant, a hotel dining room, or a similar place that does not involve distracting influences, such as a floor show, is considered conducive to a business discussion. On the other hand, business meals at nightclubs, sporting events, large cocktail parties, and sizable social gatherings would not generally be conducive to a business discussion.


Meals Served in Your Home

Question 3. Does a business meal served in your home disqualify the deduction?

Answer 3. No, as long as you serve the food and beverages under circumstances conducive to a business discussion. But because you are in your home, the IRS adds that you must clearly show that the expenditure was commercially rather than socially motivated.

Goodwill Meals

Question 4. If, for goodwill purposes, you take a customer and his or her spouse to lunch and don’t discuss business, will the cost of the lunch become non-deductible?

Answer 4. Not if, in light of all facts and circumstances, the surroundings are considered conducive to a business discussion, and the expenses are ordinary and necessary expenses of carrying on the business rather than socially motivated expenses.

Question 5. Is the situation the same if the taxpayer’s spouse accompanies the taxpayer at a dinner for business goodwill reasons?

Answer 5. Yes, the meal is deductible. This is true whether or not the customer’s spouse is present. Again, the meal must meet the ordinary and necessary business expense standards.


Document the Meal Deductions

You need to keep records that prove your CDA business meals are ordinary and necessary business expenses. You can accomplish this by keeping the following:

  1. Receipts that show the purchases (food and drinks consumed)
  2. Proof of payment (credit card receipt/statement or canceled check)
  3. Note of the name of the person or persons with whom you had the meals
  4. Record of the business reason for the meal (a short note—say, seven words or fewer)


The costs of your Coeur d’Alene business meals continue to be 50 percent deductible (as they were before the TCJA).

Donation Tax Write-Off Rules

Giving to your church, school, or other 501(c)(3) charity is a noble act no matter how you choose to give.

But for the purposes of tax savings, some forms of giving are much more beneficial to you than others. As a Coeur d’Alene business owner, you can use some business strategies to get the money to these institutions as business expenses.

While this does not change anything from the institution’s perspective, it hugely increases your tax savings.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) makes it harder to benefit from your personal donations.


Let’s say you donate $10,000 to a church, school, or other 501(c)(3) charity:

  1. Will you get a tax deduction—in other words, will you itemize?
  2. Will you benefit from the entire $10,000 as an itemized deduction? In other words, did the $10,000 simply put you over the hump that beat the standard deduction?
  3. Say you can deduct all $10,000 as an itemized deduction. Would making it a business deduction increase the tax benefit value to you?


The TCJA made two big changes that make it less likely that you will itemize. First, the TCJA set a $10,000 limit on your state and local income and property tax deductions. Second, it increased the 2020 standard deductions (adjusted for inflation) to

  • $12,400 for individuals, and
  • $24,800 for married couples filing jointly.


Even if you make a big donation, think about the problem this creates—suppose you are married and donate $17,000 to charity. If this is your only itemized deduction, your donation does you no good because it’s less than $24,800.


Fortunately, there’s a much more tax-savvy way to give.

As a CDA business owner, you can make a few modifications and convert your church, school, and other 501(c)(3) donations to a different type of deduction—an ordinary business expense—which increases the tax savings that land in your pocket year after year.

To turn a charitable donation into a business expense, the donation has to be involved in some way in promoting your business. In one way or another, you need to prove that your strategy has as its purpose attracting customers and revenue for your business.


The tax law rule is that your donation must

  • have a direct relationship to your business, and
  • create a reasonable expectation for a commensurate economic return.


Here are four examples of successful business practices that benefit charities and create business deductions:
  1. In the Marcell case, the owner of a trucking company contributed cash to a hospital because he wanted to impress the chairman of the charity drive, who was a potential customer. The court found that Philip Marcell had a reasonable expectation for a commensurate return on his donation and treated the contribution as a business expense.
  2. ABC Company attaches rebate slips to some of its products that it sells to customers. The customers can then present the rebate slips to the charity, at which point ABC Company pays the charity the amount listed on the slip.
  3. In Revenue Ruling 72-314, the IRS ruled that the stockbroker corporation that paid 6 percent of its brokerage commissions to the neighborhood charity could deduct the payments as business expenses because there was a reasonable expectation that the arrangement with the charity would direct new business to the brokerage and help retain existing business.
  4. Sarah Marquis, a sole-proprietor travel agent, made payments to charities on the basis of business they did with her. She had 30 charities as clients, and those 30 charities accounted for 57 percent of her CDA business.


Important Tax Complications of Renting Your CDA Home

You must consider the Coeur d’Alene vacation home rules when you:
  • rent a bedroom in your home and also use it personally, or
  • rent your beach home (or any other home you own) and also use it personally.


Personal Use of the Dwelling

Rent or use by relatives. Personal use includes more than meets the eye. You have personal use of a dwelling when you rent to or allow use by a relative. The rent charged makes no difference.


Paying and non-paying relatives who use your Coeur d’Alene vacation home complicate your deductions. Such use by your relatives is personal use by you. The relatives who come with this personal-use taint include your


  • mom and dad,
  • brothers and sisters (whole and half),
  • sons and daughters,
  • grandchildren and grandparents, and
  • spouse.


Planning tip. Do not rent to the tainted relatives.



Co-owners must count both use by their relatives and use by themselves as personal use. Thus, if you own a Coeur d’Alene rental home with others, make sure you know about the personal use by the co-owners and also use by their tainted relatives.


Charitable Donations

Charitable donations produce personal use. No matter how much the charitable donor pays for use of your dwelling unit, the IRS counts the charitable use as personal use by you.

If you donate a week of Coeur d’Alene vacation-home use to your school’s annual auction, you have a week of personal use. It makes no difference what the successful bidder pays for that week of use.

Double whammy. Your charitable gift of the right to use your dwelling unit for the week does not produce a deductible contribution for you. The IRS regulations deny a charitable contribution deduction for a gift of the right to use property.

Thus, the charitable gift penalizes you twice. First, the days you donate are days of personal use by you. Second, your donation of the days does not create a charitable deduction for you.



Swaps produce personal use. Similarly, you have personal use when you swap dwelling units with a friend or under an exchange agreement. Swaps and bargains produce personal days. You count as personal use of your dwelling unit any days that you

  • allow a person to use your unit under an agreement that lets you use another dwelling, whether or not you charge rent; or
  • charge less than fair rent.


Example 1. You and Nelson swap one week of vacation-home use. Nelson’s use of your dwelling unit during the one-week swap counts as personal use by you.

Example 2. You and Johnson rent each other’s mountain homes for a week at fair market rent. Johnson’s rental of your dwelling unit during that one week counts as personal use by you.

Example 3. You charge your child’s favorite teacher only 67 percent of the fair rent to use your beach home for a week. The teacher’s use of the beach home counts as personal use by you.


Repair Days

Repair days do not produce personal use. Tax law says that you do not use your dwelling unit on days when your principal purpose for such use is repair or maintenance. To qualify the day as a repair day, you must work substantially full-time repairing or maintaining the dwelling unit.

Example 4. You and your spouse arrive Thursday evening at your lakeside cottage after a long drive, but in time for a late dinner at the cottage. You spend a normal workday on both Friday and Saturday getting the unit ready for rental. Your spouse does no work on the house and simply relaxes at the beach.

You depart Sunday, a little before noon. According to the IRS’s examples, your principal purpose for that trip is maintenance. You do not count Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday as days of personal use. The repair days are non-use days.

Example 5. You own a Coeur d’Alene mountain cabin that you rent in the summers. You spend a week at the cabin with your family. The family members work substantially full-time repairing the cabin. You spend about three to four hours each day during that week helping, and the rest of the time fishing, hiking, and relaxing. According to the IRS, your family’s principal purpose of that week’s stay is maintenance; therefore, the days are not days of personal use.

Again, the repair days are non-use days.


Rented Fewer Than 15 Days

Tax-free income. If you rent your dwelling for fewer than 15 days, you do not report the rental income or any rental expenses on your tax return. The income is tax-free. You do not share it with the government.

Planning tip. Do you have an event coming to your area that might command high rents? Examples include a major golf tournament, Olympic event, or other activity that could allow you to rent at a high rate for a short period.

Say you have a summer home on Lake Coeur d’Alene and a major golf tournament comes to town. You rent the home for $10,000 a week for two weeks. You have $20,000 of tax-free income.


Personal Residence or Rental?

The amount of personal use determines how you will treat your tax deductions on the dwelling. You have a tax code-defined rental of the dwelling when your personal use is either

  • 14 days or less, or
  • 10 percent or less of the days rented.

Example 6—rental. You rent your resort home 260 days. You use it personally for 26 days. Ten percent of your resort home is a personal home. Ninety percent is a rental property.

Example 7—hobby rental. With 30 days of personal use of the resort home in example 6, you have a residence. Your deductions on the rental part during the current tax year may not exceed your rental income (i.e., you have no tax shelter possibility).

Excess deductions carried forward. When the law deems your dwelling a residence, the deductions attributable to the rental are limited to gross rental income. The good news is that you carry forward the deductions in excess of the gross income limit to next year.


Treatment as a Rental Property

If, based on your rental and personal use, tax law classes your Coeur d’Alene summer home as a rental property, you should follow the IRS allocation method to get the best tax breaks.

Personal part of interest lost. If tax law classes your dwelling as a rental property, any mortgage interest allocated to your personal use is non-deductible consumer interest (ouch!).

Passive loss rules. The dwelling classified as a rental property faces the passive loss rules.

Seven-day rule. The dwelling that is a rental under the 14 days and 10 percent tests is not rental real estate under the passive loss rules if the average rental period during the year is seven days or less.

Idaho Business Annual Tax Year Dates

A tax year, “taxable” year is the annual accounting period that your CDA Idaho business uses for determining and reporting tax liability.

The two types are the Calendar Year and the Fiscal Year:
  • A calendar year for tax purposes is: January 1 through December 31.
  • A fiscal year is a tax year that ends at the end of any month except December.1
  • Sole Proprietorship, always uses the calendar year.

Tax due dates:

A Business Entity other than a sole proprietorship may use a fiscal year if it can establish a business purpose. This could be due to its natural business cycle other than a calendar year.