Tax Breaks for Going Green

How To Save Money "Going Green"
How To Save Money “Going Green”

Going green isn’t just the next big thing—it’s the wave of the future. There is abundant information available about ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint, save money and feel better about your role in the stewardship of this planet. Both federal and many state governments recognize the importance of energy savings and conservation and have provided tax breaks and incentives to businesses and individuals to encourage energy efficiency and going green.

Knowing what tax benefits may be available to you when you choose to go green may be enough to help you decide to start your own plan for energy conservation. There are certain tax breaks that are available just for businesses and others that individuals may take advantage of. Here is a discussion of green tax benefits and some of the tax breaks you may qualify for, either as an individual or as a business owner.

Tax Benefits Associated with Going Green

Tax benefits that are associated with going green can be classified as a tax credit, a rebate or savings in the cost of purchase. Tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your overall tax bill—if you qualify for a $1000 tax credit, it means you owe $1000 less in taxes. There are also loan and grant programs that states offer to certain businesses that serve as an incentive to encourage the use of alternative energy and green certified building materials in new building construction and renovations.

If you choose to install an energy efficient solar hot water heater, solar equipment that generates electricity or even a wind turbine before December 31, 2016, you may be eligible for tax credits associated with these installations.

Green Tax Breaks for Individuals

Green tax breaks that are available for individuals come in the form of tax credits, rebates or upfront savings. Depending on your tax situation, you may choose a program that offers a tax credit in order to reduce your tax liability. If you have a need for income upfront, a rebate or savings incentive may be in order. The types of programs that are available vary from state to state, so it is a good idea to find information in your local area about incentives that may be available to you as a resident.

For example, residents (including commercial and industrial sector businesses) of the State of California may qualify for a property tax exclusion of up to 100% of the value of the installation of a solar energy system in a new building construction. Illinois residents may receive a special assessment to reduce their property taxes by registering qualified solar energy equipment on their property.

Green Tax Breaks for Businesses

Just as individuals are provided with breaks for going green, businesses may want to get into the act as well. The Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010 helped to extend certain Federal energy tax benefits for businesses. These include tax credits for home builders, manufacturers and commercial buildings. There are also credits available to businesses that use vehicles that are hybrids, electric powered or use alternative fuels. Access to these green energy tax credits for business can be obtained through filing the appropriate form (such as Form 8908 and 8909).

Going green, either as an individual or as a business owner, isn’t just great for the environment, it’s great for your budget. There are numerous tax breaks and incentives available for using more energy-efficient vehicles, sustainable energy, and recycled building materials. Check with an R&G Brenner tax professional to see which tax breaks you might be entitled to. 

IRS Offering Hurricane Sandy Reprieve

Tax Relief For Businesses Affected By Sandy

The IRS is granting a temporary reprieve to businesses affected by superstorm Sandy.

Those whose payroll and excise tax returns and payments came due on Oct. 31 now have until Nov. 7 to file them.  The new deadline applies to businesses and their tax preparers in areas hit by the storm.

“No action is required by the taxpayer,” the IRS said in a statement. “This relief is automatic.”

The IRS said companies that receive a penalty notice should call the agency at the number on the notice.

The agency expects to grant additional filing and payment relief when qualifying disaster declarations are issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency will post details on the “Tax Relief in Disaster Situations” page on

Source: Excepted From Newsday

IRS Plans To Increase Audits Of Small Businesses

IRS To Increase Small Business Audits

The IRS recently announced that it plans to increase audits of small businesses in the hopes of closing a $450 Billion gap.  This announcement is interesting because it come on the heals of a recent report that most audits of small businesses turn up nothing.  The eight significant audit areas the IRS will be concentrating are:

1. Fringe benefits. The IRS is completing its final year of research on employment tax compliance. Early findings from these audits indicate that employers are not reporting employees’ personal use of company vehicles on Forms 1099 or W-2. Look for the IRS to investigate the use of all company cars, especially luxury autos, in its audits.

2. High income/high wealth taxpayers. The IRS defines high income/high wealth taxpayers as those who bring in a total income of more than $200,000 a year. Total income includes all gross receipts and sources of income before expenses and deductions. Through 2013, the IRS will focus on taxpayers with a total positive income of more than $1 million who file a Schedule C business return. Last year, the IRS audited 12.5% of all individuals with incomes of more than $1 million, a significant increase from 8.4% in 2010.

3. Form 1099-K matching. The IRS announced that it will start Form 1099-K matching in late 2013. The IRS provided a reprieve from merchant card reporting on business returns for 2011 Schedule C and Forms 1065, 1120S and 1120; however, the IRS plans to change its approach after 2012 returns are filed. The IRS has indicated that it plans to pilot a business-matching program that can address a large amount of small business noncompliance.

4. Credit for small business employee health insurance. This credit, first available on 2010 returns, is now coming under IRS scrutiny. The IRS will examine small business employers and for compliance with eligibility requirements.

5. International transactions. The IRS will continue to focus on the international tax gap. The IRS’ third voluntary initiative for foreign bank account reporting is under way, and the IRS will be looking to aggressively pursue taxpayers who hide assets overseas. The IRS will also focus on offshore transactions for large and small businesses.

6. Partnerships. This is a new area of emphasis for the IRS. Expect the IRS to target large loss partnerships and specific abuses that emerge from early findings in this project.

7. S corporations. The IRS is interested in S corporation audits in which losses are taken in excess of basis on shareholder returns. The IRS will review basis computations in these audits to determine whether tax preparers are properly completing due diligence requirements before deducting losses on Form 1040. The IRS is also interested in the use of S corporation distributions to avoid payment of Social Security taxes. The IRS will focus on S corporations with income, distributions and little or no salary paid to officers.

8. Proper worker reclassification. Almost all business audits also include employment tax issues. In particular, the IRS is interested in worker status. The IRS understands that businesses have an economic incentive to misclassify workers as independent contractors rather than employees. It costs about 30% less for a business to employ an independent contractor than an employee. The IRS thinks there is significant noncompliance in worker classification and will continue to focus its field examination resources in this area.


Important April 30th Deadline For NYS Businesses

April 30th Deadline

April 17 has come and gone, and New Yorkers have filed their returns, or at least filed for an extension. But for many New York businesses, April 30 is another key date.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is reminding businesses to file Form NYS-45Quarterly Combined Withholding, Wage Reporting, and Unemployment Insurance Return, by April 30, for the period running from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year.

According to the instructions for the form:

  • Employers who are subject to both unemployment insurance contributions and withholding tax must complete Parts A, B, and C each quarter.
  • Employers subject only to unemployment insurance contributions must complete Part A and Part C, columns a, b, and c.
  • Employers subject only to withholding tax must complete Part B for each quarter and Part C, columns a, b, d, and e, on the final quarterly return filed for the calendar year.

The instructions note filing requirements may be waived for seasonal employers who make no wage payments for one or more quarters. However, there are very specific procedures to follow.As with most New York forms, electronic filing is encouraged, and certain wage reporting files must be uploaded electronically.

Contact an R&G Brenner tax professional today if your business needs assistance filing these forms.


New York To Name Tax Delinquents

In an effort to shame those that owe the state taxes, New York has taken the extraordinary (and desperate) measure to name the 500 biggest tax delinquents (individuals & businesses) on their website

The move by the state Department of Taxation and Finance is part of a more aggressive effort to recoup some of the more than $14 billion owed to New York. Officials estimate at least $4.2 billion is recoverable and could help close next year’s projected $9.1-billion budget deficit.

Of the 250 individuals owing the most in back taxes, 33 are from Nassauand 21 from Suffolk. Among the 250 businesses owing the most in back taxes, 22 are from Nassau and 30 from Suffolk.

The site is going to be updated each month, eventually listing ALL tax delinquents regardless of how much they owe.  However, only those with at least one tax warrant out will be listed on NY’s site.

The site will be updated at the beginning of each month, according to department spokesman Brad Maione. He said information about all tax delinquents, regardless of how much they owe, will eventually be available online through a searchable database.

It remains to be seen how much the shame of being listed as a tax delinquent on will have on recouping actual fees.  However, in this day an age many businesses and individuals perform simple google searches on their potential business partners.  I am guessing that having the stain of “tax delinquent” on your name can not help your business prospects.

If you are listed on NY’s website as a tax delinquent, or you believe you are about to be listed, contact R&G Brenner as we can help you get your name removed.

Source: NY Newsday