Do you know how many of your employees are entitled to receive overtime pay?

If you do, you will want to check on this issue again in a couple of months because the rules are changing.

The number of employees who are entitled to get overtime pay is about to explode in size.

Most business owners that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act are aware that employees who work more than 40 hours in a work week are entitled to overtime pay UNLESS the employee fits into exemption. (If you do not know this, you might consider reading this post).

Employees that fit into an exemption do not have to be paid over time.  Watch out though because the number of employees who qualify for the exemption is about to drastically drop:

The United States Department of Labor has issued new regulations which take effect this fall change the amount of money an employee needs to make to be exempt from the overtime requirements.

The Current Law

The current test is that workers who exceed 40 hours on the job in a week do not have to be paid at overtime rates if they meet three criteria:

  • They are employed on a salaried basis.
  • Their jobs are primarily professional, administrative or executive.
  • They make at least $23,660 per year.

The New Law

The new regulations double the threshold salary amount at which executive, administrative and professional employees are exempt from overtime pay to $47,476 from the current $23,660.

According to USA Today, this change is “expected to make 4.2 million additional workers eligible to receive time-and-a-half wages for each hour they put in beyond 40 a week.”

How many of those 4.2 million works who are about to become overtime eligible are your employees?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Help arrives for taxpayers in the crosshairs of the IRS:

Oklahoma Tax Help

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 30, 2016:  Today, Cazes Roberts, a full-service Oklahoma law firm, announces the launch of “Oklahoma Tax Help” (irstaxhelpok.com).

Oklahoma Tax Help fights for individuals and companies to get relief from IRS or Oklahoma Tax Commission (“OTC”) tax problems. The IRS is the most powerful collection agency in the world and when it focuses its resources on an individual or company, the pressure is excruciating (so too with the OTC).  For example, an individual’s state-issued professional license (e.g., doctor, nurse, attorney, engineer or anyone else who has a state-issued license) or a company’s sales tax permit, can be suspended for failure to pay taxes.

What can feel like the end of the world does not have to – there is a pathway to resolution with the IRS or the OTC and relief from the tax debt pressure.  Oklahoma Tax Help leads its clients on a pathway through the resolution process that ends with relief from the tax debt pressure and, therefore, peace of mind.

It is exciting to use the experience and skills we have to offer relief to Oklahomans who are being targeted by the IRS or the OTC”, said Dale B. Cazes, Esq., co-Founder of Cazes Roberts and the leader of Oklahoma Tax Help, who has a masters degree in taxation plus 17 years of experience helping taxpayers resolve their tax problems.  Mr. Cazes continued,

Oklahoma Tax Help offers the relief individuals and companies need, with two key advantages over the current businesses in this space – you will meet with a tax attorney personally, which is the actual person who will be in your corner fighting for you and we offer much more reasonable rates without hammering you at a time when you are already under tremendous financial pressure.

Oklahoma Tax Help was spawned by hearing from people who responded to the onslaught of television and radio advertising from tax resolution firms offering tax debt help, who found out those resolution firms charge astronomical rates and demand the entire cost up front. Along with this, people found out those firms often take your case and take your money without getting enough information to determine whether they can realistically help you.  This leads to wasted money and frustrated people.

Almost every week I run into someone who has tax problems and has visited one of the big tax resolution firms”, said Mr. Cazes, “I hear the same story every time:  Either the big tax resolution firms want an enormous sum of money upfront for their help or someone has paid that large sum and is frustrated because they haven’t seen any results. We can provide superior service, the same or better results, without causing sticker shock.

About Cazes Roberts: Cazes Roberts is a full-service law firm that proudly serves businesses and individuals throughout the State of Oklahoma.

For information contact Shawn J. Roberts (405-254-5005 or shawn@cazesroberts.com) or visit http://www.irstaxhelpok.com.

Do you find yourself typing the same sentence over and over again each day each week each year?

Do you have to type similar phrases on lots of different documents?

If you do, there is a better way. I recorded the short screen cast below to show you text expander tools. These are tools which allow you to use a short code like a series of letters or numbers, type the short code into a Word document and email anywhere basically and have phrase or sentence pop out.

The idea is that rather than retyping the same sentence or phrase over and over again, with the chance that you might make a mistake, you type a short code and then the sentence pops out. It saves you time and reduces the chance of mistakes.

As I mentioned in the screen cast, I am using PhraseExpress on Windows. If you use a Mac, Smile makes software called TextExpander which is also excellent.

Tax and money picture

Do you know who pays the tax on gift that is subject to federal estate tax?

In a previous post, I described what the IRS considers to be a gift.
If a gift has been made and there is no exclusion connected to it, gift tax may be due.  However, while a federal gift tax return may be required based on only one gift of $15,000.00, the chances of owing tax on a gift are much more remote.  The gift or gifts would have to exceed the unified credit amount, which currently stands at approximately 5.4 Million Dollars.

Nonetheless, if tax is due to the IRS on a gift, usually the person making the gift pays the tax.

It is important to know when gifts you make trigger your obligation to file a federal gift tax return (IRS Form 709, United States Gift [and Generation-Skipping Transfer] Tax Return).  I have heard the IRS doesn’t take kindly to individual who fail to file required tax returns 🙂
If a person makes an annual gift or a total annual gifts to one person over the annual exclusion, a gift tax return must be filed with the IRS. However, unless the total of the gifts go beyond the unified credit, 5.4 million, the person will not owe any gift tax.
Every US citizen has what is known as the annual exclusion which allows the person to gift away up to whatever the current year amount is without either having to file an IRS Gift Tax Return or being subject to any tax.
The annual exclusion amount for 2015 is $14,000.00. That means an individual could make as many $14,000 gifts as he desires to different people and not be subject to any tax or have to file a gift tax return.
One of the key points with the annual exclusion is any property gifted under the exclusion does not count against the unified credit. Let me provide an example that may be helpful:
  • A parent gifts the full annual exclusion amount in 2015 to each of their five children. That means the parent gifted $70,000 when all five gifts are added together. Since all of the gifts were within the annual exclusion amount the parent is not required to file a gift tax return.
  • Additionally, the $70,000 does not count against the unified credit, which in 2015 is approximately $5.4 million.

Connected Hands

Do you know why the federal estate tax and the federal gift tax are often addressed in the same discussion?

Although the federal estate tax and federal gift tax are separate statutes, they are connected by what is known as the unified credit.
The unified credit is automatically provided by the IRS Code to every US citizen at their birth. This credit is the amount of property that a person can gift away before they owe any tax to the IRS.
That means that all the gifts you make during your life are added to all the gifts you make at your death (through an Oklahoma Trust, Oklahoma Will or otherwise) and that is the basic amount that the IRS considers for taxation.
However, before any tax is assessed, you get to subtract (use your “coupon” so to speak) to reduce the amount.  The coupon can be applied to all gifts during life and at death.
So, while a person could use their whole coupon during their life, there is no requirement that they do so.  If there is an amount left on the coupon at death, the amount can be applied.
According to the IRS, the estate tax is a “tax on your right to transfer property at your death. It consists of an accounting of everything you own or have certain interests in at the date of death.”  The top federal estate tax rate for property transfers that are not otherwise credited or excluded is 40% for 2015.
Tender Leaf Tea Coupon from Flickr User AVI

Tender Leaf Tea Coupon from Flickr User AVI

Do you know what the Internal Revenue Service and your local grocery store have in common?

They both provide you with coupons you can apply to reduce the amount you required to pay!

Well, the IRS’s “coupon” is not exactly like scoring big with a $2.00 off coupon for Tide Detergent.  The IRS administers the unified credit.

The unified credit is automatically provided by the IRS Code to every US citizen at their birth. This credit is the amount of property that a person can gift away, either during life or at death, before they owe any tax to the IRS.

The coupon analogy is helpful because when a person passes, the person’s heirs can apply the IRS Unified Credit against against tax that might be owed by the deceased person.

For more specifics about the IRS unified credit, check this post, How does the IRS Unified Credit work?

In a previous post, I talked about the IRS unified credit, the IRS version of a coupon.  Here are some of the specifics on the unified credit.

  • The unified credit for people passing away in 2015 is approximately $5.4 million. That number is indexed to inflation and will rise a small amount each year and less changed by Congress.
  • This means that a person can give away up to the unified credit amount either during their life or at the time of their death without knowing any tax to the IRS.
  • For example, a person could gift $1 million to one of their children at age 25 and not owe any tax to the IRS.  
    Nonetheless, a gift tax return would have to be filed with the IRS year the gift was made. That is because of another tax exclusion vehicle.

One more point to remember is that federal tax law allows you give an unlimited amount of property to your spouse (assuming the spouse is a US Citizen) without incurring any tax.  If you die with a 20 million dollar estate, you can pass all of it to your pass without any tax being due.

  • This sounds really good, right?  Leave everything to your spouse and have no tax issues, right?  Not so fast my friend, as Lee Corso from ESPN’s College GameDay would say.

It is true that there would no tax assessed on the transfer to your spouse.  Presumably, however, at some point that same spouse is going to transfer the spouse’s estate to people other than a spouse.  If that transfer happens and the estate is valued over the unified credit amount, taxes will be an issues.