Summerville Journal Scene
Local CPA office offers tax filing tips

With the economy still struggling to come out of its sluggish state, most are paying even closer attention to anything that may affect tax filings – positively or negatively. As a direct response to the economic situation, several tax codes were changed or put into place this year to help certain businesses or individuals.

Below is a list of changes in the 2009 Code that the CPAs at Jarrard, Nowell & Russell (www.jnrcpas.com) are advising clients to take note of before it’s too late. Some will affect filings, while others should be addressed prior to Dec. 31 in order to take advantage of the change.

1. Taxpayers over the age of 70½ are not required to take “required minimum distributions” from their retirement plans for 2009.

2. The first-time homebuyer tax credit of $8,000 can be taken this year and does not have to be repaid. Looking ahead, this credit opportunity also has been extended through April 30 of 2010 for those who did not already purchase.

3 For families with children in college, the American Opportunity Credit (formerly known as the HOPE Credit) is now allowed up to four years instead of the previous two and now allows a $2,500 maximum credit instead of $1,800. It also is now phased out with combined incomes of $160,000 to $180,000 (married filing jointly) instead of the previous $100,000 to $120,000. Additionally, the credit now includes payment for the cost of books and other fees that are required.

4. For qualifying businesses created in 2008, operating losses can now be carried back up to five years instead of just two years.

5. Restaurant buildings and improvements to buildings used as restaurants will qualify for 15 year depreciation instead of the previous standard of 39.5 years. More than 50% of the building’s square footage has to be devoted to preparation of, seating for, or consumption of prepared meals.

6. Retail business interior improvements also will qualify for 15 year deprecation instead of 39.5 years. Qualifying businesses must be in the business of selling retail products and the improvement must be placed into service more than three years after the date the building was first placed in service.

For more information about Jarrard, Nowell & Russell and the services the firm provides visit www.jnrcpas.com.