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Tax Deductions

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TRAVEL
March 28, 2010 | By Terry Gardner
When it comes to life's two guarantees, I find death less scary than taxes. Taxes, in fact, are so scary that they make me want alcohol. So is a margarita on a business trip as deductible as my hotel room? Sadly, no. That margarita is typically only 50% deductible. Hotel room and airfare generally are 100% deductible — if they are unreimbursed expenses and the trip is primarily for business (at least 51% of it). As you sit down to do your taxes, think of this wisdom from Raphael Tulino, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman for Southern California: "Depending on facts and circumstances, there are many ordinary, necessary and reasonable business travel expenses you can deduct, and you should take them if legitimate.
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BUSINESS
February 27, 2014 | Lisa Mascaro
A top House Republican unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul the tax code Wednesday, taking aim at long-protected loopholes for mortgage interest deductions, corporate jets and Wall Street pay. The plan would also lower top rates to 25% for most individuals and corporations from 39.6% and 35%, respectively. The wealthiest households, those earning more than $450,000 a year, would have a 35% tax rate. But it has little chance of passage. The White House cautiously welcomed the effort, but top Republican leaders -- including House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
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BUSINESS
November 6, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Two senators introduced legislation Wednesday to outlaw tax deductions by companies for penalties paid as part of government settlements, responding to concerns that JPMorgan Chase & Co. could end up with a huge write-off if it settles civil investigations with the Justice Department over mortgage bonds. Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said they wanted to close a loophole that allows companies to "reap tax benefits" for payments made to settle allegations of "illegal corporate behavior.
BUSINESS
November 20, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
Representatives of more than 200 charitable organizations plan to go door to door Wednesday on Capitol Hill to convince members of Congress that it would be a mistake to eliminate or reduce tax deductions for charitable donations. “The Congress is desperate to find some revenue,” said Steve Taylor, senior vice president and counsel for public policy for United Way Worldwide, the nation's biggest charity. “The Democrats want revenue to undo the effects of sequestration," Taylor said, adding that Republicans wanted to reduce or eliminate deductions to lower taxes.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
You may be unaware of the local ramifications of one of the proposals currently at play in the danse macabre that passes for fiscal negotiations in Washington. This is the plan to cap federal tax deductions at either a set figure or a percentage of income. Either way, it would strike deepest and hardest mostly at residents of California, as well as other populous states with high levels of government services, high state and local taxes, and relatively expensive housing. The mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions are among the most important tax breaks that would be capped under this sort of proposal.
NATIONAL
March 25, 2009 | Mike Dorning
In the face of opposition from Congress, President Obama on Tuesday vigorously defended his proposal to scale back two popular tax breaks by limiting the ability of upper-income taxpayers to deduct home mortgage interest and gifts to charities.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 1993
Combining the reasonable and the unreasonable in an article must be much like telling half-truths; it confuses the issues and allows that which is totally unreasonable to pass for that which is reasonable. Although the tax deductions Goldberg criticizes are questionable indeed, his equating them to entitlements and subsidies is even more questionable. The only assumption that makes this equating of deductions with entitlements sensible is that all earnings belong to the government. Does anyone who is not a politician or bureaucrat really accept that assumption?
BUSINESS
February 7, 2011 | By Karen E. Klein
Dear Karen: Will I be audited if I claim tax deductions for my new business? Answer: Audit risk rises when taxpayers file a Schedule C, which reports business income and expenses, along with their Form 1040, according to IRS statistics. It's unlikely that simply including a Schedule C will trigger an audit, however. Audit risk for Schedule C returns was 1.9% when income was less than $100,000 but 4.2% for income between $100,000 and $200,000, IRS data for 2009 show.
REAL ESTATE
July 4, 1999
In the June 27 Your Mortgage column, Jack Guttentag says that the "principal repayment yields a return equal to the interest rate on your loan." That completely ignores the benefits of income tax deductions. In a state like California with high income taxes, and for those in higher federal tax brackets, the impact on the analysis is significant. JOHN STERN Mar Vista
NEWS
October 31, 1985
The City Council has sent a resolution supporting Senate Joint Resolution 30 by state Sen. David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles) asking the President and the Congress to retain the deductibility of state and local taxes in any tax-reform law. A key feature of President Reagan's tax reform proposal would eliminate state and local taxes as federal tax deductions.
BUSINESS
November 6, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Two senators introduced legislation Wednesday to outlaw tax deductions by companies for penalties paid as part of government settlements, responding to concerns that JPMorgan Chase & Co. could end up with a huge write-off if it settles civil investigations with the Justice Department over mortgage bonds. Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said they wanted to close a loophole that allows companies to "reap tax benefits" for payments made to settle allegations of "illegal corporate behavior.
OPINION
February 6, 2013 | Doyle McManus
Would you support a tax reform measure that could help reduce the federal deficit, remove a needless distortion in the economy and make the system fairer? Me too, which is why I'm taking aim at a sacred cow: the home mortgage interest deduction. That's right, the mortgage interest deduction that every homeowner, including me, loves. If you listen to home builders and real estate agents, they'll tell you that the mortgage interest deduction is what makes homeownership possible for millions of Americans.
BUSINESS
December 19, 2012 | Michael Hiltzik
You may be unaware of the local ramifications of one of the proposals currently at play in the danse macabre that passes for fiscal negotiations in Washington. This is the plan to cap federal tax deductions at either a set figure or a percentage of income. Either way, it would strike deepest and hardest mostly at residents of California, as well as other populous states with high levels of government services, high state and local taxes, and relatively expensive housing. The mortgage interest and state and local tax deductions are among the most important tax breaks that would be capped under this sort of proposal.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 2, 2012 | By Mike Boehm
For voters who think the presidential candidates' agendas for the arts are worth considering along with what they propose for the economy, healthcare, taxes and all the rest, Americans for the Arts Action Fund, the political wing of a national service organization for the nonprofit arts, has issued a checklist based on its "newly compiled analysis of the presidential candidates' arts policy positions. " It's a list of seven yes or no questions, mainly pertaining to funding of various grant-making agencies and initiatives that support arts education and arts volunteering.
BUSINESS
October 24, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
The do-gooding spirit is thriving in the U.S., with 81% of Americans planning to maintain or boost their donations this year, according to a new report. That's nine percentage points higher than 2011 and 18 points above 2010, according to Fidelity Charitable, which offers programs to boost altruism. The average American plans to give $2,400, up from $2,100 last year. Three-quarters of the 571 respondents said they don't donate in order to benefit from tax deductions. Seven in 10 are influenced by their experiences with illness or death, while two-thirds say it's a holiday tradition to give.
NEWS
October 16, 2012 | By Alana Semuels
It's an especially touchy subject when consumers are sick of pinching pennies after years of a down economy, and the question of taxes and spending caused a storm of bickering at Tuesday night's presidential debate. When a woman named Mary asked Mitt Romney his positions on various tax deductions - including the mortgage deduction, the child tax credit and the education tax credit - the former Massachusetts governor said he wanted to simplify the tax code and lower taxes for the middle class.
NEWS
July 18, 1985 | OSWALD JOHNSTON, Times Staff Writer
New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, who has risen to the forefront of Democratic critics of President Reagan's tax reform plan, led more than a dozen state, city and county officials Wednesday in urging Congress to retain the federal tax deductions for state and local taxes. In testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, Cuomo repeated an earlier charge that repealing the deductions--a key component of Reagan's proposal--"would pulverize the middle class."
NATIONAL
October 9, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - As a lofty political debate over taxes and spending plays out on the presidential campaign trail, a more practical one is unfolding this week in Virginia as eight senators try to strike a bipartisan deficit reduction deal. The senators are holed up in a Mount Vernon conference room seeking a way to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff - the year-end confluence of automatic tax increases and budget cuts that could stagger the economy and American households. Failure to act could slice half a percentage point off economic growth next year and deliver a tax increase averaging $2,000.
NEWS
October 1, 2012 | By Doyle McManus
In my column  on Sunday, I reported conflicting advice to voters from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the co-chairmen of President Obama's commission on reducing the national debt. Simpson, a Republican and a former senator from Wyoming, said he thinks GOP candidate Mitt Romney is more likely to succeed at forging a long-term budget compromise than Obama. Bowles, a Democrat who served as Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff, said he thinks Obama is more likely to succeed. But let's assume for a moment that the polls are right and that Obama is about to win a second term.
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