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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Sales Tax: Admission Charges to a Place of Amusement


Welcome to the latest installment of our blog “What are the rules for NYS Sales tax for my profession?” In this blog we are highlighting another industry with a few of the broad guidelines to follow! Our hope is to not only provide helpful information for the business owners, but the consumers as well!

This blog focuses on Admission Charges to a Place of Amusement.

An admission charge is any amount that is paid to gain entry to any place of amusement. This includes cover charges, service charges, and any other charges to entertainment. A place of amusement is any facility where entertainment, amusement, or sports are provided.

Taxable admission charges are subject to a state sales tax of 4% and local sales tax based on the location of the place of amusement.

Examples of taxable admission charges are as follows:
  •       Professional or college sporting events
  •          Amusement parks
  •          Beaches
  •         Museums, zoos, and aquariums

Examples of nontaxable admission charges are as follows:
  •          Motion picture theaters,
  •          Live dramatic, choreographic, or musical arts performances
  •          Live circus performances


Season tickets to taxable events are taxed on the total selling price of the ticket regardless of the price for admission to each event.

Box seats are taxable based on the amount for which a similar box or seat is sold for each taxable performance or event.

This is just a brief overview of the sales tax laws regarding admission charges to a place of amusement. Feel free to give our office a call for more information.

By Renee Greenspan

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Is Your Paycheck Withholding Enough?



Is Your Paycheck Withholding Enough?


Tax season is over for most and the results were hard to swallow for some.  If you are one of the taxpayers that had a large tax bill for 2018, this post is for you.

There were several changes in play that resulted in the unexpected tax bill that many taxpayers faced this year.  The tax law changes that the TCJA brought, reduced deductions for many and eliminated exemptions for all.  Further compounding the problem was the change to federal withholding tables that employers use to calculate how much tax to withhold from your paycheck each pay period.  The amounts required to be taken from your check decreased and resulted in less taxes credited to filers at tax time.

The fix for 2019?   Call your CPA and ask them to review your paystubs for changes you can make to withholding now.  You will still have 6 months of paychecks to reduce next year’s tax bill.

Honorine M. Campisi, CPA




Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Hotel and Motel Occupancy




Welcome to the latest installment of our blog “What are the rules for NYS Sales tax for my profession?”  In this blog we are highlighting another industry with a few of the broad guidelines to follow!  Our hope is to not only provide helpful information for the business owners, but the consumers as well!

This blog focuses on Hotel and Motel Occupancy.

The term hotel includes: hotels, motels, inns, and bed and breakfast establishments.

Hotel occupancy is the use, or right to use, a room in a hotel.  The room rate, that everyone hates to pay, is the amount that guests must pay to stay in the hotel room.  The room rate is taxable at the full state and local sales tax rate.

If you stay in a hotel in New York City there is an additional hotel unit fee that hotels must charge. The hotel unit fee is an extra $1.50 per unit per day, in addition to state and local sales tax.  This fee is separately stated on the invoice that customers receive.  Certain localities charge a bed tax, which is also shown separately on the customer's invoice.
 
There are certain charges that do not require sales tax to be collected.  These charges are as follows:
  •  Cancellation fees are not taxable because the customer never has the right to occupy the room.
  • Hotel guests that are permanent residents do not have to pay sales tax on their room rates.  A permanent resident is when a guest must stay in the hotel for at least 90 consecutive days without interruption.
  • A complimentary room does not require any sales tax due.  This is because the hotel is allowing the guest to stay in a room for no charge.
This is just a brief overview of the sales tax laws regarding hotel and motel occupancy.  Feel free to give our office a call for more information.

By Renee Greenspan











Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Improving Your Residence



Improving Your Residence

When tax time rolls around, we often hear from clients that they “did work to their home and that must be good for their taxes, right?”  Well…

Much of the improvement you do to your home is good from a tax perspective, but you won’t see an immediate tax benefit (except for solar discussed below).  Major home improvements like additions, new windows or exterior doors, new roof or siding, HVAC, kitchen or bathroom updating, or landscaping will increase the cost basis of your home.  This is important when you sell the home for a profit that exceeds the primary residence exclusion which is currently $250,000 for single or married filers filing separately, and $500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly.  In order to calculate your basis in the home when you sell, you should keep your closing documents from the home’s original purchase, along with all documentation relating to the improvements you make over the years.

Qualified energy improvements are still eligible for a federal tax credit in 2018.  The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 signed into law in February 2018, extended the tax credit for residential energy property for qualified solar electric and solar water heating property through 2021.  The credit for 2018 is equal to 30% of costs including labor cost for installation.


Honorine M. Campisi, CPA




Saturday, February 23, 2019

NYS SALES TAX-CLOTHING AND FOOTWEAR




Welcome to the latest installment of our blog “What are the rules for NYS Sales tax for my profession?”  In this blog we are highlighting another industry with a few of the broad guidelines to follow!  Our hope is to not only provide helpful information for the business owners, but the consumers as well!

This blog’s industry is Clothing and Footwear.

Clothing and footwear that is sold for less than $110 per item or pair and items used to make or repair this clothing are exempt from the NYS 4% sales and use taxes.

Examples of exempt purchases are:

  • Aerobic clothing
  • Athletic uniforms
  • Blouses
  • Coats
  • Dresses
  • Shirts
  • Shoes
  • Sleepwear

The sales tax exemption also applies to most fabric, buttons, zippers and items that are used to repair clothing.  However, if items are made from pearls, jewels or metal, even if sold for less than $110, is still subject to NYS 4% sales tax.

This is just a brief overview of the sales tax laws regarding the sale of clothing and footwear.  Feel free to give our office a call for more information.

By Renee Greenspan




Thursday, February 7, 2019

Itemized Deductions & Your Home



The new tax law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact some taxpayers who itemized deductions relating to home ownership.

First, you may have heard that there is a change to mortgage interest deduction allowed for 2018 returns.  If you have a pre-existing mortgage (acquired before December 15, 2017), then you can still deduct mortgage interest on a mortgage associated with acquisition indebtedness of up to $1 million.  If you entered into a mortgage after the December 15, 2017 date, you can only deduct mortgage interest on up to $750,000 of home acquisition indebtedness.

It is also worth noting changes to deductibility of home equity loan interest for 2018.  Prior to the TCJA, homeowners could deduct home equity interest regardless of what the funds were used for.  TCJA changed that and now only home equity interest on funds used to acquire, build or substantially improve your home is deductible
. 
Lastly, taxpayers who have been able to deduct private mortgage insurance premiums in the past, may not be able to do so in 2018.  The provision for that deduction expired at the end of 2017, and has not yet been extended.  However, there may still be hope, as the 2017 provision was not extended until AFTER the start of 2017 tax filings in February 2018.

Honorine M. Campisi, CPA




Thursday, January 24, 2019

NYS SALES TAX-FOOD AND BEVERAGES SOLD FROM VENDING MACHINES




Welcome to the latest installment of our blog “What are the rules for NYS Sales tax for my profession?”  In this blog we are highlighting another industry with a few of the broad guidelines to follow!  Our hope is to not only provide helpful information for the business owners, but the consumers as well!

This blog focuses on Food and Beverages sold from Vending Machines.

An item that is generally taxable when sold in a food store is also taxable when sold in a vending machine.  In addition, an item that is exempt from sales tax when sold in a food store is also exempt when sold in a vending machine.  There are some exceptions to the general rule however.

The exceptions to the general rule regarding sales tax on food and beverages sold in vending machines are as follows:

  • ·       Hot beverages that are sold from a vending machine are always exempt from sales tax.
  • ·       Certain items that are taxable when sold by food stores are exempt when they are sold from        a vending machine for $1.50 or less.

Taxable food and beverage items when sold from a vending machine are as follows:
·        
  •        Sandwiches
  • ·         Bottled water
  • ·         Any food that is heated by or kept warm in the vending machine

Any unheated foods and unheated beverages are exempt from sales tax when sold from vending machines.

The certain items that are taxable when sold by food stores, but are exempt when sold for $1.50 or less from a vending machine are:

  • ·         Candy and confectionery
  • ·         Soda

If sold for more than $1.50, the above items are taxable.

If taxable food or beverages are sold, sales tax must be collected.  In order to do this, the amount of the sales tax should be included in the selling price of the item and the sales tax rate in the local taxing jurisdiction where the machines are located should be used.

This is just a brief overview of the sales tax laws regarding the sale of food and beverages sold from vending machines.  Feel free to give our office a call for more information.

By Renee Greenspan






Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Home Equity Loans and the TCJA


Home Equity Loans and the TCJA

Do you have a home equity loan?  Be ready at tax time when your CPA asks you how you used those loan proceeds.  Thanks to the new tax law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the deductibility of interest on home equity loans and lines of credit has changed.  

Prior to the TCJA, homeowners could deduct home equity interest on loans up to $100,000 regardless of what the funds were used for.  TCJA changed that and now only home equity interest on funds used to acquire, build or substantially improve your home is deductible.

So…if you took out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit and used the proceeds to finance college, a trip, or consolidate bills, you cannot deduct the interest paid on your 2018 income tax return.

You will need to give your CPA a breakdown of how you spent the loan proceeds if part of a home equity loan or line was used to acquire, build or substantially improve your home, and part was used for something else.

   
Honorine M. Campisi, CPA