SCENARIO: You are a CPA with an office in NearLakes City and clients consisting primarily of professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. John Smith, Esq., a practicing attorney with offices near yours, walks in your office and wants advice from you relating to a recent influx of cash he received as a result of winning a large jury verdict on behalf of his client in a personal injury case. His wife Jane Smith accompanies him during your meeting because she has some additional tax planning advice to ask of you. ROLE: After reviewing John and Jane Smith's points of view, it will be your turn as a tax professional to decide on the best course of action from a tax perspective on their issues. Prepare a three page memo (at least 900-1,500 words per page) to John and Jane Smith addressing the issues presented. PLAYERS: JOHN SMITH ESQ.
“I worked on this case for over two years. The jury awarded my client $2,000,000 in damages, of which my fee was $300,000 plus recovery of expenses paid up front in the amount of $25,000. How is the $300,000 taxed? What about the $25,000? What can I do to minimize the tax consequences of each? Also, I am thinking about buying the building that I currently lease my office space in. My current lease is $3,500 per month. How is this lease reported on my income tax returns (either personally or for my business which is a separate law practice established as an LLC)? Do I get better tax benefits for paying the lease or for buying the building? What are the differences?”
PLAYERS: JANE SMITH-PROFESSIONAL
“I think that the fees would be better used for paying off our house and buying a new, bigger house that I've had my eye on. Does it make better tax sense for us to pay off the mortgage, sell the house, and buy a new house, or should we just use the money to buy the new house after selling the old house? Also, I sell handcrafted jewelry which earned me $20,000 last year. Do my business activities constitute a trade or...
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