Ask Jason, 4/6/12

Q: Is the gift tax figured per person or per household?

A: Per-person. You can give up to $13,000 to any one person without triggering the gift tax. So if you could give $52,000 to a family of four without triggering gift tax, as long as you didn’t give more than $13,000 to any one person.

Q: Does Iowa accept 179 expense?

A: Yes, the Iowa Section 179 deduction is currently the same as the federal Section 179 deduction. Some years, the Iowa legislature “de-couples” from federal law and honors a smaller amount of Section 179 deduction. In those cases, you’d have to re-calculate the Section 179 deduction and calculate depreciation on your Iowa return.

Q: Can you deduct school supplies for K-12 in Iowa?

A: There is no deduction available, but Iowa does offer a tax credit for payments made for school supplies, registration fees, etc. paid to K-12 schools. You can take the credit for amounts paid for school supplies, tuition, books, fees, if your child attends school at a public school. Private schools qualify only if the school does not teach religious doctrines. The credit is 25% on up to $1,000 of expenses per child.

Q: How long can rental property be vacant and still be considered a rental for tax purposes?

A: I don’t think there’s really a clear-cut test. It depends on the facts and circumstances. One of those “facts and circumstances” is if the value of the home has increased during the vacancy period. In that case, you could argue that you still have profit motive. This is a good topic for a full blog post in the future.

Q: Are schedule c business required to issue 1099s?

A: Yes, if you made payments that require the issuance of a 1099, such as to an independent contractor.

The answers provided in this segment are intended to be general in nature and do not constitute tax advice. Please pay a tax advisor to advise you about your unique situation before making any financial decisions.

Have a tax question? Click here to submit a question. Please note, I cannot personally provide a specific answer to your question by e-mail. (Ask Jason has been discontinued.)