Welcome to The Brass Tacks, a video series presented by Mel Sams, Managing Associate at Sams  IV, CPA, P.A. In these videos, Mel seeks to answer some of today's biggest financial questions and challenges while guiding you through the solution.

Video Podcasts

Recreational Gambling and the IRS

Today I'd like to talk to you about gambling and how it affects recreational gamblers with respect to tax code and some of the law changes. In this video we cover sweat equity, W-2G forms, and taxes on your payout.

Professional Gamblers

Today, I'd like to talk to you about gambling and some issues that are currently facing professional gamblers. In this video we cover buy-in and rake fees for card players, tokes/tips, and the takeout for horse betting.

Opportunity Zone

Today I'd like to talk to you about opportunity zones. First question, what is an opportunity zone? An opportunity zone is an economically-distressed community that has been identified by the U.S. government.

Why the Bow Tie?

Ever wonder why Mel wears a bow tie? One of the questions I get all the time is, "You're the bow tie guy. Why do you wear the bow tie?” The bow tie to me is a throwback to a time where good customer service was the expectation, and customer service was delivered face-to-face with a handshake, with a smile. At Sams CPA, we marry modern technology with timeless principles of how to do business right and how to take care of our clients.

Boat and RV Taxes

Today, I'd like to talk to you about boats and RVs and how purchases of these items can help lower your tax liability. There are things about these purchases that we need to consider, places where there could be some overlap with business activities that might yield some additional benefits and deductions at the business level.

Offer in Compromise

Today, I'm going to be talking to you about offers in compromise. An offer in compromise is a situation where you owe more in taxes than you have the ability to pay. In this video, I will give you a rundown on what an offer in compromise is, what steps you should take when requesting one, and what some things you should expect to encounter.

Unfiled Tax Returns

Today I'm going to be talking to you about unfiled tax returns. This is a very scary subject for a lot of people. I have a lot of people that come to my office and for whatever reason, they fell behind on their filings and it just snowballed from there. In this video I will tell you why you should get those unfiled tax returns taken care of.


Today I'm gonna talk to you about trusts. Some of the most common questions that I get from people regarding trusts are, why do I want one? What benefits am I gonna get from it? What is it gonna mean? What is it gonna cost me? Am I gonna be restricted on what I can do with my money? Those are all good questions, so let us begin to tackle some of those and get you some answers.

Moving and Taxes

Today we are going to talk about moving and taxes. What effect does it have on your taxes when you move for work? Unfortunately, even though the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is filled with lots of great stuff for individuals and businesses, one of the things that is gone now, is the deduction for moving expenses (unless you are a member of the military and meet some certain restrictions). However, as I have said many times before that does not mean that if we did not file correctly in the past that we cannot go back and fix old returns. Do not forget you have that three year window in which you can amend returns (see Video 14 - Myths of Amended Tax Returns). Therefore, I think it is a good idea to talk about what the pre-2018 laws and rules were, about moving expenses and the related deductions.

Bankruptcy and Taxes

Today I am going to talk to you about bankruptcy and taxes. Kind of a depressing subject, but maybe not. Maybe it is an opportunity to help you get out from under a difficult situation. You may find yourself in a spot where your liabilities exceed your assets, and you need to have a way out. This video is not about the mechanics or legalities of bankruptcy-before pursuing bankruptcy, you need the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney, to walk you through the steps and to talk to you about your options. However, this video is for those who have already begun the bankruptcy process and are looking for some guidance.

Death and Taxes

Today I am going to talk to you about two of the greatest inevitabilities in life: death and taxes. If we don't have our finances in order when our ultimate expiration date comes, we could leave behind a mess for our heirs and our family members and loved ones to have to work through.

Students and Taxes

Today we are going to be talking about students and taxes. This is a pretty broad subject, but it is very timely because we are in the midst of applying some major tax legislation. We also have record numbers of people going to school, furthering their education, and pursuing college degrees and other higher learning opportunities. With that said, it's a good time to talk about what tax breaks we can receive.

Q&A with a CPA

Today, we are going to talk to you a little bit about a new segment that we're doing with some Q&A from our audience. We got some great questions: Question 1, What should I do with all of my receipts, do I need to add them up myself or should I should I just bring them to my CPA; Question 2, What are this year's tax filing dates and deadlines; Question 3, I just recently graduated from college and I was wondering if you could offer me some tip and tricks from filing my taxes this year.

Cannabis Video Response

Today, I have the pleasure of responding to one of our viewer's questions about a video that we did previously on Cannabis Business Accounting. The question was, "How do you justify the use of 263A when the IRS Chief Counsel Advice memorandum 201504011 takes the position that a taxpayer who traffics in a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance must determine cost of goods sold, using the applicable inventory-costing regs under 471 and that the IRS does not allow 263A?"

Cannabis Business Accounting

Today I would like to talk to you about cannabis-related businesses. There are many challenges that the cannabis industry is facing right now and a good CPA can help you manage that. We could do a whole series of videos about the cannabis industry and about the implications of being in that line of business, as well as, the tax ramifications per the current tax code. But for now, in this video, we are going to do an overview of some of the key points about why you should hire a competent CPA to help you with this industry.

Taxes on Gambling Income

Today I would like to talk to you about Gambling Income and Losses as modified by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2018. This is an area of the tax reform that is often overlooked, but one that I find particularly interesting because it kind of goes counter intuitive to some of the main tenets of the tax reform, whereby businesses and their owners get additional benefits.

Settling Debts With the IRS

Today I would like to talk to you about Settling Debts with the IRS. We all dread getting that letter, that unmistakable letter in the mail, that we know is from the IRS; it gives us a lot of anxiety. In an effort to help calm those anxieties, I want to talk to you specifically about two different types of debts with the IRS. One being penalties and the other being income tax.

Taxes on Cryptocurrency

Today I want to talk to you about Cryptocurrencies. Up until now, the effects on your tax liability and the taxation of cryptocurrencies has been a little convoluted. It is also important to mention that the IRS released data this year that said, in 2017 the IRS only received a few hundred tax returns in which people actually reported cryptocurrency transactions as a capital gain, or a loss, or as ordinary income. However, we know that the number of people transacting in these currencies is much higher. The IRS knows it too and they have come out and said, 2018 is going to be a landmark year for enforcement and I to believe them on this.

Divorce and Taxes

Divorce is always a challenging time for all parties involved and is an unfortunate reality for many people. With that said, we want to make sure that we don't get caught with unforeseen and unwanted income tax effects.

Save on Taxes By Putting Your Kids on the Payroll

Today I am going to talk to you about how to limit your tax liability as a small business owner, more specifically, how to utilize your kids to do that. I know what you are thinking, we know kids are expensive. We all joke about that, we know, but here is a way that we can use that to our advantage as a small business owner.

End of Year Checklist for Business Taxpayers

Today I am going to talk to you about a year-end checklist for business owners. As we approach the end of the year, we want to make sure we have everything dialed in for our business and personal taxes. I am going to give you a few pointers to consider when talking with your CPA , as well as, some things for you to think about to make sure you are optimizing a tax plan for the current year.

End of Year Checklist for Individual Taxpayers

Today I am going to be talking to you about a year-end checklist for individuals. These are things you should be considering while you are wrapping up your tax planning for the current year. Such as: 401k, IRA, HSA, health savings account, tax-deferred vehicles, etc.

Small Business Deduction Section 199A

Today I would like to talk to you about the Section 199A Deduction, otherwise known as the "20% Small Business Deduction" that was created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2018. Many of you may have heard that there is a new deduction starting this year, 2018, that will apply to small domestic businesses in the U.S. This is a deduction for small businesses in which potentially up to 20% of their net taxable income is tax-free or is excluded from tax.

Switching CPAs

Today I would like to talk to you about switching CPAs. As we approach the end of the year, a lot of you might be thinking that it is time to revisit your relationship with your current CPA or tax preparer or maybe you are thinking of switching to a new CPA all together. Therefore today, I am going to talk to you about a couple of questions you should ask yourself, as well as questions you should ask your perspective CPA when making the move.

Business Expenses

Today we are going to talk about Deductible Business Expenses. I know, that is a very broad topic, but it is a question that I get asked a lot. Business owners want to know what they can and cannot deduct. You would think the answer is straightforward, but it is not. Therefore today, I am going to cover a few specific deductions that I see a lot of misconception around.

Filing an Extension

Today we are going to be talking about filing an extension. Now before you panic, we are going to go through some of the reasons why it may be advantageous for you to file an extension and also dispel some of the rumors and myths around filing an extension.

Filing an Amended Tax Return

Today we are going to talk about the myths of amended tax returns. Now this is a subject that consistently year-over-year gives clients a lot of anxiety, a lot of heartburn, but I'm here to tell you today some of the truths and some of the myths about filing amended tax returns so that will hopefully help you come to a more informed decision if you need to go that route for any particular reason

Payroll Service Providers

Today we are going to be talking about payroll and payroll service providers. We work with a number of businesses on a variety of aspects of their business, including their tax planning, their tax compliance, and operational planning. One area we have found that is best left to the professionals is payroll and payroll processing.

Tax on Internet Sales

Today I would like to talk to you about internet sales and how this affects you as a business owner. The first question I want to ask the audience is, does your business sell any goods online? Do you have internet sales? Do you have a website where people can buy your products? If you do, you need to pay particular attention to a recent Supreme Court case that is likely to shake up the world of online retail.

Tax Season is Never Over

You may think that since the April tax deadline has passed, we can coast through the year. Nothing is further from the truth. This is the perfect time to look at the new tax laws and plan how we can leverage the coming months for your tax benefit.

Corporate Tax Classifications

Today I am going to talk to you about tax classification for your business under the new tax laws. One of the questions that I am being asked a lot right now is, "Should I take my S Corporation and revert back to or become taxed as a C Corporation?" And that is a very complicated question with a lot of variables. But I am going break it down in general for us here today.

Shopping for a CPA Based on Price

Choosing a Certified Public Accountant is vital in assuring your financial health. While choosing one based on price may seem like a prudent decision, you may end up getting less than you bargained for. This is a case where that old adage of, “you get what you pay for” has more meaning. It is been true since the beginning of time it never has never changed it never will change you will always get what you pay for.

Buying a Business

Today I am going to be talking about buying a business. Many people have made the decision to break away from the corporate grind, and break away from the larger organizations to start their own business. It's a fantastic experience, you learn a lot, it is great; but don not underestimate the fact that there is a ton of work that goes into it, and careful planning will help you get on the road to success.

Selling a Business

Today I am going to be talking to you about selling your business. Do you have the right people on your team when you are selling your business? You may think that you can "wing it" on your own when you are ready to sell your business. Afterall, you have run it successfully so far. But selling your business is different than running your business. In this video, I describe the team you should have in place when you're ready to exit, so you get the most from what you have worked so hard to build.

Starting a New Business

In this video, I will discuss the decisions that need to be made when starting a business, as well as, the elements of a successful small business. I will also talk about the tax filing responsibilities you may encounter, from collecting and paying sales tax to various IRS registrations that are required depending on what you will be selling. Other topics include maintaining proper financial records and the need for a dependable payroll service.

Business Provisions of New Tax Law

Businesses in the US will have some major opportunities in the upcoming years. Some of the changes in the new tax law include Expanded Cost Recovery Provisions, Section 179 Depreciation & Bonus Depreciation. These can be helpful to businesses by allowing them to take an immediate tax write off when they purchase new equipment. The new tax law also provides good news for people that operate a real estate trade or business with expanded depreciation rules. Plus, Section 199 A Deduction now allows for a 20% deduction of taxable income for certain business owners. This video is designed to help you be poised to take advantage of these tax savings.

Tax Reform 2018

Our country just experienced a major tax reform. In this video, we will discuss how the changes in the 2018 Tax Reform will impact you and your business. While these changes will have a major impact on your tax preparation, they bring great opportunity for you to lower your effective tax rate. Some examples of these changes include a lower marginal tax rate, a 100% increase in the standard deduction, and which tax and interest payments can be deducted for those that itemize their deduction. Combined with how Section 529 plan funds can be used and how the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) mandate has been lifted, this will certainly be a big year for tax savings.

Why Hire a CPA

In this video, I will talk to you about why it is important to hire a CPA. With regard to tax preparation, bookkeeping and business consulting, I will explain some of the things that set CPAs apart from the other options; such as, education, knowledge, resources, experience, and trust.

Do You Qualify for the Domestic Production Activities Deduction

In this video, I describe the advantages of a little-known tax deduction that smart Certified Public Accountants have used to save their clients’ money. Learn the ins and outs of this deduction to see if you qualify.

How to Choose the Right CPA

Today I would like to talk to you about an important subject that sometimes gets overlooked and that is how to choose the right CPA. Often, we ask a friend, family member, or colleague for a name. Or we talk to our attorney, or our financial adviser about what we should do when we get to that initial meeting with that CPA. But, what are the questions should you ask them and what are some things you should look for? These are all important notes that need to be addressed so I'm going to give you a few things to think about.