The tax deduction ins and outs of donating artwork to charity

| Tax Briefs

If you’re charitably inclined and you collect art, appreciated artwork can make one of the best charitable gifts from a tax perspective. In general, donating appreciated property is doubly beneficial because you can both enjoy a valuable tax deduction and avoid the capital gains taxes you’d owe if you sold the property. The extra benefit from donating artwork comes from the fact that the top long-term capital gains rate for art and other “collectibles” is 28%, as opposed to 20% for most other Read more [...]

Tax planning for investments gets more complicated

| Tax Briefs

For investors, fall is a good time to review year-to-date gains and losses. Not only can it help you assess your financial health, but it also can help you determine whether to buy or sell investments before year-end to save taxes. This year, you also need to keep in mind the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). While the TCJA didn’t change long-term capital gains rates, it did change the tax brackets for long-term capital gains and qualified dividends. For 2018 through 2025, these brackets Read more [...]

Play your tax cards right with gambling wins and losses

| Tax Briefs

If you gamble, be sure you understand the tax consequences. Both wins and losses can affect your income tax bill. And changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) could also have an impact. Wins and taxable income You must report 100% of your gambling winnings as taxable income. The value of complimentary goodies (“comps”) provided by gambling establishments must also be included in taxable income as winnings. Winnings are subject to your regular federal income tax rate. You might Read more [...]

Choosing the right accounting method for tax purposes

| Business Briefs, Tax Briefs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) liberalized the eligibility rules for using the cash method of accounting, making this method — which is simpler than the accrual method — available to more businesses. Now the IRS has provided procedures a small business taxpayer can use to obtain automatic consent to change its method of accounting under the TCJA. If you have the option to use either accounting method, it pays to consider whether switching methods would be beneficial. Cash vs. accrual Generally, Read more [...]

The TCJA prohibits undoing 2018 Roth IRA conversions, but 2017 conversions are still eligible

| Tax Briefs

Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA can provide tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement. But what if you convert your traditional IRA — subject to income taxes on all earnings and deductible contributions — and then discover you would have been better off if you hadn’t converted it? Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), you could undo a Roth IRA conversion using a “recharacterization.” Effective with 2018 conversions, the TCJA prohibits recharacterizations — Read more [...]

The tax impact of the TCJA on estate planning

| Tax Briefs

The massive changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made to income taxes have garnered the most attention. But the new law also made major changes to gift and estate taxes. While the TCJA didn’t repeal these taxes, it did significantly reduce the number of taxpayers who’ll be subject to them, at least for the next several years. Nevertheless, factoring taxes into your estate planning is still important.   Exemption increases   The TCJA more than doubles the combined gift and estate tax Read more [...]

Do you know the ABCs of HSAs, FSAs and HRAs?

| Tax Briefs

There continues to be much uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act and how such uncertainty will impact health care costs. So it’s critical to leverage all tax-advantaged ways to fund these expenses, including HSAs, FSAs and HRAs. Here’s how to make sense of this alphabet soup of health care accounts.   HSAs   If you’re covered by a qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you can contribute pretax income to an employer-sponsored Health Savings Account — or make deductible contributions Read more [...]

Why the “kiddie tax” is more dangerous

| Tax Briefs

Once upon a time, some parents and grandparents would attempt to save tax by putting investments in the names of their young children or grandchildren in lower income tax brackets. To discourage such strategies, Congress created the “kiddie” tax back in 1986. Since then, this tax has gradually become more far-reaching. Now, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the kiddie tax has become more dangerous than ever. A short history Years ago, the kiddie tax applied only to children under Read more [...]

Run the numbers before you extend customer credit

| Tax Briefs

Funny thing about customers: They can keep you in business — but they can also put you out of it. The latter circumstance often arises when a company overly relies on a few customers that abuse their credit to the point where the company’s cash flow is dramatically impacted. To guard against this, you need to diligently assess every customer’s creditworthiness before getting too deeply involved. And this includes running the numbers on entities you do business with, just as lenders and investors Read more [...]