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 [...]

Tax reform update on employee and business meals and entertainment

| News, Tax Briefs

By Dave Garrett, CPA, CGMA     As you’re likely aware, in late December 2017 Congress passed and the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law will phase in a wide variety of changes to the way businesses calculate their tax liabilities — some beneficial, some detrimental. Revisions to the treatment of employee meals and entertainment expenses fall in the latter category. Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers generally could deduct 50% of expenses for business-related meals Read more [...]

What you can deduct when volunteering

| Tax Briefs

Because donations to charity of cash or property generally are tax deductible (if you itemize), it only seems logical that the donation of something even more valuable to you — your time — would also be deductible. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Donations of time or services aren’t deductible. It doesn’t matter if it’s simple administrative work, such as checking in attendees at a fundraising event, or if it’s work requiring significant experience and expertise that would be Read more [...]

Home green home: Save tax by saving energy

| Tax Briefs

“Going green” at home — whether it’s your principal residence or a second home — can reduce your tax bill in addition to your energy bill, all while helping the environment, too. The catch is that, to reap all three benefits, you need to buy and install certain types of renewable energy equipment in the home. Invest in green and save green For 2018 and 2019, you may be eligible for a tax credit of 30% of expenditures (including costs for site preparation, assembly, installation, piping, Read more [...]

Do you need to adjust your withholding?

| Tax Briefs

If you received a large refund after filing your 2017 income tax return, you’re probably enjoying the influx of cash. But a large refund isn’t all positive. It also means you were essentially giving the government an interest-free loan. That’s why a large refund for the previous tax year would usually indicate that you should consider reducing the amounts you’re having withheld (and/or what estimated tax payments you’re making) for the current year. But 2018 is a little different. The Read more [...]