There’s still time to get substantiation for 2018 donations

| Tax Briefs

If you’re like many Americans, letters from your favorite charities have been appearing in your mailbox in recent weeks acknowledging your 2018 year-end donations. But what happens if you haven’t received such a letter — can you still claim an itemized deduction for the gift on your 2018 income tax return? It depends.   Basic requirements   To support a charitable deduction, you need to comply with IRS substantiation requirements. This generally includes obtaining a contemporaneous written Read more [...]

Consider all the tax consequences before making gifts to loved ones

| Tax Briefs

Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable estate, to help out family members or simply to see their loved ones enjoy the gifts. If you’re considering lifetime gifts, be aware that which assets you give can produce substantially different tax consequences.   Multiple types of taxes   Federal gift and estate taxes generally apply at a rate of 40% to transfers in excess of your available gift and estate tax exemption. Under Read more [...]

2 major tax law changes for individuals in 2019

| Tax Briefs

While most provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018 and either apply through 2025 or are permanent, there are two major changes under the act for 2019. Here’s a closer look.   1. Medical expense deduction threshold   With rising health care costs, claiming whatever tax breaks related to health care that you can is more important than ever. But there’s a threshold for deducting medical expenses that was already difficult for many taxpayers to meet, and it may Read more [...]

You may be able to save more for retirement in 2019

| Tax Briefs

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, and many have gone up for 2019, giving you opportunities to increase your retirement savings: Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1) plans: $19,000 (up from $18,500) Contributions to defined contribution plans: $56,000 (up from $55,000) Contributions to SIMPLEs: $13,000 (up from $12,500) Contributions to IRAs: $6,000 (up from $5,500) One exception is catch-up contributions for taxpayers age 50 or Read more [...]

2019 Q1 tax calendar: Key deadlines for businesses and other employers

| Tax Briefs

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the first quarter of 2019. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. January 31 File 2018 Forms W-2, “Wage and Tax Statement,” with the Social Security Administration and provide copies to your employees. Provide copies of 2018 Forms 1099-MISC, “Miscellaneous Income,” to recipients of income from your business where required. Read more [...]

Tax-free fringe benefits help small businesses and their employees

| Tax Briefs

In today’s tightening job market, to attract and retain the best employees, small businesses need to offer not only competitive pay, but also appealing fringe benefits. Benefits that are tax-free are especially attractive to employees. Let’s take a quick look at some popular options. Insurance Businesses can provide their employees with various types of insurance on a tax-free basis. Here are some of the most common: Health insurance. If you maintain a health care plan for employees, Read more [...]

Does prepaying property taxes make sense anymore?

| Tax Briefs

Prepaying property taxes related to the current year but due the following year has long been one of the most popular and effective year-end tax-planning strategies. But does it still make sense in 2018? The answer, for some people, is yes — accelerating this expense will increase their itemized deductions, reducing their tax bills. But for many, particularly those in high-tax states, changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminate the benefits. What’s changed? The TCJA made Read more [...]

Catch-up retirement plan contributions can be particularly advantageous post-TCJA

| Tax Briefs

Will you be age 50 or older on December 31? Are you still working? Are you already contributing to your 401(k) plan or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) up to the regular annual limit? Then you may want to make “catch-up” contributions by the end of the year. Increasing your retirement plan contributions can be particularly advantageous if your itemized deductions for 2018 will be smaller than in the past because of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Catching Read more [...]

Buy business assets before year-end to reduce your 2018 tax liability

| Tax Briefs

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has enhanced two depreciation-related breaks that are popular year-end tax planning tools for businesses. To take advantage of these breaks, you must purchase qualifying assets and place them in service by the end of the tax year. That means there’s still time to reduce your 2018 tax liability with these breaks, but you need to act soon.   Section 179 expensing   Sec. 179 expensing is valuable because it allows businesses to deduct up to 100% of the cost Read more [...]

Could “bunching” medical expenses into 2018 save you tax?

| Tax Briefs

Some of your medical expenses may be tax deductible, but only if you itemize deductions and have enough expenses to exceed the applicable floor for deductibility. With proper planning, you may be able to time controllable medical expenses to your tax advantage. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) could make bunching such expenses into 2018 beneficial for some taxpayers. At the same time, certain taxpayers who’ve benefited from the deduction in previous years might no longer benefit because of the Read more [...]