Deduct all of the mileage you’re entitled to — but not more

| Tax Briefs

Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes. What are the deduction rates? The rates vary depending on the purpose and the year: Business: 54 cents (2016), 53.5 cents (2017) Medical: 19 cents (2016), 17 cents Read more [...]

When an elderly parent might qualify as your dependent

| Tax Briefs

It’s not uncommon for adult children to help support their aging parents. If you’re in this position, you might qualify for the adult-dependent exemption. It allows eligible taxpayers to deduct up to $4,050 for each adult dependent claimed on their 2016 tax return. Basic qualifications For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most cases your parent must have less gross income for the tax year than the exemption amount. (Exceptions may apply if your parent is permanently Read more [...]

2016 IRA contributions — it’s not too late!

| Tax Briefs

Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea. Benefits beyond a deduction Tax-advantaged retirement plans like IRAs allow your money to grow tax-deferred — or, in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free. But annual contributions are limited by tax law, and any unused limit can’t Read more [...]

Tangible property safe harbors help maximize deductions

| Tax Briefs

If last year your business made repairs to tangible property, such as buildings, machinery, equipment or vehicles, you may be eligible for a valuable deduction on your 2016 income tax return. But you must make sure they were truly “repairs”, and not actually “improvements”. Why? Costs incurred to improve tangible property must be depreciated over a period of years. But costs incurred on incidental repairs and maintenance can be expensed and immediately deducted. What’s an “improvement”? In Read more [...]

Do you need to file a 2016 gift tax return by April 18?

| Tax Briefs

Last year you may have made significant gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs as part of your estate planning strategy. Or perhaps you just wanted to provide loved ones with some helpful financial support. Regardless of the reason for making a gift, it’s important to know under what circumstances you’re required to file a gift tax return. Some transfers require a return even if you don’t owe tax. And sometimes it’s desirable to file a return even if it isn’t required. When Read more [...]

The investment interest expense deduction – Less beneficial than you might think

| Tax Briefs

Investment interest — interest on debt used to buy assets held for investment, such as margin debt used to buy securities — generally is deductible for both regular tax and alternative minimum tax purposes. But special rules apply that can make this itemized deduction less beneficial than you might think. Limits on the deduction First, you can’t deduct interest you incurred to produce tax-exempt income. For example, if you borrow money to invest in municipal bonds, which are exempt from Read more [...]

What you need to know about the tax treatment of ISOs

| Tax Briefs

Incentive stock options allow you to buy company stock in the future at a fixed price equal to or greater than the stock’s fair market value on the grant date. If the stock appreciates, you can buy shares at a price below what they’re then trading for. However, complex tax rules apply to this type of compensation. Current tax treatment ISOs must comply with many rules but receive tax-favored treatment: You owe no tax when ISOs are granted. You owe no regular income tax when you exercise Read more [...]

The “manufacturers’ deduction” isn’t just for manufacturers

| Tax Briefs

The Section 199 deduction is intended to encourage domestic manufacturing. In fact, it’s often referred to as the “manufacturers’ deduction.” But this potentially valuable tax break can be used by many other types of businesses besides manufacturing companies. Sec. 199 deduction 101 The Sec. 199 deduction, also called the “domestic production activities deduction,” is 9% of the lesser of qualified production activities income or taxable income. The deduction is also limited to 50% Read more [...]

Indiana Identity Protection Program for 2017 tax season

| Alerding Alerts, Tax Briefs

Notice from the Dept. of Revenue The Indiana Department of Revenue again will implement the Identity Protection Program for the 2017 tax season. This program is designed to not only stop fraud, but to deter fraud in the state of Indiana. Since its inception in 2014, the Identity Protection Program has stopped more than $100 million in fraudulent refund attempts. Security Features To prevent taxpayers’ refunds from being stolen, the department will use the automated identity verification Read more [...]

Deduction for state and local sales tax benefits some, but not all, taxpayers

| Tax Briefs

The break allowing taxpayers to take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes was made “permanent” a little over a year ago. This break can be valuable to those residing in states with no or low income taxes or who purchase major items, such as a car or boat. Your 2016 tax return How do you determine whether you can save more by deducting sales tax on your 2016 return? Compare your potential deduction for state and local income tax to Read more [...]