Why you shouldn’t wait to file your 2018 income tax return

| Tax Briefs

The IRS opened the 2018 income tax return filing season on January 28. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline, this year consider filing as soon as you can. Why? You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and reap other benefits, too.   What is tax identity theft?   In a tax identity theft scheme, a thief uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund.   You discover Read more [...]

What will your marginal income tax rate be?

| Tax Briefs

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could see their taxes go up due to reductions or eliminations of certain tax breaks — and, in some cases, due to their filing status. But some may see additional tax savings due to their filing status. Unmarried vs. married taxpayers In an effort to further eliminate the marriage “penalty”, the TCJA made changes to some of the middle tax brackets. As a result, some single Read more [...]

A refresher on major tax law changes for small-business owners

| Tax Briefs

The dawning of 2019 means the 2018 income tax filing season will soon be upon us. After year-end, it’s generally too late to take action to reduce 2018 taxes. Business owners may, therefore, want to shift their focus to assessing whether they’ll likely owe taxes or get a refund when they file their returns this spring, so they can plan accordingly. With the biggest tax law changes in decades — under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) — generally going into effect beginning in 2018, most Read more [...]

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 [...]

Improving efficiency at board meetings

| Business Miscellaneous

Unproductive board meetings waste time, demotivate board members and frustrate staff.  While most boards function relatively well, they may not be functioning at their highest level. Here are several simple changes you can make right now that will keep your meetings productive and on target. Running an efficient board meeting helps everyone to stay focused, energizes board members and leads to improving the overall effectiveness of the board. 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 [...]

Family businesses need succession plans, too

| Business Briefs, Business Miscellaneous

Those who run family-owned businesses often underestimate the need for a succession plan. After all, they say, we’re a family business — there will always be a family member here to keep the company going and no one will stand in the way. Not necessarily. In one all-too-common scenario, two of the owner’s children inherit the business and, while one wants to keep the business in the family, the other is eager to sell. Such conflicts can erupt into open combat between heirs and even destroy Read more [...]

New revenue recognition standard

| Alerding Alerts

U.S. GAAP requirements for the new revenue recognition standard (ASC update numbers: 2014-9, 2015-14, 2016-8, 2016-10 and 2016-12; ASC 606) was effective yesterday, January 1, 2019, for non-public business entities (private companies). This new standard applies to private companies with annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018 and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. Therefore, it must be adopted and reported on calendar year-end 2019 financial Read more [...]