Tax CentralWe are dedicated to keeping clients abreast of the latest tax law changes, planning strategies and vital tax-related information. This section includes a library of timely articles, due date reminders and much more. The articles are categorized by subject matter, which can be accessed from the links.
Click on your topic of interest and find a wealth of information.
This section is a compilation of our client information brochures. These brochures cover frequently encountered tax and financial issues. There are many topics to choose from, and you will find valuable and useful information for under each one. Whether you're looking for tax planning tips, planning out your child's education, or in the process of selling your home, you can find all the answers here.
- Small Business Guide
Keep Your Small Business Advantage
While your know-how is certain to make an important difference in your business' success, you're no doubt well aware that producing a winning combination for a smooth-running operation depends on many other factors as well.
- Keeping Your Tax Records
The Advantage of Good Records:
• A good set of records can help you cut your taxes. Detailed records reduce the chance that you will overlook deductible expenses when your tax return is prepared. After all, how many people remember the exact details of their expenditures months after the fact? Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you incurred deductions yet not being able to prove them. The ultimate consequence of poor recordkeeping is enforced payment of more tax than the law requires.
- Home Ownership - Your Best Tax Shelter
Homeowners Receive Big Tax Breaks
Home ownership can provide you with several important tax benefits…
- Deductions for real estate taxes and home mortgage interest, and
- Gain exclusion if you meet certain occupancy and holding period requirements.
- Household Employees and Your Taxes
Employment Tax Responsibilities for Employers of Household Workers
Household employees are workers you hire for “ domestic services,” i.e., those services performed in and about your home. Duties of cooks, butlers, housekeepers, governesses, maids, valets, babysitters, caretakers, gardeners, janitors, or personal chauffeurs all can qualify as “domestic services.”
- Charitable Giving & Your Taxes
Your Charitable Gifts Make a Difference for Others and for Your Taxes
When you give away cash or goods to qualified nonprofit organizations, you will probably be able to take a tax deduction as partial reward for your generosity. However, the IRS rules for deducting charitable contributions aren’t as simple as many people might think. For example, deduction limits can apply, and certain gifts require timely written acknowledgment from the recipient organizations.
- Keep More of What You Make
Saving Money to Ensure Your Future
The Smiths are college graduates with two healthy children, good jobs, a home worth about $160,000 and two relatively new cars. To the casual observer, they’re doing well. Yet anyone taking a close-up view would find a few flaws in their situation, especially when it comes to their finances . . .
- Planning, The Key To Your Financial Future
Planning Ahead for Your Finances
With the number of savings strategies being publicized these days, you’d think that planning ahead for retirement would be a fairly simple job. To the contrary; many investors are finding themselves uncertain that they will be able to find a strategy that will allow them to build a retirement nest egg adequately to meet long-term financial goals.
- Planning Your IRA Strategy
Your IRA Contribution Options
For over 35 years, individuals have been able to set up personal retirement plans called individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Nearly everyone who receives “compensation,” either as an employee or as a self-employed individual, can contribute to an IRA. You can choose from a variety of different types; some give you a tax deduction,while others don’t. This brochure highlights in general terms the IRA options available under current law and points out some of the advantages of each. For more details about which IRAs fit best with your specific situation, please call this office.
- Tax Breaks for Higher Education
- Over the years, Congress has continued to enhance tax breaks for students and their parents. These tax benefits provide taxpayers with a large number of options for tax-favored financing of their education and the education of their family members. This brochure highlights the various education benefits included within the U.S. income tax system.
- Tax-Advantaged College Savings
Section 529 Plans (named after the section of the IRS Code that created them) are plans established to help families save and pay for college in a tax-advantaged way and are available to everyone, regardless of income. These state-sponsored plans allow you to gift large sums of money for a family member ’s college education, while you maintain control of the funds. The earnings from these accounts grow tax-deferred and are tax-free if used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. They can be used as an estate-planning tool as well, providing a means to transfer large amounts of money without gift tax. With all these tax benefits, 529 plans are an excellent vehicle for college funding.
- Selling Your Home
- Federal tax laws allow each individual taxpayer to exclude up to $250,000 of gain from the sale of his/her main home, if he/she meets certain ownership and occupancy requirements. (A married couple that meets the qualifications can exclude up to $500,000.) If an individual/ couple is unable to exclude all or part of the gain, then the gain is taxable as a capital gain in the year of sale.
- Using Your Home Equity
- An individual's home is one of his/her most valuable assets, if not the most valuable. Over time, the home's mortgage will be paid down and, barring unusual market conditions, the home will increase in value, providing a substantial amount of equity.
- Required Minimum IRA Distributions
- The most recent IRS regulations substantially simplify rules for required minimum distributions (RMD) from IRAs.
- Making Estimated Tax Payments
Why Pay Estimates?
The tax system is intended to be a “pay-as-you-go” system, and the only way to prepay taxes is through withholding and estimated taxes. Generally, payroll comes to mind when we think about withholding, but withholding is also available through a variety of other means, including pension income and Social Security payments. However, there are a multitude of income sources that generally do not have withholding, such as self-employment income, interest, dividends, rents, gains from stock sales, alimony etc. Estimated tax payments provide a means of prepaying one's taxes on these kinds of income.
- Tips On Filing Your Tax Return
Deadline for Filing Your Return
Generally, individual tax returns are due on the 15th day of the fourth month after the close of your tax year. Since virtually all individual taxpayers file on a calendar year, the due date for most individual taxpayers is April 15. That is the due date for both filing your return and paying any balance-due taxes. If the April 15 due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or federal legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day. Most states have the same due date, although some give additional time.
- E-filing Your Tax Returns
Basics of E-filing
When e-filing (electronic filing) was first introduced, only the less complicated tax returns qualified. This led to the general public’s perception that e-filing was for short forms with refunds. Since then, e-filing has matured to the point that even the most complicated returns can be electronically filed. It also offers the following advantages to taxpayers:
- Disaster Casualty Losses
- A disaster loss is actually a casualty loss that occurs in a geographic area that the President of the United States declares eligible for Federal disaster assistance. Disaster losses are also eligible for special tax benefits, which are discussed in this brochure.
- Rental Real Estate as an Investment
- A popular form of long-term investment is real estate rentals. Rentals can fall into several varieties, of which real estate rentals is the most common. This material will explain some of the tax ramifications of renting real estate, both residential and commercial.
- Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Strategies
- The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is a tax that was originally intended to ensure that wealthier taxpayers with large write-offs and tax-sheltered investments pay at least a minimum tax. To accomplish this, Congress created a second (alternative) tax computation that adds back to income certain tax preferences and eliminates some deductions. Taxpayers then compute their tax both ways and pay the higher of the two taxes. When it originated back in the '70s, the AMT impacted just a few, very wealthy, individuals. However, unlike the regular tax computation, the AMT is not fully adjusted for inflation and years of inflation have driven everyone's income up to where the number of taxpayers being affected by the AMT is increasing.
- It's Tax Time! Plan Ahead For Your Appointment
- If you’re like most taxpayers, you find yourself with an ominous stack of “homework” around TAX TIME! Unfortunately, the job of pulling together the records for your tax appointment is never easy, but the effort usually pays off when it comes to the extra tax you save! When you arrive at your appointment and are fully prepared, you’ll have more time to:
- Coverdell Education Savings Accounts - Planning Your Child's Education
Overview of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
These accounts, originally referred to as Education IRAs, have been available for over 15 years. These accounts are nondeductible education savings accounts. The investment earnings from a Coverdell account accrue and are withdrawn tax-free, provided the proceeds are used to pay qualified education expenses of the account beneficiary.
- Roth IRA - Is It For You?
- Traditional IRAs are familiar to most taxpayers, providing a relatively simple method of saving for retirement AND deferring taxes in the process. But one drawback of the Traditional IRA is that once withdrawals from them begin, distributed earnings and contributions that were tax-deductible get taxed. In contrast, a Roth IRA allows no tax deduction of contributions. However, it does allow tax-free accumulation on the account so that at retirement ALL distributions from a Roth IRA are tax-free, both contributions and earnings. Naturally, to get this tax-free treatment, certain conditions must be met.
- Tax Considerations for Retirees
- If you’re retired or near retirement, you’ve probably already done the homework to ensure you’re ready financially. But hopefully your research has not left out the tax ramifications that the transition to retirement usually brings. Every retiree needs an awareness of the possible tax traps they may encounter as their income shifts from reliance on wages or self-employment income to retirement-based pensions, investment income, etc. Lifestyle changes can also pose tax questions - e.g., a home sale and move to a new location. This brochure highlights tax pitfalls retirees should be on the lookout for and offers a few pointers for overcoming them.