Tips on Lowering Your Taxes 1. Choose to Deduct State and Local Sales Taxes If you live in a jurisdiction with low or no personal income tax or you owe little or nothing to the state and local income tax collectors, you might consider deducting state sales taxes instead of state income taxes. However, this option only applies if you have enough itemized … [Read more...] about 5 Last-Minute Ideas to Lower Your 2018 Taxes
Itemize or Standard Deductions? Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), fewer people will be itemizing deductions — and more will be claiming the standard deduction — for the 2018 through 2025 tax years. Why? First, the TCJA almost doubled the standard deduction amounts: STANDARD DEDUCTIONS 2018 2019Single filers and married people whofile separately $12,000$12,200Heads of … [Read more...] about Itemizing vs. Taking the Standard Deduction
Tax filing season kicked off as scheduled on January 28. But tax returns for 2018 may require extra time to file and process due to confusion over the sweeping tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Most the TCJA provisions that affect individuals are effective for 2018 through 2025, unless Congress extends them. In addition, people who prepare their own returns may … [Read more...] about Six Common Mistakes When Taxpayers Prepare Their Own Tax Returns
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently finished several investigations aimed at employers. The agency announced that seven different employers had violated federal laws involving minimum wages, overtime calculations, family and medical leave, the tip credit and work visas. Here are brief descriptions of the cases. 1. Minimum wage violations. A … [Read more...] about Federal Investigators Find Labor Law Violations in Several Cases
Small business owners have several options for their retirement plans. Two tax-smart and flexible alternatives are SIMPLE IRAs and solo 401(k) plans. If you're eligible for these types of plans and you want to maximize your tax-deferred savings, which makes more sense? Here's a series of side-by-side comparisons to help you decide.Eligibility Requirements SIMPLE IRASolo 401(k)SIMPLE IRAs … [Read more...] about SIMPLE IRA vs. Solo 401(k): Which Is Right for Your Small Business?
Important Reasons to Review and Update Your Estate Plan Let’s assume you are among the approximately 30% of adults who have done the prudent thing and established your Estate Plan. Perhaps you simply created a Will. Have you had it professionally reviewed in recent years? Make sure your plan is still the most suitable for your current estate and goals? Alternatively, do you have a Living Trust … [Read more...] about Five Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan
The IRS announced that it is waiving the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year. The IRS is generally waiving the penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85% of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated … [Read more...] about 2018 Tax Payments Fall Short? You May Be Eligible for Penalty Relief
Over the years, real estate has proven to be a lucrative investment for many households. And, in some parts of the country, current market values have surpassed levels seen prior to the 2008 financial crisis. If your principal residence has appreciated significantly in value, you may be subject to capital gains tax when it's sold. If your gain will be too big to be sheltered by the … [Read more...] about How to Combine Home Sale Gain Exclusion with a Like-Kind Exchange
Health care is a top concern for many Americans, especially people who are age 65 and older. While these individuals qualify for basic Medicare insurance, they may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage they desire. Those premiums can add up to a substantial annual sum, especially if you're married and both you and your spouse are paying them. But the silver lining is … [Read more...] about Could Medicare Premiums Lower Your Taxes?
In estate planning involving spouses there may be issues surrounding how to deal with separate property acquired prior to marriage or as a result of inheritance. As part of your estate planning consultations with your attorney, you may be asked whether you wish any particular property or financial assets you currently consider to be your sole and separate property to remain your sole and … [Read more...] about Deciding Whether to Convert Separate Property to Community Property