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5 Tax Tips Before You File

It’s the beginning of February and your tax documents will be piling up by the day as a new mail from your mortgage companies, banks, and investment companies are sent out to you.   As you begin to stack up your pile of information to bring to the CPA or accountant, did you ever wonder if there are still ways you can save money on your 2013 income taxes before you hit the SEND button to the IRS?   Here are my 5 smart money moves on tax tips before your file away for another year. Contribute To An IRA- Whether this is a Traditional IRA or for small business owners/freelancers a SEP-IRA, these types of IRA contributions could still potentially be tax deductible for the 2013 calendar year even though the contributions and accounts were opened in 2014.   The biggest mistake individuals make is not investigating how these vehicles work or the adjusted gross income limits that would make things like ...

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IRS Rules: .9% Additional Medicare Tax In 2013

With Obamacare kicking into to full speed here in 2013, last week I blogged about the 0% long-term capital gains tax. With so many different tax law changes happening, my fear is some tax-payers aren’t planning correctly and will get stung with an extra bill come tax time. For those individual filers who make more than $200,000 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and married couples making more than $250,000 MAGI, it is really important to understand how the additional .9% Medicare Tax will be collected here in 2013. Will your payroll company do this for you? Will you have to do it yourself? Is there a special form to fill out this year? Here it is straight from the IRS Website- BTW, this was about 46 different questions and answers, but I trimmed down the key items for you. (Source for all questions: www.irs.gov) When does Additional Medicare Tax start? Additional Medicare Tax applies to wages and compensation above a ...

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Will You Lose Your Home Mortgage Deduction In 2013?

Last Friday, I spent a chunk of my day at the Georgia Regional Financial Planning Association conference. I was a panelist at the event, but one of the reasons I attended was to see a friend of mine Michael Kitces speak on all of the tax law changes here in 2013. He is one of the best tax management advisors that I know of in the industry. As I have shared before in my blogs, tax management will be as important if not more important than asset management over the next decade. With all of the recent fiscal cliff changes, the tax law has become even more complicated and requires a close eye here in 2013 when income to tracking your gross income, capital gain sales, and potentially triggering out things like stock options or selling a piece of rental real estate. One of the main questions taxpayers will face this this year is whether or not their home mortgage ...

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Personal Finance 101 – 5 Deductions Taxpayers Overlook

Part of putting together an effective tax management strategy is gaining an understanding of what you can and cannot deduct from your tax return.  Every CPA or accountant seems to have a slightly different slant on the tax code, but here are a few that may be able to help you increase your bottom line. Charitable Mileage – Most taxpayers are very good at keeping receipts of their cash donations that they make to the organizations they donate to during the course of the year.   One of the deductions few taxpayers pay attention to is the charitable mileage deduction.  For 2011, you can deduct .14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.  Don’t forget fees and tolls as well (www.irs.gov)  Think about the time that you give gratuitously during the course of the year for your religious organizations, charitable causes you support, or possibly coaching a one of your kid’s teams. Non-Cash Charitable Contributions – Most taxpayers literally ...

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Do You Pay Your Taxes By Credit Card?

Some business owners or people who pay estimated tax payments end up paying their federal income taxes with a credit card. If you pay your income tax (including estimated tax payments) by credit or debit card, you can deduct the convenience fee you are charged by the card processor to pay using your credit or debit card. The deduction is claimed for the year in which the fee was charged to your card as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on line 23 of Schedule A (Form 1040) (and is subject to the 2% of the adjusted gross income floor). (Source: www.irs.gov) However, I always suggest that you look at what it net to you and don’t necessarily let the tax tail wag the dog. The deduction of those fees may sound great, but you really need to analyze what the cost of the convenience fee is relative to the rewards points/frequent flier miles you are earning by using the credit card ...

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Tax Changes For 2010

With 2010 rapidly approaching, you should take some time to review your tax management strategy and get your financial plan in place. Here is a list of some of the important changes that could have an effect on your bottom line. Estate Tax Repealed The federal estate tax is scheduled to be eliminated for estates of individuals who die in 2010. We expect Congress to act in 2009 to keep the tax alive. Roth IRA Conversions Starting in 2010, individuals with more than $100,000 of modified Adjusted Gross Income are free to switch a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. For conversions in 2010, taxpayers can spread the tax due over two years. Half the tax will be due in 2011, and the remaining half will be payable in 2012. Removing the limit on conversions effectively eliminates the income limit on contributions to Roth IRAs. A taxpayer with income too high to use a Roth will be able to contribute ...

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Do we need this type of Health Care reform?

There has been much debate about the hyped up nearly trillion dollar health care reform that has been in the media every day. Heck, I hope you like novels because the last full draft I read on the bill was over 1,000 pages. I’m sure that you can get the condensed version on some news source which will tell you the 6 or 8 key bullet points that they think you need to know. I wanted to let you know that I am not a huge fan of this and neither should you be when you think about the bill. ...

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America’s Healthy Future Act

Major Provisions of Finance Committee’s America’s Healthy Future Act (source: Taylor, English, Duma LLP) Excise Tax on High-Cost Insurance Policies. An excise tax of 40 percent would be imposed on insurance premiums in excess of $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families. For individuals with high-risk jobs or those over age 55 and not enrolled in Medicare, the threshold would be $9,850 for individuals and $26,000 for families. The threshold would be indexed to the consumer price index for urban consumers (CPI-U) plus 1 percentage point. Tax Credit to Buy Insurance. Beginning in 2013, tax credits would be available to help offset the cost of private health insurance premiums. The credits would be paid directly to insurers. The credits would be based on the percentage of income the cost of premiums represents, rising from 2 percent of income for those at 100 percent of the poverty line to 12 percent of income for those at 300 percent of poverty. Individuals ...

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Should You Convert Your Roth IRA?

Hey folks, I’ve got a news flash for you. Going into October, it isn’t just football season, it’s recharacterization season. While most of you are worried about the stock market, I hear individuals and businesses talk everyday about what they should do with their money. (i.e. should I put it in the market, should I put it in a bank account, where is the best place that I should put my money?). The reality is right now, you can’t always think about your portfolio, but also you have to start think about tax strategy. With that being said, for folks out there that make less than $100,000 adjusted gross income, you’ve got the ability to do what’s called recharacterizing your IRA. What this would give you is the ability to do if you make under $100,000 in adjusted growth income is to take your existing IRA and put it into a Roth IRA. There is a handful of legislation that ...

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