Posts Tagged "deductions"

Update on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

Posted on May 2, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was passed by Congress in a hurry late last year, and the IRS and tax preparers have been working to digest some of the more thorny issues created by the tax overhaul. Here are the latest answers to some of the most common questions: Is home equity interest still deductible? The short answer is: Not unless you’ve used the money to buy, build or substantially improve your home. Before the TCJA, homeowners were able to take out a home equity loan and spend it on things other than their residence, such as to pay off credit card debt or to finance large consumer purchases. Under the old tax code, they could deduct interest on up to $100,000 of such home equity debt. The TCJA effectively writes the concept of home equity indebtedness out of the tax code. Now you can only deduct interest on “acquisition indebtedness,” meaning a loan secured by a qualified residence that is used to buy, build or substantially improve it. If you have taken out a home equity loan before 2018 and used it for any other purpose, interest on it is no longer deductible. I’m a small business owner. How do I use the new 20 percent qualified business expense deduction? Short answer: It’s complicated and you should get help. Certain small businesses structured as sole proprietors, S corporations and partnerships can deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income. But that percentage can be reduced after your taxable income reaches $157,500 (or $315,000 as a married couple filing jointly). The amount of the reduction depends partly on the amount of wages paid and property acquired by your business during the year. Another complicating factor is that certain service industries including health, law, consulting, athletics, financial services and accounting are treated slightly differently. The IRS is expected to issue more clarification on how these rules are applied, such as when your business is a mix of one of those service industries and some other kind of business. What are the new rules about dependents and caregiving? There are a few things that have changed regarding dependents and caregiving: Deductions. Standard deductions are nearly doubled to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married joint filers. The code still says dependents can claim a standard deduction limited to the greater of $1,050 or $350 plus unearned income. Kiddie Tax. Unearned income of children under age 19 (or 24 for full-time students) above a threshold of $2,100 is now taxed at a special rate for estates and trusts, rather than the parents’ top tax rate. Family credit. If you have dependents who aren’t children under age 17 (and thus eligible for the Child Tax Credit), you can now claim $500 for each qualified dependent member of your household for whom you provide more than half of their financial support. Medical expenses. You can now deduct medical expenses higher than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. You can claim this for medical expenses you pay for a relative even if they aren’t a dependent (i.e., they live outside your household) as long as you provide more than half of their financial support. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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More tax breaks available for 2017 tax returns

Posted on Mar 2, 2018

Several tax breaks were revived for use in 2017 tax filing by last month’s federal budget bill. Among them are four you may be able to take advantage of: the tuition and fees deduction, the mortgage insurance deduction, the mortgage debt forgiveness exclusion and the energy-efficient home improvement credit. Give us a call if these tax breaks should be considered for your 2017 tax return. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Alert: Expired home and education tax breaks revived

Posted on Feb 28, 2018

Congress passed a federal budget bill in early February that revived dozens of expired tax breaks for the 2017 tax year. They include a deduction for education expenses as well as several tax breaks for homeowners. If you have not yet filed your 2017 tax return, please be aware these late changes are retroactive to the beginning of 2017. Check out this list of the most useful tax breaks to see if they apply to your situation: Tuition and fees deduction. If you paid qualified tuition and related higher education expenses, you may be able to deduct as much as $4,000 of those costs. This can be done on a regular return (without itemizing). The deduction is capped at $4,000 for single filers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $65,000 or less ($130,000 joint) and at $2,000 for single filers with AGI of $80,000 or less ($160,000 joint). Mortgage insurance deduction. If you paid mortgage insurance premiums, you can now once again deduct those amounts as an itemized deduction. This deduction begins to phase out for taxpayers with AGI of $100,000 or more. Mortgage debt forgiveness exclusion. If qualifying mortgage debt on your primary residence was discharged or forgiven, you can exclude that amount from your income. Energy-efficient home improvement credit. Energy-efficient home improvements (such as upgrades to windows, or heating and cooling systems), may be eligible for a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the amount paid, up to $500. If you think any of these apply to you, bring all the related documentation to your tax filing appointment. If you have already filed, you may need to file an amended tax return to capture these very late law changes. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates is known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws. We help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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4 Business Year-End Tax Moves

Posted on Dec 12, 2017

Even though the end of 2017 is near, it is not too late to get your business into the best possible tax position for the new year. Here are some year-end tax moves to consider: Update the office. A fresh coat of paint and new office furnishings not only make your place of business more comfortable, they also provide another tax deduction. How you handle deducting these expenses will vary depending upon whether you own or lease your office space, so reach out for assistance if you have questions. Reward your staff. If you have sufficient cash flow, giving your staff a yearend bonus is a great way to let them know you appreciate them. It’s also tax deductible. Update your skills. Attend a workshop or conference to improve your professional skills. While there are some limitations, many travel, lodging and out-of-pocket expenses related to professional training are tax-deductible. Be nimble. Recent discussions in Congress could mean a dramatic change in taxes on business profits beginning in 2018. Stay abreast of these developments in case you need to make last-minute moves to shift profits from one year to the next to reduce your tax rate. There are a lot of nuances in the tax code affecting each of these end-of-year moves. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need...

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Get ready to save more in 2018

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

You can save more for retirement next year using tax-advantaged accounts, thanks to a boost in the maximum 401(k) contribution rate by the IRS. The maximum rate increases by $500 to $18,500, which is the first increase in three years. Those aged 50 or older can still contribute an additional $6,000 on top of that amount. This is good news, because a 401(k) is one of most potent tools in your retirement arsenal. It offers many benefits over other forms of saving, including: Tax-deferred growth. Pre-tax income of $18,500 invested over 30 years with 6 percent annual cumulative interest will grow to $111,901.92. That’s compared with $67,588.76 of the same amount of income invested after being taxed at the highest rate. While you’ll owe tax on 401(k) withdrawals after retirement, you may be able to manage your 401(k) withdrawals to fall into a lower income bracket. Roth option. You may opt to make your contributions to a 401(k) as a Roth investment, meaning you invest post-tax income, but you can withdraw from your Roth tax-free during retirement. A mix of traditional and Roth accounts will give you flexibility to manage your income tax rate during retirement. Company match. Many companies offer to match the first few percentage points of their employees contributions to a 401(k). Even if you can’t max out your contribution, you should try to invest up to your company’s match limit. Otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table. While 401(k)s have great utility, they come with a few downsides. Any withdrawals made before age 59 1/2 are assessed a 10 percent penalty fee, in addition to being taxed as regular income during the year they are withdrawn. Any investments in 401(k)s also are limited to a few choices set by your employer’s retirement plan, so a limited number of conventional investment options in mutual funds is one of the trade-offs of using a...

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