Posts Tagged "Education"

How to Ace the FAFSA

Posted on Oct 1, 2017

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a tool that students use to apply for more than $120 billion in federal funds. Unfortunately, each year many students miss out. Even if you don’t think you or your child qualify for federal aid, filling out a FAFSA is important because it could be used to determine eligibility for nonfederal aid and private funds. FAFSA available October 1, 2017 Previously, the FAFSA was unavailable until January. A recent change makes the application available October 1, 2017. That’s because the 2018-19 FAFSA can be completed with your 2016 tax info. Avoid FAFSA mistakes Don’t forgo federal student aid by making one of the following common filing mistakes: Mistake: Not reading the instructions or questions Tip: Answer all questions – even if the answer is zero. If left blank, the question will be considered unanswered. Check the FAFSA website if you are unsure of definitions of key FAFSA terms. Mistake: Incorrect, incomplete or non-matching data Tip: Complete the FAFSA online. It takes only 3-5 days to process when submitted electronically. The online version has built-in safeguards that identify and prevent many errors. Mistake: Not filing on time Tip: Get the application submitted ASAP. The sooner you or your child gets started, the higher the likelihood of being awarded funds since many are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Remember, students need to complete a FAFSA each year because eligibility does Download our...

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Say Goodbye to the College Tuition Deduction

Posted on Sep 20, 2017

Congress decided not to extend this $4,000 deduction for 2017, leaving many parents worried that college will now be more expensive. However, Congress left in place two popular education credits that may offer a more valuable tax break: The AOTC. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is a credit of up to $2,500 per student per year for qualified undergraduate tuition, fees and course materials.The deduction phases out at higher income levels, and is eliminated altogether for married couples with a modified adjusted gross income of $180,000 ($90,000 for singles). Lifetime Learning Credit. The Lifetime Learning Credit provides an annual credit of 20 percent on the first $10,000 of tuition and fees, for either undergraduate or graduate level classes. There is no lifetime limit on the credit, but only couples making less than $131,000 per year (or singles making $65,000) qualify. Unlike the AOTC, this deduction is per tax return, not per student. So who is affected by the loss of the tuition and fees deduction? If you are paying for your student’s graduate-level courses and are making too much to qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit, the tuition and fees deduction is generally the only means you have to reduce your tax bill. Thankfully, there are many other tax benefits that help reduce the cost of education. There are breaks for employer-provided tuition assistance, deductions for student loan interest, tax-beneficial college savings options, and many other tax-planning...

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SAY GOODBYE TO THE COLLEGE TUITION DEDUCTION

Posted on Aug 30, 2017

It’s hard enough to watch your child leave for college. Now you also have to say goodbye to the tuition and fees tax deduction. Congress decided not to extend this $4,000 deduction for 2017, leaving many parents worried that college will now be more expensive. But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. That’s because Congress left in place two popular education credits that may offer a more valuable tax break: The AOTC. The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is a credit of up to $2,500 per student per year for qualified undergraduate tuition, fees and course materials. The deduction phases out at higher income levels, and is eliminated altogether for married couples with a modified adjusted gross income of $180,000 ($90,000 for singles). Lifetime Learning Credit. The Lifetime Learning Credit provides an annual credit of 20 percent on the first $10,000 of tuition and fees, for either undergraduate or graduate level classes. There is no lifetime limit on the credit, but only couples making less than $130,000 per year (or singles making $65,000) qualify. Unlike the AOTC, this deduction is per tax return, not per student. But there’s still hope! In addition to the two alternative education credits, there are many other tax benefits that help reduce the cost of education. There are breaks for employer-provided tuition assistance, deductions for student loan interest, tax-beneficial college savings options, and many other tax-planning alternatives. Please call if you’d like an overview of the alternatives available to you. So who is affected by the loss of the tuition and fees deduction? If you are paying for your student’s graduate-level courses and are making too much to qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit, the tuition and fees deduction is generally the only means you have to reduce your tax bill. 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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Have adult children? Take steps to avoid medical access denial

Posted on Aug 15, 2017

Imagine your college-aged daughter has an accident while away at school and ends up in the emergency room. When you call the hospital, you are denied information about her care because you do not have the proper forms signed. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you do not have legal access to your child’s health information after they reach age 18, even if your child is still your dependent and their health insurance coverage is in your name. To avoid this administrative nightmare, take the following steps. 1. Make sure your health insurance coverage will cover your child at his or her new campus home. 2. Have your son or daughter sign a HIPAA authorization form allowing you access to their medical information. 3. Create a multipurpose medical power of attorney authorization, which will not only give you authorization to help make medical decisions, it can also include an advance directive or living will. 4. Scan two copies of these documents – one for you and one for your child –and keep them in a secure place along with a copy of your student’s insurance...

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MEDICAL ACCESS DENIAL – WHAT EVERY COLLEGE STUDENT’S PARENTS SHOULD KNOW

Posted on Aug 9, 2017

Imagine your college-aged daughter has an accident while away at school and ends up in the emergency room. When you call the hospital, you are denied information about her care because you do not have the proper forms signed. HIPAA not so hip Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), you no longer have legal access to your child’s health information after they reach age 18. This is the case even if they are still your dependent and their health insurance coverage is in your name. You would not have access to your child’s billing records nor would you be able to consult with medical professionals regarding your child’s health. To avoid this administrative nightmare, make sure you take these steps. Health insurance coverage. Before your child leaves for school, make sure your health insurance will cover your child at his or her new campus home. You may need to inform your insurance company, especially if your child is going out of state for school. Signed HIPAA authorization. Have your son or daughter sign a HIPAA authorization form allowing you access to their medical information. Medical power of attorney. Create a multipurpose medical power of attorney authorization. The medical power of attorney will not only give you authorization to help make medical decisions, it can also include an advance directive or living will. Each state has different requirements so you will need to ensure the correct forms are used. Durable power of attorney. This added legal step authorizes a parent or other agent to make decisions on the student’s behalf. It can be helpful if your student plans on studying abroad or if you will want access to the student’s accounts for possible billing information. Scan two copies of these documents — one for you and one for your child — and keep them in a secure place along with a copy of your student’s insurance card. 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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