Posts Tagged "tax bill"

Avoid underpayment penalties

Posted on Oct 5, 2012

Don’t let penalties for underpaid taxes increase your tax bill next April. Check the total tax you’ve paid in for 2012 through withholding and/or quarterly estimated payments. If you’ve underpaid, consider adjusting your withholding for the final pay periods of 2012. Withheld taxes are considered paid in equal amounts during the year regardless of when the tax is withheld. Therefore, a year-end adjustment to your withholding could help you avoid a...

Read More

Should you undo a Roth to save taxes?

Posted on Oct 18, 2011

Yes, 2010 was the year of the Roth, and you may have converted your traditional IRA to take advantage of the one-time option to postpone recognizing the income. As you know, half of the related tax bill will be due with your 2011 tax return.  End of story? Not exactly. You can still take advantage of a planning window that may save you money. Under the rules, you have until October 17, 2011, to change your mind about the original conversion.  The tax term for the “do-over” election is recharacterization. It works like this: Say the value of the assets you converted to a Roth during 2010 has declined. That means if you had waited until now to convert, you would have ended up paying less tax. Reversing your 2010 decision puts you back in the position you were in before the Roth conversion and wipes out your original tax liability.  Even better, you can still do another traditional-to-Roth IRA conversion after recharacterizing. While the option of splitting the income over future years is no longer available, you can achieve the same effect by reconverting over a multi-year period. Just be aware that time restrictions may apply on this strategy. For details or assistance, give us a...

Read More

Gambling winnings and losses can affect your tax bill

Posted on Sep 21, 2010

From time to time, some of you are lucky enough to win a shilling or two at your local casino, the track, or your state lottery. How will that gambling income impact your taxes?  All gambling winnings are taxable. This is true for cash winnings and for the fair market value of any non-cash prizes you might win (e.g., a car, vacation, etc.). Depending on your other income and the amount of your winnings, your federal tax on such winnings can go as high as 35%. You don’t receive any capital gains rate break for gambling winnings, nor is there any income averaging to help lower your tax bill.  However, you are entitled to a tax deduction for gambling losses. These are taken as an itemized deduction and your losses can’t exceed your winnings. In other words, if you report no gambling income, you can’t report gambling losses. When you gamble and lose, you must keep documentary evidence of your losses (canceled checks, credit card charges, losing tickets, ATM receipts, etc.). Many casinos keep track of your wins and losses for electronic games if you belong to their player clubs. But gambling deductions might not be all that beneficial. You can’t simply “net out” your winnings and losses. Instead you must report your entire winnings as income, and use your losses as itemized deductions. In many cases (especially for older taxpayers with little income other than social security benefits, and with very few itemized deductions), the losses might not be tax beneficial. If you take the standard deduction rather than itemizing deductions, you will receive no tax benefit whatsoever. However, the winnings could have a significant impact on your income and may cause you to pay additional taxes (such as making some of your social security benefits taxable when they otherwise wouldn’t...

Read More