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It seems like there is always a new approach out there that crooks are using to try to steal your hard-earned money. The IRS recently alerted tax professionals such as myself to be on the lookout for a new variation of a tax-related scam involving Social Security numbers. It is one you need to know about! In this latest twist, in yet another attempt by crooks to scare people into returning robocall voice mails, scammers ...

Congress is up to its old tricks. It seems the pols in DC love to wait all year and then right at the last possible moment, send new tax legislation down the pike! This year is no different. As I write this, both the House and Senate have passed The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. While this is mainly a federal government spending bill to keep the federal government open, it contains important tax ...

In my article a few weeks back (see "Year-end Strategies to Reduce Adjusted Gross Income") I wrote about the tax savings aspects of reducing your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and more specifically some year-end strategies for doing so. Recall we said that planning moves which reduce AGI overall can oftentimes yield better tax results than simply decreasing your taxable income through "below the line" deductions. By the way, it is still not too late ...

Are you age 65 or older? If so, you may have a new tax form available for you to file beginning with the 2020 tax filing season (2019 tax year). A few weeks ago, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a draft of a new tax form they are calling Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors. The new form, which is two pages long, will be available to use by the 17 million or ...

As the days get shorter and the nights longer, you realize it is almost the end of the year. The end of the year is a great time to do last minute tax planning to potentially maximize your deductions and minimize your 2019 tax liability. With tax planning, the goal is always to minimize tax.  One method to minimize tax, as a cash basis taxpayer, is to delay the receipt of income until the following ...

It's never too early to think about moves you can make by year's end to help you reduce your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and save on your income taxes. With only a couple of more months and change to go in 2019, this is a perfect time to start the planning. Now, you may be wondering why I'm talking about reducing "adjusted gross income" rather than reducing "taxable income", or TI. This is because ...

This time of year brings many types of "seasons". There is, of course, autumn and its falling leaves. There is football season, deer season, and the holiday season. In some years (election years), they call it "the crazy season". And then there is the much anticipated Medicare open enrollment season! Ok, maybe calling it "much anticipated" is a bit of a stretch (ya think?). But nonetheless, for people on Medicare, it is an important and ...

Having served for several years in a marriage ministry at our local church, I know the importance of having regular date nights with your spouse. Of course, usually we think of these in terms of doing something that is fun, romantic or interesting. But occasionally it is also a good opportunity to have meaningful discussions about important topics. I find that often times, couples who are getting reasonably close to their retirement years have not ...

If you are a business owner, for your own good as well as the health of the business, a properly drafted buy-sell agreement is a wise tool to have in place. This is especially true if there are multiple owners involved in the business. Just as important as having one to begin with is the need to periodically review and revise the agreement to adapt to changing conditions and needs. A buy-sell agreement legally confers ...

Let's face it; insurance is complicated! Have you ever known anyone that just sits down and reads a policy word for word, including the small print? Thank goodness for seasoned, trustworthy insurance professionals, right? Still, if you are a business owner, some basic knowledge about insurance products and what needs you might have (that you may not even realize you have) is valuable information for your business management toolbox before you go shopping for insurance, ...

Renting a house to family or friends at a discount is commendable, but it can come with some stiff tax consequences if you're not careful. This article is not meant to discourage people from doing favors for others, but before you do, there are a few things you should know. The first thing to understand is the way expenses must be divided. If a rental is held out for rental all 365 days per year, ...

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the benefits of hiring your children to work for your business. In keeping with the kiddo theme, today I want to tackle issues regarding the so-called "kiddie tax". My reason for doing so is that a major change was enacted to the tax rate structure of the kiddie tax in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). To provide some back story, many years ago Congress put the kiddie ...

With summer in full swing, many kids are working or looking for summer work. If you have a business and have kids, there can be valuable benefits in hiring them to work for you; benefits both to them and you! Summer jobs are a great way to teach financial responsibility and encourage children to save for college or retirement (yes, I said retirement), all the while giving them much desired spending money. Hiring your own ...

Naturally, when you file a tax return for a business, you want to find and take all the tax deductions you can. Businesses that take the corporate form of operations are no different. But not everything paid out of business coffers results in a tax deduction. While this article addresses corporations specifically in a few areas, there are also some general principles presented here that are applicable to most any type of business, whether incorporated ...

In my last column two weeks ago, I discussed the hit to the charitable contribution deduction from recent tax reform. In doing so, I briefly touched on the use of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to minimize that impact and maximize tax savings, with the promise to dig into this planning tool deeper this time. Basically, it works like this; if you are age 70Ω or older, you can make donations directly to charity out ...