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The IRS recently announced that the 2021 tax filing season will officially begin Monday, January 24, 2022. This is the date the agency will begin accepting and processing 2021 returns, after having taken some time to program and test their systems to make sure they run as smoothly as possible (keep your fingers crossed). In a statement released by the agency, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig emphasized the importance of having all information you need to ...

If you’re a teacher, you likely are dipping into your own pocket to buy classroom supplies needed to help your students. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this likely has become even more common for you, as COVID-19 protective supplies have been added to the mix of things needed.  Fortunately, teachers and other qualified educators may be able to offset qualified expenses paid in 2021 when you file your tax return in 2022. Educators who work in ...

A few weeks back, I wrote about the importance of identifying whether a worker/service provider was an employee or independent contractor. That article was geared more toward the business receiving the services, i.e., the potential employer.  But what if you are on the other side? What if you are the service provider and find yourself as the independent contractor, maybe even what has come to be termed a "gig" worker? This is an important question.  ...

In large part due to unstable employment situations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of new businesses have been created in the last twelve to eighteen months. If you are one of these, filing taxes for a business may be new to you. Most people understand that a business can deduct normal day-to-day operating expenses from its income. But some tax breaks are not so well known. Be sure you don't overlook these valuable tax ...

When legal tax planning techniques become just a bit too popular and begin to cost the government big money (or they are needing to raise revenue to pay for something), they tend to become targets of Congress. Such is the case of an increasingly popular planning move that enables taxpayers who, due to income limitations, might otherwise not qualify to make a Roth IRA contribution to nevertheless do so.  This planning move that finds itself ...

Ah, it's the holiday season, when glad tidings, peace, and goodwill abound!  Unfortunately, scammers and identity thieves don't take a holiday break, and in fact, tend to crank up their criminal activity a bit this time of year.  Because of this, the IRS and its Security Summit partners dubbed the week following Thanksgiving weekend as National Tax Security Awareness week, saying that the combination of the holiday shopping season, the upcoming tax season, and the ...

My last column touched on the importance of year-end tax planning for business. Like businesses, individuals can also benefit from moves that may help lower their tax bills, not only this year but possibly next.  This year's planning is more challenging than usual due to the uncertainty surrounding pending legislation that could, among other things, increase top rates on both ordinary income and capital gain starting next year.  Whatever Congress decides to do, the time-tested ...

If you're in business, you know that year-end is the time to start pondering moves you can make to lower your businesses taxes, both for this year and next. Tax planning is challenging enough, but this year may be even more so than usual due to the uncertainty surrounding legislation pending in Congress that could have enormous impact on the situation.  Even so, the standard year-end approach of deferring income and accelerating deductions to minimize ...

It is critical for businesses to correctly determine whether those providing services to them are employees or self-employed independent contractors. While it is tempting, as an employer, to treat workers as independent contractors in order to save payroll taxes, failure to categorize them properly can have significant financial consequences. In general, an employee is considered to be anyone who performs services, if the business can control what will be done and how it will be ...

Working men and women are inundated with daily demands for our time. Between work, family, and trying to fit in some self-care, there can be little time for anything else. As we are squeezed for time, one area often relegated to the back burner is our financial health. Much like an annual physical, have you assessed your financial health lately? Over the course of our lives, we work hard and need to be sure we ...

The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted in December 2020, contained several provisions that expand tax benefits for individuals and businesses who give to charity. However, the changes are only temporary; specifically, you have only until the end of 2021 to take advantage of them, so you will need to act quickly if you wish to do so.  The new law extends through the end of 2021 these four temporary tax ...

Open enrollment in the context of this article involves coverage for healthcare benefits but refers to two very different programs and types of coverage – Medicare and the Healthcare Marketplace as established by the Affordable Care Act during the Obama Administration.  Let's take a look at each. First, Medicare.  Open enrollment for Medicare is the annual opportunity for those covered by it to window shop a bit and assess if their current Medicare plan still ...

In today's cyber-business dominated economic system, it has become a near necessity to have some form of "plastic" in order to be able to take part. Basically, this plastic comes in the form of either a debit card or credit card.  To give you some idea of the usage of these cards, a Federal Reserve Payment Study published in January 2020 (the latest in a series of triennial studies on the matter) showed that in ...

I often meet with new business owners who are trying to get up to speed on all the tax rules, regulations and nuances that relate to their new ventures. Typically, one of the questions they have regards the business use of vehicles and what tax benefits may be available to them from such use.  It's an important and potentially valuable question. Essentially, there are two options when it comes to tax breaks for the business ...

Holders of traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) plans over the age of 71 take note – required minimum distributions, or RMDs, are back.  The RMD rules require most account holders age 72 and older to withdraw a minimum amount each year based on the age of the account owner and the value of the owner's accounts at the end of the previous year. The withdrawal is generally taxable.  When the markets tanked in ...