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Remember, any gift tax exemption amount you use during your life must be subtracted. But if your spouse predeceases you, then his or her unused estate tax exemption, if any, may be added to yours provided the applicable requirements are met.
If your taxable estate is equal to or less than your available estate tax exemption, no federal estate tax will be due at your death. But if your taxable estate exceeds this amount, the excess will be subject to federal estate tax. Be aware that many states impose estate tax at a lower threshold than the federal government does. Perhaps you want to transfer some appreciated stock to a child or grandchild to start them on their journey toward successful wealth management.
Or maybe you simply want to remove some assets from your taxable estate or shift income into a lower tax bracket. An evolving concept Years ago, the kiddie tax applied only to those under age The kiddie tax applied to a child if the child: Now, under the TCJA, for tax years beginning after December 31,the taxable income of a child attributable to earned income is taxed under the rates for single individuals, and taxable income of a child attributable to net unearned income is taxed according to the brackets applicable to trusts and estates.
As under previous law, the kiddie tax can potentially apply until the year a child turns Fortunately, there may be ways to achieve your goals without triggering the kiddie tax. A risky time Many families wait until the end of the year to make substantial, meaningful gifts. Please contact our firm for more information and some suggestions on how to achieve your financial goals. Thus, you may have specific tax obligations, such as withholding and paying Social Security and Medicare FICA taxes and possibly federal and state unemployment insurance.
A household worker is someone you hire to care for your children or other live-in family members, clean your house, cook meals, do yard work or provide similar domestic services. But not everyone who works in your home is an employee. For example, some workers are classified as independent contractors.
These self-employed individuals typically provide their own tools, set their own hours, offer their services to other customers and are responsible for their own taxes.
To avoid the risk of misclassifying employees, however, you may want to assume that a worker is an employee unless your tax advisor tells you otherwise.
When do I pay employment taxes? The threshold is adjusted annually for inflation. How do I make tax payments? You pay any federal employment and withholding taxes by attaching Schedule H to your Form You may have to pay state taxes separately and more frequently usually quarterly. You can be audited by the IRS at any time and be required to pay back taxes, penalties and interest charges. Our firm can help ensure you comply with all the requirements. In response, the IRS recently issued a statement clarifying that the interest on home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and second mortgages will, in many cases, remain deductible.
The principal residence is where the taxpayer resides most of the time; the second residence is any other residence the taxpayer owns and treats as a second home. In the past, interest on qualifying home equity debt was deductible regardless of how the loan proceeds were used.
A taxpayer could, for example, use the proceeds to pay for medical bills, tuition, vacations, vehicles and other personal expenses and still claim the itemized interest deduction. Further clarifications As a relatively comprehensive new tax law, the TCJA will likely be subject to a variety of clarifications before it settles in. Please contact our firm for help better understanding this provision or any other.
But you could get an abrupt reminder in the form of an IRS penalty. Here are three common types and how you might seek relief: Frequently cited reasons include fire, casualty, natural disaster or other disturbances. The agency may also accept death, serious illness, incapacitation or unavoidable absence of the taxpayer or an immediate family member. To qualify for relief, you must have: You can obtain relief from these penalties if you can demonstrate that you properly disclosed your tax position in your return and that you had a reasonable basis for taking that position.
Reliance on a competent tax advisor greatly improves your odds of obtaining penalty relief. Other possible grounds for relief include computational errors and reliance on an inaccurate W-2, or other information statement.
To be sure, receiving a payment from the IRS for a few thousand dollars can be a pleasant influx of cash. Making a change You can modify your withholding at any time during the year, or even more than once within a year.
To do so, you simply submit a new Form W-4 to your employer. Changes typically will go into effect several weeks after the new Form W-4 is submitted. For estimated tax payments, you can make adjustments each time quarterly payments are due. Getting help One timely reason to consider adjusting your withholding is the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act late last year.
In fact, the IRS had to revise its withholding tables to account for the increase to the standard deduction, suspension of personal exemptions, and changes in tax rates and brackets. Foreign Accounts Call for Specific Reporting Requirements In an increasingly globalized society, many people choose to open offshore accounts to deposit a portion of their wealth. In a nutshell, if you have a financial interest in or signature authority over any foreign accounts, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds or trusts, you must disclose those accounts to the IRS and you may have additional reporting requirements.
For further information, contact us. Here are some details that every family should know. The credit is, however, subject to income limitations that may reduce or even eliminate eligibility for it depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income MAGI.
Exciting changes Now the good news: The TCJA also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past.
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Importantly, these provisions expire after Qualifications to consider Along with the income limitations, there are other qualification requirements for claiming the child credit. As you might have noticed, a qualifying child must be under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year in question. But the child also must be a U. A qualifying child may also include a grandchild, niece or nephew.
For instance, the child needs to have lived with his or her parents for more than half of the tax year. Powerful tool Tax credits can serve as powerful tools to help you manage your tax liability. So if you may qualify for the child credit inor in years ahead, please contact our firm to discuss the full details of how to go about claiming it properly. The New Deal on Employee Meals and Entertainment Years and years ago, the notion of having a company cafeteria or regularly catered meals was generally feasible for only the biggest of businesses.
But, more recently, employers providing meals to employees has become somewhat common for many midsize to large companies. A recent tax law change, however, may curtail the practice. The law will phase in a wide variety of changes to the way businesses calculate their tax liabilities — some beneficial, some detrimental. Revisions to the treatment of employee meals and entertainment expenses fall in the latter category.
Various other employer-provided fringe benefits were also deductible by the employer and tax-free to the recipient employee. Under the new law, for amounts paid or incurred after December 31,deductions for business-related entertainment expenses are disallowed.
If your business regularly provides meals to employees, let us assist you in anticipating the changing tax impact. The tax was retained in the final version of the law. Absent further congressional action, the exemptions will revert to their levels adjusted for inflation beginning January 1, These irrevocable arrangements allow substantial amounts of wealth to grow free of federal gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer GST taxes, largely because of their lengthy terms.
Some states allow trusts to last for hundreds of years or even in perpetuity. And the funds, plus future appreciation, are removed from your taxable estate. Most important, by allocating your GST tax exemption to your trust contributions, you ensure that any future distributions or other transfers of trust assets to your grandchildren or subsequent generations will avoid GST taxes.
This is true even if the value of the assets grows well beyond the exemption amount or the exemption is reduced in the future. Best interests Naturally, setting up a dynasty trust is neither simple nor quick.
Our firm can work with your attorney to maximize the tax benefits and help ensure the trust is in the best interests of your estate. Nontax reasons to set up a dynasty trust Regardless of the tax implications, there are valid nontax reasons to set up a dynasty trust. First, you can designate the beneficiaries of the trust assets spanning multiple generations.
Typically, you might provide for the assets to follow a line of descendants, such as children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. You can also impose certain restrictions, such as limiting access to funds until a beneficiary earns a college degree. Brush Up on Bonus Depreciation Every company needs to upgrade its assets occasionally, whether desks and chairs or a huge piece of complex machinery.
But before you go shopping this year, be sure to brush up on the enhanced bonus depreciation tax breaks created under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act TCJA passed late last year. Old law Qualified new — not used — assets that your business placed in service before September 28,fall under pre-TCJA law.SoCal Cycle Swap Meet
This tax break is available for the cost of new computer systems, purchased software, vehicles, machinery, equipment, office furniture and so forth. Productions are considered placed in service at the time of the initial release, broadcast or live commercial performance. For certain property with longer production periods, the preceding reductions are delayed by one year.
Please contact our firm for more details on how either might help your business. The good news is that you still may be able to save on your impending tax bill by making contributions to certain retirement plans.
For example, if you qualify, you can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA right up until the April 17,filing date and still benefit from the resulting tax savings on your return.
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There are also age limits. Contributions to a Roth can be made regardless of age, if you meet the other requirements. Contributions to Roth IRAs phase out at mostly different ranges. But for those married but filing separately, the phase-out range is the same: Essential security Saving for retirement is essential for financial security. Please contact our firm for further details and a personalized approach to determining how to best contribute to your retirement plan or plans.
Basic qualifications For you to qualify for the adult-dependent exemption, in most cases your parent must have less gross income for the tax year than the exemption amount.
Exceptions may apply if your parent is permanently and totally disabled. Social Security is generally excluded, but payments from dividends, interest and retirement plans are included.
However, only one of you can claim the exemption in this situation. Easing the burden An adult-dependent exemption is just one tax break that you may be able to employ on your tax return to ease the burden of caring for an elderly parent.
Contact us for more information on qualifying for this break or others. Below are highlights of some of the most significant changes affecting individual and business taxpayers.
Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, There are additional rules and limits that apply, and the law includes many additional provisions.
Contact your tax advisor to learn more about how these and other tax law changes will affect you in and beyond.
Filing as close to this date as possible could protect you from tax identity theft. This is usually done early in the tax filing season.
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A victim typically discovers the fraud after he or she files a tax return and is informed by the IRS that the return has been rejected because one with the same Social Security number has already been filed for the same tax year. The IRS then must determine who the legitimate taxpayer is. Tax identity theft can cause major complications to straighten out and significantly delay legitimate refunds. But if you file first, it will be the tax return filed by a potential thief that will be rejected — not yours.
So another key date to be aware of is January 31 — the deadline for employers to issue W-2s to employees and, generally, for businesses to issue s to recipients of any interest, dividend or reportable miscellaneous income payments. Additional bonus An additional bonus: Bear in mind, however, that a law requires the IRS to hold until mid-February refunds on returns claiming the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit. Let us know if you have questions about tax identity theft or would like help filing your return early.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid: Filing the wrong forms. Some schools also require it for merit-based aid. Filing deadlines vary by state and institution, so note the requirements for each school to which your child applies.
Some schools provide financial aid to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis until funding runs out, so the earlier you apply, the better. This may require you to complete your income tax return early.
Failing to list schools properly. The order in which you list the schools doesn't matter when applying for federal student aid. But if you're also applying for state aid, it's important to know that different rules may apply. For example, some states require you to list schools in a specified order. This is true regardless of which parent claims the child as a dependent on his or her tax return.
The rule provides a significant planning opportunity if one spouse is substantially wealthier than the other. For example, if the child lives with the less affluent spouse for days and with the other spouse for days, the less affluent spouse would file the FAFSA, improving eligibility for financial aid. These are just a few examples of financial aid pitfalls.
Let us help you navigate the process and explore other ways to finance college. To be deductible on your return, a charitable donation must be made by December 31, Is it the date you write a check or charge an online gift to your credit card?
Or is it the date the charity actually receives the funds? In practice, the delivery date depends in part on what you donate and how you donate it. Here are a few common examples: The date you mail it. The date you make the charge. The date the financial institution pays the amount. The date you mail the properly endorsed stock certificate to the charity.
You can access it at https: Information about organizations eligible to receive deductible contributions is updated monthly. Mutual Funds and Taxes Many people overlook taxes when planning their mutual fund investments.
Here are some tips to consider. Avoid year-end investments Typically, mutual funds distribute accumulated dividends and capital gains toward the end of the year.
You can get a general idea of when a particular fund anticipates making a distribution by checking its website periodically. Invest in tax-efficient funds Actively managed funds tend to be less tax efficient. They buy and sell securities more frequently, generating a greater amount of capital gain, much of it short-term gain taxable at ordinary income rates rather than the lower, long-term capital gains rates.
Consider investing in tax-efficient funds instead. For example, index funds generally have lower turnover rates. Another option is exchange-traded funds ETFs. In some cases, actively managed funds may offer benefits, such as above-market returns, that outweigh their tax costs.
Watch out for reinvested distributions Many investors elect to have their distributions automatically reinvested in their funds. Reinvested distributions increase your tax basis in a fund, so track your basis carefully.
Fortunately, under current rules, mutual fund companies are required to track your basis for you. But you still may need to track your basis in funds you owned before when this requirement took effect, or if you purchased units in the fund outside of the current broker holding your units.
Do your due Tax considerations should never be the primary driver of your investment decisions. Directing tax-inefficient funds into nontaxable accounts If you invest in actively managed or other tax-inefficient funds, ideally you should put these holdings in nontaxable accounts, such as a traditional IRA or k.
And if the funds are held in a Roth account, those distributions will escape taxation altogether. If you recently redeemed frequent flyer miles to treat the family to a fun summer vacation or to take your spouse on a romantic getaway, you might assume that there are no tax implications involved. Generally, miles awarded by airlines for flying with them are considered nontaxable rebates, as are miles awarded for using a credit or debit card. The IRS even addressed the issue in Announcementwhere it said: There are, however, some types of miles awards the IRS might view as taxable.
Examples include miles awarded as a prize in a sweepstakes and miles awarded as a promotion. For instance, in the case of Shankar v. Tax Court sided with the IRS in finding that airline miles awarded in conjunction with opening a bank account were indeed taxable. The value of the miles for tax purposes generally is their estimated retail value. Estate Planning Imperatives Well-crafted, up-to-date estate planning documents are an imperative for everyone.
They also can help ease the burdens on your family during a difficult time. The will A will is a legal document that arranges for the distribution of your property after you die and allows you to designate a guardian for minor children or other dependents. Probate is the court-supervised process of paying any debts and taxes and distributing your property after you die. To be valid, a will must meet the legal requirements in your state.
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