Home is where the tax breaks might be

If you own a home, the interest you pay on your home mortgage may provide a tax break. However, many people believe that any interest paid on home mortgage loans is deductible. Unfortunately, that’s not true. First, you must itemize deductions in order to deduct mortgage interest. And the deduction is limited. From 2018-2025, you can’t deduct the interest for mortgage acquisition debt greater than $750,000 ($375,000 for married taxpayers filing separately). From 2018-2025, there’s no deduction for home equity debt interest. But interest may be deductible on a home equity loan, home equity credit line, etc., if the proceeds are used to substantially improve or construct the home.

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How business owners may be able to reduce tax by using an S corporation

If you conduct your business as an S corporation, you’ll be subject to income tax, but not self-employment tax, on your share of the S corporation’s income. Could this be the entity for you?

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Tax credits may help with the high cost of raising children

If you’re a parent, or if you’re planning on having children, you know that it’s expensive to pay for their food, clothes, activities and education. Fortunately, there’s a tax credit available for taxpayers with children under the age of 17, as well as a dependent credit for older children.

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Do you want to go into business for yourself?

Many people who launch small businesses start out as sole proprietors. There are many tax rules and considerations involved in operating that way.

For example, you may qualify for the pass-through deduction on qualified business income. You must pay self-employment taxes and make estimated tax payments on income earned. If you hire employees, you need a taxpayer ID number and must withhold and pay employment taxes. Keep complete records of income and expenses.

Also, consider setting up a qualified retirement plan. Contact us if you want more information about the tax aspects of your business, or if you have questions about reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

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There still might be time to cut your tax bill with IRAs

If you’re getting ready to file your 2019 tax return, and your tax bill is higher than you’d like, there may still be an opportunity to lower it. If you qualify, you can make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA right up until the Wed., April 15, 2020, filing date and benefit from the resulting tax savings on your 2019 return. For 2019 if you’re qualified, you can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution of up to $6,000 ($7,000 if you’re 50 or over). To be qualified, you must meet rules involving your income and whether you’re an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If you’d like more information about whether you can contribute to an IRA, contact us.

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Answers to your questions about 2020 individual tax limits

Right now, you may be more concerned about your 2019 tax bill than you are about your 2020 tax picture. That’s because your 2019 individual tax return is due to be filed in less than 3 months. However, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with tax amounts that may have changed. For example, for 2020, the amount you can put into a 401(k) plan has increased to $19,500 (from $19,000). You may want to start making contributions early in the year because they’ll lower your taxable income. Keep in mind that not all tax figures are adjusted for inflation and some amounts can only change with new tax legislation. Contact us if you have questions or need more information about your situation.

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Can you deduct charitable gifts on your tax return?

Many people who used to claim a tax break for making charitable contributions are no longer eligible. That’s because of some tax law changes that went into effect a couple years ago. You can only claim a deduction if you itemize deductions on your tax return and your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction. Today’s much higher standard deduction combined with limits or suspensions on some common itemized deductions means you may no longer have enough itemized deductions to exceed the standard deduction. If you do meet the rules for itemizing, there are still other requirements to claim a charitable deduction. Contact us with questions.

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Adopting a child? Bring home tax savings with your bundle of joy

If you’re adopting a child, or you adopted one this year, there may be significant tax benefits available to offset the expenses. For 2019, adoptive parents may be able to claim a nonrefundable credit against their federal tax for up to $14,080 of “qualified adoption expenses” for each adopted child. (This amount is increasing to $14,300 for 2020.) The credit allowable for 2019 is phased out for taxpayers with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $211,160 ($214,520 for 2020). It is eliminated when AGI reaches $251,160 for 2019 ($254,520 for 2020). We can help ensure that you meet all the requirements to get the full benefit of the tax savings available to adoptive parents.

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Help protect your personal information by filing your 2019 tax return early

The IRS is opening the 2019 individual income tax return filing season on Jan. 27. Even if you usually don’t file until closer to the April 15 deadline (or you file an extension), consider being an early-bird filer this year. It can potentially protect you from tax identity theft - and you may obtain other benefits, too.

In these scams, a thief uses another person’s personal information to file a fraudulent return early in the filing season and claim a bogus refund. Then, when the legitimate taxpayer files, the IRS rejects the return because one with the same information has already been filed for the year. If you file first, any would-be fraudulent returns will be rejected by the IRS, rather than yours.

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New rules will soon require employers to annually disclose retirement income to employees

The recently enacted SECURE Act includes a new requirement for employers that sponsor tax-favored defined contribution retirement plans that are subject to ERISA. Specifically, the law will require that benefit statements sent to plan participants include a lifetime income disclosure at least once during any 12-month period. It will need to illustrate the monthly payments that an employee would receive if the total account balance were used to provide lifetime income streams, including a single life annuity and a qualified joint and survivor annuity for the participant and his or her surviving spouse. The requirement won’t go into effect until 12 months after the DOL issues a final rule.

Read more: New rules will soon require employers to annually disclose retirement income to employees

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