Deductions

IRA Charitable Donations: An Alternative to Taxable Required Distributions

You can make cash donations to IRS-approved charities out of your IRA using so-called “qualified charitable distributions” (QCDs). This strategy may be advantageous for high-net-worth individuals who have reached age 70 1/2. It expired at the end of 2014, but QCDs were made permanent for 2015 and beyond under the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH)… Read more »

For Richer or Poorer: Financial and Legal Considerations in Marriage

Last year, the average U.S. wedding cost $32,641 — including engagement rings but excluding honeymoons — according to the 2015 Real Weddings Study published by The Knot, a wedding marketplace and concierge service. That staggering amount represents an increase of more than $5,500 over the past five years. On average, the couple foots 43% of… Read more »

IRS Reveals List of Top Tax Scams for 2016

The IRS kicked off tax filing season by publishing a series of press releases that highlight the “dirty dozen” tax scams for this year. Although there are no major surprises, it’s important to note that these scams have become increasingly technology-driven in recent years. Taxpayers can use this list to avoid becoming the victim or… Read more »

Could Your Business Benefit from the Work Opportunity Credit?

If you plan to hire new employees this year, you’re not alone. Employment statistics ended 2015 on a positive note. In addition, roughly 242,000 new jobs were added in February and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9%, its lowest level in eight years. Several recent studies indicate that the hiring momentum will continue in 2016. Hiring… Read more »

Five Last-Minute Moves to Lower Your 2015 Tax Bill

Tax Day is right around the corner. Have you filed your federal tax return yet? The filing deadline to submit 2015 individual federal income tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15, which pushes the deadline to the following… Read more »

10 Elections That Can Save Money on Your 2015 Federal Taxes

This year’s presidential election has drawn significant attention, but the elections you make on your 2015 personal tax return can be just as important to your financial welfare. Here’s a list of 10 potential elections for individuals (including self-employed taxpayers) to consider making before tax day on April 18, 2016 (or April 19 for taxpayers… Read more »

What You Need to Know Before Making Year-End Charitable Contributions

It’s a critical time of year for the not-for-profit sector. Historically, a significant amount of charitable donations occur in the last weeks, days and even hours of the year. In fact, many charities are using “Giving Tuesday” on December 1, 2015, as a catchy way to launch their year-end fundraising campaigns. Employers May Encourage Donations… Read more »

New Law Closes Loopholes Involving Social Security Benefits

A new law closes loopholes in the Social Security rules that have allowed married couples to receive more benefits over their lifetimes by following certain strategies. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on November 2, 2105, shuts down loopholes that Congress said will “prevent individuals from obtaining larger benefits than Congress… Read more »

What You Need to Know About 529 Plan Withdrawals

The big advantage of Section 529 college savings plans is that withdrawals used to cover qualified higher education expenses are free from federal income tax (and usually state income taxes too). That part is very easy to understand, but the full story on withdrawals is not so simple. What are qualified expenses? What happens if… Read more »