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Consequences of Filing Married Separately

Consequences of Filing Married Separately

Couples who are married on the last day of the tax year basically have two filing status options when filing their tax returns: either married filing jointly (MFJ) or married filing separately (MFS) returns. Generally, filing MFJ will produce the better tax result. However, other factors – usually personal or financial rather than tax-related – can come into play that cause taxpayers to choose to file MFS returns.

Defer Taxes with Installment Sales

Defer Taxes with Installment Sales

Selling a property one has owned for a long period of time will frequently result in a large capital gain, and reporting all of the gain in one year will generally expose the gain to higher than normal capital gains rates and subject the gain to the 3.8% surtax on net investment income.

May 2021 Due Dates

May 2021 Due Dates

May 2021 Individual Due Dates May 10 - Report Tips to Employer If you are an employee who works for tips and received more than $20 in tips during April, you are required to report them to your employer on IRS Form 4070 no later than May 1110. Your employer is...

5 Tips for Operating a Successful Gaming Business

5 Tips for Operating a Successful Gaming Business

When you were growing up, you dreamed of being able to one day play video games for a living – finding a way to make a career out of your favorite hobby. Technology has made it so that many gamers have turned that dream into a reality. However, gaming as a business is much more than simply playing video games; the business aspect is equally important. Here are some business tips for gamers that will help to ensure your passion can turn into a successful venture.

Great News, Child Care Tax Credit Expanded for 2021

Great News, Child Care Tax Credit Expanded for 2021

Great news if you are paying childcare expenses that enable you to work. As part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) signed into law on March 11, 2021, the child and dependent care tax credit has been substantially increased. Here are the details:

Big Increase in Child Tax Credit For 2021

Big Increase in Child Tax Credit For 2021

An increased child tax credit is part of President Biden’s stimulus package to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate the economy. This stimulus package, which was passed by Congress on March 10, 2021 and is known as the American Rescue Plan Act, will provide lower-income parents with substantial financial assistance and support various other efforts to stimulate the economy.

Are Your Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

Are Your Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

With the passage of the CARES Act stimulus package early in 2020, the federal government began supplementing the normal state weekly unemployment benefits by adding $600 per week through the end of July 2020. When this provision ran out, and with Congress at a stalemate, President Trump issued an executive order in early August that extended the supplement, but at $400 per week, with the federal government providing $300 and the state the other $100. Then, the COVID Tax Relief Act that was enacted in late December of 2020 extended the federal unemployment supplement through March 14, 2021, but at $300 per week. Now, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan that Congress enacted in March of 2021 has extended the $300 benefit through September 9, 2021, and increased the number of weeks an individual can qualify for the benefits from 50 to 74.

Working from Home? Is there a Tax Deduction?

Working from Home? Is there a Tax Deduction?

Many individuals, because of the COVID pandemic, have been forced to work from home in order to curtail the spread of the virus. A frequent question is do they qualify for a special tax deduction for using their home as a workplace? 

Special Rules Apply to 2020 EITC and Child Credit

Special Rules Apply to 2020 EITC and Child Credit

Because of the pandemic, many individuals have seen their employment (earned) income plummet. In that situation, two very important tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which are based in part on earned income, will be adversely affected, hitting lower-income taxpayers with a double whammy.

Tax Consequences of Crowdfunding

Tax Consequences of Crowdfunding

Raising money through Internet crowdfunding sites prompts questions about the taxability of the money raised. A number of sites host money-raising projects for fees generally ranging from 5 to 9%, including GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and Indiegogo. Each site specifies its own charges, limitations, and withdrawal processes. The money raised may or may not be taxable depending what the purpose of the fundraising campaign was.

Unemployment Fraudsters May Create a Tax Nightmare for Unsuspecting Taxpayers

Unemployment Fraudsters May Create a Tax Nightmare for Unsuspecting Taxpayers

As if this past year with all of its pandemic perils has not been stressful enough, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Labor has just added to our anxieties by announcing that at least at least $36 billion and possibly as much as $63 billion has been lost to improper unemployment payments having been made. In many cases the improper payments are a result of fraudsters who spent the earliest months of the pandemic filing unemployment claims using stolen personal data.

Solar Tax Credit Extended for Two Years

Solar Tax Credit Extended for Two Years

A federal tax credit for the purchase and installation costs of a residential solar system has been extended through 2023. The credit for 2021 and 2022 is 26% of the cost of the solar installation but drops to 22% for 2023, the final year of the credit (unless extended again by Congress).

Required Minimum IRA Distributions Will Resume in 2021

Required Minimum IRA Distributions Will Resume in 2021

RMDs are required distributions from qualified retirement plans and commonly are associated with traditional IRAs, but they also apply to 401(k)s and SEP IRAs. The tax code does not allow taxpayers to keep funds indefinitely in their qualified retirement plans. Eventually, these assets must be distributed, and taxes must be paid on those distributions.

Uncle Sam May Pick Up the Cost of Your COBRA Medical Coverage

Uncle Sam May Pick Up the Cost of Your COBRA Medical Coverage

The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) includes a provision for the federal government to pick up the cost of COBRA health coverage for employees’ involuntary termination of their employment or reduction of hours subject to certain qualifications.   

It’s Official! Another Round of Stimulus Payments Approved by Congress

It’s Official! Another Round of Stimulus Payments Approved by Congress

The American Rescue Plan Act has passed and includes a third much-anticipated economic impact payment (EIP). This is one of several government measures intended to help financially stressed citizens. This will be the third round of EIPs since the pandemic began disrupting the economy at the beginning of 2020, leaving many Americans without jobs or any way to support their families.

Charitable Contributions Deduction Liberalized for 2021

Charitable Contributions Deduction Liberalized for 2021

As a means to stimulate charitable contributions during the COVID crisis, Congress made two notable changes for 2020—one allowing taxpayers that don’t itemize their deductions an above-the-line deduction for cash contributions of up to $300 and another for those itemizing their deductions to increase the maximum deduction for cash contributions to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI).   

IRS Offers New Identity Protection for Taxpayers

IRS Offers New Identity Protection for Taxpayers

In the past, the IRS has assigned verification numbers to victims of identity theft to file their tax returns, if requested by the victimized individual. These numbers are referred to as identity protection (IP) PINs. The IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayer’s personally identifiable information.

How Biden’s Rescue Plan Might Impact Your Taxes

How Biden’s Rescue Plan Might Impact Your Taxes

President Biden released his “American Rescue Plan” on January 14. It is a wish list of proposals he wants Congress to enact to address the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis. While some of the proposals are intended to be in effect for just one year, it isn’t too great a stretch of the imagination that these could later be extended or made permanent, as many of them have been on the Democrats’ agenda for some time.