3 midyear tax planning strategies for individuals

In the quest to reduce your tax bill, year end planning can only go so far. Tax-saving strategies take time to implement, so review your options now. Here are three strategies that can be more effective if you begin executing them midyear: 1. Consider your bracket The top income tax rate is 39.6% for taxpayers with taxable income over $418,400 (singles), $444,550 (heads of households) and Continue Reading

Wedding Bells: Tax Issues to Consider Before Tying the Knot

Summer — the traditional wedding season — is just around the corner. Marriage changes life in many ways. Here's how it may affect your tax situation. Marital Status Your marital status at year end determines your tax filing options for the entire year. If you're married on December 31, you'll have two federal income tax filing choices for 2017: File jointly with your spouse, or Opt for Continue Reading

Now’s the time to begin your 2015 tax planning

Whether you filed your 2014 income tax return by the April 15 deadline or filed for an extension, you may think that it’s a good time to take a break from thinking about taxes. But doing so could be costly. Now is actually the time you should begin your 2015 tax planning — if you haven’t already. A tremendous number of variables affect your overall tax liability for the year, and starting to look Continue Reading

Get a Jump on College Tuition

Parents and grandparents saving for college have an opportunity to put money aside in a tax-advantaged plan.   Section 529 plans are available in all states and the District of Columbia and allow you to either prepay or contribute to an account for paying a student's qualified education expenses. Among the advantages: Qualified withdrawals are free from federal tax Continue Reading

Congress Extends Many Tax Breaks for Individuals

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, which was signed into law on December 19, renewed through 2014 a long list of personal and business federal income tax breaks that had been allowed to expire at the end of 2013. Because Congress habitually allows these breaks to expire before restoring them for a year or two, they have become known as "the extenders." New Tax-Favored Continue Reading

Important Tax Figures for 2014

The following table provides some important federal tax information for 2014, as compared with 2013. Some of the dollar amounts change due to inflation. Other amounts are changing due to legislation. Social Security/ Medicare 2014 2013 Social Security Tax Wage Base $117,000 $113,700 Medicare Tax Wage Base No limit No limit Employee portion of Social Continue Reading

Take Inventory of Your Assets

With the busy holiday season, you probably don't have much time to think about finances this week. But as you approach the new year, take some time to compile or update your personal financial statement and  Last-Chance Gifting Opportunity The clock is running out to use the gift tax exclusion for the year. Once New Year's Eve is over, so is the 2013 exclusion. You can give Continue Reading

Wrap Up Last-Chance Tax Breaks for 2013

The holiday season can be a difficult time to think about taxes. But with a few last-minute maneuvers, you might be able to reduce the amount of money you owe Uncle Sam for 2013. Here are six strategies to consider. But don't delay. Once the ball drops on New Year's Eve, these tax breaks will be gone. 1. Take Charge of Charitable Donations. If you make a donation of cash to charity in Continue Reading

Food for Thought When Making Year-End Charitable Contributions

  Before slicing into their Thanksgiving turkeys, most Americans pause to give thanks for their good fortune. And, in the spirit of the holidays, many give to those in need. The average charity receives about 40 percent of its annual contributions between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to Charity Navigator, a not-for-profit watchdog organization. IRS Cautions Continue Reading

Nine Bright Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for Individuals

Tax planning can be critical at the end of the year. Here are some new ideas to contemplate, along with tried-and-true year-end tax-saving techniques. 1. Game the Standard Deduction Standard Deduction Filing status 2013 2014 Single $6,100 $6,200 Married joint filer $12,200 $12,400 Head of household $8,950 $9,100           If your Continue Reading