Health Savings Account Limits for 2018

With Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), individuals and businesses buy less expensive health insurance policies with high deductibles. Contributions to the accounts are made on a pre-tax basis. The money can accumulate year after year tax free, and be withdrawn tax free to pay for a variety of medical expenses such as doctor visits, prescriptions, chiropractic care and premiums for long-term-care Continue Reading

Save Taxes with Employer-Provided Transportation Fringe Benefits

The Internal Revenue Code allows some worthwhile tax breaks for transportation-related employee fringe benefits. They're intended to persuade you to give up your gas-guzzling vehicle when commuting to work and instead "go green." If your employer offers these tax-favored benefits, you should consider signing up. Here are the specifics. Favorable Tax Treatment The employer-provided benefits Continue Reading

Facing an unexpected bill for the additional 0.9% Medicare tax?

The additional 0.9% Medicare tax applies to FICA wages and self-employment income exceeding $200,000 per year ($250,000 for married filing jointly and $125,000 for married filing separately). Unfortunately, the withholding rules have been tripping up some taxpayers, causing them to face an unexpected tax bill — plus interest and penalties — when they file their returns. Employers must withhold 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

Estate Planning to Minimize Federal Income Taxes

The traditional estate planning approach, aimed at reducing estate tax values, is less relevant for the vast majority of individuals today than it was in the past. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) provides relatively generous estate tax rates, limits and rules for estates. Specifically, the ATRA reduced the top marginal estate tax rate from 55 percent to 40 percent, increased the Continue Reading

TAX QUIZ on Home Office Deductions

  Q. Who is entitled to take home office deductions?   a. A college professor who grades papers in a home office.   b. A self-employed attorney who converted an unattached garage into an office and meets clients there.   c. A plumber who uses a guest room to do paperwork.   d. An architect who sets up a room for occasional telecommuting. The answer is b  Although the rules on Continue Reading

Businesses: How to Help Prepare for Audit Season

The busiest time of year for external financial statement auditors generally runs from January to April each year. But CPAs usually start gearing up for audit season in November of the preceding year. Accountants meet with clients, assign staff and schedule fieldwork. Then, the team conducts preliminary financial analytics, observes physical inventory counts, assesses risk factors and customizes Continue Reading

Year-End Marital Status and Taxes: Timing Is Everything

As if the process of getting married (or divorced) isn't difficult enough, couples also need to take income tax considerations into account before tying (or untying) the knot. That's particularly true for those who plan a change in marital status late this year or early next year. A taxpayer's marital status for the entire year is determined as of December 31. A taxpayer who is married (or Continue Reading

Think Outside the Gift Box this Holiday Season

Many businesses scramble around at year end to come up with clever, relevant holiday gifts to send to customers to reinforce brands and cement business ties. But the most memorable ideas aren't necessarily the most expensive. In today's high-paced, electronic world, a well-thought-out holiday card with a personalized, handwritten message can sometimes be a refreshing change of pace. Finding Continue Reading

IRS Announces Various Tax Benefit Increases for 2015

For tax year 2015, the IRS recently announced annual inflation adjustments for many tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-61 provides details about these annual adjustments. The tax items for tax year 2015 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts: Tax Item 2015 2014 Highest Continue Reading