Itemized or Standard Deduction?

The IRS statistics show that most taxpayers use the standard deduction. However, you may be able to reduce your tax bill if you itemize on Schedule A. What expenses are deductible on Schedule A? I think most people are familiar with the typical itemized deductions, which requires a Schedule A to be filed. Home mortgage[…]

2016 Automobile Mileage Rates

The IRS released the 2016 standard mileage rates for business, medical and moving in December. The rates have decreased from 2015, probably due to the decrease in the cost of gasoline.  Effective January 1, 2016, the standard mileage rates for the use of an automobile are as follows: 54 cents per mile for business miles[…]

Highlights of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015

With just a couple of weeks before year end, Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act). The legislation deals with more than 50 tax provisions that expired December 31, 2014.  Some provisions were extended, while others were made permanent.  I want to discuss some of the more popular provisions.[…]

Tax Deductible Expenses

I’m often asked if a particular expense is tax deductible.  Everyone is looking for a deduction!  In general, only expenses incurred in a trade or business (IRC §162) or those incurred in the production of income (IRC §212), will be deductible on an individual tax return. I once had someone ask me if a new[…]

Tax Deductible Expenses

I’m often asked if a particular expense is tax deductible. Everyone is looking for a deduction! In general, only expenses incurred in a trade or business (IRC §162) or those incurred in the production of income (IRC §212), will be deductible on an individual tax return. I once had someone ask me if a new[…]

Social Security Benefits for Widows & Widowers

What happens to Social Security benefits when a spouse dies? Let’s use an example of Bill and Ann Jones. Bill and Ann are both receiving Social Security benefits when Bill dies suddenly of a heart attack. Ann can keep her own Social Security benefit payment or she can claim a survivor benefit based on the[…]

Social Security Benefits

Nearing retirement age?  Not sure when to start receiving your social security?  These are common questions among Americans in their 60s.  Unfortunately, due to insufficient savings, in 2014 Social Security provided 100% of the retirement income for 15% of individuals 65 and over.  It’s important to understand how Social Security works and your options under[…]

Tax Return For A Deceased Taxpayer

What are the income tax consequences if Grandpa dies on June 30, 2014?  If a taxpayer dies during the tax year, the IRS still expects a tax return to be filed on behalf of the decedent.  In general, it is the executor’s responsibility to ensure the final tax return is prepared and filed. When preparing[…]

SEP Plans

Many times I’m asked, “How can I reduce my tax bill?”  One of the best ways for small business owners to reduce their taxes is to create and contribute to a retirement plan.  There are many low cost options available for small employers; however, I believe the best option may be the SEP IRA. SEP[…]

Love Letter from the IRS?

What happens if you receive correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service?  In my experience, most taxpayers either panic or they ignore it.  The very worst thing you can do is ignore the letter! Trust me, the IRS won’t magically go away. The folks who ignore the letter are the ones that wind up with a[…]