Tag: Tax Planning

Minimizing Surprises at Tax Filing Time

When Congress passed the recent $1.5 trillion tax bill (The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA), it triggered the first comprehensive revamp of the U.S. tax code in more than three decades. As we prepare to file our 2018 tax returns, Americans will feel the effects of this legislation for the first time. For most, the effects will be positive. In fact, 80% of Americans will see their taxes drop. However, not all the news is good. There will be inevitable surprises as 2018 taxes are filed with one particularly nasty “gotcha” that will likely catch many taxpayers off guard.

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Mid-Year Planning: Tax Changes to Factor In

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December of last year, fundamentally changes the federal tax landscape for both individuals and businesses. Many of the provisions in the legislation are permanent, others (including most of the tax cuts that apply to individuals) expire at the end of 2025. Here are some of the significant changes you should factor in to any mid-year tax planning. You should also consider reviewing your situation with a tax professional.

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Fact or Fiction?

Fiction: If you’re on the threshold of a tax bracket, you should stay on the higher end and enjoy the higher-income status.

Fact: If you’re on the threshold of a tax bracket, deferring income or accelerating deductions may help you reduce your tax exposure. It might make sense to defer some of your income to the next year if doing so will put you in a lower tax bracket. Accelerating deductions, such as medical expenses or charitable contributions, into the current tax year may have the same effect.

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Deciphering the Impact of Rising Interest Rates

At the end of March, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced that it was increasing the fed funds rate by 0.25%. This rate, which is also known as the “overnight rate,” is the rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight on an uncollateralized basis so that those institutions can meet their reserve balance requirements. The general consensus is that this increase is the first of three this year although some analysts think there could be as many as four rate hikes in 2018.

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The College Landscape After Tax Reform

College students and their parents dodged a major bullet with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Initial drafts of the bill included the elimination of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the student loan interest deduction, along with the taxation of tuition waivers, which are used primarily by graduate students and college employees. In the end, none of these provisions made it into the final legislation. But a few other college-related items did. These changes take effect in 2018.

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