If you are a high-income professional who is excluded from the new pass-through deduction because you are in a specified service trade or business (SSTB), you may be able to use retirement plan contributions as a work-around so that you can benefit from that new 20% deduction.
An SSTB generally includes the following trades or businesses:
Health (services by physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and other similar health care providers, although this does not apply to spas and health clubs);
Performing arts (but this does not apply to the services of others in the industry, such as promoters and broadcasters);
Tax reform has limited the federal itemized deduction for state income and local government taxes (including property taxes), collectively referred to as the SALT deduction, to $10,000 a year. This set off a firestorm of protests from the capitals of states with high state income and property taxes. Many called it political retribution by the Republican-controlled Congress against blue states.
As it turns out, CA, CT, NJ and NY are among the states with the nation’s highest combined state income and property taxes, and they happen to be blue states. As a result, the legislatures in these states have passed or are working on legislation at the state level to circumvent the federal $10,000 limit on SALT deductions by transforming tax deductions into charitable deductions through some clever legislation.
The dust has not yet settled from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed into law in December 2017, and the House Ways and Means Committee is already considering another round of tax changes. The committee chair, Kevin Brady, Republican from Texas, wants to include input from stakeholders such as business groups, think tanks and other relevant organizations. Historically, major tax reforms have been decades apart, so the committee chair is looking for another approach to the way Washington deals with tax policy.
As with all tax legislation, it begins with talking points. From what we can gather, it appears the focus of Tax Reform 2.0 will include these updates in the attached article.
Some years back, it was not uncommon for parents to put their investments in their dependent children’s names to take advantage of their children’s lower tax rates. Although the Uniform Gift to Minors Act legally made a child the owner of money put into his or her name, this didn’t stop parents from routinely putting their child’s name and social security number on the accounts so that the tax would be determined at the child’s lower marginal rate.
The IRS had no easy way to combat parents taking advantage of their children’s lower tax rates, so Congress came up with a unique way of taxing children’s investment income (unearned income) such as interest, dividends and capital gains. When this law was originally passed over 30 years ago, it only applied to children under age 14, but Congress expanded it over time to include children with unearned income under the age of 19 and full-time students under the age of 24 who aren’t self-supporting.
If you have an IRA account or are considering one, there are a number of potential missteps you will want to avoid. Some of them can lead to unwanted taxes and penalties, and of course, we are talking about your retirement funding, so it is an important issue. Here are a number of issues to keep in mind:
Some of the major provisions of last year’s tax reform legislation were the many benefits provided for businesses, including cutting the C corporation tax rate to 21%. Not to leave out other forms of business, the bill also included what was termed the 20% pass-through deduction that applies to sole proprietorships, partnerships, s-corporations and the like. The short-hand title for this tax benefit is the Sec 199A deduction, and it is one of the more complicated pieces of tax legislation ever conceived by Congress. So complicated in fact that the legislation left a lot of unanswered questions, and for the most part the tax preparation community has sat back and waited for the IRS to release regulations, hoping they would explain the many grey areas of this new deduction.
The Treasury Department and the IRS finally released the 184 page proposed regulationson August 8, 2018, explaining how they interpret and propose to apply the provisions and limitations included in the legislation. The regulations are “proposed” and the IRS is asking for feedback from stakeholders. So these are not the “final” regulations and have left some unanswered questions.
The IRS has announced that more than 2 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are set to expire at the end of 2018. An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are required for U.S. federal tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have and are not eligible to get a Social Security number (SSN).
Failure to renew an ITIN in a timely manner can delay one’s ability to file a tax return, and with 2.7 million expected ITIN renewals, acting now to renew ITIN numbers will help taxpayers avoid delays that could affect their tax filing and refunds in 2019.
Remember the IRS’s promise about being able to file your income tax return using a postcard?
The reality of the new 1040 form is a far cry from a postcard. Although the administration insists that it has simplified the process of preparing your tax return, a few minutes of comparing the old 1040 to the new draft version shows that the redesign did little more than change it from the previous two-page form to two half-size pages – with six schedules provided separately. All but four of the 79 lines from the old version remain on the new one; they’re just divided up differently. Unless all of your income comes from wages, interest, dividends, pensions and Social Security, you will now have more schedules to fill out than you did before, and you still have a lot of work ahead of you.
Have you been preparing your own returns? If not, did you have someone prepare it who didn’t take the time to query you about possible tax deductions, credits or filing status options? If you answered either question yes, you could have missed out on a number of tax benefits that could have saved you big bucks in taxes.
If something was overlooked, there is still time to get a refund for 2015, 2016 or 2017 (or even 2014, for some state returns). So if you know you missed something, or even if you just want a professional to look over your past returns to see if something was overlooked, give us a call.
The Health Savings Account (HSA) is one of the most misunderstood and underused benefits in the Internal Revenue Code. Congress created HSAs as a way for individuals with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) to save for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance due to the high-deductible provisions of their insurance coverage.
However, an HSA can act as more than just a vehicle to pay medical expenses; it can also serve as a retirement account. For some taxpayers who have maxed out their retirement-plan options an HSA provides them another resource for retirement savings – one that isn’t limited by income restrictions in the way that IRA contributions are.