Day trading is neither illegal nor unethical, but it can be highly risky. Most individual investors do not have the wealth, time, or temperament to make money or sustain the losses that day trading can bring. Day trading in securities is governed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Regulation T. Different rules apply for day traders for tax purposes than for SEC governance.Continue reading →
As tax time approaches, here are some tax issues that taxpayers frequently overlook, ranging from obscure deductions to overlooked tax credits and benefits. Of course, not everything can be included since the tax law has grown significantly in complexity, and it would take a thick book to list everything. But besides what you are probably accustomed to, here are over 20 issues you may not be aware of and that can save you tax dollars.Continue reading →
Tax time can be one of the most hated times of the year. Just preparing the forms is enough to be an irritant, and if you owe the government money there’s a good chance that you’re downright annoyed. But neither of those things compare to the feeling that accompanies an envelope bearing an IRS return address, alerting you to the fact that your taxes are about to be audited.
The truth is that audits are relatively rare in the United States. As much as people fear them, the IRS reports that between 2010 and 2018 only 0.6% of individual tax returns resulted in an audit. That may make you feel better, but statistically speaking that still means that more than 250,000 taxpayers had to go through the process. In many cases the audit process could have been avoided had the taxpayers simply known what we’re about to spell out for you – that there are specific triggers that send up IRS red flags and frequently lead to an audit process.Continue reading →
President Biden released his “American Rescue Plan” on January 14. It is a wish list of proposals he wants Congress to enact to address the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis. While some of the proposals are intended to be in effect for just one year, it isn’t too great a stretch of the imagination that these could later be extended or made permanent, as many of them have been on the Democrats’ agenda for some time. The anticipated cost of the American Rescue Plan, if all of the proposals are agreed to by Congress, is $1.9 trillion. None of Biden’s proposals are revenue raisers, and according to a January 15, 2021 Wall Street Journal report, he intends to use government borrowing to pay for his plan. Following are some of the tax-related proposals.Continue reading →
Congress passed, and President Trump signed, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Included in its approximately 5,600 pages is a second draw of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The first round allowed loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees and to certain businesses with multiple locations, for which each location could not have more than 500 employees. Unfortunately, this opened the door to some large businesses gobbling up the allocated funding and shutting out the smaller businesses that the loans were intended to help until additional funding was authorized.
Unlike the prior loan program, this round will truly be limited to small businesses that incurred revenue losses.
Eligibility is limited to businesses
- with 300 or fewer employees per physical location;
- that had previously received a PPP loan; and
- that can demonstrate that they sustained at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Businesses submitting an application on or after Jan. 1, 2021, are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.
As a means to stimulate charitable contributions during the COVID crisis, Congress made two notable changes for 2020—one allowing taxpayers that don’t itemize their deductions an above-the-line deduction for cash contributions of up to $300 and another for those itemizing their deductions to increase the maximum deduction for cash contributions to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI).
The recent COVID-related tax relief act, passed late in December, extends and enhances those liberalized charitable contribution deduction provisions. Here is a rundown on these charitable contribution tax benefits for 2021:Continue reading →
Housing is a big expense for everyone. The choice generally involves either renting or purchasing – and financing that purchase with a home loan. As of November 2020, the nationwide average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was just under 3%, the lowest it has been in the last 50 years or even longer. Many individuals are taking advantage of the historically low rates to buy their first home, sell their existing home to move up to a more expensive one, or refinance their existing mortgage. Some who currently own their homes free and clear are even taking out loans to lock in the low interest rates. This article looks at the tax benefits and drawbacks of buying, financing, and owning a home.Continue reading →
After several months of the Republicans and Democrats not being able to agree on additional COVID-related tax relief and other matters, as 2020 was coming to an end, horses were traded, and deals were made so that Congress could put together the much-needed legislation. The result is a nearly 5,600-page omnibus bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, Included in that legislation are the “COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020” (COVIDTRA) and the “Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020”. The bill was signed by the President on December 27.
This article provides an overview of the many tax provisions included in the legislation, including the 2nd round of economic impact payments, another round of targeted PPP loans for businesses, favorable tax treatment of expenses paid with forgiven loan proceeds, temporary expanded deduction for business meals, and modifications to charitable contributions—along with an excess of 30 new, altered, and extended tax provisions.Continue reading →
Advance planning can, in many cases, minimize or even avoid taxes on IRA distributions and other qualified plan distributions. When contemplating future retirement and when to begin tapping taxable IRA and other qualified retirement accounts, taxpayers need to consider a number of important issues.Continue reading →
It seems hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us, and that means that the 2020 tax preparation season will soon follow. With the end of the tax year just weeks away, it may be appropriate (especially this year, in light of the financial havoc created by COVID-19) to review some year-end tax issues that might reduce your tax bite for 2020 or provide long-term tax benefits.Continue reading →