As part of a year-end budget bill, Congress just passed a package of tax provisions that will provide savings for some taxpayers. The White House has announced President Trump will sign the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 into law. It also includes a retirement-related law titled the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act.

Here’s a rundown of some provisions in the two laws:


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With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is in full swing. At this time of year, your business may want to show its gratitude to employees and customers by giving them gifts or hosting holiday parties. It’s a good idea to understand the tax rules associated with these expenses.

a close up photo of a green christmas tree with red and pink glass ornaments with two brown-haired women in the background; image used for a blog post about tax breaks from holiday parties and gifts

Are they tax deductible by your business and is the value taxable to the recipients?


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As teachers head back for a new school year, they often pay for various expenses for which they don’t receive reimbursement. Fortunately, they may be able to deduct them on their tax returns. However, there are limits on this special deduction, and some expenses can’t be written off.

teachers classroom supplies - apple, stack of books, colored pencils and A B C blocks

For 2019, qualifying educators can deduct some of their unreimbursed out-of-pocket classroom costs under the educator expense deduction. This is an “above-the-line” deduction, which means you don’t have to itemize your deductions in order to claim it.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to The Playbook.

Frank: Thanks, Jen. It’s great to be back.

Jen: So, last time we talked about international tax baskets with the new tax reform. What are some issues that business owners are finding with that?


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In our continuing effort to help co-create solutions for business’ future, we offer the following ideas, insights and perspectives in the latest edition of the Leading Edge Digital Magazine. These thought leadership pieces are ready to be accessed any time, anywhere at LeadingEdgeMag.com/PKFTexas.

If you have topics you would like us to cover in future Leading Edge Digital Magazine editions, contact us. As always, we enjoy receiving comments and feedback from our clients and the friends of our firm.


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Do you want to save more for retirement on a tax-favored basis? If so, and if you qualify, you can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution for the 2018 tax year between now and the tax filing deadline and claim the write-off on your 2018 return. Or you can contribute to a Roth IRA and avoid paying taxes on future withdrawals.

You can potentially make a contribution of up to $5,500 (or $6,500 if you were age 50 or older as of December 31, 2018). If you’re married, your spouse can potentially do the same, thereby doubling your tax benefits.

The deadline for 2018 traditional and Roth contributions for most taxpayers is April 15, 2019 (April 17 for those in Maine and Massachusetts).

There are some ground rules.
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Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are the amounts you’re legally required to withdraw from your qualified retirement plans and traditional IRAs after reaching age 70½. If you participate in a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k), you must generally begin taking required withdrawals from the plan no later than April 1 of the year after which you turn age 70½.

However, there’s an exception that applies to certain plan participants who are still working for the entire year in which they turn 70½.


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Jen: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Jen Lemanski, and I’m back again with Frank Landreneau, one of our International Tax Directors. Frank, welcome back to The Playbook.

Frank: Thanks, Jen. It’s great to be back.

Jen: We’ve been talking about IC-DISC, and last time we talked about tax reform. What’s changed strategy wise since before tax reform and now after tax reform?

Frank: I think with IC-DISC it’s kind of a Back to the Future type of thing, because when the IC-DISC came out, it was really meant to be a deferral tactic and to really get tax advantages, because you’re deferring the recognition of the IC-DISC income, or really, the export income.
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If you’re the parent of a child who is age 17 to 23, and you pay all (or most) of his or her expenses, you may be surprised to learn you’re not eligible for the child tax credit.

But there’s a dependent tax credit that may be available to you. It’s not as valuable as the child tax credit, but when you’re saving for college or paying tuition, every dollar counts!


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