In recent weeks, some Americans have been victimized by hurricanes, severe storms, flooding, wildfires and other disasters. No matter where you live, unexpected disasters may cause damage to your home or personal property. Before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), eligible casualty loss victims could claim a deduction on their tax returns. But there are now restrictions that make these deductions harder to take.

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What’s considered a casualty for tax purposes? It’s a sudden, unexpected or unusual event, such as a hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, fire, act of vandalism or a terrorist attack.


Continue Reading Claiming Casualty Loss Tax Deduction in Certain Situations

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about whether your business needs to buy business equipment and other depreciable property. If so, you may benefit from tax savings with Section 179 depreciation tax deduction for business property. The election provides a tax windfall to businesses, enabling them to claim immediate deductions for qualified assets, instead of taking depreciation deductions over time.

Even better, the Sec. 179 deduction isn’t the only avenue for immediate tax write-offs for qualified assets. Under the 100% bonus depreciation tax break, the entire cost of eligible assets placed in service in 2020 can be written off this year.

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But to benefit for this tax year, you need to buy and place qualifying assets in service by December 31.


Continue Reading Tax Savings for Small Businesses – Before Dec. 31

Many taxpayers don’t make the grade when it comes to recordkeeping. If you operate a small business, or you’re starting a new one, you probably know you need to keep records of your income and expenses. In particular, you should carefully record your expenses in order to claim the full amount of the tax deductions to which you’re entitled. And you want to make sure you can defend the amounts reported on your tax returns if you’re ever audited by the IRS or state tax agencies.

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Certain types of expenses, such as automobile, travel, meals and office-at-home expenses, require special attention because they’re subject to special recordkeeping requirements or limitations on deductibility.

It’s interesting to note that there’s not one way to keep business records. In its publication “Starting a Business and Keeping Records,” the IRS states: “Except in a few cases, the law does not require any specific kind of records. You can choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses.”

Here are three court cases to illustrate some of the issues.


Continue Reading Make Sure You Have Good Recordkeeping

If you’re age 65 and older, and you have basic Medicare insurance, you may need to pay additional premiums to get the level of coverage you want. The premiums can be costly, especially if you’re married and both you and your spouse are paying them.

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But there may be a silver lining: You may qualify for a tax break for paying the premiums.


Continue Reading Can Seniors Deduct Medicare Premiums?

It’s often difficult for married couples to save as much as they need for retirement when one spouse doesn’t work outside the home — perhaps so that spouse can take care of children or elderly parents. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a taxpayer has compensation. However, an exception involves a spousal IRA. It allows a contribution to be made for a nonworking spouse.

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Under the spousal IRA rules, the amount that a married couple can contribute to an IRA for a nonworking spouse in 2020 is $6,000, which is the same limit that applies for the working spouse.


Continue Reading Spousal IRA – What is it? What to Know

If you own a home, the interest you pay on your home mortgage may provide a tax break. However, many people believe that any interest paid on their home mortgage loans and home equity loans is deductible. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

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First, keep in mind that you must itemize deductions in order to take advantage of the mortgage interest deduction.


Continue Reading Does Your Home Provide a Tax Break?

The number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy has grown in recent years, according to a 2019 IRS report. And there are tax consequences for the people who perform these jobs, such as providing car rides, renting spare bedrooms, delivering food, walking dogs or providing other services.

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Basically, if you receive income from one of the online platforms offering goods and services, it’s generally taxable. That’s true even if the income comes from a side job and even if you don’t receive an income statement reporting the amount of money you made.


Continue Reading Your Tax Obligations if You Have a Side Gig…