Married couples often wonder whether they should file joint or separate tax returns. The answer depends on your individual tax situation.

two gold wedding rings sitting on top of a dictionary defining "marriage;" image used for blog post about married couples filing tax returns separately

It generally depends on which filing status results in the lowest tax. But keep in mind that, if you and your spouse file a joint return, each of you is “jointly and severally” liable for the tax on your combined income. And you’re both equally liable for any additional tax the IRS assesses, plus interest and most penalties. This means that the IRS can come after either of you to collect the full amount.


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Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with Frank Landreneau, Director and one of the faces of the International Tax team. Frank, welcome back to the Playbook.

Frank: Thanks, Russ. Thanks for having me; always a pleasure.

Russ: You bet. Next time you’re on I am going to count to see how many times have you been on, because I’m sure it’s more than anybody else.

Frank: Okay, great.

Russ: But our topic today is primarily going to be the Tax Cut Jobs Act that I think was passed in 2017, started in 2018, and it’s mind boggling to me, because we’re still sorting that thing out. Is that right?

Frank: That’s exactly right. And it’s been a little bit over two years, but we’re still getting guidance even now and even there’s pending guidance that we’re anticipating on getting even this year as we speak.

Russ: How does a business person make decisions based upon this thing playing out over such a long period of time?


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The deductibility of most charitable gifts hasn’t changed since passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but some recordkeeping requirements have. Helping your donors who itemize deductions understand the rules and benefits of their gifts can strengthen your not-for-profit’s ties with them — and may help increase contributions.

woman holding three knit sweaters; image used for blog post about tax implications on not-for-profit donors


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Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 512(a)(7) was recently retroactively repealed by the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019. Section 512(a)(7) increased unrelated business taxable income by amounts paid or incurred for qualified transportation fringes, and Congress originally enacted this provision for amounts paid or incurred after December 31, 2017.

A person typing on an Apple Mac laptop; image used for blog post about claiming a refund for UBIT or adjusting Form 990-T

As a result

Many taxpayers make charitable gifts — because they’re generous and they want to save money on their federal tax bills.

a box wrapped in brown paper wrapping with a pink ribbon bow tied on top; image used for a blog post about deductible charitable gifts on a tax return

But with the tax law changes that went into effect a couple years ago and the many rules that apply to charitable deductions, you may no longer get a tax break for your generosity.


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The IRS announced it is opening the 2019 individual income tax return filing season on January 27. Even if you typically don’t file until much closer to the April 15 deadline (or you file for an extension), consider filing as soon as you can this year.

a black-ink pen lying next to tax withholding forms for a tax return

The reason: You can potentially protect yourself from tax identity theft — and you may obtain other benefits, too.


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The federal government spending package titled the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020,” does more than just fund the government. It extends certain income tax provisions which had already expired or were due to expire at the end of 2019. The agreement on the spending package also includes the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act.

U.S. Capitol building with American flag waving in front; image used for blog about tax law change update about extenders and provisions

Let’s look at some of the highlights.


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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.

view of a car steering wheel and dashboard with a phone showing directions on a map; image used for blog about tax obligations for a side gig

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.


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