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Tax Tip of the Week | Ohio’s Small Business Deduction September 12, 2018

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : Deductions, General, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Tip, Taxes, Uncategorized , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week
September 12, 2018

 

This will be the last week for Common Misconceptions, we have had wonderful feedback, thank you!  Let us know via email, what are common business misconceptions that you have come across; markb@bradstreetcpas.com?

This week we wanted to discuss Ohio’s Small Business Deduction. This deduction allows for a portion of an individual’s net business income to be deducted on his or her Ohio return, and began in its earliest form in 2013. This law was enacted to give Ohio businesses a more competitive advantage with other states. The deduction was originally calculated on Form IT SBD – Small Business Investor Income Deduction Schedule. The Ohio website’s definition was “the portion of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income that is business income reduced by deductions from business income and apportioned or allocated to Ohio . . .” So, it sounds fairly simple right? Take a look at the very first item on the form:

1.    Self-employment income (federal Schedule C, C-EZ or F), guaranteed payments and/or compensation received from each pass-through entity in which you have at least a 20% direct or indirect ownership interest. Note: Reciprocity agreements do not apply (see line instructions)………………………..

Wow! So it would seem not to be so simple after all, and it didn’t get much better from there. First, one had to decide what constitutes “business income”. Did it include rental activities? Did it include all pass-through K-1 income, whether passive or active? Then there were numerous adjustments to “business income” including some at the state level such as Ohio depreciation adjustments, and additional adjustments for federal deductions such as retirement plan contributions, the self-employment tax and the self-employed health insurance deductions, and the domestic production activities deduction. There were also apportionments that had to be made if not all of the income was earned in Ohio. The small business deduction was then calculated at 50% of the first $250,000 of adjusted “net business income”, for a maximum deduction of $125,000 on a joint return.

Very little changed in 2014 with one exception: the deduction increased to 75% of $250,000, or $187,500 on a joint return.

In 2015, the deduction and the form were completely revised and the form’s new name became the Ohio IT BUS – Business Income Schedule. Ohio must have decided the old form was just too complicated (as did all of us in the tax preparation community) because the calculations for the small business deduction actually became simpler. There were no longer depreciation adjustments to include on the form, nor any adjustments for federal deductions. There were also no longer apportionments to deal with, just a requirement that the income be included in Ohio adjusted gross income. The deduction remained at 75% of net adjusted business income of $250,000, or $187,500 on a joint return.

For 2016, 2017 and 2018, the deduction has been increased to 100% of $250,000. In addition, for business income above $250,000, a 3% tax rate was established. For example, if your net business income for any year after 2015 is $500,000, the first $250,000 is exempted, and the next $250,000 is taxed at 3%. Any remaining taxable Ohio income is taxed at ordinary rates.

The deduction can still be fairly complicated to calculate, but is much better than it was in its earlier years. Some of the issues we have seen include the deduction being ignored completely, or business interest, dividends and / or capital gains being left out of the calculation, or similar non-business items being included when they shouldn’t be.

If you have any questions concerning this deduction or any others, please give us a call.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in our Dayton office at 937-436-3133 or in our Xenia office at 937-372-3504. Or, visit our website.

This week’s author – Norman S. Hicks, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions Are Now Gone September 5, 2018

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : Deductions, General, tax changes, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Preparation, Tax Tip, Taxes, Uncategorized , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week
Sept 5, 2018 
 

Keep the Common Misconceptions coming, we have had wonderful feedback, thank you!  Let us know via email, what are common business misconceptions that you have come across; markb@bradstreetcpas.com?   

As discussed before, the new tax law has nixed miscellaneous itemized deductions. They are no longer a part of your itemized deductions on Schedule A. These include your unreimbursed employee business expenses such as mileage, meals, travel, uniforms and other expenses such as tax prep fees, brokerage fees, etc. Some of the aforementioned expenses are still deductible as business expenses – that hasn’t changed.

Many people are upset about the loss of these tax deductions. Before deciding if a person has the right to be upset, some questions must first be answered. First, how much income tax did you save as a result of these deductions? Well, if you were ineligible to itemize your deductions, you didn’t miss out on anything – nada. And, even if you were able to itemize, the total miscellaneous deductions must exceed 2% of adjusted gross income (AGI) before any benefit is realized. Lastly, even If you cleared these first two hurdles, you may still flunk because of additional Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) being created.

So, let’s walk through a real-life example – your AGI is $150,000 and itemizing your deductions is to your benefit.  More good news – you are not subject to AMT. The grand total of your miscellaneous tax deductions is $4,000. Now, remember that only the portion that exceeds 2% of the $150,000 AGI or a $3,000 floor is of any value at all. Yes, in this case, we have a $1,000 additional deduction or tax savings of roughly $275. Better than nothing – but not worth writing home about. Also, no benefit exists on either the Ohio or School District returns. Sometimes, the unreimbursed employee business expenses are deductible to a taxing city but they almost always generate tax correspondence which takes away most of that fun.

So, at the end of the day, the press is making a big to do about taking away something most people never had anyway!

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in our Dayton office at 937-436-3133 or in our Xenia office at 937-372-3504. Or, visit our website.

This week’s author – Mark Bradstreet, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | Categories of Real Estate August 29, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | Aug 29, 2018 | Categories of Real Estate

If one were to ask the typical American taxpayer to name the various types of real estate, one might expect to hear (1) residential and (2) commercial. That would not be a bad answer, unless that taxpayer were dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.

In that case, one might expect to hear some of the following responses:

1.    Principal residence
2.    Second home
3.    Vacation home
4.    Residential rental property
5.    Commercial rental property
6.    Investment property
7.    Business property

Each of the above property categories may be treated very differently from one another from a tax perspective. Some properties could even be classified as being in multiple categories.

Adding to the confusion, some of these categories may be further broken down into subcategories.

The subcategories may include:

1.    Passive (losses may be limited depending upon your participation)
2.    Non-passive (losses are allowed)
3.    Self-rental (gains are treated as ordinary income; losses as passive)
4.    Inherited (typically basis is the fair market value as of the decedent’s date of death)
5.    Gifted (receiver gets carry over basis from donor)
6.    Personal (no losses are allowed)

Generally, rental income is taxable income (some exceptions exist on your home and second home). Expenses are not so easy. Some may be deducted and others may need to be added to the property’s basis and depreciated. Deductions for vacation homes that have both personal and rental use may be limited and require additional calculations. Interest has its own set of rules.

Please understand that you need to be able to substantiate your property category and your deductions. Your property category may make a huge impact if the property is sold. Sound confusing? It is! Significant tax dollars may be at stake.

Thank you for all the wonderful input from last week’s Tax Tip of the Week; Common Misconceptions.  We apologize for the confusion on the technical error related to replying to the email.  Keep the feedback coming, here is the link to last week; Common Misconceptions, and a link to tell us about the misconceptions you have come across; markb@bradstreetcpas.com.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in our Dayton office at 937-436-3133 or in our Xenia office at 937-372-3504. Or, visit our website.

This week’s author – Norman S. Hicks, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | Business Misconceptions August 22, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | Aug 22, 2018 | Business Misconceptions

This week is a different topic than ever before…we need your help.

I started writing an article about business misconceptions. After coming up with a few misconceptions, I decided to ask for help from my fellow associates. We are all in lots of meetings and hear all kinds of fascinating business thoughts and theories. Then, the next thought was to expand this brainstorming to our entire audience.

So what business misconceptions can you think of? Just shoot us an email and let us know? Please also note whether it would be okay to use your name or just post anonymously.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in our Dayton office at 937-436-3133 or in our Xenia office at 937-372-3504. Or, visit our website.

This week’s author – Mark Bradstreet, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 473 | “When To Step In With An Older Parent” August 15, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | Aug 15, 2018 | “When To Step In With An Older Parent”

I have been in denial most of my adult life. I never wanted my awesome parents to ever get older. They were like Superman and Superwoman to me – totally invincible. I really believed that if I ignored that fact that they were aging – it wouldn’t happen. But alas, once again, denying and ignoring what was happening in front of me – didn’t save the day. If you find yourself in a similar situation, perhaps what you read below may be of value.

Glenn Ruffenach of the WSJ on May 4, 2018 shares some of his thoughts that follow in his article with us:

…that 92% (that is a HUGE number) of “caregivers” provide some type of financial assistance for a family member such as handling insurance claims, filing taxes, paying bills, etc.

As for “when,” I would broach this topic as soon as possible. If anything, many families are too slow to act. Denial plays a big part in this. Older parents, hoping to stay independent, are quick to minimize difficulties; adult children, reluctant to meddle, may ignore red flags. (And few families, of course, enjoy talking about money.) As such…everyone waits. But the consequences of waiting can be dire: closed accounts, damaged credit, money lost to scam artists—even foreclosure.

The simplest approach is usually the best: pointing out to your mother (or parent) that all of us, as we age, need help, whether its yard work or home repairs or transportation. And household finances are no exception. I began talking with my mother when she was in her early 70s (and still in good health) about the importance of having a family member on “standby”—someone who knew about her bills, credit cards, insurance, investments, etc.

We already had her estate plans in order, and I had power of attorney. But we took two additional steps: We added my name to her checking account, and I filled out a separate set of power-of-attorney forms with the custodian of her individual retirement account, her biggest asset. (Many financial institutions have—and require that you complete—their own documents if you wish to give, say, your spouse or an adult child access to an account.) The latter proved to be invaluable when my mother suffered a stroke and I needed to tap her IRA quickly to help pay for long-term care.

For anyone acting as a financial caregiver, the following resources are invaluable:

•    The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
•    The National Caregivers Library
•    AARP

And if the person who needs help is at some distance from you, you might want to hire a daily money manager. These professionals can sit with a person at home and help pay bills, balance checkbooks and decode medical bills. Start with the American Association of Daily Money Managers (aadmm.com). Be sure the manager you choose is insured, bonded and willing to include other family members in his or her work.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in our Dayton office at 937-436-3133 or in our Xenia office at 937-372-3504. Or, visit our website.

This week’s author – Mark Bradstreet, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 472 | The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act August 8, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | Aug 8, 2018 | No. 472 | The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

We have shared information on various aspects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in several previous tax tips. The following is a nice refresher brought to us by our Western CPE sponsors which we wanted to share this week.

Tax Reform and What it Means for Your Personal Taxes 

President Trump, when he was on the campaign trail, promised that he would push for tax reform legislation. On Dec, 22, 2017, he signed The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, the first major tax reform in 31 years. The new law makes many changes to the tax code. Every taxpayer is impacted. A highlight of the changes follows:

Tax rates.  Tax rates are reduced. The top rate is reduced from 39.6% to 37%. Lower rates are also reduced.

Exemptions and the child tax credit.  The deduction for personal exemptions is eliminated. An expanded child tax credit will help make up for the loss of personal exemptions for some families. The credit is increased to $2,000 (from $1,000) for qualifying children under 17. For children 17 and older and for other dependents, the credit is $500.

Standard deduction.  The new tax reform law doubles the standard deduction. The higher standard deduction ($12,000 for singles, $18,000 for heads of household, and $24,000 for married filing joint) means that fewer taxpayers will benefit from itemizing deductions.

Itemized deductions.  Itemized deductions for all state and local taxes, including property taxes, are capped at $10,000. The limit on mortgage debt for purposes of the mortgage interest deduction is reduced from $1,000,000 to $750,000 for loans made after Dec. 15, 2017. Loans made before Dec. 15, 2017 are grandfathered at the $1,000,000 debt limit. The interest on home equity borrowing is no longer deductible in most cases. The threshold for medical expense deductions is lowered to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (from 10%) for tax years 2017 and 2018. Miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% of AGI limitation are not allowed. Miscellaneous itemized deductions lost because of the new law include employee business expenses, investment adviser fees, union dues, and tax preparation fees. Personal casualty losses are not allowed unless the losses were suffered in a federally declared disaster area.

Alimony.  The new tax reform law eliminates the alimony deduction for agreements signed after Dec. 31, 2018. Alimony income is not taxable for agreements signed after Dec. 31. 2018. There is no change to the law for agreements signed before Jan. 1, 2019.

Moving expenses.  The new tax reform law eliminates the moving expense deduction and makes employer reimbursement of moving expenses taxable to the employee beginning in 2018.

AMT.  The new tax reform law temporarily increases the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption for tax years 2018 through 2025. The increase in the exemption, as well as the elimination of major tax preferences (exemptions, state taxes above $10,000 and miscellaneous itemized deductions) means that fewer people will be subject to AMT under the new law.

Education.  The new tax reform law modifies qualified tuition programs – §529 plans. Funds in the 529 plan can now be used to pay for grades K to 12 private school tuition. The above-the-line deduction for college tuition expenses was renewed in later legislation, but only for 2017. The American Opportunity and the Lifetime Learning credits continue to be available.

Roth IRA conversions.  The new tax reform law repeals the special rule permitting recharacterization of Roth IRA conversions. A conversion of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA may still be advisable, but once the conversion is completed, it can’t be undone.

These are just a few of the changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Your 2018 taxes will be affected. That’s guaranteed by the scope of the changes. The degree of impact depends on your personal situation.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

This week’s author – Norman S. Hicks, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 471 | Ohio Worker’s Compensation August 1, 2018

Posted by bradstreetblogger in : Deductions, General, Tax Deadlines, Tax Planning Tips, Tax Tip, Taxes, Uncategorized , add a comment

Tax Tip of the Week | Aug 1, 2018 | No. 471 | Ohio Worker’s Compensation

To Start: Having a business in Ohio requires you to obtain Worker’s Compensation insurance for your employees and possibly your subcontractors. The application, payments and returns are all filed through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC) website at https://www.bwc.ohio.gov.

For new employers an application form U-3 requires a $120 non-refundable application fee. Based on your estimated payroll for the following 12 months and the type of work that your employees do (manual number), OBWC will set your annual fee. It is very important that you are specific in the type of work being done and the equipment being used to accurately assign the manual numbers and rates.

Reporting & Paying: Depending on the amount set for your annual fee, you will either need to pay the entire amount up front or it will be broken down into 6 equal payments. You can make these payments online or pay the installments through the mail. Once a year, you can elect to make your 6 payments monthly, quarterly or annually. BWC runs on a fiscal year of July 1- June 30. A true-up report is due annually on August 15 and is required to be filed on their website reporting the actual payroll for the prior fiscal year. Depending on the actual versus the estimated, either an overpayment will be refunded or a balance will be due. If you have a significant increase in your payroll, you may want to increase your payments during the year so that you don’t owe a large sum with the true up.

Rebates: In 2018 OBWC is issuing rebates for the 2016-2017 fiscal year of 85% of the premiums paid for that year. Checks were mailed out in July. Rebates have also been issued in 3 of the past 4 years.

Lowering your rates:  There are various methods to help lower your rates including: belonging to a group, participating in safety programs, i.e. Policy Activity Rebate (PAR) and training through Better You, Better Ohio! as well as other rating programs. Various rules apply to these, including claim history and some may not be combined.

Let us help answer any of your questions about Workers’ Compensation or other tax matters.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

This week’s author – Linda J. Johannes, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 470 | The Offer In Compromise – IRS Debt Relief For Those Who Are Eligible July 25, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | July 25, 2018 | No. 470 | The Offer In Compromise – IRS Debt Relief For Those Who Are Eligible

Do you owe a huge tax bill to the IRS? If you meet certain conditions, you might be eligible to file for an Offer in Compromise (OIC), and if successful, to eliminate thousands of dollars in tax, penalties and interest – permanently! An OIC is not a payment plan, although there will undoubtedly be some payments involved. Some OIC’s will require payments for 24 months, others for 5 or 6 months, and some will require only one or two payments, depending on the “offered” terms, and / or the “accepted” terms.

There is a multitude of paperwork involved in applying for an OIC. Forms that will have to be submitted will include Collection Information Statements and the Offer in Compromise packet itself. These are not easy forms to fill out. They require information on all of your assets, liabilities, and income and expenses. You will also have to provide at least three months of bank statements, any mortgage statements, pay stubs and other personal information. If you want to see if you qualify for an OIC before filling out all of the paperwork, you can go to IRS.gov and use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool.

An OIC is an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles a tax debt for less than the full amount owed. It can provide the taxpayer with a fresh start for tax purposes. In order to get an offer accepted, the offer must be appropriate based on what the IRS considers your true ability to pay, but there are conditions. For example, you must have filed all tax returns legally required to be filed. You must also be receiving notices from the IRS for your tax debts. And you cannot be in an open bankruptcy proceeding. Generally, the IRS will not accept an offer if they believe you can pay your tax debt in full, either currently with cash or equity in assets, or through an installment agreement.

The IRS will look at your situation extensively before accepting your OIC. They will only agree to proceed if they believe one of the following situations exists: there is Doubt as to Collectibility, Doubt as to Liability, or it will help with Effective Tax Administration. Doubt as to Collectibility is the reason used most often.

In the application for an Offer in Compromise, you have to name the terms of the offer you are submitting, and 24 months is the default time span for payments. For example, you might offer to pay $100 per month for 24 months on a $50,000 debt, thereby saving over $47,000. And there is generally an application fee of $186. So there will be a payment due with the submission of the OIC of the application fee plus the first payment as offered in your application. Both of these payments can be waived if you meet the Low-Income Certification.

As you might suspect, submitting an Offer in Compromise can be a very long and drawn out process. After submission of the application and any payments due, it might take a few months for the IRS to get back with you. And undoubtedly, they will want more information. However, the end result can be very rewarding if the offer is accepted. Rules continue to apply though, even after acceptance. You must stay current on your tax returns and any taxes due after acceptance, and any refunds on returns filed while the offer is being considered or while it runs its course are applied toward your tax debt, and are not considered payments toward your offer. Other rules might also apply and remember, this is a negotiation, so you should probably have a professional on your side.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

This week’s author – Norman S. Hicks, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 469 | Medicare Costs Set to Rise for the Wealthy (ANOTHER Sneak Attack) July 18, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | July 18, 2018 | No. 469 | Medicare Costs Set to Rise for the Wealthy (ANOTHER Sneak Attack)

The federal government is becoming sneakier and sneakier about getting the wealthy to pay an even greater share of Medicare costs. Many of these “sneaky” taxes already exist on your income tax return. These include phase-outs of this and that, various floors and ceilings, tax bracket triggers, the alternative minimum tax, the net investment income tax, the additional Medicare tax, and so forth and so on.

Beginning in 2019, individuals with incomes of $500,000 or more and couples with earnings of more than $750,000 will be required to pay 85% of the costs of Medicare Parts B and D – up from 80% now. This increase in premium is called the income-related monthly adjustment amount. In contrast, Medicare beneficiaries with incomes of less than $85,000 and less than $170,000 for couples – pay only 25% of the costs.

Some of our clients (and their accountants) have been surprised by this extra Medicare tax which may be triggered by increased income levels from events such as selling their business and/or farm, etc. This extra tax is not on your income tax return but appears as additional Medicare withholding from your social security benefits. If your social security benefits are less than the Medicare tax deductions, you have the luxury of sending a check to the Social Security Administration each month and helping to reduce their current deficit.

Certain appeal rights are available if a spike in your income has resulted from a “once in a lifetime” event. If such an event has occurred in your life, there is an actual form titled “Medicare Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount – Life Changing Event” that can be filed to help reduce your premium costs.This form may also be filed to report a decrease in your income.

In addition, because the Social Security Administration bases their computations on your modified adjusted gross income, if you file an amended return that lowers your income, you should provide a copy to the SSA along with your acknowledgment receipt from the IRS, as this may help to reduce your premiums.

One final option, if you disagree with the income-related monthly adjustment amount, is to file an appeal. You may file online, or in writing by completing a Request for Reconsideration, or contact your local Social Security office.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

This week’s author – Mark Bradstreet, CPA & Norman S. Hicks, CPA

–until next week.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 468 | New Tax Laws and Buying Your Dream Vacation Home July 12, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | July 11, 2018 | No. 468 | New Tax Laws and Buying Your Dream Vacation Home

Vacation-home buyers are impacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed by Congress in December of last year. Aside from a few exceptions the new laws are effective on January 1, 2018. The new laws that impact vacation homes generally revolve around the deductibility of mortgage interest and property taxes. This tax tip will not delve into any tax aspects of a second home rental.

Let’s chat first about the property taxes on your dream vacation home.
These property taxes are still deductible. But, like the property taxes on your personal residence there are now more hoops to jump through and they are higher. Being able to itemize now is more difficult since all of your taxes, a part of your itemized deductions, may not exceed $10,000.

Moving on to the deductibility of mortgage interest whether it be from home-equity loans, home-equity lines of credit (HELOCS) or second mortgages have also been adversely affected by the new tax laws.

Generally, mortgage interest is no longer deductible unless the loan proceeds are used to purchase, construct or significantly improve the home that secures the loan. Often, in the past, prior to the passage of the new tax laws – vacation-home buyers of ski chalets and oceanfront homes were using mortgages on their primary residence to purchase the second home. IRS now says that this interest is no longer deductible since the mortgage is on another home. However, it is okay to use a first mortgage on your vacation home for its purchase. But you must keep in mind that you can only deduct the interest on a grand total of $750,000 in mortgage loans. Any “excess” interest is not deductible.

First mortgages on your vacation home or on your primary residence will typically bear similar interest rates. However, unlike a HELOC on your primary residence used for the purchase of a vacation home, lending institutions will ask for at least a 15% down payment for mortgages placed on your vacation home. Be sure to factor this possibility into your cash planning forecast.

Of course, the best work around for managing the mortgage interest deduction on your dream home is not to have any debt. PAY CASH! NOW THAT WOULD BE A DREAM!

Credit given to Robyn A. Friedman, Wall Street Journal, Friday, May, 11, 2018

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are much appreciated. We may be reached in Dayton at 937-436-3133 and in Xenia at 937-372-3504. Or visit our website.

This week’s author – Mark Bradstreet, CPA

–until next week.