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

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

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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 461 | Who Gets the Biggest Breaks Under the New Tax Law? May 23, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | May 23, 2018 | No. 461 | Who Gets the Biggest Breaks Under the New Tax Law?

The richest 1 percent of Americans (annual earnings of more than $732,800) will receive on average a tax savings of about $33,000. The poorest Americans (annual earnings of less than $25,000) will save on average a whopping $40. Yes! $40! Whopping! Dollars! Interesting to say the least!

Now, the good news is that the new personal income tax provisions will reduce taxes for more than 60% of all USA residents. However, the size of the tax savings by state and by taxable income is uneven as shown by the following chart:

Average Tax Savings

UNDER          $25,000 –     $48,000 –      $86,000 –
$25,000        $48,000        $86,000        $148,000

$40              $320              $780            $1,500

When considering all entity tax cuts including corporate income taxes, the richest Americans receive a combined savings of $51,140 while the poorest will save only $60.

Looking at the tax savings by state – how does Ohio fare?  Not that bad. For Ohioans, 69% of its taxpayers will realize savings. North Dakota is at the top of the savings list at 75%. New York, California and New Jersey are among the states with lowest savings.

Note: Please keep in mind that the federal income tax withheld on each of your 2018 paychecks will be calculated using the new withholding tables for 2018. As a result, your federal withholding should decrease at least some so that your tax savings from the new tax law will be received on each pay check as opposed to having a larger tax refund on your 2018 income tax return. I don’t want taxpayers who receive much of their income via a Form W-2 thinking that their new tax savings will be realized instead through a larger tax refund.

Credit given in part to Jeff Stein, Washington Post, published on Sunday, April 2, 2018 in the Dayton Daily News.

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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 459 | The New Tax Law and Your Charitable Deductions May 9, 2018

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

Tax Tip of the Week | May 9, 2018 | No. 459 | The New Tax Law and Your Charitable Deductions

Granted, for many people, the tax savings is not the number one driver for making charitable contributions, “but rather it’s your desire to impact the lives of others that motivates you to give.” However, having said that, it is always nice for Uncle Sam to give you an even bigger bang for the buck by granting you a tax deduction for your contributions. The resulting tax savings, effectively, helps you fund the contribution.

Much press has been devoted to the new tax law and its impact on your itemized tax deductions. Your charitable contributions are but one of your itemized deductions. And, to be able to “itemize”, you must exceed the standard deduction. Which is all well and fine but the new law increased the amount of the standard deduction. As a result, fewer people will be itemizing since the standard deduction will result in a greater benefit. If you use the standard deduction you will not receive any tax benefit for your charitable contributions. Currently about 30% of the United States itemizes when filing their taxes. Only about half of those will continue to itemize under the new tax law.

The Dayton Foundation, along with other organizations, has what is known as a Donor-Advised Fund or Charitable Checking Account (CCA). The idea behind these are to create the ability to “bundle your charitable giving by making large gifts into your fund or account in one year then dispersing grants to charity over a multi- year period. This allows you to take advantage of the charitable deduction in the year you itemize while taking the standard deductions in other years when you may not meet the threshold.” Please note that the “bundling” technique is not necessary if you have enough to itemize.

Other new changes include “an increase on the limitation of cash gifts to a charity from 50% of adjusted gross income to 60% as well as a doubling of the estate tax threshold.  One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. Donors ages 70-1/2 or older should consider this tax-wise option first when making a charitable gift. These individuals can donate up to $100,000 annually from their IRA to any 501(c)(3) charitable organization without treating the distribution as taxable income.” In my opinion, this IRA Charitable Rollover provision is one of the more under-utilized provisions in the tax law.

Many other charitable and estate planning opportunities other than the ones above exist. Be sure to work hand in hand with your financial planner and your CPA to optimize the tax savings for yourself and to maximize the dollars that flow to the charitable organizations that you support.

Credit to Joseph Baldasare, MS, CFRE, Chief Development Officer of the Dayton Foundation for some ideas, concepts and excerpts from his article, How the New Tax legislation Could Affect your Charitable Deductions.

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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 458 | Beware of the New Cap on Business Losses May 2, 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 | May 2, 2018 | No. 458 | Beware of the New Cap on Business Losses

Making money in the business world is not easy. Not many business owners would contest that statement. In spite of the best-laid plans and intentions, business losses can and do occur. I suspicion the IRS and/or Congress became concerned that someone might “create” a business loss only for tax saving purposes using some of the newly enacted faster write-offs for certain fixed assets. For that reason, I believe the IRS and/or Congress developed some of their own self-serving parameters to limit what they deemed as potential abuse. Thusly, the cap on “excess” business losses was apparently born.

This new tax law provision seems to have flown in under the radar. For the most part the press has chosen to write about other more popular topics. This limitation on “excess” business losses applies to individuals. However, remember that the income taxes on profits for many “flow-through” businesses are paid by the individuals on their own individual income tax returns. This new loss provision has been nicknamed the “anti-tax-shelter” measure. In certain instances, it treats taxpayers as though their business losses were from a tax shelter. This loss limitation was created to limit the ability of taxpayers (other than C Corporations) to use business losses to offset other sources of income, such as investment income. Limitations on business losses are not new. The ones already in place include passive activity loss limitations (PAL) and the at-risk basis limitations. Both of these are complicated and may have far-reaching consequences. The new loss limitation adds yet another hurdle to a loss deduction in addition to the ones already in place.

“Excess business loss” is essentially defined as the excess of aggregate business deductions over the taxpayer’s aggregate business income as defined in Internal Revenue Code Section 461(l), plus a floor amount. For 2018, the floor is $500,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers and $250,000 for all other taxpayers. The “excess business loss” that exists for the tax year is disallowed and becomes a net operating loss that will be carried forward for possible use in the future.

Thusly, the new law limits a taxpayer’s net business loss deduction to the threshold amount in the tax year incurred. The limitation also forces taxpayers to wait at least one year before these losses may be used. (Ouch!) In some instances one could draw some parallels between this business loss limitation and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – both are sneaky behind the curtain calculations that may result in an unpleasant tax surprise.

For illustration purposes:

A married taxpayer filing jointly has investment income from various sources of $875,000. She also has aggregate business losses of $1.2 million. The taxpayer’s excess business loss is $700,000 ($1.2 million aggregate loss – $500,000 threshold). This excess business loss may not be deducted in the year created. It will instead be treated as part of a net operating loss carryforward to later years. As a result, the taxpayer’s gross income for 2018 is $375,000 ($875,000 investment income – $500,000 limited business loss.)

This illustration demonstrates how the new law could limit a taxpayer’s ability to offset his other income with his business losses and result in a tax liability. Under prior law, the taxpayer’s business losses would have been deducted in full. For taxpayers that anticipate aggregate business losses above the threshold amount, they may need to engage in further tax planning.

As with other aspects of the new tax law, we await further IRS guidance and explanations about some of the technical aspects of this provision. We also are aware that further guidance may never be received.

Credit given for some ideas, concepts and excerpts from Tax Reform – The New Overall Loss Limitation February 20, 2018 – Aimee Reaving

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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 454 | New Tax Law (TCJA) – How It Will Affect Alimony Payments April 4, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | April 4, 2018 | No. 454 | New Tax Law (TCJA) – How It Will Affect Alimony Payments

These new changes take effect for divorces and legal separations after 2018.

Prior law:  Under the current rules, an individual who pays alimony can deduct the alimony or separate maintenance payments paid during the years as an “above the line” deduction. An “above-the-line” deduction is a deduction that a taxpayer need not itemize to deduct. These deductions are more valuable than an itemized deduction.

And, under current rules, alimony and separate maintenance payments are taxable to the recipient spouse.

Please note that the rules for “child support”—remain unchanged. Payers of child support don’t receive a taxable deduction. Recipients of child support don’t pay tax on those amounts.

New law:  A tax deduction for alimony no longer exists for the payor. Also, alimony is no longer taxable income to the recipient. So, for divorces and legal separations that are executed after 2018, the alimony-paying spouse will no longer be able to deduct these payments and the alimony-receiving spouse doesn’t include the payments in gross income.

Note: TCJA rules are not applicable to existing divorces and separations. It’s important to emphasize that the current rules continue to apply to already-existing divorces and separations, as well as divorces and separations that are executed before 2019.

Under a special rule, if taxpayers have an existing (pre-2019) divorce or separation decree, and that agreement is legally modified, then the new rules don’t apply to that modified decree, unless the new agreement expressly states that the TCJA rules are to apply. Situations may exist where applying the TCJA rules voluntarily is advantageous for the taxpayers.

If you wish to discuss the impact of these rules on your particular situation, please give us a call.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are very 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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 452 | New Tax Law – The Common Misconceptions (That Can Get You Into Big Trouble) March 21, 2018

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

Tax Tip of the Week | March 21, 2018 | No. 452 | New Tax Law – The Common Misconceptions (That Can Get You Into Big Trouble)

Too often I am guilty of just reading the “headlines” and believing I have the whole story. If it were only that easy! If I had only read the “headlines” on this new tax law I would have been significantly mislead.

Some of my misconceptions follow:

MISCONCEPTION #1 – EVERYONE SAVES TAX DOLLARS UNDER THE NEW TAX LAW.

Not so. For a multitude of reasons, including the loss of personal exemptions and the ceiling on state and local income taxes, the new tax law will cost some taxpayers extra tax dollars. Some a significant amount!

MISCONCEPTION #2 – ALL BUSINESSES SHOULD BE A “C” CORPORATION.

We are led to believe that the new flat 21% tax rate for “C” Corporations is a silver bullet and will cause a mass exodus from S Corporations, LLCs, partnerships and sole proprietorships. That is not going to happen. Sure, the 21% “C” Corporation rate is well less than the 37% top bracket on individuals, but SO many other even more important considerations exist.

MISCONCEPTION #3 – No need for IRC Section 179 deductions any longer since both new AND used property now qualify for the IRC Section 168 (bonus depreciation) deduction.

Section 179 and Section 168 are not treated the same in many states. In many states, the Section 179 is a faster write-off than Section 168; therefore of a greater value.

Also, please note that Section 179 has never been allowed to create a net operating loss (NOL). Section 168 may do so. However, under the new tax law – NOLs may not be carried back, only forward. So don’t fall into the trap of believing you may “catch-up” on your equipment purchases, create a large NOL with Section 168 depreciation expense, and carry that loss back for a tax refund.

MISCONCEPTION #4 – THE PENALTY FOR NOT HAVING HEALTH INSURANCE HAS BEEN ELIMINATED FOR 2018.

It is true the health insurance penalty is gone, BUT not until 2019.

MISCONCEPTION #5 – ALL PASS-THROUGH ENTITIES AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE A 20% DEDUCTION.

Many S Corporations, partnership, and LLCs will receive the 20% deduction. Some will not. The 20% deduction is not necessarily an all or nothing proposition. If a business qualifies (and not all do) the actual deduction, if any, is all formula driven.

MISCONCEPTION # 6 – BIG TAX INCREASES WILL RESULT FROM THE ELIMINATION OF MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES AS ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS.

Very few people received any benefit from miscellaneous itemized deductions, anyway. You may have observed them as a part of your itemized deductions on Form A. However, they are often blocked from being deducted since they must exceed 2% of adjusted gross income.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. As always, they are very 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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 449 | New Tax Law (TCJA) Restricts Like-Kind Exchange Rules for Non-Real Estate Property (Ouch!) February 28, 2018

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

Tax Tip of the Week | Feb 28, 2018 | No. 449 | New Tax Law (TCJA) Restricts Like-Kind Exchange Rules for Non-Real Estate Property (Ouch!)

In a like-kind exchange, a taxpayer generally does not recognize a taxable gain or loss on an exchange of like-kind properties provided both the relinquished property and the replacement property are held for productive use in a business or for investment purposes, and no cash(boot) is received in the exchange. For those exchanges completed after Dec. 31, 2017, the TCJA limits tax-free exchanges to exchanges of real property that is not held primarily for sale. Therefore, as previously allowed, exchanges of personal property and intangible property can no longer qualify as tax-free like-kind exchanges.

On the surface, you may think losing like-kind exchanges for personal and intangible property is not a big deal since we can instead use IRC Sections 168 and/or 179 to write-off the new or used equipment placed in service. This reasoning may be valid. BUT, what about those situations where some equipment or machinery is sold without buying a replacement? Under the new tax law, this scenario will cost you tax dollars since you most likely will have a gain on the sale. This is especially true if Sections 168 and/or 179 had been used on the asset sold.  In fact, the entire gain may all be taxable in the year of sale since your tax basis is zero.

Make your CPA aware of any significant asset sales during the year, especially the sale of any equipment or machinery for which a replacement won’t be purchased in the same tax year (of an equal or greater value). Otherwise, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. 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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 447 | New Tax Law (TCJA) – Rules Significantly Eased for Code Section 168 & 179 February 14, 2018

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Tax Tip of the Week | Feb 14, 2018 | No. 447 | New Tax Law (TCJA) – Rules Significantly Eased for Code Section 168 & 179

Good news for business owners!

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has very favorably changed the tax rules for “accelerated” tax depreciation expense under IRC Sections 168 and 179.

Prior Law:  Section 168 (bonus depreciation) – taxpayers were allowed to deduct 50% of the cost of most new tangible property other than buildings (with a few exceptions). This “50% bonus depreciation” was scheduled to be reduced to 40% for property placed in service in calendar year 2018, 40% in 2019 and 0% in 2020 and thereafter.

New Law:  For property placed in service and acquired after Sept. 27, 2017, the TCJA has raised the 50% rate to 100%.

Also, perhaps, even more importantly, under the TCJA the post-Sept. 27, 2017 property eligible for bonus depreciation may be new or used.

Prior Law:  Section 179 expensing – taxpayers could elect to deduct the entire cost of Section 179 property up to an annual limit of $510,000. For qualifying assets placed in service in tax years that begin in 2018, the adjusted limit was $520,000. This annual limit was reduced by one dollar for every dollar that the cost of all Section 179 property placed in service during the tax year exceeded a $2,030,000 threshold. For those assets placed in service in tax years that begin in 2018, the threshold was to be $2,070,000.

New Law:  The TCJA ratcheted up the annual dollar limit for expensing to $1 million and $2,500,000 as the new phase down threshold.

The new definition of qualifying property has been expanded for both Sections 168 and 179. More favorable depreciation lives were also made available, meaning faster tax write-offs.

Vehicles.  The TCJA triples the annual dollar caps on depreciation (and the Code Sec. 179 vehicle expensing) of passenger automobiles and small vans and trucks. Also, because of the extension in bonus depreciation, the increase for vehicles allowed bonus depreciation of $8,000 in the other-wise-applicable first year cap is extended through 2026 (with no phase-down).

Farm property.  More good news!  For items placed in service after 2017, the TCJA reduces the depreciation period for most farm equipment from seven years to five. It also allows many types of farm property to be depreciated under the 200% (instead of 150%) declining balance method.

Thank you for all of your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. 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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 445 | Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Estate and Gift Tax Changes January 31, 2018

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

Tax Tip of the Week | Jan 31, 2018 | No. 445 | Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Estate and Gift Tax Changes

Congress debated at length as to whether the estate and gift taxes would survive. And, if they did – what new look might they have. In the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as signed into law by the President on December 22, 2017, the estate and gift taxes did survive but with significant increases to their exclusion amounts.

Pre-act law – The lifetime estate exclusion amount was originally $5,000,000 and adjusted for inflation after the year 2011. This exclusion amount was $5,490,000 for the 2017 year and scheduled to be $5,600,000 for 2018 or $11,200,000 for a married couple if portability was elected. The annual gifting exclusion is $14,000 for 2017. This exclusion is adjusted for inflation but our low inflation rates and the fact that it is adjusted only in increments of $1,000 has left it unchanged since 2013.

New law – After December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026 (a sunset provision), the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has effectively doubled the previous lifetime exclusion amount. The new amount is expected to be about $11,200,000 in 2018 or $22,400,000 for a married couple.

Note: Although the Act is silent on generation skipping transfers one may expect to see an increased exclusion amount here as well.

The annual gifting exclusion is now $15,000 for gifts made in 2018. This change from $14,000 to $15,000 is not a result of the new tax law but a result of inflation adjustments.

We enjoy your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. You may contact us 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.

Tax Tip of the Week | No. 444 | New Tax Law – 20% Pass-through Business Deduction January 24, 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 | Jan 24, 2018 | No. 444 | New Tax Law – 20% Pass-through Business Deduction

For tax years beginning in 2018 and before 2026, the new 20% deduction is generally allowed by individuals, estates and trusts that have interests in pass-through business entities. These entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) and their income passes through and is taxed by another entity (generally taxed on your personal income tax return – Form 1040). This deduction will typically equal 20% of the qualified business income (QBI) provided personal taxable income is less than a threshold of $157,500 or, if married filing jointly, $315,000. Further limitations apply provided personal taxable income is in excess of these thresholds. Please note the QBI deduction isn’t allowed in calculating adjusted gross income (AGI), but it does reduce your overall taxable income. For all intents and purposes, QBI is treated as an itemized deduction.

QBI is income, gains, deductions and losses that are connected with a U.S. business. Some investment items, reasonable compensation to an owner or any guaranteed payments to a partner or LLC member are not considered QBI.

Limitations

For pass-through entities aside from sole proprietorships that exceed the above thresholds, the QBI deduction generally can’t exceed the greater of the owner’s share of:

•    50% of W-2 wages paid to employees by the qualified business during the tax year; or
•    The sum of 25% of W-2 wages plus 2.5% of the cost of qualified property.

Qualified property is the depreciable tangible property (including real estate) owned as of year-end and used by the business during the year for the production of qualified business income.

Another limitation is that the QBI deduction usually isn’t applicable for income from certain service businesses. These include businesses that involve investment-type services and most professional practices (exceptions are engineering and architecture).

Please note that other rules and limitations are applicable to the QBI deduction.

These rules are complex and will require careful planning to optimize any benefits.

We enjoy your questions, comments and suggestions for future topics. You may contact us 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.