Harless Tax Blog

Harless Tax Blog

Spouses Need To Think Carefully About When To Take Social Security Benefits

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Source from fa-mag.com
When a spouse starts receiving his Social Security benefits can determine the lifetime income his or her surviving partner will get, according to Diane Pearson, a wealth advisor and shareholder at Legend Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh.

Social Security makes up an average of 40 percent of people’s retirement income and “is more valuable than most people think,” said Pearson during a webinar Wednesday sponsored by Legend Financial entitled “Social Security Planning: What You Need To Know To Maximize Retirement Income.”  See More

Classic Lesson From The Tax Court

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from accountantsworld.com
Timing is at least as important in tax as it is in comedy. Although less common than it used to be before the age of direct deposit and mobile banking apps, the question sometimes arises about when must a taxpayer report as gross income a check received on December 31st but not cashed until January. The flip side is when may a taxpayer take a deduction for a check sent out on December 31st but not cashed until January.

Taxpayers tend to want to push off reporting income into a later year and tend to want to pull back deductions into the current year. Specifically taxpayers who receive a check on the last day of the year would like to say they don’t have income until they cash the check in January. But at the same time, taxpayers who write a check for a deductible expense on the last day of the year want to deduct that expense in that year and not the next.  See More

IRS issues guidance on small business accounting

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Source from irs.gov
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service issued guidance today on new tax law changes that allow small business taxpayers with average annual gross receipts of $25 million or less in the prior three-year period to use the cash method of accounting.

The Revenue Procedure outlines the process that eligible small business taxpayers may use to obtain automatic consent to change accounting methods that are now permitted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA.  See More

Coping with the new entertainment expense and transportation fringe benefit rules

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Source: thetaxadviser.com
Now that new tax rules are in place, employers and their advisers are coping with the difficulties faced in implementing the changes, adjusting to a new normal. New tax laws are always a product of give-and-take, with many constituencies fighting to retain favorable rules and congressional staff putting the pieces together so there are enough votes to pass the legislation. The changes brought about by P.L. 115-97, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), are no exception.

The goal of lowering tax rates, primarily for businesses, needed to be tempered by eliminating certain business deductions or individual income tax exclusions so that federal revenues didn't decline too much. The elimination of employer deductions or individual income tax exclusions causes taxpayers to consider behavior adjustments to account for the increased cost of the formerly deductible or excludable expense. Never has this adjustment had to occur so quickly, with the TCJA legislation enacted on Dec. 22, 2017, and many effective dates occurring only 10 days later, on Jan. 1, 2018.  See More

June 2018 Tax Deadline Reminder

Friday, June 08, 2018

Source by: Harless and Associates Staff
June 15
Individuals. If you are not paying your 2018 income tax through withholding (or will not pay enough tax during the year that way), pay the second installment of your 2018 estimated tax.

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien living and working (or on military duty) outside the United States and Puerto Rico, file Form 1040 and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due for 2017. If you want additional time to file your return, file Form 4868 to obtain four additional months to file. Then, file Form 1040 by October 15.  See More

Tax season is here: How to make filing relatively painless

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Source: cnbc.com

Keep an eye on your mailbox over the next few weeks: All of the information you need to prepare your return should be on its way.

Filing season for the 2017 tax year began on Jan. 29. This year, the IRS bumped the deadline to file returns to April 17 because the traditional filing date of April 15 falls on a Sunday. And Emancipation Day — a legal holiday in some locations — will be observed Monday, April 16.  See More

Playing Defense as Stock Prices Soar Part 2 of 2

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

As a follow up to our last blog post, Playing Defense as Stock Prices Soar, here are some additional strategies to consider.

Individual circumstances
All of these strategies have advantages and drawbacks, so you should proceed with caution. Very generally, buy and hold strategies might appeal to workers who are some years from retirement. A market drop may turn out to be a buying opportunity, especially for those who are investing periodically through contributions to 401(k) and similar plans. On the other hand, trimming stocks might be prudent for people in or near retirement. Investment opportunities at low stock prices may be reduced, and a market skid can be particularly dangerous for retirees who are tapping their portfolio for spending money.  See More

Factoid: States for Seniors

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Of more than 55 million total Medicare beneficiaries, about 10 million live in just two states: California and Florida.  See More

Did You Know?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Source wsj.com.  About 84% of large employers will offer high-deductible health plans in 2017. Indeed, 35% of large employers will offer only high-deductible plans to their workforce. Some workers’ deductibles will be offset by employers’ contributions to health savings accounts: tax-free funds that workers can use to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs.

[FEB 1] IRA REMINDER: For 2016 and 2017, total contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than $5,500, or $6,500 for those age 50 or older.  See More

IRS Warns Tax Refunds Delayed For Low-Income Americans

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Source CNBC.com. Read Original Article

If your refund is delayed this year, you can thank the IRS — and identity thieves.

Millions of low-income Americans who rely on their annual tax refund to help pay their bills are going to have to wait a few weeks longer to get their check this year as the agency cracks down on fraudsters.

The delays impact 40 million working poor families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit.

For 2016, the maximum earned income tax credit is from $506 for no qualifying children to $6,269 for three or more qualifying children.  See More