Personal Tax

Thoughts on the IRS Data Breach

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Tuesday that a brute force hacking attempt has compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov.  Hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification questions and receive confidential information from the IRS system. The IRS reports that the system has been used 23 million times to provide taxpayers important information about their tax accounts as well as wage and earnings information.  “It is important to understand less than one half of one percent of successful requests were fraudulent,” said Aaron Blau, a [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:56+00:00 May 27th, 2015|Personal Tax|Comments Off on Thoughts on the IRS Data Breach

What happens when I rent to a relative?

If your tenant is related to you, however, special rules and limitations may apply. (For these purposes “related” means spouse, child or grandchild, parent or grandparent, and siblings.) Here's the tax picture: If you rent a home to a relative who (1) uses it as his or her principal residence (that is, not just as a second or vacation home) for the year, and (2) it's rented at a fair rental (not at a discount), then no limitations apply. You can deduct all the normal rental expenses, even if they result in a rental loss for the year. (If you [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:56+00:00 March 20th, 2015|Personal Tax|Comments Off on What happens when I rent to a relative?

Five Tax Filing Predictions for 2015

The IRS audited 0.86 percent of all individual income tax returns last year, the lowest coverage rate since 2004. And The Washington Post reports that IRS service is, well, abysmal. IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson testified that as of February 14, “only 43 percent of the people who called IRS…were able to reach a human being.” So, where does this leave us this tax season? The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), the association that represents the federally licensed tax practitioners who hold the highest credential awarded by the IRS, has released some prognostications for 2015. 1)     The number [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:56+00:00 March 13th, 2015|Personal Tax|Comments Off on Five Tax Filing Predictions for 2015

When can I deduct my alimony payments?

Alimony payments are deductible only if they meet the requirements outlined below. It is important to have your divorce decree or separation agreement reviewed for tax purposes before it becomes effective to make sure these requirements are met. Even if the decree or agreement specifies that the payments are alimony they won't be treated as alimony for tax purposes unless these requirements are satisfied. Please call me to arrange for such a review before signing off on the arrangement. Here are the alimony requirements: No voluntary payments: For an alimony payment to be deductible, it must be required by a [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:56+00:00 February 28th, 2015|Personal Tax|Comments Off on When can I deduct my alimony payments?

Catastrophes, Calamities and Cataclysms – Oh My!

Tax Help for Disaster Loss Disasters happen. The financial impact of the blizzards that hit the Northeast and the Midwest will doubtlessly be felt by both business owners and individuals.  It’s good to keep in mind that there are special tax provisions designed to help in recovery. The National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA) has advice for those dealing with disaster loss. First off, like the Boy Scouts, be prepared. Try to be as paperless as possible by scanning your tax documents and saving them to “the cloud” or onto a CD or DVD. If you choose the disc option, [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:57+00:00 February 21st, 2015|Personal Tax|Comments Off on Catastrophes, Calamities and Cataclysms – Oh My!

Can I deduct my home computer?

The deductibility of the cost of buying and operating a home computer, including related equipment such as printers, drives, scanners, modems, etc., depends on how you use the computer. Strictly personal use. As you might guess, you get no tax deduction where you use the computer for entertainment, education, avocation, hobbies, and other personal purposes. For your employer's work. You can take an expense deduction under a special Code election the year you place in service a home computer you pay for, plus deduct accelerated depreciation over 5 tax years, plus deduct the operating expenses, if the computer: (a) is [...]

2016-10-27T16:54:57+00:00 January 30th, 2015|Business Tax, Personal Tax|Comments Off on Can I deduct my home computer?

Five questions to help couples get on the same retirement page

It’s common for couples to have very different ideas about what retirement would be like – and the cost of providing those different lifestyles may vary significantly. For example, a career-oriented husband may be thinking he’d like to continue working in some capacity, while his wife could be counting the days until the two of them can spend more time together. If these two don’t share their ideas about the future, their visions could easily conflict. Reconciling your perceptions, wants and needs for retirement – and how you’ll pay for them – is essential to enjoying this new stage of [...]

2014-09-09T18:36:02+00:00 December 30th, 2014|Personal Tax|Comments Off on Five questions to help couples get on the same retirement page