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Understanding Tax Terms: Wash Sales

Surprise! Your stock loss is not deductible. As you look for year-end tax moves to save on your bill from Uncle Sam, you may consider selling stocks that have lost value. This can be a great strategy when up to $3,000 in stock losses can offset your ordinary income. However, there is a little known rule called the Wash Sale rule that could surprise the unwary taxpayer. Wash Sales If

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Understanding Tax Terms: the kiddie tax

The term “kiddie tax” was introduced by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The IRS introduced this rule to keep parents from shifting their investment income to their children and have this income taxed at their child’s lower tax rate. The law requires a child’s unearned income (generally dividends, interest, and capital gains) above a certain amount ($2,000 in 2013) to be taxed at their parent’s tax rate. Here is

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Use it or Lose it!

Health Flex Spending Arrangement Rules Changing   Do you have funds in an employer provided Health Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA)? If you worry about the long-standing rule of using up those funds or you’ll lose them, then a new notice from the IRS could be helpful for you this year. Background Millions of Americans take advantage of their employer’s cafeteria plan that allows setting aside pre-tax dollars to be used

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Document those Non-cash Charitable Donations!

Tips to ensure their deductibility One often over-looked way to reduce your tax obligation is to donate gently used items to a favorite charity. Too often this is done without the necessary forethought to ensure you can deduct the value of these donations on your tax return. Here are some tips to ensure you can receive this tax benefit. Good or Better Condition. Remember only items donated that are in

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Defending Fair Market Value

“Fair market value (FMV) is the price that property would sell for on the open market. It is the price that would be agreed on between a willing buyer and a willing seller, with neither being required to act, and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” Source: IRS Publication 561 This is the standard the IRS uses to determine if an item sold or donated by you is

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Tax-Free Rental Income

Most income you receive is taxable income that is reported to you and to the Federal/State tax authorities. However, there are a few income-producing events that the IRS has said are not taxable. One of them is renting out your home or vacation property. The rule: If you receive rental income for less than 15 days per year, that income is generally not taxable income. Added benefit: In addition to

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Using Losers to Make Winners

Understanding the rules surrounding investment losses can really help minimize your tax obligation each year. This is because investment gains and income can be subject to a variety of federal tax rates as high as 39.6%. This and a newly minted tax law in 2013 that could add a 3.8% Medicare investment tax surcharge make planning around when to take investment losses an important tax planning subject. Know the meaningful

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IRS Notices with Interest Calculation Error

IRS to send out special mailings Noted here is a copy of a recent interest error calculation announcement made by the IRS. If you recently received a form CP2000 from the IRS please be aware an adjusted, higher interest amount may be owed. The IRS alerted taxpayers and tax professionals about an interest calculation error on certain notices mailed the weeks of July 1 and July 8. The IRS discovered

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Avoid the Gambling Winnings Tax Surprise

With the increased popularity of lotteries and casinos, more unsuspecting winners are experiencing a lucky payday only to end up with a huge tax head-ache when filing their income taxes. Here is what you need to know: Look for the warning signs You are required to report as income any winnings you receive including, but not limited to: • slot machines • bingo • pull tabs • horse/dog racing •

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Avoid the 50% Penalty!

Understanding Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules Every year thousands of taxpayers are hit with a heavy 50% penalty for not withdrawing enough money from their retirement plan(s). Here is what you need to know to ensure this does not happen to you or someone you know. Who is subject to Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules? Anyone who participates in a qualified retirement plan like IRAs (traditional, SEP, SARSEP, and SIMPLE),

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