Getting audited by the IRS is becoming rare. In 2018, the IRS audited about 0.5% of returns filed. This is a 42% reduction from the audits conducted in 2010 and about 66% less than the number of audits from about 50 years ago.Continue reading “2021 Tax Audit Trends”
It’s still early in the year, but that doesn’t mean tax scammers aren’t busy. Every year, con artists and fraudsters come out of the woodwork to take advantage of taxpayers. The only difference is that they might slightly modify their scams. Here is a list of a few scams that taxpayers need to be on the lookout for in 2021.Continue reading “Top Tax Scams to Watch for in 2021”
It’s a brand new year, which means new income tax rules go into effect. Unlike previous years, most of the changes in 2021 are relatively minor. In this blog post, we’ll touch on five of these changes that are most likely going to affect the individual taxpayer.Continue reading “2021 Income Tax: Top Five Changes”
2020 has been quite the year. While it may have felt like the year of the coronavirus would never end, it’s December, which means it’s time to reexamine your tax situation and decide if some changes are in order. This blog post will examine a few tips when you start planning for the 2021 tax season.
Tip #1: Make a Charitable Donation – in Cash
Fewer taxpayers itemize their deductions these days, which means fewer taxpayers are taking advantage of the charitable tax deduction. But due to the coronavirus, Congress passed the CARES Act, which has a special provision that allows for a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash donations to eligible charities.
Tip #2: Consider Modifying Your Tax Withholding
If your W-4 tax form wasn’t accurately filled out last tax season, you might have found yourself with a nasty surprise when you filed your 2019 taxes earlier this year. If you’re afraid of making the same mistake, you can use the Tax Withholding Estimator offered by the IRS to see if your employer has been withholding enough of your paycheck this year.
If it shows that you need to increase the amount of taxes withheld from each paycheck, you still have time to complete a new W-4 tax form and add an extra withholding.
Tip #3: Maximize 401(k) Retirement Contributions
Given the financial struggles many individuals encountered because of the coronavirus, they may not have been able to take full advantage of the tax-deductible contributions made to a 401(k). This is especially unfortunate because of the higher contribution limits that went into effect this year.
So if you’re lucky enough to have a little bit of extra cash sitting in an account towards the end of the year, and you haven’t maxed out your 401(k) tax-deductible contributions, think about increasing them before the year is over.
Tip #4: Harvest Your Tax Losses
Before the year is over, look for any securities you are holding where you are currently in the red. If you think it is a good time to sell that stock and take the loss, you will be able to use a certain portion of that loss to reduce any capital gains you may have. But there are two things to remember about this strategy.
First, don’t use the desire for this tax benefit as a reason for selling a security that you know will be smarter to hold on to.
Second, after you sell a security for a loss, you can’t quickly turn around in 2021 and buy it back. There are special “wash rules” that will negate this tax benefit if you do this.
Tip #5: Go to the Doctor
Going to see a doctor or other medical professional in December isn’t a tax benefit by itself. But if you have a flexible spending account to use to help pay for medical expenses, try and take full advantage of them before the year ends.
In most plans, the money in a flexible spending account will be lost at the start of the new year. While some plans allow a limited amount of money to roll over into the next calendar year, not all plans enjoy this benefit.
The tax laws and regulations in the U.S. can be confusing and frustrating at times. On occasion, this will result in taxpayers getting into trouble with the IRS. But not all disputes or tax questions require the help of a tax attorney. This blog post will examine situations when hiring a tax lawyer might be useful and the reasons for using a tax lawyer’s services.Continue reading “When and Why You Need to Hire a Tax Attorney”
The IRS is making a few changes as of late. Some of the most prominent ones involve increased efforts in collecting unpaid taxes. While the IRS is always working to find ways to increase its tax collection efforts, two recent trends focus on asking taxpayers to report income from cryptocurrencies and increasing audits.Continue reading “IRS Trends: Audits and Cryptocurrencies”
To help individuals and businesses figure out their tax issues, there are two common types of professionals available. The first is the tax attorney and the second is the CPA, or certified public accountant.Continue reading “The Difference Between a Tax Attorney Versus a CPA”
For the most part, we can’t get away with not paying our taxes. So what happens when you don’t pay your taxes when they are due? Does an IRS agent come to your bank and take money from your bank account? Or do you get a letter in the mail a month later saying the IRS has a lien on your property?
Both situations are possible, at least to some degree. However, a lot can happen from the moment a tax obligation comes into existence and the IRS takes action against you.Continue reading “What Happens When You Owe the IRS and Don’t Pay?”
One of the most talked-about provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) have to do with the economic relief checks for many individuals and families. But despite the CARES Act becoming law in March 2020, not all eligible payment recipients have received their money.Continue reading “Common Questions About the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments”