If you have been or are anticipating converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you should be aware of a tax trap that Congress built into the Act.
Background: There are two types of IRA accounts:
- Traditional IRA – Is a retirement plan that generally provides a taxpayer with a tax deduction when a contribution is made to the account. Then when distributions are taken from the account they are fully taxable, including earnings.
- Roth IRA – Is also a retirement plan, but unlike the traditional IRA, a Roth IRA does not provide a tax deduction for the contribution. Thus, once a taxpayer reaches retirement age, all of the distributions are totally tax-free.
For years, taxpayers have been able to deduct home mortgage interest on their primary and second homes as an itemized deduction, subject to certain limitations. The interest deduction was limited to the interest on up to $1 million of acquisition debt and $100,000 of equity debt.
Acquisition debt is debt incurred to purchase, construct or substantially improve a taxpayer’s principal or second home. So when you purchased your home, that original loan was acquisition debt, and if you later borrowed additional money that you used to add a room, pool, etc., that loan was also acquisition debt. However, if the total of all of your acquisition loans exceeded the $1 million limit, then the interest on the excess debt over $1 million was not deductible as acquisition debt interest. Read More
If you’re like most taxpayers, you find yourself with an ominous stack of “homework” around TAX TIME! Pulling together the records for your tax appointment is never easy, but the effort usually pays off in the extra tax you save! When you arrive at your appointment fully prepared, you’ll have more time to:
- Consider every possible legal deduction;
- Evaluate which income reporting and deductions are best suited to your situation;
- Explore current law changes that affect your tax status;
- Talk about tax-planning alternatives that could reduce your future tax liability.
When you see those TV ads for home solar power, you may get the impression that Uncle Sam is going to pick up 30% of your cost and you only have to come up with the other 70%. That is not necessarily the whole picture. True, the federal government has a 30% tax credit for the cost of a qualified solar installation (some states also have solar credits or other incentives). However, the federal credit is non-refundable and can only be used to offset your current tax liability, and any excess carries over to future years as long as the credit still applies in future years. Currently, the credit is allowed through 2021. What this means: You may not get all the credit in the first year as you might have been led to believe or assumed based upon the TV ads.
April 18 was this year’s deadline for most people to file their federal tax return and pay any tax they owe. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. If you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will most likely owe interest and penalties on the tax you pay late. To keep interest and penalties to a minimum, Read More
The April 18 tax deadline is coming up. If you need more time to file your taxes, you can get an automatic six-month extension from the IRS. Here are five things to know about filing an extension:
1.Use IRS Free File to file an extension. You can use IRS Free File to e-file your extension request for free. Free File is only available Read More
The IRS urges you to file on time even if you can’t pay what you owe. This saves you from potentially paying a penalty for a late filed return.
Here is what to do if you can’t pay all your taxes by the due date.
1.File on time and pay as much as you can. You can pay online, by phone, or by check or money order. Visit IRS.gov for electronic payment options.
2.Get a loan or use a credit card to pay your tax. The interest and Read More
Each year, people fall prey to tax scams. That’s why the IRS sends a list of its annual “Dirty Dozen.” Stay safe and be informed – don’t become a victim.
If you get involved in illegal tax scams, you can lose money or face stiff penalties, interest and even criminal prosecution. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be on the lookout for these scams: Read More
This year, you may receive one or more forms that provide information about your 2015 health coverage; these forms are 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C. The IRS does not issue these forms and cannot provide you with a copy of any of these forms.
This tip provides guidance about what you should do if you are expecting to receive any of these forms, but do not have them by the time you are ready to file your tax return.
Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, provides you Read More
The Affordable Care Act requires you, your spouse and your dependents to have qualifying health care coverage for each month of the year, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make an Individual Shared Responsibility Payment when filing your federal income tax return. If you had coverage for all of 2015, you will simply check a box on your tax return to report that coverage.
However, if you don’t have qualifying health care coverage and you meet certain criteria, you might be eligible for an exemption from coverage. Most exemptions are can be claimed when you file your tax return, but some must be claimed through the Marketplace. Read More
Though the tax season is over, tax scammers work year-round. The IRS advises you to stay alert to protect yourself against new ways criminals pose as the IRS to trick you out of your money or personal information. These scams first tried to sting older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those who speak English as a second language. The crooks have expanded their net, and now try to swindle virtually anyone. Here are several tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim of these scams:
• Scams use scare tactics. These aggressive and sophisticated scams try to scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal. Many phone scams use threats to try to intimidate you so you will pay them your money. They often threaten arrest or deportation, or that they will revoke your license if you don’t pay. They may also Read More
Each year, many people get a larger refund than they expected. Some find they owe a lot more tax than they thought they would. If this happened to you, review your situation to prevent another tax surprise. Did you marry? Have a child? Have a change in income? Some life events can have a major effect on your taxes. You can bring the tax you pay closer to the amount you owe. Here are some key IRS tips to help you come up with a plan of action:
• New Job. When you start a new job, you must fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate and give it to your employer. Your employer will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pay. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form. This tool is easy to use and Read More