It is quite common for teachers to spend their own money on classroom supplies – so common, in fact, that a few years back, Congress created a special deduction that allowed teachers to deduct up to $250 above-the-line for classroom supplies. “Above-the-line” means the deduction can be claimed whether or not the taxpayer itemizes their deductions. Although the $250 amount is subject to an inflation adjustment, there has been no increase to the limit, at least through 2018.
Eligible educators are those who work in a school as teachers of kindergarten through grade 12, instructors, counselors, principals, or aides for at least 900 hours during a school year. Because of the 900-hour requirement, many substitute teachers do not qualify for this above-the-line deduction.
But $250 is not much, and even if the teacher is in a tax bracket as high as 24% (most are in lower brackets), the deduction will only net them a tax savings of $60. A $60 tax savings is nothing to write home about, and the $250 special deduction was nothing more than a token gesture by Congress. Many conscientious teachers spend far more than $250 for classroom supplies every year.
With the change in the season and the return of fall, many people begin the act of making their homes less cluttered, and we will all begin to get donation requests in the mail. As the weather cools, we tend to turn an eye towards end of year tax moves as well. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought about many changes in how businesses and individuals are going to operate starting for 2018 onward. With the deviations to the itemized deductions that we are all so used to, rethinking your charitable giving is a must. Read More
Employer payments or reimbursements in 2018 for employees’ moving expenses incurred prior to 2018 are excluded from the employee’s wages for income and employment tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) suspended the exclusion from income for moving expenses reimbursed or paid by an employer for most employees starting in 2018, making these amounts taxable, except for amounts for active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose moves relate to a military-ordered permanent change of station. Read More
The IRS has announced that more than 2 million Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are set to expire at the end of 2018. An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are required for U.S. federal tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have and are not eligible to get a Social Security number (SSN).
Failure to renew an ITIN in a timely manner can delay one’s ability to file a tax return, and with 2.7 million expected ITIN renewals, acting now to renew ITIN numbers will help taxpayers avoid delays that could affect their tax filing and refunds in 2019.
Today’s blog is short and sweet because . . . well, because today we are releasing the 295-page National Taxpayer Advocate’s Fiscal Year 2018 Objectives Report to Congress, and that’s enough reading for anyone! By way of background, in IRC § 7803(c)(B), Congress required the National Taxpayer Advocate to submit two reports to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate before any officer or employee of the IRS, the Treasury Department, or the Office of Management and Budget sees them. Most readers are familiar with the report due on December 31 of each year, which includes discussions of twenty of the most serious problems facing taxpayers, as well as legislative and administrative recommendations. But there is another report – the Objectives Report – that is due on June 30th of each year. Read More