Income

Federal Tax Refunds May Be Delayed In 2017

Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service announced it is beginning protocols for processing tax returns using the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The IRS is sharing this information to help taxpayers, tax preparers, and other tax professionals prepare for the opening weeks of the 2017 filing season. The IRS is attempting to ensure taxpayers receive a correct and accurate refund.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) was enacted in December of 2015, which made several changes to the tax law affecting taxpayers with families. This change begins Jan. 1, 2017, and therefore may affect some returns filed early in 2017.

Top Tax Deductions for Seniors and Retirees

Here are some of the most important tax deductions for seniors and retirees. 

  1. Higher standard deduction.

Any taxpayer that is 65 and older by December 31 of the tax year is entitled to a higher standard deduction. Taxpayers may take the higher standard deduction if a spouse is age 65 or older and together they file a joint return. Also, the higher standard deduction may be taken if the taxpayer files a separate return and can claim an exemption for a spouse because the spouse had no gross income and can’t be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. 

The Most Overlooked Tax Deductions, Part 5

Many taxpayers overlook the long list of deductions that they may take when completing and filing their tax returns. The tax professionals at the Thorgood Law Firm can help ensure that all taxpayers take advantage of any and all deductions that may apply to them.  Here is the fifth part of our multi-part blog on the most overlooked tax deductions:

LEGAL INCOME & FEES AS DEDUCTIONS

Jury pay paid to employer

What Can Voters Really Learn From Donald Trump’s Tax Returns (if they are ever released)

What will we really learn If Donald Trump ever releases his tax returns? While no technical, legal requirement compels him to do so, it is but a time-honored tradition among presidential candidates acting in the spirit of full disclosure. Trump has acted like it’s not a big deal and that little, if anything, will be revealed by any divulgence. If it’s not such a big deal, why doesn’t he simply disclose them like other candidates? What might he be concerned that voters will really learn from the release of his tax returns?

  1. Trump pays little or nothing in taxes

Taxes And Medical Expenses

Taxpayers that itemize​ personal deductions instead of claiming the standard deduction may deduct qualifying medical expenses to the extent that such expenses exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income (“AGI”). Taxpayers that are 65 years or older, or turned 65 during the tax year, may deduct unreimbursed medical care expenses that exceed 7.5% of AGI. This threshold amount remains at 7.5% of adjusted gross income for these taxpayers until Dec. 31, 2016. I.R.C. §213(f).

Misconceptions And Truths About W-2s, 1099s, and 1095s

There are many misconceptions about IRS tax forms, especially W-2s, 1099s, and of course the new 1095 forms introduced by the Affordable Care Act. This blog will attempt to clarify the misconceptions and truths about these forms but first, some background information.

The IRS requires employers to report wage and salary information for employees on Form W-2, which also reports the amount of federal, state and other taxes withheld from an employee’s paycheck. Another well-known IRS form used to report income is the 1099-MISC (Miscellaneous Income), which reports payments made in the course of business to individuals that are independent contractors, as well as similar payments to sole proprietorships.

Using The Gift Tax Exclusion To Protect Your Estate

Most of us don’t have to worry about the federal estate tax or gift tax. In 2016, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $5.45 million. Thus, any taxpayer while alive may give, and at death, devise, or bequeath, up to $5.45 million before any federal tax liability is created. This exemption is double for married couples, which means that a married couple can gift or leave a total of $10.9 million that will be exempt from federal estate and gift taxes.

Supreme Court Tax Cases: Comptroller of the Treasury of Maryland v. Brian Wynne

For a significant period of time, since 1873 in fact, the Supreme Court has held that the taxing power of the states is limited by the dormant commerce clause. State taxes on interstate activity must be “fairly apportioned,” meaning that if more than one state may legitimately tax the same income, each state may only tax its fair share. This flows from the Commerce Clause’s negative converse, i.e. its restriction prohibiting states from enacting legislation that overly burdens or discriminates against interstate commerce. In many cases dealing with the taxation of multi-state businesses, courts have enforced the requirement that state taxes be fairly apportioned.

Excluding Self-Employment Income Under I.R.C. §1402(a)(3)(C)

Taxpayers earn self-employment income which is net income “from any trade or business carried on by such individual” under I.R.C. §1402. The meaning of “trade or business” is the same as it is under I.R.C. §162. The Supreme Court has “defined a trade or business as an activity engaged in for income or profit and performed with continuity and regularity. Commissioner v. Groetzinger, 480 U.S. 23, 35 (1987).”

There is an exclusion from inclusion of income from the sale of property in self-employment income under IRC §1402(a)(3)(C) which provides:

(3) there shall be excluded any gain or loss—

Taxes And Winning The Lottery

Hopefully, if one of us is ever lucky enough to win a big lottery jackpot, we won’t care about how much of it we have to “share” with Uncle Sam as taxes. But winning any immense lottery jackpot, especially some of the recent Powerball or Mega-Million grand prizes, is likely to result in a considerable share for the Department of the Treasury. How much in tax would the IRS receive from a $500 million lotto winner?

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