Schedule A

AN ANALYSIS OF THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT

January 2018

 

AN ANALYSIS OF THE TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT

On December 22, 2017, after much, well-publicized legislative skirmishes, President Donald Trump signed into law H.R. 1, otherwise known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”   Provisions affecting individuals are generally effective beginning December 31, 2017 and expire on December 31, 2025.  Most business-related provisions are permanent and are effective beginning December 31, 2017.

This new law is, by all accounts, the most significant revisions to the U.S. tax code since 1986, affecting almost all individual and business taxpayers.   Our firm’s general assessment of the new law will therefore be a two-part series: this first part covers changes to individual taxpayers, and the second part will cover changes to business taxpayers.

Deduction Thresholds And Bunching Expenses

All of us as taxpayers continually think we have a lot of expenses that we can itemize and deduct to help reduce our respective tax bills. But they come, they go, all for naught and no effect. The problem usually arises from the fact that our costs regularly fall just short of the required income thresholds for some categories of deductions. One solution is “bunching expenses,” which is a term used to describe incurring as many expenses as possible in a particular category during a particular tax year. Of course, doing this in one tax year will usually significantly diminish any chance of repeating it the following year.

What You Need to Know About Deducting State and Local Taxes

Taxpayers that itemize deductions on Schedule A, (and file Form 1040) can deduct the cost of state income taxes on their federal tax return. The ability to deduct the full cost of these taxes  has its obvious advantages. Taxpayers may either claim such a deduction from state and local income taxes or state and local sales taxes, but not both. Basically, to be deductible, the tax must be imposed on a taxpayer and must have been paid during the particular tax year. Taxpayers that elect to deduct state and local general sales taxes, may use either their actual expenses or the optional sales tax tables.

IRS Audits – What Are My Chances?

IRS Audits – What Are My Chances?It’s considered by many taxpayers to be one of the most frightening events that could happen related to their everyday business affairs. What is this frightening event? An IRS audit, of course. But is a tax audit really that scary in real life? The numbers reveal that only 1% of all taxpayers experience an audit, and of this one percent, about one in five result in a meeting with the IRS.

Presently, the IRS audits half as many taxpayers as it did five years ago. However, the amount of tax recovered per audit has increased. The IRS uses an elaborate computer selection process, auditing only those returns which will almost certainly yield some adjustment.

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