itemized deduction

Answers to FAQs for Individuals of the Same Sex Who Are Married Under State Law

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions relating to the tax consequences for individuals participating in a same-sex marriage.

*When are individuals of the same sex lawfully married for federal tax purposes?

For federal tax purposes, state or foreign law determines whether individuals are married.

*Can same-sex spouses file federal tax returns using a married filing jointly or married filing separately status? Yes.

  • For tax year 2013 and going forward, same-sex spouses generally must file using a married filing separately or jointly filing status.

A Discussion Of New York State Income Tax Deductions

Income tax deductions are expenses that may be deducted from pre-tax gross income. Of course, deductions reduce New York income tax and maximize a refund. One of the experienced tax professionals at the Thorgood Law Firm can assist any New Yorker in determining the deductions for which they qualify under New York law.

New York has a standard state income tax deduction. For 2015, they are as follows:

Filing Status Amount  of Standard Deduction
Single (and can be claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s federal return) $3,100

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).

Unsure if you should go with standard or itemize deductions?

Unsure of whether you should use the standard deduction amount, or take the time to itemize deductions? The answer is fairly straightforward; you should itemize deductions if your total deductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, you should itemize if you don’t qualify for the standard deduction. Taxpayers should initially calculate itemized deductions and then compare that amount to their standard deduction to determine which provides the greater benefit. A taxpayer may be subject to a limit on some itemized deductions if he or she exceeds the adjusted gross income limits.

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.

Who Claims The Kids On Their Taxes, And Other Ways Divorce May Affect Your Taxes

Divorcing couples often wonder who claims the children on their taxes, and in what other ways divorce will affect their taxes. Questions may include which filing status to use after the divorce, and how payments for spousal maintenance and child support to an ex-spouse are treated for tax purposes. Also, inquiries about what happens to assets like the family residence are obviously frequently common.

Filing Status

Who qualifies as a real estate professional for tax purposes?

Issue

Who qualifies as a real estate professional for tax purposes? More specifically, how does a taxpayer establish that he or she materially participate in rental activities, so that the rentals become non-passive, and any losses can be used without limitation?

Related Tax Rules and/or Regulations

Internal Revenue Code Section 469

Facts

Escalante earned income from teaching and his ownership of rental properties that he managed himself. His teaching contract required him to work a minimum of six hours per scheduled work day. As is customary with this type of contract, it contemplated that there would be a substantial number of hours spent outside the classroom engaging in tasks and activities like lesson planning, grading papers, parent-teacher consultations, and faculty meetings.

REPORTING GAMBLING LOSSES AND INCOME

Americans love to gamble. Humans love to gamble for that matter. Whether you bet on football, play poker or bet on the horses, your winnings are taxable and you must report them on your tax return. The rules apply even to casual gamblers. Gambling income includes winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races and casinos. It also includes cash and the fair market value of prizes you receive, such as cars and trips.

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