Articles & newsletters

October 11, 2018

Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation?

If you’re currently taking care of your children and elderly parents, count yourself among those in the “Sandwich Generation.” Although it may be personally gratifying to help your parents, it can be a financial burden and affect your own estate plan. Here are some critical steps to take to better manage the situation. Identify key … Continue reading Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation?

Avoid penalties by abiding by the NQDC tax rules

Nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans pay executives at some time in the future for services to be currently performed. If you participate in such a plan, or your business offers one as an employee benefit, it’s critical for everyone involved to abide by the applicable tax rules. Of course, in the hectic course of the … Continue reading Avoid penalties by abiding by the NQDC tax rules

DOL has increased scrutiny of defined benefit plans

Sponsors of defined benefit plans — commonly known as pensions — might be facing tighter scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Labor. Just last year, at an ERISA Advisory Council meeting, the agency’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) announced that it had ramped up pension audit operations in its Philadelphia office and later decided to … Continue reading DOL has increased scrutiny of defined benefit plans

Catching up with the home mortgage interest deduction

A home is the most valuable asset many people own. So, it’s important to remain aware of the tax impact of homeownership and to carefully track the debt you incur to buy, build or improve your home — known as “acquisition indebtedness.” Among the biggest tax perks of buying a home is the ability to … Continue reading Catching up with the home mortgage interest deduction

Tax calendar

October 15 — Personal federal income tax returns that received an automatic six-month extension must be filed today and any tax, interest and penalties due must be paid. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Report 114, “Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts” (FBAR), must be filed by today, if not filed already, for offshore bank … Continue reading Tax calendar

September 11, 2018

TCJA draws a silver lining around the individual AMT

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) didn’t eliminate the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT). But the law did draw a silver lining around it. Revised rules now lessen the likelihood that many taxpayers will owe substantial taxes under the AMT for 2018 through 2025. Parallel universe Think of the AMT as a parallel universe … Continue reading TCJA draws a silver lining around the individual AMT

How spouse-owned businesses can reduce self-employment taxes

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you probably find the high self-employment (SE) tax bills burdensome. An unincorporated business in which both spouses are active is typically treated by the IRS as a partnership owned 50/50 by the spouses. (For simplicity, when we refer to “partnerships,” we’ll include in our definition … Continue reading How spouse-owned businesses can reduce self-employment taxes

Study up on the tax advantages of a 529 savings plan

With kids back in school, it’s a good time for parents (and grandparents) to think about college funding. One option, which can be especially beneficial if the children in question still have many years until heading off to college, is a Section 529 plan. Tax-deferred compounding 529 plans are generally state-sponsored, and the savings-plan option … Continue reading Study up on the tax advantages of a 529 savings plan

When is bartering taxable?

The notion of bartering may conjure an image of a crowded, bustling medieval bazaar. Dusty travelers, farmers perchance, haggle with merchants over textiles or metal tools. Live chickens are exchanged for handspun cloth and, eventually, everyone goes home happy. Although usually less dusty, these types of transactions continue to occur in today’s high-tech modern world. … Continue reading When is bartering taxable?

August 7, 2018

Take note of the distinctive features of Roth IRAs

For some people, Roth IRAs can offer income and estate tax benefits that are preferable to those offered by traditional IRAs. However, it’s important to take note of just what the distinctive features of a Roth IRA are before making the choice. Traditional vs. Roth The biggest difference between traditional and Roth IRAs is how … Continue reading Take note of the distinctive features of Roth IRAs