Berdon Blogs

TAX TALK: Casualty Losses Provide a 2017 Deduction, but Rules Tighten for 2018

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 19, 2018 9:09:45 AM

If you suffered damage to your home or personal property last year, you may be able to deduct these “casualty” losses on your 2017 federal income tax return. For 2018 through 2025, however, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends this deduction except for losses due to an event officially declared a disaster by the President.

What is a casualty? It’s a sudden, unexpected or unusual event, such as a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, etc.), fire, accident, theft or vandalism. A casualty loss doesn’t include losses from normal wear and tear or progressive deterioration from age or termite damage.

Here are some things you should know about deducting casualty losses on your 2017 return:

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: Size of Your Charitable Deductions Depends on Many Factors

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 12, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Whether you’re claiming charitable deductions on your 2017 return or planning your donations for 2018, be sure you know how much you’re allowed to deduct. Your deduction depends on more than just the actual amount you donate.

Type of Gift

One of the biggest factors affecting your deduction is what you give:

Cash. You may deduct 100% gifts made by check, credit card, or payroll deduction.

Ordinary-income property. For stocks and bonds held one year or less, inventory, and property subject to depreciation recapture, you generally may deduct only the lesser of fair market value or your tax basis.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: Sec. 179 Expensing Provides Small Businesses with 2017 Tax Savings and More

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 5, 2018 9:58:56 AM

If you purchased qualifying property by December 31, 2017, you may be able to take advantage of Section 179 expensing on your 2017 tax return. You’ll also want to keep this tax break in mind in your property purchase planning, because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) significantly enhances it beginning in 2018.

2017 Sec. 179 benefits

Sec. 179 expensing allows eligible taxpayers to deduct the entire cost of qualifying new or used depreciable property and most software in Year 1, subject to various limitations. For tax years that began in 2017, the maximum Sec. 179 deduction is $510,000. The maximum deduction is phased out dollar for dollar to the extent the cost of eligible property placed in service during the tax year exceeds the phaseout threshold of $2.03 million.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: Tax Deduction for Moving Costs: 2017 vs. 2018

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Feb 26, 2018 9:19:00 AM

If you moved for work-related reasons in 2017, you might be able to deduct some of the costs on your 2017 return — even if you don’t itemize deductions. Or, if your employer reimbursed you for moving expenses, that reimbursement might be excludable from your income. The bad news is that, if you move in 2018, the costs likely won’t be deductible, and any employer reimbursements will probably be included in your taxable income.

Suspension for 2018–2025

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law this past December, suspends the moving expense deduction for the same period as when lower individual income tax rates generally apply: 2018 through 2025. For this period it also suspends the exclusion from income of qualified employer reimbursements of moving expenses.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: 2017 Tax Breaks for Families with College Students

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Feb 19, 2018 10:49:55 AM

Whether you had a child in college or graduate school last year or were a student yourself, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2017 return. One such break that had expired December 31, 2016, was just extended under the recently passed Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: the tuition and fees deduction.

But a couple of tax credits are also available. Tax credits can be especially valuable because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar; deductions reduce only the amount of income that’s taxed.

Higher Education Breaks 101

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: TCJA Temporarily Lowers Medical Expense Deduction Threshold

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Feb 12, 2018 9:14:00 AM

With rising health care costs, claiming whatever tax breaks related to health care that you can is more important than ever. But there’s a threshold for deducting medical expenses that may be hard to meet. Fortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has temporarily reduced the threshold.

Eligible Expenses

Medical expenses may be deductible if they’re “qualified.” Qualified medical expenses involve the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. Examples include payments to physicians, dentists and other medical practitioners, as well as equipment, supplies, diagnostic devices, and prescription drugs.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: Two Small Business Tax Credits May Reduce Your 2017 and 2018 Tax Bills

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Feb 5, 2018 11:44:00 AM

Tax credits reduce tax liability dollar-for-dollar, potentially making them more valuable than deductions, which reduce only the amount of income subject to tax. Maximizing available credits is especially important now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has reduced or eliminated some tax breaks for businesses. Two still-available tax credits are especially for small businesses that provide certain employee benefits.

1. Credit for Paying Health Care Coverage Premiums

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers a credit to certain small employers that provide employees with health coverage. Despite various congressional attempts to repeal the ACA in 2017, nearly all of its provisions remain intact, including this potentially valuable tax credit.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: Can You Deduct Home Office Expenses?

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Jan 29, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Working from home has become commonplace. But just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it. And for 2018, even fewer taxpayers will be eligible for a home office deduction.

Changes under the TCJA

For employees, home office expenses are a miscellaneous itemized deduction. For 2017, this means you’ll enjoy a tax benefit only if these expenses plus your other miscellaneous itemized expenses (such as unreimbursed work-related travel, certain professional fees, and investment expenses) exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: TCJA and Personal Exemptions, Standard Deductions, and the Child Credit

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Jan 22, 2018 11:40:00 AM

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), individual income tax rates generally go down for 2018 through 2025. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your income tax liability will go down. The TCJA also makes a lot of changes to tax breaks for individuals, reducing or eliminating some while expanding others. The total impact of all of these changes is what will ultimately determine whether you see reduced taxes. One interrelated group of changes affecting many taxpayers are those to personal exemptions, standard deductions and the child credit.

Personal Exemptions

For 2017, taxpayers can claim a personal exemption of $4,050 each for themselves, their spouses, and any dependents. For families with children and/or other dependents, such as elderly parents, these exemptions can really add up.

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Topics: TAX TALK

TAX TALK: 401(k) Contribution Limit Increases for 2018; Most Others Remain Stagnant

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Jan 15, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, most of the limits remain unchanged for 2018.  One piece of good news for taxpayers who’re already maxing out their contributions is that the 401(k) limit has gone up by $500. The only other limit that has increased from the 2017 level is for contributions to defined contribution plans, which has gone up by $1,000.

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Topics: TAX TALK

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