Last Year’s Tax Bill Makes This Year’s Opportunity

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For the first time in many years, it looks like a last minute tax law change will not upset your ability to fulfill a well thought out tax plan. In addition to making last minute moves to reduce your tax obligation, consider some opportunities to take advantage of recent legislation.

Educators. The $250, above the line deduction is now permanent. If you are a qualified teacher, please make sure you save receipts for your out-of-pocket classroom expenses.
Action: Add up your receipts now. If less than $250, consider your needs prior to the end of the year to maximize your use of this tax law.

Small Business. There are numerous provisions for small business tax savings opportunities in recent tax legislation. Most of them benefit specific industries, but a couple are worth considering for most businesses.
Action: Consider 1st year bonus depreciation and Section 179 provisions to expense qualified capital equipment purchases. Also review your possible use of the Research Credit recently made a permanent part of the tax code.

Seniors who donate. If a senior age 70½ or older, you can now make direct contributions to charities from qualified retirement accounts. The limit is $100,000. The benefit of these direct contributions is they control your adjusted gross income to help you become more tax efficient.
Action: Consider a direct contribution to a preferred charity, especially if you would make the donation with after-tax funds anyway.

Sales tax or state deduction. The option to deduct general sales tax as an itemized deduction versus using state income taxes is now permanent.
Action: Review your situation. If you anticipate low or no state income taxes, but could itemize, you may wish to use this deduction. Remember to keep receipts of any large purchases to track large sales and use tax payments.

Everyone’s health care reporting. Remember to look for your Form 1095 this year. It should accurately report your family’s health care coverage. Many providers of this form have had a hard time getting this information from insurance carriers.
Action: Look for this form in January. Confirm that the information is correctly reported. Notify the provider immediately if the form contains any errors.