Generous Health Plan May Not Preclude HSA Contribution

If you’re covered by a qualifying high-deductible health plan, you can generally make annual deductible contributions to a tax-saving Health Savings Account. However, things can get tricky if you are married and your spouse has more generous coverage through his or her job. (more…)

Establishing Residency for State Tax Purposes

Have you been contemplating moving to another state with lower taxes? Your move could lower your state tax bill, but you want to make sure to establish that the new state is your place of legal residency (also known as your “domicile”) for state tax purposes. Otherwise, the old state could come after you for taxes after you’ve moved. In the worst-case scenario, your new state could expect to get paid, too. Here’s what you need to do to establish residency in the new state — and why moving your pet could be a deciding factor. (more…)

Maintain Adequate Records for Charitable Contribution Deductions

The IRS rules for substantiating deductions for charitable contributions are strict. But for those who adhere to those rules, donations to eligible causes may be rewarded at tax time. As year end approaches, along with the opportunity to reduce your tax bill, you may be feeling even more generous than usual. Before you follow your charitable inclinations, know what proof you’ll need to support your donations and secure your tax benefits. (more…)

Recent Developments May Affect Passive Investors with Losses

Do you materially participate in a business or rental activity — or are you just a passive investor who isn’t directly involved in a project’s day-to-day operations? The IRS has prescribed seven tests to help individuals classify income, gains and losses from activities as passive or nonpassive. (See “PAL Basics” below.) (more…)

What To Do With Unwanted Donations

Everyone agrees that donations are the lifeblood of not-for-profit organizations. At the top of most wish lists is cash, and depending on your situation, you may accept other assets and in-kind contributions.But what should you do when offered donations that are not usable or appropriate? For example, how should a charity react when it is offered an item so worn that the only option is to send it to the local dump? Unfortunately, this can be a drain on the charity’s staff. And if there’s a fee to use the dump, it can cost the organization. (more…)

Self-Employment Tax Reduction Strategies for Spouse-Owned Businesses

If you own a profitable, unincorporated business with your spouse, you’re probably fed up with high self-employment (SE) tax bills.

An unincorporated business in which both spouses are active is typically treated as a partnership that’s owned 50/50 by the spouses — or a limited liability company (LLC) that’s treated as a partnership for tax purposes and owned 50/50 by the spouses. In either case, you and your spouse must separately calculate your respective SE tax bills. (more…)