2015 tax legislation
15 January, 2016

2015 was a relatively busy year for Congress – they managed to pass some legislation that concerns us all. Below is a brief summary of issues to keep in mind as we approach the 2015 tax filing deadlines: The TRANSPORTATION ACT (Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015): To avoid raising […]

US citizens renouncing citizenship in record numbers
23 September, 2015

Some food for thought as we continue to learn about the Presidential candidates: Imagine paying U.S. taxes your entire life and then walking away from your right to collect Social Security benefits and Medicare, not to mention your rights to live and travel freely in your home country. Americans are doing that in record numbers. […]

August is "Make a Will Month"
17 August, 2015

August is national “Make A Will Month.” Yes, “Make A Will Month” actually exists! The end of the summer, when many families vacation together, is the perfect time to plan for your family’s future. Making a will can be easy with proper guidance. No one likes to think about the end of life, but without […]

ObamaCare and your 2014 tax returns
20 January, 2015

Below is a brief summary of the new filing requirements related to ObamaCare (the “Affordable Care Act”). These requirements apply to everyone, regardless of how you purchase your health insurance. 1. If you obtained healthcare coverage through the ObamaCare Marketplace last year, you will need Form 1095-A to file your 2014 tax returns. This form […]

Start-Up NY
13 February, 2014

You may have heard that Governor Cuomo has created a program called Start-Up NY, which establishes certain “tax-free” zones across NYS, including NYC. For qualifying businesses, the program provides the following tax exemptions for 10 years: 1. sales tax relief on all purchases made in NYS; 2. personal income tax relief for employees of your […]

Year-end planning ideas
02 December, 2013

Although 2013 has been a relatively quiet year from a tax perspective, U.S. taxpayers will soon face the expensive realities of last year’s legislation: the American Taxpayer Relief Act and the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”). Top earners should be prepared for higher annual tax liabilities and many will, inevitably, be playing catch-up with year-end tax […]

Life after the Fiscal Cliff – what to expect
04 January, 2013

Phew! We were able to avert the fiscal cliff. For the most part. Here is a brief summary of that 13th-hour legislation (the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012” or the “Act”): What the Act does: 1. Brings back the Clinton-era 39.6% tax bracket for single taxpayers with income over $400,000 and married filing jointly […]

The Fiscal Cliff
03 December, 2012

As the New Year approaches, we are in the midst of a highly uncertain period from a tax planning perspective. The “Bush-era tax cuts,” which I am sure everyone has heard of at this point, are set to expire on January 1, 2013. This means that everyone’s effective tax rates will increase. This newsletter is […]

Audit Red Flags
27 January, 2012

The IRS audits approximately 1% of all individual tax returns. This is one instance where taxpayers might benefit from a lack of government funding – the IRS simply does not have the resources to examine every tax return (last year over 144 million individual income tax returns were filed). That being said, the chances of […]

Tax Changes for 2012
13 January, 2012

Individuals The current tax rate structure ranging from 10% to 35% remains the same for 2012, but tax-bracket thresholds increase for each filing status. Standard deductions and the personal exemption have also been adjusted upward to reflect inflation. For details see Tax Brackets and Exemptions for 2012 below. Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT) AMT limits decrease […]

Cyber Scams on the Rise
12 January, 2012

The Internal Revenue Service receives thousands of reports each year from taxpayers who receive suspicious emails, phone calls, faxes or notices claiming to be from the IRS. Many of these scams fraudulently use the IRS name or logo as a lure to make the communication appear more authentic and enticing. The goal of these scams […]

IRS offers Tips for year-end Gift Giving
15 December, 2011

Individuals and businesses making charitable contributions should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years. Some of these changes include the following: Special Charitable Contributions for Certain IRA Owners This provision, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, offers older owners of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) […]

7 Planning Ideas for Young Parents
31 August, 2011

One of my oldest and best friends had his first child last week (a boy, everyone is healthy and doing great). He is the first of my closest friends to reach this milestone. While it is a bit surreal to think of this young man as a father, he and his wife are certainly ready […]

Tax News affecting Your 2010 Tax Refund
12 January, 2011

For most taxpayers, Congress’ bipartisan, election-year posturing during 2010 was a good thing.  Despite the restoration of many Bush-era tax rules, there were also many changes made to the tax code; some by new legislation and some by expiration.  Below is a list of some of the more interesting changes that occurred in 2010: 1.  […]

Deferred Compensation Plans
11 January, 2011

Assuming a deferred compensation plan is “non-qualified” (it is only offered to certain high-level employees and, thus, does not qualify for certain tax preferences), here is a brief explanation of how FICA and FUTA should be applied: Background FICA actually includes two taxes:  Social Security and Medicare.  The SS tax rate for 2010 was 6.2% […]

Gift Giving as an Estate Planning Tool
19 October, 2010

Proper estate planning can help protect your assets and can provide your family with significant tax savings at the time of your death. 2010 is a unique year for estate planning. While the federal estate tax has lapsed, we still have a $1 million federal lifetime gift tax exemption. Further, the federal gift tax is […]

Stock Appreciation Rights
01 September, 2010

Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) enable a business owner to provide his or her employees with an opportunity to directly benefit from the growth and prosperity of the business. SARs grant the recipient the right to be paid an amount equal to the difference between the value of the company’s stock price on the date of […]

The "Marriage Penalty"
19 August, 2010

As we approach the final months of the 2010 wedding season, I have found that newlyweds and the newly engaged have been asking me one question with surprising frequency: “What is the ‘marriage penalty’ and how can we avoid it?” Like most tax and legal matters, properly discussing the marriage penalty requires a few steps. […]

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
20 May, 2010

The President’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that four million small businesses are eligible to claim the new Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. For tax years beginning in 2010, eligible small businesses and tax-exempt organizations may claim a tax credit for a portion of the cost of either (1) maintaining their current health insurance […]

IRAs and a New Tax Savings Opportunity
12 May, 2010

A client recently asked me about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. As I was researching the issue and writing my response (which, I’ll admit, snow-balled on me…), I thought you might also be interested in my explanation of this great tax savings and financial planning opportunity. Beginning in 2010, there is a […]