MLR

Category: Tax

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There’s no doubt about it … college is expensive. At top-rated private universities, the annual cost can be $55,000 and up. Some public schools charge out-of-state students $40,000 and up. With any luck, however, your child or grandchild will qualify for financial aid. These days, a surprisingly high percentage of students do.

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Many people itemize deductions on Schedule A of their tax returns, rather than taking the standard deduction. Your tax preparer will generally advise you to do so if your allowable itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction.

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Giving to charity can provide you with a warm feeling as well as a nice tax break. But you’ve got to itemize deductions on your tax return. And, like most tax breaks, charitable deductions come with a number of rules you must follow to actually claim the write-off. Here are the details.

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There can be negative tax consequences when purported loan payments are recast as corporate distributions to shareholders. In some cases, the courts have ruled that withdrawals from two closely held corporations were constructive corporate distributions rather than loan proceeds and repayments. As such, the withdrawals triggered taxable dividends and capital gains for the shareholders.

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There are instances when you can write off interest on personal loans used for business purposes, such as injecting capital into an S corporation, multi-member LLC, partnership or C corporation. But keep in mind that interest expenses must be classified into one of four categories (see box at the bottom of this article for details).

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For one reason or another, you may need to take some money out of an IRA before reaching retirement. You can withdraw money from an IRA at any time and for any reason, but it’s important to keep in mind that most IRA withdrawals are at least partially taxable. In other words, you’ll owe regular income tax on the amount. In addition, the taxable portion of a withdrawal taken before age 59 1/2, which is called an “early withdrawal,” will be hit with a 10% penalty — unless you qualify for an exception.

At Maxwell Locke & Ritter, our Family Office service line goes beyond traditional accounting and tax needs by offering individual clients a blend of services tailored to care for their family’s financial well­-being.  The strength of this service comes from our dedicated team with years of experience in bookkeeping, tax planning, estate planning, succession planning, portfolio accounting and all the services needed to manage a family’s finances.

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Many taxpayers own vacation homes that they’ve rented out and also used as their personal residences. Can one of these homes be traded for another vacation home in a tax-deferred Section 1031 exchange? According to the IRS, the answer is “yes” under the right circumstances. The IRS has even issued guidelines for how to do it. (IRS Revenue Procedure 2008-16)

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Losses can be used, within certain limits, to offset other highly-taxed income, such as salary from a job. However, in general, losses from “passive” activities can only be used to offset income from other passive activities. Any excess passive loss is suspended and must be carried forward to future years.

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If you’re reporting travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses on your tax return and you’re audited, there’s a good chance an agent will take a hard look at those items.