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Tips for Tax Payers Traveling for Charity

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During the summer, some taxpayers may travel because of their involvement with a qualified charity. These traveling taxpayers may be able to lower their taxes.

Here are some tax tips for taxpayers to use when deducting charity-related travel expenses:

  • Qualified Charities.  For a taxpayer to deduct costs, they must volunteer for a qualified charity. Most groups must apply to the IRS to become qualified. Churches and governments are generally qualified, and do not need to apply to the IRS. A taxpayer should ask the group about its status before they donate. Taxpayers can also use the Select Check tool on IRS.gov to check a group’s status.
  • Out-of-Pocket Expenses.  A taxpayer may be able to deduct some of their costs including travel. These out-of-pocket expenses must be necessary while the taxpayer is away from home. All costs must be:
    • Unreimbursed,
    • Directly connected with the services,
    • Expenses the taxpayer had only because of the services the taxpayer gave, and
    • Not personal, living or family expenses.
  • Genuine and Substantial Duty.  The charity work the taxpayer is involved with has to be real and substantial throughout the trip. The taxpayer can’t deduct expenses if they only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.
  • Value of Time or Service.  A taxpayer can’t deduct the value of their time or services that they give to charity. This includes income lost while the taxpayer serves as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified charity.
  • Travel Expenses a Taxpayer Can Deduct.  The types of expenses a taxpayer may be able to deduct include:
    • Air, rail and bus transportation,
    • Car expenses,
    • Lodging costs,
    • Cost of meals, and
    • Taxi or other transportation costs between the airport or station and their hotel.
  • Travel Expenses a […]
By |July 28th, 2017|charity, deduction, tax|0 Comments

Congratulations to Carli Ortiz for AICPA Standing Ovation Award

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Congratulation to Linkenheimer Partner Carli Ortiz for being honored as 1 of 16 CPAs under 40 for their contributions to personal financial planning. See the ACIPA press release below for more info:

LAS VEGAS (June 13, 2017) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) today honored 16 CPAs under the age of 40 for their contributions to personal financial planning with the second annual Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Standing Ovation. The recipients were honored at the AICPA’s Advanced Personal Financial Planning Conference in Las Vegas, part of AICPA ENGAGE.

“The AICPA is pleased to recognize each of these honorees for their contributions to personal financial planning,” said Andrea Millar, CPA/PFS, AICPA’s Director of Personal Financial Planning. “Each of these young PFS credential holders has gone beyond providing excellent client services to earn this honor. Their work underscores the contribution CPAs are able to make in the field of financial planning at an early age.”

Some examples of the contributions this group of CPAs has made to the profession include streamlining processes to provide a better client experience, developing software to help manage the practice, providing financial literacy workshops in their communities and volunteering financial planning services in their local areas.

Personal financial planning is a growing field, which affords CPA financial planners a wealth of opportunity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of personal financial advisors to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The job outlook is driven by an aging population with higher life expectancies.

Recipients of the second annual Standing Ovation recognition in personal financial planning are noted on the PFP Section website and during a general session at the Advanced […]

By |July 11th, 2017|award, planning|0 Comments

Linkenheimer Wins Gold for Best of the North Bay

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We want to thank all of our clients, friends, family and readers of the North Bay Biz who voted for us and have supported us for all these year. We are honored to win the Gold Award for the 7th time and we feel it is a testimony to the amazing, dedicated team we have here at Linkenheimer and the fantastic community that supports us. We feel our people are our greatest asset and we strive to create a fun, positive, team based work environment that results in quality work for the client and a focus on community involvement.

  • Care– We care about our Clients, Co-Workers and Community.
  • Team– Our goals are achieved through Selfless Action, Collaboration and Commitment to each other.
  • Culture– We engage each other and clients with Genuine Interest, Respect and an Open-Minded approach.

Thank you again to all those who voted and have put their financial trust in our hands over all these years.

By |June 2nd, 2017|award, best, north bay business|0 Comments

New Health Saving Account Limits for 2018

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The Internal Revenue Service released the 2018 inflation-adjusted limitations for health savings accounts.

In Revenue Procedure 2017-37, the IRS said the annual contribution limitation on deductions for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,450. For calendar year 2018, the annual limitation on deductions for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $6,900. HSAs typically require high deductibles, but they allow people to set aside money from their paychecks on a pre-tax basis for medical expenses.

For calendar year 2018, according to the IRS, a “high deductible health plan” is defined as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,350 for self-only coverage or $2,700 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) do not exceed $6,650 for self-only coverage or $13,300 for family coverage.

For 2017, the lower limit on the annual deductible under a high-deductible plan was $1,300 for self-only coverage and $2,600 for family coverage, the same as for 2016. The upper limit for out-of-pocket expenses was $6,550 for self-only coverage and $13,100 for family coverage

If you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer LLP CPA.

By |May 24th, 2017|hsa|0 Comments

House Republicans Pass Amended AHCA

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On May 4, 2017, members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted along party lines to pass an amended version of the American Health Care Act – proposed legislation to repeal and replace the ACA. The AHCA will now move on to be considered by the Senate. This ACA Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of the proposed legislation and its potential impact going forward.

The AHCA needed 216 votes to pass in the House. Ultimately, it passed on a party-line vote, with 217 Republicans and no Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The AHCA will only need a simple majority vote in the Senate to pass. If it passes both the House and the Senate, the AHCA would then go to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

The attached bulletin provides helpful information on how this may affect employers and individuals. We will keep you updated on any new developments and in the meantime, feel free to reach out to your Linkenheimer CPA with any questions.

Download the ACA Compliance Bulletin Now

By |May 9th, 2017|affordable care act, Health care|0 Comments

Trump’s 2017 Tax Reform Unveiled

The White House  issued President Trump’s goals and key features for tax reform, including cut corporate tax rates, flattened individual marginal income tax brackets, and repeal of the estate and alternative minimum taxes. He outlined these proposals in a one page bulletin which you can see below. The individual and business tax reform highlights include the following:

Proposed individual tax provisions:

  • Down from the current seven tax rates to three- 10%, 25% and a top rate of 35% (down from 39.6%).
  • Elimination of the Estate Tax.
  • Elimination of itemized deductions outside of mortgage interest and charitable contributions.
  • Repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
  • Repeal of the 3.8% tax on net investment income.
  • Doubling of the standard deduction for married couples and individuals.
  • Tax relief for families and dependent care expenses.

Proposed business tax provisions:

  • Decreasing the top corporate tax rate to 15% (current top tax rate is 35%).
  • The 15% tax rate would apply to business income of pass-through entities such as partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies.
  • A one time tax on business profits (at an unspecified tax rate) in foreign countries repatriated to the United States.
  • Introduction of a territorial tax system in place of the current worldwide tax regime.

Below is the one page bulletin released from the White House. We will work to keep you updated on changes and if you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA. Now is a good time to discuss your short and long terms plans with your CPA, as the tax laws become more focused.

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By |May 4th, 2017|tax, tax planning|0 Comments

Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2016

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Available in one form or another since the mid-1970s, individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) are designed to enable employees and the self-employed to save for retirement. Contributions to traditional IRAs are often deductible, but distributions, usually after age 59½, are generally taxable. Though contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible, qualified distributions, usually after age 59½, are tax-free. Those with traditional IRAs must begin receiving distributions by April 1 of the year following the year they turn 70½, but there is no similar requirement for Roth IRAs.

Most taxpayers with qualifying income are either eligible to set up a traditional or Roth IRA or add money to an existing account. To count for a 2016 tax return, contributions must be made by April 18, 2017. In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making these contributions may also qualify for the saver’s credit when they complete their 2016 tax returns.

Generally, eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA. For someone who was at least age 50 at the end of 2016, the limit is increased to $6,500. There’s no age limit for those contributing to a Roth IRA, but anyone who was at least age 70½ at the end of 2016 is barred from making contributions to a traditional IRA for 2016 and subsequent years.

The deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is generally phased out for taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan whose incomes are above certain levels. For someone covered by a workplace plan during any part of 2016, the deduction is phased out if the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) for that year is between $61,000 and $71,000 for singles and heads of […]

By |March 20th, 2017|ira, irs|0 Comments

More Info on ACA Repeal and Replacement

House Republicans have unveiled a repeal and replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The GOP’s American Health Care Act (ACHA) would eliminate most of the ACA’s taxes, including penalties connected with individual and employer mandates, the net investment income (NII) tax and the Additional Medicare tax. Left in place, although delayed, would be the excise tax on high dollar health plans. Also left in place, would be a number of non-tax provisions related to scope of coverage, benefits and children- including allowing dependents to continue to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26, prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage or raising rates to patients based on pre-existing conditions, and forbidding life-time limits on insurance coverage.

The House GOP plan has been rejected by Democrats. Some Republicans have said the plan does not go far enough in repealing all of the ACA. As March moves forward, a vote on the house floor is eventually expected.

To read the impact of the ACA changes, new age-based credits, repeal of NII tax, expanded HSA and other topics, click the link for a detailed read from CCH and Wolters Kluwer. CCH Tax Briefing – ACA Repeal and Replacement (3-9-17)

By |March 14th, 2017|affordable care act, Health care|0 Comments

What the ACA May Look Like Under Trump

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President Donald Trump has made dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) one of the cornerstones of his administration. Steps have already been taken to begin the process. The initial steps, including an executive order issued by Trump, have no immediate impact on the ACA. No ACA provisions or requirements have been eliminated or delayed at this time. However, employers should be aware that the following plan requirements would change if the ACA is repealed:

  • Prohibition on lifetime and annual limits
  • Out-of-pocket maximum limit
  • Waiting period limit
  • Prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions
  • Dependent coverage to age 26
  • Preventive care coverage requirement
  • Prohibition on rescissions
  • Patient protections

To view more information on the ACA and potential changes, click here.

By |March 9th, 2017|Health care|0 Comments

Deadline for Receiving First 2016 IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Is April 1

Individuals who turned 70 1/2 in 2016, but opted to wait until 2017 to begin taking their RMD for 2016 must receive their 2016 RMD by 4/1/17, even though that date falls on a Saturday. IRS Pub. 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), does not offer an alternative date, such as the following Monday, 4/3/17, to receive the distribution, so please keep that in mind. If you have any questions, please contact your Linkenheimer CPA.

By |March 3rd, 2017|ira, irs|0 Comments