taxable income

Answers To Your Questions About 2020 Individual Tax Limits

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Right now, you may be more concerned about your 2019 tax bill than you are about your 2020 tax situation. That’s understandable because your 2019 individual tax return is due to be filed in less than three months.

However, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with tax-related amounts that may have changed for 2020. For example, the amount of money you can put into a 401(k) plan has increased and you may want to start making contributions as early in the year as possible because retirement plan contributions will lower your taxable income.

Note: Not all tax figures are adjusted for inflation and even if they are, they may be unchanged or change only slightly each year due to low inflation. In addition, some tax amounts can only change with new tax legislation.

So below are some Q&As about tax-related figures for this year.

How much can I contribute to an IRA […]

Bartering: A Taxable Transaction Even if Your Business Exchanges No Cash

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Small businesses may find it beneficial to barter for goods and services instead of paying cash for them. If your business engages in bartering, be aware that the fair market value of goods that you receive in bartering is taxable income. And if you exchange services with another business, the transaction results in taxable income for both parties.

Income is also realized if services are exchanged for property. For example, if a construction firm does work for a retail business in exchange for unsold inventory, it will have income equal to the fair market value of the inventory.

Barter clubs

Many business owners join barter clubs that facilitate barter exchanges. In general, these clubs use a system of “credit units” that are awarded to members who provide goods and services. The credits can be redeemed for goods and services from other members.

Bartering is generally taxable in the year it occurs. But if […]

Beware of the 3.8% Medicare Surtax for Estates and Trusts

Ever since the United States Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, most of the focus has been on how this increased tax effects individual taxpayers.  As determined by this decision, individual taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income over $200,000 (or $250,000 for married taxpayers) are subject to an increased 3.8%  Medicare surtax on certain investment income beginning in 2013.


Little focus has been given on how this increased Medicare surtax will increase tax liabilities for trusts and estates.  Income in an irrevocable trust is either taxed to the trust or to the trust beneficiaries.  If income in the trust or estate is accumulated at the trust or estate level, then the trust or estate pays the income tax.  If the income is distributed to the beneficiaries, however, the trust receives an income tax deduction for the amount of the distributable net income (DNI) and the beneficiaries report the taxable income. 


In the case of a trust or estate, the 3.8% Medicare surcharge is imposed on the lesser of either undistributed net investment income or the excess of adjusted gross income over the highest estate or trust income tax bracket.  For 2013, the highest trust income tax bracket begins at $11,950, […]