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Plug in Tax Savings for Electric Vehicles

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While the number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) is still small compared with other cars on the road, it’s growing — especially in certain parts of the country. If you’re interested in purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. (Depending on where you live, there may also be state tax breaks and other incentives.)

However, the federal tax credit is subject to a complex phaseout rule that may reduce or eliminate the tax break based on how many sales are made by a given manufacturer. The vehicles of two manufacturers have already begun to be phased out, which means they now qualify for only a partial tax credit.

Tax credit basics

You can claim the federal tax credit for buying a qualifying new (not used) plug-in EV. The credit can be worth up to $7,500. There are no income restrictions, so even wealthy people can qualify.

By |May 2nd, 2019|credit, energy, New Tax Laws, tax credit|0 Comments

Stretch Your College Student’s Spending Money with the Dependent Tax Credit

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If you’re the parent of a child who is age 17 to 23, and you pay all (or most) of his or her expenses, you may be surprised to learn you’re not eligible for the child tax credit. But there’s a dependent tax credit that may be available to you. It’s not as valuable as the child tax credit, but when you’re saving for college or paying tuition, every dollar counts!

Background of the credits

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) increased the child credit to $2,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17. The law also substantially increased the phaseout income thresholds for the credit so more people qualify for it. Unfortunately, the TCJA eliminated dependency exemptions for older children for 2018 through 2025. But the TCJA established a new $500 tax credit for dependents who aren’t under-age-17 children who qualify for the child tax credit. However, these individuals must pass certain tests to be classified as dependents.

A qualifying dependent for purposes of the $500 credit includes:

  1. A dependent child who lives with you for over half the year and is over age 16 and up to age 23 if he […]
By |March 19th, 2019|child, education credit, New Tax Laws, tax credit|0 Comments

3 Big TCJA Changes Affecting 2018 Individual Tax Returns and Beyond

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When you file your 2018 income tax return, you’ll likely find that some big tax law changes affect you — besides the much-discussed tax rate cuts and reduced itemized deductions. For 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) makes significant changes to personal exemptions, standard deductions and the child credit. The degree to which these changes will affect you depends on whether you have dependents and, if so, how many. It also depends on whether you typically itemize deductions.

1. No more personal exemptions

For 2017, taxpayers could claim a personal exemption of $4,050 each for themselves, their spouses and any dependents. For families with children and/or other dependents, such as elderly parents, these exemptions could really add up.

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates and other changes, might mitigate […]

By |February 12th, 2019|New Tax Laws, tax planning|0 Comments

Research Credit Available to Some Businesses for the First Time

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) didn’t change the federal tax credit for “increasing research activities,” but several TCJA provisions have an indirect impact on the credit. As a result, the research credit may be available to some businesses for the first time.

AMT reform

Previously, corporations subject to alternative minimum tax (AMT) couldn’t offset the research credit against their AMT liability, which erased the benefits of the credit (although they could carry unused research credits forward for up to 20 years and use them in non-AMT years). By eliminating corporate AMT for tax years beginning after 2017, the TCJA removed this obstacle.

Now that the corporate AMT is gone, unused research credits from prior tax years can be offset against a corporation’s regular tax liability and may even generate a refund (subject to certain restrictions). So it’s a good idea for corporations to review their research activities in recent years and amend prior returns if necessary to ensure they claim all […]

By |November 9th, 2018|business, credit, New Tax Laws, research credit|0 Comments

Green Home: Save Taxes by Saving Energy

“Going green” at home — whether it’s your principal residence or a second home — can reduce your tax bill in addition to your energy bill, all while helping the environment, too. The catch is that, to reap all three benefits, you need to buy and install certain types of renewable energy equipment in the home.

Invest in green and save green

For 2018 and 2019, you may be eligible for a tax credit of 30% of expenditures (including costs for site preparation, assembly, installation, piping, and wiring) for installing the following types of renewable energy equipment:

  • Qualified solar electricity generating equipment and solar water heating equipment,
  • Qualified wind energy equipment,
  • Qualified geothermal heat pump equipment, and
  • Qualified fuel cell electricity generating equipment (limited to $500 for each half kilowatt of fuel cell capacity).

Because these items can be expensive, the credits can be substantial. To qualify, the equipment must be installed at your U.S. residence, including a vacation home — except for fuel cell equipment, which must be installed at your principal residence. You can’t claim credits for equipment installed at a property that’s used exclusively as a rental.

To qualify for the credit for solar water heating equipment, at least […]

By |July 9th, 2018|tax|0 Comments

Disaster Relief Provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

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On February 9, Congress passed, and the President signed into law, H.R. 1892, the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018” (the Budget Act, P.L. 115-123). In addition to providing a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through March 23, this 2-year budget contains a host of tax law changes. The Act retroactively extends through 2017 over 30 so called “extender” provisions, provides a number of miscellaneous tax-related provisions, and includes tax relief to victims of the California wildfires and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Relief from early withdrawal tax for California wildfire distribution. A distribution from a qualified retirement plan, a tax-sheltered annuity plan, an eligible deferred compensation plan of a State or local government employer, or an individual retirement arrangement (IRA) generally is included in income for the year distributed. In addition, unless an exception applies, a distribution received before age 59½ is subject to a 10% additional tax under Code Sec. 72(t) (the “early withdrawal tax”) on the amount includible in income.

In general, a distribution from an eligible retirement plan may be rolled over to another eligible retirement plan within 60 days, in which case the amount rolled over generally is not includible in income. The 60-day requirement can be waived by IRS in […]

By |February 16th, 2018|disaster, New Tax Laws, relief|0 Comments

Child Tax Credit Increased

Under pre-Act law, a taxpayer could claim a child tax credit of up to $1,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17. The aggregate amount of the credit that could be claimed phased out by $50 for each $1,000 of AGI over $75,000 for single filers, $110,000 for married filers, and $55,000 for married individuals filing separately. To the extent that the credit exceeded a taxpayer’s liability, a taxpayer was eligible for a refundable credit (i.e., the additional child tax credit) equal to 15% of earned income in excess of $3,000 (the “earned income threshold”). A taxpayer claiming the credit had to include a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for each qualifying child on their return. In most cases, the TIN is the child’s Social Security Number (SSN), although Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) were also accepted.

New law. For tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the child tax credit is increased to $2,000, and other changes are made to phase-outs and refund-ability during this same period, as outlined below. (Code Sec. 24(h)(2), as added by Act Sec. 11022(a))

Phase-out. The income levels at which the credit phases out are increased to $400,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly ($200,000 […]

By |January 9th, 2018|New Tax Laws, tax credit|0 Comments

PATH Act Changes to the Research Credit

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The recently enacted “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015″ (i.e., the 2015 PATH Act) contains a provision making permanent the popular research credit. This credit encourages businesses to invest more in R&D by allowing a tax credit for spending on qualified research. The credit (1) is for 20% of current year qualified spending that exceeds a base amount related to gross receipts in certain earlier years and (2) can’t exceed 10% of the total spending in the current year on qualified research. Alternatively, taxpayers can irrevocably choose a simpler calculation.

The credit had lapsed for expenditures in 2015, but the legislation is also effective for those expenditures.

And importantly, the new law also makes two major changes to the credit, both favorable to small businesses. First, it provides that beginning in 2016 eligible small businesses ($50 million or less in gross receipts) may claim the credit against alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability. Also, beginning in 2016, the new law also provides that the credit can be used by certain even smaller businesses against the employer’s portion of the Social Security portion of the employer’s payroll tax (i.e., FICA) liability.

By |December 31st, 2015|research credit|0 Comments

Back-to-School Education Tax Credits

If you, your spouse or a dependent are heading off to college in the fall, some of your costs may save you money at tax time. You may be able to claim a tax credit on your federal tax return. Here are some key IRS tips that you should know about e tax credits:

• American Opportunity Tax Credit.  The AOTC is worth up to $2,500 per year for an eligible student. You may claim this credit only for the first four years of higher education. Forty percent of the AOTC is refundable. That means if you are eligible, you can get up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if you do not owe any taxes.

• Lifetime Learning Credit.  The LLC is worth up to $2,000 on your tax return. There is no limit on the number of years that you can claim the LLC for an eligible student.

• One credit per student.  You can claim only one type of education credit per student on your tax return each year. If more than one student qualifies for a credit in the same year, you can claim a different credit for each student. […]

By |August 5th, 2015|education credit|0 Comments

Small Business Tax Credit for 401k Startup Costs

There is a $500 tax credit for companies who start up a 401k plan. The credit can be taken for three years, and can be started the year BEFORE the 401k plan begins.

Startup costs have always been a major hurdle to small businesses who what to start a 401k plan, but a provision of The Economic Growth and Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) now helps scale this barrier to employee saving opportunities. EGTRRA implemented a credit for employers to offset the startup cost and the cost of educating employees about the new plan.

For costs paid or incurred in tax years beginning after December 31, 2001, for retirement plans that first become effective after that date, you may be able to claim a tax credit for part of the ordinary and necessary costs of starting a SEP, SIMPLE, or qualified plan (including a 401k). The credit equals 50% of the cost to set up and administer the plan and educate employees about the plan, up to a maximum of $500 per year for each of the first three years of the plan. For plans that become effective after 2002, you can choose to start […]

By |May 7th, 2015|401k|0 Comments