Happy Holidays! Year-End Tax Saving Tips to Spend or Save for the Holidays

Save money Blog

It looks like the end of the year is coming, and we are pretty sure many of you are still frantically shopping for gifts for your family and friends. Do you ever wish you had more money to spend for your friends and family, but just could not figure out how you can save more money?

Well have no fear! We are an Orange County CPA firm who will be here to provide tips on how you can cut tax spending to save or have more money to spend for you your loved ones.

Capital Gains and Dividends. The tax rate on qualified capital gains (net-long term gains) and dividends range from 0 – 20%, depending on the individuals income tax bracket.

STRATEGY:  Spikes in income, whether capital gain or other income, may push gains into either the 39.6 percent bracket for short-term gain or the 20% capital gains bracket. Spending the recognition of certain income between 2016 and 2017 may help minimize the total tax paid for the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

State and local sales tax deduction. The PATH Act made permanent the itemized deduction for state and local general sales taxes. That deduction may be taken in lieu of state and local income taxes when itemizing deductions.

STRATEGY: Generally IRS tables based upon federal income levels and a taxpayer’s number of departments are used for this optimal deduction. Taxpayers who wish to claim more than the table amounts must provide adequate substantiation.

Tuition and fees deduction. The PATH Act extended the above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses for two years, for expenses paid before January 1, 2017. The maximum amount of the tuition and fees deduction is $4,000 for an individual whose AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) for the tax year does not exceed $65,000 ($130,000 in the case of a joint return), or $2000 for other individuals who’s AGI does not exceed $80,000 ($160,000 in the case of a joint return)

STRATEGY: Payments by year-end 2016 may be particularly critical to taking this deduction. There is some – but not unlimited – flexibility regarding the deductibility of tuition paid before a semester begins. As with the AOTC, the deduction is allowed for expenses paid during a tax year, in connection with an academic term beginning during the year or the first three months of the next year.

Nonbusiness energy property credit. The PATH Act extended the nonrefundable non business energy property credit allowed to individuals, making it available or qualified energy improvements and property placed in service before January 1, 2017.

STRATEGY: Several overall limitations apply. A credit amount for qualified energy efficiency improvements equals 10 percent of the amount paid or incurred during the tax year and 100% of the amount paid or incurred for qualified energy property during the tax year. The maximum credit amount for qualified energy property varies depending on the type of property, further all nonbusiness energy property carries a $500 maximum lifetime credit cap.

Individual Shared Responsibility Payments. For 2016, the individual shared responsibility payment is the greater of 2.5% of house-hold income that is above the tax return filing threshold for the individual’s filing status or the individual’s flat dollar amount, which is $695 per adult and 347.50 per child, limited to a family maximum of $2,085, but capped at the cost of the national average premium for a bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2016.

STRATEGY: Open enrollment for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016 has closed. However, some qualifying life events may make an individual eligible for non-filing season special enrollment.

Medical expense deduction. Taxpayers who itemized deductions (for regular tax purposes) may claim a deduction for qualified reimbursed medical expenses to the extent those expenses exceed 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI), unless the tax payer falls within an age-based exception. Taxpayers (or their spouses) who are aged 65 or older before the close of the tax year, may apply the old 7.5% threshold for tax years but only through 2016.

STRATEGY: Tax payers who are age 65 or older may consider accelerating medical costs into 2016 if they want to itemize deductions since the AGI floor for deductible expense rise from 7.5% to 10% in 2017. For deductions by cash-basis taxpayers in general, including for purposes of the medical expense deduction, a deduction is permitted only in the year in which payment for services rendered is actually made.

 

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