Monthly Archives: April 2016


Deducting Sales Taxes

Taxpayers who itemize deductions on Schedule A of IRS Form 1040 can deduct some state and local tax payments from their income. Among the formerly impermanent tax deductions that are now permanent is the option to deduct sales instead of income taxes. Example: Marge and Nick Palmer always itemize deductions […]


IRA Charitable Donations

For most people, using IRA dollars for charity is a two-step process. You take money from your IRA, reporting taxable income. Then, you donate it to the charity or charities of your choice, perhaps claiming a tax deduction for the contribution. The new PATH law establishes the permanence of qualified […]


Higher Education Tax Breaks

In 2009, Congress replaced the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). Compared with the Hope credit, the AOTC offers more annual tax savings and is available to people with higher incomes. Moreover, the AOTC can be claimed during a student’s first four years of higher […]


Tax-Free Investment Gains

For more than 20 years, Section 1202 of the tax code has offered benefits to investors in certain small companies. Generally, non-corporate investors can use this tax break if they buy stock in companies that met specified criteria. After a holding period of at least 5 years, any gain on […]


Business Tax Benefits

The tax code includes Section 179, which permits first-year deduction (expensing) of amounts spent for business equipment. This provision formerly allowed annual deductions up to $25,000. After $200,000 of equipment outlays, the allowance phased out, dollar-for-dollar. Congress had raised these amounts sharply in recent years, but the increases expired periodically, […]