Tax law


Year End Tax Planning in Uncertain Times

As we approach the end of the year, many of our clients like to take a fresh look at their tax and financial plans. With Congress currently considering major tax changes, this exercise might be even more important this year.  Part of these changes could be dramatically lower individual and […]


What the New Federal Fiduciary Rule Means to Investors

In April, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) made headlines with its final rule covering conflicts of interest among investment advisors. Media coverage focused on the difference between a “fiduciary” standard and a “suitability” standard. Financial advisors and investment firms have been debating this issue—often heatedly—for years, and the DOL […]


Disaster Planning Versus Succession Planning

Business owners should have an exit strategy: a plan for the time when they’re either unwilling or unable to keep running their company. Often, that planning can include a current disaster plan for relatively young business owners and a future long-term succession plan for a smooth path to retirement. Worst […]


ETFs Can Be Plain or Fancy

From virtually nowhere, exchange-traded products have grown to over $3 trillion in assets. A small portion of these products are exchange-traded notes (ETNs), but most are exchange-traded funds (ETFs): typically, pools of securities that trade like stocks. A large amount of ETF assets, in turn, are in funds that track […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


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 […]