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Six Education Tax Breaks On The Books

It costs a pretty penny to send a child to college or private school these days. But at least the federal tax code may provide some relief, within certain limits.

Can you take advantage of one or more of the six following education-related tax breaks?

  1. American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). The tax law provides a maximum $2,500 credit for qualified expenses of each qualified student in your family. For example, if you have three kids in school at the same time, you may take a maximum credit of $7,500 in that year. Also, under a recent law change, the AOTC now applies to the first four years of a student’s college education, instead of just two.

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Three Ways To Get Tax Breaks For Home Improvements

You may still be able to realize generous tax benefits for home improvements – despite some changes that were enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. If you’re planning to make renovations to your homer and you meet certain requirements, you can claim deductions or a credit. Here are the basic rules

Are you planning to make substantial renovations to your home? You may be adding a deck or patio, finishing a basement or attic or installing a pool. Despite some changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that may discourage homeowners, you can still realize generous tax benefits for home improvements.

Here are three ways. Read more

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Understanding IRS Audit Guidance

IRS examiners usually do their homework before meeting with taxpayers and their professional representatives. This includes reviewing any relevant Audit Techniques Guides (ATGs) that typically focus on a specific industry or audit-prone business transaction.

Though designed to help IRS examiners prepare for audits, ATGs are available to the public. So, small business taxpayers can review them, too — and gain valuable insights into issues that might surface during audits. Read more

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New Overtime Pay Rules Finalized For 2020

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the long-anticipated final version of its overtime eligibility rules. The changes will take effect on January 1, 2020. As a result, the DOL estimates that 1.3 million workers will be newly eligible for overtime pay. Are any of them on your payroll? Read on to find out. Read more

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Should Your Company Join the Roth 401(k) Trend?

The Roth 401(k) plan — a combination of popular 401(k) accounts for employees and the Roth IRA concept for individuals — has been relatively slow to catch on in the workplace. But the federal government is now offering this hybrid retirement savings option to its 3.3 million U.S. government workers*

If it’s good enough for Uncle Sam, does the setup make sense for your business operation? It may be time to take a closer look. Read more

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9 Ways to Keep Your Benefit Plans Healthy

Employee Benefit plans are a critical part of business, but they’re also expensive and time-consuming to administer. Once a plan is in place, it’s easy to turn your attention to other priorities and leave the plan on autopilot. But it’s essential to keep your finger on the pulse of each plan. Otherwise, even if there are no compliance issues, your company could end up overpaying. Here are some points to consider when conducting a benefit checkup.

It takes time to regularly review your benefits, but the payoff can be big. Most important, periodic checkups help your company remain compliant. But a recurrent review might also uncover ways to reduce costs without eliminating benefits. Here are nine measures you can and should take to keep your benefit plans healthy: Read more

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Age Has It’s Privileges and Penalties

Did you, or someone in your family, have a birthday recently? Reaching certain ages can result in the need to make some tax and financial moves. Miss certain deadlines and you might lose out on valuable tax breaks. Take a look at some age-related milestones and why they may be important to you and your family members.

In an era filled with uncertainty, you can count on one thing: time marches on. Here are some important age-related financial and tax milestones to keep in mind for you and your loved ones: Read more

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Taxation Issues in the Gig Economy

Mobile apps and online platforms have revolutionized the way many businesses offer services to consumers. Examples of the so-called “Gig” economy are widespread – from ride sharing and vacation rentals to on-demand housekeeping and legal advice. If you decide to jump on the sharing economy bandwagon, it’s important to understand the tax rules for recognizing income, making estimated payments and deducting legitimate business expenses.

Do you provide car rides through a mobile app, rent out your spare room using an online platform or repair computers for local businesses on demand? If so, you may be considered part of the “gig economy” or the “sharing economy.”

Participation in this emerging method of distributing services can be a good way to earn money in your down time, pursue a more flexible lifestyle and provide cash to offset the expenses associated with owning a vehicle or a home. The IRS recently offered some guidance for this rising trend. Here’s a summary of the key points. Read more

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14 Tax Favored Frindge Benefits: What’s the Right Mix For Your Business

Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Job Acts eliminated tax deductions for certain employee transportation fringe benefits, such as company-paid transit passes and parking allowances. It also suspended tax favored treatment for company reimbursements to cover employees’ job related moving expenses. But other fringe benefits are still deductible by employers and tax-free move to employees. Here’s how you can seize the tax breaks that are currently available.

Job applicants look at more than just wages when evaluating potential employers. They consider the whole compensation package, including fringe benefits and perks. These add-ons enable employers to cast a wider net in the job market, helping them attract and retain top-quality workers.

Unfortunately, tax breaks for some fringe benefits were eliminated or suspended by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). However, some other fringe benefits are still deductible by employers and tax-free to employees. Read more