Blog Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

What Are Your Odds of Being Audited?

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Nearly a month following the 2016 federal income tax filing deadline, some of us may be concerned about the chance of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) but rest assured less than 1% of Americans have their federal taxes audited. The percentage has declined recently due to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget cuts. In 2016, just 0.7% of individual returns were audited. That compares to 1.1% of individual returns in 2010.

The rich are more likely to be audited – and so are the poor. After all, an audit of a wealthy taxpayer could result in a “big score” for the IRS, and the agency simply cannot dismiss returns from low-income taxpayers that claim implausibly large credits and deductions.   

What “red flags” could prompt the IRS to scrutinize your return? Abnormally large deductions may give the IRS pause. As an example, suppose that you earned $95,000 in 2016 while claiming a $14,000 charitable deduction. Forbes estimates that the average charitable deduction for such a taxpayer last year was $3,529.

Sometimes, the type of deduction arouses suspicion. Taking the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) without a penny of adjusted gross income, for example. Or, claiming a business expense for a service or good that seems irrelevant to your line of work. A home office deduction may be ruled specious if the “office” amounts to a room in your house that serves other purposes. Incongruous 1099 income can also trigger a review – did a brokerage disclose a big capital gain on your investment account to the IRS that you did not? 

Self-employment can increase your audit potential. In 2015, for example, taxpayers who filed a Schedule C listing business income of $25,000-100,000 had a 2.4% chance of being audited.

Some taxpayers illegitimately deduct hobby expenses and try to report them on Schedule C as business losses. A few years of this can wave a red flag. Is there a profit motive or profit expectation central to the activity, or is it simply a pastime offering an occasional chance for financial gain?

If you are retired, does your audit risk drop? Not necessarily. You may not be a high earner, but there is still the possibility that you could erroneously claim deductions and credits. If you claim large medical expenses, that might draw extra attention from the IRS, but if you have proper documentation to back up your claims, you can be confident about them.

The IRS does watch Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) closely. Failure to take an RMD will draw scrutiny. Retirees who neglect to withdraw required amounts from IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans can be subject to a penalty equal to 50% of the amount not withdrawn on time.

The fastest way to invite an audit might be to file a paper return. TurboTax says that the error rate on hard copy returns is about 21%. For electronically filed returns, it falls to 0.5%. So, if you still drop your 1040 form off at the post office each year, you may want to try e-filing in the future.

Tax & Estate Planning Update for Married Same-Sex Couples

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision streamlined tax and estate planning for married gay and lesbian couples. If you are filing a joint tax return for 2016 or thinking about updating your estate plan, we have some important things to remember.

You can file jointly for 2016 if you married at any time during 2016. Under federal tax law, your marital status on the final day of a year determines your filing status. (The same rule applies for divorcing couples.) If you are newly married or have not considered filing jointly, the fact is that most married couples can potentially benefit from that choice.

Extremely high earners may find joint filing disadvantageous, but they are the exception to the norm. If you have or want to have children, you will need to file jointly to qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Filing jointly also makes you eligible for Lifetime Learning Credits and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

The irritation of filing state tax returns under a different status is history. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, no gay or lesbian married couple has to go through this any longer.

You can gift greater amounts to family & friends. Prior to the landmark 2015 SCOTUS ruling, same-sex spouses were stuck with the individual gift tax exclusion under federal estate tax law. A gay or lesbian married couple could not pair their $14,000 per-person allowances to make a gift of up to $28,000 to another individual as a couple, as straight married couples could. Now, same-sex spouses can gift up to $28,000 to as many individuals as they wish, per year. Tax consequences will only occur when the amount of gifts given over a lifetime surpasses the lifetime estate and gift tax exclusion (which is $5.49 million in 2017, rising from $5.45 million in 2016).

You can take advantage of portability. Your $5.49 million individual lifetime estate and gift tax exclusion will not only be adjusted upward for inflation in future years; but it will also be portable. Under the portability rules, when one spouse dies without fully using the lifetime estate and gift tax exclusion, the unused portion is conveyed to the estate of the surviving spouse. So, if a spouse dies in 2017 having used only $2.1 million of the $5.49 lifetime exclusion, the surviving spouse thereby ends up with an $8.88 million lifetime exclusion.

The unlimited marital deduction is also now available to gay & lesbian couples. This is the basic deduction that allows one spouse to pass assets at death to a surviving spouse without any federal estate tax effects.

Remember to check on state tax laws. In which state do you reside? Investigate the tax laws in that state, preferably with the help of a tax or financial professional. Things do change: New Jersey, for example, is repealing its estate tax in 2018, while keeping its inheritance tax.

Marriage equality has made things so much simpler. The hassle and extra paperwork that some gay and lesbian couples had to face in the past at tax time is, happily, now a thing of the past.

Mutual Funds and Capital Gains: Could You Be Making a Costly Mistake?

Monday, November 14th, 2016

If you’re thinking about buying mutual funds before the end of the year, consider this.

We’re currently several years into a bull market. Prior to the election, the market had had a broad rally since 2009. Then, Trump defied the odds. In the week following his surprising win, the markets responded to the President-elect’s pledge to dismantle Dodd-Frank and unleash economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial average had its best week since 2011, and the S&P 500 saw its highest gains in three years.

All this is good news for investors. But bad news for mutual fund buyers who could soon find themselves hit with unrealized capital gains—and a sizable tax liability.

Beware the End-of-Year Capital Gains Tax

If you’re considering buying mutual funds for a retirement account, dividend and capital gains distributions are not an issue for you. But if you’re investing in mutual funds within a taxable account, you’ll want to do your due diligence. Most mutual funds will tell you the unrealized potential capital gains in the underlying mutual fund.

Here’s why it’s important to ask.

Suppose I’m a mutual fund manager, and I own one security—Apple common stock—in that mutual fund that I bought five years ago for $25. Today, it’s worth $100. If I sell my Apple common stock, everyone who owns my mutual fund at the end of the year will receive $75 in capital gains.

If you buy into my mutual fund today, you could have those capital gains distributed to you tomorrow. Meaning you’ll incur the cost of the gain without ever having reaped the benefits.

Plan Ahead, So You Can Avoid the Worst

Through prudent, proactive portfolio management, you can head off unrealized capital gains and associated tax losses by knowing the warning signs of impending distributions. You can also mitigate the cost of these unwanted capital gains; for example, you could sell your original shares at a tax loss and buy a like kind mutual fund the very same day.

Navigating capital gains season doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to know what’s at stake, what questions to ask, and where to turn for answers and advice.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.

Please be aware that you are leaving www.kendallcapital.com and will be redirected to a third party website. Kendall Capital has no control over information at any third party site accessed from www.kendallcapital.com. Kendall Capital makes no representation and is not responsible for the quality, content, nature, or reliability of any linked site. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, investigation, verification or monitoring by Kendall Capital. In no event shall Kendall Capital be responsible for your use of a third party site. Thank you for visiting Kendall Capital's website.