Individual Strategies Archives - Page 2 of 14 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Individual Strategies

By Jeff Stimpson

Should You File Your Client’s Taxes Early?

Common sense says that filing taxes as early as possible in the year gets an onerous chore off your plate and, chances are, gets your clients’ tax refund into their pockets quicker. Common sense can also be wrong if you need, as most taxpayers do, various tax-reporting forms that can arrive in early spring, if not later. There are also many other reasons you may, or may not want, to file your client’s taxes as early as possible.

READ MORE

A Supreme Court Decision Could Rewrite Penalties for Foreign Accounts

Tax reporting of overseas accounts has always been an extra chore for some American taxpayers. Now they might have to play a guessing game as well after the Supreme Court’s Bittner decision early this year. The case is a prime example of how taxpayers with international holdings might wrest better tax judgments in the future.

Read More

Tax and Financial Planning for Special Needs

The astronomical costs of a disability can extend beyond extra therapy and special equipment to, potentially, a lifetime of lost earnings. There is some help. The federal government has tax deductions and credits connected with raising a child with special needs, for instance. And though historically a trust has been only financial avenue to care for a disabled loved one, another vehicle is gaining traction. Many tax and financial moves in this area come down to one question that’s unique to this planning: Will money interfere with a disabled person’s ability to get indispensable government benefits?

Read More
Client Alert

Injured Spouse Relief

“It feels like a sucker punch to the gut.” I was on the phone with a client who was a newlywed and filing with their new spouse for the first time. They kept their paycheck withholding as single. So, they were anticipating a larger than usual tax refund. Like a lot of taxpayers, they spent their refund before they even received it. Each day, they were checking “Where is My Refund ?” and even their IRS account. Then, it happened. Code 898: Refund applied to non-IRS debt . It looked as if they wouldn’t receive that refund they already spent. Now, my client did not know what to do. Before getting married, my client’s spouse told them, “I never get a tax refund.” But they failed to mention why they never got a refund. Honestly, they did not know what their refund was paying for. We later found out that each year the Treasury Department garnished the refund for back child support. My client knew their spouse had child support but did not know they were behind on it. If you have a client in this situation, all hope is not gone. I could help my client find out what offset the tax refund. We could also get a portion of the refund back. You can do the same thing for your client. That is assuming that one spouse is not liable for the debt that offset the tax refund. The IRS calls this injured spouse relief. I’ll walk you through how you can help your client with their refund garnishment sucker punch. Yes, you can help them get their part of the refund back. Let’s start with what injured spouse relief is. Then we’ll look at who qualifies as an injured spouse and how to request injured spouse relief.

Read More
Client Alert

Tax Rules and Due Diligence for Gambling

The vast range of taxable income and possible deductions and credits an individual may have for federal and state purposes creates a sizeable list of questions to ask clients annually. Regarding types of taxable income alone, the possible sources are almost too numerous to ask. So, is it enough for practitioners to ask for information reporting forms plus a general question about other sources of income? In 2021, the IRS expanded Schedule 1 (Form 1040), Additional Income and Adjustments to Income, changing line 8, “Other income. List type and amount” to lines 8a to 8p to highlight 16 specific types of “other income” with line 8z added for reporting any other income types. One of the specific income types at line 8b is for gambling income. Possibly the detailing of the Form 1040 other income line starting in 2021 signals that the IRS wants self-filers to be aware of what is taxable and that tax preparers should ask clients more questions. In addition to reviewing the tax rules for casual gamblers, two Tax Court bench opinions issued this year are to highlight recent gambling issues the IRS found. The opinions explored the tax gap from gambling activities along with its relevance to due diligence considerations for individuals and tax advisers.

Read More

Pizza Party in the Metaverse

I love pizza. No, like I really love pizza. I have a pizza tattoo. I’m a member of the Rare Pizzas DAO. It is my go-to meal whenever the question “What’s for dinner?” gets asked. There really isn’t a better combination of cheese and deliciousness in the world. At least not in the flesh and blood “real” world. Loving pizza that much can clearly get oneself into trouble. I just never expected it to be tax trouble. Enter the “metaverse,” although I’m not sure if that is metaphorically or digitally. The metaverse is a term used to describe many digital environments that contain aspects of online gaming, virtual reality, social networking, and cryptocurrency. Generally, a metaverse is a fully immersive digital universe which combines elements of augmented reality, virtual reality, and the internet to create a seamless and interconnected space where users can explore, create, and engage with others in a virtual world. In the metaverse, users control an avatar, which represents the user in the digital universe and functions similar to a video game character. Avatars can be customized and accessorized with clothing and other items represented in the metaverse through NFTs. The metaverse holds the potential for new forms of entertainment, communication, commerce, and social interaction on a global scale. The metaverse economy is based on digital assets, making it possible for taxpayers to engage in a substantial number of taxable transactions without realizing it. And herein lies the crux of our problem.

Read More
Client Alert

Tax Planning with Federal Savings Bonds

The Treasury Department offers two types of federal savings bonds, Series EE and Series I, for individuals and businesses to invest in cash savings. Until 2021, federal savings bond rates were low; however, with the dramatic increase in inflation and interest rates, interest in federal savings bonds as a savings vehicle has skyrocketed. For example, in May 2023, TreasuryDirect issued $230 million in I bonds in that one month; in May 2020, only $13 million were issued. Federal savings bonds have very favorable tax features. At the federal level, the interest earned is generally tax-deferable and sometimes entirely excluded from tax. At the state level, the interest is always entirely excluded from tax. This article will review the differences between Series EE and Series I savings bonds and the tax savings opportunities available to owners of these bonds.

Read More

I Sell Feet Pics on the Internet, Can I Deduct My Pedicure? (And Other Questions of the Gig Economy)

“I’m going to get a pedicure later,” my wife said to me one Saturday morning. I quickly replied, “You should start an OnlyFans so you can deduct it.” (Everything has a tax angle when you’re married to a tax person.) “Is that really a thing?” she inquired. “Well…” I said, “It depends...” (Nothing is certain when you’re married to a tax person.) “...ordinarily I would say no, but in this case, it might be necessary.” (Everything is a tax pun when you’re married to a tax person.) In the “post” covid era, many taxpayers have turned to the gig economy. (Aside from the number of companies paying workers as contractors when they should actually be employees, but that’s a different topic for a different time.) Many of these gig workers are new to being self- employed and wonder what exactly they can “write off.”

Read More
Client Alert

Innocent Spouse Relief

"I knew he was a crook when I married him." Come again? And you still married him? That's what I said in my head as it took every muscle in my face to keep my forehead from scowling. But instead, I said, "What do you mean?" "We always had good money and nice things, but we never paid taxes. I always owed when I was single. But when we got married, I stopped working and we never owed." Let me take a moment to rewind and get you up to speed. This taxpayer, let's call her Mrs. Bonnie for the purposes of this story, reached out because she needed to file last year's tax return. She was recently widowed, and her husband typically handled the tax filing. So, she was already feeling overwhelmed and lost when it happened. She went to the mailbox and pulled out mail from the IRS. It was a CP3219A , notifying her that credits claimed on a previous tax return were being disallowed by the IRS. Not only did she owe taxes, but she also owed accuracy related penalties. She only had 90 days to respond if she disagreed and didn't know what to do. When she reached out to me, she inquired about whether I could review previous year returns. Mrs. Bonnie wanted to make sure that they were "done right". This isn't a strange request. I told her that I would review the prior year to have a baseline and if I saw anything fishy, I'd bring it to her attention and perhaps look at another year. I didn't even make it to the signatures before the fishiness leaped off the page. I set up a meeting with her via Zoom to review my findings. As I begin to ask about some of the credits claimed and her husband's business her answers did not match what was on the return. That's when she let me know that she knew her husband, Mr. Clyde, was a crook when she married him. Mrs. Bonnie didn't know much about taxes, but she did a bit of research. She read about something called Innocent Spouse Relief and thought she may be eligible. Let's look at what Innocent Spouse Relief is and why Mrs. Bonnie was not eligible, but your client may be.

Read More
Client Alert
1 2 3 4 12
  • NOT A MEMBER YET?

    SUBSCRIBE TO GET ALL OF OUR
    GREAT ARTICLES AND RESOURCES!

  • Scroll to Top