Individual Strategies Archives - Page 3 of 4 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Individual Strategies

By Matt Metras, EA

Wash Up for Tax Savings – Cryptocurrency and the Wash Loss Rule

When recognizing capital gains during a tax year, it can often make financial sense to sell assets that have lost value to offset profits in other investments or regular income. In this situation, you swap stocks, bonds, or mutual funds by buying a similar asset, selling the old asset and taking a loss. This strategy is called tax-loss harvesting, and it can be applied under certain circumstances which will lower your taxes. Yet while the tax deduction might seem appealing, you might have a hard time locking in that loss forever, and you may be inclined to repurchase the same investment in case the value rebounds. This strategy may appear brilliant on paper; however, the IRS doesn’t allow such manipulation just to reduce taxes. The Wash Loss Rule prevents traders from realizing a tax loss on a position that the taxpayer reacquires within 30 days after (or before) selling a security. But a little known loophole may allow you to complete a wash sale and claim your deduction without recognizing the loss forever as long as it is crypto. Cryptocurrency continues to be an area where the rules don’t always seem to make sense. Most experienced investors are already familiar with the “Wash Loss Rule,” while many newer investors have recently learned about it the hard way. To learn this valuable strategy for offsetting your capital gains while remaining in the investment gain for expected future growth, continue reading to learn more.

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More Free Money With the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On Wednesday, March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package. The ARPA contains a mix of retroactive and prospective tax breaks in the form of credits, exclusions from income, and even new tax-free grant programs. Let’s take a look at the most tax significant items in the bill.

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Moving to a Low Tax State

Looking to escape high state taxes? Perhaps the taxpayer wants to leave the gridlock, housing congestion, and cement jungles behind for the likes of slower, less expensive living? COVID-19’s long-term impact on urbanization may be uncertain, but we have already seen people moving to low-tax states because these states offer more land and outdoor space. Along with the people, many businesses are also looking to relocate to low tax jurisdictions. But before packing up that U-haul, consider how to lock in your tax savings; otherwise, there may be a nasty bill waiting for you in that new mailbox.

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Is Your Spouse Innocent or Injured? Part One: The Injured Spouse

Jack and Jill went up the hill to have a lovely wedding Jack fell down and broke his crown When Jill learned all his tax debts That pretty much describes the origin of the taxes faced by an injured spouse: The taxpayer was not married to that spouse at the time he or she incurred the tax obligation or it was assessed or did not sign the tax return where the balance due originated. In other words, it was never the injured spouse’s debt or obligation in the first place. What kinds of debts or taxes might the IRS collect (or “offset”) that would affect the injured spouse’s refund?

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Avoiding the Repayment Cliff: Mitigating the Effects of Miscalculating the Advance Premium Tax Credit

The premium tax credit (PTC) is a refundable credit that is available to certain individuals “whose household income for the taxable year equals or exceeds 100%, but does not exceed 400% of an amount equal to the poverty line for a family of the size involved.” In other words, it’s a refundable tax credit that specifically subsidizes the cost of insurance purchased on a health care marketplace for individuals who are over the federal poverty level (FPL), but not by 400 percent or more. This credit is available as an advance paid directly to the marketplace for qualifying taxpayers who cannot afford (or do not wish) to pay their full monthly premium out of pocket. The amount of the credit is calculated based on estimated annual household income. When taxpayers receive more advance credit than they are entitled to, they must repay the excess. So, the consequences for an intentional or inadvertent underestimation of annual income can be severe. What follows is an overview of how the credit works and describes strategies for reducing the amount of advance premium tax credit (APTC) the taxpayer must repay both immediately and after the fact.

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Land Conservation Easements: Tax Avoidance or Evasion?

Question: I was going to look into a conservation easement (CE) for a client and noticed the IRS has focused heavily on compliance efforts for abusive syndicated transactions. Are there any legitimate conservation easement transactions, or is it best to stay away from this strategy until things calm down? Answer: Sounds too good to be true, right? A $500,000 charitable tax deduction for a $100,000 land purchase in December. In your search for information, you may be scared off by the court cases and Department of Justice investigations of the promoters of syndication easements. Syndication deals are partnerships that own land ideal for conservation and allow groups of investors to pool their money in the business, which typically will also include other activities beyond just the land ownership. These deals have come under heavy scrutiny in the past few years as CEs became a listed transaction and more cases have wound their way through the court system. The IRS even announced a settlement program for syndicated conservation easements in mid-2020. Click here to read the full answer.

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Get Automatic, No Questions Asked Penalty Relief

The IRS loves to issue penalties to taxpayers. In fiscal year 2019, the IRS imposed a whopping $40.5 billion in civil penalties.1 If a taxpayer wants to contest an IRS penalty, it usually takes a really good explanation plus a lot of time and effort. However, there is a little-known IRS policy that allows a taxpayer to get penalty relief with no explanations required. Taxpayers who file returns late can quickly rack up huge penalty bills.

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Quick Guide to Claiming Work-From-Home COVID-19 Expenses to Reduce Your Tax Bill

This information is particularly important if you are the owner/shareholder of your own corporation – C or S corp. You can set up payroll and designate tax-free reimbursements for you to be working at home – as well other tax-free money for you and for your employees. (We will discuss employees momentarily. Yes, it’s essential.) If being an employee is your main source of income – watch out! The short answer to employees claiming an office in home deduction this year is... There is no deduction!

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How Business Owners Can Boost Income by Avoiding the $10,000 SALT Cap

Taxpayers have been whipsawed by confusing rules for the $10,000 limit on deducting state and local taxes (SALT), the most politically charged piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The cap has caused nearly 11 million individuals to lose an annual deduction worth $323 billion. But many owners of private businesses known as passthroughs can avert that financial pain. If you own your company and thus report your business income on your personal federal income tax return, here’s what you need to know.

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