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What's your mileage deduction? 2017 and 2018

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 28 2018




Individuals can deduct some vehicle-related expenses in certain circumstances. Rather than keeping track of the actual costs, you can use a standard mileage rate to compute your deductions. For 2017, you might be able to deduct miles driven for business, medical, moving and charitable purposes. For 2018, there are significant changes to some of these deductions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). 

Mileage rates vary

The rates vary depending on the purpose and the year:

Business: 53.5 cents (2017), 54.5 cents (2018)

Medical: 17 cents (2017), 18 cents (2018)

Moving: 17 cents (2017), 18 cents (2018)

Charitable: 14 cents (2017 and 2018)

The business standard mileage rate is considerably higher than the medical, moving and charitable rates because the business rate contains a depreciation component. No depreciation is allowed for the medical, moving or charitable use of a vehicle. The charitable rate is lower than the medical and moving rate because it isn’t adjusted for inflation. 

In addition to deductions based on the standard mileage rate, you may deduct related parking fees and tolls. 

2017 and 2018 limits

The rules surrounding the various mileage deductions are complex. Some are subject to floors and some require you to meet specific tests in order to qualify. 

For example, if you’re an employee, only business mileage not reimbursed by your employer is deductible. It’s a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to a 2% of adjusted gross income (AGI) floor. For 2017, this means mileage is deductible only to the extent that your total miscellaneous itemized deductions for the year exceed 2% of your AGI. For 2018, it means that you can’t deduct the mileage, because the TCJA suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor for 2018 through 2025. 

If you’re self-employed, business mileage can be deducted against self-employment income. Therefore, it’s not subject to the 2% floor and is still deductible for 2018 through 2025, as long as it otherwise qualifies.

Miles driven for health-care-related purposes are deductible as part of the medical expense deduction. And an AGI floor applies. Under the TCJA, for 2017 and 2018, medical expenses are deductible to the extent they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. For 2019, the floor will return to 10%, unless Congress extends the 7.5% floor.

And while miles driven related to moving can be deductible on your 2017 return, the move must be work-related and meet other tests. For 2018 through 2025, under the TCJA, moving expenses are deductible only for certain military families.

Substantiation and more 

There are also substantiation requirements, which include tracking miles driven. And, in some cases, you might be better off deducting actual expenses rather than using the mileage rates.

We can help ensure you deduct all the mileage you’re entitled to on your 2017 tax return but don’t risk back taxes and penalties later for deducting more than allowed. Contact us for assistance and to learn how your mileage deduction for 2018 might be affected by the TCJA. 

© 2018

Tax deduction for moving costs: 2017 vs. 2018

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2018




If you moved for work-related reasons in 2017, you might be able to deduct some of the costs on your 2017 return — even if you don’t itemize deductions. (Or, if your employer reimbursed you for moving expenses, that reimbursement might be excludable from your income.) The bad news is that, if you move in 2018, the costs likely won’t be deductible, and any employer reimbursements will probably be included in your taxable income. 

Suspension for 2018–2025

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law this past December, suspends the moving expense deduction for the same period as when lower individual income tax rates generally apply: 2018 through 2025. For this period it also suspends the exclusion from income of qualified employer reimbursements of moving expenses.

The TCJA does provide an exception to both suspensions for active-duty members of the Armed Forces (and their spouses and dependents) who move because of a military order that calls for a permanent change of station. 

Tests for 2017

If you moved in 2017 and would like to claim a deduction on your 2017 return, the first requirement is that the move be work-related. You don’t have to be an employee; the self-employed can also be eligible for the moving expense deduction.

The second is a distance test. The new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your former main job location was from that home. So a work-related move from city to suburb or from town to neighboring town probably won’t qualify, even if notmoving would have increased your commute significantly.

Finally, there’s a time test. You must work full time at the new job location for at least 39 weeks during the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet that test plus work full time for at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months at the new job location. (Certain limited exceptions apply.)

Deductible expenses

The moving expense deduction is an “above-the-line” deduction, which means it’s subtracted from your gross income to determine your adjusted gross income. It’s not an itemized deduction, so you don’t have to itemize to benefit.

Generally, you can deduct:

  • Transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving,
  • The cost of packing and transporting your household goods and other personal property,
  • The expense of storing and insuring these items while in transit, and
  • Costs related to connecting or disconnecting utilities.

But don’t expect to deduct everything. Meal costs during move-related travel aren’t deductible - nor is any part of the purchase price of a new home or expenses incurred selling your old one. And, if your employer later reimburses you for any of the moving costs you’ve deducted, you may have to include the reimbursement as income on your tax return.

Please contact us if you have questions about whether you can deduct moving expenses on your 2017 return or about what other tax breaks won’tbe available for 2018 under the TCJA.

© 2018

Tax Scams

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 05 2018

Recently there have been numerous different types of tax scams.  Below is an article from the IRS outlining a few of these scams and what you should do if you find yourself a target. 

Source:Tax scams/consumer alerts. IRS, https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts 

Tax Scams / Consumer Alerts 

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.    The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. 

Scams Targeting Taxpayers

A sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Some thieves have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity.

Limited English Proficiency victims are often approached in their native language, threatened with deportation, police arrest and license revocation, among other things. IRS urges all taxpayers caution before paying unexpected tax bills. Note that the IRS doesn't:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Scams Targeting Tax Professionals

Increasingly, tax professionals are being targeted by identity thieves. These criminals – many of them sophisticated, organized syndicates - are redoubling their efforts to gather personal data to file fraudulent federal and state income tax returns. 

Soliciting Form W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals.

The IRS has established a process that will allow businesses and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam currently making the rounds. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email.

Employers are urged to put protocols in place for the sharing of sensitive employee information such as Forms W-2. The W-2 scam is just one of several new variations that focus on the large-scale thefts of sensitive tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies.

Surge in Email, Phishing and Malware Schemes

Phishing (as in “fishing for information”) is a scam where fraudsters send e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity. 

The IRS has issued several alerts about the fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo by scammers trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information to steal their identity and assets. 

Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. IRS doesn’t require Life Insurance and Annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional. Beware of this scam.

Variations can be seen via text messages. The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that include links to bogus web sites intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” These emails are not from the IRS.

The sites may ask for information used to file false tax returns or they may carry malware, which can infect computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.

Fraudsters Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

Some taxpayers receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, trying to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link. If you receive this scam, forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam phishing for your information.

TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information.

Additional Recent Tax Scams

Email Scam Targeting Hotmail Users, FBI Themed Ransomware Scam, Last-Minute Email Scams‚Äč, Fictitious “Federal Student Tax” scam targeting students and parents and demanding payment, Automated calls requesting tax payments in the form of iTunes or other gift cards, and Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry.

How to Report Tax-Related Schemes, Scams, Identity Theft and Fraud

To report tax-related illegal activities, refer to our chart explaining the types of activity and the appropriate forms or other methods to use. You should also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

When an HSA-First Strategy Makes Sense

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

Ever wonder how to make the most of your employer offered HSA account? Read the article below for more information.

When an HSA-First Strategy Makes Sense

City of Pueblo sales tax increase

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

FYI... Effective January 1, 2018, the City of Pueblo's sales tax rate has increased to 3.7%.

 

Give your 401(k) a New Year's checkup

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

As we begin 2018, it is a good idea to look at your 401(k) and make a plan for your investing during the year and into the future.  The staff here at MBDG, will be able to assist you in your retirement planning.

Give Your 401(k) a New Year's Checkup

2017 tax returns submission start date

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

The IRS will be accepting 2017 tax returns beginning on January 29, 2018.  If you are still unsure as to who will be preparing your tax this year, consider having one of our talented staff complete it for you. 

Filing season begins January 29th

How to improve your retirement life

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

Ever wonder how to imporve your reitrement life in the future?  The article below names 3 things that will do just that!

3 Things That Will Improve Your Retirement Life in the Future

Minimum wage increase in Colorado

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

Staring January 1, 2018, the minumum wage in Colorado increased to $10.20.  To see what the increase will be in future years, read the article on the link below. 

Minimum Wage Colorado

New tax bill and how it will effect individuals

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 08 2018

Follow the link below for important information that individuals should know about the recent tax bill changes. To get more information about any of the areas highlighted in the article, contact our office.  We can help you plan for your 2018 tax return. 

Tax reform changes for individuals

Welcome to Our Blog!

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 20 2017
This is the home of our new blog. Check back often for updates!