Alpha’s Tax Tips

Prepare to meet your tax ‘maker’

The days of you dropping a shoebox of receipts and records on the desk of your tax return preparer are hopefully long gone.  Not only can this cost you extra time and money, but it may also result in inaccuracies or omissions on your personal return. Strategy: Help your tax return preparer help you.  In […]

The American Opportunity Tax Credit

You should know the rules if planning to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit. It’s worth up to $2,500 per student for each of the first four years of college. The break is based on 100% of the first $2,000 spent on qualifying college expenses and 25% of the next $2,000. For 2019, it begins […]

Does your rental property qualify for the QBI deduction?

Have income from rental properties you own? You may be eligible to take a juicy tax break: The 20% qualified business income deduction. Subject to a litany of rules, self-employed individuals and owners of S corporations, partnerships and LLCs can write of 20% of their qualified business income. QBI is your allocable share of income […]

Opportunity zone program

IRS’s opportunity zone program is under way. It allows taxpayers to defer capital gains from the sale of business or personal property by investing the proceeds in opportunity funds to help development of low-income communities. This incentive was enacted under the new tax law, and many expect the program to be very popular. New IRS […]

How long should you keep individual tax returns?

One question we get asked a lot: How long to keep individual tax returns? You should keep your returns at least three years. As a general rule, that’s how long the Service has to question items on your return and to bill you for any additional tax. It’s also the time frame for you to […]

Can You Deduct Your Real Estate Losses?

The Service continues to eye returns that report large real estate losses…Especially those taken by taxpayers claiming to be real estate professionals. Real estate pros have to satisfy two-time tests to beat the passive activity loss rules and fully deduct their rental losses. They must spend over half of their working hours and more than […]

Spot the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

The IRS has issued its annual list of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams. Strategy: Try to avoid these items. They can land you in hot tax water. Here’s a round-up. Phishing: Watch out for potential fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about […]

Proceed with transportation benefits

The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (TCJA) eliminated the employer tax deduction for qualified transportation benefits, effective in 2018. Unlike many TCJA changes for individuals, this unfavorable change is permanent. Strategy: Don’t hit the brakes just yet. If certain requirements are met, these benefits are still tax free to employees, within the allowable limits. Thus, […]

IRS Issues Final Guidance on 20% Pass-Through Entity Deduction

One of the most dramatic changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017 was the creation of a new 20% qualified business income (“QBI”) deduction under new Section 199A of the internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). This new provision generally permits the owners of pass-through businesses, such as sole proprietorships, […]

Passports could be revoked for not paying back taxes

The IRS is reminding taxpayers that their passports could be revoked if they don’t pay back taxes.(IR-2019-141, 8/8/19) Under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the IRS notifies the State Department about taxpayers who are certified as owing a “seriously delinquent tax debt.” Currently, the threshold is $52,000. If a taxpayer has a valid […]