Alpha’s Tax Tips

Seek Tax Aid for Medical Dependent

Suppose you help support an elderly parent or another qualifying relative. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), you cannot claim a dependency exemption deduction for a dependent relative for 2018-2025. But keep reading. Pay your dependent qualifying relative’s medical expenses. You can add those expenses to your own medical expenses for the year. […]

Reap Tax Windfall From Your Home

As Dorothy said in the classic film The Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home.” Don’t sleep on the tax breaks associated with home ownership. Not only can you benefit while you are living there, you can reap a tax windfall when you finally sell the place. Here are six ways to go over […]

Juice Up Your Company’s FSA Plan

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have incurred unexpected health and dependent care costs that go far beyond the usual run-of-the-mill expenses. Give your employees more flexibility. Amend your company’s flexible spending account (FSA) plan to take advantage of liberalized rules. The IRS has just issued new guidelines for FSAs in 2020. (IRS Notice 2020-29, […]

Salvage Tax Break for Property Damage

Does your business have property that has been damaged recently by a natural disaster or vandalism? You don’t have to wait until your company fields its 2020 tax return to obtain tax relief. Amend your company’s 2019 tax return. Under a special tax code provision you can elect to claim a casualty loss for business […]

6 Steps to Contest Property Taxes

Do you pay an exorbitant amount of property tax on your home? You don’t have to accept the status quo. First, find out if your city, town, or county is providing relief due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some have already extended deadlines or made other adjustments. Others are expected to follow. But that’s not the […]

Study the New Breaks for Student Loans

The tax law provides a limited deduction for interest paid on student loans. But some borrowers may get special treatment this year. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grants more leeway to certain taxpayers. They don’t even have to make any payments on qualified student loans until October 1, 2020. Generally, the […]

Pay the Tax Piper on Unemployment

A reader writes in: “I lost my job due to COVID-19 and I’m applying for unemployment. Is this subject to tax?” Answer: Unfortunately, yes. Unemployment benefits are generally subject to federal income tax and maybe state income tax too. It’s not a free lunch. Currently there is no special federal income tax exemption for unemployment […]

Find the Higher ‘Power’

Find the Higher ‘Power’ What will happen if you are suddenly unable to handle your financial affairs? It can cause a big mess if you have not made any provisions for this possibility. Include a Power of Attorney in your estate plan. This legal document appoints someone – called the “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” – to […]

Does Refinancing Make Sense?

Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. According to Nerd Wallet, the average rate on a 30-year loan on June 12 was 3.271%; 2.810% for a 15-year loan.  Look into refinancing your mortgage. When you do, remember to take all the relevant factors into account – including taxes.  After you weigh the tax implications, refinancing […]

Examine Health Savings Account Perks

If you weren’t already concerned about paying for healthcare expenses – and most people were concerned – the COVID-19 pandemic should certainly have your attention now. Strategy: Investigate the merits of health savings accounts (HSAs). This could be a tax-smart way for you to handle your medical expenses in the current environment. Although these tax-favored […]