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MOVING EXPENSES CAN BE DEDUCTIBLE

We all move at some point. Some more than others. If you move more at least 50 miles farther from your old home than your previous job location, then moving costs can be deductible. There is also a time test, you must work at your new job at least 39 weeks in the first year. If you are self employed, you must work full time for a total of at least 78 weeks during the first two years at your new job site.

What you can deduct:
1. TRAVEL: This includes transportation and lodging expense for yourself and household members.
Do not include meal costs.
2. SHIPPING: This includes cost of packing, crating and shipping your things. You can also include
storage of your goods while in transit or temporary living.
3. REIMBURSED EXPENSES: If your employer reimburses you for the moving costs, then none are
deductible, unless they are included in your W-2 and you pay tax on this reimbursement.
If you deduct expenses and employer later reimburses you, then this money is included in
your income in the year received.
4. NONDEDUCTIBLE EXPENSES: No deduction is allowed for the purchase price of new home, selling
costs of old home or getting into a new lease or costs to break a lease.

Be sure to update your new address with the IRS and Franchise Tax Board using form 8822.

For more information on moving expenses, see Publication 521 on the site www.irs.gov.

WARNING-NEW SCAM FEDERAL STUDENT TAX

The Internal Revenue Service has issued a warning to taxpayers about bogus phone calls from IRS impersonators demanding payment for a non-existent tax, the “federal student tax.”

Even though the tax deadline has come and gone, scammers continue to use varied strategies to trick people, in this case students. In this newest twist, they try to convince people to wire money immediately to the scammer. If the victim does not fall quickly enough for this fake “federal student tax,” the scammer threatens to report the student to the police.

“These scams and schemes continue to evolve nationwide, and now they trying to trick students,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remain vigilant and not fall prey to these aggressive calls demanding immediate payment of a tax supposedly owed.”

The IRS will never:
-call you or email you directly. First they notify you by mail and then if you contact them, you then
have a contact person
-threaten to send police to your doorstep and issue a warrant for your arrest
-Ask to wire them money through western union or use prepaid gift card
-Ask for credit or debit card on the phone.

Some examples of the varied tactics seen this year are:
– Demanding immediate tax payment for taxes owed on an iTunes gift card.
– Soliciting Form W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals. (IR-2016-34)
– “Verifying” tax return information over the phone. (IR-2016-40)
– Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry. (IR-2016-28)

If you get this scam phone call, immediately Contact TIGTA to report the call or call the IRS
at 800-829-1040. Definitely consult your tax professional.

TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR UBER, LYFT AND RIDESHARE DRIVERS

Rideshare drivers like, Uber and Lyft have some unique tax deductions that other businesses may not:

1. Food and drink for passengers – To make passengers feel more comfortable, Uber drivers offer them
water and candy which helps to make their drive more pleasurable, especially when stuck on the
freeway.
2. All of your car expenses – Lyft and Uber drivers must maintain their cars/autos since that is the
tool they use to make their money. Therefore, any expenses to maintain their car is deductible,
like insurance, repairs, car washes, tolls, lease payments, depreciation, interest on financed car,
AAA membership, license and registration. If you don’t want to track your actual expenses you can
choose to use mileage you drive and get to use .53 a mile required by IRS. No matter which method
you use, you MUST keep a log of where you went, business purpose and who you saw.
3. Don’t forger the Uber and Lyft service fees you pay. That can adds up to 20% of the money you
make.
4. Even as a rideshare driver, if a long ride and you want to take your customer for a meal, that
would be an entertainment deduction.
5. Telephone and data plan expenses are a necessary expense to be contacted to pick up your ride.
6. If you buy and electric car, don’t forget the tax credits associated with purchasing this
environmental savings car.

KEEPING RECORDS SAFE

It is a common question how long to keep your tax records.  But more importantly today you need to worry about keeping your records safe.  Most of us usually store old records in boxes in the garage, but what if your house or garage is broken into.  All of your information is ripe for the taking.  I know it is costly, but people should think about having a separate storage unit or in today’s times you can store your documents on a backup drive or in the cloud.  As we are finding out the cloud is not fail safe either so in my opinion I would opt for the backup drive.

Good news is you don’t have to keep records dating back to your birth.  For tax documents 5 or 6 years are enough because statute of limitations for audit by IRS is 3 years and most states are 4 years.  If you have an asset that is your home or income property you want to keep records for as long as you own it.

Be sure before destroying old tax returns, you confirm with the social security administration that they gave you proper credit for your earnings.  Errors happen more often than you may think.  Every few years you should be sure you get a statement of earnings from the administration and check earnings amounts. If you find an error, you can report it to them, but be sure to send copies of W-2’s and supporting documents. If you destroy them before checking, doubtful they will give you credit. If you do destroy a tax return you may later need, you can always request a copy from the IRS by filing form 4506.

Good luck and keep your records safe.

 

What to know about Capital Gains

Did you know that almost everything you own and use for personal or investment purposes is a capital asset? Capital assets include a home, household furnishings, stock, bonds and collectibles. Basically everything you own.

When you sell a capital asset, the difference between the amount you paid for the asset and its sales price is known as a capital gain or capital loss. Here are 6 important facts you should know about how gains and losses can affect your federal income tax return.

  1. Gains and Losses to report on your return. A capital gain or loss is the difference between your basis and the sale price when you sell an asset. Your basis is usually what you paid for the asset. You must report all capital gains on your tax return. The gain is taxed at 15%, except collectibles which are taxed at 28%. Before calculating the tax you net the gains and losses.
  2. Net Investment Income Tax. A new law says that you may be subject to the Net Investment Income Tax   (NIIT) on your capital gains if your income is above certain amounts. The rate of this tax is 3.8 percent. For additional information about the NIIT, please call the office.
  3. Deductible Losses. You can only deduct capital losses on the sale of investment property. You cannot deduct losses on the sale of property that you hold for personal use.
  4.  Limit on Losses. If your capital losses are more than your capital gains, you can deduct the difference as a loss on your tax return to reduce other income, such as wages. This loss is limited to $3,000 per year.
  5. Carryover Losses. If your total net capital loss is more than the limit you can deduct, you can carry it over to next year’s tax return and any unused amount can be carried over indefinitely.
  6.  Forms to File. You often will need to file Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets, with your federal tax return to report your gains and losses. You also need to file Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses, is a summary of information om form 8949.

Please call the office if you need more information about reporting capital gains and losses.

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