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Author Archive | James B. Reynolds

Tax implications of working from home and collecting unemployment

COVID-19 has resulted in many changes in our lives, and some of them have tax implications. For example, many employers have required employees to work from home. Unfortunately, employee business expense deductions (including expenses to maintain a home office) are disallowed from 2018 through 2025. However, if you’re self-employed and work from a home office, […]

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Homebuyers: Can you Deduct Seller-paid Points?

Despite the pandemic, the National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales and prices are up nationwide, compared with last year. If you’re a homebuyer, you may wonder if you can deduct mortgage points paid on your behalf by the seller. Yes, you can, subject to some important limitations. For example, the rule allowing […]

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Back-to-School Tax Breaks on the Books

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, students are going back to school this fall, either remotely, in-person or a combination. In any event, parents may be eligible for certain tax breaks to help defray the cost of education. For example, with the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), you can save a maximum of $2,500 for each full-time […]

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Will You Have to Pay Tax on Your Social Security Benefits?

If you’re getting close to retirement, you may wonder: Will my Social Security benefits be taxed? It depends on your other income. If you’re taxed, up to 85% of your payments could be hit with federal income tax. If you file a joint tax return and your “provisional income,” plus half your Social Security benefits, […]

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What Happens if an Individual Can’t Pay Taxes

While you probably don’t have a problem paying your tax bills, you may wonder: What happens if you (or someone you know) can’t pay taxes on time? It’s important to file a properly prepared return even if full payment can’t be made. Include as large a partial payment as you can. You may be able […]

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More Parents May Owe “Nanny Tax” This Year Due to COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, many parents are hiring nannies and babysitters because daycare centers and summer camps have closed. This may result in federal “nanny tax” obligations. You may be liable for federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax and federal unemployment tax. (Even if you don’t employ a nanny, you may owe nanny […]

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The Tax Implications of Employer-provided Life Insurance

Does your employer provide you with group term life insurance? If so, and depending on the amount of coverage, this employee benefit may create undesirable income tax consequences for you. The first $50,000 of group term life insurance coverage that your employer provides is excluded from taxable income and doesn’t add anything to your income […]

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Are scholarships tax-free or taxable?

If your child has been awarded a scholarship, congratulations! But be aware that there may be tax implications. Scholarships and fellowships are generally tax-free for students at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as those attending college, graduate school or accredited vocational schools. It doesn’t matter if the scholarship makes a direct payment to […]

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Take advantage of a “stepped-up basis” when you inherit property

If you’re planning your estate, or you’ve inherited assets, you may be unsure of the “cost” (or “basis”) for tax purposes. Under the fair market value basis rules (also known as the “step-up and step-down” rules), an heir receives a basis in inherited property equal to its date-of-death value. For example, if your grandfather bought […]

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