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  • Important Tax Figures for 2020

    Every year, the dollar amounts allowed for various federal tax benefits are subject to change based on inflation adjustments and legislation. Here are some important tax figures for 2020, compared with 2019, including the estate tax exemption, Social Security wage base, qualified retirement plan and IRA contribution limits, driving deductions, allowable business write-off amounts and more.

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  • Stretch IRAs Lose Potency under the SECURE Act

    The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act aims to help Americans save more for retirement. But an unfavorable change included in the new law involves stricter rules for postdeath required minimum distributions for nonspouse IRA beneficiaries. This provision will sharply curtail the effectiveness of so-called "stretch IRAs" for those beneficiaries and damage some carefully constructed estate plans.

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  • SECURE Act Affects Retirement and Tax Planning for Individuals

    The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act is part of a larger federal spending package enacted in December 2019. This new law contains several key provisions that could affect you. These include removal of the age restriction on traditional IRA contributions, a new start date for IRA and retirement plan required minimum distributions (RMDs), and changes to the kiddie tax rules.

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  • What Employers Should Know About the SECURE Act

    The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which was signed into law in December 2019, made important changes to the tax laws that affect employers offering retirement benefits. It increases the credit for small employer plan start-up costs, provides a new small employer credit for plans that add an automatic enrollment feature, expands 401(k) plan eligibility for certain long-term part-time employees and extends the deadline for adopting a new plan.

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  • Determining an employee’s “home” for reimbursement purposes

    Despite the prevalence of Web-based meetings, many businesses still have employees who travel. Companies that reimburse employees on a tax-free basis for travel expenses need to keep up with the rules about a person's tax home. This article discusses the IRS's three-factor test to determine whether an employee with no principal workplace has a tax home or is an itinerant.

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  • New Tax Law Provides 10 Key Breaks for Individual Taxpayers

    The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 is part of a larger federal spending package enacted in December 2019. Many of the law's provisions revive federal tax breaks commonly referred to as "extenders" through 2020. Others provide relief for victims of federally declared disasters. Could these tax law changes lower your taxes for 2018 through 2020?

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  • New DOL 'Rate of Pay' Regs Update Overtime Pay Rules

    A nonexempt employee's "regular rate of pay" is essential when calculating hourly overtime wages. But the proliferation of employee perks has muddied the waters over the last 50 years. New regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor go into effect on January 15 that update how employers determine which benefits are part of regular-rate-of-pay calculations.

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  • Bad News About Self-Created Intangibles

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) ushered in unfavorable treatment for sales of certain self-created intangible assets, such as patents, inventions and secret formulas. This article explains which taxpayers and assets will be adversely affected by the changes, along with highlighting a special rule that applies to transfers of patents.

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  • New Spending Law Contains Holiday Surprises

    Just in time for the holidays, Congress has passed legislation that will affect businesses and individual taxpayers. In addition to keeping the government running through fiscal year 2020, the recently enacted spending package extends several expiring tax breaks, repeals some Affordable Care Act taxes and facilitates retirement savings. Here are the details on certain key provisions of the new law.

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  • Should You Pay Down Your Home Mortgage Early?

    Guaranteed investment strategies can be hard to find given today's low interest rates and volatile stock prices. If you have extra cash on hand that you're looking to invest, a safe bet might be right under your nose making accelerated home mortgage payments. Here's how this strategy can add up, along with a potential drawback to factor into your decision.

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  • QBI Deduction Safe Harbor Rule for Rental Real Estate

    The IRS recently announced an official safe harbor rule for the qualified business income deduction (QBI) for income from rental real estate. The QBI deduction has caused a lot of confusion since it went into effect for the 2018 tax year. Recent IRS guidance helps clarify matters for owners of rental properties as they prepare for the 2019 tax year or amend last year's tax returns. Here are the details.

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