Words Count

The Thomas Howell Ferguson Blog

Standard and Itemized Deductions: Which One Is for You?

When filing your taxes, you may struggle to determine whether you should choose to use the standard deduction or itemize your deduction.  Finding the solution to this is very important as deductions reduce the amount of taxable income when filing your federal income tax return.  Basically, deductions can reduce the amount of taxes you owe. […]

Read More…

Deductions Eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Although the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided some new tax breaks, it also erased many deductions that you may have routinely claimed.  The following eliminated deductions are scheduled to remain through 2025, pending congressional action. Home Equity Loan Interest. According to the new tax law, the deduction for home equity interest from 2018 […]

Read More…

Deductions Eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Although the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided some new tax breaks, it also erased many deductions that you may have routinely claimed.  The following eliminated deductions are scheduled to remain through 2025, pending congressional action. Home Equity Loan Interest. According to the new tax law, the deduction for home equity interest from 2018 […]

Read More…

What is a Tax Checkup and Why Does Your Organization Need One?

Over time an organization, as well as related tax and case laws, can change significantly.  These changes, although subtle on a year-by-year basis, can considerably alter the tax exposure of your exempt entity. A comprehensive tax “checkup” serves as a diagnostic tool to help identify tax exposure areas and planning strategies. A tax checkup provides […]

Read More…

Tips on How to Choose a Tax Preparer

It’s that time of year again! Many of you are currently choosing a tax preparer to help file your tax return. If you are filing through a tax preparer, it is very important that you choose your preparer wisely. Ultimately, you are responsible for all of the information on your income tax return, no matter […]

Read More…

Why Should You Have a Succession Plan?

An often overlooked process for companies is the development of a succession plan.  Succession plans are used to address the inevitable changes that occur when business owners, partners or key employees resign, retire, are fired, get sick, or pass away.  This strategy for the identification and development of future leaders is necessary to ensure a […]

Read More…

The Wayfair Decision: What Does it Mean?

In 1967 and 1992, the United States Supreme Court decided cases that formed the operating framework of how states could impose the requirement that a business collect/remit sales tax on behalf of a state.  The central theme around this framework was that states could not impose on out-of-state sellers the obligation to collect and remit […]

Read More…

Expanded Tax Relief Provided for Victims of Hurricane Michael

Those affected by Hurricane Michael have until February 28, 2019, to file individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. This relief is being offered to any Major Disaster Declaration area designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as qualifying for either individual or public assistance.  Currently, this includes parts of Florida […]

Read More…

Tax Credits Help Offset Higher Education Costs

If you pay higher for education in 2018 than before, you can see tax savings when you file your tax returns.  If you, your spouse, or your dependents take post-high school coursework, you may be eligible for a tax benefit. There are two credits available to help you offset the costs of higher education:  the […]

Read More…

Tips for Taxpayers Who Have to Amend a Tax Return

If you have discovered you made mistakes or omissions on your tax return, you can correct them by filing an amended tax return. If you need to amend, you should remember these tips: File using paper form. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct the tax return. You can’t file amended […]

Read More…

Here’s What You Should Know About Penalty Relief

If you make an effort to comply with the law, but are unable to meet your tax obligations due to circumstances beyond your control, you may qualify for relief from penalties. If you receive a notice stating that a penalty was assessed, you first should check that the information in the notice is correct.  If […]

Read More…

Plan Ahead for Vacation Home Rentals

During the summer, people often rent out their property. They usually think about things such as cleanup and maintenance, but owners also need to be aware of the tax implications of residential and vacation home rentals. If you receive money for the use of a house that’s also used as a someone’s personal residence, it […]

Read More…

Law Change Affects Moving, Mileage, and Travel Expenses

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) created wide sweeping changes to tax rules at both the business and individual level.  Detailed below are some changes centered around vehicles that are now in effect. Changes to the deduction for move-related vehicle expenses The TCJA suspends the deduction for moving expenses for tax years beginning after […]

Read More…

Tax Reform: Changes to Depreciation Affect Businesses Now

If you are a business owner, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may affect your depreciation deductions and taxes. You can generally depreciate tangible property except land, which includes buildings, machinery, vehicles, furniture, and equipment. Changes to depreciation and how they will affect businesses may include: Businesses can immediately expense more under the new law. […]

Read More…

If You Are in a Two-Income Family or Work Multiple Jobs, You Should Check Your Withholding Amount

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will affect 2018 tax returns that you file in 2019, makes checking your withholding amounts even more important. These tax law changes include: Increased standard deduction Eliminated personal exemptions Higher thresholds for individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) Increased Child Tax Credit Limited or discontinued certain […]

Read More…

Retirement Plan Credit

Small employers that create a retirement plan may be able to claim up to $500 in income tax credit per year for three years by filing the Form 8881 Credit for Small Employer Pension Startup Cost. The credit is limited to 50% of qualified startup costs. To be eligible, small employers should not exceed 100 […]

Read More…

Nine Facts About the Adoption Credit

Did you know that adoptive parents may qualify for a tax credit? Parents who either adopted a child or tried to adopt a child may claim the adoption credit. Here are nine things you should know about this credit. Credit. The credit is nonrefundable. This means the credit may only reduce your tax liability to […]

Read More…

Make the Most of Your HSA

If you’re hoping to build retirement wealth in a health savings account (HSA), it helps to have a game plan. There’s a growing buzz and excitement around HSAs. HSAs have a triple tax advantage. Contributions are tax-deductible, typically grow tax-free, and can be withdrawn without incurring taxes as long as you use them for qualified […]

Read More…

Taxpayers Beware of Unsolicited Calls from the IRS

Taxpayers who get an unsolicited phone call from the IRS should be cautious – it’s probably a scam. These scammers will use your personal information to gain access to your bank or other accounts. When a scammer calls, it might be a recording or an actual person claiming to be from the IRS. Sometimes they […]

Read More…

Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (TCJA) Overview

The TCJA passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump is a sweeping tax package. Below is an outline of some changes and the TCJA’s impact on individual and business tax filers. Individual Tax Change Highlights  Tax Brackets There are seven tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. Your income […]

Read More…

Tax Alert: TCJA New Tax Brackets

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump is a sweeping tax package. Many in the tax profession are calling its passage and enactment the greatest change to the tax code in over 30 years! One change that will affect everyone is the new tax brackets. […]

Read More…

College Tax Benefits

With the fall semester coming to a close, it’s important for parents and students to think about tax benefits that can help with college expenses. There are two college tax credits that can apply to students enrolled in an eligible college, university, or vocational school: the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. […]

Read More…

Employers that hire Holiday Help: Understand the Health Care Law’s Rules Around Seasonal Workers

As an employer, your size – for purposes of the Affordable Care Act – is determined by the number of your employees. If you hire seasonal or holiday workers, you should know how these employees are counted under the health care law. Employer benefits, opportunities, and requirements are dependent upon your organization’s size and the applicable […]

Read More…

Tax Benefits for Educators

As teachers, administrators, and aides have kicked off the new school year, taxes may not be heavy on their minds just yet. However, knowing what to track throughout the school year can help reduce the burden at tax time. There are three key work-related tax benefits that may help educators reduce what they pay in taxes. […]

Read More…

5 Helpful Tips about Employee Business Expenses

Taxpayers who pay unreimbursed work-related expenses out of their own pocket may be able to deduct them, if certain criteria is met.  In general, the deduction for employee business expenses is part of a taxpayer’s itemized deduction shown on Schedule A of their personal tax return and is deductible to the extent that the expenses […]

Read More…

5 Things to Know to Avoid Surprises at Tax Time

The federal income tax is a pay-as-you-go system. Employers generally withhold tax from workers’ wages; however, taxpayers often have taxes withheld from certain other income including pensions, bonuses, commissions, and gambling winnings. Individuals who do not pay tax withholding, like the self-employed, as well as those who earn income such as dividends, interest, capital gains, […]

Read More…

Tips to Keep in Mind When Selling a Home

Homeowners may qualify to exclude from their income all or part of any gain from the sale of their main home. Here are some tips to keep in mind when selling your home:   Gain.  If there is a gain from the sale of the main home, the homeowner may be able to exclude up […]

Read More…

Tips on How to Reconstruct Records After a Hurricane

If you’re a victim of a natural disaster, you may need to reconstruct records to prove your losses for insurance purposes. Doing this may be essential for tax purposes, getting federal assistance, or insurance reimbursement. Here are 11 tips  to help you reconstruct your records: To establish the extent of the damage, you should take […]

Read More…

Tap into Cash & Defer the Tax-Installment Sales

When qualifying property is sold and payments are received in the year of sale, the installment sale method of accounting for the transaction is available. Under the installment method, a portion of a gain resulting from the sale is reported as each payment is received. Each payment will generally consist of three parts: gain on […]

Read More…