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Tax Tools

Tax Tips

The following are tax tips to help you manage more effectively. One goal of tax planning is to reduce your taxable income — and your effective tax rate.

    There are a number of tax strategies to consider:

  • When working, consider taking advantage of any pre-tax deductions available to you. Additionally, review your financial position and consider contributions to your 401(k) up to the maximum allowed, also remember to take advantage of company benefits such as pre-tax payroll deductions for flexible spending accounts, transportation, supplemental insurance, etc.

  • Review your assets to identify potential long-term capital gains (gains on assets held longer than one year), which are currently taxed at lower rates than short-term capital gains or ordinary income.

  • Consider selling securities in non-qualified accounts that have a capital loss, which may be deductible to the extent of any realized capital gains plus ordinary income of up to $3,000. Please note that for taxpayers whose income, including any realized gains, is below specific thresholds, the tax rate on long-term capital gains is zero percent. In this scenario, recognizing losses simply to offset long-term capital gains may not be advisable since no long-term capital gains tax may be due. See your tax advisor. 

  • Approach charitable giving in the most advantageous way. For example, you might be better off giving appreciated stock that has been held more than one year to a charity, rather than a cash donation. You may get a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the asset, and an eligible charity could sell it without incurring capital gains tax on the appreciation.

  • Think ahead to estate planning to potentially help reduce the impact of estate taxes. Annual gifting is one way to reduce the value of your taxable estate. For 2018 the annual gift tax exclusion allows each donor to give up to $15,000 to an unlimited number of donees without paying federal gift tax or using part of their lifetime exclusion. Over time, this is a strategy you might consider to remove assets from your taxable estate.

Due Dates

Individuals - April 15th, October 15th (with a timely filed extension)

Small BusinessesFollow the link to verify the various filings for payroll taxes, withholdings, estimated taxes and income taxes.

S-Corporations & Partnerships - March 15th, September 15th (with a timely extension)

C-Corporations - April 15th, October 15th (with a timely extension)

Tax Brackets and Rates, 2020

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2020 Standard Deductions

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Retention Guides

Storing tax records: How long is long enough?

April 15 has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoeboxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents after your check or refund request is in the mail?

Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the "three-year law" and leads many people to believe they're safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists.To be safe, use the following guidelines.

Personal Documents To Keep For One Year

While it's important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA

contribution statements forever, you don't have to save

monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end

statement has arrived.

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Credit Card Statements

  • Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)

  • Utility Records

  • Expired Insurance Policies

Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Supporting Documents For Tax Returns

  • Accident Reports and Claims

  • Medical Bills (if tax-related)

  • Sales Receipts

  • Wage Garnishments

  • Other Tax-Related Bills

Personal Records To Keep Forever

  • CPA Audit Reports

  • Legal Records

  • Important Correspondence

  • Income Tax Returns

  • Income Tax Payment Checks

  • Property Records / Improvement Receipts (or six years after property sold)

  • Investment Trade Confirmations

  • Retirement and Pension Records (Forms 5448, 1099-R and 8606 until all distributions are made from your IRA or other qualified plan)

Special Circumstances

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)

  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)

  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)

  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)

  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)

  • Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)

  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)

  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)

  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)

  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)

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