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Ready to Ring in the New Year? Take Time to Talk Taxes First

As 2022 comes to an end, it’s important to take a close look at your financial picture and evaluate any adjustments that might be made before the end of the year to potentially lesson your tax burden. Here are a few areas of opportunity to consider.

Maximize Retirement Contributions

When it comes to funding your retirement, people 50 and over are allowed to make pre-tax contributions to a 401(k) of up to $27,000 per year and people under 50 can contribute up to $20,500. As it relates to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), the maximum yearly contribution for people aged 50 and over is $7,000 and the contribution limit is $6,000 for everyone else. Both types of retirement funds support your long-term financial health and provide tax advantages. If you don’t currently have an IRA, there is still time to open an account and contribute your maximum amount before the end of the year.

Take Stock of your Stock Options

Stock options are a valuable perk provided by many companies. However, it’s important to recognize that exercising your stock options does have tax implications. Now is the time to decide if you want to sell the options, knowing that a capital gain or loss will likely occur, and this will affect your tax filing.

Estimate Real and Potential Capital Gains and Losses

Taking the time to estimate your real and potential capital gains and losses is particularly important before the end of the year. Selling securities or other assets before December 31st will allow you to realize the associated capital gain or loss in the 2022 tax year. Your tax professional or financial advisor can help you make the determination as to the benefit of selling before year-end. It’s important to note that capital gains can potentially change your tax bracket.

Evaluate your Health & Flexible Spending Accounts if You Have Them

Be aware that funds in a Health Spending Account (HSA) automatically carry over to the next year. Conversely, when it comes to your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) you’ll forfeit the unused funds as of December 31st, so it is important to check you balance as soon as possible.

You Can Count on Us.

These are just a few of the items that should be evaluated before the end of the year. The team at Brock CPA is here to help you ensure you maximize your financial options. Please reach out with any questions or concerns regarding your accounting and tax needs by calling 904-330-0268 or emailing dbrock@brockcpa.com.

Accounting Advisory Business Taxes

The Season of Giving: Understanding Charitable Gift Deductions

The holiday season is a time when many people take an opportunity to give. Whether it’s to your church, an education-related Foundation or other charitable organization, so long as the organization has tax-exempt status, your gift can qualify for tax benefits.

What Types of Organizations Qualify as Charitable?

If you’re unsure what type of organizations qualify, note that non-profit eligible entities typically operate for religious, scientific, poverty mitigation or educational purposes, and/or have a purpose to prevent cruelty of protected or vulnerable groups. The IRS provides a search tool to help verify an organization’s tax-exempt status and determine its eligibility for deductible contributions, which you can access by clicking here. (Remember, gifts that benefit a particular individual, business or private interests do not qualify as deductible contributions.)

Changes to Charitable Giving Deductions

Last year, the IRS temporarily allowed individuals to deduct $300 per person (up to $600 for married filing jointly) without itemizing other deductions. Unfortunately, in 2022, charitable contributions can only be deducted if you itemize expenses on Schedule A of your tax return. For that to make sense, all your itemized expenses must exceed the standard deduction. Additionally, other charitable contribution deduction provisions made as part of COVID relief in the 2020 and 2021 tax years are no longer available. Specifically, the deduction for cash contributions to public charities is no longer up to 100% of adjusted gross income for people who itemize. The 2022 rules have reverted back to allowing no more than 60% of your adjusted gross income for cash contributions to most public charities, and the limit is 30% for non-cash donations.

What Type of Documentation is Needed?

For cash contributions, you’ll need the name of the organization and the donation amount; a bank or credit card statement that illustrates the amount of the contribution and the date of the donation; and for gifts over $250, a receipt from the charitable organization is also required.

Plan Ahead

In addition to documenting the charitable donations you have made this year and working with your tax advisor to determine whether the using standard deduction, or itemizing deductions will be the best option for your 2022 tax return, it’s important to plan ahead. Start thinking now about your charitable contribution goals and associated tax implications for 2023. Make sure you know what tax bracket you’ll fall into next year, if you plan to file individually or jointly, the associated deduction limits, and the types of assets you can donate.

We are Here to Help.

The team at Brock CPA is here to help you better understand the latest rules on allowable deductions for charitable donations of cash and property as well as potential carryover opportunities. As always, we encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding your accounting and tax needs by calling 904-330-0268 or emailing dbrock@brockcpa.com.

Accounting Business Taxes

How to Lessen the Chances of an Audit

As most know, President Joe Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. In doing so, he authorized $80 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service over the next 10 years. The law calls for the funding of 87,000 new IRS agents. Part of this is to replenish an aging, shrinking workforce and revitalize the agency to be able to process more returns on time and provide better overall service. However, $45 billion is specifically earmarked for enforcement to close the estimated $600 billion “tax gap”, or the difference between what Americans owe and what they actually pay. Part of this effort is to include more audits.

 

While all agree that the absolute number of audits will rise, administration officials have intimated that the share of people being audited will likely be the same for households earning less than $400,000 per year. Although some question the veracity of this threshold, one thing is certain – that many individuals and small business owners with closely held businesses that generate more than this amount in annual revenue will face a higher likelihood of an audit than in years past.

 

As a result, you will want to protect yourself as best as possible. While nothing is guaranteed, there are some practical steps you can take to lessen your exposure to an audit. Most important is avoiding the types of common mistakes that are most often flagged by IRS computers:

 

These include:

  • Filing and/or paying late
  • Leaving questions blank
  • Not reporting all income reported to the IRS by others
  • Showing nonpassive involvement when you are a passive investor
  • Reporting under incorrect Tax ID numbers
  • Numbers in your return conflicting with documents submitted by others
  • Materially overstating charitable donations and automobile expenses
  • Reporting a side business loss too many years in a row
  • Reporting unusually large deductions (such as business expenses) as compared with prior years
  • Not being specific about deductions
  • Claiming losses from a business activity that the IRS views as a hobby
  • Using the same annual figures repeatedly
  • Using all perfectly round numbers

 

Finally, always use a good professional CPA to help you with your tax preparation and answer any questions you may have about federal or state tax issues. At Brock CPA, we nourish long-term, consultative client relationships, so that we have a full, accurate understanding of our clients’ businesses at all times, and can step in to assist at any time. If you find yourself the subject of an audit, we can assist with our tax resolution services which include tax problem resolution for businesses and individuals, and representation before the IRS and state tax authorities. Contact us at (904) 330-0268 or dbrock@brockcpa.com for assistance.

 

Best Regards,

Daniel Brock

Accounting Business Taxes

Early Tax Planning Tips to Avoid Surprises

Now that we have entered the second half of the year, there is no better time to get a handle on your taxes to reduce the risk of unexpected surprises for next year’s tax season. Practicing a number of effective mid-year tax planning strategies can not only help you save income taxes, but can also increase your retirement fund, help you manage cash flows, and more. No matter if you typically receive a tax refund or a bill, taking advantage of the extra time in between seasons to review your taxes will help taxpayers become better organized, and provide peace of mind that everything is on track for next year.

 

  1. Review tax withholdings

Typically, whenever you start a new job there is a variety of paperwork to complete – including a Form-W4 that covers how much your employer withholds from your paychecks for federal taxes. It’s important to re-visit those withholdings before each tax season arrives to ensure everything is still up to date, especially after major life changes such as marriage, having children or obtaining a second form of income. The IRS provides a tax withholding estimator online tool to help taxpayers see if they are on track, providing ample time to adjust tax withholdings if necessary.

  1. Increase 401K contributions

For taxpayers that may have a little more room in their budget, now is also the perfect time to consider reviewing and making changes to monthly 401K contributions. Boosting your pre-tax retirement savings is a great way to reduce your total adjusted gross income. As of 2022, you are able to save $20,500 into your 401K, with an extra $6,500 if you are 50 years or older. No matter what your personal saving goals may be, there is no doubt that they will be easier to obtain by increasing your deferrals now.

  1. Weigh Roth IRA conversions

As many are aware, the stock market has been significantly down since the beginning of this year. However, some may have a chance to use this to their advantage by saving on Roth individual retirement account conversions. After making non-deductible contributions to pre-tax IRA, you may then convert those funds to a Roth IRA account – ultimately getting ahead on tax-free growth with the trade paying off upfront levies on contributions and earnings.

  1. Consider tax-loss harvesting

Using losses to offset profits is known as tax-loss harvesting, which is considered another good move for taxpayers to make while the stock market is down. This is achieved by selling declining assets from a brokerage account and using those losses to reduce other gains. Once the losses begin to exceed profits, you are then able to subtract $3,000 per year from regular income.

 

When it comes to taxes, we believe that there is no better time than right now to make sure you are doing everything possible to limit what you owe for the upcoming tax season. By practicing a few proactive steps throughout the year, businesses and individuals can be more confident that they are ready to go once tax season approaches. We understand that tax season can be an overwhelming time for many, and that it often has a way of sneaking up on you. At Brock CPA, our team of certified tax and accounting professionals are here to ensure our clients a stress-free tax season. If you are ready to get a jumpstart on your taxes, we encourage you to contact our office by calling 904-330-0268 or emailing dbrock@brockcpa.com.