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Sudden impact: When a spouse unexpectedly dies

Sudden impact: When a spouse unexpectedly dies

What if the unthinkable happens and your spouse dies unexpectedly? As the surviving spouse, there are several steps you need to take during this difficult time. For example, secure copies of the death certificate and inform life insurance companies and the Social Security Administration of the death.

You may be able to save more for retirement in 2019

You may be able to save more for retirement in 2019

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, and many have gone up for 2019, giving you opportunities to increase your retirement savings:

Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1) plans: $19,000 (up from $18,500)
Contributions to defined contribution plans: $56,000 (up from $55,000)
Contributions to SIMPLEs: $13,000 (up from $12,500)
Contributions to IRAs: $6,000 (up from $5,500)

One exception is catch-up contributions for taxpayers age 50 or older, which remain at the same levels as for 2018:

Catch-up contributions to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1) plans: $6,000
Catch-up contributions to SIMPLEs: $3,000
Catch-up contributions to IRAs: $1,000

Keep in mind that additional factors may affect how much you’re allowed to contribute (or how much your employer can contribute on your behalf). For example, income-based limits may reduce or eliminate your ability to make Roth IRA contributions or to make deductible traditional IRA contributions.

What will your marginal income tax rate be?

What will your marginal income tax rate be?

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could see their taxes go up due to reductions or eliminations of certain tax breaks — and, in some cases, due to their filing status. But some may see additional tax savings due to their filing status.

Check deductibility before making year-end charitable gifts

Check deductibility before making year-end charitable gifts

 

As the holidays approach and the year draws to a close, many taxpayers make charitable gifts — both in the spirit of the season and as a year-end tax planning strategy. But with the tax law changes that go into effect in 2018 and the many rules that apply to the charitable deduction, it’s a good idea to check deductibility before making any year-end donations.

When holiday gifts and parties are deductible or taxable

When holiday gifts and parties are deductible or taxable

 

The holiday season is a great time for businesses to show their appreciation for employees and customers by giving them gifts or hosting holiday parties. Before you begin shopping or sending out invitations, though, it’s a good idea to find out whether the expense is tax deductible and whether it’s taxable to the recipient.

Time for NQDC plan deferral elections

Time for NQDC plan deferral elections

 

If you’re an executive or other key employee, your employer may offer you a nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan. As the name suggests, NQDC plans pay employees in the future for services currently performed. The plans allow deferral of the income tax associated with the compensation.

You might save tax if your vacation home qualifies as a rental property

You might save tax if your vacation home qualifies as a rental property

 

Do you own a vacation home? If you both rent it out and use it personally, you might save tax by taking steps to ensure it qualifies as a rental property this year. Vacation home expenses that qualify as rental property expenses aren’t subject to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA’s) new limit on the itemized deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) or the lower debt limit for the itemized mortgage interest deduction.