January 29, 2015
After getting an earful (and then some) from their customers, the folks at Intuit have come up with a new, improved apology for the mess they created in disabling features in some versions of their products, forcing many of their customers to buy a more expensive version. While they’ll need a few days to roll out the new approach, they say it will include three features:
Details haven’t been provided, so it’s unclear if any of the numerous limitations listed in our previous article will be lifted. In particular, we wonder whether these forms are being restored only to the desktop version of TurboTax Deluxe. Some 80% of TurboTax customers use the online version, but for some reason there was little outcry when similar changes were made to that version a year earlier.
January 15, 2015
By Kaye A. Thomas
Current as of January 15, 2015
The Taxpayer Advocate has released a depressing report.
Taxpayer service levels at the IRS have been declining for the last ten years. In 2004, the IRS answered 87% of calls from taxpayers seeking assistance, with an average hold time of 2½ minutes. On its toll-free lines and in roughly 400 walk-in sites, taxpayers received help on a wide range of tax questions. Tax return preparation assistance was provided to hundreds of thousands of taxpayers, many of them low-income, elderly or disabled. Here is what we can expect for 2015:
January 9, 2015
The rule for determining the basis of stock you acquire from a spouse, whether by gift, purchase, or divorce settlement, is simple and, to many people, surprising. Gifts don’t follow the usual rule for gifts. As for what happens when you buy stock (or anything else) from your spouse (or from your former spouse as part of divorce proceedings), you may find the result hard to believe.
details: Acquiring Stock from Your Spouse
December 29, 2014
Countdown to tax season: The IRS has announced that it will begin accepting electronic returns, and begin processing paper returns, January 20.
December 20, 2014
On December 19, President Obama signed the law passed by the lame duck Congress to extend expired tax provisions through the end of 2014. As previously reported, the law retroactively restores provisions that expired at the end of 2013, such as the deduction for state and local sales tax. These provisions are extended only through the end of 2014, so further action from the new Congress will be necessary to make them available in 2015 or later years.
The legislation also includes technical corrections to earlier legislation and provisions making it possible for states to offer ABLE accounts, similar to 529 accounts but used to cover expenses of certain individuals with disabilities.
details: Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014
December 17, 2014
The college savings plans known as 529 accounts have advantages but also some disadvantages, including a rule that restricts how often you can change your investments. The tax law passed by Congress at the end of its 2014 lame duck session includes a provision that loosens up that restriction as of 2015.
details: Changing 529 Account Investments
December 4, 2014
Update: The Senate passed this bill on December 16, sending it to President Obama for his signature.
It’s not a done deal yet, but Congress appears to be heading toward a one-year extension, through 2014, of various tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Many extenders are included in various categories including business and energy. Here are the extenders for individuals:
The House passed the bill 378-46
but the Senate has yet to act and the Senate has now passed it as well.
September 22, 2014
The August inflation numbers, which came out September 17, are the last ones needed to adjust most of the tax figures that change annually, including the tax rate schedules. The IRS hasn’t published the adjusted figures, but we “did the math” and updated our Reference Room to give you an advance look at the 2015 numbers. Highlights include an increase in the personal exemption amount from this year’s $3,950 to a round $4,000. The IRA contribution limit (under age 50) will remain at $5,500. (The 401k contribution limit depends on September inflation numbers, so that information isn’t available yet.) The annual gift tax exclusion amount will be unchanged at $14,000.
Inflation for the twelve-month period ending in August was 1.7%.
December 30, 2013
Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code provides a tax exemption for a housing allowance provided to a “minister of the gospel.” In a decision virtually certain to be overturned, a federal judge has found the exemption unconstitutional.
December 22, 2013
Our free online guide to Roth retirement accounts has been fully updated. This extensive guide offers much of the information covered in Go Roth!, our book on the subject.
|That Thing Rich People Do||The fastest, easiest way to learn the principles of investing.|
|Our complete guide to Roth IRAs and Roth accounts in employer plans: choosing, creating, building and using these accounts.|
|Consider Your Options|
|A plain-language guide for people who receive stock options or other forms of equity compensation.|
|Equity Compensation Strategies|
|A text for financial advisors and other professionals who offer advice on how to handle equity compensation including stock options.|
|Capital Gains, Minimal Taxes|
|Tax rules and strategies for people who buy, own and sell stocks, mutual funds and stock options.|