The IRS has completely redesigned Form 1040, using what they call a building block approach, where the form itself is much shorter but is supplemented as needed by up to six new schedules. As a result, the same form can be used by all taxpayers, from those with the simplest to the most complicated returns. The new form, its 117-page instructions, and the new schedules are available now: About Form 1040
Articles on year-end tax planning for investors inevitably mention the opportunity to harvest losses from stocks and other securities that may have declined in value. Recent stock market declines have increased the potential value of this opportunity, along with the importance of understanding the wash sale rule, which can stand in the way of efforts to harvest losses while maintaining a consistent investment strategy. No doubt you’ve seen brief summaries of this provision, but there’s a lot more to the wash sale rule than meets the eye. Get the full details here:
details: Wash Sale Rule
The IRS has announced enhancements to the Free File program, through which many taxpayers can obtain free tax preparation services from commercial software companies. Some aspects of this program continue to be frustrating, but millions of taxpayers have found it useful, and it is now less likely that you’ll be snared into paying for tax prep while you still qualify for Free File.
details: IRS Free File
Not all of us want to go through the brain damage of learning sophisticated techniques for managing capital gains and losses. There are some basic strategies we can all master, however.
details: Basic Capital Gain Planning
How well do you know Roth IRA contributions? Learn how the income limitation works, how to get around that limitation with a backdoor contribution, and limitations on that technique. Is there really such a thing as a spousal IRA? What about Roth IRAs for minors? Is it possible you’ve overlooked the retirement savings contribution credit? Our pages dealing with contributions to Roth IRAs have been updated to reflect changes in the law that took effect in 2018.
details: Contributions to Roth Accounts