Can Converting your Vacation Rental Offer a Vacation from Taxes?


Gains of up to $500,000 on the sale of your principal residence are excludible from taxable income, subject to certain limitations. This is one of the most generous tax preferences offered by the internal revenue code. But what happens if you convert a rental property into your principal residence prior to sale? Are the gains still excludible, or are you out of luck?Read More

the FBAR Edition


US citizens or residents who have financial assets in accounts overseas, pay close attention to whether the combined value of those accounts ever exceeds $10,000 in value at any point during the year. If that occurs, a Foreign Bank Account Report ("FBAR") would be required for that year and failing to file can result in extremely steep civil and criminal penalties.Read More

Charitable flights: Cleared for take-off or grounded?


If you are the owner of a private plane, you may already know that trying to satisfy the rules and regulations of both the FAA and IRS can feel like an impossible task. This may also be true when it comes to using your aircraft for charitable flights. There are a number of ways to use your aircraft for charitable purposes such as medical transportation, search and rescue, disaster relief, or use by a 501(c)(3) organization, but exactly what type of expenses can be deducted and is it worth it?Read More

Kiddie Tax Reform: Simplified, But At What Cost?


"Kiddie Tax" refers to special rules and taxes imposed on the unearned income of certain children. While the kiddie tax is nothing new, recent tax reform has completely revamped and simplified the way this tax is calculated for tax years 2018 through 2025. These new rules could drastically increase the amount of tax paid on investments made in your child's name. It is important to understand this new legislation in order to make the most of any investments made for the benefit of your child. Read More

The Start of Something New: U.S. Reform on International Taxation


The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act tax reform brings changes for those with international interests. As we discussed in our January web blast, the tax reform act calls for a mandatory one-time U.S. tax on undistributed foreign earnings. The act also includes other provisions focused on deterring U.S. companies from moving operations offshore and incentivizing them to bring operations back to the U.S. We will discuss some of these provisions in more detail in this article. Read More

Flying Takes its Toll: Depreciation Deductions for Aircraft


If you have purchased a new aircraft to use for personal, charitable, business, or entertainment purposes, you may be wondering if you are eligible to receive any tax benefits. Similar to a car, the value of the aircraft will likely decline over time. Are you eligible to capture the economic loss in value as a tax expense? The concept of depreciation offers an opportunity for an aircraft owner to capture this loss in value. This article will discuss your eligibility for these deductions.Read More

Finalized but not Finished: Updates on Guidance for Tax Reform


With the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017, the U.S. has arguably experienced the largest tax reform since 1986. As we continue to move further into 2018, understanding the effects that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on taxpayers is our priority. Keep reading for the latest information!Read More

Earning Income Without Paying Taxes. What?


Ever heard of the foreign earned income exclusion? If you work abroad, or are planning to make that move to live in a foreign country, this article might be of interest to you. Here we will talk about how you might qualify for an exclusion that can decrease your U.S. federal taxes.Read More

Happy Retirement: Is it time to start taking distributions from your retirement accounts?


At some point Treasury needs to tax all of the dollars tucked away in tax deferred accounts. Their solution? The “required minimum distribution” or RMD. While you can generally start taking retirement plan distributions at age 59 ½ without early withdrawal penalties, you have to start taking distribution at 70 ½ to avoid "late" withdrawal penalties. If you are in that window, planning now can make a big difference in the tax rate that applies to those tax deferred dollars.Read More

All in the Family: What You Should Know About Related Party Transactions


Are you considering selling your property to a family member or lending money to your niece for her wedding? Sometimes, a transaction between you and your relative can be favorable for both of you, including lower rates and thus lower taxes on the income. However, there are several things that are worth considering before getting involved with a related party.Read More

Why All Foreign Taxpayers Should Be Familiar with Form W-8


Individuals and businesses without US residency or citizenship are generally subject to a flat tax rate of 30% on all US-sourced income. This tax is withheld by the payor, or withholding agent, before any distributions are made - which can make the tax particularly burdensome. Form W-8 and its variations are available to eliminate or reduce this withholding. Read More

The Good Student Tax


College can be a very exciting time for you and your dependents, but can also cause stress and confusion about tax consequences related to scholarships and education expenses. Many people know that there are tax benefits and credits for paying tuition, but some may not know that there also may be taxable consequences for receiving good grades. Keep reading to find out what hidden tax consequences may be lurking. Read More

Keeping Uncle Sam Happy: Requirements for Estimated Tax Payments


A while back, Uncle Sam (The United States Government) realized that it would be impossible to withhold taxes from every dollar a person made. This was a problem, especially because the IRS works on a pay-as-you-go basis. As such, it was decided that taxpayers with income not subject to normal payroll withholding, would be required to pay estimated taxes. Income not subject to withholding include items such as interest, dividends, alimony, self-employment income, capital gains, prizes, etc.Read More

Deemed Repatriation and What That Means


New Year, new tax laws. Historically, profits earned by a foreign corporation were not taxed in the U.S. until the cash was brought into the country. One provision of the new tax act calls for a mandatory tax on foreign profits that were previously deferred from U.S. tax. In this article, we will outline what this new transition tax entails.Read More

The Winds of Change are Here: Tax Reform and How It Affects you


Over the past few months, there have been several different tax reform bills handed back and forth between the two branches of Congress. A finalized bill has now been confirmed and passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. This bill, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is an endeavor to reduce tax for all Americans and promote jobs by reducing specific tax rates, adjusting credits, and removing specific deductions.Read More

What a Relief! Tax Saving Opportunities for Disaster Relief Efforts


The IRS has extended disaster relief efforts to victims of the recent hurricanes and wildfires affecting the nation. These efforts are primarily focused on tax relief for victims within areas declared a Federal Disaster Zone. The impact of the disaster and tax policy, however, will affect the nation and economy as a whole. To encourage donations to Disaster Relief Funds, the IRS has enacted a special policy you can take advantage of to help those in need while also reducing your tax burden.Read More

Winner Winner! How Gambling Winnings Play on Your Taxes


Congratulations on your big win! Whether you played your cards right, picked the right horses, or just got plain lucky, you can bet that the IRS would like to know about it. But how do you know what needs to be reported? What about losses? Read More

Are you looking for a Bit(coin) of good fortune?


Bitcoin is the most popular virtual currency today, making headlines lately as its value has increased from a few cents in 2010 to over $2,900 in June of 2017. But what is a "Bitcoin?" How does the tax code treat this "currency" which is not backed by any government? Read More

Taking off! Is a Pilots License Deductible?


Are you interested in learning to fly but find the cost associated with training to be daunting? Surprisingly, the IRS may allow you to write off the cost of obtaining your pilot’s license under certain circumstances. This article explores this topic in more detail and may help you determine if you are eligible for this unique tax deduction.Read More

Save or Shred: How Long Should You Retain Your Documents?


Properly maintaining your records, even after filing your tax returns, is necessary in the event of an audit. The IRS will need to review your tax documents to substantiate your prior returns. The questions many clients have are: What documents can I shred? How long should I keep my tax documents after filing my tax return? What documents should I retain?Read More

Extra Baggage - Property Taxes on Aircraft


Property taxes on private aircrafts are enforced in twenty states, including California. However, determining where your plane is assessed for property taxes may be confusing, if your plane is located in several places throughout the year. Which state collects the property taxes on your aircraft? Do you need to pay property taxes to multiple states?Read More

Vacation Rental Rules: Understand Them and Take a Vacation from Stress


Everyone enjoys taking vacation and no one likes paying taxes. With services such as Airbnb increasing in popularity, earning rental income on a vacation home is becoming more convenient than ever. The tax issues surrounding vacation rentals are becoming more prevalent with taxpayers beginning to wonder if and how they are required to report income and expenses related to their vacation home. Continue reading to be in the know and take a vacation from the stress of surprises on tax day.Read More

Sales and Use Tax on the Fly: Guide to Aircraft Taxation


Are you considering purchasing an aircraft for business purposes? Do you own an aircraft, but would like to purchase a new one? This article will address sale and use tax issues to consider when purchasing a plane, particularly in California.Read More

Interest-ing Deductions You Can Take Advantage Of


While personal interest, such as interest on personal loans or credit cards, is generally not deductible, there are some instances when it could be. Knowing which types of interest are deductible can help you save on your tax bill.Read More

I found a New Job! What can I deduct?


Starting a new job can be exciting, but the process of job hunting and moving to a new location can be expensive. Luckily, the IRS gives taxpayers the ability to deduct the cost of moving and the other expenses associated with looking for a new job.Read More

Supporting Our Troops with Special State Residency Rules!


Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families are routinely required to move across state and national borders while serving orders for the military. In order to provide a sense of comfort and to protect from unexpected state taxes, Congress has implemented laws allowing military personnel and their spouses to maintain permanent residences for tax purposes while moving from state to state if specific criteria are met.Read More

Should you buy or lease that new hot rod?


Oftentimes the most difficult decision to make when getting a new car is whether to buy or lease it. Leases look great on paper with their low monthly payments and few out-of-pocket maintenance costs, but are they the best long-term financial decision?Read More

Is it the Right Time to Refinance Your Mortgage?


Downward pressure on mortgage interest rates creates financial opportunities for existing and potential homeowners. Homeowners can use refinancing to reduce mortgage payments and expedite mortgage payoff. Choosing this course of action, even in ideal market conditions, can involve complex cost considerations. Your tax professional can assist you with asking the right questions and arriving at the best financial outcome. Read More

Identity Thieves & Why They Want to Do Your Taxes for You


Unlike most of us, perpetrators of identity theft love tax season – they are eager to file your tax return for you. Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone unlawfully uses a social security number to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund, and it happens more often than you might expect. What do you do when it happens to you? How can you detect and prevent it?Read More

Life Changes & Tax Changes Go Hand in Hand


Did you get married or divorced this year? Have a baby? These events not only have a huge impact on your personal life, but they can also substantially impact your financial world. When your marital status changes or you have a baby, your filing status, personal exemptions and tax bracket will all be affected. Read More

Post-Election Individual Tax Changes - Will it be a Happy New Year?


President-elect Donald Trump made tax-reduction a focus of his campaign. In his “First 100 Days” in office, Trump and the GOP are expected to pass numerous tax acts that could impact your financial and tax planning for 2017. These proposed changes could affect how you react to 2016 year-end planning.Read More

The end of the year is fast approaching! Are you ready?


The 2016 tax year is coming to a close. Below are just a few of the many items to consider before it is too late: 1. Do you qualify to contribute to an HSA? 2. Have you contributed to your retirement plan? 3. Have you considered making a Roth IRA conversion? 4. Have you considered making a direct charitable contribution from your IRA? Read More

It's Year End Check-Up Time for You and Your Health Coverage


Do you have a high deductible health plan? If so, the following plans can help you save money and pay for medical expenses, while lowering your taxes. Keep reading to see if one of these plans is right for you. Read More

How do you define "temporary"?


An election day reminder. My first thought is to refer to Webster's Dictionary for the answer, but when I turn to Bing (try it you Googlers!), up pops the Oxford online edition. Temporary is defined as "lasting for only a limited time; not permanent". That does not necessarily fit when we are talking about California tax laws. Read More

I have a Rental Property - Am I a Real Estate Professional?


Have you ever wondered if owning rental property makes you a real estate professional? Being considered a real estate professional by the taxing authorities offers serious perks and tax breaks. In general, losses generated by rental real estate are considered passive and can be offset only by other passive income sources. This limits your options for income tax reduction. Real estate professionals, however, can bypass this limitation and offset losses with any other form of ordinary income. Read More

The Upside to Investing in Small Businesses


Investing in a small business can be a risky endeavor. Congress, however, has provided incentives to taxpayers willing to take the risks. Click on the article below to learn about how you can take advantage of these tax benefits with just a little bit of planning. Read More

Cut Your Tax AND Energy Bills with These Federal Credits


Now is the time to take advantage of energy tax credits that are planned to expire in the next few years. Congress has extended certain tax credits to help the future of our energy sources by giving Americans incentive to make energy efficient improvements to their home.Read More

Retirement - Time for a New Adventure!


Retirement is one of the biggest life events from both a personal and a financial perspective, but it can also be the most confusing if you don’t have the right guidance. When structured and implemented correctly, the following plans can help reduce current year taxes while financially securing a future full of adventure for you and your loved ones.Read More

Breaking Down Stock Compensation Plans


Companies often use stock-based compensation plans to attract and retain the best talent. When structured properly, these plans provide advantages from a tax perspective. Click below to learn about the different types of plans that exist and the tax advantages of each. Please contact our office if you have questions about your stock compensation plan. There may be tax planning opportunities you are missing out on!Read More

Do You Rent Through Airbnb or Another Online Rental Program?


With rental programs like Airbnb becoming more popular, many people are renting out rooms or vacation homes for extra income. Taxpayers are asking how to allocate and report rental income and expenses for these activities. The driving factor behind these items is the number of days the property is rented out and the number days the property is used personally. Managing this ratio can have a significant impact on your return, so click here to read more and see where you are coming out for 2016.Read More

Net Investment Income Tax (AKA Obamacare Tax)


Beginning in 2013, a 3.8% net investment income tax applies to individuals, estates and trusts with net investment income if adjusted gross income exceeds specified threshold amounts. There may be some planning opportunities to reduce the overall impact of this new tax, click here to read more.Read More

Don't Miss Out on Head of Household Status This Season!


Providing for a household can be expensive. The government acknowledges this and permits favorable tax treatment towards single individuals in this circumstance. Generally, an individual taxpayer who is not married or a surviving spouse, who pays more than half the cost to maintain a home for the tax year and shares that home for more than half a year with a qualifying individual, can claim a higher standard deduction and lower tax rate than a single taxpayer.Read More

The Fifth Season, Tax!


2015 Tax Organizers are coming soon! Are you compliant with the new ACA health care forms? Read more to find out, and to learn how you can get a jump start on your returns!Read More

Things to consider before the clock strikes midnight!


The 2015 tax year is coming to a close! Are you prepared? Consider the following questions: 1. If you have an employer sponsored flexible spending account (FSA), have you used up all of your contributed funds? 2. Do you qualify to contribute to an HSA? 3. Have you contributed to your retirement plan? 4. Have you considered making a Roth IRA conversion? Did you say Yes to any of the above? If so, read on to learn what you can do before time runs out! Read More

Charitable Contributions Substantiation


Americans donate millions of dollars to charities every year, and the Tax Code encourages charitable giving by allowing a deduction. There are, however, strict acknowledgement and substantiation rules that must be followed in order for you to claim a deduction. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.Read More

IRS Audits, Scary?


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accepts most tax returns as The IRS selects a sample of tax returns to audit and determine if income, expenses, and credits are being reported accurately. If you are ready, it’s simply a process that, while is not exactly a treat, shouldn’t be scary!Read More

Am I a Household Employer?


Many people are unaware of the low thresholds that require them to file state payroll forms for their household help. If a person is paying wages to a person who works in or around their home, they may be considered a household employer and should withhold and pay taxes. Some common examples of household employees include baby-sitters, caretakers, chefs, gardeners, housekeepers, or pool maintenance persons (some exceptions may apply if they qualify as independent contractors). Read More

Travel Deductions


Taxpayers who are required to travel as part of their employment may not be taking advantage of available deductions. When travel expenses are not reimbursed, the Internal Revenue Service allows for qualifying expenses to be taken as deductions on a taxpayer's personal return. However, not all expenses are subject to deduction. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.Read More

Tax Return Identity Theft


Tax return identity theft has been an ever-increasing problem over the last few years and has the possibility to escalate in the coming years. What do you do when it happens to you? Who do you contact? Where do you start? These are some of the questions we will answer. Read More

Personal Residence Exclusion


Generally, taxpayers have the opportunity to exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing a joint return) of gain from gross income on the sale or exchange of their principal residence. Some taxpayers are unaware that this exclusion can be used more than once in their lifetime. Read More

Benefits of 529 Plans


Increasing college costs have resulted in the need to find all available means to save money for education. One way this can be achieved is through the 529 plan, which was established by Congress as a way to make financing a college education more feasible.Read More

Tax Treatment of Various Investment Options


As the market continues to improve, investors are faced with many different investment options. One way to differentiate between various investment opportunities is to look beyond the gross investment return and look at the tax treatment on the earnings of the investment. Here is a discussion of the differing tax treatments of stocks, bonds, state municipal bonds, and publicly traded partnerships (PTPs).Read More



The ability to claim a dependent for federal income tax purposes is conditional on satisfying one of two principal tests: the qualifying child test or the qualifying relative test. In order to qualify under one of these, different subtests must be metRead More

2014 Year-End Tax Planning


The 2015 tax filing season may seem like a long time away but it will be here before we know it. By taking certain steps now, before 2014 draws to a close, individuals may be able to reduce the size of their tax bill otherwise due when filing their returns next year. The year-end planning article on our website explores some traditional planning techniques that may need consideration before the clock strikes twelve. Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.Read More

Tax Facts for 2014


Although there is more certainty afforded for 2014 tax planning due to the many permanent tax incentives provided by the 2012 Taxpayer Relief Act, higher income individuals must carefully structure their financial transactions in order to minimize their tax burden. We have listed below updated information on many hot tax topics. Read More

Planning for Individual Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments


The requirements for estimated tax payments are important to understand in order to avoid potential underpayment penalties. The IRS requires that once certain income thresholds are met, a specific amount of tax must either be withheld or paid by the taxpayer throughout the year. Read More

Changes for 2013/2014 Tax Year


Starting in 2013, there will be a series of changes that may affect an individual’s taxable liability. A summary of these changes will includeRead More

Tax Law Process and Authority


The following information will outline the process taken by Congress to create a tax law and will explain the different levels of authority to follow in order to read, understand, and comply with such tax law.Read More

Social Security


Social Security provides benefits for individuals and families who meet specific qualifications regarding time spent working, earnings, and age. Read More

New Developments for 2013


April 15th has passed, but it is not time to stop thinking about taxes and strategic tax planning opportunities. Many new tax developments have been introduced which will impact tax planning for 2013 and beyond. Changes made to the Tax Code by the American Taxpayer Relief Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act take effect and the impact on individuals is significant. Read More

Individual Tax Planning


Year-end planning for 2012 requires a combination of multi-layered strategies, taking into account a variety of possible scenarios and outcomes. Every tax situation is different and requires a careful and comprehensive plan. We can assist you in aligning traditional year-end techniques with strategies for dealing with the uncertainties created by Congress’s delay in addressing sun setting tax rates and the extension of other major tax benefits. Read More