Zinner & Co. Blog and Newsroom

Relief for taxpayers affected by reduction of maximum deductible health savings account contributions

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Team on May 22, 2018 12:57:49 PM

Taxpayers who have healthcare coverage under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) may qualify for tax relief from the Internal Revenue Service.

HDHPs, health insurance plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional health plan, are a requirement for having a health savings account.

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Topics: IRS, health care

The new tax law will change divorce tactics

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Team on May 7, 2018 2:55:00 PM

When couples divorce, financial negotiations often involve alimony. The tax rules regarding alimony were dramatically changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, but existing agreements have been grandfathered. In addition, the old rules remain in effect for divorce and separation agreements executed during 2018. Next year, the rules will change, and the roles will be reversed.

Under divorce or separation agreements executed in 2018, and for many years in the past, alimony payments have been tax deductible. Moreover, these deductions reduce adjusted gross income, so they may have benefits elsewhere on a tax return. While the spouse or former spouse paying the alimony gets a tax deduction, the recipient reports alimony as taxable income.

Shifting into reverse

Beginning with agreements executed in 2019, there will be no tax deduction for alimony. As an offset, alimony recipients will not include the payments in income.

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Topics: alimony, divorce, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual, taxes, tax avoidance, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Posted by Howard J. Kass, CPA, AEP®, CGMA, Partner on May 4, 2018 2:47:00 PM

One Effect of the Recent Tax Reform on Not-for-Profit Organizations

By Howard J. Kass, CPA, CGMA, AEP®

As often as employers are maligned, there are times where they try to do the right thing for their employees.  To be fair, many times, an employer may take an action or incur an expense that benefits its employees, knowing that the employer will benefit by a tax deduction for incurring an expense.  In some cases, Congress encourages such behavior by explicitly permitting favorable tax treatment for certain programs.

One such case was a set of fringe benefits known as the “qualified transportation fringe” benefits that, in fact, received a double-barreled tax benefit for years, by virtue of Internal Revenue Code Section (IRC) 132(f)(5)(C).  Under that section, employers were allowed to take a deduction for, among other things, qualified parking fringe benefits that they provided to their employees. What, exactly, was a qualified parking fringe benefit?  Under IRC 132(f)(5)(C), “qualified parking” meant parking provided to an employee on or near the business premises of the employer, or on or near a location from which the employee commutes to work by transportation described in Code Sec. 132(f)(5)(A) (relating to “transit passes”), in a commuter highway vehicle, or by carpool

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Topics: tax, taxes, not-for-profit, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

“Kiddie Tax” impacted by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Team on Apr 18, 2018 12:39:00 PM

Many higher income taxpayers have long made it a practice to open investment accounts for their children, hoping to take advantage of their lower tax rates.  Many years ago, Congress imposed, what is colloquially known as the “kiddie tax” to place strict limits on the amount of investment income that can be taxed at those lower rates. 

One of the changes made by the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made some significant changes to how the “kiddie tax” is administered, impacting the way adults pass investment income on to their minor children. 

The "kiddie tax" is a provision that taxes the unearned income of children under the age of 19 and of full-time students younger than 24 at a special rate. Under both the new law and the old, the first $1,050 of a child's income is tax-free and the next $1,050 is taxed at a rate of 10 percent.

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Topics: tax services, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual, Retirement Planning & IRAs, withdrawls, tuition, tax avoidance, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

No tax deductions for business entertaining

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Team on Apr 10, 2018 10:50:00 AM

The good news is that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 lowered corporate tax rates from a graduated schedule that reached 35 percent to a 21 percent flat rate. The bad news? Many business expenses are no longer tax deductible. That list includes all outlays that might be considered entertainment or recreation.

As of 2018, tickets to sports events cannot be deducted, even if you walk away from the game with a new client or a lucrative contract. The same is true if you treat a prospect to seats at a Broadway play or take a valued vendor out for a round of golf. Those outlays will be true costs for business owners without any tax relief.

Drilling down

Does that mean that you should drop all your season tickets supporting local teams? Cancel club memberships? Pack away your putter and your tennis racquet? Before taking any actions in this area, take a breath and crunch some numbers.

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Topics: Taxes - Corporate & Business, Business - Management, Issues & Concerns, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

Zinner & Co. title sponsor of Cleveland Play House production of “Spelling Bee”

Posted by Zinner & Co. on Mar 27, 2018 9:18:35 AM

Zinner & Co. is a proud title sponsor of the Cleveland Play House production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which runs now through May 6 at the Allen Theater.

Sponsoring this Tony Award-winning musical, is just one of the many ways Zinner & Co. gives back to the community and helps advance the strong performing arts culture found within Northeast Ohio.

A touching and cheeky coming-of-age comedy with a vivacious, improvised spelling bee, this production is a treat for all ages, as “Spelling Bee” focuses on six middle-school students, who take part in a cutthroat, high-stakes competition to prove they have what it takes to be worthy of a shot at "Nationals."

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Topics: Howard Kass, Zinner News

IRS To End Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program

Posted by Howard J. Kass, CPA, AEP®, CGMA, Partner on Mar 14, 2018 3:59:05 PM

The IRS announced today that it was going to end the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) by September 28, 2018.  The Service is giving taxpayers just over six months’ notice of the program closure to allow any taxpayers who wish to do so the opportunity to take advantage of the program before then.

The current program has been in place since 2014 and is, actually, a modified version of the one that was originally launched in 2012.  The programs have afforded taxpayers to voluntarily resolve past non-compliance issues related to unreported foreign financial assets, as well as failures to file foreign information returns. 

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Topics: foreign assets, Howard Kass, IRS

Fraudulent Filers Keep Tax-return Identity Theft as One of the IRS' "Dirty Dozen" Scams

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Mar 8, 2018 12:10:45 PM

Even though reports of tax-related identity theft have declined markedly in recent years, the Internal Revenue Service warns that this practice is still widespread and remains serious enough to earn a spot on the agency’s annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams.

The Dirty Dozen is compiled each year by the IRS and outlines a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these cons peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a stolen Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund.

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Topics: fraud, Howard Kass, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Corporate & Business, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Taxes - Individual

Updated Withholding Calculator, Form W-4 Released; Calculator Helps Taxpayers Review Withholding Following New Tax Law

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Mar 2, 2018 4:08:00 PM

WASHINGTON –The Internal Revenue Service recently released (2/28/18 irs.gov) an updated Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov and a new version of Form W-4 to help taxpayers check their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December. 

The IRS urges taxpayers to use these tools to make sure they have the right amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.

“Following the major changes in the tax law, the IRS encourages employees to check their paychecks to help ensure they’re having the right amount of tax withheld for their personal situation,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter.

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Topics: withholding, Brett W. Neate, Taxes - Individual, income tax

Do You Apply the Five-year Test for Your Roth IRA? Here’s why you should

Posted by Zinner & Co. Tax Department on Feb 27, 2018 7:03:00 PM

The pros and cons of Roth IRAs, which were introduced 20 years ago, are well understood. All money flowing into Roth IRAs is after-tax, so there is no upfront tax benefit.

As a tradeoff, all qualified Roth IRA distributions can be tax-free, including the parts of the distributions that are payouts of investment earnings.

To be a qualified distribution, the distribution must meet two basic requirements:

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Topics: Gary Sigman, Taxes - Planning, Rules and Returns, Retirement Planning & IRAs

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