Don’t miss your opportunity to make 2015 annual exclusion gifts

Recently, the IRS released the 2016 annually adjusted amount for the unified gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption: $5.45 million (up from $5.43 million in 2015). But even with the rising exemptions, annual exclusion gifts offer a valuable tax-saving opportunity. The 2015 gift tax annual exclusion allows you to … Continued

Tax Advice for Military Families and Veterans

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans are required to pay taxes on their income like everyone else. But special rules sometimes apply. Here’s an overview of key tax benefits that the IRS provides to military personnel to thank them for risking their lives for our country. Combat Zone Exemption One of the most … Continued

New Law Closes Loopholes Involving Social Security Benefits

A new law closes loopholes in the Social Security rules that have allowed married couples to receive more benefits over their lifetimes by following certain strategies. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, shuts down loopholes that Congress said will “prevent individuals from obtaining larger benefits than Congress … Continued

Reduce taxes on your investments with these year-end strategies

While tax consequences should never drive investment decisions, it’s critical that they be considered — especially by higher-income taxpayers, who may be facing the 39.6% short-term capital gains rate, the 20% long-term capital gains rate and the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). Holding on to an investment until you’ve owned it more than one year … Continued

EU Countries Agree to Swap Tax-Ruling Data

The European Union (EU) member states unanimously agreed to automatically swap information on cross-border tax rulings. Under the new rules, the countries would be required to swap the data every six months. The new rules will remove EU Member States’ discretion to decide what information is shared, when and with whom. The exchanges would also … Continued

Final BEPS Measures Sent to G-20 Heads of State

G-20 finance ministers endorsed the final package of measures for a comprehensive, coherent and coordinated reform of the international tax rules. The ministers expressed strong support for the OECD/G-20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project. BEPS provides solutions for closing the gaps in international rules that allow corporate profits to be shifted to low- … Continued

Starbucks and Fiat Ordered to Repay Millions in Taxes

The European Commission ordered Luxembourg and the Netherlands to recover between $22.3 million and $33.5 million in unpaid tax each from Starbucks and a Fiat Chrysler unit. The commission determined that the tax rulings granted to the two companies by Luxembourg and the Netherlands artificially lowered each firm’s tax burden and are illegal under European … Continued

Protect your deduction: Verify eligible charities

Donations to qualified charities are generally fully deductible, and they may be the easiest deductible expense to time to your tax advantage. After all, you control exactly when and how much you give. But before you donate, it’s critical to make sure the charity you’re considering is indeed a qualified charity — that it’s eligible … Continued

Save the Date: International Fraud Awareness Week

The average organization loses 5% of its annual revenues to fraud, according to the 2014 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). Bear in mind, that’s the top line of your income statement, not the bottom. So, for every $1 million in annual revenues, … Continued

News on Social Security Benefits: Read All About It

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced some important news. Rumors about a benefits freeze had surfaced in the summer. Finally, on October 15, the SSA formally announced that the consumer price index it uses to gauge inflation wasn’t high enough to trigger cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for the upcoming year. Although the announcement is generally … Continued