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Author Archive for Stephen T. Peppler, EA, CFP

Tax Tips: Survivor — tax audit island episode …

When taxpayers receive a tax audit notice, they often feel as if they are stranded on a hostile island and danger awaits. If their record keeping is shoddy or if they or their tax preparer engaged in dubious tax strategies, they are certainly correct. Abraham Lincoln once said, “He who represents himself in court has […]

Tax Tips: Charitable contributions …

Americans are the most charitable people in the world, as evidenced by records of our annual charitable giving. Congress has been very generous in the passage of laws regulating deductions for charitable giving. Consult IRS Publication 526 for regulations governing the many aspects of charitable giving and the required documentation. In order to be deductible, […]

Tax Tips: Self-employed retirement savings plans …

Saving for retirement has never been more important. The Social Security system is being placed under increasing strain as people live longer and the baby boomer generation retires. Federal deficits should increase as the costs of Social Security and Medicare skyrocket and now the Affordable Care Act is added to the federal budget. This is […]

Tax Tips: Foreign asset reporting – watch out

Several filing requirements can apply when you own or are a beneficiary of foreign financial assets. These forms report on the specific assets themselves and are information returns versus income tax returns. However, the penalties for failing to file them are truly draconian, many starting at $10,000. The rules are complex, in some cases overlapping, […]

Tax Tips: Are all payments received income?

I often get questions as to whether payments a client has received are taxable and the answers are often surprising. Many taxpayers are receiving Form 1099-C reporting cancellation of debt income. In general, cancellation of debt is taxable. Several exclusions are available that you will want to discuss with your tax preparer. Often Form 1099-C […]

Tax Tips: Beating the taxman in retirement

While you are working, the taxman has you at his mercy. You can take advantage of tax-deferred accounts and pension plans but after that you have little defense. When you are self-employed, you have more options available. When you retire, the situation changes dramatically and you can have a great deal of control over your […]

Tax Tips: People get ready, tax season’s a comin’

About this time of year, we begin to collect all the information we will need to properly file our income tax returns. Since it’s been a year, I have listed below some of the items you will want to look for. Your employer is required to send you your W2 forms by Jan. 31. You […]

Tax Tips: Capital gains and losses

Capital gains and losses are areas that offer great tax planning opportunities, since in many situations, you control when the gains and losses will be realized. Many taxpayers have incurred losses on stocks and mutual funds and selling them now can allow them to realize the loss and reduce their tax liability. Capital losses can […]

Tax Tips: Trusts and taxes

Trusts have become extremely popular in recent years. The most popular type is the intervivos or living trust which is used to control the disposition of your assets after death while avoiding probate. Many of these trusts are A-B trusts where the trust splits on the death of the first spouse into two trusts: the […]

Tax Tips: Beware of tax traps

Our tax code is extremely complex with rules and regulations that can often catch a taxpayer by surprise. There is nothing sadder than informing a taxpayer of a large tax liability he or she has incurred that could have been avoided. The tax code includes provisions for several types of “tax election” that can save […]

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