Watch out for potential tax pitfalls of donating real estate to charity

Watch out for potential tax pitfalls of donating real estate to charityCharitable giving allows you to help an organization you care about and, in most cases, enjoy a valuable income tax deduction. If you’re considering a large gift, a noncash donation such as appreciated real estate can provide additional benefits. For example, if you’ve held the property for more than one year, you generally will be able to deduct its full fair market value and avoid any capital gains tax you’d owe if you sold the property. There are, however, potential tax pitfalls you must watch out for:

The ABCs of the tax deduction for educator expenses

The ABCs of the tax deduction for educator expensesAt back-to-school time, much of the focus is on the students returning to the classroom — and on their parents buying them school supplies, backpacks, clothes, etc., for the new school year. But let’s not forget about the teachers. It’s common for teachers to pay for some classroom supplies out of pocket, and the tax code provides a special break that makes it a little easier for these educators to deduct some of their expenses.

2016 higher-education breaks can save your family taxes

2016 higher-education breaks can save your family taxesWas a college student in your family last year? Or were you a student yourself? You may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2016 return. To max out your higher education breaks, you need to see which ones you’re eligible for and then claim the one(s) that will provide the greatest benefit. In most cases you can take only one break per student, and, for some breaks, only one per tax return.

Deduction for state and local sales tax benefits some, but not all, taxpayers

Deduction for state and local sales tax benefits some, but not all, taxpayersThe break allowing taxpayers to take an itemized deduction for state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes was made “permanent” a little over a year ago. This break can be valuable to those residing in states with no or low income taxes or who purchase major items, such as a car or boat.

What the self-employed need to know about employment taxes

10_18_16-484956724_ITB_560x292.jpgIn addition to income tax, you must pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on earned income, such as salary and self-employment income. The 12.4% Social Security tax applies only up to the Social Security wage base of $118,500 for 2016. All earned income is subject to the 2.9% Medicare tax.

Boost your 2016 deductions by buying a business vehicle this year

09_26_16_505196475_SBTB_560x292.jpgIf you’re looking to boost your deductions — and reduce your 2016 tax bill — you may want to consider purchasing a business vehicle before year end. Business-related purchases of new or used vehicles may be eligible for Section 179 expensing, which allows you to immediately deduct, rather than depreciate over a period of years, some or all of the vehicle’s cost. But the size of your deduction will depend in part on the gross vehicle weight rating.