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If you recently redeemed frequent flyer miles to treat the family to a fun summer vacation or to take your spouse on a romantic getaway, you might assume that there are no tax implications involved. And you’re probably right — but there is a chance your miles could be taxable. Usually tax free As a general rule, miles awarded by airlines for flying with them are considered nontaxable rebates, as...

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August 30, 2016

Many expenses that may qualify as miscellaneous itemized deductions are deductible only to the extent they exceed, in aggregate, 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Bunching these expenses into a single year may allow you to exceed this “floor.” So now is a good time to add up your potential deductions to date to see if bunching is a smart strategy for you this year. Should you bunch into...

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August 29, 2016

If you go on a business trip within the United States and tack on some vacation days, you can deduct some of your expenses. But exactly what can you write off? Transportation expenses Transportation costs to and from the location of your business activity are 100% deductible as long as the primary reason for the trip is business rather than pleasure. On the other hand, if vacation is the primary...

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August 17, 2016

For anyone who takes a spin at roulette, cries out “Bingo!” or engages in other wagering activities, it’s important to be familiar with the applicable tax rules. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk for interest or penalties — or missing out on tax-saving opportunities. Wins You must report 100% of your wagering winnings as taxable income. The value of complimentary goodies (“comps”) provided by gambling establishments must also...

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August 15, 2016

Giving away assets during your life will help reduce the size of your taxable estate, which is beneficial if you have a large estate that could be subject to estate taxes. For 2016, the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption is $5.45 million (twice that for married couples with proper estate planning strategies in place). Even if your estate tax isn’t large enough for estate taxes to be a concern,...

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August 09, 2016