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The number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy has grown in recent years. In an August 2021 survey, the Pew Research Center found that 16% of Americans have earned money at some time through online gig platforms. This includes providing car rides, shopping for groceries, walking dogs, performing household tasks, running errands and making deliveries from a restaurant or store. There are tax consequences for the people...

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January 14, 2022

It’s difficult for many people to think about their mortality, so it’s not surprising to learn that many put off planning their own funerals. Unfortunately, this lack of planning may result in emotional turmoil for surviving family members when someone dies unexpectedly. Also, a death in the family may cause unintended financial consequences. Why not take matters out of your heirs’ hands? By planning ahead, as much as it may...

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January 12, 2022

Do you want to sell commercial or investment real estate that has appreciated significantly? One way to defer a tax bill on the gain is with a Section 1031 “like-kind” exchange where you exchange the property rather than sell it. With real estate prices up in some markets (and higher resulting tax bills), the like-kind exchange strategy may be attractive. A like-kind exchange is any exchange of real property held...

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January 10, 2022

After two years of no increases, the optional standard mileage rate used to calculate the deductible cost of operating an automobile for business will be going up in 2022 by 2.5 cents per mile. The IRS recently announced that the cents-per-mile rate for the business use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck will be 58.5 cents (up from 56 cents for 2021). The increased tax deduction partly reflects...

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January 07, 2022

Although your will or revocable trust governs the distribution of many or most of your assets, certain assets — such as retirement plans, insurance policies, and bank or brokerage accounts — require you to name a beneficiary (or beneficiaries). This can be an advantage, because when you die, the funds can pass directly to your beneficiaries without going through probate. But to avoid unpleasant surprises, it’s critical not only to...

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January 07, 2022

You may pay out a bundle in out-of-pocket medical costs each year. But can you deduct them on your tax return? It’s possible but not easy. Medical expenses can be claimed as a deduction only to the extent your unreimbursed costs exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Plus, medical expenses are deductible only if you itemize, which means that your itemized deductions must exceed your standard deduction. Qualifying costs...

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January 04, 2022

If you’re married and have children from a previous marriage plus children or stepchildren from your current marriage, your family is considered a blended family. And because you’ll likely wish to pass your wealth on to all of your biological children but also provide for your spouse and perhaps any stepchildren, estate planning can get tricky. Two estate planning strategies to consider involve a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust...

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January 04, 2022

If you’re paying back college loans for yourself or your children, you may wonder if you can deduct the interest you pay on the loans. The answer is yes, subject to certain limits. The maximum amount of student loan interest you can deduct each year is $2,500. Unfortunately, the deduction is phased out if your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds certain levels, and as explained below, the levels aren’t very...

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January 04, 2022