John D. Teter Law Offices

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San Jose, CA 95128

San Jose tax planning attorneyIf you are one of the millions of Americans who is saving for retirement, the IRS recently announced some good news for you. Starting in 2019, you can contribute more money to certain retirement accounts, including IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, most 457 plans, and the Thrift Savings Plan for federal workers. These changes will allow many people to save more money for retirement, and more tax deductions will be available.

Changes to Contribution Limits and Deductions

With this change, the IRS has increased the annual IRA contribution limit for the first time since 2013. The IRS also announced rules that make it easier to qualify for a Roth IRA as well as to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA. The changes include:

  • With respect to the contribution limits to IRAs and Roth IRAs, the limit in 2019 is $6,000. That is a $500 increase from years prior.
  • An extra $500 can be contributed to 401(k)s, 403(b)s, most 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plans. The new limit is $19,000 in 2019.

Starting in 2019, more people will be eligible for Roth IRAs. These IRAs have the distinct advantage of tax-free distributions during retirement. Only those under certain income levels qualify for a Roth IRA.

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San Jose tax law attorneyEven though Tax Day for most people is in April, it is important to think about your taxes throughout the year. Reviewing tax information such as your withholding amounts and making sure you are keeping appropriate records as the year progresses are prudent measures that can save you money and trouble once Tax Day arrives.

If this is something that you have not thought a lot about, or if you discover an issue with your taxes, you should contact a tax attorney as soon as possible. It may still be early enough to correct course and resolve the issue before the end of the year.

Is it Time to Check Your Paycheck Withholdings?

With the recent revisions to the tax code made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the IRS encourages taxpayers to conduct a “paycheck check up” to review how much taxes are being withheld from your paycheck. The IRS provides a withholdings calculator to help you determine what the proper amount should be. If you need to adjust your withholdings, you can fill out a new W-4 form.

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San Jose capital gain tax incentive lawyerA new federal initiative seeks to infuse low-income areas with investments for new projects and enterprises by offering tax breaks to investors. Opportunity Zones were added to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017.

Under the new rules, Qualified Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts selected by state governors and certified by the Department of the Treasury. A Qualified Opportunity Fund is an investment vehicle that invests at least 90 percent of its capital in Opportunity Zones. 

How Do Opportunity Zones Incentivize Investors?

When an investor makes a gain from selling a capital asset to an unrelated party, the investor can put the amount of the gain into a Qualified Opportunity Fund and defer payment of capital gain tax. This step must be taken within 180 days of the disposition of the sale or exchange.

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What You Need to Know About Taxes When Renting a Residence Seasonally

San Jose, CA tax lawyer property rentalWebsites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway make it easier than ever to generate income by renting out a private residence, meeting the huge demand for home rentals, especially during the summer months when people go on vacation. However, the income collected from rental of a residence is typically subject to taxation, and there are special tax rules that must be followed. If you are a homeowner who plans to rent your property seasonally, you should be sure to understand whether your situation meets certain IRS requirements for taxation. 

Residential Rental Property Defined

The first step in determining how rental income will be taxed is understanding if the property you are renting is a residential rental property under the definition provided by the IRS. A dwelling will be classified as a residence if it is utilized for personal purposes during the tax year for 14 days, or for 10 percent of the total number of days the residence has been rented to tenants at its fair rental value, whichever is greater. Personal use could include the use of the dwelling by:

  • Anyone who owns a part of the dwelling;
  • Any family members of anyone who owns the property in whole or in part (unless the family member uses the dwelling as his or her primary residence and pays fair rental value to the owner);
  • Anyone who uses the property as part of an arrangement that allows the owner to use a different dwelling; or
  • Anyone who uses the property after receiving a discount that results in that person paying less than the property’s fair rental value.

Income, Deductions, and Other Considerations

According to the IRS, rental income includes regular and advance rent payments, penalties for lease cancellation, and expenses paid to the property owner by the renter. This income generally must be reported each year. 

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California offshore tax attorney, Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, report foreign assets, unreported foreign assets, avoid criminal prosecutionThe IRS will soon be ending its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program for undisclosed foreign assets. Failure to utilize this disclosure program by the date of its termination on September 28, 2018, means that taxpayers who have not reported foreign assets can no longer do so with assurance of avoiding criminal prosecution.

What is the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program?

The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) was developed as a way for taxpayers to come into compliance with fewer legal consequences in situations where the taxpayer had previously not disclosed foreign assets and the income generated on those assets. The OVDP has existed in some iteration since 2009.

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