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San Jose, CA property tax assessment attorneyIn the face of receiving dramatic annual increases in property tax bills, in 1978, California voters passed Proposition 13, which has limited the rate of property tax increases for the past 40 years, so long as certain criteria are met. 

About Prop. 13

Prop. 13 limits property tax increases to 1 percent of the property’s assessed value. Assessed value cannot be increased more than 2 percent per year. Prop. 13 also provides that property taxes may include any bond payments or special assessments as approved by voters. All special assessments must receive a two-thirds vote. Importantly, a key provision of Prop. 13 for tax planning purposes is that properties will only be reassessed after an ownership transfer or if substantial improvements have been made to the property.

Efforts to Change Prop. 13

Recently, the voters of California rejected an effort to expand protections for property owners as set forth in Proposition 5. Prop. 5 would have allowed some homeowners to take lower property taxes with them when moving.

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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, CA small business tax credit lawyerThe federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has brought sweeping changes to many areas of tax law. One change that might have been overlooked by businesses is that employers are now eligible for a tax credit if they offer certain kinds of paid family and medical leave to full and part-time workers. If you act before the end of this year, you may be able to qualify for this tax credit.

Qualifying for Tax Credits

Eligible businesses that enact qualifying paid family leave programs or amend existing ones by the end of this year will be able to claim the employer credit. This tax credit will be available for tax years 2018 and 2019. The credit is retroactive to the beginning of the business’ 2018 tax year for qualifying leave already given.

To qualify for the tax credit, employers must meet the following requirements:

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San Jose small business tax deduction attorneyThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 has made many significant changes to tax laws that affect both individuals and small businesses. Understanding how these changes will affect the taxes a business owner must pay and the deductions they are allowed to take can help avoid tax penalties or audits. 

One area affected by the TCJA is the allowance for deductions for business expenses. This change went into effect for the 2018 tax year. 

Entertainment and Meal Expense Deductions

Business owners should understand that the TCJA removed the deduction for any expenses incurred by a business involving activities generally considered entertainment, amusement, or recreation. Previously, a company was typically allowed a deduction of up to 50 percent of entertainment expenses. To qualify for this deduction, the expense had to relate directly to the active performance of a business or trade. Common examples of ways a business would claim this deduction were for sporting event tickets or club memberships. Under the new rules, these expenses are now non-deductible.  

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