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Tax Payment Deadline Delayed by 90 Days

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A Cost Segregation Study Is One Way to Boost Cash Flow

If your business is planning to buy, build or substantially improve real property, a cost segregation study can help you accelerate depreciation deductions, reducing your taxes and boosting your cash flow. Even if you’ve invested in real property in previous years, you may have an opportunity to do a lookback study and catch up on the deductions you missed.

How it works

Generally, commercial real property (other than land) is depreciable over 39 years, and residential real property is depreciable over 27.5 years. A cost segregation study identifies real estate components that are properly treated as personal property depreciable over, say, five or seven years, or land improvements depreciable over 15 years. By allocating a portion of your costs to these shorter-lived assets, you can accelerate depreciation deductions and substantially reduce your tax bill. And if these assets qualify for bonus depreciation, the tax savings can be even greater.

In some cases, assets that qualify as personal property are apparent. Examples include furniture, fixtures, equipment and machinery. But often, property eligible for accelerated depreciation is less obvious. For example, building components that ordinarily would be treated as real property depreciable over 39 years may be classified as five- or seven-year property if they’re essential to special business functions.

An example: A manufacturing company built a $20 million factory and placed it in service in June 2021. To accommodate its manufacturing processes, the design called for a reinforced foundation, specialized electrical and plumbing systems, and other structural components closely related to manufacturing functions.

A cost segregation study supports allocation of $6 million of the factory’s cost to these components, which are depreciable over seven years rather than 39 years. As a result, the company increases its depreciation deductions by approximately $774,000 in Year 1, $1.05 million in Year 2 and $895,000 in year three (not counting any available bonus depreciation).

Recovering deductions

Suppose you invested in a building several years ago but allocated the entire cost to real property. Depending on how much time has passed and the documentation you have available, it may be possible to conduct a lookback study and reallocate a portion of the cost to shorter-lived personal property. Applying to the IRS for a change in accounting method may allow you to claim a catch-up deduction for the extra depreciation deductions you missed over the years.

Is it right for you?

Are you wondering if a cost segregation study would pay off for your business? Your tax advisor can help you weigh the potential tax savings against the cost of a study.

© 2021

Watch Out for These Tax Changes in 2022

As you gear up for the 2022 tax filing season, there are some challenges and changes of which you should be aware.

1. Significant IRS Delays 

The tax bureau is incredibly overburdened due to understaffing, technology woes, and myriad complications arising from COVID-19 pandemic. “CPA tax professionals greeted the launch of tax season with skepticism that the IRS will be able to contend with its continuing logistical challenges,” explains a recent article from the Journal of Accountancy, “with taxpayers and their preparers likely to experience more frustration and delay.”

2. Rebate for the Third Economic Impact Payment 

Taxpayers who received no payment or partial payment of the $1,400 third stimulus payment can claim it on their 2021 tax return using the Recovery Rebate Credit. In order to know how much to claim, refer to Letter 6475 from the IRS (expected to go out in early 2022) which details the amount of your third stimulus payment. Alternatively, you can determine your stimulus payment amount using your IRS.gov online account.

3. Changes to the Child Tax Credit 

Firstly, the child tax credit increased significantly by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA)—it was raised from a maximum of $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child aged six or older and $3,600 for children under six. On top of that, half of the tax credit was paid in advance in installment payments to qualifying families in 2021.

Taxpayers who received advance monthly child tax credit payments should be on the lookout for Letter 6419 from the IRS detailing the total amount of payments that they received in 2021. If you received advance payments, there are three possible outcomes for these you:

  • You received the correct amount of advance payments. In this case, you simply need to report the advance payments you received and apply the remaining half of the child tax credit to your tax return.
  • You received less of an advance payment than you were entitled to. In this case, you will report the amount that you did receive and will then apply the remaining half of the child tax credit, plus the additional amount you are owed, to your tax return.
  • You were given more advance payment than you were entitled to. In this case, you will report the amount that you did receive and then your tax return will be lowered by the amount that you received in excess of what you were entitled to.

For further details on this topic, visit the 2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments FAQ on IRS.gov.

4. Deducting Charitable Contributions Without Itemizing

For 2021, taxpayers who take the standard deduction (rather than itemizing) can still deduct up to $300 for donations to qualifying charities ($600 for married couples filing jointly). Additionally, taxpayers who do itemize can claim charitable contribution deductions for cash contributions up to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI). Usually, the deduction is limited to 50% of AGI.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Ross Buehler Falk & Comapny tax advisor with any questions or concerns regarding the items listed above. We are eager to work with you to ensure that you maximize your return and minimize your tax burden.

What’s the Future for Measuring Employee Performance?

Yearly performance evaluations just might be heading out the door, according to a recent WorkHuman Analytics & Research Institute Survey. Findings reveal that these appraisals are less than effective and used less often. Based on select findings, 55 percent of employees responded that yearly evaluations don’t help them become better in their role. Almost as many, 53 percent, indicated that annual reviews recognize an employee’s complete workload. The survey also found that only 54 percent of businesses used annual reviews in 2019, compared to 82 percent of workers saying their employer used annual reviews in 2016.

According to Gallup, only 14 percent of workers responded positively that performance reviews motivated them to get better at their skill set. It also found that among businesses with 10,000 workers, time taken for performance evaluations reduced employee productivity by at least $2.4 million and up to $35 million. It also found that one-third of workers’ output and quality declined.

When it comes to traditional performance reviews, many employees believe they are run by managers with little regard for any employee input whatsoever. However, there are other ways to evaluate an employee: the worker can evaluate themselves; their co-workers can appraise them; or a combination of a self-, peer- and manager-focused assessment can be used.

As Harvard Business Review explains, since traditional performance reviews are mutually stressful for managers and their subordinates, there are a few recommendations to attempt to make it a more productive experience.

The first recommendation is to set initial, mutual expectations for the manager and employee. When the year begins, the business’ performance requirements should be detailed for the employee so that expectations are clear. By setting performance objectives with the employee, the manager and business will ensure that employees are answerable for their performance.

The second step is to prepare for the in-person evaluation as it gets closer to the meeting. Two weeks before the in-person evaluation, HBR recommends that workers and managers review their past accomplishments – good, bad, etc. Managers could also ask for objective co-workers’ assessments of the employee’s work to garner different perspectives on their performance.

Before a face-to-face meeting, give the employee the assessment to let them internalize it and let their emotions settle before the discussion. From there, the atmosphere should be established by the manager. When it comes to competent, high performers, managers should keep the reviews on the workers’ accomplishments and progression at the company, along with concerns they might have in their role. For poor performers, putting the focus on accountability and improved results is the recommended route.

Asking employees what’s working and what’s not working can be helpful for both manager and employee. It’s also recommended to point out what specific actions employees should take to keep improving, rather than using generalities.

Based on the evolution of how and where work is being conducted, it seems that the annual performance review needs to be re-evaluated and updated. Only time will tell how it will change, but based on what’s not working, it will evolve as the workplace moves deeper into the 21st century.

Sources

https://www.workhuman.com/press-releases/White_Paper_The_Future_of_Work_is_Human.pdf

https://hbr.org/2011/11/delivering-an-effective-perfor

Create a Healthcare Plan for Retirement

If you pay $250 a month for cable and premium channels, that’s $3,000 a year. Over a 30-year period, the total cost would be $90,000.

We don’t tend to think about how much we pay in regular expenses over the long term. However, that’s how various industry analysts report the cost of healthcare during retirement. Recent estimates for a retiring 65-year-old couple fall between $300,000 and $400,000 to cover healthcare expenses in retirement. At first glance, that’s an intimidating number and implies that pre-retirees need to have this much saved by the time they retire.

Fortunately, when you break down the numbers, that’s not the case. First of all, that estimate includes premiums for Medicare with prescription drug coverage, which is typically deducted from Social Security benefits before they ever hit your bank account. According to T. Rowe Price, Medicare premiums account for 76 percent to 82 percent of most retirees’ healthcare expenses, so a large portion of these costs are paid for outside of your household budget.

The true cost of retiree healthcare expenditures is based on how healthy you remain during retirement. And actually, that’s not necessarily related to savings – it’s more a combination of genetics and peoples’ penchant for healthy living before and during retirement. However, it’s always best to prepare for the worst, so the more money you save and earmark for healthcare expenses, the better off you’ll be.

One way to control your monthly premiums in retirement is to shop and compare Medicare plans each year during open enrollment. It helps to keep a running tab of your out-of-pocket expenses each year so that you can increase your Medicare coverage if your costs start trending higher. Higher coverage might mean higher premiums, but that will lower out-of-pocket costs each year.

The following guide was developed by T. Rowe Price. It estimates how much retirees spend based on different types of Medicare plans using 2021 premiums and data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Among retirees who enroll in either (1) Medicare Parts A, B, and D; (2) Medicare Advantage HMO and Drug Plan; or (3) Medicare Parts A, B, D, and Medigap:

  • 25 percent will pay less than $500/year in out-of-pocket expenses
  • 50 percent will pay less than $1,200/year in out-of-pocket expenses
  • 25 percent will pay more than $1,900/year in out-of-pocket expenses
  • 25 percent will pay more than $3,900/year in out-of-pocket expenses

As for paying those out-of-pocket expenses, remember that you pay them over time, so it’s not as if you’re paying a large lump sum all at once. One strategy is to fund a savings account with enough money to pay out-of-pocket expenses for the year, based on your prior year’s spending. Then replenish this account each year from other funding sources, such as an annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from a retirement account.

If you have access through your current health plan, pre-retirees can save for healthcare expenses with a health savings account (HSA). Contributions are tax deductible and, over time, you can invest your savings for earnings accumulation. These funds, including investment gains, are never taxed as long as they are used to pay eligible healthcare expenses. The account is particularly useful if you don’t tap it until retirement when the money can be used to pay for things like dental and vision care, hearing aids, long-term care insurance premiums, and nursing home costs.

Despite those alarming projections about how much healthcare will cost you in retirement, remember that it can be manageable because it is paid out over time.

How Can a Nonworking Spouse Qualify to Fund an IRA?

One of the fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that millions of people have dropped out of the workforce, particularly female workers with families. While they remain unemployed, these women will have lost the opportunity to build up their retirement nest egg through their employers’ retirement plans. However, those who are married have an option to accumulate retirement funds that will help make up for some of their lost retirement savings.

This frequently overlooked tax benefit is the spousal IRA. Generally, IRA contributions are only allowed for taxpayers who have compensation (the term “compensation” includes wages, tips, bonuses, professional fees, commissions, taxable alimony received, and net income from self-employment). Spousal IRAs are the exception to that rule and allow a nonworking or low-earning spouse to contribute to his or her own IRA, otherwise known as a spousal IRA, as long as his or her spouse has adequate compensation.

The maximum amount that a nonworking or low-earning spouse can contribute to either a traditional or Roth IRA (or a combination) is the same as the limit for a working spouse, which is $6,000 for 2021. If the nonworking spouse is 50 years or older, that spouse can also make “catch-up” contributions (limited to $1,000), raising the overall contribution limit to $7,000. These limits apply provided that the couple together has compensation equal to or greater than their combined IRA contributions.

Example: Tony is employed, and his W-2 for 2021 is $100,000. His wife Rosa, age 45, didn’t work during the year after deciding to care for their children at home due to their difficulty finding childcare providers. Since her own compensation of zero is less than the contribution limit for the year, Rosa can base her contribution on their combined compensation of $100,000. Thus, Rosa can contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA for 2021. Even if Rosa had done some part-time work and earned $2,500, she could still make a $6,000 IRA contribution.

The contributions for both spouses can be made either to a traditional or Roth IRA or split between them as long as the combined contributions don’t exceed the annual contribution limit. Caution: The deductibility of the traditional IRA and the ability to make a Roth IRA contribution are generally based on the taxpayer’s income:

  • Traditional IRAs – There is no income limit restricting contributions to a traditional IRA. However, if the working spouse is an active participant in any other qualified retirement plan, a tax-deductible contribution can be made to the IRA of the nonparticipant spouse only if the couple’s adjusted gross income (AGI) doesn’t exceed $198,000 in 2021. If the couple’s income is $198,000 to $208,000, only a partial deduction is allowed. Once their AGI reaches $208,000, no amount is deductible.
  • Roth IRAs – Roth IRA contributions are never tax-deductible. Contributions to Roth IRAs are allowed in full if the couple’s AGI doesn’t exceed $198,000 in 2021. The contribution is ratably phased out for AGIs between $198,000 and $208,000. Thus, no contribution is allowed to a Roth IRA for 2021 once the AGI exceeds $208,000.

Example: Rosa from the previous example can designate her IRA contribution as either a deductible traditional IRA or a nondeductible Roth IRA because the couple’s AGI is under $198,000. Had the couple’s AGI been $203,000, Rosa’s allowable contribution to a deductible traditional or Roth IRA would have been limited to $3,000 because of the phaseout. The other $3,000 could have been contributed to a traditional IRA and designated as nondeductible.

Contributions to IRAs for 2021 can be made no later than April 15, 2022.

Please give our office a call if you would like to discuss IRAs or need assistance with your retirement planning.

Strategic Preparation is Key to Selling Your Company

Many people dream of starting their own company, but if you’re one of the few who has turned their dream into reality, you know that it didn’t happen overnight. Making your business a success involved plenty of research, preparation, and hard work that you were happy to invest in. What few who are ready to move on realize is that selling requires almost the same amount of effort and planning.

Entrepreneurs intent on selling often want to move as quickly as possible: they may dread the emotional letdown and want to make a clean break, or they may be eager to move on to their next venture. Either way, the more preparation time you put in, the easier and more successful the process will be. Just as home sellers get a better price when they address maintenance issues and throw on a coat of paint before listing, your anticipatory activities will smooth the way for selling painlessly and profitably.

Where to start? You want to take a two-pronged approach, looking at what’s yours to make sure that you’re protected, and looking at the business as if you’re a potential buyer to ensure that everything is in order and is as appealing as possible. Here are our recommended steps:

  • Stay Tuned In to the Business
    Once you’ve made the decision to sell your business, there’s a natural tendency to mentally check out. You need to guard against this, even as you focus on the steps you need to pursue to get the process started and look to your next venture. The success of your sale relies on the company operating at the top of its game, and if you’re distracted or have a loss of interest, that’s not going to happen. Put as much effort into the company’s success as you approach its last day as you did in its first days.
  • Make Your Books — and Everything Else — Meticulous
    You may have all the numbers and figures in your head, but that’s no help to a potential buyer. They want – and need — to see the pertinent records, go over the books, and double-check to make sure that everything is running as swimmingly as you say it is. They also want to make sure no legal issues are lurking, or other surprise entanglements. Not only should you get caught up on your accounts, take the time to update all your other financials, get all equipment maintained, organize your inventory, and gather all pertinent paperwork into a clean package that you can present with pride. Doing so will paint a clear picture of your company as a good investment.
  • Ensure that Trademarks and Copyrights in Place
    You’ve built a brand, but have you secured it? If you haven’t secured a copyright, patent, trademark, or whatever other protection is suitable for your business, your most valuable asset may end up in someone else’s hands. If you’ve been gliding along without the help of an attorney then it’s past due time to hire one – even if you’re about to walk away.
  • Establish Your Exit Strategy
    Do you intend to just walk away once all the paperwork is signed, or do you want to continue to play a role in the business you created? There’s no right or wrong answer, but you need to figure it out before you start the sales process so you can present your plan as part of the package. Nothing will kill a deal faster than springing a previously unknown detail on a buyer whose plans don’t mesh with yours.

    Along the same lines, you need to consider what your post-ownership plan consists of. If you’ve already lined up a new gig that provides financial stability then you’re all set, but if not then your deal may need to include details of deferred payments, stock options, maybe even a consulting fee, or other paid position for a period of time. You also need to consider your tax liability from any gains you realize from the sale. If your company qualifies as a qualified small business you may be able to defer the federal tax on your capital gains.

  • Take A Good Look from the Buyer’s Perspective
    Once you’ve taken all of the steps to prepare for a sale and protect yourself, take a final hard look at what you’re putting on the market. Just as you’d walk through your house and give it a once-over before you have an open house, you need to scrutinize the way the company’s assets look from a potential buyer’s perspective to see if there’s anything else you could have done to optimize or reveal its appeal.

In addition to each of these steps you can pursue on your own, it is worth considering bringing in an expert to help you with valuation and the sales process. Not only will they guide you through what can be a challenging process, but they will also ensure that you haven’t overlooked any important legal requirements.

Advance Child Tax Credit and EIP Must Be Reconciled on Your 2021 Return

Early in 2021 Congress passed the American Rescue Plan which included a provision that increased the child tax credit amount and upped the age limit of eligible children. Normally, the credit was $2,000 per eligible child under age 17. For the 2021 tax year the American Rescue Plan increased the credit to $3,000 for each child under age 18 and to $3,600 for children under age 6 at the end of the year.

Even though the benefit of a tax credit traditionally isn’t available until after the tax return for the year has been filed, for 2021 the new tax law included a provision to get the credit benefit into the hands of taxpayers as quickly as possible and charged the Secretary of the Treasury with establishing an advance payment plan. Under this mandate, those qualifying for the credit would receive monthly payments starting in July equal to 1⁄12 of the amount the IRS estimated the taxpayer would be entitled to by using the information on the 2020 return. If the 2020 return had not been filed or processed yet by the IRS, the 2019 information was to be used.

However, since the IRS only estimated the amount of the advance payments, some taxpayers may have received too much and others not enough. Thus, the payments received must be reconciled on the 2021 tax return with the amount that each taxpayer is actually entitled to. Those who received too much may be required to repay some portion of the advance credit while some may be entitled to an additional amount.

To provide taxpayers with the information needed to reconcile the payments, the IRS has begun sending out Letter 6419, an end-of-year statement that outlines the payments received as well as the number of qualifying children used by the IRS to determine the advance payments. For those who filed jointly on their prior year return, each spouse will receive a Letter 6419 showing the advance amount received.

Do not discard the letter(s) from the IRS as they will be required to properly file 2021 returns.

Having received the advance credit payment, taxpayers will find their refunds will be substantially less than they may have expected, or they might even end up owing money on their tax return unless their AGI is low enough to qualify for the safe harbor repayment protection for lower-income taxpayers, in which case the excess advance repayment is eliminated or reduced.

Example: If a taxpayer received advance child tax credit payments for two children based on the 2020 return, and the taxpayer doesn’t claim both children as dependents in 2021, the taxpayer would need to repay the excess on their return, unless they are protected by the safe harbor provision.

It is also possible that one taxpayer could have received the advance child tax credit payments based on their 2020 return and not have to make a repayment under the safe harbor rule, while another taxpayer, who can legitimately claim the child, can get the credit on their 2021 tax return. This is most likely to happen when the parents are divorced. So, there’s the potential for the child tax credit to be received by both parents.

Economic Impact Payment (EIP) Letter – The IRS will begin issuing Letter 6475, regarding the third Economic Impact Payment, to EIP recipients in late January. This letter will EIP recipients determine if they are entitled to and should claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax year 2021 tax returns filed in 2022.

Letter 6475 only applies to the third round of Economic Impact Payments that were issued starting in March 2021 and continued through December 2021. The third round of EIPs, including the “plus-up” payments, were advance payments of the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit that would be claimed on a 2021 tax return. Plus-up payments were additional payments the IRS sent to people who received a third EIP based on a 2019 tax return or information received from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board or Dept. of Veterans Affairs; or to people who may be eligible for a larger amount based on their 2020 tax return.

Most eligible people already received the payments. However, those who are missing stimulus payments should review the information to determine their eligibility and whether they need to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit for tax year 2020 or 2021.

Like the advance CTC letter, the EIP letter includes important information that can help tax preparers quickly and accurately reconcile the Recovery Rebate Credit when preparing 2021 tax returns.

Please contact our office if you have questions regarding the Child Tax Credit or the Recovery Rebate Credit and the advance payments of either that you received.

When Can You Deduct Business-Related Meals . . . And How Much Can You Deduct?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) permanently eliminated deductions for most business-related entertainment expenses paid or incurred after 2017. For example, you can no longer deduct any of the cost of taking clients out for a round of golf, to the theater or for a football game. But the TCJA didn’t specifically address the meals, beverages and snacks that often accompany entertainment activities.

Then the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), which was signed into at law in December of 2020, temporarily increased the deduction for certain business-related meal expenses.

If you’re like many business owners today, you may not be sure what you can deduct or how much you can deduct. Here’s what you need to know.

A 100% deduction

The CAA allows taxpayers to deduct 100% of the cost of business-related food and beverage expenses incurred at restaurants in 2021 and 2022. In previous years, deductions for business meals at restaurants were limited to only 50% of the cost.

Under the new law, for 2021 and 2022, business meals provided by restaurants are 100% deductible, subject to the considerations identified in preexisting IRS regulations. IRS guidance in Notice 2021-25, released in April, defines “restaurants” for the purpose of this tax break to  include businesses that prepare and sell food or beverages to retail customers for immediate on-premises and/or off-premises consumption.

However, restaurants don’t include businesses that primarily sell pre-packaged goods not for immediate consumption, such as grocery stores and convenience stores. Additionally, an employer may not treat certain employer-operated eating facilities as restaurants, even if these facilities are operated by a third party under contract with the employer.

Pre-CAA regulations

In October 2020, the IRS issued final regulations which clarified that taxpayers could still deduct 50% of business-related meal expenses under the TCJA. These regs were written before the CAA change that allows 100% deductions for business-related restaurant meals provided in 2021 and 2022, but they still provide some useful guidance on the following issues:

Definition of food and beverage costsFood or beverages means all food and beverage items, regardless of whether they are characterized as meals, snacks, or other types of food and beverages. Food or beverage costs mean the full cost of food or beverages, including any delivery fees, tips and sales tax.

Treatment of food and beverages provided with entertainmentFor purposes of the general disallowance rule for entertainment expenses, the term “entertainment” includes food or beverages only if the food or beverages are provided at or during an entertainment activity (such as a sporting event) and the costs of the food or beverages aren’t separately stated.

Specifically, to be deductible, amounts paid for food and beverages provided at or during an entertainment activity must be:

  • Purchased separately from the entertainment, or
  • Stated separately on a bill, invoice or receipt that reflects the venue’s usual selling price for such items if they were purchased separately from the entertainment or the approximate reasonable value of the items.

Otherwise, the entire cost is treated as a nondeductible entertainment expense; the taxpayer can’t attempt to allocate costs between the entertainment and the food or beverages.

Treatment of business mealsUnder the final regs, a deduction is allowed for business-related food or beverages only if:

  • The expense isn’t lavish or extravagant under the circumstances,
  • The taxpayer or an employee of the taxpayer is present at the furnishing of the food or beverages, and
  • The food or beverages are provided to the taxpayer or a business associate.

A business associate means a person with whom the taxpayer could reasonably expect to engage or deal with in the active conduct of the taxpayer’s business such as a customer, client, supplier, employee, agent, partner or professional advisor — whether established or prospective.

Treatment of meals while traveling on businessUnder the final regs, the long-standing rules for substantiating meal expenses still applies and they can be deductible.

The regs also reiterate the long-standing rule that no deductions are allowed for meal expenses incurred for spouses, dependents or other individuals accompanying the taxpayer on business travel (or accompanying an officer or employee of the taxpayer on business travel), unless the expenses would otherwise be deductible by the spouse, dependent or other individual. For example, meal expenses for the taxpayer’s spouse would be deductible if the spouse works in the taxpayer’s unincorporated business and accompanies the taxpayer for business reasons.

Under the new law, for 2021 and 2022, meals provided by restaurants while traveling on business are 100% deductible, subject to the preceding considerations.

Need help?

There are additional circumstances under which your business can deduct 100% of the cost of meals, other food and beverages. Contact your tax advisor if you have questions or want more information.

© 2021

Working Remotely From “Out of State” Can Be Taxing

The COVID-19 pandemic has required many people to work remotely, either from home or a temporary location. One potential consequence of remote work may surprise you: an increase in your state tax bill.

During the pandemic, it’s been fairly common for people to work remotely from another state — across state lines from the employer’s place of business or even across the nation. If that describes your situation, you may need to file tax returns in both states, potentially triggering additional state taxes. But the outcome depends on applicable law, which varies from state to state.

Watch out for double taxation

Generally, a state’s power to tax a person’s income is based on concepts such as domicile and residence. If you’re domiciled in a state — that is, you have your “true, fixed permanent home” there — the state has the power to tax your worldwide income. A state also may tax your income if you’re a “resident.” Usually, that means you have a dwelling in the state and spend a minimum amount of time there.

It’s possible to be domiciled in one state but a resident of another, which may require you to pay taxes to both states on the same income. Many states offer relief from such double taxation by providing credits for taxes paid to other states. But it’s still possible for remote work to result in higher taxes — for example, if the state where your employer is based, and where you usually live, has no income tax but you work remotely from a state with an income tax.

A state also may be able to tax your income if it’s derived from a source within the state, even if you aren’t a resident or domiciliary. Several states have so-called “convenience rules”: If you’re employed by an organization in the state, but live and work in another state for your convenience (not because the job requires it), then you owe income tax to the state where the employer is based.

If that happens, you also may owe tax to the state where you reside, which may or may not be reduced by credits for taxes paid to the other state. Some states have agreed not to impose their taxes on remote workers who are present in their state as a result of the pandemic. But in many other states there’s a risk of double taxation.

Know your options

If you’ve worked remotely from out of state in 2021, consult your tax advisor to determine whether you’re liable for taxes in both states. If so, ask if there are steps you can take to soften the blow.

©2021

How to Get Your 2022 Finances in Order

Believe it or not, the New Year is here. If you’re trying to wrap your head around everything that’s ahead, one of the best things you can do is prepare yourself financially. Here are a few tasks you can get started on right away.

Look Back at 2021

Depending on how in-depth you want to go, this could take a couple of hours or more. That said, ask yourself these questions: Did you spend as planned? Where do you want to adjust, increase or decrease spending thresholds? What kind of unexpected expenses came up? How did you handle it? Think about what you’ll do for the upcoming year. When it comes to money, the cliché “hindsight is always 20/20” will often ring true.

Tackle Your Debt

If you want 2022 to be the year you become debt-free, it can happen. We’re talking about consumer debt, not your mortgage, rent, car payments, or any other necessities. A good strategy is to make a list of your credit cards, balances, and interest rates. Start with the account balances that are the highest and create a payment plan, then move down the list until you’re finished. Balance transfers to cards with zero interest (for a limited time) are a smart idea, too. Then freeze your spending for 30 days, or however long you need. It might take some time, but these days, financial freedom is well worth it.

Increase Your Retirement Funds

Good news: the maximum contribution limit for your 401(k)s increases by $1,000 in 2022 compared to 2021, for a total of $20,500. If you’re 50 or older, the limit is $27,000, which is great for those closer to retirement. If you can’t max out your contribution, just increasing it by one percent can have an incredible effect. According to calculations from Fidelity Investments, if you’re 35 and earning $60,000, this tiny bump could yield an additional $85,000 to your retirement fund over 32 years. That’s equal to putting aside $12 per week (how easy is that?), assuming a 5.5 percent return and consistent salary growth.

Create a Back-Up Plan

This probably isn’t something you want to think about, but it’s necessary should something happen to you. Take a few minutes to update the beneficiaries on all your financial accounts, including retirement, investment, and benefits accounts. Next, make sure you have a durable power of attorney, someone you trust to take care of all your monetary affairs. After this, designate a healthcare proxy or power of attorney, who can speak for you if you become incapacitated. Finally, update your will. Decide who will inherit your assets. If you have children, you can even assign guardians for them. In the long run, if the worst-case scenario unfolds, you’ll save your loved ones a lot of time and trouble.

Carve Out Time for a Life Audit

This task might sound big, but it’s necessary if you want to achieve your dreams – financial or otherwise. Start with a pen or pencil, about 100 sticky notes, a journal, and a large space, perhaps a door, board, or wall. Turn your phone off, then get started. Look back at your life. Assess where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’d like to go, then brainstorm. Do you want to save a certain amount of money this year? Put away some cash for a dream trip? Learn a language? When you think you’ve finished, organize your goals into three categories: personal, work/career, and money. After that, further, divide them into short-term and long-term goals. Take a photo of your notes and keep it near to remind yourself of what you’re trying to accomplish. More often than not, your dreams involve money, which is directly related to your priorities and how you budget.

Budget for 2022

Now that 2021 is in your rearview mirror (and perhaps you’ve even done a life audit), take what you’ve decided upon and create a budget you can live with. Then, download a budget app to keep you on track. If last year’s budget worked well and you’re already on your way to living your dreams, just hit “repeat.” If not, make changes. That said, no matter the status of your finances, it might be a good idea to increase your emergency fund, given all the uncertainty we’re facing in our world.

If you think about it, taking time in January to look closely at your finances is kind of like going to the doctor for your yearly checkup: You want to make sure there are no red flags you need to address. After all, your fiscal health might be as important as your physical health.

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/17/use-this-checklist-to-get-your-finances-in-order-before-2022.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/23/why-you-should-increase-your-401k-or-ira-contributions-by-1percent.html

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/save-more

https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/personal-finance/resolutions-dealing-with-debt