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CPAs SPECIALIZING IN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS


 

 

MONTHLY TAX NEWSLETTER - JANUARY 2000

An index and links to our previous months' newsletters can be found at oldnews.html

GOOD HABITS TO MINIMIZE YOUR INCOME TAX BURDEN

  1. Take full advantage of Roth IRAs and Education IRAs which grow TAX-FREE

  2. Contribute as much as possible to tax deferred accounts such as your 401(k), 403(b), SEP/IRAs, SIMPLE/IRAs, and Keogh Plans.

  3. Purchase "tax-efficient" mutual funds in your non-retirement accounts, and mutual funds that pay out a large dividend each year in your retirement accounts.

  4. Buy and hold quality stocks in your non-retirement accounts to take advantage of the reduced capital gains tax rate. If you trade stock on a short-term basis, consider doing so in your retirement accounts (understanding that, if you lose money, the losses may not be tax deductible.)

  5. Shift some of your income producing investments to your children, since the first $700 of earnings won't be taxed and the next $700 is taxed at only 15%. (You need to keep in mind how this might affect your financial aid that you might ultimately be eligible for.)

  6. Take advantage of your employer's flexible spending account to pay for $5,000 of your child's day care expenses with pre-tax dollars; especially if you only have one child in day care.

  7. If you're trying to save for your children's college education, look into making contributions to your state sponsored 529 Plan. Massachusetts and New Hampshire's programs are administered by Fidelity, Maine's is administered by Merrill Lynch, and New York's is adminstered by TIAA-CREF.

  8. When you make donations, consider donating appreciated property to the charitable organization. Gifts if appreciated property are deductible based on their fair market value on the date of the gift, and you, as the donor, do not need to recognize a gain on the asset donated. (Your other option is to sell the investment at a gain, pay taxes on the gain, and donate what's left over to the charity.)

  9. If you do not own your home, try to qualify for the home office deduction. Remember, rent is generally not otherwise deductible, and the rules concerning the home office deduction were changed as of 1999 making it easier for people to once again claim that deduction.


CALENDAR FOR THE YEAR 2000

Month

Income Taxes

Saving and Investing

 

 

January

  • 4th quarter 1999 estimate due 1/15/00

  • Receive W-2s and 1099s by 1/31/00

  • Our clients will receive their "Tax Organizer"

  • Need to review withholding for 2000

  • Establish savings and debt reduction goals for the year

  • Try to increase monthly contributions to your 401(k) or 403(b) plans

  • Set up to have $166 per month automatically transferred from your checking account into a Roth or Traditional IRA

February

  • Get a jump on your tax prep and call us by 2/29/00 to set up an appointment

  • Organize your tax information

  • Try to have holiday credit card balances paid off by 2/29/00

March

  • To have your returns completed by 4/15, please get us your information by 3/20/00

  • Use your tax refund to pay off some debts, fund an IRA, and/or invest.

 

 

April

  • Personal income tax returns are due 4/15/00

  • Request for automatic extension, Form 4868, due 4/15/00

  • 1st Quarter estimates due 4/15/00

  • Due date for funding your 1999 Roth or Traditional IRA is 4/15/00

  • Due date for self-employed individuals to fund their retirement plans is 4/15/00

  • Self-employed individuals who need additional time to fund a retirement plan should file a Form 4868 with the IRS

May

  • Good time to make semi-annual donation of clothing and household items to charitable organizations

June

  • 2nd quarter estimates due 6/15/00

  • Income tax returns for Ex-Patriots due 6/15/00

  • Determine if you are on track to meet the savings and debt reduction goals you set back in January

 

July

  • If you changed jobs, give us a call to discuss filling out new W-4 Forms

  • Send us the requested information for us to work through your 2000 income tax projection

  • Update your monthly cash flow budget

  • If your Keogh accounts are worth more than $100,000, Form 5500-EZ due by 7/31/00

 

August

  • Returns on extension are due 8/15/00

  • Requests for 2nd extension, Form 2688, due 8/15/00

  • Self-employed individuals who went on extension need to fund retirement plans by 8/15/00 or should file Form 2688

 

September

  • 3rd qtr estimates due 9/15/00

  • SIMPLE/IRAs need to be set up by 9/30

  • Good time to meet with insurance specialist to review your life & disability insurance

 

October

  • Returns on second extension due 10/15/00

  • Someone making $100,000 per year will go over the social security max of $76,200 this month

  • Deadline for re-characterizing a Roth IRA conversion is 10/15

  • Update your net worth statement using 9/30 information

 

 

November

  • Good time to make semi-annual donation of clothing and household items to charitable organizations

  • Need to make applicable elections in connection with employer's flexible spending account

  • Contact MDTAXES CPA to discuss any year end tax planning questions or strategies

  • Determine whether you should convert your IRAs to a Roth IRA

 

December

  • 4th qtr state estimates should be paid by 12/31 for people who itemize their deductionsl

  • Keogh plans must be established by 12/31

  • Education IRAs must be funded by 12/31

  • Last chance to maximize annual contribution to your 401(k) or 403(b) plan.


1999 & 2000 TAX FACTS

  • For 1999, the standard deduction for a single individual is $4,300 and for a married couple is $7,200. A person will benefit by itemizing once allowable deductions exceed the applicable standard deduction. Itemized deductions include state and local income taxes, real estate taxes, mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and unreimbursed employee business expenses.

  • For 1999, the personal exemption is $2,750. Individuals will claim a personal deduction for themselves, their spouse, and their dependents.
  • The maximum earnings subject to social security taxes has been increased to $76,200 in 2000 from $72,600 in 1999.
  • The standard mileage rate has been reduced to $.31 per mile as of April 1, 1999 from $.325 per mile previously.
  • The maximum annual contribution to a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan has been increased to $10,500 in 2000 from $10,000 for 1999.


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