Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

California’s New College Access Tax Credit

California recently passed a new personal and corporate California tax credit called the College Access Tax Credit (CATC). If you donate to the College Access Tax Credit Fund, you can offset your California taxes by 60% (for 2014) of the amount of the donation. In addition, the donation qualifies as a charitable deduction on your …

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Business Use of a Vacation Home

Recently, a client came to me with a question. My clients’ primary residence is in Arizona, but they also own a beach house in California. The office of an important business connection is just blocks away from the beach house. The clients and their family visit the beach house often. While there, they meet with …

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When Happily Ever After Isn’t: Innocent Spouse Relief

The union of two people in life generally comes with optimism for the future; a hope for the life that will be “happily ever after”. Reality however, can sometimes have a different agenda. There are situations where one spouse or ex-spouse finds themselves on the wrong side of the IRS for a jointly filed tax …

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UPDATE: 2015 Change to Exemption for Arizona Retail Sales to Out-of-State Buyers

The Arizona Department of Revenue has released additional information on the effective 1/1/2015 change to the retail sales tax exemption for sales to out of state buyers after the amendment of Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 42-5061.A.14. Under prior law, the exemption for sales to out of state buyers included language that made tangible personal …

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Going to School? Get a Break with the American Opportunity Tax Credit

Sending a child to school is expensive. Really expensive. I have 2 sons in college and the costs of tuition, books, and extracurricular activities add up quickly. Fortunately, there are tax credits you can take advantage of to help offset the rising cost of education. If you, your spouse, or dependents are currently attending or …

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Establishing that Debt is Bona Fide Debt

Recently, there have been a number of cases disallowing bad debt deductions, particularly for loans to shareholders and related parties. If a related party loan becomes worthless, it is treated no differently from a debt to an unrelated party. Of course, this assumes the related party loan meets the bona fide debt standard. In order …

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Going to the Chapel… Wedding Tax Tips

Planning that big wedding this summer? While taxes may not be high on your list of things to do before you walk down the aisle, be aware of the tax issues that come along with your marriage. Name change: The name and Social Security number on your tax return must match your Social Security Administration …

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Tax-Free Student Aid vs. Education Credit

The American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits were created to subsidize the cost of college education. Generally, the credits are based on qualified costs of education, namely, college tuition and fees, books, supplies and equipment. Those qualified costs must be reduced, however, by the amount of any tax-free student aid received, such as scholarships …

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Mid-Year Tax Planning Tips

Summer is the perfect time to begin your year-end tax planning so that you have time to identify the strategy (or strategies) that work for you and implement them well before year end. Try to avoid the new 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). It only affects higher-income individuals, but that can include anyone who …

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Proposed Simplification of Education Tax Breaks: The Good and the Bad

With the cost of education climbing and more students graduating with record student loan debt, many college students and families unintentionally miss out on education tax breaks because of the complexity of tax-based student aid. In 2013, families with college students could benefit from the American Opportunity Credit (AOTC), the Lifetime Learning Credit, or the …

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