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By Jaclyn Felder-Strauss, Full-Time Faculty School of Business Published February 2015
Each year taxpayers and tax preparers along with Certified Public Accountants sit on pins and needles waiting to hear whether Congress, the House of Representative, and finally the President approve, deny, or extend certain tax deductions. The decisions made are game changers for many people when it comes to their potential tax liability due on the following April 15 which is the deadlines for payment of the previous year’s tax liability. There were a number of tax extenders approved for individuals for the 2014 tax year. Some are more commonly and widely utilized then others and will be highlighted in this article.
One tax extender for the 2014 year includes the extension of deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers, providing for a $250 above-the-line deduction for certain approved expenses by teachers. (IRC Section 62(a)(2)(D). Another popular exclusion that has been extended includes the allowance to exclude from gross income for discharge of qualified principal residence indebtedness. This is a widely utilized exclusion due to the downfall in the real estate market over the past several years from which we are still feeling the effects. With this extension homeowners that found themselves having to sell or short sell their home will not be taxed on the money that was relieved by their sales arrangement. This can be a huge savings in tax liability for these taxpayers. (IRC Section 108(a)1(E).
The extension of deduction of state and local general sales taxes allows for an itemized deduction for these taxes. This extension specifically assists taxpayers in states that do not have state income tax. Although taxpayers in states such as Florida and Texas do not pay state income tax, they also miss out on the state tax deduction. With this extension taxpayers in these states will be granted an itemized deduction based on state sales tax instead. (IRC Section 164(b)(5)).
Finally, a commonly utilized deduction related to tuition and related expenses has been extended. This extension allows for an above-the-line deduction of up to $4,000 for individual filers. (IRC Section 222). Above-the-line deductions are the most valuable deduction offered by the IRS because it allows for a dollar-for-dollar reduction of tax liability. This is great news for qualified students with tuition and related expenses.
There were also a number of Business Tax Extenders that were signed into law that may be worth looking into, along with the creation of a new form of tax free savings account called an ABLE account. This newly created option is similar to the Section 529 account but specifically caters to those diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26. The money must be saved for and utilized for things such as education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, legal fees, and funeral expenses.
In summary, it appears that the majority of those tax savings offered in the 2013 tax year have been resigned into law and will be offered in the 2014 year. This is a positive move for taxpayers, and careful planning and preparation for filing should be considered before jumping into the actual preparation of the 2014 tax return. Jaclyn Felder-Strauss, CPA, is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
This article serves and general information and should not be relied upon as official tax advice. For tax application to your individual situation you want to be sure to consult your personal professional accountant and tax advisor.Citations IRS website. (IRC Section 62(a)(2)(D), (IRC Section 108(a)1(E), (IRC Section 164(b)(5)), (IRC Section 222). Online at irs.gov (accessed 2014).Gleckman, Howard. 2014. Are Tax-Free ABLE Accounts The Right Financial Solution For People With Disabilities? Online at http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2014/12/04/are-tax-free-able-accounts-the-right-financial-solution-for-people-with-disabilities/ (accessed December 28, 2014).
Bloomberg BNA, http://taxandaccounting.bna.com (accessed December 20, 2014).
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Geoffrey Vanderpal, Full-Time Faculty
By Richard Carter, PhD
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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Maylee talks about her experiences with Kaplan Financial Education and preparing for her exams.
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