Individual Tax Reform Headaches June ’19

Unexpected Refunds Or Taxes Due?

Many of my clients ended up with unexpected refunds or taxes due for 2018. Consequently, they made poor decisions during 2018 based on having or not having those funds. It is clear that the withholding rules are not working well. You don’t have to put up with this.

See me right not for a free half-hour consultation so that you know where you stand.

Standard deduction. Many taxpayers will be able to use their standard deduction for 2018 ($12,000 for singles and $24,000 for joint filers) instead of having to report itemized deductions (medical, mortgage interest, etc). However with my help you may be able to exceed the standard deduction. Look for some ideas below.

Beat Tax Reform. Tax reform changes limited or eliminated a number of my favorite itemized deductions from Schedule A. Get them back by converting these deductions to business deductions where they lower your self-employment tax.

Charitable deductions were not limited by Tax Reform so I encourage clients to take advantage of them.

Goodwill. Don’t cheat yourself on charitable gifts of household items like clothing, books and so on. i definitely would not trust the IRS values. Many online sources undervalue such gifts because they use thrift shop prices or the gifts of the average American. Most of my clients are not the average American. They pay more for such items so they are worth more. I can help you value such gifts! Get a receipt and keep information like that found in my Charitable Record. No one loses except the IRS!

Donate appreciated assets. donate appreciated traded securities you have held for more than one year and get a charitable deduction equal to the security’s current fair market value. Pay no tax on the long-term capital gain you would incur if you sold the property.

Seniors tax shelter: IRA charitable contribution. Get a charitable deduction and more even if you use the standard deduction. If you are at least 70 1/2 years old you may contribute directly from your IRA to a charity. The value of the contribution is not included in gross income. An added bonus is that the contribution counts as a required minimum distribution.


Magic! a Charitable Remainder Unitrust. The CRUT is a tax-exempt trust for the well to do client who has substantial appreciated investments, which would produce a lot of capital gain if sold. If instead, you contribute the investments to a CRUT, it can sell them tax-free and reinvest their full value. It can provide you income for your lifetime and thereafter distribute its assets to a charity of your choice. You get an immediate deduction for the present value of the delayed gift to the charity. A CRUT can make a great retirement vehicle.

The Community Foundation of Memphis for donations of $15,000 or more, can provide smaller versions of CRUT’s, “donor-advised funds” and more which give you some say so as to investments and charities to benefit and more.

About Wis Laughlin

I help clients with tax preparation and IRS representation, estate planning, and complex contracts, including LLC's. As a former IRS tax attorney in their National Office. picked Wis in 2017 and several prior years as one of the Top Tax and Estate Lawyers in Tennessee. I am your advocate, not your accountant. I don't tell you what you can't do. I show you how to do it.
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