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There’s Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2021

Making a last-minute contribution to an IRA may help you reduce your 2021 tax bill. If you qualify, your traditional IRA contribution may be tax deductible. And if you had low to moderate income and meet eligibility requirements, you may also be able to claim the Saver’s Credit for 2021 based on your contributions to … Read more

2022 Key Numbers

A popular tool, the 2022 Key Numbers document is a comprehensive list of tax bracket and deductions information to assist you as you consider your financial plan for the year. It contains the relevant numbers for:

Individual Income Tax Planning: Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), Charitable deductions, Child tax credit, Classroom expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers, Earned income tax credit (EITC), Expatriation, Foreign earned income, Itemized deductions, Kiddie tax, Medicare tax (additional payroll tax and unearned income contribution tax), Nanny tax, Personal exemption amount, “Saver’s Credit,” Standard deductions, Standard mileage rates, 2022 Federal Income Tax Rate Schedules (Individuals, Trusts, and Estates), 2021 Federal Income Tax Rate Schedules (Individuals, Trusts, and Estates), Adoption Assistance Programs

Business Planning: Earnings subject to FICA taxes (taxable wage base), Health insurance deduction for self-employed, Qualified transportation fringe benefits, Section 179 expensing, Small business tax credit for providing health-care coverage, Standard mileage rate (per mile), Special additional first-year depreciation allowance

Education Planning: American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, Coverdell education savings accounts, Deduction for qualified higher education expenses, Deduction for student loan interest, Gift tax exclusion, Kiddie tax, U.S. savings bonds interest exclusion for college expenses;

Protection Planning: Eligible long-term care premium deduction limits, Per diem limit, Archer Medical Savings Accounts, Flexible spending account (FSA) for health care, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Estate Planning: 2021 and 2022 gift and estate tax rate schedule

Government Benefits:Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Retirement Planning: Employee/individual contribution limits, Employer contribution/benefit limits, Compensation limits/thresholds

Investment Planning: Maximum tax on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, Unearned income Medicare contribution tax (“net investment income tax”)

 

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Ballast Advisors is a fee-based financial planning firm.  Our financial advisors serving the Twin Cities and Southwestern Florida can help you reach your retirement and financial goals.  Our offices are located in Woodbury, MN, Arden Hills, MN and Punta Gorda, FL.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice. The third-party material presented is derived from sources Ballast Advisors consider to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Nothing contained herein is an offer to purchase or sell any product. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Ballast Advisors reserve the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs. Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request

4 Questions If You’re Thinking About Retiring to Punta Gorda

If retirement is on your mind, Realtor.com recently ranked Punta Gorda as the number one of the  top 10 hottest retirement spots for baby boomers in the country. In fact, Southwest Florida is one of the fastest growing regions in the country according to data from the US Census Bureau.  Its warm weather, beaches, and lack of state income tax make Punta Gorda a popular choice for retirement.

Here are a few quick tips from Punta Gorda retirement planning professionals in wealth management, estate planning and guardianship management, who offer localized expertise to consider as you solidify your plans for relocation.

Have you reviewed and updated your budget?

Life in Punta Gorda is fun, and retirees tend to live a pretty active lifestyle. It’s a growing community with lots of activities. Downtown Punta Gorda has experienced a revitalization in recent years and offers an increasing number of restaurants, and new things to explore and enjoy.  

Will you join a golf or yacht club, or other social club? Do you foresee dining out more? The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce has a great directory of things to do.  

“Social memberships are common expenses for retirees,” says Scott Peterson, wealth advisor at Ballast Advisors in Punta Gorda.

“HOA (Homeowner’s Association) fees can be all over the board from $300-$900 month, depending on what type of community you want to live in.  These can be big expenses my clients need to factor in their plan.”

Like moving to any new town, moving to Punta Gorda can mean change in cost of living. Consider this among any new expenses you might have, as well as what you can let go (like that snow removal service) in revising your personal financial plan.

plant growing out of coins with filter effect retro vintage style

Do you understand the tax implications in relocating?

Even with a strong financial plan in place, your move to Punta Gorda could have tax implications you need to consider.

 “Take State income tax for example. Moving to a state, like Florida, that does not have state income tax, can potentially save you thousands of dollars in taxes, “ says Peterson. “Clients moving from a state that does have a significant state income tax, to a state like Florida that does not have state income tax, should adjust their Financial Plan.”

“Hypothetically, say a married couple moves from MN, an income tax state, to FL, a no income tax state, and together will earn a taxable income of $80,000 annually. Moving to FL could potentially save this couple nearly 5K annually or approximately $416 per month based on the 2018 Tax Rates. This extra money could be helpful to pay those extra-curricular expenses that often come along in retirement,” Peterson adds.

Although not having to pay state income tax can potentially save you a lot of money in taxes, there are other things to consider when adjusting your financial plan for a move to a state without income tax. For example, some states without income tax might ask residents to pay more sales tax on groceries, clothes or other goods, or ask homeowners to pay more on their property taxes.

See Related Post: Your Home as a Source of Dollars in Retirement

Who will your support system be?  

As exciting as moving to a new location can be, it also can mean moving away from primary family members who may act as a support system for various things, including emergency situations when someone may need to act on your behalf for finances or health concerns. Many times these responsibilities are given to a spouse or child, however not everyone has or prefers this option. 

“Among retirees in Florida, there are a significant number who gradually lose the capacity to manage finances, make decisions or act in a timely manner to safeguard their own health and welfare, ” says Robin Vazquez of Estate Guardianship and Management Services in Punta Gorda. “It’s critical for retirees to work with their families, financial advisors and/or estate attorneys to appoint representatives for power of attorney, healthcare directives, and  trustees in advance. As a last resort, in Florida the court is empowered to appoint guardians like us for adults who are unable to manage their affairs for their own benefit.”

family spending time at seaside

Have you reviewed your estate plan against Florida laws?

Your will, trust and or estate plan is really an extension of your overall financial plan. The plans you make for your wealth throughout your lifetime and ultimately how it should pass on to the next generation is just as important, and state laws may differ when it comes to your will and your estate plan.

Attorney, Dean Hanewinckel who wrote the book “The Official Snowbirds Guide to Becoming a Florida Resident,” says it’s important to review how Florida laws could impact your estate plan. 

“Florida has very strict and unusual laws regarding the distribution of homestead after a person’s death.  If you are married, and haven’t planned properly, you can only leave the homestead to your spouse. This can wreak havoc on the estate plans of couples in second marriages who only want to leave their estate to their children,” says Hanewinckel.  “This can also cause problems with couples who have set up A-B Trusts to minimize or avoid estate taxes.” 

Taking the extra step to review your previous will, trust, estate plan and power of attorney with an experienced professional to the local area will ensure nothing falls through the cracks in accordance with Florida law.

Planning for Peace

Even though making a large life change like moving and retirement can be a lot to factor, putting a few of these best practices in place (before you need them), will give you peace of mind and you can fully enjoy all Punta Gorda and Charlotte County has to offer.

See Related Link: Retirement planning in Punta Gorda and Southwest Florida

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The opinions expressed are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass.  Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request. The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice

1040 Postmortem: Making Sense of Your Taxes and Withholding

An estimated 65% of U.S. households paid less in federal income taxes in 2018, whereas 29% paid about the same and 6% paid more.

Source: Tax Policy Center, 2019

 The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which passed in December 2017, made fundamental changes to the U.S. tax code, and 2018 returns were the first time most taxpayers could see the practical impact of these changes.

In an April 2019 Gallup poll, 43% of Americans said they were unsure how the new tax law affected them personally. Surprisingly, 21% thought their federal income taxes went up in 2018, and 21% said they were about the same. Only 14% of respondents reported that their taxes went down, even though independent analyses and preliminary tax filing data suggested that about two-thirds of Americans would owe less in federal taxes in 2018.1-2

One reason for this apparent confusion might be because taxpayers tend to pay little attention to employer withholding, and any potential increase in take-home pay may have been less noticeable when divided into weekly (or biweekly) paychecks. It’s also possible that many respondents didn’t take the time to compare their tax burdens to the previous year and/or may not know how to do so. Despite a stated effort to simplify the federal withholding and tax filing process, the tax code is still complex, and many taxpayers don’t understand the details and terminology.

Stay on top of withholding

About 73% of 2018 tax returns showed a refund, averaging $2,725.3 The amount of your refund or the amount you owe with your return has little to do with your overall tax burden. These numbers reflect whether your withholding and/or estimated tax payments during the year were more or less than your final tax bill.

In theory, your withholding should equal your tax liability; otherwise you are loaning your money interest-free to the government. But IRS formulas tend to err on the high side, partly because people usually dislike owing a balance and are often happy to receive a tax refund.

Employers estimate your federal tax bill based on the number of exemptions claimed on your W-4 Form and on IRS calculation tables. The IRS rather quickly released 2018 calculation tables reflecting the new rates and rules. However, the agency did not replace the W-4 Form and worksheet, which are based on exemptions, deductions, and credits that were reduced or eliminated under the new tax law.

This resulted in smaller refunds or higher tax bills than expected for some taxpayers, especially dual-income households with more complicated situations. The Treasury estimated that 21% of taxpayers would be subject to underwithholding because of the TCJA, compared with 18% if the tax law provisions had not changed.4

If you owed a large amount of money for 2018, bumping up your withholding now could help avoid a similar fate next April. You might also reevaluate your withholding If you received a large refund. You could make larger retirement contributions instead or take home more of your pay and put it to better use.

It’s also a good idea to review your withholding whenever something changes in your life — such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, new job, or other significant change in your financial situation.

The IRS (irs.gov) has an up-to-date, online calculator that can help you determine the appropriate amount of withholding. You still need to complete and submit a current W-4 to your employer to make any adjustments. An all-new W-4 Form for the 2020 tax year is in the works but isn’t expected to be available to employers until later in 2019.

Measuring the impact

How you fared under the TCJA depends on a variety of factors, such as how much you earned, your filing status, the ages of your dependents, and where you live. Undertaking a thorough side-by side comparison of your 2017 and 2018 returns could help you identify changes that affected your bottom line. Be sure to note differences in your allowed deductions, taxable income, and total tax liability.

New marginal tax brackets are likely to mean that much of your income is taxed at lower rates. But other provisions may add to or reduce that benefit.

Standard deduction amounts for 2018 roughly doubled to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly. However, personal exemptions ($4,050 in 2017) for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents are no longer available. The expanded child tax credit may offset the loss of exemptions for many taxpayers, but the math may not work out in your favor if you’re a family of four or more.

A number of tax deductions commonly used by high earners have also been modified, capped, or eliminated. For example, the itemized deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) is now limited to $10,000 ($5,000 if married filing separately). This provision caused tax increases for some taxpayers in high-tax states. On the other hand, the overall limit on itemized deductions that applied to higher-income taxpayers (commonly known as the “Pease limitation”) was repealed, and fewer taxpayers are subject to the alternative minimum tax.

You might also consult a tax professional who can explain the relevant changes and recommend potential strategies to help reduce your tax liability for 2019.

What if you owe money and can’t pay?

If you didn’t file your 2018 federal income tax return because it’s going to show a balance due, you should file your return immediately and pay as much as you can afford. This can help limit penalties and interest, and being up-to-date on filing is generally required to pursue a payment agreement with the IRS.

If you owe $50,000 or less, you may even be able to apply for a short-term extension (up to 120 days) or a longer payment agreement online. Interest and penalties continue to accrue on unpaid amounts.

1) Gallup, April 12, 2019
2) The New York Times, April 14, 2019
3) Internal Revenue Service, April 12, 2019
4) U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2018
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

 

There’s Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2018

 

 

Making a last-minute contribution to an IRA may help you reduce your 2018 tax bill. If you qualify, your traditional IRA contribution may be tax deductible. And if you had low to moderate income and meet eligibility requirements, you may also be able to claim the Savers Credit for 2018 based on your contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA. Claiming this nonrefundable tax credit may help you reduce your tax bill and give you an incentive to save for retirement. For more information, visit irs.gov.

You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2018 ($6,500 if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2018). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2018 is April 15, 2019 (April 17 for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts).

 

 

Even though tax filing season is well under way, there’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2018. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2018 ($6,500 if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2018). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2018 is April 15, 2019 (April 17 for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts).

You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don’t exceed the annual limit (or, if less, 100% of your earned income). You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2018, even if your spouse didn’t have any 2018 income.

Traditional IRA

You can contribute to a traditional IRA for 2018 if you had taxable compensation and you were not age 70½ by December 31, 2018. However, if you or your spouse was covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2018, then your ability to deduct your contributions may be limited or eliminated, depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). (See table below.) Even if you can’t make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, you can always make a nondeductible (after-tax) contribution, regardless of your income level. However, if you’re eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, in most cases you’ll be better off making nondeductible contributions to a Roth, rather than making them to a traditional IRA.

2018 income phaseout ranges for determining deductibility of traditional IRA contributions:
1. Covered by an employer-sponsored plan and filing as:Your IRA deduction is reduced if your MAGI is:Your IRA deduction is eliminated if your MAGI is:
Single/Head of household$63,000 to $73,000$73,000 or more
Married filing jointly$101,000 to $121,000$121,000 or more
Married filing separately$0 to $10,000$10,000 or more
2. Not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but filing joint return with a spouse who is covered by a plan$189,000 to $199,000$199,000 or more

Roth IRA

You can contribute to a Roth IRA even after reaching 70½ if your MAGI is within certain limits. For 2018, if you file your federal tax return as single or head of household, you can make a full Roth contribution if your income is $120,000 or less. Your maximum contribution is phased out if your income is between $120,000 and $135,000, and you can’t contribute at all if your income is $135,000 or more. Similarly, if you’re married and file a joint federal tax return, you can make a full Roth contribution if your income is $189,000 or less. Your contribution is phased out if your income is between $189,000 and $199,000, and you can’t contribute at all if your income is $199,000 or more. And if you’re married filing separately, your contribution phases out with any income over $0, and you can’t contribute at all if your income is $10,000 or more.

2018 income phaseout ranges for determining eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA:
 Your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is reduced if your MAGI is:Your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is eliminated if your MAGI is:
Single/Head of household$120,000 to $135,000$135,000 or more
Married filing jointly$189,000 to $199,000$199,000 or more
Married filing separately$0 to $10,000$10,000 or more

Even if you can’t make an annual contribution to a Roth IRA because of the income limits, there’s an easy workaround. If you haven’t yet reached age 70½, you can make a nondeductible contribution to a traditional IRA and then immediately convert that traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to aggregate all traditional IRAs and SEP/SIMPLE IRAs you own — other than IRAs you’ve inherited — when you calculate the taxable portion of your conversion. (This is sometimes called a “back-door” Roth IRA.)

Finally, if you make a contribution — no matter how small — to a Roth IRA for 2018 by your tax return due date and it is your first Roth IRA contribution, your five-year holding period for identifying qualified distributions from all your Roth IRAs (other than inherited accounts) will start on January 1, 2018.

 
 

 

 



 Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. 

 

Ballast Blog: Qualifying for the Home Office Deduction

Qualifying for the Home Office Deduction 

Working from home can certainly provide you with personal benefits, such as a flexible schedule and more family time. But increasing numbers of people are discovering the tax advantages as well. It’s no secret that you generally can’t deduct certain personal expenses (e.g., homeowners insurance, utilities, and home repairs) on your federal income tax return. But if you’re using part of your home as a home office, you may be able to write off part of these expenses. To qualify for the home office deduction, you must first understand the IRS requirements.

The home office deduction is really a group of deductions

First of all, what is a home office? A home office is a room in your home, a portion of a room in your home, or a separate building next to your home (such as a converted garage or barn) that you use exclusively and regularly to conduct business activities.

This definition is important, because you may be able to deduct part of your housing expenses (such as rent, utilities, and insurance) on your federal income tax return if you have a home office. This deduction (or group of deductions) is known as a home office deduction. To take the deduction, you’ll need to file Form 8829 with the IRS. To even consider the home office deduction, though, your at-home business activities must involve a trade or business — a hobby won’t do.

Now let’s consider the IRS requirements. To qualify for a home office deduction, you must meet two threshold tests — the place of business test, and the regular and exclusive use test.

The place of business test is somewhat flexible

To pass this test, you must show that you use part of your home as:

  • The principal place of business for your trade or business, or
  • A place where you regularly meet with clients, customers, or patients

In some cases, you can also meet the principal place of business requirement if you conduct substantial administrative and management tasks for your outside business at home and have no other fixed location where you conduct these activities. These tasks might include billing customers, keeping books and records, ordering supplies, setting up appointments, or writing reports. For example, assume you’re a doctor at a local HMO who’s been given examination space but no office space. You use a room in your home regularly and exclusively to correspond with insurance companies, bill patients, and read medical journals. You have no other fixed location for conducting these types of activities. In such a case, your space would likely pass the place of business test for a home office deduction.

What if your home office is in a separate structure next to your home, like a shed or garage? In that case, it needn’t be your principal place of business. However, you must use that office regularly and exclusively in connection with your trade or business. Be sure you use this structure only for business purposes — you can’t store your car there.

You must also meet the regular and exclusive use test

In general, you must also pass the regular and exclusive use test before you can take a home office deduction (exceptions apply for taxpayers who run day-care facilities from home and for sellers who use part of their homes for storing inventory). As you might expect, this test requires you to show that you exclusively use a portion of your home for business purposes on a regular basis.

For example, assume you set aside one room in your home as your home office. You also use this room as a playroom for your children. Here, you wouldn’t meet the exclusive use test. Now assume that you use one room in your home exclusively for your side business of selling insurance. You engage in this business only occasionally. Because you don’t use the office on a regular basis, you still won’t qualify for the home office deduction.

Telecommuters might also qualify for the home office deduction

For 2018 to 2025, the deduction for miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2 percent floor (including unreimbursed employee expenses) is suspended.

If you telecommute or are an employee who works at home, you may also qualify for the home office deduction. You’d have to meet the above requirements. In addition, though, your home office must be for the convenience of your employer. In plain English, this means that your employer must ask you to work out of your home. The arrangement must serve your employer’s business needs, not vice versa.

The home office deduction for an employee who works at home is taken as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A of Federal Form 1040. This deduction is subject to the 2 percent limit for miscellaneous itemized deductions. However, as noted, this deduction is not currently available.

If you qualify for the deduction, you can deduct all direct expenses and part of your indirect expenses

You can deduct both your direct and indirect expenses regarding your home office. Direct expenses are costs that apply only to your home office. You can deduct these costs in full against your business income. Some examples include the cost of a business telephone line and the cost of painting your home office. However, no deduction is allowed for basic local telephone charges on the first line in your home, even if that line is used for the home office.

Indirect expenses are costs that benefit your entire home. You can deduct only the business portion of your indirect expenses. Some examples of indirect costs include rent, deductible mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and homeowners insurance. The business percentage of your home is determined by dividing the area exclusively used for business by the total area of the home. For example, assume your home is 2,000 square feet and your home office is 200 square feet. Your business percentage is 10 percent (200 divided by 2,000). In such a case, if you rent your home, you can deduct 10 percent of your rent as part of your home office deduction.

Even if you don’t qualify for the home office deduction and are unable to deduct home-related expenses (e.g., homeowners insurance), you can still take a deduction for your regular business expenses, such as the purchase of file cabinets, business equipment, and supplies.

Some of your home office expenses may be limited

If the gross income from your business (the one associated with the home office) equals or exceeds your regular business expenses (including depreciation), all expenses for the business use of your home can be deducted. But if your gross income is less than your total business expenses, certain expense deductions for the business use of your home are limited. The deduction isn’t lost forever, though. It’s simply carried forward to the next year.

Can you spell “audit”?

Historically, the IRS has closely scrutinized home office deductions. Here are some steps you can take to substantiate the existence of your home office:

  • Use your home address on your business cards, stationery, and advertisements
  • Install a separate telephone line for your business
  • Instruct clients or customers to visit your home office, and keep a log of those visits
  • Log the dates, hours spent, and type of work performed in your home office
  • Have business mail sent to your home

Having a home office can be a factor when you sell your home

Unless you’re careful, deductions today can cost you money when you sell your home. Homeowners who meet all requirements can generally exclude from federal income tax up to $250,000 of capital gain (up to $500,000 if you’re married and file a joint return) when a principal residence is sold. You may end up paying some taxes, though, if you have a home office. That’s because when you sell your principal residence, an amount of capital gain equal to certain depreciation deductions you were entitled to (as a result of having your home office) won’t qualify for the exclusion. Specifically, the exclusion won’t cover an amount equal to depreciation deductions attributable to the business use of your home after May 6, 1997.

Note: In addition, where the business portion of the home is separate from the dwelling unit (e.g., an office in a converted detached garage) any capital gain on the sale of the house has to be apportioned; only the part of the gain allocable to the residential portion is eligible for exclusion.

For example, assume a self-employed accountant bought a home in 1998 and sells the home several years later at a $20,000 gain. Although the house was always used as his principal residence, the accountant used one room within the house as his business office. Over the years, the accountant claimed $2,000 of depreciation deductions for his office. Under IRS regulations, $18,000 of the capital gain will be tax free. Only the $2,000 of the gain equal to the depreciation deductions will be taxable.

If the accountant’s office had been located in a converted detached garage on his property, he would have to treat the sale as two separate transactions and pay tax on any gain allocable to the converted garage.

Because this area is complex, you should consult a tax professional. Also, you might want to read IRS Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

Optional simplified method of calculation available

For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, you’re able to use an optional simplified method of calculating your home office deduction. The simplified method doesn’t change the requirements for claiming the deduction, it simply changes the way the deduction is calculated. Instead of determining and allocating actual expenses, under the simplified method you calculate the home office deduction by multiplying the square footage of the home office (up to a maximum of 300 square feet) by $5. Since square footage is capped at 300, the maximum deduction available under the simplified method is $1,500. You cannot use the simplified method if you are an employee with a home office, and you receive advances, allowances, or reimbursements for expenses related to the business use of your home under an expense or reimbursement allowance with your employer.

Each year, you can choose whether to use the simplified method of calculating the deduction or to use actual expenses. There are two things to keep in mind, though:

  • If you use the simplified method in one year, and in a later year use actual expenses, special rules will apply in calculating depreciation
  • If you are carrying forward an unused deduction (because your business deduction exceeded your business income in a prior year), you will not be able to claim the deduction in any year in which you use the simplified method — you’ll have to wait for the next year you use actual expenses to claim the unused deduction

 

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2018.

 


If you’re interested in receiving additional financial advice as a business owner, contact Ballast Advisors for a complimentary consultation at a location near you:

Ballast Advisors – Woodbury Area
683 Bielenberg Dr., Suite 208
Woodbury, MN  55125-1705
Tel: 651.478.4644
Ballast Advisors – Arden Hills Area
3820 Cleveland Ave. N, Ste. 500
Arden Hills, MN  55112-3298
Tel: 651.200.3100
Ballast Advisors – Punta Gorda & Port Charlotte County Area
6210 Scott St., Suite 117
Punta Gorda, FL  33950-3901
Tel: 941.621.4015 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, MN, ND, OH, PA, TX, VA, WA and WI. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.