Tax Deal

A deal has been made (the House hasn’t signed on yet, so it is not quite a done deal).  Since the tax credits were extended for two years and the unemployment and Social Security tax break only for one, they almost certainly wont be extended a second year (no bargaining chip left), which will [...]

Home Gain Exclusion

People are starting to be affected by the changes so I thought a review might be helpful. The Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008 changed the rules around capital gain exclusions for homeowners. The qualification for the exclusion remains untouched. You must meet the ownership test (2 of last 5 [...]

Taxes in perspective

With our burgeoning deficit, we will certainly see a number of tax changes over the next decade.  I offer the following graphs and articles to provide some perspective on the matter. I found this fascinating.  While the percentage of tax revenue from income taxes has stayed relatively constant [...]

Home Buyer Tax Credit Expanded and Extended

In addition to extending the existing $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, the bill creates a $6,500 credit for those who buy a home after living in their current house at least five years (of the last 8 years). That measure would apply to contracts signed by April 30 (and after Jan 1) and [...]

Some Tax Changes for 2009

Required minimum distributions for IRA owners, plan participants and beneficiaries are waived for 2009.  While this might have been a little more helpful in 2008 with the large decline in balances this does add some flexibility in 2009. Increased flexibility for investing in 529 plans.  Under the [...]

Property Tax Deduction for non Itemizers

Under the Housing Law signed on June 30th, if you decide not to itemize you can increase your standard deduction by the amount of real property tax you could have claimed if you did itemize, up to $500 ($1,000 on a joint return). This originally only applied to 2008 tax returns, but the Emergency [...]

Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008

Two issues immediately jumped out at me in this legislation. Homeowners now have an above the line deduction for property taxes (maximum $500 single, $1000 joint).  This is great for retirees who don’t itemize. Starting in 2009, a rental unit that is converted to a personal residence will have its [...]

Mileage Rate Increased to 58.5 for Second Half of 2008

The IRS has posted the mileage rates for businesses and charities for the second half of 2008.

Widow(er) Home Capital Gains Exclusion

The “Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007” allows a surviving spouse to exclude from gross income up to $500,000 of the gain from the sale or exchange of a principal residence owned jointly with a deceased spouse if the sale or exchange occurs within two years of the death of the spouse and [...]

2008 Mileage Rate 50.5 Cents per Mile

The IRS has announced the 2008 mileage rates for businesses and charities.
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