Tax Blog

Our tax blog is dedicated to CFOs, Tax Directors and Business Owners looking to improve profitability, grow their business or implement a succession plan. At Armanino, we see the tax function as a key strategic tool—as nothing less than a vital means of moving you and your company forward. While we excel in making sure our clients meet regulatory requirements—both domestic and global—that just scratches the surface of what we do.

September 20, 2016

Prepaid Tuition vs. College Savings: Which Type of 529 Plan is Better?

Section 529 plans provide a tax-advantaged way to help pay for college expenses. Here are just a few of the benefits: Although contributions aren’t deductible for federal purposes, plan assets can grow tax-deferred. Some states offer tax incentives for contributing in the form of deductions or credits. The plans usually offer high contribution limits, and …

November 30, 2015

Don’t Miss Your Opportunity to Make 2015 Annual Exclusion Gifts

Recently, the IRS released the 2016 annually adjusted amount for the unified gift and estate tax exemption and the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption: $5.45 million (up from $5.43 million in 2015). But even with the rising exemptions, annual exclusion gifts offer a valuable tax-saving opportunity. The 2015 gift tax annual exclusion allows you to …

November 2, 2015

The 529 Savings Plan: A Tax-Smart Way to Fund College Expenses

If you’re saving for college, consider a Section 529 plan. Although contributions aren’t deductible for federal purposes, plan assets can grow tax-deferred. (Some states do offer tax incentives for contributing.) Distributions used to pay qualified expenses (such as tuition, mandatory fees, books, equipment, supplies and, generally, room and board) are income-tax-free for federal purposes and …

October 12, 2015

Your Exec Comp Could be Subject to the 0.9% Additional Medicare Tax or the 3.8% NIIT

The additional Medicare tax and net investment income tax (NIIT) apply when certain income exceeds the applicable threshold: $250,000 for married filing jointly, $125,000 for married filing separately, and $200,000 for other taxpayers. The following types of executive compensation could be subject to the 0.9% additional Medicare tax if your earned income exceeds the applicable …

August 10, 2015

Teens in Your Family with Summer Jobs? Set up IRAs for Them!

Teenagers’ retirement may seem too far off to warrant saving now, but IRAs can be perfect for teens precisely because they’ll likely have many years to let their accounts grow tax-deferred or tax-free. The 2015 contribution limit is the lesser of $5,500 or 100% of earned income. A teen’s traditional IRA contributions typically are deductible, …

August 3, 2015

Act Soon if You Want to Help Your Child Buy a Home

Mortgage interest rates are still at historically low levels, but they’re expected to go up by year end. So if you’ve been thinking about helping your child — or grandchild — buy a home, consider acting soon. There also are some favorable tax factors that will help: 0% capital gains rate. If the child is …

July 7, 2015

Tax Impact of the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. For federal tax purposes, same-sex married couples were already considered married, under the Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Windsor and subsequent IRS guidance — even if their state …

June 23, 2015

Opening the “Back Door” to a Roth IRA

A potential downside of tax-deferred saving through a traditional retirement plan is that you’ll have to pay taxes when you make withdrawals at retirement. Roth plans, on the other hand, allow tax-free distributions; the tradeoff is that contributions to these plans don’t reduce your current-year taxable income. Unfortunately, modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)-based phaseouts may …

June 16, 2015

Married with a Large Estate? Why You Still Need a Credit Shelter Trust

Even though portability now allows married couples to use up both spouses’ estate tax exemptions without having to make lifetime asset transfers or set up trusts, this “easier” path isn’t necessarily the better path. For couples with large estates, making lifetime asset transfers and setting up trusts can provide benefits that exemption portability doesn’t offer. …

May 19, 2015

Expect to be Paying Elementary or Secondary School Costs in the Future? Consider an ESA

As the school year draws to a close, it’s a good time to think about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) — especially if you have young children. One major advantage of ESAs over another popular education saving tool, the Section 529 plan, is that tax-free ESA distributions aren’t limited to college expenses; they also can …

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