Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Resources

Image of the US individual income tax return form - form 1040

The Financial Security for All Community of Practice has compiled the following list of informational resources related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Legislation

Background Information: Land-Grant Universities

Background Information: Other 

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How Do I Take a Charitable Income Tax Deduction??

While a specific charity may qualify with the IRS as a charitable organization for tax purposes, a taxpayer still needs to be able to itemize his or her tax deductions to deduct a charitable contribution. Charitable contributions are an itemized deduction.

Schedule A is the tax form used to tally itemized deductions. These deductions include out-of-pocket health-related expenses, mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable contributions, and other qualified expenses.

In order to use Schedule A, you would need to use IRS …

What Types of Records Should You Keep for Tax-Deductible Mileage?

Some people record all their mileage on a calendar, planner, or business diary that they keep in their car. Be sure to jot down the date, the purpose of the trip, the starting and ending odometer readings, and the total number of miles driven. Another good source of documentation is a copy of the forms that you provide to your employer for expense reimbursement.

Remember, you are entitled to deduct the difference between the IRS business mileage reimbursement rate (54 …

What is the “Kiddie Tax”?

Effective January 1, 2008, so-called “Kiddie Tax” rules pertaining to a child’s investment income were changed. The age limit for this tax increased to include children who are 18 or younger and full-time students over 18 but under age 24. Investment income greater than a specified annual amount for a child affected by the kiddie tax is taxed at the marginal tax rate of the child’s parents.

Exceptions apply for children with paid jobs that provide a large portion of …

Why Should I File an Income Tax Return if I Don’t Owe Any Money?

Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you may qualify for tax credits that would result in a refund.

For example, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit both provide refundable tax credits. This means that, if the amount of a refundable tax credit is more than the amount of taxes due, the difference will be given back to you as a tax refund.

By not filing a tax return, an individual is missing out on the …

What is the Federal Estate Tax Exemption and Federal Estate Tax Rate?

The top estate tax rate for 2017 is 40% and there is a $5,490,000 exemption amount. Individuals can transfer up to $5,490,000 (indexed for inflation in the future) to heirs free from estate tax.

In addition, for married couples, if one spouse dies without using the full exclusion, the remainder can be added to the surviving spouse’s own exclusion. This provision provides a way for couples to take advantage of each other’s exemption, without having to create complicated trusts or …

How Much of Someone’s Social Security Benefit is Taxed?

First, individual taxpayers or taxpaying married couples must add up their “modified adjusted gross income.” This is their taxable income, plus their tax-exempt income, plus half of their Social Security benefits. If this figure exceeds certain income levels, a portion of Social Security benefits is taxed.

Next, a worksheet is completed to determine the amount of Social Security benefits that is taxable. This worksheet can be found in the annual instructions package for tax forms available online in the “Forms …

Can You Make a Tax-Free 529 Plan Contribution Larger Than the Annual Gift Tax Exclusion?

Although the IRS typically allows people to gift no more than $14,000 a year (2017 figure) to another person without a federal gift tax, you can contribute up to $70,000 to a 529 plan in one year. A special tax law allows you to aggregate five years of the allowable $14,000 annual gift-tax exclusion (5 x $14,000 = $70,000) to jump-start a 529 plan.

While you will not be able to make any further gifts to the 529 plan for …

Can You Direct Deposit a Refund From an Amended Tax Return?

You cannot even have the refund amount direct deposited into any financial account. At the present time (2017), the IRS does not offer a direct deposit option for refunds on amended returns. In fact, there is no place on the form to designate a place for direct deposit.

In addition, only an original tax return can be electronically filed. You must file Form 1040X for an amended return on paper and mail it to the IRS.

The IRS will mail …

My mother passed away more than three years ago. The estate has long been settled. How long do I need to keep her financial records? Her house was passed on to her four children.

Which records to keep and how long during one’s lifetime depends on the type of record being considered.

See this page for guidelines: Organize Your Important Papers.

In regard to estate issues after someone’s lifetime, you should keep the estate financial records 7 to 10 years or more from the time the estate was settled (not the date of death). It is necessary to keep records for this length of time because, if income on the estate was underreported …