PAUL’S TAX BLOG

PAUL’S TAX BLOG2018-03-12T13:40:17+00:00

Insurance Tax Planning

Do you, or someone you know, have a life insurance policy that you are paying premiums on but the insured could really use some cash now? One little noticed nuance about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) was a provision that changes the treatment of sales of life insurance contracts. Previously, if you owned a life insurance policy and sold it before it matured, (more bluntly, death) then there would likely be a taxable event measured by the amount of proceeds received versus the payments made on the policy, reduced by the value of insurance coverage during…

Tax Implications of the Federal Shutdown

For you over-achievers out there who are chomping at the bit to file 2018 tax returns, you may have to cool your jets for a while. While the Federal shutdown has not changed anticipated filing dates, there may still be some impact on you. IRS has furloughed 87% of their employees and many areas are impacted. As of today here are a few areas where the IRS is still functioning (and not) and what you can expect: IRS has stated that the tax filing season will begin on January 28. They will not process tax returns until then. Even if…

Check and Checkmate. Twice.

In case you missed it, last week the California Public Utilities Commission, a group of unelected State Regulators, proposed a plan to tax text messages. Apparently in the never ending pursuit of helping the disadvantaged afford cellular coverage our state ruling class saw a bountiful source of revenue. Just think of all the teenage girl’s parents seeing THAT phone bill! Well, in comes the Federal Government to the rescue. In a ruling that eviscerates the CA PUC’s authority to tax texts, the FTC ruled that text messaging is an information service, not a telecommunications service. Not sure about the logic…

This Halloween Don’t Be A Horror Story

Just a quick note to wish everyone a safe Halloween, and to be watchful when driving for the kids out looting and pillaging your neighborhood for treats! Also, while reading an email blast from the AICPA today, I was reminded that Identity Theft can be a real life horror story, and you must be vigilant to be sure that you have not unknowingly fallen prey to thieves. A few things you should always do to minimize your exposure: Always open and read any letter or notice from IRS immediately. Do not ignore these. If you have any questions ask your…

COMMENT ON TAX REFORM IMPACT

As September 15 rolls into view its probably important to not only remind readers to make their quarterly estimated tax payments on time but also to evaluate whether they are sufficient. With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changing the tax landscape dramatically for some in 2018, you may want to refigure your payments. This also applies to those who have all their taxes withheld from paychecks. The TCJA did not change federal withholding tables to take into account the cap on state and local tax deductions. For people in high tax states such as California, the loss of those…

Went for a walk…

I’ve always wanted to climb Mt Whitney and to backpack the John Muir Trail. So, I took a few weeks off just recently to regroup mentally and physically, and did both. The JMT is 220 miles of arguably the prettiest scenery in the United States, with high mountain lakes and pristine meadows amid towering granite peaks. Mt Whitney is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. While on the trail (20 days) I had a lot of time to reflect on things and how we can draw lessons from nature. One big takeaway I had was this: Knowing that…

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