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Client Update Newsletter: June 2024

No matter what season of life you find yourself in, the IRS will probably find a way to tax it. In this month’s newsletter, read through several situations where a tax planning session might make sense to help you try and cut your 2024 tax bill.

Also learn how to prepare yourself financially when purchasing a vehicle, several ideas to unplug during this year’s summer season, and why every impression matters in the world of business.

As always, feel free to pass this information on to anyone that may find it useful and call if you have any questions or concerns.


You Need Tax Planning If...

Life can alter your taxes with little to no warning. Here are several situations where you may need to schedule a tax planning session:

You Need Tax Planning If imageGetting married or divorced. You could get hit with a Marriage Penalty in certain situations when the total taxes you pay as a married couple is more than what you would pay if you and your partner filed as Single taxpayers. The opposite can also occur, when you benefit from a Marriage Bonus. This often occurs when only one spouse has a job or earns income in other ways such as a business. Another situation when tax planning becomes critical is if you and your future spouse both own homes before getting married.

If you're going from Married to Single, make the process include tax planning. Under divorce or separation agreements executed after 2018, alimony is no longer deductible by the spouse making payments and isn’t considered taxable income for the spouse receiving payments at the federal level. The opposite is true for divorce or separation agreements executed before 2019 – alimony is generally deductible by the spouse making payments and must be reported as taxable income by the spouse receiving payments.

Child support is also not deductible by the spouse making payments, and isn't considered taxable income for the spouse receiving payments. In addition, not all assets are taxed the same, so their true value will vary.

Growing a family. Your family's newest addition(s) also comes with potential tax breaks. You'll need a Social Security number for your newborn child and to understand the impact this little gem will have on your full-year tax situation. These include breaks to help pay for child care or adoption-related expenses, the child tax credit, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Changing jobs or getting a raise. Getting more money at work is a good thing. But it also means a higher tax bill. So you may need to review your tax withholding to ensure there are no surprises at the end of the year. And when leaving an employer, expect a tax hit for severance, accrued vacation, and unemployment income payments.

Another potential tax problem if you get a raise or otherwise earn more money is that you may no longer qualify for certain tax breaks, as most tax deductions and tax credits phase out as your income increases. Consider scheduling a tax planning session to discuss the phase out thresholds that may affect you in 2024.

Buying or selling a house. You can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married) of capital gains when you sell your home, but only if you meet certain qualifications. A tax planning session can help determine if you meet the qualifications to take advantage of this capital gain tax break, or other home-related tax breaks such as the mortgage interest deduction or credits for installing qualified energy-efficient home improvements.

Saving or paying for college. There are many tax-advantaged ways to save and pay for college, including 529 savings plans, the American Opportunity Tax Credit, and the Lifetime Learning Credit. As you plan your future, understanding how these expenses can be managed often happens long before you begin your college journey.

At the end of the day, when in doubt please reach out. There is no reason to pay more than you need to and a simple tax planning session can make all the difference.

Prepare Yourself Financially When Purchasing a Vehicle

Financing a new or used car could spell big financial trouble if your vehicle is ever declared a total loss – even if the accident is 100% the other driver's fault. Here's what you need to know about staying safe financially if you take out a car, truck, or SUV loan in the future.

Prepare Yourself Financially When Purchasing a Vehicle imageBackground – The 80% Rule

Many Americans believe if their vehicle is declared a total loss following an accident, insurance companies will provide enough money to cover the cost to replace the vehicle with a similar vehicle. The truth, though, is that insurance companies never provide you with enough money to buy a true replacement vehicle.

The rule of thumb to use when planning is 80%...if the true cost to get the exact same vehicle you were driving before an accident is $30,000, your insurance will only give you 80% of this dollar amount, or $24,000. You'll have to come up with the other 20%, or $6,000 in this example.

Why not 100%?

Unbeknownst to most of America, the valuation of vehicles deemed a total loss is determined by one company, CCC Intelligent Solutions. Per CCC, their services are used by most of the top 20 insurance companies. Instead of using a fair market valuation method to calculate the replacement cost of your vehicle, CCC uses a model that calculates a value that, when compared to valuation models found at Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, and NADA, is systemically low.

How to Protect Yourself Financially

Here are some ideas to help you stay financially healthy when purchasing your next vehicle:

Get Sanity Back...Ideas to Unplug This Summer

During your summer break or vacation, consider the following ideas to not only recharge, but to do so without sitting in front of a screen, monitor, or phone.

Finally, no matter what activity you choose during summer break, enjoy your time away!

Business Advice: Every Impression Matters

Business Advice Every Impression Matters imageWith competition knocking at your door for virtually every product or service, you need to hone every advantage available to you. One of the ways you can set your business apart is to create an awesome customer experience with every interaction. This is less of an event and more a state of mind for your entire team. Here are several steps to help you get there:

Creating a culture that excels at customer service is attainable if you put in the effort to know your customer’s needs and to understand that every impression matters!

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