Hello and Happy New Year!
As the days start to get longer, here’s to hoping they get warmer as well. There is a lot to talk about regarding tax reform, but for now you need
to know what is in effect for the 2017 tax year that we are about to file.
For those that itemize deductions, it would serve you to be extra vigilant this year on being prepared with every deduction you are entitled to.
In 2018 the standard deductions are going to almost double, which will make itemizing a thing of the past for most of us. We’ll get into more of
that on a later date, but for now I want you to dig through your records for every charitable donation given, excise tax paid, additional State Income
Tax paid on an assessment, additional sales tax paid on a motor vehicle or boat, unreimbursed employee expenses, safe deposit box rentals,
investment expenses, and don’t forget to bring your Form 1098 showing mortgage interest, real estate taxes paid and possibly mortgage insurance.
This list is not all inclusive, but is some of the most common things I see people forget. A more extensive list is part of the organizer which is
available on my website.
Want to deduct medical expenses? This itemized deduction has once again become more attainable. The Medical Expense threshold has been
lowered back to 7.5% over adjusted gross income for everyone, not just those over age 65. If there is a chance you can itemize your medical
expenses, let’s get every penny we can. You can get a printout from your pharmacy showing what you paid for RX in 2017, look at your medical
mileage, your copays for all medical appointments, including dental and vision (don’t forget eyeglasses). Again take a look at the organizer on my
website, it may jog your memory of an expense you may be forgetting. Also as this is an itemized deduction, it may be on the chopping block for
you in 2018.
We still have to show that you had health insurance. The Obamacare individual mandate is on the way out, but not until after 2018. For 2017
and 2018 you will still face a penalty for not having health insurance.
If you were affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria, a new disaster relief bill provides several temporary tax benefits. Let me know if you
incurred any losses.
For Massachusetts filers, a new Prepaid Tuition or College Savings Plan Deduction is available for purchases of or contributions made to an
account in a pre-paid tuition program or college savings program. The deduction is capped at $1,000 for single or head of household and $2,000
for a married couple filing a joint return. The deduction is subject to repayment if a distribution is made for any reason other than to pay for
qualified higher education expenses.
I hate to end things on a sour note, but as of the writing of this letter, the Mortgage Relief Act which expired at the end of 2016 has not been
extended. The Act allowed an exclusion from income of cancelled debt on qualified principal residence.
As always, please remember to utilize the Organizers on my website. They will help you be better prepared for your appointment, and reduce
delays in filing. Please make your appointments early to insure a convenient time slot. Drop offs are always welcome, and if you find you have
received all of your required documentation early, January appointments are usually readily available. Here are the directions to my office:
From Rt. 2 East or West, take exit 19 for Phillipston.
At the end of the ramp, turn left onto 2AWest.
Turn left, directly after the King Phillip Restaurant, onto Baldwinville Road.
Bear right at Phillipston Center, you are now on Petersham Road
Follow Petersham Rd. approximately 1 mile, I am the 5th visible house on the left, featuring a deck out front,
across from a large red barn.