Posted in Individual Tax Brief

Real estate investor vs. professional: Why it matters

  Income and losses from investment real estate or rental property are passive by definition — unless you’re a real estate professional that materially participates in each activity. Why does this matter? Passive income may be subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), and passive losses generally are deductible only against passive income,…

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Posted in Individual Tax Brief

3 income-tax-smart gifting strategies

If your 2015 tax liability is higher than you’d hoped and you’re ready to transfer some assets to your loved ones, now may be the time to get started. Giving away assets will, of course, help reduce the size of your taxable estate. But with income-tax-smart gifting strategies, it also can reduce your income tax…

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Posted in Individual Tax Brief

What’s your charitable donation deduction?

When it comes to deducting charitable gifts, all donations are not created equal. As you file your 2015 return and plan your charitable giving for 2016, it’s important to keep in mind the available deduction: Cash. This includes not just actual cash but gifts made by check, credit card or payroll deduction. You may deduct…

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Posted in Individual Tax Brief

How to max out education-related tax breaks

If there was a college student in your family last year, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2015 return. To max out your education-related breaks, you need to see which ones you’re eligible for and then claim the one(s) that will provide the greatest benefit. In most cases you can…

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Posted in Individual Tax Brief

File early to avoid tax identity theft

If you’re like many Americans, you may not start thinking about filing your tax return until the April 15 deadline (this year, April 18) is just a few weeks — or perhaps even just a few days — away. But there’s another date you should keep in mind: January 19. That’s the date the IRS…

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Posted in Individual Tax Brief

No changes to retirement plan contributions for 2016

Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low, the limits remain unchanged for 2016:  Type of limit  2016 limit  Elective deferrals to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457(c)(1)plans $18,000  Contributions to defined contribution plans $53,000  Contributions to SIMPLEs $12,500  Contributions to IRAs $5,500  Catch-up contributions to 401(k), 403(b), 457(b)(2) and 457…

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