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Ways to Save on individual taxes

Electric Vehicles

The credit for electric vehicles varies by model, depending on how many cars have been sold. So, before you buy one, check the IRS’s list. The max credit is $7500.

Home owners

Energy Efficient Home Improvements

Solar, Wind Turbines and Geothermal: 30% with no upper limit thru 12/31/2019. The credit decreases to 26% for tax year 2020; drops to 22% for tax year 2021 then 0% after 2021.

Energy efficient HVAC, doors and windows – The $500 lifetime credit expired at the end of 2017, so there is currently no credit available for these improvements.

MD Homestead credit limits the amount that your property taxes can increase each year for your principal residence. Click here for more info.

College Expenses – Income Limits Apply!

Lifetime Learning Credit – Up to $2,000 credit per year for qualified tuition and enrollment fees at an eligible educational institution. *

American Opportunity Tax Credit – Up to $2,500 credit per year for tuition, required fees, and course materials for the first 4 years of post-secondary education at an eligible educational institution. *

Tuition and Fees Deduction – Up to $4,000 deduction for tuition and required fees at an eligible educational institution. *

Maryland 529 Plan – Up to $2,500 deduction per beneficiary per year from Maryland income.

* income limits apply

Charitable Contributions

Only contributions to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductible, but income limits apply. (Donations to individuals are never deductible.) Check this list to see which organizations qualify. (Churches, synagogues, temples, etc. are considered de-facto charitable organizations and don’t have to be on the list.)

Donations of money (cash or checks) must have a bank record to support the deduction and donations over $250 must have a written acknowledgement from the charitable organization.

Donations of items are deductible at the fair market value of the used item. Clothing and household items must generally be in good used condition or better to be deductible. In addition to IRS Pub 561, there are numerous websites to help you determine the value of donated items. Note that an item (or a group of similar items) with a fair market value of $5000 or more generally require a written appraisal.

Donations of Vehicles are subject to special rules. For vehicles with a value over $500, the charity must issue Form 1098-C to acknowledge the donation.

  • If the organization sells the vehicle, the deduction is limited to the gross proceeds from the sale which will be reported on the 1098-C.
  • If the vehicle is transferred to a needy individual, the taxpayer can use the fair market value, even if it exceeds the gross proceeds. The 1098-C will indicate that this exception applies by a check mark in box 5b.
  • If the charity uses the vehicle or makes substantial improvements to it, the taxpayer can use the fair market value, even if it exceeds the gross proceeds. The 1098-C will indicate that this exception applies by a check mark in box 5a.

Donations of Services are not deductible.

Donations of Stock or other Appreciated Property generally qualifies for a deduction of the fair market value. For instance, if you bought stock for $100 and it’s worth $1000 when you donate it, you can claim a deduction of $1000. But there are other rules that come in to play in certain circumstances, so check with us.

Donations directly from an IRA count as required minimum distributions but are treated as taxable income. For instance, a $1000 donation from a pre-tax IRA will result in no taxable income, which is better than $1000 income with a $1000 charitable deduction because charitable deductions and itemized deductions in general are limited.

Retirement Contributions

Pre-tax retirement contributions to a traditional IRA, or 401-K, or SEP IRA reduce your taxable income the year you make the contribution. It’s one of the best ways to reduce your taxes. See our retirement page for due dates and contribution limits.

Health Care

Health insurance premiums – If you’re self-employed, you can deduct 100% of your health insurance premiums. For S Corp shareholders, it has to be a group plan and an adjustment needs to be made on your W-2. Call us for more info.

HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) – If you have health insurance that’s HSA compatible, then you can deduct your HSA contributions from taxable income. For instance, if you put $500 in your HSA, your taxable income is reduced by $500. If you put $500 in your HSA account, and the next day you take it out to pay a medical bill, you still get the $500 deduction. So you should always take advantage of your HSA account. For the max you can contribute, click here.