February 7, 2018
Individual taxpayers who itemize their deductions can deduct either state and local income taxes or state and local sales taxes. The ability to deduct state and local taxes — including income or sales taxes, as well as property taxes — had been on the tax reform chopping block, but it ultimately survived. However, for 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposes a new limit on the state and local tax deduction. Will you benefit from the sales tax deduction on your 2017 or 2018 tax return?
Your 2017 return
The sales tax deduction can be valuable if you reside in a state with no or low income tax or purchased a major item in 2017, such as a car or boat. How do you determine whether you can save more by deducting sales tax on your 2017 return? Compare your potential deduction for state and local income tax to your potential deduction for state and local sales tax.
This isn’t as difficult as you might think: You don’t have to have receipts documenting all of the sales tax you actually paid during the year to take full advantage of the deduction. Your deduction can be determined by using an IRS sales tax calculator that will base the deduction on your income and the sales tax rates in your locale plus the tax you actually paid on certain major purchases (for which you will need substantiation).
Your 2018 return
Under the TCJA, for 2018 through 2025, your total deduction for all state and local taxes combined — including property tax — is limited to $10,000. You still must choose between deducting income and sales tax; you can’t deduct both, even if your total state and local tax deduction wouldn’t exceed $10,000.
Also keep in mind that the TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction. So even if itemizing has typically benefited you in the past, you could end up being better off taking the standard deduction when you file your 2018 return.
So if you’re considering making a large purchase in 2018, you shouldn’t necessarily count on the sales tax deduction providing you significant tax savings. You need to look at what your total state and local tax liability likely will be, as well as whether your total itemized deductions are likely to exceed the standard deduction.
August is upon us once again. The collective “UGH!” is heard nationwide as families trudge toward the school supplies aisle in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Sadly, the “days-gone-by” supplies such as a box of crayons, spiral-ring notebooks and a pack of #2 pencils have evolved into a much longer list. But never fear, we’ve put together these useful tips to help you do “back to school” on the cheap.
So popular was the topic of our last post, that we created Part II to create our eating-healthy-this-summer-themed blog series. Enjoy these added nutritional and time-saving tips for summer meal planning.
If you are like most, summer is prime time for family and friend vacations. It’s a time to unwind and recharge…to see new places and try new things. For many, “new things” often means food. And if you are trying to maintain or lose weight, that can be a problem. So, for all you travelers trying to stay healthy this summer, here are 5 great tips to help you stay on a healthy eating plan and still enjoy your vacation!