To say COVID-19 has made 2020 a disastrous year for just about everyone would be an understatement. In response to the economic slowdown and losses of income, Congress passed several extensive laws to benefit individuals and businesses that suffered financial hardship because of COVID-19. However, 2020 has given rise to more than the usual tax-planning opportunities. Thus, you may find it appropriate to schedule a tax-planning appointment well before the close of the year to take advantage of the tax benefits and strategies available for 2020.
Although everyone’s situation is unique, the following are examples of tax opportunities and strategies that may apply to your circumstances.
Individual Planning Opportunities
Did You Collect Unemployment Income This Year? If you did, you should be aware that it is taxable for federal purposes and that most states also tax unemployment benefits. Even if you had taxes withheld from the unemployment payments, don’t be misled into thinking it will be enough. Generally, the tax withheld from unemployment compensation is insufficient, especially when the extra $600 weekly amount of federal pandemic benefits is considered. It may be appropriate to see what effects the unemployment income will have on your taxes and avoid any unpleasant surprises next year when your return is prepared.
Did You Skip the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for 2020? Taxpayers were allowed to skip their RMD from their IRAs and most other retirement plans for 2020. But that might not be your best tax move, especially if you can take a distribution that will result in no or minimal taxes for this year. It may be appropriate to discuss whether you should take a distribution or not. We might be able to determine an amount that can be withdrawn tax-free.
Are You the Charitable Type? If so, 2020 offers a variety of ways to make contributions, including donating unused time off from work (if your employer participates in the program). The AGI limitation for deducting cash contributions has been increased significantly, and non-itemizers can make a deductible contribution of up to $300 (pending legislation may change the amount). Of course, a taxpayer over age 70½ can make an IRA-to-qualified charity donation. We can determine the method or combination of methods best suited to your particular circumstances.