How You Can Use 529 Plans in Your Tax Planning

It’s no secret that college is expensive. While this has led to plenty of arguments about the true value of college, most parents still want to give their children this opportunity. They also want to provide as much financial support as they can to make that happen. Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, understanding the different options that are available to help pay for college can assist with your planning. Knowing about these options can also have a positive impact on your tax liability.


The Basics of 529 Plans

A 529 plan is a type of investment. The purpose of this investment is to help save for college. The way this plan works is it’s able to accumulate funds on either a tax-deferred or tax-free basis. One important thing to know about these plans is there are actually two different kinds, which are college savings and prepaid tuition plans. Before we explore the differences between those two options, we want to cover the advantages that both types of 529 plans have to offer.

Contributions growing tax deferred and the availability of tax incentives in the state of Ohio and others are the first two advantages. Next is the fact that the majority of 529 plans have high lifetime maximum contribution limits, along with the ability of anyone to open one of these plans regardless of their income. All 529 plans offer professional money management, and an account holder can change the plan’s beneficiary or roll funds from one plan into another.


College Savings Plans vs. Prepaid Tuition Plans

Now that we’ve covered the advantages that go along with either type of 529 plan, we want to explain the potential disadvantages of both plan types. With a college savings plan, you relinquish some control of your money and there generally isn’t a guarantee for what the plan will return. And with a prepaid tuition plan, choices are typically limited to in-state colleges and plans may have reduced benefits after enrollment.


529 Plans and Your Taxes

It’s important to understand that 529 Plans are not a tax deduction. Instead, they provide the opportunity to reduce the account owner’s taxable income. When money is withdrawn from the account and used to pay for qualified expenses like tuition or books, it will be income tax free. If a withdrawal is made and used for expenses that are deemed as unqualified, it will be subject to income taxes, as well as a 10% penalty.

If you’re looking for expert help with any of your tax planning, we encourage you to learn more about Donohoo Accounting and the tax services we offer.


What Are Some Potential Tax Implications of a Trump Presidency?

After a long and very divided election cycle, Donald J. Trump is officially the President Elect of the United States. Because there’s still some time before he officially takes office, people from all walks of life have questions about what his term is going to mean for them personally and the United States as a whole.

Since tax services are our area of expertise, we want to contribute to this conversation by looking at the impact Trump’s presidency may have on the taxes of Americans:


The President and Taxes

During the election process, Trump talked about taxes a lot. But before we get into any of those specifics, it’s important to note that the Constitution of the United States does not allow the President to change tax rates or set tax policy. Instead, those are actions that must be approved by Congress. And even though Republicans in the House and Senate now have control of both bodies of Congress, that doesn’t automatically mean they’ll see eye to eye with the 45th President.


4 Trump Tax Proposals

The first notable proposal that has come from Trump is reducing the current seven income tax brackets to three. As part of this proposal, the standard deduction amount would be more than doubled for both single and joint filers. Itemized deductions would be capped at $100k for single filers and $200k for joint filings. This plan would also eliminate personal exemptions, the alternative minimum tax and head-of-household filing status.

Another notable proposal has to do with child care. This would take the form of adding a deduction for child care equal to the state average cost of child care for children under age thirteen. This deduction would be available for up to four children, including those with stay-at-home parents or grandparents. The proposal also includes a spending rebate on remaining child care expenses for low-income parents, allowing annual tax-deductible contributions into Dependent Care Savings Accounts and a deduction for the cost of elder care.

The two other proposals we want to touch on both have to do with repealing existing policies. The first is repealing the estate tax. Capital gains above $10 million held until death could be taxed, with family farms and small businesses being exempt. Trump has also proposed repealing the Affordable Care Act net investment income tax.

Although there will definitely be changes over the next few years, most of us will continue living our lives by getting up each day and working hard. If you’re a business owner and want to ensure that you maximize the benefits you’re able to reap from your hard work, learn more about why Donohoo Accounting Services truly understands the challenges faced by small business owners.



5 Tax Planning Tips for 2016-2017

Although we’re officially in the last quarter of 2016, there’s still time to optimize your tax situation. And while there are still a few months left until 2017 arrives, getting a head start on thinking about your future tax planning can pay off big down the line:


1. Get Organized

Not only is having organized records crucial in the event you’re ever audited, but having all of your information together is the starting point for being able to save. When your financial information is a mess, things are going to fall through the cracks. By finding the system that works best for you and then sticking to it, you’ll be able to have all the necessary information to take care of your taxes.


2.Health Insurance and Child Tax Credit

The penalty this year for not having health insurance is increasing to $695 for adults and $347.50 for children. The total penalty a family can face is $2,085. So not only do you want to ensure all your health insurance information is up to date, but you’ll want to periodically review your policy to ensure you’re getting all the available benefits.

For families who are welcoming a new child, be sure to get a Social Security Number for your new addition so you’ll be able to claim your child tax credit. The maximum credit amounts for 2016 are $3,373 for 1 child, $5,572 for 2 children and $6,269 for 3 children.


3. Retirement

If you’re concerned about the amount of taxable income you’re going to have, one of the best ways to address this issue is by contributing more to your retirement plan. Increasing the amount you contribute up to the maximum allowed for your 401(k), 403(b) or Traditional IRA can significantly reduce your tax burden.


4. Charitable Contributions

Another option for reducing your tax liability while also helping others is to make charitable contributions. As a general rule of thumb, be sure to properly document all donations. And if you’re planning to make any type of large donation, it’s worth first speaking with a tax professional to ensure it will actually have the effect you’re planning on.


5. Going Green

Plenty of people decide to purchase a car during the holiday season. If you’re in this position, you should consider a hybrid. Purchasing that type of vehicle can make you eligible for a tax credit of between $2,500 and $7,500 depending on the vehicle’s battery size.


Donohoo Accounting Services has over two decades of experience helping clients with taxes. You can learn about the different tax services we offer, as well as get a free consultation about your tax planning needs by calling 513-528-3982.

Why Do Some LLCs Opt for S Corp Taxation?

A limited liability company is a legal entity that’s formed under state law. A big part of why many businesses opt for this structure is while it offers many of the advantages of a corporation, it’s both easier to form an LLC and operate it.

When an entity like an LLC is formed, it receives a default form of tax treatment. For LLCs owned by more than one person, that default is taxation as a partnership. If an LLC only has one owner, its default form of tax treatment is as a sole proprietorship.

While many businesses opt to keep their form of default tax treatment, it’s worth knowing that other options are available. Specifically, an LLC can choose to switch their tax treatment to a C or S corporation. Making this switch is much easier than many business owners expect.

Understanding S Corporation Taxation

In the eyes of the IRS, an LLC that has elected to be taxed as a C or S Corporation is that entity. So when it comes to deciding whether or not your business should elect for this type of taxation, it’s important to understand the full scope of implications.

Partnerships are considered pass-through entities. What that means is both income and losses are passed through the partnership to the personal tax returns of the owners. S Corporations are also pass-through entities. The forms filed by S Corporations include an information return via Form 1120S and then shareholders file a Schedule E with their Form 1040.

One of the key factors that separates partnership tax treatment from an S Corporation is the owners’ employment status. With a standard LLC partnership, owners are not viewed as employees and taxed accordingly. But with an S Corporation, owners who perform more than minor services for the corporation will be both employees and owners for tax purposes.

With this type of treatment, an owner needs to be compensated with a reasonable salary. Then the owner reports this salary and pays the relevant share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. The S Corporation is also responsible for withholding all applicable taxes.

Although that may sound more complicated and potentially less advantageous, the potential benefit of being treated as an S Corporation comes from not having to pay employment tax on distributions. For businesses with significant distributions, this provides a way to save a meaningful amount on both Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Donohoo Accounting Services has 20 years experience in helping clients resolve their tax and financial issues. If you have additional questions about which tax treatment is best for your business, you can get the answers you need by working with us. Call our office now for a free consultation at 513-528-3982.