Big Tax Break for Adoptive Parents

Big Tax Break for Adoptive Parents

If you are an adoptive parent or are planning to adopt a child, you may qualify for a substantial income tax credit. The amount of the credit is based on the expenses incurred that are directly related to the adoption of a child under the age of 18 or a person who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.

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What Does a Tax Deduction Save You?

What Does a Tax Deduction Save You?

Taxpayers frequently ask what benefit is derived from a tax deduction.  Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer.  The reason the benefit cannot be determined simply is because some deductions are above-the-line, others must be itemized, some must exceed a threshold amount before being deductible, and certain ones are not deductible for alternative minimum tax purposes, while business deductions can offset both income and self-employment tax.  In other words, there are many factors to consider, and the tax benefits differ for each individual, depending on his or her particular situation.

For most non-business deductions, the savings are based upon your tax bracket.  For example, if you are in the 24% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction would save you $240 in taxes.  However, if taxable income is close to transitioning into the next-lower tax bracket, the benefit will be less.  You also need to consider whether the particular deduction is allowed on your state return and what your state tax bracket is to determine the total tax savings.

Some deductions, such as IRA and self-employed retirement plan contributions, alimony, student loan interest, etc., are adjustments to income or what we call above-the-line deductions.  These deductions, to the extent permitted by law, provide a dollar deduction for every dollar claimed.  Deductions that fall into the itemized category must exceed the standard deduction for your filing status before any benefit is derived.  In addition, the medical deductions are reduced by 10% of your AGI (income). Under the rules of the 2017 tax reform, the state and local taxes deduction is limited to $10,000, no deduction is allowed for home equity interest, and deductions such as employee business expenses and investment expenses aren’t deductible at all in years 2018 through 2025. Taxpayers subject to the alternative minimum tax are not able to deduct any taxes.

The most beneficial deductions, business deductions, fall into two categories: employee business expenses, which are treated as miscellaneous itemized deductions but aren’t deductible in years 2018-2025, and self-employed business expenses that offset both income tax and, depending upon the circumstances, self-employment tax.  For 2019, the self-employment tax rate is 12.4% of the first $132,900 of income subject to SE tax plus 2.9% for the Medicare tax with no cap.  In addition, for high-income taxpayers, an additional 0.9% Medicare tax may apply.  For self-employed businesses with less than $132,900 of net income, the SE tax rate is 15.3%.  Thus, for small businesses with profits of less than $132,900, the benefit derived from deductions generally will include the taxpayer’s tax bracket plus 15.3%.  For example, for a taxpayer in the 24% tax bracket, the benefit could be as much as 39.3% (24% + 15.3%) of the deduction.  If the deduction were $2,000, the tax savings could be as much as $786 and more when the taxpayer’s state income tax bracket is included.

If you are planning an expenditure and expect the tax deduction to help cover the cost, please give us a call in advance to ensure that the tax benefit is what you anticipate.


Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler Northwest is to earn our clients trust as their primary business and financial advisors.

Isler Northwest

(503) 224-5321

1300 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 2900
Portland, Oregon 97201

Congress Green-Lights Some Alternative Vehicle Credits

Congress Green-Lights Some Alternative Vehicle Credits

To encourage U.S. taxpayers to move away from gasoline-powered motor vehicles, over the years, Congress has provided various tax credits for purchasing electric or alternative fuel vehicles.

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Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction Retroactively Extended

Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction Retroactively Extended

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included a number of tax law changes, including retroactively extending certain tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, a number of retirement and IRA plan modifications, and other changes that will impact a large portion of U.S. taxpayers as a whole. This article is one of a series of articles dealing with those changes and how they may affect you.

For tax years 2007 through 2017, when taxpayers itemized deductions, they could deduct the cost of premiums for mortgage insurance on a qualified personal residence as home mortgage interest.

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Congress Allowing Higher Medical Deductions for 2019 and 2020

Congress Allowing Higher Medical Deductions for 2019 and 2020

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020, which included a number of tax law changes, including extending certain tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, a number of retirement and IRA plan modifications, and other changes that will impact a large portion of U.S. taxpayers as a whole. This article is one of a series of articles dealing with those changes and how they may affect you.

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Year-End Tips for Charitable Contributions

Year-End Tips for Charitable Contributions

As the end of the year and the holiday season approach, we will all see an uptick in the number of charitable solicitations arriving in our mailboxes and by email. Since some charities sell their contributor lists to other charities, frequent contributors may find themselves besieged by requests from all sorts of charities with which they are not familiar.

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Deducting the Costs of Modifications for Senior-Proofing a Home

Deducting the Costs of Modifications for Senior-Proofing a Home

While Americans may argue about any number of hot-button political topics, there’s no disagreement on one issue: the country’s population is aging…fast. According to the Social Security Administration, 10,000 baby boomers a day are reaching the age of 65. Many individuals, for either themselves or an older family member, are senior-proofing their homes – adding grab bars in showers, modifying stairways, widening hallways to accommodate a wheelchair, and other projects to make the home safer and more accessible for older occupants. If you are planning to make such home improvements, you may be wondering whether any of the costs will be tax-deductible.

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Disaster-Related Tax Losses May Be Less Than Expected

Disaster-Related Tax Losses May Be Less Than Expected

The late-2017 tax-reform package changed the rules for personal casualty losses, which now are only deductible if they occur in a federally declared disaster area. As a result, if a home is destroyed in a forest fire or other disaster within a declared disaster zone, the homeowner can claim a casualty loss on that year’s tax return.

However, if a home is destroyed as a result of a normal accident – or is destroyed in a natural disaster but lies outside of a disaster zone – the homeowner cannot claim a casualty loss. These rules may not be fair, but there is nothing that can be done about them (other than calling congressional representatives to indicate your displeasure). Currently, the rules are only in effect for the years 2018 through 2025. Because of these rules, you should also make sure that your home insurance coverage is adequate.

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How to Write Off Worthless Stock

How to Write Off Worthless Stock

If you are like most investors, you occasionally will pick a loser that declines in value. Sometimes, a security can even become worthless when the issuing company goes out of business.

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How Does Combining a Vacation with a Foreign Business Trip Affect the Tax Deduction for Travel Expenses of a Self-Employed Individual?

How Does Combining a Vacation with a Foreign Business Trip Affect the Tax Deduction for Travel Expenses of a Self-Employed Individual?

Note: effective for years 2018 through 2025, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 suspended the deduction of miscellaneous itemized expenses that must be reduced by 2% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. Employee business expenses, including travel expenses, fall into this category. Therefore, this discussion only applies to self-employed individuals for years 2018-2025.

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