A special talent for information discovery and interpretation.
We analyze information, provide clear explanations and explain the financial implications surrounding what we find. We assist attorneys and the court in a wide range of cases and investigations. Our role can involve fact finding, discovery, settlement negotiations, trial support and expert witness testimony. Our team combines our training as Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Accredited Business Valuators (ABV), Accredited Senior Appraisers (ASA), Certified Valuation Analysts (CVA), Certified Financial Forensics (CFF), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Every day experience and a tenacious spirit.
Our services include:
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Business valuations
- Bankruptcy & insolvency
- Economic damage claims
- Financial investigations
- Insurance investigations
- Litigation consulting & expert testimony
Forensic Accounting Team
William V. Mason, ASA, CPA/ABV, CFF
Managing Senior Financial Analyst
If you moved for work-related reasons in 2017, you might be able to deduct some of the costs on your 2017 return — even if you don’t itemize deductions. (Or, if your employer reimbursed you for moving expenses, that reimbursement might be excludable from your income.) The bad news is that, if you move in 2018, the costs likely won’t be deductible, and any employer reimbursements will probably be included in your taxable income.
Suspension for 2018–2025
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law this past December, suspends the moving expense deduction for the same period as when lower individual income tax rates generally apply: 2018 through 2025. For this period it also suspends the exclusion from income of qualified employer reimbursements of moving expenses.
The TCJA does provide an exception to both suspensions for active-duty members of the Armed Forces (and their spouses and dependents) who move because of a military order that calls for a permanent change of station.
Tests for 2017
If you moved in 2017 and would like to claim a deduction on your 2017 return, the first requirement is that the move be work-related. You don’t have to be an employee; the self-employed can also be eligible for the moving expense deduction.
The second is a distance test. The new main job location must be at least 50 miles farther from your former home than your former main job location was from that home. So a work-related move from city to suburb or from town to neighboring town probably won’t qualify, even if not moving would have increased your commute significantly.
Finally, there’s a time test. You must work full time at the new job location for at least 39 weeks during the first year. If you’re self-employed, you must meet that test plus work full time for at least 78 weeks during the first 24 months at the new job location. (Certain limited exceptions apply.)
The moving expense deduction is an “above-the-line” deduction, which means it’s subtracted from your gross income to determine your adjusted gross income. It’s not an itemized deduction, so you don’t have to itemize to benefit.
Generally, you can deduct:
• Transportation and lodging expenses for yourself and household members while moving,
• The cost of packing and transporting your household goods and other personal property,
• The expense of storing and insuring these items while in transit, and
• Costs related to connecting or disconnecting utilities.
But don’t expect to deduct everything. Meal costs during move-related travel aren’t deductible • nor is any part of the purchase price of a new home or expenses incurred selling your old one. And, if your employer later reimburses you for any of the moving costs you’ve deducted, you may have to include the reimbursement as income on your tax return.
Please contact us if you have questions about whether you can deduct moving expenses on your 2017 return or about what other tax breaks won’t be available for 2018 under the TCJA.
Whether you had a child in college (or graduate school) last year or were a student yourself, you may be eligible for some valuable tax breaks on your 2017 return. One such break that had expired December 31, 2016, was just extended under the recently passed Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: the tuition and fees deduction.
But a couple of tax credits are also available. Tax credits can be especially valuable because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar; deductions reduce only the amount of income that’s taxed.
Higher education breaks 101
While multiple higher-education breaks are available, a taxpayer isn’t allowed to claim all of them. In most cases you can take only one break per student, and, for some breaks, only one per tax return. So first you need to see which breaks you’re eligible for. Then you need to determine which one will provide the greatest benefit.
Also keep in mind that you generally can’t claim deductions or credits for expenses that were paid for with distributions from tax-advantaged accounts, such as 529 plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts.
Two credits are available for higher education expenses:
1. The American Opportunity credit — up to $2,500 per year per student for qualifying expenses for the first four years of post-secondary education.
2. The Lifetime Learning credit — up to $2,000 per tax return for post-secondary education expenses, even beyond the first four years.
But income-based phaseouts apply to these credits.
If you’re eligible for the American Opportunity credit, it will likely provide the most tax savings. If you’re not, consider claiming the Lifetime Learning credit. But first determine if the tuition and fees deduction might provide more tax savings.
Despite the dollar-for-dollar tax savings credits offer, you might be better off deducting up to $4,000 of qualified higher education tuition and fees. Because it’s an above-the-line deduction, it reduces your adjusted gross income, which could provide additional tax benefits. But income-based limits also apply to the tuition and fees deduction.
Be aware that the tuition and fees deduction was extended only through December 31, 2017. So it won’t be available on your 2018 return unless Congress extends it again or makes it permanent.
Maximizing your savings
If you don’t qualify for breaks for your child’s higher education expenses because your income is too high, your child might. Many additional rules and limits apply to the credits and deduction, however. To learn which breaks your family might be eligible for on your 2017 tax returns — and which will provide the greatest tax savings — please contact us.
Happy New Year. I hope your new year is off to a great start.
Every year practices face various challenges and 2018 is no different. In planning for success, you will want to start early.
In our recent webinar featuring Elizabeth Woodcock, we navigated through MIPS/MACRA: Gearing up for 2018. As we enter our second year of the government’s Quality Payment Program we find many still confused along with continued changes to the program. For 2018 it is important not only to understand which quality payment program pathway you will follow, but also how you are scored so you can ensure you are armed for success in meeting minimum thresholds to optimize practice cash flow.
With the deadline to send in your performance data quickly approaching, by March 31, 2018, make sure you are ready. If you missed our webinar, we encourage you to watch the recording as Elizabeth presents some great tips and tools on how your practice can prepare.
Nicole McOmber, CPA is a Healthcare CPA and the leader of the Jones & Roth Healthcare Team. She specializes in practice management, advisory services, and tax & accounting services for medical practices and clinics across Oregon & Southwest Washington.