Taxes

Tick, Tock: Impact of the New Tax Law on Alimony and Divorce

Contributed by: Jacki Roessler, CDFA® Jacki Roessler

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Getting divorced in 2018 and planning to pay or receive alimony?  You may not realize it, but there’s a tax “timer” hanging over your head and the buzzer is set to go off.

Current Law  

Based on current tax law, the payer of alimony may deduct the full amount from their taxable income which, in turn requires the recipient to treat it as taxable income.

How does this work in the real world?

Suppose Harry pays Sally $5,000 per month in alimony. Sally doesn’t get to keep  $5,000 because it’s treated as taxable income to her.  Based on her tax bracket, her actual monthly net is $3,750. Conversely, since Harry is in a higher tax bracket than Sally, when he writes a check to Sally for $5,000, the deduction translates to an out-of-pocket cost to him of $3,000.

What about the difference between the $3,750 that Sally nets and the $3,000 that it costs Harry? Uncle Sam has been footing the bill on the $750 differential in tax revenue. That is exactly what this new regulation is structured to eliminate.  

The New Tax Law and Alimony

The new tax law does away with the tax deduction for alimony. Of course, alimony also won’t be treated as taxable income to the recipient. The new law goes into effect for divorce cases finalized (not filed) with the Court after December 31, 2018. Cases finalized by December 31, 2018 will be grandfathered into the old tax law.

Why divorcing couples (especially the recipient of alimony) should care about the tax law change

In practical terms, taxable alimony shifts income from a high tax bracket to a lower one.  Some have argued that it gives divorced couples an unfair financial advantage not available to married couples. However, for the past 75 years, the tax deduction has made alimony a valuable negotiation tool used by attorneys across the country to help settle divorce cases. In fact, it’s often one of the only ways to help provide a fair (or) equal resolution during a difficult financial time for both parties.

When is the timer set to go off?

Although divorce attorneys and their clients may think they have until year-end before they need to worry about the changes, many states have a mandatory cooling off period once the case has been filed with the Court. Michigan, for example, has a 60 day waiting period; however for couples with minor children, the waiting period is typically extended to 180 days. Therefore, depending on where you live and if you have minor children, you may only have until the end of June 2018 to file and take advantage of tax deductible alimony.

As always, every case is different. Consult with a tax preparer, attorney and/or divorce financial professional to help you understand how the tax law changes may affect your divorce.

Jacki Roessler, CDFA® is a Divorce Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®


The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jacki Roessler, CDFA®, Divorce Financial Planner and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. This material is being provided for information purposes only. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person's situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. The hypothetical example above is for illustration purposes only.

All about AMT: What it is and how it Might Apply to you

Contributed by: Matt Trujillo, CFP® Matt Trujillo

AMT.  It is one of those IRS acronyms that have a very bad reputation. Most people definitely seem to want to avoid it at all costs – but should they? Let’s find out what is really behind AMT—what it is, if it applies to you, and if it is really as bad as people think it is (or if there are some planning opportunities that might not be so bad).

What is AMT?

It’s a parallel tax code that is calculated alongside the “normal” marginal federal tax code to make sure tax payers are paying their “fair share.”

How does it work?

AMT excludes a lot of deductions that are common to a lot of Americans such as the mortgage interest deduction and state/local tax deduction. Essentially, you are given a flat exemption figure and once you exceed that exemption figure each dollar becomes taxable. For joint filers the AMT exemption is $83,800, each dollar after this is taxed at 26%.

Who does it apply to?

It can apply to anyone who files a federal tax return, but we typically find clients between $159,000 & $494,000 of taxable income most often subject to AMT.

What can you do about it?

If you find yourself in AMT you should really sit down and look at current vs. future income projections. If your income is projected to continue to increase, then AMT could actually present a planning opportunity.  If you think about it logically the alternative minimum tax is 26% and many of our clients find themselves in the 33%-39.6% marginal rates at some point in their working careers. So a 26% tax rate, when you expect to pay much higher, could potentially be a good deal.

In order to take advantage of the AMT rate you will actually need to reduce deductions and accelerate income. Having your financial planner coordinate with your CPA is a critical aspect to do this well in order to find a balance in how much to reduce deductions and how much additional income to accelerate.

Here are some ways to accelerate income:

  • Receivables: If you're self-employed, bear in mind that your income isn't taxable until you receive it, if you're using the cash method of accounting. Therefore, you should collect accounts receivable in the current year.
  • Year-end bonus: If you're employed and are eligible for a year-end bonus, make sure you receive it before the New Year arrives.
  • Restricted stock: If your employer compensates you with restricted stock, it usually isn't taxable until there is no possibility that you'll have to forfeit the stock. However, you may file a statement with the IRS within 30 days of receiving the stock, allowing you to treat the stock as vested so that you can include the value of the stock in your income now.
  • ROTH Conversions: Moving some money out your traditional IRA into a ROTH IRA can be a great way to accelerate income and convert some money at a 26% tax rate and withdraw it when you are potentially in a higher tax rate down the road.
  • IRA or retirement plan distributions: You may be able to increase your income in the current year by taking any planned distributions from your traditional IRA or retirement plan this year instead of next year. (If you aren't yet 59½, however, you may be assessed at a 10% premature distribution tax unless you meet an exception.)
  • Installment notes: If you sold property and are receiving installment payments for it, you may cause the remaining installment payments to be included in income during the current year in one of three ways: (1) have the debtor pay off the note this year, (2) use the installment note as collateral for a loan, or (3) sell the note to a third party.
  • Dividends: If possible, arrange to receive dividends before the year's end. 
  • Lawsuits, insurance claims, etc.: If you're embroiled in a dispute that could result in the receipt of taxable income, you can accelerate the income by settling the dispute before next year. 
  • Capital gains: If you have assets that would result in a capital gain if sold, consider selling them this year in order to accelerate income.
  • EE bonds: If you have U.S. government Series EE savings bonds (may also be called Patriot bonds) and you've elected to defer taxes until the bonds are redeemed, cash them in this year.

Here are several ways to postpone deductions:

  • Bunching deductions in the following year: Try to time your expenses to create deductions in the following year. For instance:
    • Schedule nonemergency visits to your dentist and doctor for the following year
    • Avoid prepaying property taxes and interest that is due the following year
    • Postpone charitable gifts until next year
    • Hold off on paying miscellaneous expenses (e.g., professional dues) until next year
  • Minimizing depreciation deductions: Minimize your depreciation deductions by electing a straight-line depreciation method and forgoing the Section 179 expense election.

AMT can be very tricky to understand and navigate effectively. Be sure to work with a team of qualified professionals, including your financial planner, if you plan on delving into this complex area of financial planning. Like always, if you have questions regarding AMT and your options, give us a call!

Matthew Trujillo, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Matt currently assists Center planners and clients, and is a contributor to Money Centered.


The information contained in this blog does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Matthew Trujillo and not necessarily those of Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. Every investor's situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Unless certain criteria are met, Roth IRA owners must be 59½ or older and have held the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted. Additionally, each converted amount may be subject to its own five-year holding period. Converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA has tax implications. Investors should consult a tax advisor before deciding to do a conversion. Dividends are not guaranteed and must be authorized by the company's board of directors. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

Everyone’s Favorite Topics: Social Security and Taxes

Contributed by: Kali Hassinger Kali Hassinger

Throughout our entire working lives, our hard-earned cash is taken out of each paycheck and paid into a seemingly abstract Social Security Trust fund. As we see these funds disappear week after week, the pain of being taxed is hopefully somewhat alleviated by the possibility that, one day, we can finally collect benefits from the money that has been alluding us for so long. (Maybe you’re also comforted by the fact that you’re paying toward economic security for the elderly and disabled – or maybe not, but I’m an idealist). 

When the time to file for benefits finally arises, however, it may not be clear how this new source of income will affect your tax situation. Although no one pays tax on 100% of their Social Security benefits, the amount that is taxable is determined by the IRS based on your “provisional” or “combined” income. Provisional and combined income are terms that can be use interchangeably, so we will just use provisional from this point forward. Many of you may not be familiar with either term, but I’ll bet it’s no surprise that the beloved IRS uses a system that can be slightly confusing! No need to worry, though, because I’m going to provide you with the basics of Social Security taxation.

Determining your provisional (aka combined) income requires the following formula: 

Adjusted Gross income (AGI) includes almost all forms of income (salaries, pensions, IRA distributions, ordinary dividends, etc.), and it can be found on the 1st page of your Form 1040. AGI does not, however, include tax exempt interest – such as dividends paid from a municipal bond or excluded foreign interest. These can be powerful tax tools in individual situations, but they won’t help when it comes to Social Security taxation. The IRS requires that you add any tax-exempt interest received into your Adjusted Gross Income for this calculation. On top of that, you have to add ½ of your annual social security benefits. The sum of these 3 items will reveal your provisional income for Social Security taxation purposes.

After determining the provisional income amount, the IRS taxes your Social Security benefits using 3 thresholds: 0%, 50%, or 85%. This means that the maximum portion of your Social Security Benefits that can be considered taxable income is 85%, while some people may not be taxed at all. The provisional income dollar amount in relation to the taxation percentage is illustrated in the chart below: 

As you can see, it isn’t difficult to reach the 50% and 85% thresholds, which can ultimately affect your marginal tax bracket.  These thresholds were established in 1984 and 1993, and they have never been adjusted for inflation. The taxable portion of your benefit is the taxed at your normal marginal tax rate. 

Social Security, in general, can be a very confusing and intimidating topic, but it is also a valuable income resource for all who collect benefits. Everyone’s circumstance is different, and it’s important to understand how the benefits are affecting your tax situation. I encourage you to speak to your CPA or Financial Planner with any questions.

Kali Hassinger, CFP® is a Registered Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Kali Hassinger and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

How Should I Use My Tax Refund?

Contributed by: Jaclyn Jackson Jaclyn Jackson

Tax filing season is over and many people are entitled to get money back from Uncle Sam.  While most of us are tempted to buy the latest gadget or book a vacation, there may be a better way to use your tax refund. If you are pondering what to do with your tax refund, here are a few questions to help determine whether you should SAVE, INVEST, or SPEND it.

Have you been delaying one of the following: car repair, dental or vision checks, or home improvement?

If you answered yes: SPEND

If you had to be conservative with your income last year and as a result postponed car, health, or home maintenance, you can use your tax refund to get those things done.  Postponing routine maintenance to save money short term may add up to huge expenses long term (i.e. having to purchase a new car, incurring major medical expenses, or dealing with costly home repairs.)

Do you have debt with high interest rates?

If you answered yes: SPEND

High interest rates really hurt over time. For instance, let’s say you have a $5,000 balance at 15% APR and only paid the minimum each month.  It would take you almost nine years to pay off the debt and cost you an additional $2,118 interest (a 42% increase to your original loan) for a total payment of $7,118. Use your tax return to dig out of the hole and get debt down as much as possible.

Could benefit from buying or increasing your insurance?

If you answered yes: SPEND

  1. Consider personal umbrella insurance for expenses that exceed your normal home or auto liability coverage.
  2. Make sure you have enough life insurance.
  3. Beef up your insurance to protect against extreme weather conditions like flooding or different types of storm damage that are not normally included in a standard policy.  Similarly, you can use your tax refund to physically your home from tough weather conditions; clean gutters, trim low hanging branches, seal windows, repair your roof, stock an emergency kit, buy a generator, etc.

Have you had to use emergency funds the last couple of years to meet expenses?

If you answered yes: SAVE

Stuff happens and usually at unpredictable times, so it’s understandable that you may have dipped into your emergency reserves. You can use your tax refund to replenish rainy day funds.  The rule of thumb is to have at least 3-6 months of your expenses saved for emergencies. 

Are you considered a contract or contingent employee?

If you answered yes: SAVE

Temporary and contract employment has become pretty common in our labor-competitive economy where high paying positions are few and far between. If you paid estimated taxes, you may be eligible for a tax refund. Take this opportunity to build up savings to buffer against slow seasons or gaps in employment. 

Could you benefit from building up retirement savings?

If you answered yes: INVEST

Get ahead of the game with an early 2016 contribution to your Roth IRA or traditional IRA.  You can add up to $5,500 to your account (or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older).  Investing in a work sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) is also recommended so you could beef up your contributions for the rest of the year and use the refund to supplement your cash flow in the meantime. 

Are you interested saving for your child’s college education?

If you answered yes: INVEST

College expenses aren’t getting any cheaper and there’s no time like the present to start saving for your child’s college tuition.  Money invested in a 529 account could be used tax-free for college bills with the added bonus of a state income tax deduction for you contribution.

Could you benefit professionally from entering a certification program, attending conferences/seminar, or joining a professional organization?

If you answered yes: INVEST

It’s always a good idea to invest in your development.  Why not use your tax refund to propel your future?  Try a public speaking or professional writing course; attend a conference that will give you useful information or potentially widen your network.   

Did you answer “no” to all the questions above?

If you answered yes: HAVE FUN

Buy the latest gadget.  Book the vacation.  You’ve earned it!

Jaclyn Jackson is an Investment Research Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and an Investment Representative with Raymond James Financial Services.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Jaclyn Jackson and not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. Please include: Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members. Hypothetical examples are for illustration purposes only.

"Help! I’m Facing a Larger than Expected Tax Bill,"

Contributed by: Matt Trujillo, CFP® Matt Trujillo

Every year, as the initial filing date approaches for federal tax returns, inevitably a client calls or emails with something along the lines of “Help! I owe the feds some money! Is there anything I can do to avoid the tax?!” 

I can certainly empathize with getting hit with an unexpected tax bill, and depending on your situation sometimes there are perfectly legal ways to avoid an unexpected tax bill. I have summarized a list of ideas below to keep in mind in case you find yourself in this situation:

Max out the HSA

If you have a qualified high deductible health plan and have an account established, you can defer up to $6,650 in 2015 and this can be done up to the filing deadline of April 18th for 2016.

SEP IRA

For 1099 earners look at setting up and contributing to a SEP IRA; this can be as much as 25% of your net income after expenses that are accounted for on the 1099 income.

Spousal IRA contribution

Maybe you work and have access to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan so you’re not able to make a deductible IRA contribution, but don’t rule this out entirely as your spouse could potentially make a deductible IRA contribution even if they aren’t working. Up to $5,500 for those under 50 and $6,500 for those over 50.

All of the aforementioned can be done right up to the filing deadline of April 18th for 2016, so it makes sense to review these even if it's passed December 31st of the calendar year! If none of these apply to your situation and you are wondering how to avoid owing a big tax bill again on next year’s tax return, consider the following ideas to help mitigate the upcoming year’s tax liability:

Max out 401(k)’s

For those under 50, you can contribute $18,000 and for those over 50 you can contribute $24,000. This has to be done through payroll deduction so you only have until December 31st of the calendar year to defer money into the plan and avoid income tax.

Deferred Compensation Plan

Some plans will allow you to defer your entire salary if desired so make sure you explore the options in your plan and know the specifics of how it works. These plans can be subject to substantial risk of forfeiture, so be very careful and make sure your organization is on solid financial footing before contributing to these plans.

Increase withholding on your paycheck

Nothing fancy here. Sometimes it's just as simple as sending an email to human resources and letting them know you want to withhold more state and federal taxes from your paychecks so you don’t get hit with a big tax bill at the end of the year.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional before implementing any of these strategies. 

Matthew Trujillo, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Matt currently assists Center planners and clients, and is a contributor to Money Centered.


Any opinions are those of Matt Trujillo and not necessarily those of Raymond James Financial Services.

Investor Access: How the Raymond James Online System Allows Easy Access to your Tax Documents

Contributed by: Jennifer Hackmann Jennifer Hackmann

If you are not currently enrolled in the free, secure, online Raymond James Investor Access portal, then now would be the perfect time to jump on board. It’s a great tool offered by Raymond James that will allow you to access your tax documents online, as opposed to waiting for hard copies in the mail. Tax season can be frustrating enough, so as an added convenience Raymond James now allows you the option to receive your tax documents electronically – this is a new feature that just started with this 2015 tax year. Tax documents are available in PDF format, so you will be able to print and/or save them to your computer.

There are many additional features to the Investor Access system that will help make tax time much less of a headache, including:

  • The ability to access your documents quicker; as soon as they become available.
  • Option to export your 1099 tax information to an Excel format
  • Raymond James has partnerships with TaxACT, TurboTax, and H&R Block, which provides clients with additional information and instructions for downloading your tax information.
  • Information regarding Required Minimum Distributions.
  • A Guide to your Consolidated Tax Statement.

Login in to your Investor Access today to check-out all of these features and if you are not currently enrolled, please click on the Investor Access Tab on our website to get started.

Jennifer Hackmann, RP® is a Registered Paraplanner℠ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.

Deducting Investment Management Fees

Contributed by: Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD Tim Wyman

It’s that time of year again: it’s tax reporting season! Hopefully your 1099 statements have arrived and you have begun your annual tax gathering progress. A common question this time of year is, “Can I deduct investment management fees?” Like many areas of the US Tax Code, this can be anything but a straight forward answer. Your tax preparer is the best person to consult with on this issue – but in the meantime, here are some guidelines.

The first place to start when trying to determine if an investment management fee is deductible or not is to determine the type of account: Taxable, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, 401k, etc.

Investment management fees paid in taxable accounts (such as single, joint or living trust accounts) are a tax deductible expense and reported as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A of Form 1040. That’s the easy part – but not the whole story. There is more to the story because not everyone can actually benefit from miscellaneous itemized deductions. In order to benefit from your miscellaneous itemized deductions, in aggregate they must exceed 2% of your Adjusted Gross Income. As an example, if you have Adjusted Gross Income of $100,000, then the first $2,000 of miscellaneous itemized deductions are not deductible – only the balance or amount in excess of $2,000 can be deducted. To further confuse the issue, if you are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax some or all of these deductions could be disallowed as a tax preference.

For accounts such as Traditional IRA’s, ROTH IRA’s, and 401k’s, it continues to be my interpretation of the tax code that investment management fees paid by assets in these accounts are not deductible; the positive trade off however is nor are they considered taxable income. So, the fees are not deductible but you don’t pay income on the fee either. That said, some professionals do interpret that the fee is deductible, just as it is for taxable accounts discussed above, if the fees are paid with money outside of the IRA. For example, some tax professionals will suggest that fees attributed to IRA type funds be paid via a separate check or billed to a taxable account making them deductible.

As you can see, there are some gray areas on this topic.  What can you do?

  • Be sure to share the information about your paid investment management fees with your tax preparer.
  • Break the fees out by account type (taxable versus other types, such as an IRA).

Fortunately your yearend tax reports from your brokerage firm (such as Raymond James) should contain the necessary information on investment management fees for correct accounting. And, as always, if you need help getting through the maze give us a call. 

Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD is the Managing Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and is a contributor to national media and publications such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on Good Morning America Weekend Edition and WDIV Channel 4. A leader in his profession, Tim served on the National Board of Directors for the 28,000 member Financial Planning Association™ (FPA®), mentored many CFP® practitioners and is a frequent speaker to organizations and businesses on various financial planning topics.


The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc., and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Please note, changes in tax laws or regulations may occur at any time and could substantially impact your situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax matters with the appropriate professional.

Efficient Tax Planning is a Year-Round Job

While many of us are so focused this time of year on getting our tax returns done and over with until 2016, year-round tax planning is something that excites us number geeks!  Taxes are something we really can’t control, right?  Not exactly.  While we can’t change the tax rates set by our government, we can work collaboratively with you and your tax professional to make sure certain financial decisions throughout the year ensure that you are being as efficient as possible with your tax situation.  Let’s take a look at a few examples:

Example #1: Ford Stock

Say you have a stock position in Ford that you purchased when the “sky was falling” at $3/share.  Now it is worth much more and you have an unrealized gain of $20,000.  You might not want to part ways with the stock because it has done so well and you don’t want to pay tax on that nice $20,000 gain.  This might make your reconsider: If your taxable income falls within the 15% marginal tax bracket, chances are you would pay very little or possibly ZERO tax on the $20,000 gain.  You could lock in some nice profit on the stock and potentially improve the overall allocation of your portfolio. 

Example #2: Roth Conversion

Let’s take a look at another real life example we see very often.  What if your income this year drops significantly?  Whether it be a job loss, retirement, job change, etc. this is something we want you to keep us in the loop on for pro-active tax planning purposes.  In this situation, a Roth IRA conversion could make a lot of sense if your income this year will fall into a lower tax bracket that you will most likely never be in again.  Paying tax at a much lower rate than you normally would and moving Traditional IRA dollars into a Roth IRA for potential future tax-free growth could be a monumental planning opportunity.   

Sharing Your Tax Returns

These are just two examples of the many factors we are looking for in your financial plan to make sure your dollars are being taxed efficiently.  You can help us do this work by providing us with your tax return early in the year.  This gives us a much better chance to fully analyze your tax situation throughout the year to see if any tax planning strategies could make sense for you and your family.  Many of our clients have now signed a disclosure form allowing us to contact their CPA or tax professional directly to obtain copies of returns and to discuss tax-planning ideas.  This saves you, as the client, the hassle of making copies or e-mailing your return to us – we are all about making your life easier! 

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s Money Centered and Center Connections blogs.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Center for Financial Planning, Inc. and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Raymond James does not provide tax advice. You should consult a tax professional for any tax matters. C15-004265

Tax Time Fraud Alert from the IRS

Rich or poor, old or young, criminals still want to steal from you.  Financial fraud and identity theft is a huge concern to most of us, particularly cyber fraud.  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen released a statement in late January warning citizens about tax time scammers.  PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS WARNING.

Over the Internet

The Scam: Internet scammers come out in droves around tax time, trying to trick you as a taxpayer. They may try to get you to send them your address, Social Security number, credit card number, bank account number or any other valuable piece of information that can help them steal your identity or your assets.  These tax scammers sent out so-called "phishing" emails that appear to be from the IRS and claim that the recipient either owes money or is due a refund.  The IRS will never send you an e-mail about a bill or refund and request your private information. 

What to Do: If you get an unsolicited email that seems to be from the IRS or a related agency, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), don't reply, don't open any attachments and don't click on any links.  Opening the attachments can allow scammers to steal your personal information or infect your computer.  Instead, report the e-mail to the IRS by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.  According to the IRS, they do not contact taxpayers electronically - whether by text, email or other social media - to request personal or financial information.

By Phone

The Scam: One of the all-time top tax scams is done by phone. These scammers call taxpayers and make claims about a refund or tax due and try to get taxpayers to provide private information.

What to Do: Do not provide private information over the phone – to anyone, including those who might claim to be calling from the IRS. If you receive a phone call or electronic communication from any source claiming to be the IRS or an associated agency, do not respond by providing confidential information.

Providing the wrong information to the wrong people can result in identity theft, monetary theft and years of headaches for you. Report any such communication to the IRS or contact your tax preparer or financial advisor for guidance. 

Sandra Adams, CFP®is a Partner and Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Sandy specializes in Elder Care Financial Planning and is a frequent speaker on related topics. In 2012-2014 Sandy has been named to the Five Star Wealth Managers list in Detroit Hour magazine. In addition to her frequent contributions to Money Centered, she is regularly quoted in national media publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine and Journal of Financial Planning.

Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative (IAR), a FINRA registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, including education and professional designations, actively employed in the industry for five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfillment of firm review based on internal firm standards, accepting new clients, one- and five-year client retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served. A15-003424

Important Information for Tax Season 2014

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As you prepare for the 2014 tax season, here is some information that you may find beneficial.

Our team is available to assist you with your tax reporting needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. We are also happy to coordinate with your CPA or tax preparer on your behalf if you make this request.

2014 Raymond James Form 1099 mailing schedule

  • 2/17- Mailing of original Form 1099s
  • 3/2 - Begin mailing delayed and amended Form 1099s
  • 3/16 - Final mailing of any remaining delayed original Form 1099s

Please note the exceptions immediately below:

Delayed Form 1099s

In an effort to capture delayed data on original Form 1099s, the IRS allows us to extend the mailing date until March 16, 2014 for clients who hold particular investments or who have had specific taxable events occur. Examples of delayed information include:

  • Income reallocation related to mutual funds, real estate investment, unit investment, grantor and royalty trusts; as well as holding company depositary receipts
  • Processing of Original Issue Discount and Mortgage Backed bonds
  • Cost basis adjustments

Amended Form 1099s

Even after delaying your Form 1099, please be aware that adjustments to your Form 1099 are still possible. Raymond James is required by the IRS to produce an amended Form 1099 if notice of such an adjustment is received after the original Form 1099 has been produced. There is no cutoff or deadline for amended Form 1099 statements. The following are some examples of reasons for amended Form 1099s:

  • Income reallocation
  • Adjustments to cost basis (due to the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008)
  • Changes made by mutual fund companies related to foreign withholding
  • Tax-exempt payments subject to alternative minimum tax
  • Any portion of distributions derived from U.S. Treasury obligations

What can you do?

You should consider talking to your tax advisor about whether it makes sense to file an extension with the IRS to give you additional time to file your tax return, particularly if you held any of the aforementioned securities during 2014.

If you receive an amended Form 1099 after you have already filed your tax return, you should consult with your tax advisor about the requirements to re-file based on your individual tax circumstances.

Additional information can be found at http://www.raymondjames.com/taxreporting.htm.

We hope you find this additional information helpful. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns during tax season.

Please note, changes in tax laws or regulations may occur at any time and could substantially impact your situation. Raymond James financial advisors do not render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.