Medical Costs: Can I really get a Tax Break for that?

It's difficult for many people to write off medical expenses because of the limits imposed under the tax laws. But you may qualify by including every expense allowed. Some of the qualified procedures may surprise you.

For example, most insurance plans won't cover laser eye surgery, such as radial keratotomy or "Lasik," because they consider it a cosmetic procedure. But it generally qualifies for a medical deduction and as an expense in a flexible spending account. (The IRS used to disallow Lasik as a deductible medical expense.) With the cost running into the thousands in most parts of the country, it's a considerable outlay. 

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Dana CaroComment
10 Smart Tax Strategies to Consider Before Year-End

1. Invest in municipal bonds to generate tax-free income

Even with reduced tax rates, municipal bonds may still be attractive on a relative tax basis for higher-income taxpayers , especially those who find themselves subject to the 3.8% surtax on net investment income. The tax equivalent yield, i.e., the yield an investor would require in a taxable bond investment to equal the yield of a comparable tax-free municipal bond, is higher for those taxpayers.

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IRS Shuts Down State Tax Workaround

The IRS has released proposed regulations that would shut down some suggested workarounds for the new $10,000 limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). The new guidance would close the door on a strategy offered by some states to circumvent the deduction limit by attempting to turn the taxes paid into charitable contributions not subject to the same cap

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Tax benefits that can help with the expense of higher education

With back-to-school season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service reminds parents and students about tax benefits that can help with the expense of higher education.

Two college tax credits apply to students enrolled in an eligible college, university or vocational school. Eligible students include the taxpayer, their spouse and dependents.

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Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation has been passed by Congress and awaits the president's signature. The Act makes extensive changes that affect both individuals and businesses. Some key provisions of the Act are discussed below. Most provisions are effective for 2018. Many individual tax provisions sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025; the corporate tax rates provision is made permanent. Comparisons below are generally for 2018.

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Four Ways to Double the Power of Your Tax Refund

The IRS expects that more than 70% of taxpayers will receive a refund in 2017.¹ What you do with a tax refund is up to you, but here are some ideas that may make your refund twice as valuable.

Perhaps you'd like to use your tax refund to start an education fund for your children or grandchildren, contribute to a retirement savings account for yourself, or save for a rainy day. A financial concept known as the Rule of 72 can give you a rough estimate of how long it might take to double what you initially save. Simply divide 72 by the annual rate you hope that your money will earn. For example, if you invest your tax refund and it earns a 6% average annual rate of return, your investment might double in approximately 12 years (72 divided by 6 equals 12).

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The Trump Tax Plan: What You Need to Know

The big news today is the White House's tax plan, which proposes to cut taxes across the board, relieve millions of people from the burden of paying income taxes, and make filing much simpler and easier—all while keeping the budget in balance (or at least not making the situation worse). The question, of course, is whether it can do all it promises, and whether it stands a chance of passing.

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