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Individual TAXES

What You Need to Know About Lake Forest Property Taxes
Property tax is taxation applied to physical property in a particular jurisdiction that's owned by an individual or legal entity.[...]
2021 individual taxes: Answers to your questions about limits
Many people are more concerned about their 2020 tax bills right now than they are about their 2021 tax situations.[...]
Real Estate Transfer Tax in Lake Forest, Illinois
Any real estate purchase is a major undertaking. You must organize a significant amount of paperwork throughout the transaction, including[...]
One reason to file your 2020 tax return early
The IRS announced it is opening the 2020 individual income tax return filing season on February 12. (This is later[...]
Educate yourself about the revised tax benefits for higher education
Attending college is one of the biggest investments that parents and students ever make. If you or your child (or[...]
Maximize your 401(k) plan to save for retirement
Contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan can help you reduce taxes and save for retirement. If your employer offers a[...]
Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit
The earned income tax credit allows taxpayers who qualify to get back more of the money they paid into taxes.[...]
What Is the Illinois Sales Tax?
Understanding the Illinois state sales tax is important for both retailers and individual buyers. Everyone who makes a purchase or[...]
Understanding Illinois Unemployment Benefits
Whether you've found yourself unemployed indefinitely or just between jobs, it's essential to know how and when you qualify for[...]
Divorcing couples should understand these 4 tax issues
When a couple is going through a divorce, taxes are probably not foremost in their minds. But without proper planning[...]
What tax records can you throw away?
October 15 is the deadline for individual taxpayers who extended their 2019 tax returns. (The original April 15 filing deadline[...]
What Vehicle Expenses are Tax Deductible?
Vehicles are one of the costliest items to own. Besides having to make a large initial investment, you also need[...]
Why it’s important to plan for income taxes as part of your estate plan
As a result of the current estate tax exemption amount ($11.58 million in 2020), many estates no longer need to[...]
Homebuyers: Can you deduct seller-paid points?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that existing home sales and prices are up nationwide,[...]
Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (What it means for You)
Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Act (Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act) into law on June 25,[...]
Back-to-school tax breaks on the books
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, students are going back to school this fall, either remotely, in-person or under a hybrid schedule.[...]
More parents may owe “nanny tax” this year, due to COVID-19
In the COVID-19 era, many parents are hiring nannies and babysitters because their daycare centers and summer camps have closed.[...]
Conduct a “paycheck checkup” to make sure your withholding is adequate
Did you recently file your federal tax return and were surprised to find you owed money? You might want to[...]
If you’re selling your home, don’t forget about taxes
Traditionally, spring and summer are popular times for selling a home. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a slowdown[...]
Student loan interest: Can you deduct it on your tax return?
The economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented and many taxpayers with student loans have been hard hit.[...]
ARM vs. Fixed Mortgage Calculator
There are a few key differences between adjustable-rate mortgages and fixed-rate mortgages that are important to understand before choosing between[...]
What’s Actually in an Investment Portfolio?
Your portfolio of investments and how you allocate them is key to your success as an investor. The assets in[...]
Tax credits may help with the high cost of raising children
If you’re a parent, or if you’re planning on having children, you know that it’s expensive to pay for their[...]
Reasons why married couples might want to file separate tax returns
Married couples often wonder whether they should file joint or separate tax returns. The answer depends on your individual tax[...]
Answers to your questions about 2020 individual tax limits
Right now, you may be more concerned about your 2019 tax bill than you are about your 2020 tax situation.[...]
Can you deduct charitable gifts on your tax return?
Many taxpayers make charitable gifts — because they’re generous and they want to save money on their federal tax bills.[...]
4 New Law Changes That May Affect Your Retirement Plan
If you save for retirement with an IRA or other plan, you’ll be interested to know that Congress recently passed[...]
Using your 401(k) plan to save this year and next
You can reduce taxes and save for retirement by contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement plan. If your employer offers a[...]
3 last-minute tips that may help trim your tax bill
If you’re starting to fret about your 2019 tax bill, there’s good news — you may still have time to[...]
Take advantage of the gift tax exclusion rules
As we head toward the gift-giving season, you may be considering giving gifts of cash or securities to your loved[...]
The tax implications of being a winner
  If you’re lucky enough to be a winner at gambling or the lottery, congratulations! After you celebrate, be ready[...]
The “kiddie tax” hurts families more than ever
Years ago, Congress enacted the “kiddie tax” rules to prevent parents and grandparents in high tax brackets from shifting income[...]
The “nanny tax” must be paid for more than just nannies
You may have heard of the “nanny tax.” But even if you don’t employ a nanny, it may apply to[...]
Summer: A good time to review your investments
You may have heard about a proposal in Washington to cut the taxes paid on investments by indexing capital gains[...]
You may have to pay tax on Social Security benefits
During your working days, you pay Social Security tax in the form of withholding from your salary or self-employment tax.[...]
If your kids are off to day camp, you may be eligible for a tax break
Now that most schools are out for the summer, you might be sending your children to day camp. It’s often[...]
Donating your vehicle to charity may not be a taxwise decision
You’ve probably seen or heard ads urging you to donate your car to charity. “Make a difference and receive tax[...]
It’s a good time to check your withholding and make changes, if necessary
Due to the massive changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the 2019 filing season resulted in surprises.[...]
Selling your home? Consider these tax implications
Spring and summer are the optimum seasons for selling a home. And interest rates are currently attractive, so buyers may[...]
Three questions you may have after you file your return
Once your 2018 tax return has been successfully filed with the IRS, you may still have some questions. Here are[...]
Make a deductible IRA contribution for 2018. It’s not too late!
Do you want to save more for retirement on a tax-favored basis? If so, and if you qualify, you can[...]
Electric Vehicles Tax Credit Phaseout
The tax credit for buying certain plug-in electric vehicles begins a phaseout on April 1. The IRS announced that General[...]
The 2018 gift tax return deadline is almost here
Did you make large gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs last year? If so, it’s important to determine[...]
Vehicle-expense deduction ins and outs for individual taxpayers
It’s not just businesses that can deduct vehicle-related expenses. Individuals also can deduct them in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, the Tax[...]
Careful tax planning required for incentive stock options
Incentive stock options (ISOs) are a popular form of compensation for executives and other employees of corporations. They allow you[...]
Some of your deductions may be smaller (or nonexistent) when you file your 2018 tax return
While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduces most income tax rates and expands some tax breaks, it limits[...]
Home Office Deduction: Pasquesi Sheppard’s Guide
Working from home has its perks. Not only can you skip the commute, but you also may be eligible to[...]
Investment interest expense is still deductible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll benefit
As you likely know by now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced or eliminated many deductions for individuals.[...]
What will your marginal income tax rate be?
While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) generally reduced individual tax rates for 2018 through 2025, some taxpayers could[...]
2 major tax law changes for individuals in 2019
  While most provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) went into effect in 2018 and either apply[...]
A review of significant TCJA provisions impacting individual taxpayers
Now that 2019 has begun, there isn’t too much you can do to reduce your 2018 income tax liability. But[...]
Catch-up retirement plan contributions can be particularly advantageous post-TCJA
Will you be age 50 or older on December 31? Are you still working? Are you already contributing to your[...]
Consider all the tax consequences before making gifts to loved ones
Many people choose to pass assets to the next generation during life, whether to reduce the size of their taxable[...]
529 plans offer two tax-advantaged education funding options
Section 529 plans are a popular education-funding tool because of tax and other benefits. Two types are available: 1) prepaid[...]
Charitable IRA rollovers may be especially beneficial in 2018
If you’re age 70½ or older, you can make direct contributions — up to $100,000 annually — from your IRA[...]
Tax planning for investments gets more complicated
For investors, fall is a good time to review year-to-date gains and losses. Not only can it help you assess[...]
Teacher Tax Deductions: Everything You Need to Know
When teachers are setting up their classrooms for the new school year, it’s common for them to pay for a[...]
Are Gambling Losses Deductible?
If you gamble, be sure you understand the tax consequences. Both wins and losses can affect your income tax bill.[...]
What is AMT?
The AMT stands for the Alternative Minimum Tax. It is a modified income tax that occurs when a taxpayer takes[...]
Why the “kiddie tax” is more dangerous than ever
Years ago, some parents and grandparents attempted to save tax by putting investments in the names of their children or[...]
Home green home: Save tax by saving energy
“Going green” at home — whether it’s your principal residence or a second home — can reduce your tax bill[...]
The tax impact of the TCJA on estate planning
The massive changes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made to income taxes have garnered the most attention. But[...]
Sending your kids to day camp may provide a tax break
When school lets out, kids participate in a wide variety of summer activities. If one of the activities your child[...]
Be aware of the tax consequences before selling your home
In many parts of the country, summer is peak season for selling a home. If you’re planning to put your[...]
Individual tax calendar: Important deadlines for the remainder of 2018
While April 15 (April 17 this year) is the main tax deadline on most individual taxpayers’ minds, there are others[...]
2018 Tax Tips
The IRS reminds taxpayers of big changes that apply to most individual 2018 tax returns. Initial inflation adjustments, which were[...]
Can I Claim My Parent as a Dependent?
Perhaps! If you’ve taken care of a parent, s/he may qualify as a dependent. Claiming your parent as a dependent relies[...]
How to check your federal tax status
Check the status of your federal tax account with an IRS online tool. Individual taxpayers can use the tool to[...]
Home-related tax breaks are valuable on 2017 returns, will be less so for 2018
Home ownership is a key element of the American dream for many, and the U.S. tax code includes many tax[...]
IRS Can Detect Inaccurate Tax Reporting
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will be changing the tax rules of the road for alimony. Under current[...]
Moving Expenses Deduction 2018 vs 2017
If you moved for work-related reasons in 2017, you might be able to deduct some of the costs on your[...]
Size of charitable deductions depends on many factors
Whether you’re claiming charitable deductions on your 2017 return or planning your donations for 2018, be sure you know how[...]
State and local sales tax deduction remains, but subject to a new limit
Individual taxpayers who itemize their deductions can deduct either state and local income taxes or state and local sales taxes.[...]
TCJA temporarily lowers medical expense deduction threshold
Lake Forest and greater Chicago taxpayers know that medical expenses can take a bite out of the pocketbook, and fortunately[...]