Individual TAXES

SECURE 2.0 law may make you more secure in retirement
A new law was recently signed that will help Americans save more for retirement, although many of the provisions don’t[...]
What Are The Tax Rules Involved In Donating?
  The holiday season is here and many people plan to donate to their favorite charities or give money or[...]
How Savings Bonds Are Taxed
  Many people have savings bonds that were purchased many years ago. Perhaps they were given to your children as[...]
Does Illinois Have a Capital Gains Tax?
Capital gains taxes must be monitored and paid for federal and Illinois state tax returns. Although much of your overall[...]
How Inflation Will Affect Your 2022 and 2023 Tax Bills
  The effects of inflation are all around. You’re probably paying more for gas, food, health care and other expenses[...]
Is Your Withholding Adequate? Here’s How To Check
  When you filed your federal tax return this year, were you surprised to find you owed money? You might[...]
Can Homeowners Deduct Seller Paid Points?
  In its latest report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that July 2022 existing home sales were down[...]
Why You Shouldn’t Forget Income Tax When Planning Your Estate
  As a result of the current estate tax exemption amount ($12.06 million in 2022), many estates no longer need[...]
What Are Some Year-End Tax Planning Ideas For Individuals
  Now that fall is officially here, it’s a good time to start taking steps that may lower your tax[...]
What Are Some Financial Consequences of Tax-Free Bonds?
  If you’re interested in investing in tax-free municipal bonds, you may wonder if they’re really free of taxes. While[...]
How To Plan A Tax-Smart Year-End Gifts Strategy
  Are you feeling generous at year end? Taxpayers can transfer substantial amounts free of gift taxes to their children[...]
Vehicle Expenses: Can Individual Taxpayers Deduct Them?
It’s not just businesses that can deduct vehicle-related expenses on their tax returns. Individuals also can deduct them in certain[...]
Is Your Withholding Adequate? Here’s How To Check
When you filed your federal tax return this year, were you surprised to find you owed money? You might want[...]
How To Avoid The Early Withdrawal Tax Penalty On IRA Distributions
When you take withdrawals from your traditional IRA, you probably know that they’re taxable. But there may be a penalty[...]
The Kiddie Tax: Does It Affect Your Family?
Many wonder how they can save taxes by transferring assets into their children’s names. This tax strategy is called income[...]
Interested In An EV? How To Qualify For A Powerful Tax Credit
Sales and registrations of electric vehicles (EVs) have increased dramatically in the U.S. in 2022, according to several sources. However,[...]
Five tax implications of divorce
  Are you in the early stages of divorce? In addition to the tough personal issues that you’re dealing with,[...]
Your estate plan: Don’t forget about income tax planning
  As a result of the current estate tax exemption amount ($12.06 million in 2022), many people no longer need[...]
Social Security benefits: Do you have to pay tax on them?
Some people who begin claiming Social Security benefits are surprised to find out they’re taxed by the federal government on[...]
Is it a good time for a Roth conversion?
The downturn in the stock market may have caused the value of your retirement account to decrease. But if you[...]
Is Alimony Taxable in Illinois?
In recent years, spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, has changed in Illinois. State tax law changes affect the tax[...]
Thinking about converting your home into a rental property?
In some cases, homeowners decide to move to new residences, but keep their present homes and rent them out. If[...]
Want to turn a hobby into a business? Watch out for the tax rules
Like many people, you may have dreamed of turning a hobby into a regular business. You won’t have any tax[...]
Valuable gifts to charity may require an appraisal
If you donate valuable items to charity, you may be required to get an appraisal. The IRS requires donors and[...]
Caring for an elderly relative? You may be eligible for tax breaks
Taking care of an elderly parent or grandparent may provide more than just personal satisfaction. You could also be eligible[...]
IRA charitable donations: An alternative to taxable required distributions
Are you a charitably minded individual who is also taking distributions from a traditional IRA? You may want to consider[...]
Are you ready for the 2021 gift tax return deadline?
If you made large gifts to your children, grandchildren or other heirs last year, it’s important to determine whether you’re[...]
Married couples filing separate tax returns: Why would they do it?
If you’re married, you may wonder whether you should file joint or separate tax returns. The answer depends on your[...]
Did you give to charity in 2021? Make sure you have substantiation
If you donated to charity last year, letters from the charities may have appeared in your mailbox recently acknowledging the[...]
How will revised tax limits affect your 2022 taxes?
While Congress didn’t pass the Build Back Better Act in 2021, there are still tax changes that may affect your[...]
Does Illinois Have A Gift Tax?
Let's examine what a gift tax is and the situations in which it is applied. Also, in short, Illinois does[...]
Flexible Spending Account Money: Remember to Spend It All
Do you have a tax-saving flexible spending account (FSA) with your employer to help pay for health or dependent care[...]
Factor in taxes if you’re relocating to another state in retirement
Are you considering a move to another state when you retire? Perhaps you want to relocate to an area where[...]
Feeling generous at year end? Strategies for donating to charity or gifting to loved ones
As we approach the holidays, many people plan to donate to their favorite charities or give money or assets to[...]
Planning for year-end gifts with the gift tax annual exclusion
As we approach the holidays and the end of the year, many people may want to make gifts of cash[...]
Is a Health Savings Account right for you?
Given the escalating cost of health care, there may be a more cost-effective way to pay for it. For eligible[...]
Selling a home: Will you owe tax on the profit?
Many homeowners across the country have seen their home values increase recently. According to the National Association of Realtors, the[...]
How Long Does it Take to do Taxes?
Filing income taxes is much more involved than filling out a couple of forms and submitting them. Record keeping and[...]
5 possible tax aspects of a parent moving into a nursing home
If you have a parent entering a nursing home, you may not be thinking about taxes. But there are a[...]
Illinois Charitable Games License & Tax – Charity Gaming Taxes
Whether you take part in charitable games regularly as a hobby, are celebrating a special occasion, or are looking to[...]
Tax-favored ways to build up a college fund
If you’re a parent with a college-bound child, you may be concerned about being able to fund future tuition and[...]
Retiring soon? 4 tax issues you may face
If you’re getting ready to retire, you’ll soon experience changes in your lifestyle and income sources that may have numerous[...]
Working in the gig economy results in tax obligations
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the number of people engaged in the “gig” or sharing economy had been growing, according[...]
How to Ensure Life Insurance Isn’t Part of Your Taxable Estate
If you have a life insurance policy, you may want to ensure that the benefits your family will receive after[...]
Home sales: How to determine your “basis”
The housing market in many parts of the country is strong this spring. If you’re buying or selling a home,[...]
Who qualifies for “head of household” tax filing status?
When you file your tax return, you must check one of the following filing statuses: Single, married filing jointly, married[...]
New law tax break may make child care less expensive
The new American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides eligible families with an enhanced child and dependent care credit for 2021.[...]
Didn’t contribute to an IRA last year? There still may be time
If you’re getting ready to file your 2020 tax return, and your tax bill is higher than you’d like, there[...]
What is the Illinois 1099-G Form?
A Form 1099-G is a tax statement sent to anyone who received unemployment benefits, overpaid state taxes, or deducted their state income[...]
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.[...]
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.[...]
Medical Tax Deduction 2021 Update: TJCA Threshold No Longer in Effect
Lake Forest and greater Chicago taxpayers know that medical expenses can take a bite out of the pocketbook, and fortunately[...]