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Tax Tips: Reporting Cash Payments

Individuals, companies, corporations, partnerships, associations, trusts, and estates all are required to report cash transactions of more than $10,000. These cash payments can include jewelry sales, a gift from a family member, an overseas purchase, or any other cash transaction. You also need to report cash payments that were received in one lump sum, in two or more related payments within 24 hours, or as part of a single transaction or two or more transactions in the previous year.

Luckily, reporting cash payments is simple. All you need to do is file Form 8300, Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business. The form requires information about both the giver and receiver of the cash, a description of the transaction, and information about any other parties involved.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov7

  1. IRS.gov, April 15, 2021

Weekly Market Insights: Debt Ceiling Raised

The overhang of bumping against the federal debt ceiling was lifted last week with an agreement to extend the debt ceiling through early December, helping propel stocks to a weekly gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 1.22%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.79%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.09%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was flat (+0.11%).1,2,3

Debt Ceiling Concerns Evaporate, for Now

After suffering losses on concerns over delays with raising the federal debt ceiling, stocks rebounded as the Senate moved toward finalizing a debt ceiling agreement. While the agreement is only a short-term solution, it was enough to embolden investors to buy stocks.

The week’s rally ran out of gas on Friday, however, on a surprisingly weak employment report. Though the debt ceiling was the dominant concern in the markets last week, the market grappled all week with the headwinds of higher energy prices, rising bond yields, inflation, and less robust economic growth.

Fuzzy Employment Picture

Employment remains a confusing and unpredictable element of this post-pandemic economic recovery. Automated Data Processing’s employment report showed private sector jobs rose by a robust 568,000. This hiring surge may have been aided by the end of extended unemployment benefits and the return of children to school.4

This improving labor outlook was reinforced the following day as weekly initial jobless claims fell below their four-week moving average, while continuing claims fell by nearly 100,000. The employment report on Friday was a different story. The economy added a disappointing 194,000 jobs, making September the slowest month for job growth this year. The unemployment rate declined to 4.8%, while an increase in wages generated inflation worries.5,6

  1. The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2021
  4. CNBC, October 6, 2021
  5. CNBC, October 7, 2021
  6. The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2021

Tax Tips: Who Qualifies for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit?

Let’s outline who the IRS defines as a qualifying person under this care credit:

  • A taxpayer’s dependent who is under the age of 13 when the care is provided.
  • A taxpayer’s spouse who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves and lived with the taxpayer for more than half the year.

In addition to spouses and dependents, the credit may also cover someone who is mentally or physically unable to take care of themselves and lived with the taxpayer for six months. This is the case if that person was the taxpayer’s dependent, or if they would have been the taxpayer’s dependent except for one of the following:

  • The qualifying person received a gross income of $4,300 or more.
  • The qualifying person filed a joint return.
  • The taxpayer or spouse, if filing jointly, could be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov6

  1. IRS.gov, June 10, 2020

Weekly Market Insights: Stalemate in the Capitol

Higher bond yields and a legislative stalemate in Washington, D.C., added up to losses for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.36%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 2.21%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 3.20%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, shed 2.58%.1,2,3

An Ugly Week

The reality of a more hawkish Fed finally hit the bond market, sparking a sell-off in bonds that sent yields higher. Higher yields hurt technology and other high-growth companies, and that weakness spread to the broader market. (Higher yields can reduce the value of a company’s future cash flow, which may reset valuations.)

Congress added to the market uncertainty. It was unable to advance an infrastructure bill, and it made little progress on the debt-ceiling agreement. After a sell-off to close out September, stocks surged on Friday on news of a potential Covid-19 oral therapeutic, an easing of yields, and reports that President Biden was traveling to Capitol Hill to help break the logjam on legislation.

Powell in the News

Fed Chair Jerome Powell was at the center of two news developments last week. The first was the announcement by a prominent senator opposing Powell’s renomination, heightening market uncertainty over the leadership transition when his term expires in February 2022.4

Powell later made comments at a European Central Bank event, admitting that the current bout of inflation may last longer than he and many other central bankers have previously expected. But he remained steadfast that inflation would be transitory, attributing much of today’s price pressures to temporary supply bottlenecks. Powell also said that he saw little evidence of building inflationary expectations from consumers or businesses.5

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2021
  4. CNBC.com, September 28, 2021
  5. APNews.com, September 29, 2021

Tax Tips: Gig Economy Tax Tips

There are some important tips to remember if you work as a gig worker:

  • All income from these sources is taxable, regardless of whether you receive information returns. This includes both full-time and part-time work and also if you’re paid in cash.
  • As a gig worker, it’s important that you are correctly classified as an employee or an independent contractor. This can depend on where you live, even for the same services.
  • Lastly, it’s important to remember to pay the correct amount of taxes on this income throughout the years to avoid owing when you file. Because gig employees don’t have an employer withholding taxes from their paychecks, they can either submit a new W-4 and have their employer withhold more from their paycheck (if they have another job as an employee) or make quarterly estimated tax payments throughout the year.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov7

 

  1. IRS.gov, September 19, 2020

Tax Tips: Add Social Security Numbers of Your Dependents on Your Return

Make certain to add the Social Security Numbers for your children and other dependents on your return. Otherwise, the IRS might deny any dependent credits that you might be due, including the Child Tax Credit. If you don’t have the number you need by the tax filing deadline, the IRS suggests filing for an extension rather than sending in a return without a Social Security number.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov8

 

  1. IRS.gov, 2021

Weekly Market Insights: Stocks Lackluster Despite Positive Outlook

Stocks weakened ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting and amid persistent concerns about the Delta variant’s impact on the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat (-0.07%), while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.57%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 0.47% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 0.65%.1,2,3

Stocks Struggle

Despite a string of economic reports painting a healthy picture of the U.S. economy, investor sentiment remained cautious. While tamer inflation and higher-than-expected retail sales may typically be constructive for the market, any investor enthusiasm it generated was fleeting.

The market appeared all week to be encumbered by a tentative, apprehensive mood. The Delta variant remained an overhang, but it was more than that. Investors appeared concerned about September, which historically has been a weak month for stock prices. The market also was concerned about fiscal and tax policy proposals emanating from Washington D.C., news of an economic slowdown in China, and by what the Fed may announce following its September 21-22 Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

Taking the Economic Pulse

A series of economic reports released last week provided investors with a broad snapshot of the state of the economic recovery.

Inflation showed signs of moderating, rising 0.3%—an elevated rate, but well below June and July’s increases of 0.9% and 0.5%, respectively. The consumer remained strong as retail sales rose 0.7%, an unexpected jump. Manufacturing reached pre-pandemic, while the labor market continued its recovery, with initial jobless claims coming in near pandemic lows and continuing claims hitting a new pandemic low.4,5,6,7

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2021
  4. CNBC, September 14, 2021
  5. The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2021
  6. MarketWatch, September 16, 2021
  7. The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2021

Tax Tips – Tax Resources for Military Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Tax Information for Members of the Military is on the main page on IRS.gov where people can go to find links to helpful info, resources, and services. The page includes resources and forms that both current and former military members, combat service, and disabled veterans might need.

Military members should check their eligibility for military tax benefits because their military status can affect whether they are eligible for certain benefits.

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov6

 

  1. IRS.gov, October 19, 2020

Weekly Market Insights: Delta Variant Concerns Markets

In a quiet week of news, stocks moved lower amid simmering concerns over the Delta variant’s effect on the progress of economic reopening.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 2.15%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 1.69%. The Nasdaq Composite index fell 1.61% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.63%.1,2,3

Stocks Weaken

In a holiday-shortened week of trading, markets were choppy as investors grew cautious in the face of a potential Fed tapering decision later this month and the impact of Delta on the economic recovery.

What little news there was, it was decidedly mixed. Job growth showed real strength coming off a shaky employment report the previous Friday, while the Producer Price Index surged by 8.3% year-over-year, representing the largest annual increase since November 2010. The release reminded investors that inflation remained a market risk. Stocks tried to stage a rebound on Friday before sagging to close out the week.

Jobs Improvement

After a disappointing employment report, two labor market reports last week appeared to show that the labor market recovery appeared intact. The JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) showed 10.9 million open jobs, a number that exceeded the number of unemployed by more than two million. The rate of hiring, however, decelerated, perhaps explaining why the August employment report fell short of expectations.4

A day later the weekly initial jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low of 310,000, coming in below its four-week moving average of 339,500. Continuing claims fell to their lowest level since March 14, 2020.5

 

  1. The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2021
  2. The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2021
  3. The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2021
  4. CNBC, September 8, 2021
  5. CNBC, September 9, 2021

Tax Tips – Get a Tax Transcript From the IRS

Whether you need a copy of your tax transcript for a mortgage, student loan, or other financial need, the IRS makes it easy to request a tax transcript online.

To request a tax transcript, you should know what type of transcript you need. The transcript types are:

  • Tax Return Transcript
  • Tax Account Transcript
  • Record of Account Transcript
  • Wage and Income Transcript
  • Verification of Non-filing Letter

* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.

Tip adapted from IRS.gov6

  1. IRS.gov, February 20, 2021