Estimated Read Time: 2 minutes –


By Dan Lucas, CPA

1. Don’t Have a Charity in Mind Yet? Take a Tax Deduction Today & Decide Where it Goes Tomorrow.

2. Are You Exempt from the Obamacare Individual Mandate?

3. Like To Day-Trade and Get All the Tax Benefits? The Rules are Strict.


Don’t Have a Charity in Mind Yet? Take a Tax Deduction Today, Decide Where it Goes Tomorrow.

If you’re not sure where you want to donate your money but you want a tax deduction, one solution to your problem are donor-advised funds. With these funds, you can make a charitable contribution now and claim the tax deduction on your 2013 tax return – but the money gets distributed later. These funds are good for two reasons: 1) You avoid capital gains taxes and 2) The fund doesn’t have to pay them either! A couple examples are the Fidelity Charitable and Schwab Charitable, but there are many more.

Are you Exempt from the Obamacare Individual Mandate?

Before you panic about the cost of insurance or the fine you will have to pay, make sure you are not exempt from the law. You are exempt if:

1.Your premium exceeds 8% of your AGI.

2.You go without coverage for less than 3 months.

3.You can show a hardship forced you to go without coverage.

4.You are a member of a religious group that is opposed to private or public insurance.

How gray are these areas? We shall see…

Like to Day-Trade and Get the Tax Benefits? The Rules are Strict.

Frequent buying and selling is a must, yes. But, the trading activities must also be continuous. The main concept here is that not only do you have to frequently buy and sell, you must also clearly be in the game for short-term profits and losses related to upswings and downswings in the market during short-term periods. Hold stocks for 30 days? That’s too long, most of the time, according to the Tax Court. Traders can also get other tax benefits, like profits that are exempt from SECA (for the self-employed) tax. All of your losses can be treated as ordinary losses and written off directly against other ordinary income, including W2 income. Normally, losses are limited to capital gain treatment and only $3,000 per year can be written off against ordinary income.


Dan Lucas
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