Do You get a tax benefit from your health expenditure?

Do You get a tax benefit from your health expenditure?

Do you get a tax benefit from your health expenditure?

It is very common to dislike paying medical bills even if you have very good insurance and a low deductible. One of the very bright sides of big medical bills is the chance you get to claim your medical expenditure as a deduction on the federal tax return. If your medical bills are more than 7.5% of your total tax years * the adjusted gross income (AGI) then it is quite feasible to itemize your deductions. The deductions on medical expenses are applicable for self, your spouse and for the medical expenditure of your dependents as well.
In case, your medical bills are more than 7.5% of the income you obtain you must follow the below-mentioned rules for maximization of your tax refund.

  • Medical bills are not just ‘Medical’

The IRS would permit deductions on tax for vision and for dental care as well and also for the medical expenses too. This would imply that it is feasible to deduct the expenses incurred in the eye tests, dental-related visits, braces, contact lenses, glasses, root canal, etc. 

Some other expenses which are covered under the category of medical expense deduction are psychological treatment, surgeries, medical devices such as hearing aids, medicines which have been prescribed, preventative care, etc.

Even the cost involved in your monthly payments of health insurance can be deducted if taxes have not been deducted by plans provided by the employer. The deduction for medical expenses would include the bills that have been incurred for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.

  • Not-deductible

You must have a complete idea about what is not tax-deductible before you have filed the tax returns. Any expenses which have been reimbursed either by the insurance provider or by your employer cannot be claimed as tax deductions.  Moreover, if you are using a pre-payment plan for your medical expenses or are using a medical reimbursement plan then those expenses cannot be claimed as deductions. Some other non-deductible items would include your every-day supplies like toothpaste, soap, vitamins, etc.

  • Bill payment

Medical expenses can be deductible only if they are paid in the tax year in which you are filing the tax returns. Medical expenses can be claimed from the previous year or from any other future years. If a credit card has been used for the payment of medical bills in a tax year then it would be counted as being paid in a year and would be deductible as well.

  • Medical expenses can be deducted if your tax deductions are itemized

If you wish to receive the benefits obtained from the deductions obtained from medical expenses you must qualify for itemizing your deductions obtained on your taxes. Some of your itemized deductions such as property tax, State Income tax, home mortgage interest, etc. along with those medical expenses which are deductible need to be more than the Standard Deduction for the year 2020. In case you are self-employed, you would be able to deduct your premium for health insurance even if you are not able to itemize your deductions.

  • Track miles

You can track the medical mileage for the year 2020 and it is 17 cents for each mile. There can be travels related to the prescription pick up, emergency visits, appointments for the dentist and other medical check-up and follow up appointments. 


Hence, if you have had medical expenditure during a particular tax year it would be completely worth it by maximizing your deductions and opting for itemized deductions. This would be helpful mainly when your itemized deductions are more than your standard deduction.

The top 5 Life Events that can change your Tax Schedule.

The top 5 Life Events that can change your Tax Schedule.

The most important phases of our lives have a great impact on our finances which can be more than we expected at times. You are purchasing a new house or you are becoming a parent, these life events are going to have an impact on your finances definitely.

So, let us have a look at those major life events which can have an impact on your Tax Schedule.


When it is about your marriage and your taxes, it is necessary to ensure that the name with which you are filing your tax return must be the same as that of the name in your Social Security Card. In case your address has been changed then it can be changed at the time of your tax return filing. You would also have to make a choice of either married and filing returns jointly or married and filing returns separately.

Becoming parents

If you are becoming parents, then it is also going to have a great impact on your finances. This may be the case if you are having your own child or if you are adopting a kid. If you are going to have a new member in your family then the first and foremost important thing which must be kept in mind is the Social Security Number of the new child. By this, you would be able to claim your child on your income tax return in the next year. This would include your ability of taking the advantage of the federal child tax credit and the deductions that can be availed under the qualified child care expenditure. If you are adopting a kid, you would receive additional credits which would also include adoption charges, court fees, and all other necessary expenses related to transportation.

Purchase of a new house

If you have not started the itemizing of your tax returns, this is the ideal time to do so. There are a large number of new deductions available which would include private mortgage insurance, taxes related to real estate, and qualified home mortgage insurance. You can obtain a large number of benefits from Residential Energy Credits. In case, you have purchased a new water heater but it was expensive but you can use it in the form of savings in the future.

Demise of spouse

This is quite an unfortunate situation and you may not like to discuss it much. But, this situation would arise and you must be well-prepared for such a situation. Firstly, you must be qualifying as a widow or a widower and you should claim this status within a period of two years from the death of your spouse. The qualifying widows or widowers can avail themselves the same standard deduction as that of those Americans who are married and are filing their tax returns jointly.

Change in job

It is quite a well-known fact that a large amount is withdrawn from the paychecks of the taxpayers every year. Due to this, many American taxpayers get a huge amount of tax refund after filing their tax returns. If you obtain a good amount of tax refund it would appear quite attractive, but you would most prefer to have that amount with yourself throughout the year rather than waiting to obtain the refund at the year-end. So, if you have had a change in the job very recently then this is the best moment when you can make adjustments to your Form W-4 and have complete control of the tax scenario for filing your tax returns the next time. You should keep in mind that if you have a higher withholding it would increase your refund but your paycheck amount would be less. But, if withholding is less; you would be able to access your funds whenever the need arises.


So, you must always keep the tax implications in your mind if you have made any changes or are planning for making any changes in the near future. You must keep in mind the planned as well as the unexpected events of your life to plan your taxes accordingly and avail yourself of the benefits too.

Wondering how to get debt-free this year?

Wondering how to get debt-free this year?

This simple guide would help you!!

Repayment of debts can give you nightmares and this entire problem is a vicious circle. With one debt leading to another, the entire process can push you into financial troubles.

 So, it is essential to get rid of your debts soon; however, it seems to be a difficult thing if done without prior planning.

 Let us check out a simple guide which would help you to get debt-free this year.

  • The Essentials

 It’s a consumer world today and it’s the current trend to purchase new and fancy items. You might be having the best of clothes, apparel, and gadgets but you are interested in upgrading them. Expansion of your wardrobe has become a hobby and a passion too.

 Let’s think rationally and put an end to this. It is necessary that you prepare a list of the essential items and only purchase those which are needed. Avoiding unnecessary purchase is the best way to minimize your expenses thus, leading to less debt accumulation.

  • Budgeting and tracking your expenses

 Budgeting is highly essential to keep your finances under control. When you make a budget, know your expenses, and spend accordingly you would be able to save. These savings can be your savior while you are struggling to get rid of your debts. There are various budgeting tools and apps available that can be utilized to keep a check on your income and spending. When you are aware of your spending habit, you can easily find out those areas where you can cut off the spending. The cut-off spending would be used in paying off debts.


  • Search for shopping options which are cheaper

 When you are trying to have a debt-free life, it is essential to introduce some changes to your shopping options. You can resort to techniques like shopping in bulk. This would be less expensive. Moreover, for the general household shopping, you can plan to visit the stores once during the month. Your shopping list for essential items would help you in obtaining all the necessary items at once without the need for visiting the stores and also spending again and again.

 If you fill up your cupboards with the groceries, stationeries and other items when they are on sale and then skip shopping each month for at least 1-2 months, you would be able to save quite a good amount. The savings made can be utilized in making your debt payment then you would get rid of your debts in a considerable period.


  • Handle your credit card wisely

 You can consider your credit card as a source of cash that would be needed at times of emergency. But, if you are making improper use of your credit card you might be accumulating debts. You should ensure that your credit card is used only in times of emergency. Avoid making payments by using your credit card; rather plan the purchase of items only when you have cash with yourself.

 You should keep on checking the records of your credit card continuously. This would help you in keeping a track of how much debt you have to pay off. Moreover, you must be aware of any fraud schemes which can occur with your credit card.  Also, if you feel that the interest rates of your credit card are too high you can negotiate with your card issuer. If you have had a good history of paying your bills on time then you can expect getting a lower interest rate.

  • Make extra money

 If you decided to get rid of your debts this year, then you must find out other methods to increase your income. You can take up an extra job or work in extra shifts, putting all extra money earned into the debt payment. Once your debts are paid off, you can stop doing this extra work if it is painful for you. Moreover, you can rent out your extra space such as a garage, or room, etc. and use the extra income for paying off your debts.


  • Get rid of the expensive debts first

 This is one of the smartest methods to use for getting rid of the debts which you have. You must choose one of those debts of yours which are charging the highest interest. All the extra payments you can do must be focused on getting rid of this expensive debt first.

 Once your expensive debts are paid off, utilize all the money that you were paying for that particular debt in paying off the next expensive debt of yours. By continuing this method, you would be able to pay off all the debts and would be left with the least expensive ones only. You would feel motivated by using this strategy as it helps you in getting rid of the debts quickly.

 However, there is another strategy too i.e. the Snowball Method which is a variation of this method and is also helpful in getting rid of debts easily.

  • Refinancing

 The idea of refinancing your present debts would be of great help in paying off your debts. Several loans come up with attractive rates of interest. Getting that money and using it for paying off your debts would be a good strategy indeed. However, you need to be careful and consider the opportunities cautiously while refinancing.

  • Do not accumulate debts

 The golden rule to become debt-free is to prevent the accumulation of further debts. This process is a vicious circle and it needs to stop. One of the best methods by which you can keep a check on your debt accumulation is by the restricted use of your credit card. Moreover, spending wisely by minimizing your expenses is the best method to stop any further accumulation of debts.

 After you have stopped the further accumulation of debts, you can opt for the restructuring of your installments and payment strategy. By this, you would have a good financial strategy for your debt payment.


So, if you are interested in saving so that your debts are paid off you need to have a mindset change. You will have to think twice before shopping, make smart shopping decisions, and turn down temptations. With a substantial amount of self-control and discipline while dealing with finances you can easily get rid of your debts this year.



How to make the most of your capital losses in 2020?

How to make the most of your capital losses in 2020?

Capital gains can be said to be the profits that are made when you can sell an investment for more price than at which you have purchased them. On the contrary, if the investments you have made sell at a price which is less than the price at which you bought them is known as Capital Loss.

 If you have incurred some capital gains this year and you also have some capital losses in your portfolio, then you can consider the harvesting of these capital losses. By harvesting these losses, you would offset the gains as a result of which you would not have to pay any taxes on the Capital gain income. This process is also termed as Tax-loss harvesting.

 Let us check out the process by which you can begin the process of offset of your capital gains by the harvest of capital losses.


Computation of the gains

 You should make a list of the sale you have done related to your stocks, bonds, and real estate during the year. You can add the capital fund dividend which you are expecting into your mutual funds.


Offset the losses which have been realized

 This would include the various stocks you had purchased when the stock market was high. You even thought or expected the stock market to go higher. However, you had to sell your stocks at a point when the stock market dropped.  You also had to sell your stocks at a price that was lower than your purchase price. Moreover, while this process of loss offset you should not forget about the loss carryovers from the previous years. You would be able to find the loss carryovers on Page 2 of the previous year’s Schedule D of your income tax return.


If gains are more than losses, check out for unrealized losses

 It might be the scenario that you are holding on to a stock whose prices have dropped. You might be hoping that the prices of the stocks would increase or they will regain their value. You can consider this time as the best time to sell the stock that you have been holding.


Checking of the Income Tax bracket

 Before you decide to sell your stock which has dropped in value, you must think about taking some advantages out of the lower capital gain tax rates. For most people, the maximum capital gains rate is around 15%. The rate at which the capital gains are taxed varies according to your taxable income and your filing status i.e. Single, Married and filing jointly, Married and filing separately, Head of the Household.


Wash Sale Rule

 The awash sale is said to occur at a point in time when you are either selling or trading securities/stocks at a loss. This wash sale occurs within 30 days of before or after the sale of the securities.

  1. You can purchase substantially identical securities.
  2. By a fully taxable trade, you can acquire substantially identical securities.
  3. Substantially identical securities can be acquired by the use of a contract or option.

If this is done then any loss incurred on the sold assets can be disallowed by the IRS.  However, there are a few steps that can be taken to ensure that the capital loss incurred can be used to offset your capital gain.

  1. You must wait for a minimum of 31 days before you start re-investing into another Stock Fund.
  2. The next step is to invest in a similar type of fund.

 In case, you have disallowed the loss incurred from a wash sale, then you must add up the cost of the disallowed loss into the cost of new securities. This would lead to an increase in the cost of your new stock and also reduce the gains on the sale of the newly purchased stock.


Avoid harvesting too many losses 

 After you have offset the losses which you have incurred against the gains, the excess losses could reduce up to $3000 of the ordinary income obtained from employment or different other sources. In case, your capital losses are much more than that then the excess losses can be carried over to the upcoming year.



 So, these above-mentioned techniques and strategies would help you in making the complete use of capital losses in the year 2020.esting.

Penalties highlight for tax returns filed after 14-Sep

Penalties highlight for tax returns filed after 14-Sep


The IRS has very recently urged the US citizens to act immediately if they have taxes due and have not filed their tax returns for 2019. After 14th September 2020, the IRS would be imposing huge penalties on those who owe taxes and are not updated concerning their tax returns.

 The deadline for tax filing was 15th July 2020 due to the adverse consequences caused by the pandemic COVID-19. Several taxpayers have submitted their request for an extension to file their tax returns would not be paying any penalties until 15th October 2020. However, it is an essential point to keep in mind that this extended period is for the filing of tax returns only and not for the payment of tax. Any tax which is due after the 15th July 2020 deadline would be considered as a failure to pay penalty and interest would be charged on it.

 There are still many taxpayers who did not make an extension request but owe taxes; will be facing the failure to file the tax returns and also the failure to pay the penalties. It is advisable for these taxpayers to immediately file their tax returns and pay as much as they can before huge penalties are levied from 14th September 2020 onwards. 

  • The penalty charged for non-filing of the tax returns by the specified date or by the extended date even is 5% of the tax which is unpaid for each month.
  • It can also be charged for that part of the month for which there has been a delay in the tax return filing at the rate of 25% of the tax unpaid.
  • If there has been a delay of 60 days in the filing of tax returns, a minimum penalty is charged.
  • In case, there has been no filing of tax returns even after 60 days; the minimum penalty charged is either $435 or 100% of the unpaid tax whichever is lower.
  • This year, this period of 60 days starts after 14th September 2020. After 14th September 2020 heavy interest or penalties would be charged on the tax defaulters.
  • Apart from the penalties, interest would also be charged for any tax which has not been paid by the tax payment due date of 15th July 2020.
  • However, if there is a refund due for a taxpayer no penalty would be charged for the filing of tax returns late by the taxpayer.

 Probabilities of Penalty Relief may be available 

  • If there has been no assessment for any penalties for taxpayers for the past three years would be eligible for an abatement of penalties.
  • If a taxpayer is not eligible for the relief of his first-time penalty relief, still he can qualify for penalty relief if the cause for non-filing of tax returns or non-payment of tax was due to some reasonable reason.
  • The different types of penalty relief which are offered by the IRS are 

Reasonable cause 

The reasonable causes for failing to file tax returns are:-

  • Natural disasters, fire, or any other disturbances
  • Inability in obtaining the necessary records
  • Death, any serious illness, unavoidable absence of the taxpayer or his immediate family member
  • Other causes which state that despite using all care to meet the tax obligations, the taxpayer has not been able to do so.

  Administrative Waiver and Abatement of a first-time penalty

 A taxpayer would be eligible to qualify for the administrative waiver from the penalties due to filing of tax returns late or for non-payment of taxes on time under the below circumstances:-

  • The taxpayer did not have to file tax returns previously or he has no penalty for the previous three tax years which are before the one in which penalties have been received.
  • If the taxpayer has paid or rather has made the arrangement for making the payment all due taxes.
  • If the taxpayer has filed the current tax returns or has filed an extension in the time to file a tax return.
  • A taxpayer can also be eligible for an Administrative waiver if he has received incorrect oral advice related to tax returns and payment from the IRS.

  Statutory Exception

 A taxpayer would qualify for a Statutory Exception if he has received incorrect written advice from the IRS. The taxpayer would have to submit various evidence to prove this such as

  • The written request made for advice
  • The erroneous written advice which was sent by the IRS
  • Report on any tax adjustments which have been made due to the erroneous advice obtained from the IRS.

 The taxpayer can file Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement to request for penalty relief in case of incorrect advice obtained by the IRS.

 Get extra time for the tax payment

If a taxpayer owes tax but is not able to make the full payment, then he can opt for payment of taxes by a payment plan which includes an Installment Agreement.  A qualified taxpayer or an authorized representative is eligible to apply for a payment plan to make payments of the taxes over time. A taxpayer who is unable to pay the full amount must contact the IRS to know about the options available.

The IRS might provide options like short-term extension, and installment agreement or offer in compromise can be offered, etc.


Hence, taxpayers must be alert and file their tax returns before the deadline if they have not done so to avoid huge penalties.

Can a property be seized if you owe back tax to the IRS?

Can a property be seized if you owe back tax to the IRS?

“Can the IRS seize my property if I owe taxes?” This is properly the first question every person who owes tax to the IRS enquires. The mere thought of losing their most valuable asset can create a sense of terror and fear in the minds of taxpayers who might have taxes due to the IRS. However, this might depend on why you owe taxes to the IRS, how much tax you owe, and your financial circumstances.

 The IRS has the authority to seize the property of a taxpayer if the taxpayer has been neglecting or avoiding payment of taxes to the IRS.  This process is otherwise known as Tax Levy. By Tax Levy, the IRS has the legal authority to seize a taxpayer’s property which might include a real estate for the settlement of taxes for which there have been several notices sent to the taxpayer.

 When will the IRS seize your property?

  • Seizure of your property is the last method which the IRS might follow for the settlement of the back taxes.
  • Before the seizure of your assets, the IRS would take the below-mentioned steps for the tax settlement: –
  1. The IRS would assess your outstanding tax and would issue a notice to you which would be demanding for the payment of the taxes.
  2. If you have neglected the notice sent to you by the IRS, then
  3. You will be sent a final notice of intent to levy and also a notice of your right to have a hearing before 30 days of the implementation of the tax levy.

 If the IRS decides to take your property 

  • The IRS would calculate and provide you with the minimum bid price of your property.
  • If necessary, you can challenge the price laid off by the IRS and state the fair market price of your property.
  • The IRS would issue a notice and make the announcement for sale of the property.
  • After the announcement, the IRS waits for 10 days before your property is sold off.
  • The entire amount obtained from the sale of the property would be used to recover the expenses incurred in the property seizure, selling of the property, and payoff of your tax debts.
  • You will obtain a refund if any amount is left out after the sale is over and if any excess money is left out.

 Will the IRS visit your home?

 The IRS representative can visit you for tax-related discussion only in circumstances such as

  • You owe taxes to the IRS and there is a need for a discussion.
  • There is an audit process
  • If there is a criminal investigation needed

 However, there has been an increase in the fake IRS visits and tax scams lately which urges the taxpayers to be aware of their rights. You have the right to verify whether the IRS representative is authorized or not by asking for their credentials. 

What are the other properties which the IRS can seize?

 By a tax levy, the IRS can be able to seize the below-mentioned properties. 

  1. Real estate
  2. Your vehicle
  3. Wages by Wage Garnishment
  4. A levy can be put up on your bank account
  5. Investments and collectibles

 Can you get back your seized property?

 In case, you want to get back your seized property you would have to take some immediate action for resolving the tax debt. You must get in touch with the IRS to request a release of your seized property. Moreover, help from a tax professional would help you in the expedition of the process. In case the IRS would not approve your request for the release of the seizure, you can have an opportunity to appeal against it.

 There are certain circumstances in which the IRS would have to undo the seizure of your property. 

  1. Your seizure can be released if you have fulfilled your tax liabilities.
  2. If the tax collection period got completed before the seizure of your property was done.
  3. If you have enrolled in an installment agreement program and the agreement does not allow the seizure of property.
  4. If by the release of your property, you would be able to cover your tax balance.
  5. If by the seizure of your property, you would be facing some economic hardships and would not be able to avail of the necessities of life.
  6. If the value of the property seized by the IRS would exceed the tax owed and the release of the property would not prevent the IRS from the tax collection.

 Protection of your assets from the IRS

 If you want to avoid any kind of trouble with the IRS, then you must be careful about the rules. Either paying of your taxes or responding to the IRS notice, everything must be done on time and carefully.

 Some of the basic steps by which you can take to prevent a tax levy are:-

  1. Find out methods by which you can utilize your finances to cover up your tax debts.
  2. In case you are not able to pay off your entire tax debt in full, then you can enter into an installment agreement.
  3. You can check with the IRS if it is feasible to classify your taxes as uncollectible.
  4. You can also try to request the IRS for an offer in compromise.


 As a US taxpayer, you must fulfill your civil responsibilities on time. Ignoring or neglecting the notices or communication obtained from the IRS can lead to serious consequences. So, you must abide by the laws, regulations and must take matters related to the IRS quite seriously.