D’Arcangelo Blog

Get Ready for Required Direct Deposit of Federal Benefit Payments

Like it or not, retirees receiving Social Security and other beneficiaries of federal benefit plans are required to begin receiving payments electronically on March 1, 2013, if they aren’t already doing so. Under the government’s “Go Direct” program, you can choose between having a direct deposit made to a bank or credit union account andContinue reading →

Ten Fast Facts about Social Security

1.      Social Security benefits are paid to about 57 million people. Most (40 million) are retirees and their families. The rest are workers who become disabled and families in which a parent or spouse dies. 2.      About 161 million people work and pay Social Security taxes today. 3.      Social Security replaces about 40 percent ofContinue reading →

IRS Cracks Down on Tax ID Theft: Could You Be a Victim?

As the 2013 tax filing season opened, the IRS announced a national crackdown on identity theft schemes aimed at stealing taxpayers’ refunds. The tax agency announced there were 734 enforcement actions in January of this year, including indictments, search warrants, complaints, and arrests. This follows 2,400 enforcement actions against identity thieves in fiscal 2012. TheContinue reading →

New Options for Safeguarding Public Funds in New York State

School districts along with other local governments in New York State will have new options to help protect and manage their public funds based on legislation signed into law by Governor Cuomo. Effective immediately, this new law enables school districts and other local governments in New York State to place public money through the Insured CashContinue reading →

Planning for Possible Changes in Your Audit Engagement

As you plan for your next financial statement audit, there are changes in auditing standards that may impact your engagement. Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS) Nos. 122-125(referred to as the Clarified Auditing Standards) introduce some changes that go into effect for financial statement audits for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012. For mostContinue reading →

Restored Tax Breaks

The tax breaks listed below expired at the end of 2011, but the fiscal cliff legislation retroactively restored them for 2012 tax returns (filed in 2013): Deduction for Higher Education Tuition – This write-off can be as much as $4,000 or $2,000 for higher-income folks Option to Deduct State and Local Sales Taxes – If you paidContinue reading →

IRS-Approved Medical Expenses

Here’s an alphabetical list of some costs that count as medical expenses for itemized deduction purposes: Acupuncture Ambulance Artificial limb and artificial teeth Bandages Braille books and magazines Car (cost of special equipment so disabled person can drive) Chiropractor Christian Science practitioner Crutches Dental care Diagnostic devices Drugs (prescription only except for insulin) Eyeglasses andContinue reading →

New Rule for Medical Expense Deductions

With the ever-increasing cost of health insurance and medical care, you should be vigilant in looking for chances to claim any possible healthcare-related tax breaks. Unfortunately, changes taking effect this year make that harder than ever. Here’s the story, along with some potential solutions. Itemized Medical Deduction Threshold is Now Higher Before this year, you couldContinue reading →

Welcome to the New “Marriage Penalty”

When the Health Care Act of 2012 went into effect on January 1, 2013, it included an additional payroll tax equal to 0.9% of any wages over $200,000 for single taxpayers and $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. This has created an obvious potential for a very inequitable penalty for the married couple. Using theContinue reading →

Fiscal Cliff Law Extends IRA Donation Tax Break

If you’ve reached 70 ½ and have more IRA money than you really need, the recently passed fiscal cliff legislation allows you to make cash donations to IRS-approved charities out of your IRA. These so-called qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) have been allowed in past years, but the privilege expired at the end of 2011. Thankfully,Continue reading →