Taxes for the holidays?

“Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?”

– Dennis Mannering

I realize many of my clients have the holidays *on* the brain. And, even if they ARE able to focus this week … well, implementation of my advice would be short-lived. Advice on this topic doesn’t actually affect your daily life until 01/01/11 … so, I’m keeping my powder dry for a bit, until the right moment … and will pause on detailing all the tax implications for you, with a Note below instead that I think you’ll appreciate this week.

But just so you know…

In addition to keeping the current six tax rates that range from 10 percent to 35 percent, the bill contains a raft of other tax breaks for both individuals and businesses.

Most of the provisions relate to 2011, but these are some of the individual tax provisions that expired at the end of 2009 and were extended retroactively for the 2010 tax year:

* Alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch

* State and local sales tax deduction (itemizing required)

* Tuition and fees deduction

* Teachers et al write-off for $250 of out-of-pocket expenses

* Private mortgage insurance (PMI) deduction

* Direct donation of IRA money by older account holders

So all of that is good news for THIS year.

I’ll be back later, to give you my particular input on those upcoming tax breaks. Some of them are really pretty nice.

But now, in keeping with my mission to send you actionable items for THIS week … well, read on, and you tell me if this isn’t actionable?


Holiday Prayer

This was sent to me by a friend, and I thought it worth sharing … this holiday week, traveling can be chaotic, shopping even worse. Let’s all remember to keep our heads about us…

“God, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

“Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

“Remind us, Lord, that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares …

“Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

“Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love. ”

Amen.

Best to you. May your season be truly bright.


Pam BritzTaxes for the holidays?