Charitable Donations

02-20-2020Tax Information

When it comes to tax planning, there are few more emotionally charged decisions than those around charitable giving. People tend to have deep, personal attachments to the causes they support and may have been donating to their chosen charity for years or even decades. They see their donations as a vital way to give back to society and to feel connected to a broader community, whether it be on a local, national or even spiritual level.

Any good financial adviser understands that it’s hard for clients to make a pragmatic cost-benefit analysis around such personal decisions. However, it’s our responsibility to make sure that clients understand how to optimize their charitable donations and ensure that they’re getting the most bang for their buck, both for their charitable causes and their own personal tax benefit. And there’s no better time to do that than at the beginning of the year, after the mad scramble around the holidays has died down.


The need to properly document travel deductions for tax purposes

02-06-2020Tax Information

You are generally entitled to deduct the cost of your travel expenses, within certain limits. But the tax law imposes strict substantiation requirements. Recently, the Tax Court denied a deduction because the taxpayer didn’t establish the requisite relationship between his business and the travel expenses. (Near, TC Memo 2020-10, 1/14/20)

Most self-employed individuals can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses incurred when traveling on business. This includes transportation costs back and forth from your business destination, as well as any business-related expenses at your business destination, such as lodging. The full amount is deductible if the trip is completely business-related.