Well, there are so many nuances to the new tax rules that we thought we would break them down over the next few weeks and cover a rule change a week, and then practical examples. The news has covered the doubleing of the standard deduction to death, but knowing it happened doesn’t really help much. What do you do about it? Anything at all or just enjoy? One practical matter would be thinking about what got listed on Schedule A of the return, and can you shift any of those expenses to other places on the return so that you not only get the new higher deduction but some additional benefit? Probably. Take, for instance, your charitable contributions, which are on line 16 on a Schedule A. If you are over 70 and have any kind of pretax accounts that are requiring you to take a certian amount out now each year so that the IRS can apply a tax [RMD], there has been a seldomly used rule for a decade or so that allows you to transfer the RMD, or even more, up to $100,000, from your IRA to a charity directly. Even though that takes the number off the taxable income calculation on the 1040, it still satisfies the RMD requirement! Most people didn’t want to bother with the extra paperwork of a direct transfer in the past, as it was easier to just list it on Schedule A and get most, if not all, of the same tax offset. Now, using the direct transfer approach is likely worth the extra effort, as it saves taxation on the first page of the 1040, and the larger standard deduction that would have swallowed that Schedule A deduction is instead giving you a large additional tax savings! All you have to do is learn the other way to take your RMD. If your current advisor doesn’t know how, or likely has never heard of this strategy, go see a tax planner instead. If you have large IRAs, you’ll find them more useful in many ways!
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