US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court changed the landscape of online shopping Thursday, freeing state governments to compel retailers beyond their borders to collect sales-tax revenue from consumers and giving a boost to brick-and-mortar stores. With the boom in Internet commerce increasing exponentially, the court's 5-to-4 decision could have an impact on millions of Americans almost immediately. For years, avoiding sales tax was a prime perk of online shopping.

The IRS issued the calendar year 2019 inflation-adjusted figures for the annual contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and the minimum deductible amounts and maximum out-of-pocket expense amounts for high-deductible health plans.
 
Under Sec. 223, individuals who participate in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) are permitted a deduction for contributions to HSAs set up to help pay their medical expenses. The contribution deduction limit is subject to an annual inflation adjustment.

For those of you who may have to fork over some additional funds to Uncle Sam, there are several options available for making payments.

If you can't pay your tax bill in full, a payment plan may be an option. Additional information about all payment and payment plan options can be found at www.irs.gov/payments and in Publication 5034, Need to Make a Payment? (English & Spanish).

The IRS also offers taxpayers the ability to pay using their mobile device through the IRS2Go app, available on the Apple or Google Play store.

You may electronically pay federal taxes, including the balance due on your current Form 1040 series return, estimated taxes, and other tax types using the following methods:

  • IRS Direct Pay
  • Debit Card or Credit Card Payments (via phone or online)
  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS, For individuals and businesses)
  • E-file and Pay (best option when your client e-files)
  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) (e-file only)
  • Integrated File and Pay (Debit Card and Credit Card through tax software)

Now that the effects of last year's tax reform bill are being felt, the proposals to reform the reform keep rolling in. Last month, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) put forth a bill to reinstate unreimbursed job expenses. This week, Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN) introduced H. R. 5662, also known as the Volunteer Driver Tax Appreciation Act of 2018.

The purpose of the bill is to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to equalize the charitable mileage rate with the business travel rate. For 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) optional standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck are 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven but a mere 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

In an Information Release, IRS has announced that in many cases, taxpayers can continue to deduct interest paid on home equity loans under the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Taxpayers may deduct interest on mortgage debt that is "acquisition debt." Acquisition debt means debt that is: (1) secured by the taxpayer's principal home and/or a second home, and (2) incurred in acquiring, constructing, or substantially improving the home. This rule hasn't been changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Under pre-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act law, the maximum amount that was treated as acquisition debt for the purpose of deducting interest was $1 million ($500,000 for marrieds filing separately). Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, the limit on acquisition debt is reduced to $750,000 ($375,000 for a married taxpayer filing separately).

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, for tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017 and before Jan. 1, 2026, there is no longer a deduction for interest on "home equity debt." The elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt applies regardless of when the home equity debt was incurred.