California Taxes – Tax Accountants – Tax Service in Los Angeles, California

Newsletter 2015

published on 09.12.2015 in Newsletter

Benjamin Franklin said that two things are inevitable in life: death and taxes.    And the nice thing about death is no one is running for election.

Started out with the United Nations declaring

2015: The year of light. By the end of the year it was declared the year of the eclipse.

Everything became politicized.  Bridge clubs are scenes of fights.   As some people insist on bidding NO TRUMP.   While others are insisting on bidding TRUMP.

One of the politicians suggested that by the year 2024,  America will have 100% employment.   Good news for you, until you discover that it means that 99% of Americans will be driving Uber for the top 1%.   And remember there is  no tipping.

Thanks to Dr. Ben Carson Americans learned more about the pyramids.    They are in Egypt and they are Joseph’s grain silos from the Bible.  What about the pharaohs buried in them?    Maybe, they were just involved in the first pyramid scheme.

The Democratic debates have revealed that speech writing has become an endangered species.   “I’m a Socialist.”  “ I’m not. “  And “I’m the guy no one cares if he’s a Socialist.”

The Supreme Court ruled that a person with multiple personality disorder could have more than one Social Security number.   However, they cannot take the other personality disorders as dependents.

It has been suggested that we can handle identity theft by giving everyone the same Social Security number.

Ashley Madison is not the real name of Dolly Madison.   Though “Hello, Ashley” might make a great musical.

Theologians are happy about the political debates.    After Democrats watch the Republican debates and after Republicans watch the Democratic debates, each group summarizes by saying, “Oh my God.”

Someone described the Middle East to the theory of relativity.   E=MC2.    Impossible to understand but equally as explosive.

Favorite quote I heard this year from Mark Twain.   The two most important days in a man’s life:  “ The day he was born and the day he learns why.”

Learning about tax law changes for 2015 may not teach you why.   But it may save you money.

MORE MEDICAL INSURANCE PENALTIES MAKE ME SICK.   Those of who were angry last year because there were penalized for not having health insurance will be more unhappy again at tax time.   This year the penalties will be double.  The basic fine is going to be $325 a person with a ceiling of $975.   And the income-based levy will be 2 per cent of your income over the ceiling threshold.   It’s still cheaper than insurance.    In California, the bottom line threshold for the credit is $16,670 for Singles and $32,913 for a family of four.    Enrollment is currently open.

STANDARD DEDUCTION GOES UP.   Singles can claim $6300.   Married, double at  $12,600.     The personal exemption is $4,000.    So if you’re single the first $10,300 is not taxable.    This is the Duggar family bonanza.    Of course, they may not have to pay taxes because their show was cancelled.

THE RICH LOSE THEIR EXEMPTIONS.   Phasing out exemptions start at $258,250 for single people and $309,900 for married couples.      This is the tax equivalent of Back to the Future when Marty McFly’s parents start to disappear.   He started seeing them as whole people once he started making less money.    Works the same in real life.

GO WEST YOUNG TAXPAYER.   OR GO EAST.   If you find yourself working out of the country for 330 days out of any consecutive 365, then the first $100,800 is tax-free.    Remember flying over international waters doesn’t count.     Mule travel is fully deductible.

SOCIAL SECURITY ISN’T SECURITY OR REALLY SOCIAL.   The benefits rose 1.7% in 2015 while the Social Security base increases to $118,500.    Those of you who want to retire at 62, you cannot earn more than $15,720 annually or you start losing benefits.

HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS CAN HELP FOR FINANCIAL HEALTH.    Medical expenses are only deductible if they are over 10 per cent of your income.  7 ½% of your income if you are over 65.   One way around it is the Health Savings account.   For 2015, a family can deduct up to $6650 off the top of their income if they have a Health Savings Plan.    $6750 in 2016.

THE GRASS MAY BE GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE BUT IT’S NOT DEDUCTIBLE.   Medical marijuana is not tax deductible.

NANNY TAX THRESHOLD.   For 2015, the nanny tax threshold is $1900.   For 2016, it will be $2,000.   Meaning if you have a nanny and you are paying her at least the threshold then you must pay her or him on a W-2.    There are no tax consequences if you start dating the nanny.

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WHAT FRAUD LOOKED LIKE.    The IRS can audit you for up to three years after the due date of the filing.   However they have six years if the taxpayer omits more than 25% of their income.     If you don’t file, there is no statute of limitations.

STANDARD MILEAGE RATES.   In 2015, the standard mileage rate for business is now 57.5 cents per mile.   Charitable mileage is always 14 cents a mile.

STARTING IN 2015, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE IRA ROLLOVER PER YEAR.   If you do this, the second rollover will be taxable and subject to penalties.

IS IT BETTER TO GIVE OR RECEIVE?    The tax-free limit on gifts is still $14,000.

TAX PLANNING?    More than likely there will be no major tax law changes in 2016.   Judging from the gridlock in Washington, there will be no law changes.   There are some extender bills which may or may not pass such as Section 179 property is now $25,000.  Last year it was $500,000.  Also bonus depreciation is part of the extender bills waiting to be passed.    Cialis is not part of the extender bill.

Push out taxable income into 2016 or increase deductions before year’s end.    Most of the time this will be beneficial.

Check out your stock portfolio.   If you have capital gains, it may be time to sell some of your losing stock to offset the gain.   You are limited to an overall $3,000 loss for any given year.   Anything more than that has to be carry forward to the next year.


2016 will be our 34th tax season.   There are no symbols or gifts associated with it.   So I think bitcoins would be appropriate.     Not romantic but neither are taxes.    Our first year 1982 was famous for Carlos the Jackal causing a wave of terrorist attacks in France.    So maybe not much has really changed.

Our staff hasn’t changed.   Dom Gelband, our office manager, a modern day Merlin, only gets younger and younger each year.

Patty Alvarez works harder and harder.   Yet her sense of humor gets better and better.

Natalya Shur is so shur-handed on the computer that no problem is too complex for her to handle.   The New L.A Tax Service motto is “YES. I’M SHUR”.

Viky Zelaya’s kindness and efficiency has only changed for the good.   And she is our perennial year of the light.

Aaron Rubenstein, my right hand man and my right-handed son.    (I’m left-handed)   He’s running his side of this business as well as helping me on mine.

Judy Harris will again answer the phones, keep us all organized and hydrated.

Beth Eisenstein, Esther’s right-hand daughter and right-handed one.   Solves every problem she encounters.    Some of them even in the office.

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