Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Heat Wave Tips

It’s supposed to be extremely hot and I want to remind you to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a major concern especially to young children, the elderly and those who are active outdoors. Make sure that you use lots of sunscreen and stay out of the sun. If you have pets outside, make sure you have them in the shade with plenty of water also. It would also be nice to check on an elderly neighbor. All of us at the Zabbia Agency care about your well being, so enjoy the hot days and stay safe.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Expansion of the Zabbia Insurance Agency

Things have been a little crazy for me. We just added another location in Hyde Park NY, and I spent most of May setting it up. The new office is at 4285 Albany Post Road, Suite 7, and it is up an running. The team there is great, and you can find me there at least once a week. Now we can better serve our clients in Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, and Orange Counties. As always, we can help anybody in the great state of New York, and Commericial Policies in Pennsylvania, Conneticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Should You Keep All Financial Records?

Along with old theater programs and bronzed baby shoes, folders of canceled check, bank statements and income tax records going back perhaps as far as the 1040’s, you may ask, “What among all this can be discarded?”

The traditional answer has been: “Virtually everything except tax records for the past three years may be discarded.” Taxpayers are required to retain documentation supporting claims on tax returns only until the statute of limitations has passed, a period of three years.

However, the catch is the fact that the IRS can “create law on the spot” or “change law on the spot,” and the IRS does not have to abide by existing law. Thus the “three year rule” doesn’t apply if the IRS claims the rule does not apply. If the IRS claims your return has been false or fraudulent the rule is also voided. The rule also does not apply if a prior year’s return is in question, such as for the prior purchase of a “tax shelter.”

Also, documents supporting a tax-loss carry forward, charitable carry forward, or depreciation schedule should be kept until they are no longer relevant. As for old checks, the only ones that probably would be needed are those that would substantiate the basis of a home, including all improvements or any other capital asset.

Because of the rules on the retention of certain tax records, in years to come, many taxpayers will have to save more papers for longer periods. For example, anyone with passive losses that cannot be written off in the current year will have to retain the documentation until at least three years after the losses have been used.
Taxpayers with non-deductible IRAs will have to hold on to all records pertaining to those accounts as long as the IRAs are in force, including tax returns and/or IRS Forms 5498, 1099-R ad W-2P. This could be twenty to forty years!

Documentation detailing the acquisition and improvement of a primary home as well as a second home now must also be retained, not just to be able to prove one’s basis, but because the IRS requires it. Form 2119, giving details on the sale or exchange of a principal residence, must be kept as long as the costs of the home could be at issue. Since residence gains are “rolled up” into the successive purchases, a mobile family will accumulate many records. Otherwise, the taxable gain at the last sale will be overstated.

And to make matters worse, if all this record keeping requires you to rent a U-Haul or a storage facility, the cost is generally not deductible.