Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Impact on Individuals

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax-cut package that fundamentally changes the individual and business tax landscape. Some of the major changes included in the legislation that affect individuals are summarized in the link to the document here. These changes create tax planning opportunities. Please consult with your tax adviser to discuss how you can maximize your tax savings.

IRA and Retirement Plan Limits for 2018

Tax deferred retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k) plans are a great way to save money for the future while enjoying tax benefits!

In October, the IRS announced the inflation-adjusted numbers for 2018.

IRA and Roth IRA contribution limits

The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2018 is $5,500 or $6,500 for those age 50 or older. You can contribute to both a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA in 2018, but your total contributions cannot exceed these annual limits.

Your ability to deduct IRA contributions may be phased out based on your income.

Employer retirement plans

Retirement plan participants can contribute up to $18,500 in 2018 – an increase of $500. Those 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,500. SIMPLE plan participants can contribute up to $12,500 or up to $15,500 if age 50 or older.

Please contact us for specific guidance or advice for investing in your IRA, Roth IRA and company retirement plans. We are happy to help.

Changes to Social Security Maximization Strategies

The Social Security maximization game has changed. Odds are that the optimal strategy for many of our married clients has changed due to recent changes to Social Security laws. Before this law went into effect, you could guess, with remarkable consistency, that the optimal strategy was for one spouse to File and Suspend benefits and for the other spouse to file a Restricted Application. Restricted Application is when someone applies for half of their spouse’s benefit only, while delaying his or her own benefits to allow them to grow. However, the combination of these strategies is no longer available for most clients. As a result, analyzing your Social Security maximization strategy is more important than ever before.

In response to House Resolution 1314 – The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, below are some changes to Social Security maximization strategies:

For clients born after January 1, 1954:

  • Restricted application is no longer an available strategy.

For clients born after May 1, 1950:

  • The File and Suspend filing method is no longer an available strategy.

For clients born on or before May 1, 1950:

  • The File and Suspend filing method is available for those currently receiving benefits.
  • File and Suspend will remain as a filing method for future strategies until 5/1/2016.

If you are 66 or turning 66 by May 1, 2016, there may be an advantage to filing and suspending your benefits.


Source: MoneyGuidePro

Community: Trips for Kids

I began volunteering with Trips for Kids Phoenix in February of 2015. As a ride leader, I help teach the kids some basic mountain bike skills and techniques, and lead them on trails. I enjoy being outdoors and working with youth. It is very rewarding to coach and encourage them, and then see their confidence grow exponentially. Many of the kids will hesitate on technical sections of the trail. I love seeing their excitement and the joy in their faces when they realize they made it through something difficult and enjoyed it. It’s a huge lift for them and for me.

This summer we will provide repair clinics and education for the kids, not only to teach them to maintain bikes, but also give them some valuable skills training. You can read more on the website.


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Tax News and IRA Contribution Information

It’s that time of year… tax time!  Many of you are receiving 1099s, corrected 1099s and other tax forms in the mail. Please call us if you need clarification on your investment income and expenses.  We are happy to work with you and directly with your tax preparing CPA! We recommend working with a trusted and qualified CPA professional to help you prepare your tax returns. We’ve asked one of our trusted CPAs, Scott Wrigley, to briefly summarize a few tax news items relevant to you. Please see his comments below.

Tax News

2014 taxes, tax news, tax strategies, tax planningContributed by Scott T. Wrigley, CPA, Partner at Halverson & Company

Much of the news to the 2014 tax filing season is related to the tax extender package passed just before year-end. President Obama signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 on December 19, 2014. Businesses and individuals are celebrating the one-year extension of many key tax savings items. A few of the more than 50+ extension items for businesses and individuals are as follows:


  • State and Local Sales Tax Deduction
  • Higher Education Deduction
  • Teachers’ Classroom Expense Deduction
  • Mortgage Debt Exclusion
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction
  • Charitable Distributions from IRAs


  • Bonus Depreciation
  • Code Section 179 Expensing
  • Qualified Leasehold/Retail Improvements, Restaurant Property
  • Research Tax Credit

For more information, Scott Wrigley can be contacted at (480) 386-9710 or

There’s Still Time for IRA Contributions!

Contributed by Jaron D. Carmichael, CPA, PFS, CFP®

You can still make a 2014 contribution to your IRA, ROTH IRA, or both up until the April 15th tax filing deadline. You and your spouse may contribute a total of $5,500 each or $6,500 each if over age 50 and include it in your 2014 tax year.

Traditional IRA

Your ability to deduct the contribution on your return depends on your filing status and income. See the chart below.IRA Contribution Charts


ROTH IRA contributions are made after-tax and are not deductible on your tax return. But earnings and qualifying distributions are tax-free. If married filing jointly with MAGI under $181,000 you can contribute the full amount of $5,500 or $6,500 (age 50+) each. The amount you are eligible to contribute phases out based on your filing status and income as follows:

                          Reduced at:      Ineligible at:

Married Filing Jointly                 $181,000           $191,000

Married Filing Separately          $0                      $10,000

Single or Head of Household   $114,000           $129,000


If you are self-employed, you may be able to make SEP IRA contributions up until your tax filing deadline (including extensions). SEP IRA contributions limits for 2014 are the lesser of:

  1. 25% of compensation, or
  2. $52,000

Please work with your CPA to determine the amount you can contribute to a SEP IRA. Rowland Carmichael would be happy to advise you on the account and how to invest it to best fit your needs.