Broker Check

May 18, 2001

Spousal Social Security Numbers

          The Internal Revenue Service has just completed the  mailing  of  2,400,000 notices to taxpayers who filed a joint 1999 income tax return where the  name  and social security number for the spouse on  the second line of  the tax  return did  not match Social Security Administration records.  The notice instructs current filers  to verify   the  correct  name  and identifying   number  used on  the  return   with  the information  on  the  identification issued  by  the   Socia Security   Administration. Without the correct  name  and  identifying number,   the   IRS will  not  allow the personal exemption, the Earned Income Credit, or both.

          Individuals most likely to receive a notice, wives, since  they  may  be using their husband’s name but did not legally change their  name  with  Social Security; wives and  Hispanics  because they  are  using  a  hyphenated  name,  but  Social Security has no record of the hyphen.

          If you have received such a notice and cannot resolve it, send the notice  to us together with a copy of your social security card  so that we  can correct it  for you at no charge.

Millions of Taxpayers

          learned the hard way this year that the Internal Revenue Code can tax a bite out of an investment even when the investor has lost, rather than made, a return on their  investment.    This  is  due  to  capital   gains  being  owed   on  mutual  funds distributions when the mutual fund went down in value.  A prior newsletter warned of this  and  discussed  the  accounting  problems of tracking  your   basis  for  tax purposes.  (To review prior newsletters check out  our website  at  and visit AOHL Newsletter Archives). 

Federal Reserve Lowers Interest Rates

          so now is the time to review  the tax  rules  on  home mortgage  refinancing. Deductions when refinancing differ from your  original mortgage.  Generally,  your write off for points will be smaller when you refinance, but savvy use of refinancing proceeds can lower your overall tax bill.

          Unlike points paid on an initial purchase, points paid  on  a  refinanced  loan are deducted over the loan term, not all in the year paid as with a purchase  money mortgage on  your principal residence.  The deduction is now  allowed  even if  the points were added to the refinanced loan. Refinancing with the same lender will not taint the write off for the points.

          If you are remodeling your home in conjunction with the refinancing, the part of  the  points  used  for  improvements   is   fully  deductible.   The balance  (the percentage of  the loan not used for improvements) is deducted ratably  over the term of the loan.

          If you are refinancing a second time (or more) the remaining balance of  the points from the previous refinancing becomes deductible in full.

          If you strip out more than the old loan balance on your main home, the first $100,000 of the excess is treated as home equity indebtedness and interest on that $100,000 is fully deductible no matter what you do with the funds.

          If the  loan  balance increases by more  than the $100,000, interest  on  the excess is  not  treated  automatically  as  home  mortgage interest  except  for  any portion that is used to substantially improve the residence. How the money is used determines if you can deduct the interest. For example, if the excess is for business or investment, the interest is deductible in most situations, provided you can  prove how the funds were used.

IRS Will Send Reminders

          this summer and  each  year  thereafter to  taxpayers  paying  off  prior  tax liabilities on the installment plan.  Notices will list payments received and show  the amounts applied  to taxes,  penalties and interest.  Taxpayers will be able to call a toll free number if any payments were omitted. If you receive one, please send us a photocopy for our records.

Not Filing 1099 Forms?

          It can draw multiple penalties from the IRS. In a recent case, a company did not  file  Form  1099s  for   payments   of   $600   or   more  to  unincorporated subcontractors.  The firm did not even ask for their tax identification numbers.  The district court ruled that the payer is liable for backup withholding and must give the IRS 20% of the payments made to the subcontractors who did not furnish their tax ID numbers. (There is an exception to the penalty if the payer can prove the payee reported the funds o the IRS).   The payer must also pay a penalty of $50 for each Form 1099  not filed.  In cases of flagrant violations,  penalties can run  as high as 10% of the payment.

          We prepare Form 1099s and advise you to have us do them if you have not already contracted us to do them.

Employee Health Insurance Costs Jumped

          an average of  9%  for  2000 and is expected to increase by an average  of 12% in 2001,  according to a survey of  45  major health care organizations.   The expected increase for  a  non-network fee for  service plan in  2001 was  15%, 12.5% for a preferred provider organization, 11.75% for a  point  of  service plan and  10%  for an  HMO. Prescription drug  coverage cost is expected to increase 20% in 2001. For further details, we suggest you go to

Oversight Board Gives IRS Failing Grade

          What this means to you is that if you are audited,  your cost  of professional representation will go up  because we have to take additional time to educate the IRS Agent as  to the law because the  IRS  agent  is  usually  ignorant of  the finer points of the tax law due to a lack of funds to train the agents.

New Jersey Changes S Corporations

          On  February 2, 2001, Acting Governor, DiFrancesco  signed  a  bill  that phases out the double taxation of income from an  S corporation doing business in New Jersey.   As of  July 1, 2001  S  Corporations with less than $100,000 of income will no longer be subject to a corporate level tax on their regular income. S Corporations with income in excess of that amount will be subject to a corporate tax of 1.33% as of July 1, 2001, which will be reduced to .67% as of July 1, 2002 and eliminated altogether as of July 1, 2003.

          If you have any questions about these or any  other tax or financial  matters, please call us.