In the spirit of continuing BCA’s Christmas tradition of donating toys to local children, we invite you to give toys directly to Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Carolinas. To safely spread joy this holiday season, you may drop off gifts anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at 706 Grove Rd, Greenville, SC 29605.
Thanks to you, last year’s “Share the Joy, Give a Toy” drive a huge success! And, we expect this year to be no different. RMHCC serves families all year long by keeping them together during difficult times. For those families experiencing Christmas away from home this year, the Ronald McDonald House strives to make the holiday just as magical as ever!
Please, deliver a toy at your convenience before Christmas Day to brighten a child’s day! You may also purchase necessary supplies from RMHCC’s December wish list here https://rmhc-carolinas.org/participate/our-wishlist/.
For more information, please call Tasha Bruce of Ronald McDonald House at 864-235-0506 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 Year-End Tax Tips
Here are some things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.
1. Defer income to next year
Consider opportunities to defer income to 2021, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services. Doing so may enable you to postpone payment of tax on the income until next year.
2. Accelerate deductions
You might also look for opportunities to accelerate deductions into the current tax year. If you itemize deductions, making payments for deductible expenses such as medical expenses, qualifying interest, and state taxes before the end of the year (instead of paying them in early 2021) could make a difference on your 2020 return.
3. Make deductible charitable contributions
If you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return, you can generally deduct charitable contributions, but the deduction is limited to 60%, 30%, or 20% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), depending on the type of property you give and the type of organization to which you contribute. (Excess amounts can be carried over for up to five years.)
For 2020 charitable gifts, the normal rules have been enhanced: The limit is increased to 100% of AGI for direct cash gifts to public charities. And even if you don’t itemize deductions, you can receive a $300 charitable deduction for direct cash gifts to public charities (in addition to the standard deduction).
4. Bump up withholding to cover a tax shortfall
If it looks as though you will owe federal income tax for the year, consider increasing your withholding on Form W-4 for the remainder of the year to cover the shortfall. There may not be much time for employees to request a Form W-4 change and for their employers to implement it in time for 2020. The biggest advantage in doing so is that withholding is considered as having been paid evenly throughout the year instead of when the dollars are actually taken from your paycheck. This strategy can be used to make up for low or missing quarterly estimated tax payments.
5. Maximize retirement savings
Deductible contributions to a traditional IRA and pre-tax contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) can reduce your 2020 taxable income. If you haven’t already contributed up to the maximum amount allowed, consider doing so. For 2020, you can contribute up to $19,500 to a 401(k) plan ($26,000 if you’re age 50 or older) and up to $6,000 to traditional and Roth IRAs combined ($7,000 if you’re age 50 or older).* The window to make 2020 contributions to an employer plan generally closes at the end of the year, while you have until April 15, 2021, to make 2020 IRA contributions.
*Roth contributions are not deductible, but Roth qualified distributions are not taxable.
6. Avoid RMDs in 2020
Normally, once you reach age 70½ (age 72 if you reach age 70½ after 2019), you generally must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans. Beneficiaries of retirement plans are also generally required to take distributions after the death of the IRA owner or plan participant. However, recent legislation waived RMDs from IRAs and most employer retirement plans for 2020 and you don’t have to take such distributions.
If you have already taken a distribution for 2020 that is not required, you may be able to roll it over to an eligible retirement plan. The IRS provided a safe-harbor date (August 31, 2020) to roll over a distribution that was not required because RMDs were suspended for 2020 and that date has passed.
There are other provisions that could allow for a rollover. For example, amounts that are distributed can generally be rolled over as long as the rollover is completed within 60 days. So, for example, if an amount is distributed on November 1, 2020, it may be possible to roll it over during 2020. Also, for someone who takes a coronavirus-related distribution in 2020, it may be possible to roll it over to an eligible retirement plan within three years of the day after the distribution was received.
7. Weigh year-end investment moves
You shouldn’t let tax considerations drive your investment decisions. However, it’s worth considering the tax implications of any year-end investment moves that you make. For example, if you have realized net capital gains from selling securities at a profit, you might avoid being taxed on some or all of those gains by selling losing positions. Any losses over and above the amount of your gains can be used to offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income ($1,500 if your filing status is married filing separately) or carried forward to reduce your taxes in future years.
Have a great weekend!
Source: Broadridge Advisors
Golf Tip of the Week
Eliminate the Big Tee Shot Miss: Part Three
As we stated, more length (to a point) creates time for more speed, and we know that the more clubhead speed you have, the more off-line your missed tee shot will be versus a player with much less speed.
Sadly, the big miss is greatly affected by speed. Because of this, you must find a speed that is around 70% to 80% of your total speed. So, find out your max speed on the range and scale it back a few MPH, and you will have a speed that you can play with – but if you smash it, you will have to go find it!
The key is to go to the range and find the speed that you can control. You can audit this by charting the landing dispersion.
Tip adapted from GolfTipsMag.comi
Recipe of the Week
Christmas Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (or plain flour)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon prepared royal icing mix, or more. (The consistency should be thick and creamy).
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with a thick wooden spoon or electric beaters and beat until smooth (for about 3 minutes). Beat in the vanilla and the egg.
- Add in 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined. Then add the rest of the flour until the mixture becomes a stiff cookie dough. Turn dough out onto a clean surface. Lightly wet your hands and knead the dough until it forms a soft ball. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Divide dough in half, then roll out about 1/4-inch thick onto a lightly floured surface. Cut using any cookie cutter shape you like and transfer immediately onto baking sheet.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes or until just set. For crispier golden edged cookies, bake for up to 9 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet (they should be soft) for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Mix the water with the royal icing mix in a small bowl. Pour into a small piping bag with a round icing tip #5, outline and flood the cookies with silver or grey. Allow to set. Then, using round icing tip #1, pipe any other decorations you like over the top, or add edible pearls, edible cachous, edible balls, sprinkles, edible glitter, or whatever you like!
- Icing will completely set in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or about 2 hours at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Cafedelites.comii
Health Tip of the Week
Snacking Strategies for People with Diabetes
While snacking often gets maligned as an unhealthy habit, it can have an upside, particularly if you’re one of the more than 34 million Americans with type 2 diabetes.
- Hummus with veggies. There’s some evidence that fiber from plant-based sources may help with insulin sensitivity in as little as three weeks.
- Avocado toast or crackers. “One-third of a medium avocado contains just 4 grams of carbs, 79 percent from fiber, which slows down food digestion and prevents rapid rises in blood glucose following a meal,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet.
- Cheese crisps. You can make them easily yourself by baking small piles of grated cheese on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.
- DIY snack mix. Mix some low-calorie whole-grain popcorn with 1 ounce of nuts. The protein-fiber-fat trio will help keep you fuller longer.
- Ricotta cheese with dark chocolate chips. Stir some dark chocolate into some part-skim ricotta for a creamy, protein-packed, low-carb way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
- Prunes. Naturally occurring sugar is typically bound with fiber, so it won’t spike blood sugar levels.
Tip adapted from AARP.comiii
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Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
The articles and opinions expressed in this newsletter were gathered from a variety of sources but are reviewed by Ballentine Capital Advisors prior to its dissemination. All sources are believed to be reliable but do not constitute specific investment advice. In all cases, please contact your investment professional before making any investment choices.
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