Sep 29

As the Cost of Nursing Home Care Rises, Oklahoma comes in Most Affordable

Genworth recently completed its Cost of Care Survey for 2017 and the results are in. From 2016 to 2017 the median rate of costs for nursing homes increased by 5.5%.

The monthly National Median Cost for Assisted Living is $3,750. Oklahoma’s Median Cost for Assisted Living is $3,033. (Alaska has the highest cost at $6,000/month.) I have found that rural areas such as ours tend to cost about $2,400 per month.

The monthly National Median Cost for Nursing Home care is $7,148 (semi-private room) and $8,121 (private room). Oklahoma’s Median Cost for Nursing Home Care is $4,471 (semi-private room) and $5,293 (private room). (Alaska has the highest cost at $24,333/month.) Our rural area tends to cost about $4,800 per month for private room.

Even though our state of Oklahoma is the most affordable state in the nation, when you calculate this for one year of care (12 months), you can see that average nursing home costs exceed $60,000.

As you look at your individual finances and think about your retirement, does your plan have the flexibility to cover these costs, should you require such care or assistance? Have you looked into alternative sources of funding such care, such as long-term care insurance or Medicaid planning? If you would like to discuss such options, then call your friendly southwest Oklahoma estate planning attorney, Brent Howard at 580-318-8829.

Sep 27

Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers have Additional Year for Replacements

Announced from the IRS today:

Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought in an applicable region now have an additional year to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, according to the Internal Revenue Service. An applicable region is a county designated as eligible for federal assistance plus counties contiguous to that county.

This relief generally applies to capital gains realized by eligible farmers and ranchers on sales of livestock held for draft, dairy or breeding purposes. Sales of other livestock, such as those raised for slaughter or held for sporting purposes, or poultry are not eligible.

To qualify, the sales must be solely due to drought, flooding or other severe weather causing the region to be designated as eligible for federal assistance.

Under these circumstances, livestock generally must be replaced within a four-year period, instead of the usual two-year period. But in addition, the IRS is authorized to further extend this replacement period if the drought continues.

The one-year extension, announced today, gives eligible farmers and ranchers until the end of the tax year after the first drought-free year to replace the sold livestock.

I know a few ranchers that are clients that are still deferring from 2009-2011. The hard part for these replacements is that a cow during that period was sold for about $650-800. For the past few years, trying to get a similar replacement cost about $1,200-1,500. As the prices for replacements has gone down, now might be the time to get those deferments off the books.

Jul 25

Change of Mailing Address

I have recently purchased the office building where my practice is, so I am giving up the use of my Post Office Box. I will be installing a lock box feature for drop-offs and regular mail. For all future mail correspondence, please mail to:

Brent S. Howard, Esq.

501 N. Hudson St.

Altus, OK 73521

Thank you all for your business and I look forward to the great things that I will be able to do in the future for you!

 

 

Apr 26

Offers in Compromise

Taxpayers who have a tax debt they cannot pay may have heard that they can settle their tax debt for less than the full amount owed. It’s called an Offer in Compromise.

Before applying for an Offer in Compromise, here are some things to know:

  • In general, the IRS cannot accept a settlement offer if the taxpayer can afford to pay what they owe. Taxpayers should first explore other payment options. A payment plan is one possibility and must be looked at before an offer is made.
  • A taxpayer must file all required tax returns first before the IRS can consider a settlement offer. When applying for a settlement offer, taxpayers may need to make an initial payment. The IRS will apply submitted payments to reduce taxes owed.
  • The IRS has an Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool on IRS.gov. Taxpayers can find out if they meet the basic qualifying requirements. The tool also provides an estimate of an acceptable offer amount. The IRS makes a final decision on whether to accept the offer based on the submitted application.
Apr 24

IRS Issues Guidance on What to Do if you missed tax filing deadline

Tax day has come and gone for most people, but some taxpayers may still be dealing with their taxes. The IRS offers these tips for handling some typical after-tax-day issues:

Didn’t File by April 18?

There is no penalty for filing a late return after the tax deadline if the taxpayer receives a refund. Penalties and interest only accrue on unfiled returns if taxes are not paid by April 18. Anyone who did not file and owes tax should file a return as soon as they can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest.

“Where’s My Refund?”

The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is available on IRS.gov, IRS2Go and by phone at 800-829-1954. Taxpayers need specific information to use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. That information includes the primary Social Security number on the return, the filing status (Single, Married Filing Jointly, etc.) and the amount of refund.

Changing Withholding?

Events – like a change in marital status – during the year may change the exemptions, adjustments, deductions or credits a taxpayer expects to claim on next year’s return. Employees can use the IRS’s online Withholding Calculator to figure and then adjust their withholding by filling out a new Form W-4, normally with the company’s personnel office. Taxpayers who do not have taxes withheld from their pay or don’t have enough tax withheld, may need to make estimated tax payments. Taxpayers who are self-employed normally need to make estimated payments that can be adjusted to avoid a balance due in the future.

Need to Fix an Error on a Return?

Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, must be filed by paper and is available on IRS.gov/forms at any time. Do not file an amended return before the original return has been processed. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to change the filing status, or correct income, deductions or credits. The IRS generally corrects math errors and mails a request for any missing documents. Use “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool to track the status of your amended return. It will take up to three weeks after mailing the return to show up in the IRS system. Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

Watch Out for Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer via e-mail, text or social media. Any e-mail that appears to be from the IRS about a refund or tax problem is probably an attempt by scammers to steal information. Forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue will be by mail.