Yearly Archives:2019

Important Tax Information. Please Read Carefully.

January 5, 2019


Happy New Year!

As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, we are reminded that tax time is just around the corner. We are hopeful that the following information will be helpful in your preparation. We highly recommend that you keep this with your tax information and share it with your accountant. If you are doing your taxes on your own or with a person who is not a professional accountant, we will do our best to help, but we are limited by liability from giving tax advice. If you are not proficient in doing your taxes with software or online, we highly recommend that you work with a professional.  Special reminder:  There have been significant tax law changes for 2018.  If you are not sure what applies to you, please contact your CPA or tax professional.

1099’s – In the past, we normally expected that 1099’s should arrive to you by mid-February. However, in the last few years, this has not been the case. Our hope is that you receive all of these by the end of February, but we have no control over this, nor can we control that some companies may issue 1099’s and then send corrected 1099’s weeks later. If you have taken withdrawals from your IRA’s or similar tax-deferred accounts, you will receive 1099R’s. If no withdrawals have been made, you will not receive 1099’s on these accounts. Be sure that you are in possession of all of your 1099’s before you meet with your accountant. Many issues that arise from your taxes are tax issues and not investment issues. It is also helpful to have your accountant compare your 1099’s to those from previous years to be sure nothing is missing. This is particularly important if you are working with someone new. Use your last year’s return as a guideline. Expect your accountant to do the same. If there is a missing 1099, they should ask where it is or if the account has been replaced. We have no way to know what you have provided to your accountant, but this way they will know what you should provide.

Cost Basis – If you have sold securities during the year, you will see these reflected on a 1099B. You will need to provide cost basis information to your accountant for these trades. This means that you will need to know what you paid for the shares and the dollar amounts of the capital gains and reinvested dividends, if there are any. Without this information, you could be paying too much in taxes on these trades. We also know that many of you will need financial statements for college and other government programs at this time of year. We will be happy to help you with advance notice.

Additional Tax Information – Please do not call our office from your accountant’s office assuming that we can provide this information while you are there. But feel free to have them contact us to request what information they may need. It is important that you do not wait until the last minute to file your return. If you need us to provide you with account information, it may take up to 10 business days.

Data Collection – Please see that your accountant provides you with a data collection list or questionnaire to be sure you have provided everything, as well as to be sure that you have not missed any possible deductions. Many mistakes on tax returns are ones that cause you to pay higher taxes.

Our Services – We can only provide you with information for accounts that are currently under our management. A fee will be charged for us to do research on accounts that we do not manage or control. As we are not accountants, we cannot answer specific accounting questions for your tax return. We do have accountants on our team that we would be more than happy to introduce to you. If you would like us to review your return after it is completed, or to work along with your accountants, we would be glad to do this on a fee basis.

Electronic Filing – If your return is filed electronically, we highly recommend that you review it before it is transmitted. We have had clients in past years who received their returns, wanted to make IRA contributions to reduce their taxes, or had additional information for their returns, but discovered that the tax preparer had already transmitted their return electronically before they received their copy to review. To avoid this, simply ask the tax preparer to wait for you to review the return before it is filed.

Retirement Plans, IRA’s and possible other deductions – Before you submit your return, be sure that you have taken advantage of all IRA tax laws.  Ask your accountant to calculate what it could mean for you to make a contribution, as you can make 2018 contributions up until April 15th of 2019. If you are making an IRA contribution for 2018, we recommend that you mail your contribution by April 10th. However, contributions mailed directly to the investment can be made if they are postmarked by midnight on April 15th. If you do not take advantage of these for this tax year, the opportunity will pass and you cannot go back. There are also very good reasons to add to Roth’s and non-deductible IRA’s, including doing them for supplemental education planning. If you made contributions to a 529 plan for education, these may be state tax deductible. Please let your accountant know your contribution amount.

As always, we are here to assist, so please feel free to call or email us for additional information.  You may also have your accountant contact us directly. We often speak the same “language,” and this can simplify many issues.

One final word of advice. We strongly recommend you do not spend your refund until you receive it, and we do not think it is wise planning to request a cash advance of your refund amount.

May 2019 bring you happiness and prosperity as we look forward to working with you throughout the New Year.

The Musuneggi Financial Group, LLC


Securities & Investment Advisory Services Offered Through H. Beck, Inc. Member FINRA,  SIPC.
H. Beck, Inc. and The Musuneggi Financial Group, LLC are not affiliated.

Your 2019 Financial To-Do List

To do list  on wooden pad  and branches of fir tree, decor on grey wooden table. New Year  Goals list, things to do on Christmas concept.  white wooden numbers 2019. flat lay with copyspace.






Things you can do for your future as the year unfolds.

 Provided by Mary Grace Musuneggi, CLU, ChFC, CFS, RFC          

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2019? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to lowering your taxes. You have plenty of options. Here are a few that might prove convenient.

Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2019, the yearly contribution limit for a Roth or traditional IRA rises to $6,000 ($7,000 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA: singles and heads of household with MAGI above $137,000 and joint filers with MAGI above $203,000 cannot make 2019 Roth contributions.1

For tax year 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000 to 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans, with a $6,000 catch-up contribution allowed if you are age 50 or older. If you are self-employed, you may want to look into whether you can establish and fund a solo 401(k) before the end of 2019; as employer contributions may also be made to solo 401(k)s, you may direct up to $56,000 into one of those plans.1

Your retirement plan contribution could help your tax picture. If you won’t turn 70½ in 2019 and you participate in a traditional qualified retirement plan or have a traditional IRA, you can cut your taxable income through a contribution. Should you be in the new 24% federal tax bracket, you can save $1,440 in taxes as a byproduct of a $6,000 traditional IRA contribution.2

What are the income limits on deducting traditional IRA contributions? If you participate in a workplace retirement plan, the 2019 MAGI phase-out ranges are $64,000-$74,000 for singles and heads of households, $103,000-$123,000 for joint filers when the spouse making IRA contributions is covered by a workplace retirement plan, and $193,000-$203,000 for an IRA contributor not covered by a workplace retirement plan, but married to someone who is.1

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457 plans are funded with after-tax dollars, so you may not take an immediate federal tax deduction for your contributions to them. The upside is that if you follow I.R.S. rules, the account assets may eventually be withdrawn tax free.3

Your tax year 2019 contribution to a Roth or traditional IRA may be made as late as the 2020 federal tax deadline – and, for that matter, you can make a 2018 IRA contribution as late as April 15, 2019, which is the deadline for filing your 2018 federal return. There is no merit in waiting until April of the successive year, however, since delaying a contribution only delays tax-advantaged compounding of those dollars.1,3

Should you go Roth in 2019? You might be considering that if you only have a traditional IRA. This is no snap decision; the Internal Revenue Service no longer gives you a chance to undo it, and the tax impact of the conversion must be weighed versus the potential future benefits.If you are a high earner,you should know thatincome phase-out limits may affect your chance to make Roth IRA contributions. For 2019, phase-outs kick in at $193,000 for joint filers and $122,000 for single filers and heads of household. Should your income prevent you from contributing to a Roth IRA at all, you still have the chance to contribute to a traditional IRA in 2019 and go Roth later.1,4

Incidentally, a footnote: distributions from certain qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, are not subject to the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) affecting single/joint filers with MAGIs over $200,000/$250,000. If your MAGI does surpass these thresholds, then dividends, royalties, the taxable part of non-qualified annuity income, taxable interest, passive income (such as partnership and rental income), and net capital gains from the sale of real estate and investments are subject to that surtax. (Please note that the NIIT threshold is just $125,000 for spouses who choose to file their federal taxes separately.)5

Consult a tax or financial professional before you make any IRA moves to see how those changes may affect your overall financial picture. If you have a large, traditional IRA, the projected tax resulting from a Roth conversion may make you think twice.

What else should you consider in 2019? There are other things you may want to do or review.

Make charitable gifts. The individual standard deduction rises to $12,000 in 2019, so there will be less incentive to itemize deductions for many taxpayers – but charitable donations are still deductible if they are itemized. If you plan to gift more than $12,000 to qualified charities and non-profits in 2019, remember that the paper trail is important.6

If you give cash, you need to document it. Even small contributions need to be demonstrated by a bank record or a written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the I.R.S. does not equate a pledge with a donation. You must contribute to a qualified charity to claim a federal charitable tax deduction. Incidentally, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lifted the ceiling on the amount of cash you can give to a charity per year – you can now gift up to 60% of your adjusted gross income in cash per year, rather than 50%.6,7

What if you gift appreciated securities? If you have owned them for more than a year, you will be in line to take a deduction for 100% of their fair market value and avoid capital gains tax that would have resulted from simply selling the investment and donating the proceeds. The non-profit organization gets the full amount of the gift, and you can claim a deduction of up to 30% of your adjusted gross income.8

Does the value of your gift exceed $250? It may, and if you gift that amount or larger to a qualified charitable organization, you should ask that charity or non-profit group for a receipt. You should always request a receipt for a cash gift, no matter how large or small the amount.8

If you aren’t sure if an organization is eligible to receive charitable gifts, check it out at

Open an HSA. If you are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, you may set up and fund a Health Savings Account in 2019. You can make fully tax-deductible HSA contributions of up to $3,500 (singles) or $7,000 (families); catch-up contributions of up to $1,000 are permitted for those 55 or older. HSA assets grow tax deferred, and withdrawals from these accounts are tax free if used to pay for qualified health care expenses.9

 Practice tax-loss harvesting. By selling depreciated shares in a taxable investment account, you can offset capital gains or up to $3,000 in regular income ($1,500 is the annual limit for married couples who file separately). In fact, you may use this tactic to offset all your total capital gains for a given tax year. Losses that exceed the $3,000 yearly limit may be rolled over into 2020 (and future tax years) to offset ordinary income or capital gains again.10

Pay attention to asset location. Tax-efficient asset location is an ignored fundamental of investing. Broadly speaking, your least tax-efficient securities should go in pre-tax accounts, and your most tax-efficient securities should be held in taxable accounts.

Review your withholding status. You may have updated it last year when the I.R.S. introduced new withholding tables; you may want to adjust for 2019 due to any of the following factors.

* You tend to pay a great deal of income tax each year.

* You tend to get a big federal tax refund each year.

* You recently married or divorced.

* A family member recently passed away.

* You have a new job, and you are earning much more than you previously did.

* You started a business venture or became self-employed.

Are you marrying in 2019? If so, why not review the beneficiaries of your workplace retirement plan account, your IRA, and other assets? In light of your marriage, you may want to make changes to the relevant beneficiary forms. The same goes for your insurance coverage. If you will have a new last name in 2019, you will need a new Social Security card. Additionally, the two of you, no doubt, have individual retirement saving and investment strategies. Will they need to be revised or adjusted once you are married?

Are you coming home from active duty? If so, go ahead and check the status of your credit and the state of any tax and legal proceedings that might have been preempted by your orders. Make sure any employee health insurance is still in place. Revoke any power of attorney you may have granted to another person.

Consider the tax impact of any upcoming transactions. Are you planning to sell (or buy) real estate next year? How about a business? Do you think you might exercise a stock option in the coming months? Might any large commissions or bonuses come your way in 2019? Do you anticipate selling an investment that is held outside of a tax-deferred account? Any of these actions might significantly impact your 2019 taxes.

If you are retired and older than 70½, remember your year-end RMD. Retirees over age 70½ must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions from traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, SEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs by December 31 of each year. The I.R.S. penalty for failing to take an RMD equals 50% of the RMD amount that is not withdrawn.4,11

If you turned 70½ in 2018, you can postpone your initial RMD from an account until April 1, 2019. All subsequent RMDs must be taken by December 31 of the calendar year to which the RMD applies. The downside of delaying your 2018 RMD into 2019 is that you will have to take two RMDs in 2019, with both RMDs being taxable events. You will have to make your 2018 tax year RMD by April 1, 2019, and then take your 2019 tax year RMD by December 31, 2019.11

Plan your RMDs wisely. If you do so, you may end up limiting or avoiding possible taxes on your Social Security income. Some Social Security recipients don’t know about the “provisional income” rule – if your adjusted gross income, plus any non-taxable interest income you earn, plus 50% of your Social Security benefits surpasses a certain level, then some Social Security benefits become taxable. Social Security benefits start to be taxed at provisional income levels of $32,000 for joint filers and $25,000 for single filers.11

Lastly, should you make 13 mortgage payments in 2019? There may be some merit to making a January 2020 mortgage payment in December 2019. If you have a fixed-rate loan, a lump-sum payment can reduce the principal and the total interest paid on it by that much more.

Talk with a qualified financial or tax professional today. Vow to focus on being healthy and wealthy in 2019.

Mary Grace Musuneggi may be reached at 412-341-2888 or

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through H. Beck, Inc. Member, FINRA & SIPC 6600 Rockledge Drive, 6th Floor Bethesda, MD  20817-1806.  (301) 468-0100 H. Beck, Inc. and The Musuneggi Financial Group, LLC. are not affiliated.

1 – [11/1/18]

2 – [11/2/17]

3 – [7/10/18]

4 – [10/26/18]

5 – [6/18/18]

6 – [10/21/18]

7 – [7/25/18]

8 – [7/2/18]

9 – [8/28/18]

10 – [10/7/18]

11 – [1/29/18]

2018. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

2018 review on napkinIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

This quote from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens was written in 1775.  But from a Financial, Social, Governmental, World-wide perspective, this could be 2018.  Based on your point of view, 2018 held many ‘best of times.”  Low unemployment, higher interest rates on our savings accounts, more consumer confidence, bustling economy.  Based on your point of view it could be “the worst of times.” Market volatility, social unrest, government shut down.

But no matter how you see it, the one thing we can be sure of is that nothing stays the same.  Change is the one constant.

After a strong economy and market growth in 2017, who saw any reason for that not to continue in 2018?  And could a bull market of 10 years seem like it should never end? But history taught us better. And as the year continued the rollercoaster ride for the markets had our hopes coming and going.  But just like a rollercoaster, the ride could be lots of fun. It could be the best.  But you could get hurt if you jumped off.  That could be the worst.

In years like this certain actions are best.  Reviewing your goals.  Long term and short term.  Revisiting your budget.  Keeping cash.  Eliminating debt.  Increasing your retirement savings where possible. Considering buying into the market while it is “on sale”.  Redoing your retirement analysis.  Reviewing your insurance programs.  Completing or updating your Estate Planning.  Adjusting your tax situation based on the new tax laws.

And in years like this you need to be celebrating your successes. Completing the kid’s education funding, taking that trip that was on your “bucket list”, paying off the mortgage, getting that promotion, funding for you long term objectives.

In years like this some actions are the worst.  Borrowing on your retirement plans.  Maxing out your credit cards.   Drawing down your investment accounts.

But 2019 is upon us.  Could it be the best of times, the worst of time?  No crystal ball.  Only time will tell.  But at The Musuneggi Financial Group we hope for the best of times and prepare for the worst of times.  We are grateful for all of our clients who have worked with us through the best of times (the 1990’s) and the worst (how did we ever survive 2008?); and we are thankful for the new clients who joined us in 2018.  We are excited for the prospect of a new year and what it might bring.  And we are hopeful that no matter what the year might bring for the economy, the world, the government, the markets, the social order, that whatever you want or need or hope to accomplish this year, it is all the best it can be just for you.