Tax Deductions 2018: 
Tax Write-Offs You May Be Unaware Of
Tax season has arrived! Below are some of the 2018 tax deduction changes you should know when filing in 2019. 1

  1. Medical and dental expenses. You can deduct medical and dental expenses for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. However, you can only deduct the amount of your total medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
  2. Home renovation deduction. If you made improvements to your home to satisfy medical conditions such as adding wheelchairs ramps or wall rails, you can deduct those renovations as medical expenses.
  3. Jury duty pay. If your employer continued to pay your full salary while you served on a jury, but required you to sign over your jury pay, you can deduct that amount from your taxable income.
  4. Volunteer work donations. You can deduct related expenses for charity work, like the cost of gas to get to and from the place, meals, uniform maintenance, etc. 
  5. College tuition. You can deduct up to $4,000 in qualifying higher education tuition and fees you paid for yourself, your spouse or a dependent. However, if you are married and filing separately, you do not qualify for this deduction.
  6. Educational expenses. The American Opportunity Tax Credit has now been made permanent. This means you can deduct up to $2,500 per student for four years of post-secondary education.
  7. Health savings account contributions. You can claim a tax deduction on contributions you or someone other than your employer made to your account.
  8. Cash donations. You can deduct cash donations to IRS-approved charities for up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. Remember, you must have written records to support your claims.
  9. Non-cash donations. You can claim the fair market value on items you donated such as clothing and household items for the price for which you could have sold the items for.
  10. Senior tax deduction. If you and your spouse were 65 or older by the end of the 2018 tax year, you are eligible for a higher standard deduction.

These are only a few of many tax write-offs. To learn more, contact us at (618) 398-6861. We know that taxes can be daunting, but don’t delay it. Remember, the earlier you begin, the higher chance you’ll have of taking advantage of all the tax breaks!
Easy Bulgogi (Korean BBQ)

Bulgogi, a classic traditional Korean dish of marinated grilled beef, has quickly become a popular must-try. If you love your grilled meat with big bold savory flavors, you will have to give this recipe a chance! 

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • ¼ yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, chopped, dark green parts separated from white and light green parts
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds beef sirloin steak, cut very thin using kitchen shears
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste

Directions:
  1. Combine yellow onion, white and light green parts of green onions, soy sauce, sugar, sesame seeds, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, ginger, and black pepper in a bowl until marinade is well mixed. Add steak slices to marinade; cover and refrigerate, 1 hour to 1 day.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook and stir steak and marinade together in the hot skillet, adding honey to caramelize the steak, until steak is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Garnish bulgogi with green parts of green onions.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes 2
How's It Growing?

Did you know the direction of the grass can significantly affect the ball’s break? When the blades of grass lean toward your target, it is usually a big advantage. The grass at the back of the ball won’t obstruct your club as much, and the ball will quickly take off. However, when the grass is growing against you, keep in mind, you will have to exert extra force when hitting the ball. 

Recipe adapted from Shark.com 3
Neurobics For Your Mind

Researchers have coined the term ‘neurobics’ for tasks which activate your brain’s own biochemical pathways and awaken the pathways that can help strengthen or preserve brain circuits. 

In other words, exercise and challenge your mind! Change up your usual routine and/or habits by brushing your teeth with the non-dominant hand or taking a new route to work. Studies show that people with mental agility tend to have lower rates of age-related mental diseases. 

Tips adapted from Health24 4
By clicking on these links, you will leave our server, as they are located on another server. We have not independently verified the information available through this link. The link is provided to you as a matter of interest. Please click on the links below to leave and proceed to the selected site.

This document is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. One should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own personal situation. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products offered by an insurance company. They do not refer in any way to securities or investment advisory products. Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Variable annuities are considered securities products and require one to have proper FINRA registrations, in addition to proper state insurance licensing, prior to selling or discussing such products.

[1] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/324216 
[2] https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/246172/easy-bulgogi-korean-bbq-beef 
[3] http://www.shark.com/the-shark/golf-tips/lesson-71/ 
[4] https://www.health24.com/Medical/Flu/Health-tips/45-best-health-tips-ever-20120721