Mailbag Update

We get mail:

I got married last June and my wife says we need to file as single because we weren’t married for the whole year. Can you set her straight?

Your marital status on December 31st is your marital status for the year (with a few exceptions). If you are married on the last day of the year, you are married for the entire year. You and your wife need to file a Married Filing Jointly return or a Married Filing Separate return.

The exceptions include spouses who do not live together for the entire year and where a spouse dies during the year.

I won a €20,000 jackpot at a casino while traveling in Europe last year. My accountant told me I have to claim that income. That can’t be right, right?

It’s correct. The US taxes you on your worldwide income, even money won in a casino in Europe. You need to convert the Euros to Dollars and include the gambling income as part of line 21, Other Income. The good news is that you get to deduct your gambling losses (up to the amount of your winnings) as an itemized deduction on Schedule A.

I spent a month working in New York last year for my business. My W-2 has New York withholding along with withholding for my home state, California. It appears that both states taxed the same income and that can’t be right! Or can it?

Well, you were working in New York, so you have New York source income, and New York definitely has the right to tax you for that time (and any other New York source income you might have). You’re a resident of California, so you owe California tax on all of your income.

That said, you do get to take a tax credit for the double-taxed income. In this manner you effectively end up paying the higher of the two states’ income tax rates.

I’m looking for a tax professional in the Philadelphia area familiar with the Adult Entertainment Industry.

That can be read in so many different ways….


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