E. Martin Davidoff & Associates


The following are recent tax laws, tools, and information that we hope you will find useful. If you have any further questions regarding this helpful tax information, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


Charitable Contributions


Did you make any cash or noncash charitable contributions in 2017?  If so, it is very important that you complete the appropriate pages of your tax organizer.  In addition, the following discussion outlines general record keeping requirements for charitable contributions and identifies what information we will need in order to properly deduct the contributions on your tax return.

Many of our clients make significant noncash charitable contributions such as clothing and household items. For all charitable contributions of Clothing or Household Items, the provisions provide that no deduction is allowed to an individual, partnership or S corporation for these items unless the items are in good used condition or better.  This rule does not apply to a single item that is donated with a value of $500 or more if a qualified appraisal with respect to the property is included with the tax return. For these noncash contributions, a detailed listing of the contributed items and related "thrift shop" fair market values is needed, such as in the example below,in addition to the written acknowledgment.

If you would like us to prepare this list for you, please complete the information in the tax organizer and/or attach sheets as needed that provide us with the following information:

1. Name and address of the charitable organization;
2. The date of the contribution; and
3. A list of what was contributed (# of items, description and condition as in the example below).

If you wish to reduce the amount of time and billing that you will incur by our office for preparing these detailed lists, please feel free to provide us with lists that you have prepared.  We suggest that you use the following format:

Mr. & Mrs. John Doe
SS# 555-55-5555 and 555-55-5555
Charitable Contributions
The Salvation Army
123 Scott Road, Edison, NJ 55555
Donated on October 10, 2017

# of


Per Item

 Girls'Shirts Good
$ 8
$ 24
 Women's Blouses Very Good
 Men's Winter Jackets Very Good
$ 25
$ 50
 Women's Slacks Excellent
$ 12
 Children's Wind Breakers Very Good
$ 11
$ 22
 Electric Blanket Very Good
$ 24
$ 24

There are several resources available that may assist you in properly preparing a list and valuing the items that you have donated:

• The Salvation Army provides a "Valuation Guide for Items Donated to the Salvation  Army" and Goodwill provides a guide as well. They can be found at the links just below and could also be used as a thrift value guide for donations to other organizations.

Salvation Army Valuation Guide

Goodwill Donation Value Guide

• For more information on Charitable Contributions, please refer to Form 8283 and its instructions. Other informative links containing a tremendous amount of useful information on Charitable Contributions are  IRS Publication 526-Charitable Contributions, and IRS Publication 561-Determining the Value of Donated Property.

Donation of Vehicles, Boat or Plane:

Effective  January 1, 2005, if the claimed value of the donated motor vehicle, boat or plane exceeds $500 and the item is sold by the charitable organization, the taxpayer's deduction is limited to the lesser of the gross proceeds from the sale or the fair market value at the time of the gift.  Under the new rules, the charitable organization must provide an acknowledgment to the donor within 30 days of the sale stating the amount of gross proceeds, which must be attached to the return. Alternatively, if the charity significantly uses or materially improves the vehicle(s), the charity must certify this intended use and duration and provide an acknowledgment to the donor within 30 days of the contribution, which must be attached to the return.  If the charity significantly uses or materially improves the vehicle, generally, the donor may deduct the vehicle's fair market value at the time of the gift.  This is in keeping with the old treatment and you may wish to seek a charity who will use the vehicle in this manner to ensure a deduction for full fair market value.

Donor Advised Funds:

Effective February 14, 2007, you cannot deduct a contribution to a Donor Advised Fund (Charitable Gift Fund) if the sponsoring organization is a war veteran's organization, a fraternal society, or a nonprofit cemetery company.

Substantiation Requirements for Charitable Contributions:

Effective for tax years beginning after August 17, 2006, no deduction will be allowed for cash contributions, regardless of the amount, unless the taxpayer has  either (1) bank records such as a cancelled check or account statement or (2) written acknowledgment from the charity documenting the contribution amount and date. Please note that under the old law, cash contributions of less than $250 could be substantiated with "reliable records," which could include something other than bank records or donee acknowledgment.

For cash contributions, you should retain the canceled check(s) or account statement(s) showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the contribution.

For charitable contributions of $250 or more, one is required to obtain a contemporaneous (as explained below) written acknowledgment from the donee prior to filing one's tax returns in order to take the deduction. Please provide us with copies of written acknowledgment(s) and/or appraisal(s).

1.  Written Acknowledgment:

  The written acknowledgment must include the following information:

  • • The amount of cash and/or a reasonably detailed description, but not necessarily the value, of any noncash property contributed;

  • • Whether the recipient organization provided any goods or services in consideration for any property contributed;

  • • If goods and services were provided as described in item (b) above, a description of those goods and services and a good faith estimate of the value of such goods and services.  If the goods and services provided to the donor consisted solely of intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect should be included.  The receipt of intangible religious benefits does not reduce the amount of the charitable contribution.

  • • The term "intangible religious benefit" means any intangible religious benefit which is provided by an organization organized exclusively for religious purposes and which is not sold in a commercial transaction outside of the donative context (e.g. admission to a religious ceremony);

  • • The name of the charitable organization; and

  • • The date and location (for noncash contributions) of the charitable contribution.

2.  Contemporaneous Requirement:

Substantiation is contemporaneous for the purposes of this written requirement if the taxpayer obtains the acknowledgment on or before the earlier of:

  • • The date the taxpayer filed a return for the taxable year in which the contribution was made,
  • • The due date (including extensions) for filing such returns.

Substantiation need not be acquired by the taxpayer if the charitable organization files, in accordance with Treasury regulations, an information return which includes the contents of the written acknowledgment set forth above.

For noncash charitable contributions over $500, but not more than $5,000, your records must also include the following:

  1. • How you obtained the property (e.g. purchase gift, inheritance);
  2. • The date you obtained the property; and
  3. • The cost or other basis of the property.

For noncash charitable contributions over $5,000, generally, you must obtain a qualified written appraisal of the donated property from a qualified appraiser and complete Schedule B of Form 8283.  You should retain the appraiser's written report with your records.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions that you may have.

Prepared by E. Martin Davidoff & Associates, Certified Public Accountants, LLC

2018 Tax Chart



© Copyright 2017 E. Martin Davidoff (U.S.A.)
1. Personal Exemptions
2. Standard Deduction


     Head of Household
3. Tax Rates




          10% Bracket
0 - 9,325
0 - 9,525
          12% Bracket
9,526 - 38,700
          15% Bracket
9,325 - 37,950
          22% Bracket
38,701 - 82,500
          24% Bracket
82,501 - 157,500
          25% Bracket
37,950 - 91,900
          28% Bracket
91,900 - 191,650
          32% Bracket
157,501 - 200,000
          33% Bracket
191,650 - 416,700
          35% Bracket
416,700 - 418,400
200,001 - 500,000
          37% Bracket
Above 500,000
          39.6% Bracket
above 418,400


          10% Bracket
0 - 18,650
0 - 19,050
          12% Bracket
19,051 - 77,400
          15% Bracket
18,650 - 75,900
          22% Bracket
77,401 - 165,000
          24% Bracket
165,001 - 315,000
          25% Bracket
75,900 - 153,100
          28% Bracket
153,100 - 233,350
          32% Bracket
315,001 - 400,000
          33% Bracket
233,350 - 416,700
          35% Bracket
416,700 - 470,700
400,001 - 600,000
          37% Bracket
Above 600,000
          39.6% Bracket
above 470,700
4. Phaseout Range for Exemptions
     (married filing joint)
313,800 - 436,300
5. 3% Phaseout of Itemized Deductions
      commence at
6. Standard Mileage Rate
7. 401(k) Employee Contribution Limit
8. Annual Gift Tax Exclusion
9. Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Limit - Health

Under the Federal Insurance Contribution's Act (FICA), an employer is required to withhold social security taxes from wages and also make a contribution. The Employer tax rate of withholding is 7.65%, which consists of a 6.2% component for old age, survivors, and disability insurance ("OASDI") and a 1.45% component for hospital insurance ("HI" also known as Medicare). Taxable Medicare wages paid in excess of $200,000 ($250,000 Jointly) are subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax. Below are the OASDI and HI wage bases for 2017 and 2018.

OASDI Wage Base - 6.20%
HI Wage Base - 1.45%

"800" number for Social Security Administration

Toll Free 1-800-772-1213

Weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

© Copyright 2017 E. Martin Davidoff (U.S.A.) All Rights Reserved

New IRS Program - Installment Agrement Optimization Deviation

New IRS Program - Installment Agreement Optimization Deviation

On September 6, 2016 the IRS began piloting a new collection program, Installment Agreement Optimization Deviation. This allows an individual Taxpayer with an assessed balance up to $100,000 to full pay their balance due within 84 months or within the collection statute of limitation s, whichever is less. If the Taxpayer agrees to have their equal monthly installment agreement payments directly debited from their bank account, no financial disclosure will be required. If the Taxpayer selects any other method of payment, a financial disclosure will be required as described in the IRS Internal Revenue Manual §, subject to minimal IRS verification. As with any installment agreement, the Taxpayer must be in current compliance, with all required tax returns filed and current year estimated tax payments made. Additionally, the Taxpayer must certify that they will continue to be compliant throughout the installment agreement period. The agreement would still require manager approval and the Taxpayer could still be subject to a Federal Tax Lien filing.

Please note that the Installment Agreement Optimization Deviati on is only available for accounts in Automated Collection Status (ACS) or with Campus Operations. It is not a vailable for accounts that are in the field or with Accounts Management. Furthermore, this is a 13-month trial through September 30, 2017. After that, the IRS will evaluate the effectiveness of the program. Prior to the launch of the Installment Agreement Optimization Deviation, the only similar relief for Taxpayers was under the Fresh Start Initiative, which allowed a Taxpayer with an as sessed balance due under $50,000 to full pay their liability within 72 months. For an assessed balance due over $50,000, a Taxpayer would be required to complete a full financial disclosure in order for the IRS to consider any other relief or means of resolution.

If you think that you could benefit from this new program or ha ve questions regarding tax issues, we strongly encourage you to call our office.

2017 Tax Reform Proposal

2017 Tax Reform Proposal Information

2017 Tax Reform Information as of December 2017:

Please see our newsletter from December 18, 2017, for more information on the 2017 Tax Bill: Newsletter - December 18, 2017

2017 Tax Reform Proposal Information as of September 2017:

The Trump Administration, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the Senate Committee on Finance recently released their "Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code". Per the White House press release, the purpose of the Unified Framework is to "serve as a template for the tax-writing committees that will develop legislation through a transparent and inclusive process."

For more information on the 2017 Tax Reform proposal, please see the links below:

Full Text - Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code

Highlights of the Unified Tax Reform Framework

• Video of E. Martin Davidoff discussing the 2017 Tax Reform Proposal with Marvin Scott on WPIX News Close-Up:   WPIX News Close-Up, October 1, 2017