Wall Street rallied Friday, following two days of sharp losses. With U.S. jobs reports suggesting the economy was healthy enough to withstand an interest rate increase, financials led the rally, and the S&P 500 posted its biggest gain since early September. For the week, the Dow rose 0.36 percent to close at 17,847.63. The S&P gained 0.12 percent to finish at 2,091.69, and the NASDAQ climbed 0.29 percent to end the week at 5,142.27.
The Impact of Inflation –
An adjusted gross income (AGI) of $80,580 was required to rank in the top 1 percent of U.S. taxpayers in 1980. An AGI of $74,955 was required to rank in the top 25 percent of U.S. taxpayers in 2013 (source: Internal Revenue Service, BTN Research).
Ten Years, No Growth –
The median sales price of existing homes sold nationwide during the month of October 2015 was $219,600. The median sales price of existing homes sold nationwide during the month of October 2005 (i.e.,10 years ago) was $229,000 (source: National Association of Realtors, BTN Research).
Outside the United States -
For the average company within the S&P 500, 48 percent of the revenue is derived from sales made to foreign buyers. Of the technology companies within the S&P 500, 59 percent of the revenue is derived from sales made to foreign buyers (source: S&P Dow Jones Indices, BTN Research).
WEEKLY FOCUS – Deductible Charitable Donations
Many gifts given in December were never on a shopping list. According to a recent NBC story, it is the top month for charitable giving, accounting for 18 percent of annual donations. You may not need a shopping list for these benevolent gifts, but there are things to remember if you hope to receive tax deductions for them.
First of all, you can only claim charitable contributions if you itemize your tax return. Secondly, there is a difference between nonprofits and charities. Donations are only deductible when made to a qualified charity under IRS rules. To see whether your organization qualifies, go to https://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check. Churches, synagogues, temples and mosques are generally eligible to receive deductible donations, even if they’re not on the list. But it’s best to ask if you’re not sure. Contributions to political organizations or candidates are not deductible. If you receive a gift for making a donation, you must deduct its value from the amount you gave.
Of course, there are ways to give beyond writing a check. If they are in good condition, clothing and household goods can be deducted at fair market value. Consult your tax professional regarding special rules for donating appreciated stock, jewelry or artwork. Keep a detailed record of items contributed with dates and descriptions. You now need a receipt or cancelled check for every donation, regardless of the amount. Additional rules apply for contributions of $250 or more.
Donations are deductible in the year in which they are made. So decide when the deduction would be most beneficial. You may want to “bunch” contributions by giving two years’ worth of gifts in one year – provided you don’t go over the ceiling on deductibility for charitable gifts. If you are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax, charitable donations are still deductible. However, if you aren’t subject to the AMT every year, you may want to make more donations in years with higher tax rates.
For more information on targeting your charitable efforts, give our office a call. We can help you identify causes that align with your values. We can also work with your tax advisor to help you and your causes get the most benefit from your gifts. (We do not provide tax advice; coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.)
The Dorion-Gray Team
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. a Registered Investment Advisory Firm. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning is a trade name of Dorion-Gray Financial Services, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. Dorion-Gray and the Securities America companies are separate, unaffiliated entities.
Diversification seeks to reduce the volatility of a portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes. Neither asset allocation nor diversification guarantee against market loss or greater or more consistent returns.
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