To get the ball rolling while members of the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants prepare answers to reader questions, here are two frequently asked questions. Answers are provided by CPAs who belong to MACPA.
Q: I understand there is a change in the Social Security tax. What is it and when is it effective?
A: There is no change for 1993 taxes. But in 1994, up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits received by those with total incomes over $34,000 for singles and $44,000 for married couples will be taxable. Now, up to 50 percent is considered taxable for those income groups.
Q: Should I itemize or take the standard deduction?
A: Itemize only if deductions exceed the standard deduction. For 1993, standard deductions are: $6,200 for married filing jointly; $3,700 for singles; $5,450 for head of household and $3,100 for married filing separately.
The above advice is for general purposes only. Specific situations may vary.
A joint service from The Baltimore Sun and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants can help you with your state and federal tax queries. Association members, all CPAs, will answer questions from readers until April 15.
Readers may submit questions by calling Sundial or writing or sending a fax to the Business News Department. Selected questions will be answered in the Business section of The Sun and The Evening Sun. Callers are encouraged, but not required, to leave their names and phone numbers should questions need to be clarified. Questions will not be answered by phone. Names and numbers will not be published.
To ask a tax question on Sundial, call The Sun's telephone information service at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County call 268-7736, in Harford County 836-5028, and in Carroll County 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, enter 6120 after you hear the greeting.
Written queries may be sent to TAX QUESTIONS, The Baltimore Sun, Business News Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Fax questions to The Sun's Business News Department at (410) 783-2517.