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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

New Tax Law Rewards 2020 Generosity

Ellen Rose & Felecia Sternbach, founders

True, 2020 was the worst, but it brought out the best in many of us, judging from contributions to food banks and other nonprofits that have helped people get through the pandemic. A new change to the tax law rewards that generosity, says Felecia Sternbach, co-founder of Sternbach and Rose CPAs, a women-owned full-service accounting firm in Valhalla.

 “One change for 2020 is a new charity deduction for up to $300 that you can take without itemizing, so it’s important to know about that and take advantage of it if you can,” she says.

For taxpayers who do itemize, especially those with income beyond their paycheck, Sternbach recommends seeking the advice of a tax professional, who can help with financial planning throughout the year and particularly at tax time.

 “There are some major changes to retirement plan rules that they should discuss with a professional,” she says. “And certainly anyone who owns their own business or has rental properties would need to seek professional advice.”

She notes that people who itemize may end up paying more by using a franchise tax preparer than by using a certified public accountant.

 “Because these preparers are given a quick course in tax preparation and are much less knowledgeable of the tax code, they may miss deductions, and that could end up costing the taxpayer more,” she explains. “A CPA generally charges an hourly rate or a flat fee, which may be cheaper than the franchise.” 

Sternbach & Rose CPAs is a New York State-certified Women in Business Enterprise (WBE).

Location: Sternbach & Rose CPAs 115 E. Stevens Ave., Ste. 100, Valhalla, NY. For more info or a free first-time consultation, call 914.940.4449, email [email protected] or visit

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