Taxes

"In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes” -- Benjamin Franklin

Preparing for Tax Time

Paperwork Scrutiny

Oh, yuck, that time of the year is here.   I love new beginnings, but I sure don’t love dwelling on last year’s mess. Unfortunately, this time of year we all must sort through last year’s transactions so that we can render taxes unto Caesar (also known as Uncle Sam). Here are some tips for [...]

Start Your Tax Planning Early

Tax Planning

If you start your tax planning early you’ll  have plenty of time to work on strategies to lower your tax “bite” for the coming year. Review your investments If you have taxable income from investments, consider investments that are tax-deferred (retirement plans and deferred annuities) or tax-free (municipal bonds, Roth IRAs, 529 education plans).  Match [...]

A Tax You Don’t Have to Pay

Is there really a tax that you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to — where you decide not to fill in the form and give them your money and you won’t end up in handcuffs? Yes, there certainly is. And yet, surprisingly most people are very willing, even anxious, to pay this [...]

Get Organized — It’s Tax Time Again

Paperwork Toss

It’s that time again! Whether you prepare your own tax return or employ a tax preparer, it’s time to gather information about your income and deductions. Ugh! Compiling tax information is not the most fun thing in the world- but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? First, gather all of the statements you [...]

How Do You Spell Tax Relief?

Home For Sale

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 was the answer for permanent relief from income taxes on the sale of a principal residence. The rules are simple — if you sell your home and the gain on the sale is $250,000 or less ($500,000 on a joint income tax return), there’s no tax due when you [...]

Standing Up To The IRS

IRS Reaper

When you receive a plain brown envelope marked “Official US Business” from the Internal Revenue Service, it’s enough to strike terror in your heart. Your first instinct to the deficiency notice inside might be to pay them whatever they want, but don’t do it. There are four common notices that you might receive from the [...]

Pay More Taxes – You’ll Be Richer

Taxes

This time of year, most Americans have income taxes on their minds, but some people hurt themselves financially by putting tax savings first and economic benefits second. Here are some tax-reduction schemes that may end up costing you more than you save: Municipal bonds The interest paid by municipal bonds issued within your state are tax [...]

The Taxing Aspects of Moving

Moving to a new location

When it comes to federal income taxes, it doesn’t matter where in the country you live – everyone is taxed the same. But state taxes, including income tax, sales tax, property tax, excise taxes, gasoline tax, and licensing fees, can be vastly different depending on where you choose to live. Most people select a community [...]

Improving Your Knowledge May Be Tax-Deductible

Back to School

Going back to school or taking courses to enhance your knowledge for your job may be tax deductible. You may deduct the cost of all education you acquire to maintain or improve your existing job skills or to meet the express requirements of your employer to keep your job. But you can’t deduct the educational [...]

IRA and 401(k) Mistakes

Error!

Avoid these pitfalls when investing for retirement. As a financial planner for over 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of money mistakes in my time. But the worst seem to come with retirement plans. Something about them just makes people do silly things I guess. One of the biggest mistakes is simply investing too conservatively. [...]

Tax Deductions for Refinancing or New Home Purchase

Home Icon

With the real estate market in the slump and interest rates falling, many people are refinancing their homes or buying new ones at bargain prices. If you have taken out a new home loan recently, you can deduct points that you pay on your new loan, and possibly points that you paid in the past [...]

Get Wired, Says IRS

Wanted: Compatible computers for online communication. Objective: electronic transfer of tax data and refunds. That’s the lonely hearts message being sent by the IRS, which wants your computer to cuddle up to its computer for electronic filing. The IRS is gung-ho about encouraging taxpayers to file electronically, but some taxpayers aren’t sure, and so far [...]

For the Record: Keeping Tax Documents

Filing cabinet for your financial records

Now that your tax return is prepared, it’s time for some spring cleaning. How long must you keep records before you can throw them out? It depends. You must keep the records needed to substantiate all your income and deductions available for inspection by the Internal Revenue Service. You don’t have to spread them out [...]

How To Deal With The IRS

IRS Interogation

Only one percent of all tax returns are audited each year. Even if you are audited, you should encounter few problems if you have reported all of your income and have kept careful records of your deductions. If the information reported by payers on W-2s and 1099s does not match what you reported on your [...]

Tax Changes That Affect You

IRS Grim Reaper

Wouldn’t you think that Congress had fiddled enough with the tax laws? Not hardly, it seems. Each year they find some new tax lever to pull that will “improve the economy” and 2003 was no exception. No matter whether you think the changes to the tax law are right or wrong, you can’t afford to [...]

What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund?

Handful of Cash

That big check you get in the mailbox after April 15 is your fun money, right? It’s your free gift from your kind Uncle Sam, who has so thoughtfully given you this chance to go on vacation or have fun at the mall. Not really. That check is the repayment of interest-free loan that you [...]

Is it a Business or a Hobby?

Is it a hobby or work?

If you have a small business and you want to deduct your expenses, the IRS says you must be able to show that you are engaged in a trade or business for profit. But that doesn’t mean your business has to be profitable every year. If you can show that you are trying to make [...]

Business Deductions for Employees

Tax Calculator

Even if you don’t have your own business, you may have some expenses that are tax deductible. If you are a salaried professional, teacher or other employee, here are some deductions you shouldn’t overlook. Dues for professional organizations Personal supplies, such as pens, pencils, briefcases, calculators, executive diaries, etc. Fees for credit cards used exclusively [...]

Estate Planning is Dead! Long Live Estate Planning!

Fairy Tax Mouse

In the wake of the excitement from the “biggest tax reduction in 20 years”, we taxpayers are left with the daunting task of figuring out exactly what was reduced. Take the estate tax “repeal” promised by President Bush—please. From all of the hype, you might think that the estate tax is being slowly phased out [...]

It’s Harvest Time for Tax Losses

Harvesting Money and Wealth

It’s harvest time –for most of us that conjures thoughts of picking apples and nuts, but if you are an investor, the final months of the year are the time to harvest investment losses to offset capital gains and minimize income taxes. It will take a little effort, but you’ll thank yourself come tax time. [...]

Help your tax preparer help you

Tax Planning

Tax time is right around the corner and for a lot of us that means meeting with a tax preparer. Sure, you can do your taxes yourself, but sometimes it pays to have a little advice and direction. Keep in mind that, even though you’re using a professional, an accurate return still depends on good [...]

Spring Cleaning Can Uncover Tax Deductions

Sweep into Spring Cleaning

In the springtime a person’s thoughts turn to — spring cleaning! We have to admit that spring cleaning is one of our favorite chores. Why?

25 Ways to Save Taxes Through Life’s Transitions

Internal Revenue Service Grim Reaper

Taxes are, unfortunately, a part of every financial decision. Like it or not, Uncle Sam’s greedy fingers reach into your pocket with every paycheck and each dollar of investment earnings.

Together in life – in taxes too?

Together in Life

If you are married, should you file a joint return with your spouse? Most couples do file a joint return that combines their income and deductions. But before you join that majority, you might want to re-examine your situation.

IRA Blunders

Man Holding Money

If you have been contributing to Individual Retirement Accounts over the years or have rolled a lump-sum pension distribution into an IRA, you have taken solid steps toward building a strong retirement nest egg. But three common blunders can keep you from getting the greatest income possible when you retire. Blunder #1. Too many IRA [...]

To Roth Or Not To Roth

Indecision

To Roth or not to Roth, that is the question. At least, that is the question on many people’s minds this year. Beginning in 2010, Uncle Sam lifted the income limits on Roth IRA conversions. Here are the answers to some of the questions you’ve been asking about the Roth IRAs. Why are Roth IRAs [...]

Eight ways to get Money from an IRA penalty-free

Free Bird

When you lose your job or have unexpected expenses, unless you have a substantial emergency funds you are left scrambling for funds to cover life’s emergencies, and money in IRAs is an obvious target. Funds withdrawn from an IRA are taxable, and if you are under 59-1/2, you also will pay a federal penalty of [...]

Twelve Tax Myths

Myths

It’s what you think you know that really isn’t true that can hurt you. A study by the American Institute of CPAs identified twelve misconceptions that taxpayers have about their income taxes. Myth #1 If you apply for an extension to file your taxes, you’re more likely to be audited. Studies have never found any [...]

Last Minute Tax Tips

Tax Filing Federal form 1040

Hey, tax procrastinators! With just a few days left until taxes are due April 15, here are some last minute tips to help ease the pain. 1. Don’t Rush Just because you are filing at the last minute, don’t get flustered and overlook deductions. Take time to review last year’s activity to be sure you [...]

10 Great Year-End Tax Tips

Our Friends at the Internal Revenue Service

When you think of the holiday season, what comes to mind? Gift exchanges? Holiday parties? Home-baked pies? Taxes? We know you have a lot of other things to do this time of year-baking those pies, for example-but, as your WIFE, we must remind you of those important details that are so easy to overlook. The [...]

Tax Strategies for Women

Checked Off

Despite the media frenzy each year about tax cuts and increases, truth be told, not much has changed for most middle-class women. So what’s a financially savvy gal to do? Take advantage of every tax break you possibly can! Read on to learn how to save on taxes in your retirement accounts, education planning, and [...]

Funny Tax Quotes and Facts

Stand-up Comedienne

Tax Quotes I’m proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money. – Arthur Godfrey The trouble with the profession of tax collecting is that 90% of its members give the rest a bad name. – anonymous Day in and day out, your [...]

Where to Stash Cash For College

Mattress Savings Account

How old are your kids? How much have you saved for their education? If your answer is “not enough,” you are not alone. Most people don’t really start to save for college until their kids are teenagers, and a third of parents who intend to send their kids to college have saved less than $5,000. [...]

Minimizing Your Tax Burden in Retirement

Retirement Nest Egg

If you think you don’t need to worry about taxes in retirement, think again. Although your taxable income will probably be much lower than when you were in the workforce, you could still get hit with capital gains taxes on your investments, property taxes, and other expensive surprises if you don’t plan ahead. Here are [...]