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Personal Tax & Financial Planning Articles

Personal Tax & Financial Planning Articles

Take it or Leave it?

Take it or Leave it?

How to Handle Your 401(k) Plan When You RetireIf you’re newly retired, or planning to retire soon, you’ll need to decide what to do with the savings you’ve accumulated in your company’s 401(k) plan. If you don’t need to tap the funds right away, it’s...

Tax Credits Could Help Foreclosure Victims Buy Homes Again

Tax Credits Could Help Foreclosure Victims Buy Homes Again

If you’ve gone through a foreclosure or know someone who has, you know it is difficult to purchase again. Many remain locked out of homeownership because they lack cash or still have credit issues. However, tax credits could help. CPA Jeff Hipshman of HMWC...

Income Tax Withholding

Income Tax Withholding

Examine Withholding Allowances TodayIf you receive paychecks from one or more employers, it’s a good idea to do an annual checkup to make sure the right amount of income tax is being withheld. Even if you claimed an appropriate number of withholding...

Tax Tips – May / June

Tax Tips – May / June

Hang On To Your PassportA 2015 law allows the U.S. State Department to deny your passport application — or revoke or limit your current passport — if the IRS certifies that you have a seriously delinquent tax debt (SDTD). You have an SDTD if 1) you owe...

The “Backdoor” Roth IRA Remains Open

The “Backdoor” Roth IRA Remains Open

The Roth IRA is an attractive savings vehicle, offering tax-free retirement income and other significant benefits. Unfortunately, income limitations prevent many people from contributing to these accounts. But even if you can’t contribute directly, there’s...

Getting Your Affairs In Order When You’re Terminally Ill

Getting Your Affairs In Order When You’re Terminally Ill

If you receive the diagnosis of a terminal illness, likely the last thing on your mind is estate planning. But taking the time now to get your affairs in order can provide you and your family some peace of mind.What to do firstHere are some (but by no...

BDIT Lets You Give Away Property Without Losing Control

BDIT Lets You Give Away Property Without Losing Control

By temporarily doubling the gift and estate tax exemption, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) opened a window of opportunity for affluent families to transfer assets tax-free. To take advantage of the higher exemption amount, many families that own...

Relax, But Don’t Forget About Taxes

Relax, But Don’t Forget About Taxes

Owning a vacation home requires tax planning A vacation home can be many things to different people. For example, it can be a relaxing refuge for friends and family, or the property can serve as an income-producing investment if you choose to rent it out when you’re...

GST Tax Exemption Has Increased, But Not Permanently

GST Tax Exemption Has Increased, But Not Permanently

One change affecting estate plans under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that, for the estates of persons dying after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026, the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amount increases to an inflation-adjusted...

Should You Donate Your Car To Charity?

Should You Donate Your Car To Charity?

Donating an old car to a qualified charity may seem like a hassle-free way to dispose of an unneeded vehicle, satisfy your philanthropic desires and enjoy a tax deduction (provided you itemize). But in most cases, it’s not the most tax-efficient strategy....

Got Bitcoin?

Got Bitcoin?

Understand your tax obligations The tax treatment of bitcoin and other “virtual currencies” — also known as “cryptocurrencies” — is widely misunderstood. But if you invest in virtual currency, use it to pay for goods or services, or receive it as payment for goods or...

Tax Topics: 0% Capital Gains, Research CR, Estate Plan Clause

Tax Topics: 0% Capital Gains, Research CR, Estate Plan Clause

Make the Most of the 0% Capital Gains RateIf you’re holding highly appreciated investments, there may be techniques you can use to avoid federal income taxes on the gain. High-income earners pay tax on long-term capital gains at rates of 15% or 20%, plus...

Putting The Brakes On Spending

Putting The Brakes On Spending

Add spendthrift language to a trust to protect assets Despite its name, the purpose of a spendthrift trust isn’t just to protect profligate heirs from themselves. Adding spendthrift language to a trust benefiting one’s heirs can help safeguard assets from...

Tax Cost of Divorce Set to Rise In 2019

Tax Cost of Divorce Set to Rise In 2019

If you’re divorced or in the process of divorcing, be sure you understand how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) affects the tax treatment of alimony. For most couples, the tax cost of divorce will go up next year.What’s changing?Under current rules, a...

Ease New Itemized Deduction Limitations Using a Nongrantor Trust

Ease New Itemized Deduction Limitations Using a Nongrantor Trust

Record-high exemption amounts mean that fewer families are affected by gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. As a result, the estate planning focus for many people has shifted from transfer taxes to income taxes. One tool that can be...

Know Your Tax Obligations Before Hiring Household Help

Know Your Tax Obligations Before Hiring Household Help

There are several reasons for hiring household help, including child or elder care or general cleaning and yard maintenance. However, when you hire outside help, you become an employer. Thus, you have specific tax obligations, such as withholding and...

Timing Compensation in a Changing Tax Climate

All eyes on Sec. 409A Many people expect to see significant tax reform in the near future now that Republicans are in control of Congress and President Trump is in office. Among the changes being discussed are reduced marginal tax rates for individuals, lower...

Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation?

If you’re currently taking care of your children and your elderly parents, count yourself among those of the Sandwich Generation. Although it may be personally gratifying to be able to help your parents, it can be a financial burden. How can you best handle the...

Will Congress revive expired tax breaks?

Most of the talk about possible tax legislation this year has focused on either wide-sweeping tax reform or taxes that are part of the Affordable Care Act. But there are a few other potential tax developments for individuals to keep an eye on. Back in December of...

3 midyear tax planning strategies for individuals

In the quest to reduce your tax bill, year end planning can only go so far. Tax-saving strategies take time to implement, so review your options now. Here are three strategies that can be more effective if you begin executing them midyear: 1. Consider your bracket The...

Educate Your Children on Wealth Management

If you’ve worked a lifetime to build a large estate, you undoubtedly would like to leave a lasting legacy to your children and future  generations. Educating your children about saving, investing and other money management skills can help keep your legacy...

Four Tax-Smart Techniques for Mutual Fund Investors

Many people overlook tax considerations when planning their mutual fund investments. Here are four tips that can help you improve tax efficiency and avoid costly tax traps:1. Avoid year-end investments. Typically, mutual funds distribute accumulated...

Could the NIIT apply to the sale of your home?

The 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT), which went into effect in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act, continues to create confusion. One aspect of the NIIT (also known as the Medicare contribution tax) that’s widely misunderstood is its impact on the sale of a...

Why a private annuity is a powerful estate planning tool

Affluent families looking for ways to reduce their gift and estate tax exposure should consider private annuities. Under the right circumstances, a private annuity can generate significant tax savings. A 2013 U.S. Tax Court decision that approved the use of a deferred...

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