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Personal Tax & Financial Planning Articles

Personal Tax & Financial Planning Articles

How to Avoid Tax Scams

How to Avoid Tax Scams

When there’s money involved, scam artists seem to come out of the woodwork, and tax season is no exception. Fortunately, if you familiarize yourself with common tax scams and understand what the IRS will and will not do, it’s easy to avoid them.Common ScamsHere are...

Keep Future Options Open with Powers of Appointment

Keep Future Options Open with Powers of Appointment

The amount of flexibility you build into your estate plan will go a long way toward how successful, ultimately, it is at carrying out your wishes after you’re gone. Using powers of appointment is one way to achieve that flexibility.Power of Appointment — DefinedA...

Five Tax-Planning Tips for Retirees

Five Tax-Planning Tips for Retirees

There’s a common misconception that, when you retire, your tax bills shrink, your tax returns become simpler and tax planning is a thing of the past. That may be true for some, but many people find that the combination of Social Security, pensions and withdrawals from...

Three Unique Tax Tips

Three Unique Tax Tips

Case Highlights State Taxation of Trust IncomeIn a recent case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the presence of trust beneficiaries in North Carolina did not, by itself, empower the state to tax income earned by an out-of-state trust. The court noted that the trust...

5 Good Reasons to Turn Down an Inheritance

5 Good Reasons to Turn Down an Inheritance

You may use a qualified disclaimer to refuse a bequest from a loved one. Doing so will cause an asset to bypass your estate and go to the next beneficiary in line. What are the reasons you’d take this action? Let’s take a closer look at five reasons:1. Gift and estate...

When it Comes to Taxes, Getting Married May Cost You

When it Comes to Taxes, Getting Married May Cost You

Most people don’t choose to marry or stay single based on their tax bills, but it may be a factor. One byproduct of the U.S. tax system, under which married couples file joint tax returns, is that marriage may produce a tax penalty or bonus, depending on a couple’s...

Take it or Leave it?

Take it or Leave it?

How to Handle Your 401(k) Plan When You Retire - If 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 Today - If 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 Passport - A 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...

Matters of Interest

Matters of Interest

When are interest payments deductible? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made a significant impact — both directly and indirectly — on the deductibility of interest expense. Here’s a quick review of where things now stand. 5 types of interest Interest expense...

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...

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...

Tax Tips – May / June

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

Make the Most of the 0% Capital Gains Rate - If 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%,...

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...

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...

Identity Theft and Your Tax Returns: How to Protect Yourself

Identity Theft and Your Tax Returns: How to Protect Yourself

Tax returns are a prime target for identity thieves. After all, the IRS processes more than $300 billion in tax refunds every year, and criminals follow the money. A thief needs little more than your name and Social Security number (SSN) in order to file a...

Breathe New Life into a Trust by “Decanting” It

Breathe New Life into a Trust by “Decanting” It

The term “decanting” typically is associated with wine — pouring it from one bottle into another container to remove sediment and allow it to breathe. In regard to an irrevocable trust, decanting allows a trustee to use his or her distribution powers to...

How Will it Affect Your Tax Bill?

How Will it Affect Your Tax Bill?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act At the end of 2017, the most sweeping tax reform legislation in decades was signed into law. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that affect individuals and businesses. Most of the changes go...

Begin Saving the Tax-Smart Way with a Section 529 Plan

Begin Saving the Tax-Smart Way with a Section 529 Plan

Higher Education is Expensive! When it comes to saving for college, parents and grandparents often turn to one of the most popular sections of the tax code: Section 529 college savings plans. Of all the vehicles available for college savings, 529 plans are...

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