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Posted on Friday, July 23, 2021
Go to any party, any backyard BBQ, baseball game or the yacht club on race day and you are likely to hear someone complaining about taxes.   People love to hate them, but they act as if they have no control over them!  Taxes are not a storm over the ocean that “at God’s will” might or might not come to shore and wipe out a town.  They are a known, published set of taxes on various income types, with rules.  Like a chess game, if you want to win you can study the rules and the game and when the opponent makes a move you can make the appropriate counter move and win.  There are offsets and credits in the...

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Posted on Friday, July 16, 2021
The answer to that might surprise you.  Because, for the most part, the answer is yes.  However, sometimes they are only fair if you know how to “play the game”.  Most people think only the wealthy can avoid paying income tax because they know how to play the game.  Well, at a much lower level, everybody knows some of the tricks to “playing the game”.  For instance, you might be contributing to your 401(k) at work.  Well, you’re playing the game.  However, you might not know that even though you’re contributing everything you can to your 401(k) at work, you’re still allowed to open an additional private IRA, and take another several thousand dollars off of your taxable income.  That trick is “knowing the rest of the rules...

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Posted on Friday, July 09, 2021
With every new president, we hear that taxes are going to be changed.  Some promise to lower them in order to get elected, even though there is no way for them to go down while we spend the way we do, service our huge debts and keep the lights on.  Some say they are going up, but only on “corporations, or the rich, or”…and they pick out a villain for everyone to hate.  Those people, however, are the people that give politicians hundreds of millions of dollars in order to help them get elected.  Those promises fade, get changed and loopholes that are plugged get unplugged. Most of what actually gets passed affects the people or industries that have the...

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Posted on Friday, July 02, 2021
Many people are looking at their calendar and realizing that June has passed, and although they had great intentions in March and April of getting proactive in and around learning how to mitigate this year’s tax outcomes, the time has slipped by.  People who should be storing capital differently in that stock brokerage account have already been paid six months in dividends that are coming to them as a 1099 next tax season. Those people that meant to move the funds out of the bank are going to receive six months of interest now.  People who see the calendar, see the date, and are already feeling remorse, often say “Oh well, too late again this year”, since mentally, “the damage...

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Posted on Friday, June 25, 2021
The surfers sit and look at the horizon and anticipate the size of the waves. It’s not an exact science, but they make their choice and then, the most important part, they proactively paddle like crazy toward the oncoming wave crest, well ahead of its arrival.  This allows them to meet the wave on their own terms, rather than seeing what they get when it arrives, as they sit and do nothing.  Because of this action, they turn in time to ride the wave, and show off their ability to plan and execute. Taxes, of course, can often be watched on the horizon and anticipated, especially if it’s a big wave.  You know you are retiring in November and you have built up...

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Posted on Friday, June 18, 2021
It seems like everywhere I go, there are cars on the side of the road and the unmistakable buzz of people with “yard sale face” rushing to see what hot deals they can find.  It’s nice to see some post pandemic normalcy. It’s always been a summer ritual, and as badly as we all crave summer, a welcome sign.  The biggest yard sale we have ever seen has been open and running for almost a decade now and still not many people are parking out front and rushing in and THEY SHOULD BE!  It’s the capital gains tax rate and it’s a big sale. Does the IRS really have “Yard Sales?”  Yes, all the time! The tax code is much...

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Posted on Friday, June 11, 2021
Some do it often, while others hold on all year for that one great week and live day by day until that magical start date on the calendar!  A new wave in our digital age is to only take three or four day weekends, but do it more often.  However you “vacation”, they do have one common thread, and that is that they are not free.  Furthermore, when you are officially vacationing (which becomes a mindset as well….I am officially on vacation as of right now!) you spend more freely, often with a disregard for cost shopping.  “I’m stopping at Starbucks for the Mocha Frappuccino, not Dunkin, cause I’m on vacation!”. What if next vacation you could upgrade to fly...

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Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2021
Ever had a “light bulb” moment?  I have been driving for many years.  I’ve driven at least a million miles and I own a few cars (I collect certain types), and when driving my spouse’s car or one from the collection that I haven’t driven in a while, inevitably it’s time to gas up.  I pull up to a pump and get out and realize that the gas cap is on the other side, back up the car, turn it around with a sigh and fill it up.  Then this year the “light bulb” moment.  While trying to figure out the dashboard “iPhone” charger fuse location, I happened to be looking at the diagram of the fuel gauge in the manual...

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Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2021
When people save for retirement they almost automatically use accounts that avoid tax now.  IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, all pretax retirement savings plans.  Certainly, long term savings uninterrupted by withdrawals and the effect of compounding interest on interest earned is unarguably valuable, but doing that in pretax accounts is NOT the only way to have that happen!  Non-qualified annuity and Roth IRAs allow the same mechanics of compounding to happen, and in retirement both can be as valuable depending on the circumstances and actions of the retiree. Annuities are underappreciated as a tax planning tool, because of the way earnings are treated as ordinary income upon withdrawal.  However if annuitized at retirement (an option the advisors that distribute them often...

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Posted on Friday, May 21, 2021
Although currently very little has actually changed tax rules wise, many things are proposed.  Under an executive order a few things have actually changed around child credits, so if you have children there are benefits starting now for many Americans in the lower tax brackets.  Also, one item that affects many small business owners is a change in the premium tax credit.  In the past, when people receiving subsidies from the insurance market place earned over 400% of the poverty level in income (around $40,000), they had to start paying back some or all of that premium subsidy. That amount for the next year has been raised, allowing most to not pay back any premium.  These changes are in affect...

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