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Posted on Friday, June 24, 2022
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 Friday, June 17, 2022
Tax policy and rates have always been fluid, much more so than most people realize, as they only focus on it for short periods one time a year. You also don’t see many high school or college classes on the history of taxes and tax planning, unless you’re in accounting school. Like a distant relative you see at an occasional wedding, you forget most of the prior experiences and conversations and simply repeat them as an act of convenience. It’s the lack of personal taxation understanding and the continuous ebbs and flows that allow the tax authorities to keep things the same just long enough to let people form habits, then change the tax rules to penalize the habits created....

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Posted on Friday, June 10, 2022
People who earn more than $91,000 a year ($182,000 for joint filers) and who are in Medicare Part B or Medicare Part D, or both, will face additional premiums, called income-related monthly adjusted amount (IRMAA). IRMAA “surcharges,” which is a replacement word for a tax, are based on income earned two years prior to the coverage year. A client enrolling in Medicare in 2022 would pay an IRMAA surcharge based on their 2020 tax return. Generally there are two types of people that pay IRMAA surcharges: Those who might be affected and those who will always be affected. Because it is income based, people with an unusual income event may only be affected once, while people with higher incomes may always be affected....

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Posted on Friday, June 03, 2022
As of Jan. 1, 2020, the SECURE Act requires the entire balance of a non-spousal participant’s inherited IRA account to be distributed or withdrawn within 10 years of the death of the original owner. The 10-year rule applies regardless of whether the participant dies before, on, or after the RMD (required minimum distribution) age at which they had to begin withdrawals. In other words, you must withdraw the inherited funds within 10 years and pay income taxes on the distributed amounts. Since the withdrawals are required, you won’t pay the 10% penalty if you’re under the age of 59½. But you must pay income taxes on the distributions, and you must eventually empty the account. Children of IRA holders, same sex...

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Posted on Friday, May 27, 2022
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 Friday, May 20, 2022
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, May 13, 2022
Don’t let your stockbroker off the hook when it comes to tax planning.  Many people work with brokers when they buy and sell stocks.  Many people now, because of the internet, also have become their own stockbrokers, doing their own research and trading on various platforms.  Whether you use a professional or do your trades yourself, you still need to hold your stockbroker accountable.  What do I mean?  If a broker is helping you buy and sell, they had to take a Series license of some kind.  Sometimes, an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) has taken a Series 65 exam.  If it’s a representative of a broker/dealer, perhaps they’ve taken a Series 6 or a Series 7 exam.  There are other possibilities, but the point is, these exams are...

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Posted on Friday, May 06, 2022
It’s May and the 2021-2022 tax filing season has finally come to an end (for most of us), and for many with a familiar recurring moooooan and grooooooan of having paid too much in taxes.  Now is the time to take your preventative medicine and avoid the pain next year! Being human, we all form habits.  Some good.  Most bad.  We try to develop good ones to replace the bad ones and often we are successful, but most successes don’t come without a coach, cheerleader or some kind of support. Tax time is usually a time of regret over not being successful at last year’s promise to oneself, “I’m not going to pay this much again.  I`m going to keep...

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Posted on Friday, April 29, 2022
For people with just one or two W2s and perhaps a daycare deduction, getting the amount of tax paid into the IRS to come out correctly is easy enough and can be done within a 95% accuracy rate. The IRS gives the follow instruction: All taxpayers should review their federal withholding each year to make sure they’re not having too little or too much tax withheld. Doing this now can help protect against facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty next filing season. The sooner taxpayers check their withholding, the easier it is to get the right amount of tax withheld. Taxpayers whose employers withhold federal income tax from their paycheck can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to help...

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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2022
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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