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Managing Tax Deductions and Credits

5 Smart Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund

Not sure how to wisely spend your tax refund. Find out the best 5 Smart Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund and set yourself up for future financial success. By Paula Pant.   Congratulations, you've gotten a tax refund! Now, what you are going to next?   If the only answer that...more

Caring for Aging Parents

As life expectancies continue to increase, it becomes increasingly likely that you may need to financially help an aging parent. If you find yourself in that situation, review the tax laws to determine whether you can obtain some tax relief. The key is to determine whether you can deduct your parent as a dependent, which entitles you to an additional personal exemption on your tax return, reducing your taxable income by $3,200 in 2005. To do so, your parent's gross income can't exceed the...more

Ideas for Putting Tax Refunds and Other Windfalls to Work

When it comes to windfalls, there are those rare occurrences that many of us dream about, like achieving a six-figure bonus at work or winning the top prize in a professional golf tournament. Then there are others that seem more likely: for instance, many Americans inherit sums of money from older relatives, and the majority of us get tax refunds in some of our working years. Even a modest infusion of money can do a lot: in 2014, the average refund from the IRS totaled $3,034. This kind of...more

A Tax Deferred is a Tax Saved

A tax deferred is a tax saved. Tax deferral works because the taxpayer earns a return on the amount that he or she otherwise would have sent to Uncle Sam in taxes. That, of course, leads us to a brief discussion of the tax treatment of annuity contracts. For purposes of this article, we are restricting our comments to some of the rules governing regular, non-qualified annuities. Annuity contracts that are part of IRAs, 403(b) plans, 401(k) plans and other qualified retirement plans are...more

Pay Me Later or Pay Me Now?

Tax deferral programs have served investors well in the past, but future shifts in the political environment and potential tax rate increases may cause this to change. The title of this paper may have reminded you of an old car repair commercial featuring the punch line of ?Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later,? accompanied by a grimy mechanic with a sinister grin on his face. The message warned that if you put off maintenance now, you risk paying more later on in bills and aggravation. The...more

Should You File Your Own Taxes? Or Should You Hire a CPA?

By Paula Pant. Lots of people honor traditions. Some people eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Some people bake an apple pie on Independence Day. Me? I abide by a longstanding tradition, as well: I yank my hair out every April, when I attempt to file my own taxes. Life hasn't always felt this way. Back in ancient times (college), I only had one or two W2 forms and a single mutual fund. I could complete my 1040 without breaking a sweat. But after I graduated, life became complex. I started...more

Giving to Charity for the First Time? Read This First

Giving to Charity for the First Time? Read This First

It's that time of year where many people's thoughts turn to those in need. The holidays can inspire people to adopt a generous mood. You're thankful for the blessings youve received and want to pay it forwardand you've also realized charitable giving can lower your taxes, as well. Whether you'd like to donate to a local nonprofit or an international cause you feel passionate about, you want to make sure your money will be used properly. Here are the basics you need to know when it...more

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