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July 2017

Hiring your children to work in your business can be a win-win situation for everyone. Your kids will earn money, gain real-life experience in the workplace, and learn what you do every day. And, you will reap a few tax benefits in the process. Before you decide if hiring your child is the right thing for your business, learn if it can work for you.

Generally, if your child is doing a legitimate job and the pay is reasonable for the work, his or her salary can be a tax-deductible business expense. Your childís income can be tax-free to them up to the standard deduction amount for a... Click here to read more

A marriage is worth celebrating, but bringing up the marriage penalty may bring down the celebration. The marriage penalty occurs in the tax code when you pay more tax as a married couple than you would as two single filers making the same amount of money. This occurs throughout the federal tax code. The following are two examples:

The tax rate problem

If the tax tables did not differentiate between single and married, you could assume the married income required to move to the next highest tax rate would always be double that of a single filer. This is not... Click here to read more

When it comes to paying bills, many people canít imagine returning to paying and sending bills via the U.S. Postal Service. But, the ìturn it on and forget itî nature of automatic payments can create zombie payers who no longer challenge or review the details and amounts of bills. Here are some ideas to keep this from happening to you.

Create a list. Make a list of the companies you authorized to use automatic payments to pay your bills. Include in the list the card or account each company uses for the automatic payments, as well as payment amounts and frequency. If you use credit... Click here to read more

Yes, that's correct, there are some forms of income you receive that may be tax-free. Here is a list of ten common sources of tax-free income.

  • Gifts. Gifts you receive are not taxable income to you. In fact, they are not subject to gift tax to the person giving the gift as long as the gifts received in one year from one person do not exceed $14,000.
  • Rental income. If you rent your home or vacation cottage for up to 14 days, that rental income does not need to be reported.
  • Childís income. Up to the standard... Click here to read more

June 2017

Most new businesses start with no thought about legal structure. In the eyes of the IRS, the default structure is a "sole proprietor," in which your business profits are taxed on your personal tax return. This can serve you well to start, but there are several reasons you may want to consider incorporating as your business grows.

  • To protect your personal assets from creditors. When you operate your business within a corporation, creditors are often limited to corporate assets to satisfy a debt. Your home, savings, and retirement accounts are no longer fair game.
  • To... Click here to read more

With U.S. equity valuations near historically high levels, now might be an opportune time to take advantage of the tax benefits of donating long-term appreciated stock to a qualified charity. Directly donating a winning stock you've held for at least one year provides greater tax benefits than writing a check to your favorite cause.

Higher deduction. Your charitable gift deduction will be equal to the market value of the stock on the date of your donation, rather than what you originally paid for it.

No capital gains tax. You avoid paying capital gains tax on the unrealized... Click here to read more

It's a tough time to buy a house. With high prices and low supply, homebuyers have to tackle the buying process differently than they would in a flat or down market. Here are some suggestions to landing your dream home in our current real estate market.

  • Be nimble, be flexible. Try to investigate new listings quickly ñ within hours of their first posting, if possible. If you're interested in a house but an inspection finds a few flaws, you may have to be flexible about accepting a house with a few quirks or in need of some repairs.
  • Make a strong offer. A seller's market... Click here to read more

The last thing you want to be bothered with when you are grieving is sorting out the finances of your departed loved one. Here are some suggestions to make the process a little easier.

Prioritize. Focus on the most pressing tasks you face. Make sure you have access to the right accounts in order to secure living expenses for yourself and any people the departed person supported. Close any of their outstanding debts.

Gather documents. Get at least a dozen copies of the death certificate. Insurance companies, government agencies, creditors, and banks will require a copy before... Click here to read more

Your chances of being audited are probably lower than you think. A look at the latest IRS statistics for 2016 reveals some interesting and reassuring facts about the risk of an IRS audit.

Audits are becoming less common. The number of individual tax returns the IRS audited fell to a 12-year low last year, to just above 1 million. Audits have been declining steeply over the last five years, which the IRS commissioner said was due in part to declining budgets and a smaller workforce.

Audits target the rich. It's a fact: IRS audits happen most often to the super-rich. The... Click here to read more

May 2017

When setting your family budget, often the first thing that gets slashed is the summer vacation. However, if you plan ahead, you can find simple ways to save and keep your vacation on the calendar. Here are a few ideas.

  • Flexible location. Sometimes you just want to get away to recharge and the location isn't the biggest factor. If your heart isn't set on a specific city, find a location that offers substantial savings over popular tourist destinations.
  • Avoid airport parking. Have a friend or family member drop you off for your flight.... Click here to read more

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