The Tax Impact of Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, gifts are on everyone’s mind, giving and receiving, so it’s a logical time to look at gifts from a taxation point-of-view. I’m not talking about the new game console you got your kids, but rather what the Internal Revenue Service considers a gift for tax purposes. Generally, any transfer to an individual is considered a gift when full monetary value isn’t received in return. By that definition, examples of gifts could be amounts of … Read more

Do Insurance Comparison Sites Really Work?

Saving money on insurance has a warm place in many people’s wallet, since it’s a purchase we hope not to use anyway. When you’re looking for auto insurance, for example, apples-and-oranges comparisons are difficult and confusing for most, who deal with the intricacies of insurance policies perhaps once a year, if that. So on the surface, using an insurance comparison website sounds like a great idea. Enter your information and have your needs shopped with companies who, in theory, compete … Read more

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

When you talk to an insurance agent, it might be easy sometimes to get the feeling that, if you haven’t bought life insurance by the time you’re 25, you’ve waited too long, it won’t be affordable, and you may not qualify. You’re caught in the sale close, the pressure that’s often exerted to get your money today. It makes sense, the longer an issuer collects your premiums, the more your payout is offset by earnings. However, from your point of … Read more

Standard versus Itemized Deductions

While at time of publication, summer still has a couple weeks left, so it’s not typically a point where taxes are a hot topic. Yet for 25% of the taxpayers out there, a little bit of paperwork outside of tax season can save them money. There’s no question that taking standard deduction amounts on your return is convenient. It’s a simple calculation and it’s often a larger figure than you’d earn by saving receipts for eligible expenses, which many of … Read more

Short-Term Education Savings Strategies

As summer starts to wind down, the usual onslaught of back-to-school marketing is in full swing. And for many parents, this may lead to nervous stomachs from worry that they didn’t do enough to provide for their kids’ educations. Even if you got a late start putting money away, there are a few things to consider before the first day of college. Two Plus Two Post-secondary education is always a bit of a gamble. It’s not high school, and the … Read more

Oops, I Forgot to File!

Though April 15 is a day of dread and not easily forgotten by many taxpayers, there are still those who miss the tax filing deadline. If you know you’ll be late with your tax return, you can file for an extension which, if granted, moves the due date to October (for example, October 16 in 2017). For those who wake up April 16 or later with a sense of dread, here’s what you can expect. You’re Receiving a Tax Refund If … Read more

Money Lessons for Your Child

Chances are the skills with money management that you’ve either acquired or are still working toward didn’t come naturally. Since schools generally don’t teach much about money beyond how to count it, sharing the lessons you’ve learned or, better still, the lessons you wished you’d learned sooner may be one of the most valuable things you can pass on to your children. You don’t need to create a pre-teen Warren Buffett, but instilling a few simple ideas about money at … Read more

So You Want a Bigger Tax Refund

Tax Day 2017 has come and gone and, along with many other Americans, you were expecting a little more of a kickback on the refund check. Also like many other Americans, you may want to take steps to ensure a bigger refund, but life gets in the way and before you know it, it’s Tax Day Next Year. One thing to keep in mind is that a tax refund is a return of your own money, so the apparent windfall … Read more

Paying for College: Your CSS Profile

About 400 post-secondary schools use the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE, and application for this goes hand in hand with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA®. While the CSS application is more involved than FAFSA, it’s a resource for funding that’s otherwise not available through a FAFSA application on its own. What is the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE? This process accesses non-federal financial aid for post-secondary education. It’s administered by the College Board, the creator and administrator of the SATs. … Read more

Tax Scams: What to Avoid in 2017

The Internal Revenue Service released its Top Tax Scams for the 2017 tax season. While most tax fraud, particularly that involving identity theft, happens early in the tax season, scammers and con artists are on duty the entire year preparing. Therefore, information stolen this year could be used against you next year, so stay prepared against tax malfeasance.Phone scams — con artists impersonate IRS agents. IRS agents will not threaten arrest, deportation or seek immediate payment through a single payment … Read more