Yearly Archives: 2020

Taking out a loan? Answer 3 questions first

Taking out a loan? Answer 3 questions first

For many Americans, debt has become a way of life. A recent LendingTree analysis of the latest Federal Reserve data showed that total U.S. consumer debt is on track to exceed $4 trillion this year. The analysis showed Americans collectively owe more than 26 percent of their monthly income on consumer debt, including car loans, credit card accounts and student…

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Accounting Basics: Passive Activity

Accounting Basics: Passive Activity

A passive activity is a business activity in which a taxpayer does not materially participate. Material participation defined. So just what is material participation? In general, material participation requires you to be involved in the operation of the activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis. If you do not meet this threshold, the activity is deemed passive in the…

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Protect Your Medicaid Identity from Scammers

Protect Your Medicaid Identity from Scammers

With more than 40 million Americans seeking unemployment benefits over the past 2 months, states are doing their best to keep up with the avalanche of applications. States are also bracing for an increase in Medicaid enrollment as many Americans get pushed off their employer’s health care plan. If you need to apply for Medicaid, here’s how you can protect…

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Be Smart on the Road and Save Money

Be Smart on the Road and Save Money

Most Americans are doing what they canto cut their budget and save money. One of the biggest expenditures for individuals and families is gas for vehicles. Although gas prices have declined in recent months courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation isn’t dead. In fact, history suggests that over time gas prices will continue their inexorable march upward. That’s why prudent…

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Time to Build Your Case for Loan Forgiveness

Time to Build Your Case for Loan Forgiveness

It’s now time to build you case to ask for loan forgiveness if your business received a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Payroll Protection Program (PPP). That’s because there is now guidance on filling out the new Loan Forgiveness Application. Background Around three quarters of small businesses in the United States requested relief from the SBA PPP loan…

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The 3 Rules of Cash

The 3 Rules of Cash

To keep your business solvent through the COVID-19 pandemic, stay focused on the 3 rules of cash: 1) Now versus later. Cash now is better than cash later. Decreasing cash flow for many of your customers means you’ll likely have trouble collecting 100% of your accounts receivable in the short term. But don’t overlook clients whose cash flow or revenue…

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5 Things Your Business Needs to Do Now!

5 Things Your Business Needs to Do Now!

With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news and creating havoc in many sectors of the economy, companies are going to need to be on their “A” game to survive and thrive. Here are five essential tasks to help you do this. 1. Bring financial statements up to date A clear understanding of your company’s current cash flows, revenues, expenses, assets,…

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Ideas to Help Pay Bills During Tough Times

Ideas to Help Pay Bills During Tough Times

You’re not alone in trying to navigate the financial uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic. 10 million+ American workers who lost their paycheck because of COVID-19 need to find creative ways to pay bills. Here are 6 ways to get cash to help pay for your monthly expenses. Apply for state unemployment benefits. Recent federal legislation expands traditional state unemployment payments…

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Alert! Creative COVID-19 Scams

Alert! Creative COVID-19 Scams

Thieves are getting creative with different ways to gain access to your checking account and personal information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the reported schemes: Mandatory online COVID-19 Test Individuals posing as workers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or other federal departments use text messages to instruct you to click on a link…

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Documents Needed for Estate Planning

Documents Needed for Estate Planning

You work hard providing for your loved ones during your life. You can also provide for them when you are gone with a simple estate plan that legally conveys your desires to all your heirs. Here is a short list of some of the basic documents you should consider including in your estate plan. Information memo. Keep a list of…

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Check your credit report – it’s free

Check your credit report – it’s free

You can check your credit rating from all three of the major credit reporting agencies for free to ensure the accuracy of your report. Simply log onto the Internet and go to www.annualcreditreport.com. Alternatively, you can receive your free report if you call 1-877-322-8228. You are allowed to obtain one free report from each agency annually. Why bother to get…

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Key Coronavirus Tax Changes

Key Coronavirus Tax Changes

In addition to filing delays and a one-time stimulus payment, the IRS is implementing many changes in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the major topics that could affect you and your family. Early distribution penalty waived The 10% early distribution penalty on up to $100,000 of retirement withdrawals for coronavirus-related reasons is waived during 2020. New…

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Seeing Inside the Mind of the IRS

Seeing Inside the Mind of the IRS

While most of us are never audited, when it happens it can feel a lot like a lamb thrown in the room with a lion. The IRS auditor does these audits every day. They know what to look for and can ask leading questions that you may easily answer incorrectly. So what are some good tips when you are in…

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A Tip to Avoid Late Payment Penalties

A Tip to Avoid Late Payment Penalties

Many clients like to keep their Federal Tax Withholdings as low as possible to avoid the IRS having their funds interest-free throughout the year. Other taxpayers, especially those with non-payroll income, must make quarterly payments to the IRS. As long as these quarterly payments are made timely and the amount of the payments is sufficient in the eyes of the…

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The Household Employee Problem

The Household Employee Problem

This often overlooked bookkeeping and payroll tax requirement can cause a tangle of tax problems if not handled correctly. It ended a run for Congress by Caroline Kennedy (JFK’s daughter) and killed a U.S. Attorney General nominee’s chances for appointment. Could you be impacted? This is what you need to know. Nanny Tax Explained In an effort to capture income…

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Watch Out for Apartment Rental Rip-Offs

Watch Out for Apartment Rental Rip-Offs

Planning to move? As you scan apartment listings on Craigslist, you spy a great deal. The rental unit comes with amenities galore and lease payments well below market rates. You’re in a time crunch, so you make an appointment to tour the apartment. Unbeknownst to you, the “landlord” (AKA the guy who’s leading you on a tour of the property)…

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Basic Financial Documents You Must Have

Basic Financial Documents You Must Have

There are some basic financial arrangements that all individuals should consider making, no matter what their age or circumstances. But if you have a family, these basic documents become essential. A Will. As you know, a will lets you, rather than the state, control how your assets will be split among your heirs. More importantly, a will allows you to…

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Retirees and Taxes

Retirees and Taxes

When it comes to taxes, growing older can have its advantages. But older individuals may also have additional tax-related requirements. Here’s a quick overview of the tax and financial breaks available as you reach a certain age. Higher standard deductions. You’re eligible for a higher standard deduction once you reach age 65. Tax credit for the elderly. You may qualify…

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Use Financial Information to Increase Business Profits

Use Financial Information to Increase Business Profits

Most successful business managers use financial statements and other special reports to generate higher profits. If you haven’t been using all the financial tools available to you, here are some ideas to get you started. There is no need to feel intimidated by financial statements. If your company’s record system is properly designed, you should be getting regular financial reports…

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Conduct a Financial Review at Tax Time

Conduct a Financial Review at Tax Time

Tax filing time is an ideal time to review your financial affairs. You have to gather information to prepare your tax return at this time. Why not take one more step and do something positive for your financial well-being? The following suggestions will get you started on your financial review: Discuss with your family. Spouses and children need to share…

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Five Big Tax Mistakes

Five Big Tax Mistakes

Every year taxpayers are hit with tax surprises that could be avoided if they just knew the rules. Here are five big ones that are easy to avoid with some simple planning. Mistake #1. Withholding too little. This results in a tax surprise when filing your income tax. Don’t be too hard on yourself if this happens to you. Social…

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Five Great Banking Tips

Five Great Banking Tips

Banks are a necessary tool to navigate our daily financial lives. Unfortunately, there are aggravating practices at many banks that drive us crazy or cost us money. Here are five tips to get more out of your bank and pay less. Remove cash from the right place. Never use an ATM machine that is not in your bank’s network. In-network…

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Investing Basics: Picking the Right Stocks

Investing Basics: Picking the Right Stocks

We have witnessed such volatile activity in the stock market in recent years that the old stock selection rules are not always applicable. Seasoned investors and new investors alike want a sure-fire way to pick the winners. Well, no one can offer any guarantees, but smart investors do have certain characteristics they associate with a winning stock. A crucial key…

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Before Consolidating Debt, Ask These 4 Questions

Before Consolidating Debt, Ask These 4 Questions

You’re starting to feel overwhelmed with debt and you’re not sure how to make even the minimum payments on all those accounts. That’s when you realize that credit card companies are eager to come to your aid. They offer balance transfers to help you consolidate high interest accounts. They provide “one low monthly payment” to simplify your finances. With their…

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Avoid These 3 Homeowner’s Insurance Mistakes

Avoid These 3 Homeowner’s Insurance Mistakes

Looking for a way to tackle insomnia? Read your homeowner’s insurance policy. Kidding aside, it’s worth the effort. As many families have learned the hard way, failing to evaluate policy details can lead to unanticipated expenses when disaster strikes. Sweat the fine print, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer, and don’t make these three blunders: Underinsuring. If your policy covers…

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Tax Surprises for Newly Retired

Tax Surprises for Newly Retired

You’ve got it all planned out. Your retirement savings plans are full, you have started receiving Social Security benefits, and your Pension is ready to go. Everything is planned, what could go wrong? If you plan to retire in 2020, here are five surprises that can turn your plan on a dime: 1. Health emergency and long-term care. When a…

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