Understanding Tax Terms: Structuring

If someone manipulates cash transactions to avoid required bank reporting to the Treasury Department, they are using the technique of structuring their transactions. Knowing what is reported and the power given to the IRS to seize related assets can be important. Background To identify questionable illegal transactions, financial institutions are required to report any monetary […]

2020 Health Savings Account Limits

The savings limits for the ever-popular health savings accounts (HSA) are now set for 2020. The new limits are outlined here with current year amounts noted for comparison. What is an HSA? An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings account whose funds can be used to pay qualified health care costs for you, your spouse and […]

Investing Basics: Mutual Funds

When you buy shares of a mutual fund, your money is pooled with other shareholders’ money and invested in a portfolio of securities (stocks, bonds, etc.) An investment in a mutual fund offers you diversification and management by professionals. Mutual funds have no guarantee of good returns or safety of your investment; they go up […]

Save Those Receipts and Documentation!

When it comes to taking qualified deductions on your Federal Tax return three things must happen. First, you must recognize that an expense might be deductible on your tax return. Second, you must keep a record of the expense in an organized fashion. Third, you must have the proper (and timely) documentation to support your […]

Is a Section 529 plan the right college savings plan for you?

There are many ways to save for college, but one thing is certain: it is never too early to start. One way to save for college is with a “Section 529” plan. These plans offer a way to pay for college expenses with some nice tax advantages. What are they? Section 529 plans allow you […]

Most Common Areas for Tax Beaks

Tax law changes so frequently that you must be concerned with tax planning year-round, or you’ll miss opportunities to lower your tax bill. Here are some common areas that can mean big money savings with proper planning. 1. Familiarize yourself with the income levels at which various tax breaks phase out. While it doesn’t make […]

Your 2019 Social Security benefits recap

The Social Security Administration (SSA) made a 2.8 percent increase to monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2019. Take a look at some of the most significant changes as you create and update your financial plan for 2019: 2019 Social Security benefit highlights Up to $132,900 in wages will be subject […]

Layoffs imminent? Include these 4 steps in your plan

Whether your firm is large, small or somewhere in between, you may be faced with rising costs and declining revenues. This, in turn, may force you to make tough personnel decisions, including layoffs. Before you take this step, however, it makes sense to consider alternatives. Ask yourself whether expense reductions can be accomplished using less […]

Small businesses: How to compete against the big guys

When big-box stores come to town, how can a small business successfully compete? That’s a tough question. While one answer doesn’t fit all cases, certain strategies have proven effective for many businesses. Consider these ideas: Compete on your own terms. As a small business, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to compete with larger competitors on […]

Take Advantage of Being Self-Employed

When it comes to taxes, being self-employed has some advantages. Whether you work for yourself on a full-time basis or just do a little moonlighting on the side, the government has provided you with a variety of tax breaks: Build up your retirement funds. When you’re self-employed, you’re allowed to set up a retirement plan […]