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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Should You Invest in Rental Real Estate?

If you want to make a profit by investing in rental real estate, you must be willing to commit more resources to this property than you would to an investment made at your bank, through a broker, or in a mutual fund. Someone has to collect rents, find good tenants, and maintain the property. If […]

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 […]

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 […]

Income the IRS Can’t Touch

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a source of nontaxable income? You may be more fortunate than you realize. Listed here are a number of income items that the IRS does not tax. Tax-Free Interest. Municipal bond interest is federal tax-free. This includes bonds issued by a state or municipality. The tax-free benefit increases the […]

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 […]

Having a New Baby? These Tax Tips Are Essential

There are big moments in everyone’s life. A new birth is one of them. The irony is that most life events also have tax consequences attached to them. When a new member is added to your family or someone you know, here are some tips to consider. Get A Social Security Number. Obtain a Social […]

Tax strategies for homeowners

Be aware that important tax consequences are often associated with some fairly common events involving your home. Here are some handy things to know. Home purchase. When purchasing a home, you may pay a portion of the mortgage interest in advance. This loan origination fee, or “points,” is a percentage of the total amount borrowed. […]