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Posted on Friday, January 17, 2020
There are many ways a tax return can be done that are all OK with the IRS, but only  one of those ways nets the largest refund!  People need to understand this across America, and we talk about tax planning constantly.  We blog, tweet, post, e-mail and on and on, yet we as an industry are not even getting 10% of the public to take on tax planning!  The clients who do are often thrilled at the outcomes, and yet it’s just hard to get people to want to spend half the time that they spend planning their vacations on planning their own tax outcomes! (larger refunds would pay for those vacations!). Tax planners’ offices often don’t look like a franchise...

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Posted on Friday, January 10, 2020
In the “old days”, you went to the general store for your dry goods, the blacksmith for your horseshoes or tool repair and likely had your own cow and chickens for milk and eggs.  Fast forward, you went to a lawyer to get a will, an insurance rep to get a policy and an accountant to get your taxes done.  There was no internet, so information was something you had to gather and organize yourself.  You would talk to a few co-workers, a family member, a mentor and then take actions based on the limited intel.  Back then, you would sit with a financial advisor, and if they were a big deal they might have a stock ticker pumping out tape...

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Posted on Friday, January 03, 2020
Just before the end of 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, better known as the “SECURE Act”, went into effect as a new law.   It brings another round of interesting changes to the U.S. tax code, but especially around the rules regarding Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), which dictate when and how much people must withdraw from their retirement accounts to avoid tax penalties.  Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the new law pushes the age at which you need to start withdrawing money from your traditional IRA retirement accounts from age 70 ½ to 72.  If you turn 70 ½ in 2019, you will still need to take your RMD for 2019, no later than April 1...

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Posted on Friday, December 27, 2019
As another year comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to wish you a great 2020!

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Posted on Friday, December 20, 2019
The only constant in life is change, but some of these possible tax code changes will affect advisor planning in BIG WAYS! Three health care taxes that were originally enacted as part of the 2010 health care reform legislation are slated for repeal as part of this year’s budget from Congress.  As currently written, the new legislation provides changes to retirement plan rules, extends several expired tax provisions, provides disaster tax relief, and repeals the provision that taxed exempt organizations when they provided parking to their employees. Highlights in that bill awaiting Trump’s signature; Increases the age after which required minimum distributions from certain retirement accounts must begin to 72 (from 70½); Modifies requirements for multiple-employer plans to make it...

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Posted on Friday, December 13, 2019
Ask anyone if they “pay too much income tax” and the knee jerk reaction is almost always, “yes!” and without much hesitation. Why do we call that a knee jerk reaction? Because if you then follow the question up with two more questions, “What did you pay in federal tax last year? And/or what bracket are you in?” they almost as quickly say, “I don’t remember, or I’m not sure”. Or they might guess at a bracket percentage, but usually not correctly. I’ve even had people profess the pain of paying too much in tax only to discover that not only did they get back all of their withholdings, but were given tax credit refunds of money they did not...

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Posted on Friday, December 06, 2019
It’s that time of year again and many business owners with fat bottom lines, or even just with joy in their hearts, are getting ready to rinse and repeat what they have always done; buying tickets and food (perhaps adult beverages also) to celebrate and appreciate their work force. The new IRS rules generally allow deduction of the holiday party expense if it’s at the office, but the IRS has set new nondeductible guidelines for entertainment. It’s not clear, for instance, if you usually take you entire office to a holiday show, sporting event or concert, whether that part will still be deductible. More time and guidance will shake that all out, but at the moment it’s possible that it’s...

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Posted on Friday, November 22, 2019
Not everyone is familiar with Schedule A on a 1040, especially healthy younger people with mortgage interest debt from owning a home.  Schedule A is a deduction that reduces your total income before taxes are assessed against it. The IRS gives you two choices when it comes to deductions.  You can take a “Standard Deduction” which is a flat rate that everyone can elect and has no paperwork or reporting requirements.  Or you can use a “long-form” and add up certain expenses in hopes that what you spent in those areas adds up to more than what the IRS allows you with the Standard Deduction.  If it does, you can claim the higher amount, which again is subtracted from your...

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Posted on Friday, November 15, 2019
  My strategy?  Doesn’t this just happen?  NO!  And you need to pay attention! Weather changes and holiday gear up often take people’s eyes off the ball.  Everyone over the age of 70 with money in IRA accounts of many kinds are penalized at 50% by the IRS if they do not properly withdraw the correct amounts from those accounts before year end. Why would the IRS care if I take money out of my account? BECAUSE they get to tax it this year!  If, for instance, you are in the 10% tax bracket and you “should” take $10,000 from your IRA before the end of the year, then they would charge you $1,000 more on your taxes when filed,...

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Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019
No trick! Opportunity zones are your treat this Halloween.  Year-end tax planning, the stock markets, and opportunity zones are all on a high speed merge around the country. Hopefully, the information is getting to the correct people, but even if you are seeing this for the first time, you still have time to get educated and perhaps take advantage.  Let’s break it down. Opportunity zones are a new governmental offensive to bring targeted areas around the country jobs and investment in infrastructure. There are many layers and details, but for this purpose, we will stick to a high-level discussion and focus on two parts. Part one:  What are they?  They are specific, clearly defined geographic areas around the country.  Opportunity...

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