Posts Categorized: Regulations

States vs. SALT or “How to turn taxes into charity”

tax charity
Each year, thousands of CPAs and financial planners—like us—use their creativity and ingenuity to try to determine the best (legal) ways to lower your federal taxes.  You know you’re living in interesting times when state lawmakers join that crowd! The reason state legislators are working ...
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529 Plan – What are Qualified Expenses?

education books
The main tax advantage of a 529 Plan (in a state-sponsored college savings plan) is that distributions for qualified expenses are tax-free. In other words, contributions grow tax-free and earnings won’t be taxed when withdrawn for QUALIFIED EXPENSES.  In certain states, you may also benefit from ...
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What The Tax Bill Means To You

tax calculations
Now that the new tax bill has been formally ratified by the U.S. House and Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will be sent to the President’s desk in the next few days.  As you probably know, the House and Senate versions were somewhat different and you may be wondering: What does the fina...
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’Tis the Season (for Financial Planning)

holiday gift
The period between Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season would seem like a sleepy time for financial planners but in fact, it is anything but!  You might be surprised at how much financial planning activity takes place on your behalf in the final month of the year. For instance?  Even...
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What is a Step-Up in Basis? Why should I Care about it?

calculator
(get ready for a whirlwind tax lesson!) A basis step-up is one of the basic concepts of estate planning. When a person dies, we say that their assets get a “step-up” in basis. Basis is short-hand for “income tax basis,” “tax basis,” or “cost basis” and is often shortened simply to...
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Making a Homeowner’s Claim

Rainy House
Suppose you’re the victim of a huge natural disaster like Harvey, or have experienced some more local damage, like a tree falling on your house.  What are the best practices for filing a claim for the damages your home and property have suffered? Recently, the Consumer Federation of America of...
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Where Does Your Tax Money Go? Anyone? Anyone?

taxes file
It’s tax time again, and as you look over your tax payments for calendar 2016, you’re undoubtedly wondering where those dollars are being spent. The Wall Street Journal recently published a chart which breaks down spending for every $100 of tax receipts—and concludes that the U.S. governmen...
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The Fed’s Rate Hike – March 2017

coins
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee just raised the Fed Funds rate from 0.75% to 1.00%—the second rate hike in three months. So what should you do with your investment portfolio in light of this change? Nothing. Why? First of all, the rate change was laughably minor cons...
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Trump, the Markets, and the F-Word*

crystal ball in hand
*that would be “fiduciary” Over the last several weeks, professional financial planners like us have been fielding calls from clients who are asking the kinds of questions we dread hearing: The Dow has reached (and then fallen back below; and then back above) 20,000.  Should I take money ...
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Higher Interest Rates: The Tempest in the Teapot

Effective Federal Fund Rates
Anybody who was surprised that the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rate this week probably wasn’t paying attention.  The U.S. economy is humming along, the stock market is booming and the unemployment rate has fallen faster than anybody expected.  The incoming admin...
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