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Posted on Friday, May 20, 2022
The answer to that might surprise you.  Because, for the most part, the answer is yes.  However, sometimes they are only fair if you know how to “play the game”.  Most people think only the wealthy can avoid paying income tax because they know how to play the game.  Well, at a much lower level, everybody knows some of the tricks to “playing the game”.  For instance, you might be contributing to your 401(k) at work.  Well, you’re playing the game.  However, you might not know that even though you’re contributing everything you can to your 401(k) at work, you’re still allowed to open an additional private IRA, and take another several thousand dollars off of your taxable income.  That trick is “knowing the rest of the rules...

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Posted on Friday, May 13, 2022
Don’t let your stockbroker off the hook when it comes to tax planning.  Many people work with brokers when they buy and sell stocks.  Many people now, because of the internet, also have become their own stockbrokers, doing their own research and trading on various platforms.  Whether you use a professional or do your trades yourself, you still need to hold your stockbroker accountable.  What do I mean?  If a broker is helping you buy and sell, they had to take a Series license of some kind.  Sometimes, an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) has taken a Series 65 exam.  If it’s a representative of a broker/dealer, perhaps they’ve taken a Series 6 or a Series 7 exam.  There are other possibilities, but the point is, these exams are...

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Posted on Friday, May 06, 2022
It’s May and the 2021-2022 tax filing season has finally come to an end (for most of us), and for many with a familiar recurring moooooan and grooooooan of having paid too much in taxes.  Now is the time to take your preventative medicine and avoid the pain next year! Being human, we all form habits.  Some good.  Most bad.  We try to develop good ones to replace the bad ones and often we are successful, but most successes don’t come without a coach, cheerleader or some kind of support. Tax time is usually a time of regret over not being successful at last year’s promise to oneself, “I’m not going to pay this much again.  I`m going to keep...

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Posted on Friday, April 29, 2022
For people with just one or two W2s and perhaps a daycare deduction, getting the amount of tax paid into the IRS to come out correctly is easy enough and can be done within a 95% accuracy rate. The IRS gives the follow instruction: All taxpayers should review their federal withholding each year to make sure they’re not having too little or too much tax withheld. Doing this now can help protect against facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty next filing season. The sooner taxpayers check their withholding, the easier it is to get the right amount of tax withheld. Taxpayers whose employers withhold federal income tax from their paycheck can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to help...

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Posted on Friday, April 22, 2022
When people save for retirement they almost automatically use accounts that avoid tax now.  IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, all pretax retirement savings plans.  Certainly, long term savings uninterrupted by withdrawals and the effect of compounding interest on interest earned is unarguably valuable, but doing that in pretax accounts is NOT the only way to have that happen!  Non-qualified annuity and Roth IRAs allow the same mechanics of compounding to happen, and in retirement both can be as valuable depending on the circumstances and actions of the retiree. Annuities are underappreciated as a tax planning tool, because of the way earnings are treated as ordinary income upon withdrawal.  However if annuitized at retirement (an option the advisors that distribute them often...

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Posted on Friday, April 15, 2022
Some people have filed their tax return, received a refund and already spent it. Others have filed and paid and the “pain is over” for another year. But for many who have not filed and are looking at the calendar and saying “Oh, no!”, here are some tips. If you haven’t filed because of a natural disaster in your area, you may not have to do anything. The IRS gives a state by state accounting of any special things going on around the country that might affect filing deadlines. Click this link, go to your state and see: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/around-the-nation.   If you don’t have anything under special rules then just keep in mind that you must pay all taxes due...

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Posted on Friday, April 08, 2022
When we start tax planning with a new client, the first thing people often ask is why the accountant or CPA they are using doesn’t think or act the way we do in discussing the hunt for possible tax savings. After all, the current CPA is smart, trustworthy, running a successful accounting business and trusted in the community. So, why are we telling them all these wonderful new tax savings ideas that their CPA has never mentioned? There are many explanations, but the simplest is how the accountants themselves view the job that they do. Often, accountants think that the profession of accounting in its simplest form is the job of telling the story of money that has already come...

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Posted on Friday, April 01, 2022
People often struggle with record keeping and are typically so busy that they are simply unaware of tools or services that have been developed that could greatly improve the recording of tax deductible expenses, mileage, etc.  Many topics we could cover here, but two that are universal. If you are in business, you have a phone and a car.  Cell phones are pretty typical for smaller companies.  What we usually see is a personal cell phone bill of about $150-250 a month, and of course the business owner wants to deduct it all.  When you start asking questions however, it’s almost always a family plan with the spouse and kids on it, so 80% of the cost and use is...

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Posted on Friday, March 25, 2022
We use the term “tax planning” often, but we are aware that many people are not sure what it really is.  Some people think “That means off shore accounts and citizenship shell games ending with jail time.  No thank you!”.  That’s not tax planning; that’s tax evasion, and it’s not at all what we recommend.  Others think only the wealthy need a tax planner, and for regular folks it can mean paying a 30 year mortgage off 12 years early or having a college fund with enough in it to actually pay for college.   It’s not just for the wealthy, though.  Tax planning can be a useful tool for anyone who is aware of the opportunities. Our tax code...

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Posted on Friday, March 18, 2022
The Washington Post reports the following and its breathtaking (not in a good way). The Internal Revenue Service on Thursday scrapped plans to close one of its three remaining tax processing centers amid a backlash over an unprecedented accumulation of unprocessed tax returns that threatens to derail the 2022 tax filing season. IRS leaders announced plans in 2016 to close the Austin facility to cut costs at the long-underfunded agency and redirect resources to online tax-filing services. Nearly 90 percent of tax filers submit their returns online, a number the agency is trying to boost to improve efficiency and accuracy. But that still leaves tens of millions of paper returns for the IRS to process at centers like Austin. And...

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