Claiming an Education Credit? Don’t Forget the Timing Rules

If You Plan on Claiming an Education Credit, Read On! The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) include timing rules for expense payments that you need to know if you plan on claiming either on your 2018 tax return. Know what year to pay school expenses You can claim the AOTC or LLC in the taxable year in with which the qualified school expenses are paid. For example, if you paid tuition expenses in 2018 with loan money, you can claim the credit on your 2018 federal income tax return. Keep in mind that this
Read More

Your 2019 Social Security Benefits Recap

If You Receive Social Security Benefits, Read On! 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 to Social Security taxes (up $4,500 from 2018). This amounts to $8,239.80 in maximum annual employee Social Security payments. Retirees under full retirement age can earn up to $17,640 before Social Security benefits are reduced, and up
Read More

Paying Your Tax Bill With Magic Beans?

Ohio First State to Allow Taxes Paid with Bitcoin If you pay attention to financial news, you can’t escape hearing about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is just like country music, Justin Bieber, and pineapple on pizza — people either love it, or hate it, but there’s no middle ground. The billionaire Warren Buffet dismisses it as a “mirage,” a “Buck Rogers” phenomenon, and “rat poison squared.” But legions of fans see it someday replacing government-backed currencies. Odds are good that one of the millennials at your holiday table believes in Bitcoin as hopefully as they used to believe in
Read More

Carrots versus Sticks

The IRS Employs the Carrot vs. Stick Method Take a look at our Internal Revenue Code. No, really, take a good look. (You can buy it on Amazon for just $161.89: two thick paperbacks totaling 4,968 pages. You even get free Prime shipping!) At first glance, it’s all about the revenue. For FY 2019, federal income taxes should hit nearly $1.7 trillion. Payroll taxes will top $1.2 trillion. Corporate taxes, $225 billion. And estate taxes will generate somewhere around $20 billion, depending on how many billionaires die (#dropinthebucket). But taxes aren’t just about the revenue. Washington loves to use taxes to accomplish goals
Read More

Over-the-Top Thanks for This Tax “Break”

Wall Street Throwing Parties to Dodge Taxes Wall Streeters have a lot to give thanks for this holiday season. Earnings are up, so bonuses are up. And that, in turn, means taxes are up, too. The New York Post just reported that Wall Street Bankers Are Throwing Excessive Parties To Dodge Taxes. But will the wining and dining actually put money back in their pockets? Or is the tax angle just a convenient excuse to party up a storm on the company tab? Wall Street culture rewards bankers for results. They generally start out with low fixed salaries, at least as a percentage
Read More

LeBron James Scoffs at These Taxes

Taking Advantage of All Tax Breaks Available! If you were coaching your kid’s basketball team, you wouldn’t win many games if you told them to aim for the backboard. Your opponents might love you, but there would be at least one dad in the stands screaming at you the entire time. So why have some tax collectors given up aiming for the hoop and settled for rebounds? At first glance, the tax code looks like 70,000+ pages of incomprehensible gobbledygook. (Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover.) But scratch the surface hard enough and you’ll find a semblance of order. Add
Read More

Hey, Jealousy

In Finland, Everyone’s Tax Returns Are Published Reality television has introduced us all to the joy of the “big reveal.” HGTV specializes in this sort of story. The perky couple, handsome brothers, or plucky first-time homeowners spend most of an episode covered in plaster dust and paint. Then after the final commercial break, they pull back the curtain on the dream interior so viewers can feel inadequate about their own homes. (VH1’s Dating Naked did things a little backwards, with the “big reveal” up front, but still managed to wring some drama out of the format.) In Finland, tucked between the Baltic
Read More

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Categories

Claiming an Education Credit? Don’t Forget the Timing Rules

If You Plan on Claiming an Education Credit, Read On! The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC) include timing rules for expense payments that you need to know if you plan on claiming either on your 2018 tax return. Know what year to pay school expenses You can claim the AOTC or LLC in the taxable year in with which the qualified school expenses are paid. For example, if you paid tuition expenses in 2018 with loan money, you can claim the credit on your 2018 federal income tax return. Keep in mind that this
Read More

Your 2019 Social Security Benefits Recap

If You Receive Social Security Benefits, Read On! 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 to Social Security taxes (up $4,500 from 2018). This amounts to $8,239.80 in maximum annual employee Social Security payments. Retirees under full retirement age can earn up to $17,640 before Social Security benefits are reduced, and up
Read More

Paying Your Tax Bill With Magic Beans?

Ohio First State to Allow Taxes Paid with Bitcoin If you pay attention to financial news, you can’t escape hearing about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is just like country music, Justin Bieber, and pineapple on pizza — people either love it, or hate it, but there’s no middle ground. The billionaire Warren Buffet dismisses it as a “mirage,” a “Buck Rogers” phenomenon, and “rat poison squared.” But legions of fans see it someday replacing government-backed currencies. Odds are good that one of the millennials at your holiday table believes in Bitcoin as hopefully as they used to believe in
Read More

Carrots versus Sticks

The IRS Employs the Carrot vs. Stick Method Take a look at our Internal Revenue Code. No, really, take a good look. (You can buy it on Amazon for just $161.89: two thick paperbacks totaling 4,968 pages. You even get free Prime shipping!) At first glance, it’s all about the revenue. For FY 2019, federal income taxes should hit nearly $1.7 trillion. Payroll taxes will top $1.2 trillion. Corporate taxes, $225 billion. And estate taxes will generate somewhere around $20 billion, depending on how many billionaires die (#dropinthebucket). But taxes aren’t just about the revenue. Washington loves to use taxes to accomplish goals
Read More

Over-the-Top Thanks for This Tax “Break”

Wall Street Throwing Parties to Dodge Taxes Wall Streeters have a lot to give thanks for this holiday season. Earnings are up, so bonuses are up. And that, in turn, means taxes are up, too. The New York Post just reported that Wall Street Bankers Are Throwing Excessive Parties To Dodge Taxes. But will the wining and dining actually put money back in their pockets? Or is the tax angle just a convenient excuse to party up a storm on the company tab? Wall Street culture rewards bankers for results. They generally start out with low fixed salaries, at least as a percentage
Read More

LeBron James Scoffs at These Taxes

Taking Advantage of All Tax Breaks Available! If you were coaching your kid’s basketball team, you wouldn’t win many games if you told them to aim for the backboard. Your opponents might love you, but there would be at least one dad in the stands screaming at you the entire time. So why have some tax collectors given up aiming for the hoop and settled for rebounds? At first glance, the tax code looks like 70,000+ pages of incomprehensible gobbledygook. (Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover.) But scratch the surface hard enough and you’ll find a semblance of order. Add
Read More

Hey, Jealousy

In Finland, Everyone’s Tax Returns Are Published Reality television has introduced us all to the joy of the “big reveal.” HGTV specializes in this sort of story. The perky couple, handsome brothers, or plucky first-time homeowners spend most of an episode covered in plaster dust and paint. Then after the final commercial break, they pull back the curtain on the dream interior so viewers can feel inadequate about their own homes. (VH1’s Dating Naked did things a little backwards, with the “big reveal” up front, but still managed to wring some drama out of the format.) In Finland, tucked between the Baltic
Read More

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