Tax-Free Student Aid vs. Education Credit

The American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning tax credits were created to subsidize the cost of college education. Generally, the credits are based on qualified costs of education, namely, college tuition and fees, books, supplies and equipment. Those qualified costs must be reduced, however, by the amount of any tax-free student aid received, such as scholarships …

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Mid-Year Tax Planning Tips

Summer is the perfect time to begin your year-end tax planning so that you have time to identify the strategy (or strategies) that work for you and implement them well before year end. Try to avoid the new 3.8% net investment income tax (NIIT). It only affects higher-income individuals, but that can include anyone who …

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Proposed Simplification of Education Tax Breaks: The Good and the Bad

With the cost of education climbing and more students graduating with record student loan debt, many college students and families unintentionally miss out on education tax breaks because of the complexity of tax-based student aid. In 2013, families with college students could benefit from the American Opportunity Credit (AOTC), the Lifetime Learning Credit, or the …

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How Can a Change in Income Have Unexpected Consequences?

Do you feel like you are unique? Don’t follow the crowd? Go your own way? Well, if you went against your norm and followed the pack and were one of the 7.1 million people who signed up for health insurance by the March 31, 2014 deadline, then keep reading. If you receive advance payment of …

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Key Dates & Milestones: Social Security, Pensions, IRAs, Medicare

There are many age-related financial and planning milestones that you need to be aware of in your sixties. Keep this list in mind. 59 ½ – Penalty Goes Away This is the age at which one can withdraw money from traditional IRAs, 401(k)s or similar retirement plans without restrictions and without an added 10% tax …

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Timing Rules for SEPs and SIMPLE-IRAs Part II

For the most part, SEPs (Simplified Employee Pensions) and SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)-IRAs live up to their billing as easy ways to set aside tax-favored retirement funds for employees and employers. However, contribution rules for these plans are not necessarily straight-forward. To read part I of this post dealing with SEPs, click …

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Timing Rules for SEPs and SIMPLE-IRAs Part I

For the most part, SEPs (Simplified Employee Pensions) and SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)-IRAs live up to their billing as easy ways to set aside tax-favored retirement funds for employees and employers. However, contribution rules for these plans are not necessarily straight-forward. SEP plans: Business owners can set up and fund their SEP …

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Supreme Court Decides Severance Pay is Subject to FICA Tax

In a unanimous decision (with Justice Kagan recused), the Supreme Court, reversing the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, has held that severance payments that were made to involuntarily terminated employees and that weren’t tied to the receipt of State unemployment insurance, are subject to tax under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). The Court easily …

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The Evolving Affordable Care Act – Health Insurance

Yesterday morning, President Obama announced that 2014 sales of previously-canceled individual health plans that don’t meet ACA standards would be allowed to be issues and stay in force for another year. The change will offer a temporary “fix” to the millions of consumers whose policies have been canceled or altered as a result of healthcare reform. …

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IRS Matching – Better Success than Online Dating?

No IRS has not gotten into the online dating biz.  While I’m sure they tax it, matching couples is a bit beyond their scope. But IRS does share a very distinctive characteristic with online dating.  Try as they might, they don’t always get it right when it comes to making a good “match”. As many …

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