Are Charitable Deductions Going To Be Wiped Out Under Trump?

For many American families who prepare for year end tax planning, no discussion is complete without talking about charitable contributions.   Many families make charitable contributions by tithing a percentage of their family income, giving cash to local charities, or they end up taking non-cash items from their household and donating them to a worthy charity.  With the potential shake up in the tax law under a Trump regime, will you have your charitable contributions completely wiped out in 2017? First things first.   You don’t really need to worry about charitable contributions if you don’t itemize your deductions at all.  Today, a single filer has a $6,300 standard deduction and a married couple has $12,600 for a standard deduction. In addition, you get to deduct you, your spouse, and your children as personal exemptions on your tax return.  The suggested policy going forward would be to wipe out the personal exemptions and offer a larger standard deduction of $15,000 for a ...

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How To Buy A Private Island

Since House Hunters is probably one of the most popular shows on HGTV, it only stands that each network must expand their content to continue to keep their audience engaged.  HGTV went from House Hunters to International House Hunters to Tiny Homes to a new show now called Island Hunters.  Yes, these are people who need to get away from it all whether it be in the northern regions of Canada down to the Caribbean.   So, just how does someone know what it is really going to cost to get your own private island? According to Business Insider, there’s an entire culture surrounding the purchase and management of private islands. Calling themselves “isolamaniacs,” these people tend to be independent, intrepid travelers who aren’t afraid of a challenge. Tech billionaires like Larry Ellison and Richard Branson have plopped down millions for their own slice of paradise in Hawaii and the British Virgin Islands, respectively. However, you don’t have to be a billionaire ...

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What’s My Business Worth?

People start a business for all kinds of different reasons.  Some people start a business because they are fulfilling a lifelong passion to create a new product or service.   Others see a new business as a getaway from the grit and grind of corporate America to become their own boss.   There is also a group of people that look at a business as an engine to create cash flow, create a family legacy, and build substantial wealth.   Whatever reason tickles your fancy to start a business, at some juncture if the business has some success most owners ponder the question about what is the value of their business if they were to sell it to another individual.  Here are some smart money moves guidelines in thinking about how to value your business. Like any piece of real estate including your home, the valuation of a business in my opinion is part objective and part subjective.  At the end of the ...

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How Do You Know When It Is Time To Move?

Unless we have a major job change, there are several times in our lives where we ask ourselves if it is time to move from our current home.  Change isn’t easy.   Moving can be even harder.  New friends, new traffic pattern to work, and time to learn a new landscape.   However, moving may be a defensive or offensive play in your family finances depending on your overall situation and the national marketplace for real estate.  Here are four smart money moves scenarios that may give you some insight if it is the right time for your family to move. The Cost Of Private School Is Killing You– Let’s look straight up at the math on this.   If you pay for private elementary, middle, and high school in any major city, let’s assume the cost is $25,000 per year.   If you are in a neighborhood where the public schools won’t suffice, you may be forced to send you children to private ...

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Obamacare: Open Enrollment What You Need To Know

It may be open enrollment season for many of you at work, but for millions of Americans it will be the official open enrollment for Obamacare coming up this Saturday.  Amidst the unknown of the upcoming Supreme Court case regarding federal subsidies, there is a plethora of information to digest for those of you who are considering the federal marketplace for your health insurance.  Here are my five smart money moves Q & A to help you get an initial start to understanding the open enrollment period beginning this week. Get Obamacare Help Here > Question 1:  When does open enrollment start/end and how many people are expected to sign up this year? Starts November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. You must apply by December 15th if you want your coverage to begin January 1st There are no other enrollment periods unless you qualify for a special enrollment for life events such as marriage, divorce, birth of new ...

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Can The Government Garnish Your Social Security Check?

With our nation at 17.5 Trillion dollars in debt (source: debtclock.org) and growing, is it any wonder where the Government will strike next to begin collecting more and more revenue.   With tons of people behind on payments on their student loans, there is a new phenomenon that people collecting social security need to be on guard for . . . that your Social Security check can be garnished.  Yes, that’s right; you can actually have some of your fixed income in retirement taken away from you. With more people going back to get a mid life college degree and more parents and grandparents co-signing loans, once your name gets on the dotted line for a federal loan you will be responsible to pay it back one way or another.   Back in 2000, only six people were being garnished for delinquent loans and now that number has risen to over 156,000 people.   The total garnishments exceeded more than $150 million dollars ...

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Attention All 1099’s… There is a BIG October 1st Deadline!!

Since there are so many people who are getting 1099’s and setting up individual LLC’s or home-based side businesses, you need to keep a close eye out this time of year for setting up one kind of retirement plan, a SIMPLE IRA.   The deadlines are just around the corner in the next few weeks, so could this be the right type of retirement plan for you? A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees) was first available to small business owners in 2001. A SIMPLE IRA plan is an IRA-based plan that gives small employers a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and their own retirement. Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions and the employer makes matching or nonelective contributions. All contributions are made directly to an Individual Retirement Account or Individual Retirement Annuity (IRA) set up for each employee (a SIMPLE IRA). SIMPLE IRA plans are maintained on ...

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Are Those Making $200,000 More Likely For An Audit

Nobody wants to get an audit.   About 1 in 150 of us will experience some type of audit in our lifetime.   The good news is that if you follow these six smart money moves, you may be able reduce your chances of getting flagged in the future. You didn’t disclose all of your income– The IRS gets copies of your w-2’s, 1099’s (reporting of your interest and dividends), and capital gains and losses.  Make sure you collect all of your statements from work, investments, etc. “Measure Twice Cut Once” whether you or your accountant does the math. You have a big mouth– Never brag (especially on social media) that you pulled a fast one on the IRS. The IRS does more trolling today than ever before on social websites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Whistleblowers can earn some significant rewards (15% to 30% by filing form 211) by turning in cheats.  Be very careful of ex-girlfriends, ex-spouses, etc. The dreaded ...

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2013: 10 Overlooked Tax Deductions

It’s the most wonderful time of year again as 2013 comes to a close.  So you aren’t fretting at tax time, maybe it will make sense over the next 9 days to put together an effective year tax management strategy to keep as much of your hard earned dollars as possible in your wallet.  Every CPA or accountant seems to have a slightly different slant on the tax code, but here are your smart money moves tips that may be able to help you increase your bottom line.  Remember to talk with a qualified CPA or Financial Advisor before you decide to implement. Charitable Mileage– Most taxpayers are very good at keeping receipts of their cash donations that they make to the organizations they donate to during the course of the year.   One of the deductions few taxpayers pay attention to is the charitable mileage deduction.  For 2013, you can deduct .14 cents per mile driven for rendering gratuitous services ...

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