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Review Category : Tax Management

Impeachment and the Stock Market

A lot of people are nervous about the stock markets after the latest drama with the President and the potential for his removal from office. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry in response to the President’s dialogue with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky concerning former VP Joe Biden’s son, the US markets quickly fell. Investors were shaken by the potential of removal of President Donald Trump from office. By the time the closing bell rang, most sectors in the US were in the red after starting the day in the green. How does this process work and what history do we have to draw on for past performance of the stock market during impeachment proceedings? The answer to the former I can lay out for you, the answer to the latter is a bit harder to gather answers from. From October 1998 to February 1999, stocks rose despite the Clinton impeachment. But the ...

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The October 1st Deadline For Small Businesses

After an owner makes heads or tails at the end of the year, they will usually determine whether or not money is left behind for setting up some sort of long-term retirement plan within their business.   Since there are so many people 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 ...

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Here’s The #1 Reason People Cheat On Their Taxes

Cheating.  It’s a morality question we talk about with our kids, our work colleagues, and even with ourselves.  It is OK to cheat.  In a recent poll, 10% of Americans say it’s OK to cheat here and there on your taxes and the number of people that say it’s OK to cheat is up 3.5% versus one year ago.  In fact, in a Credit Karma survey that interviewed 2,000 people, only 6% of the people actually confessed to the fact that they have cheated on their taxes in the past.  So, what’s the number one reason that people cheat on their taxes? Let’s talk first about what cheating really means.  There is a big difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.  Tax avoidance is perfectly legal.  These are strategies such as using your 401(k), tax deductible IRA’s, pension plans, health savings accounts, and many other legitimate legal tax strategies that you can use under the current tax code.  Tax evasion ...

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Did You Just Get A 6.2% Raise At Work?

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $132,900 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  Depending on your pay grade and what bonuses you have earned, you may have already received a raise in your paycheck and don’t even know it. The reason is, once you hit the $132,900 limit, you will no longer be paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $132,900 in a particular calendar year, your HR department won’t send you a notice that you now have an extra 6.2% in ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Turn 50

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something really special.  Several of my college roommates were turning 50 years old, and there was a multiple person birthday gathering in Washington, D.C. that I attended.  As we reminisced about the good old days in college and I watched their children run around (most of them six to eight years old), it occurred to me that my very own friends are going to be starting down the backstretch towards retirement.  It’s hard to imagine that for some of them they will be 65 years old when their kids either get into college or graduate college, so does this mean they will take a different path to retirement? Either way, there are smart money moves you should be making when you turn 50.  I know this first hand because the two co-founders of oXYGen Financial (Kile Lewis and myself) both turn the age of 50 this year.   While we started oXYGen Financial to ...

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The Three Most Important Letters In Retirement R M D

What is a required minimum distribution? (*) You’ll sometimes hear that you have important financial decisions to make when you turn the age of 70 ½.  The IRS has never seen a nickel of tax revenue on account you may have started in your early 20’s, so now they are wanting to get their due.  An RMD or required minimum distribution is the amount that the tax laws require you to take out of certain types of retirement accounts once you reach the age of 70 ½. If you have a traditional IRA, a 401(k) account, 403(b), or other types of retirement plans, then you’ll generally have to start taking RMDs once the provisions of the law kick in. The rules apply to certain inherited retirement accounts as well, so be very careful when you inherit an IRA. Required minimum distributions must be made in cash, and you’re generally required to complete the withdrawal by the end of the calendar ...

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Four Bizarre Tax Deductions You May Have Never Seen Before

It’s no secret that people come into the office all the time asking the question, “Can I Take This As A Tax Deduction?”  It’s important to get a high-quality CPA on your side as they will be the person who can give you the ultimate yay or nay, but in order to even suggest a tax idea, you have to understand the nature of being creative.  In 2018, many small tax deductions vaporized, but for those that own side hustles or small businesses, there are still opportunities to potentially use bizarre type tax deductions. 1.            Can you deduct plastic surgery? – This year, one important tax deduction is completely gone. It is form 2016, which is for unreimbursed employee expenses normally reported in the itemized deductions Schedule A of your tax return.  That means all of the salespeople and executives who took deductions for mileage, meals, and entertainment not allowed by their employer are now officially out of luck.  However, ...

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Five Most Common Tax Questions People Are Asking This Year

It’s that time of year.  Unless you needed your refund quickly and your documents were in complete order, you are now beginning to organize your stack of documents to get your taxes filed for 2018.  With all of the news about people getting smaller refunds, lots of taxpayers are worried about actually having to stroke a check when they complete their taxes.  The new Trump tax plan that took effect last year had many changes that people were unaware of or didn’t pay attention to during the course of 2018.  This has triggered a handful of questions which I will answer here in the Your Smart Money Moves column. Why are refunds smaller this year? – This is actually a pretty easy one to answer.  When the new tax laws took effect in 2018, most people quickly realized they had received a bump in their paycheck.  However, what most people didn’t do was make a new calculation on the new ...

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What To Do When You Inherit An IRA

The other evening as I was checking client e-mails, a client sent me a short note inquiring about something her sister did with an inherited IRA and quickly after hearing the story I knew it was even too late to give advice.  The sister had told the IRA custodian to make a check out to her Father’s estate and this would cause tax consequences that are irreversible. Inherited IRA’s can be just like a dozen eggs…once you crack the shell it is impossible to put it back together.   When a loved one passes away, there is a wide array of emotions, and this could affect how you make short term financial decisions.  Especially when you don’t know all of rules or have various siblings chirping in your ear.  It is one of the most important times to seek out financial help from a professional. The overall rules for inherited IRAs are extremely complicated.  It really depends if you inherit the ...

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