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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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10 Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

All too often, new clients come in, and we discover that they have been complacent about the need for proper estate planning.  They think they are either too young or too old, they are of modest means, or an estate plan is unnecessary.  Plus, no matter how much you think your family loves one another, people are greedy when it comes to money. When assets come into play, no estate plan, or a poor one, can cause issues or allow property to fall into the wrong hands. Here are 10 mistakes that, if avoided, will smoothly transfer your estate. Not having a Will or, in the alternative, a living trust – Without a main vehicle to drive the estate, the probate court has to get more involved. Focusing solely on taxes – Under current tax law, most people will not hit the estate tax limits, so taxes do not have to be the driving decision maker. Naming the wrong executor/agent/trustee ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Get The Pink Slip

The Pink Slip. It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services. You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list. We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time. While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together.  Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work. 1. When is your last paycheck? – It’s truly amazing to me how many people don’t ask the very simple questions when they get the heave ho from their employer.  You will want to ask specifically when your last day or work is and what the expectations are of you over the next 30, 60, or ...

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Five Signs Your Spouse May Be Financially Cheating

According to the CreditCards.com latest financial infidelity poll, 19 percent of U.S. adults who are in live-in relationships – which equates to 29 million people – are hiding a checking, savings or credit card account from their partner. And 20 percent of all survey respondents feel that a partner hiding a secret bank account from them would be worse than physically cheating. Forty-five percent disagree that it is worse, and 35 percent say it’s about the same. But only 2 percent of the adults in relationships we surveyed would break up with their significant others if they discovered their lovers had $5,000 in secret credit card debt. Withholding financial information from a partner can be extremely damaging to your relationship, so how can you find the red flags to determine whether or not your spouse or partner is financially cheating on you?  Here are five tips that can help you begin your forensic work on this matter: 1. Swap Credit Reports ...

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5 Valentine’s Day Gifts Under $50

Valentine’s Day is in the air and what will this mean to your wallet?  According to the National Retail Federation, 10 years ago more than 60% of adults planned to celebrate, but today that number has dropped to more than half.  Have we lost that loving feeling??  Despite the number of people who plan to participate, it is expected that sales top 20 billion this year for Valentine’s Day, and the average spend is targeting $161.96 per person by the time you throw in cards, candy, gifts, and entertainment.   So, if you are trying to continue your New Year’s Resolution and stick to a budget, what are some good ideas to have a great gift while not breaking the bank? Date Crate– Some of us have the hardest time coming up with an idea for a date night beyond eating out, the movies, or just grabbing a drink.  What Date Crate will do for you through a subscription service is ...

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Three Things Punxsutawney Phil Can Teach Us

No this is not a Bill Murry sighting or story about how Bill showed up at a party and started washing dishes. But we can learn something from his 90’s movie Groundhog Day. With Groundhog Day upon us, we await Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) to come out of his hole and let us know if we will have 6 more weeks of winter. In the movie Bill found himself reliving the same day over and over. Just as in the movie, we often find ourselves repeating our financial mistakes over and over. Here are three tips you can use to stop reliving the same financial spell. Plan for Tomorrow While we want to live for today, too often we find ourselves blowing our paychecks each month and not saving for tomorrow. Use the concept of Pay Yourself First. Save for those future goals first and then go have a good time. If you are saving for your goals and find ...

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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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