Don’t Get Social With Your Social Security Number

If someone gets their hands on your social security number, they can wreak havoc on your life by using your social security number illegally and assuming your identity to create numerous financial problems.   When it comes to protecting you against items such as identity theft and tax fraud, keeping your social security number sacred is in my opinion the number one priority for confidentiality within your records. Tax Returns- We have seen this type of theft escalate in droves over the past five years.  Someone who grabs your social security number can file a tax return in your social security number and get your refund before you even file a tax return.  In fact, you won’t even find out until you actually try to file your own return. Getting Credit- Once a thief has your social security number, they can easily complete an application for credit.   Retailers make huge money off of store based credit cards, so this is a ...

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How Long Can I Carry Forward My Capital Gain Losses?

We are almost two-thirds done with 2013 and some of you haven’t even completed your tax returns.  For those of you who filed and finished your tax returns in April, most of that paperwork is neatly tucked away in your home filing cabinet.   Since the stock market has run up over the past year most investors have made gains in their stock and stock mutual fund positions.   However, the majority of tax payers never look at their capital losses from prior years to do effective tax planning.  So just how long can you carry forward your capital gain losses? First, you should be aware that you can sponge up capital gains year to year against any capital losses or carry forward losses that you have on your tax return.   This means if you have a carry forward loss of $30,000 from a prior year and had $30,000 of long-term capital gains here in 2013, you would essentially have a wash.   ...

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5 Potential IRA Mistakes

Look out IRA investors because the IRS looks like it will be turning its attention to taxpayers who make mistakes with their IRA accounts. (source: www.wsj.com)    This includes matching distributions to your tax returns, stepped up audits, and tighter reporting overall when it comes to scrutinizing IRA accounts.    As I have shared for the last couple of years on Your Smart Money Moves, the Government is in dire need to increase revenue to balance the budget and pay off our voluminous debt.    One way to do this is to crack down on the mistakes that we make as taxpayers.   Nobody likes coming home and getting a letter in the mail from the IRS.  So here are five mistakes you might be making for the IRS to take a closer look at your tax return. Contributions To Roth IRA Accounts –   While some of you did Roth IRA conversions back in 2010 (and some are still converting), a Roth ‘conversion’ and ...

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Are My Withholdings For Taxes Correct?

Since tax season has just passed, you are probably in one of two states of minds.   Either a) you love your CPA because you got a big refund, or b) you hate your CPA because you owed money.   It generally falls into one of those two camps when returns are filed.   Remember, if you get a tax refund that means you essentially gave an interest free loan to the Government.    Some people see this as an effective way to force savings during the year, but you really lose out on the opportunity cost of having these resources in your hands during the course of the year. As of April 27, the Internal Revenue Service had authorized more than 99.1 million refunds for the 2011 tax year—up about 1% a year earlier. It also represents more than three-fourths of all the individual income-tax returns processed by the IRS by that date. The total dollar amount of refunds this year was about ...

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5 year-end tax strategies for your small business

It’s that time of year to start thinking about your 2011 taxes and what moves you might be able to make to save in taxes! Here are 5 ways to cut your 2011 business taxes: 1. Equipment Deductions – The legislation enacted at the end of 2010 already provides a very generous write-off for business owners in 2011. Buy your new equipment and place it in service before 2012. You can combine an enhanced Section 179 deduction with “bonus depreciation”. For 2011, the maximum deduction for qualified equipment is a staggering $500,000 and does not phase out until $2,000,000. The bonus depreciation for the equipment, which was previously 50%, increases to 100% for qualified assets acquired and placed in service before the end of 2012. Since it is expected that these two breaks will be downsized in 2012, take advantage of this tax break before 2011 is over! 2. Bad Debts – Most business owners have the most trouble collecting ...

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DISASTER IN JAPAN: Why You Need An On Line Safety Deposit Box

With the recent disaster in Japan and our experience in the United States with Hurricane Katrina just a few short years ago, it made me think about what kind of smart money moves you should make around protecting your documents.  If a Tsunami or some natural disaster wiped out your house today, what would you do if you lost all of your important financial papers? Or what might you do if you were in another state or country at the time of this disaster? Maybe it is time to consider having an electronic safety deposit box. An electronic safety deposit box works like a physical one in many ways.  The main purpose is to organize documents that are important in your life into a safe place in case anything happens.  You can store wills, tax returns, deeds, insurance policies, passports, copies of credit cards, pictures of your valuable belongings, and much more. This type of safety deposit box is web ...

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