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"What will my raise do to my taxes?"

Good question! The answer? If only it were easy to figure!

Getting a raise, promotion, or accepting a new position often means more money in your pocket. But it can also mean a change in your taxes.  (In rare cases a salary increase can actually mean less net pay!) The IRS has a dizzying amount of tax and deduction thresholds–think of it as an income level trigger–so that it is almost impossible to remember each one, or more importantly when you have reached and passed one.

Until now!

Presenting our extremely handy IRS threshold charts! These charts give the 2013 thresholds (the 2014 ones still unavailable) in ascending order. Continue reading “"What will my raise do to my taxes?"”

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Stay-at-home parent? You need retirement savings, too!

stay-at-home-momThere are over 5 million stay-at-home parents in the United States.  We give these individuals snaps for forgoing earnings (at least for a time) to make sacrifices that are important to them! However, these people are not exempt from aging, and therefore need to be concerned about a retirement nest egg.

Are you a stay at home parent? Have you thought about saving the money you will need for your retirement? Be careful not to assume your partner has it all taken care of–he/she may not! Here are some practical ways to save, suited specifically for your unique situation. Continue reading “Stay-at-home parent? You need retirement savings, too!”

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"I'm self employed. How do I get health insurance with the new health care laws?"

(insurance_help_deskTake a second to laugh heartily at the picture and then let’s get to business.)

The health insurance world has been turned on its head courtesy of the Affordable Care Act, and reality has yet to settle in. But in the mean time I have felt anxious for all our self-employed friends, and I dedicate this blog post to you. May it be of help to you in your quest to find health insurance, now a legal requirement. Continue reading “"I'm self employed. How do I get health insurance with the new health care laws?"”

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Retirement Savings: A Simple Start

It takes moneyRetirement traditionally means the well-earned rest from 9 to 5 work in the golden years of life. But interestingly the word “retirement” more often invokes a sense of anxiety and dread; a heavy pit in one’s stomach. So instead of having dreams of golf and travel, we are instead tortured and obsessed with how we will possibly afford a retirement! Then there are the every present questions, “How much do I need to save?” and “Where do I put the money?” Continue reading “Retirement Savings: A Simple Start”

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On January 1, 2013, in a galaxy not so far away: the 2013 Medicare Tax Increase

I have one good guess as to why George Lucas sold Lucasfilm along with the prodigious Star Wars franchise to Disney in 2012 instead of 2013. It’s called Medicare Hospital Insurance, slated to begin in January 1, 2013. What is that, you ask? Exactly.

Conceived to help pay for the new  Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”, this Medicare Hospital Insurance provision is nothing more than a new tax with a fancy name. The tax is levied on individuals making more than $200,000 or married couples making more than $250,000, as well as anyone with unearned income (that could include you). Continue reading “On January 1, 2013, in a galaxy not so far away: the 2013 Medicare Tax Increase”

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Business Travel: What can I deduct?

The general rule: whatever expense is necessary and ordinary in making money for your business is a legitimate business expense.  Especially in today’s global economy, this involves traveling.  Many of our fabulous clients ask us which expenses come under the tax-deductible business travel umbrella and how to claim them.  First, if you are a business owner, these expenses for you and your employees will be an expense to your business on your company’s books.  However if you are an employee and your employer does not reimburse you for your business travel (most will), hang on to the receipts and hand them over to your accountant as they can be itemized deductions on your personal taxes.  In either case, and as with anything, the key to maximizing this deduction is to keep great records. Continue reading “Business Travel: What can I deduct?”

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Financial Terms: get 'em down with our easy-to-understand dictionary

People use them on TV and in every day conversation.  So when we aren’t exactly sure of what some commonly used financial terms mean, we might be too embarrassed to ask! Remaining in the dark about common financial terms can at best curb our ability to converse about such matters, and at worst lead to incorrect financial decisions.  No more delay; it’s time to dive in with a dictionary of these common financial terms (or at least you can brush up). Continue reading “Financial Terms: get 'em down with our easy-to-understand dictionary”

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How to amend a tax return

You did it! Your taxes are finally in the books for another year. And then it happens. You get a statement from your (apparently forgotten) investment account. Or you hear from a neighbor that your son’s Lasik eye surgery may be tax-deductible as a medical expense. Now what!? Don’t panic or worry an IRS agent will show up to imprison your first-born child. We have assembled step-by-step instructions for you to follow.

Continue reading “How to amend a tax return”