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We all know about, and many of us like to make, New Year's resolutions. But if we're honest with ourselves, for most, they end up being just good intentions and that's just about it. Many owners of fitness centers, for instance, will tell you that they need to bring in extra equipment for about the first ten days to two weeks to handle the extra crowd, after which things go back to normal and they ...

While most of Americans were celebrating year-end holidays this past December, a tax and spending package was passed and signed into law. Such last-minute legislation has seemingly become a holiday tradition of Congress, and this past season was no exception with the $1.7 trillion omnibus appropriations bill becoming law. So late in the holiday season was this passed that President Biden signed it into law from his vacation destination in St. Croix. Surprising to many ...

My last column touched on the importance of year-end tax planning for businesses. Individuals can also benefit from moves that may help lower tax bills, not only this year but possibly next.  This year, the time-tested approach of deferring income and accelerating deductions to minimize taxes will work for most taxpayers, as will the bunching of expenses into this year or next to avoid restrictions and maximize deductions. But word of warning, we have a ...

If you're in business, you know that year-end is the time to start making moves to lower your business's taxes, both for this year and next. Tax planning is challenging enough, and this year is no exception. There is some uncertainty about what a lame-duck Congress might attempt before it adjourns, especially with control of the House changing party hands. For example, will tax extender legislation pass, reinstating tax provisions that have technically expired? That's ...

As the stock markets declined throughout 2022, many investors sought safety by selling stock and other securities and moving to less volatile investments or even cash. Such sales often generated realized taxable capital gains, as investors cashed in on previous appreciation. As we approach the end of the year, and facing the prospect of having to pay income tax on these gains, I had a discussion with a financial advisor recently about the advisability of ...

Are you, like millions of Americans, approaching your retirement day, or at least can see it in the distance? I'm right there with you, and it seems to be coming with ever more rapidity. With that, comes many things to consider and decisions to make. For instance, when to begin receiving your social security benefits, a topic I have written on frequently in the past. Another such decision is when to enroll in Medicare. Maybe ...

Over the past few weeks, the IRS has been rolling out tax brackets and other adjustments for the year 2023, as they are required to do annually to adjust for inflation. With inflation roaring at a 40-year high, as you can imagine, the adjustments are quite significant. From where I sit, it's never too early to be thinking ahead when it comes to tax planning, and because the foundation of good tax planning is information, ...

First-time homebuyers have an income tax credit potentially available to them that most probably do not know about, because frankly, it just hasn't received that much attention, at least that I can tell.  But the tax credit, which can be taken on their income tax return based on a portion of the mortgage interest paid, can provide valuable financial support when making what is probably the biggest purchase these buyers have ever made.  To receive ...

If you've been a reader of this column for much of any length of time now, you may remember that I have written on several occasions regarding the benefit of NOT drawing Social Security benefits as soon as you can, but rather of waiting until age 70 to start doing so. To refresh, even though full retirement age for most people now is age 67, it is possible to begin taking Social Security at age ...

Ok, so maybe FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) doesn’t exactly conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings like, say, the Christmas season does, but for many students and their families, it may still result in feelings akin to “visions of sugar plums” dancing in their heads if the outcome is right. FAFSA is a form completed by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial ...

The images of the pounding taken by Puerto Rico from Hurricane Fiona and more recently showing the damage and devastation that Hurricane Ian caused across a wide swath of Florida are indeed startling and sobering. Lives have most certainly been turned upside down, and many people, businesses and communities may never be the same again. But they also serve as a stark reminder that none of us are immune to the tragedy of natural disaster, ...

In 2018, then President Trump directed the IRS via executive order to study the life expectancy tables that are used to determine required minimum distributions, or RMDs, of tax-advantaged retirement plans. The goal of the order was to see if the tables should be updated to reflect improvements in longevity since the last table update in 2002.  The IRS complied and the result is good news for retirees. The IRS did indeed update its actuarial ...

The "bear market" we are currently experiencing is without question causing hardships for many, and no doubt requiring tough decisions to be made, especially by those who were relying on current investments to fund an imminent expenditure.  With the commencement of fall classes at colleges and universities across the land, such is the case for those who have saved to pay for higher education by contributing to and making investments through section 529 education savings ...

Within the last few weeks, and "to help struggling taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic", the IRS issued late filing penalty relief for most taxpayers who filed 2019 or 2020 tax returns late. This penalty relief also may apply to returns still to be filed for those years. "Throughout the pandemic, the IRS has worked hard to support the nation and provide relief to people in many different ways," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated in ...

When a business or property owner client is considering selling assets in which they have substantial appreciation (i.e., taxable gain), I am often asked if there are any strategies that might minimize the tax impact of the sale. One such strategy is the use of an installment sale. An installment sale is basically the seller financing of the transaction in which payment is received over a number of years. Properly structured, an installment sale at ...