Menu burger Close thin Facebook Twitter Google plus Linked in Reddit Email arrow-right-sm arrow-right
Loading
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Taxes

May 21, 2021 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends U.S. investors a myriad of tax forms every year. While the number and complexity of these forms can be off-putting and confusing, it's important that you understand them and what your responsibilities regarding these are. Here's an overview of common IRS investment tax forms and what you need to know about them. If you're uncertain about taxes on your investment consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

May 21, 2021 Filing taxes may not be your favorite financial chore but it is a necessary one to stay in the good graces of the IRS. Why do I owe state taxes is a question you might have if filing your return has resulted in a tax bill rather than a refund. There are different reasons why you might owe state income taxes this year. Knowing what’s behind your state tax bill can help you plan ahead for next year so you don’t end up owing again. A financial advisor can help you avoid paying more than you need to the state and federal governments. Read More...

May 12, 2021 As part of your employee benefits package, you may have the option to own stock in the company you work for. You can own company shares inside your 401(k) but once you start taking distributions, those investments would be subject to capital gains tax. Applying net unrealized appreciation (NUA) to those distributions could help you to lock in a lower capital gains rate on the sale of company shares. If you have company stock in your retirement plan at work, NUA could help you save money on investment taxes. Working with a financial advisor can disclose a number of ways to save on your taxes. Read More...

Jan 18, 2022 The 2017 tax reform law ended the ability for most taxpayers to deduct expenses for working from home just in time for millions more people to begin working from in response to the Covid pandemic. Nowadays only a few select groups of salaried home-based workers can still deduct relevant expenses. However, even if you’re not one of these, there are still a few possible ways for you to get tax deductions from your expense for working from home. A financial advisor can help you find every deduction and credit you are entitled to. Read More...

Sep 01, 2021 President Joe Biden proposed doubling capital gains taxes for investors making over $1 million to fund his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. This could compel some high-income investors to sell off assets before the tax hike takes effect. Others will look into alternative strategies to lower their taxes. Whether you're thinking about selling off investments or holding them, a financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your needs and goals. Read More...

Mar 31, 2021 The Trump tax bill - formally known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) - nearly doubled the standard deduction while also limiting some itemized deductions. From 2017 to 2018, the standard deduction rose from $6,350 to $12,000 for singles, from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly and from $9,350 to $18,000 for heads of household. Additionally, the bill capped state and local tax deductions at $10,000, lowered the mortgage interest deduction and eliminated deductions for casualty losses and miscellaneous expenses. Read More...

Apr 01, 2021 Losing a loved one is a tragedy that requires space to grieve, and the last thing a family needs at that time is to deal with unexpected costs. However, there are federal and state-level taxes that need to be handled if the decedent had an estate or property to pass on. Knowing the differences between estate tax and  inheritance tax can help you plan ahead of time and navigate the process more smoothly. Most importantly, there may be responsibilities both the estate and the beneficiary have to manage. So, to understand these crucial “ death taxes” and your possible role in them, let’s compare both. Read More...

Apr 26, 2021 The White House and the U.S. Treasury Department have outlined the goals of President Joe Biden's tax plan, which include provisions to raise corporate taxes and eliminate incentives that allow companies to move profits overseas. These moves would mark the first major tax hike since the early 1990s. As a presidential candidate in 2020, Biden had also called for raising taxes on those earning more than $400,000, while benefiting lower-income families with tax credits for health insurance, childcare, long-term elderly care and first-homebuyers. Let's break down what the various tax proposals of the Biden administration could mean for American corporations and you. Note:  This is a developing story, and we will continue to update the article as more information becomes available. Read More...

Feb 15, 2022 The U.S. is a federal republic, meaning that power is held by both the central federal government, located in Washington, D.C., and by the governments of every state and territory that make up the union. But the “division of powers” isn’t as simple as it seems - and neither is the division of finances, since states rely on the federal government for money and various programs to help them operate. With all this in mind, SmartAsset crunched the numbers to see which states are the most dependent on the federal government. Read More...

Mar 02, 2021 Many foreign countries have higher income tax rates than the U.S., and others impose value added tax (VAT) charges that the U.S. does not. These foreign assessments can produce significantly higher tax bills for American individuals and companies that do business overseas. However, there is a way to have profits earned outside the U.S. taxed at the regular IRS rates rather than the other country’s rates. To qualify for these savings, U.S. citizens and businesses can submit IRS Form 6166 to the other country’s taxing authorities. If you're earning money outside the U.S., you should consult a financial advisor with relevant experience to make sure you don't overpay. Read More...

Feb 17, 2021 Social Security benefits can provide an additional income stream in retirement alongside withdrawals from a 401(k), individual retirement account or brokerage account. Part of shaping a retirement plan around Social Security income means planning ahead for taxes. Social Security benefits are considered taxable for some retirees, though whether yours are can depend on your income. If you’re wondering, how you can avoid paying taxes on Social Security, there are some strategies you can try. Do you have questions about your overall tax situation? Speak with a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 06, 2021 Savings bonds can be a safe way to save money for the long term while earning interest. You might use savings bonds to help pay for your child’s college, for example, or to set aside money for your grandchildren. Once you redeem them, you can collect the face value of the bond along with any interest earned. It’s important to realize, however, that interest on savings bonds can be taxed. If you’re wondering, how you can avoid paying taxes on savings bonds there are a few things to keep in mind. Of course, one key thing to keep in mind is that a financial advisor can be immensely helpful in minimizing your taxes. Read More...

May 19, 2022 Owning  a rental property can help you to grow wealth long-term and diversify your income streams. Receiving regular rental income can help supplement withdrawals you might make from a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA) in retirement or give you an extra cushion in addition to your regular paychecks if you’re still working. But rental income isn’t tax-free money; you do have to pay the IRS taxes on the income you earn. Capital gains tax can also apply when you sell a rental property. If you have questions about the taxes surrounding your real estate investments, a financial advisor may be able to help. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 Inheriting a home or other property can increase the value of your estate -- but it can also result in tax consequences. If the property you inherit has appreciated in value since the original owner purchased it, you could be on the hook for capital gains tax should you choose to sell it. That could result in a large tax bill if there’s a sizable gap between the original purchase price and the price you’re able to sell the property for. There are some possibilities for how to avoid paying capital gains tax on inherited property which are worth considering if you’re the beneficiary of an estate or trust. A financial advisor could also help you create a tax strategy for your estate needs and goals. Read More...

Dec 01, 2020 Taxes can take a big bite out of your income, especially if you’re in a higher income tax bracket. And even with careful planning, it’s possible that you could still be hit with an unexpected tax bill. The good news is, there are things you can do to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket instead of handing them over to the IRS. If you’re interested in how to avoid paying taxes legally or at the very least, minimize your tax liability each year, these tips and strategies can help. Read More...

Apr 01, 2022 The satisfaction of receiving a year-end bonus may soon be tempered by the realization that income taxes will have to be paid on the extra money. Bonuses are treated as income and thus subject to taxation, but there are ways to manage and reduce the amount of taxes that will be owed. And as is the case with other income from an employer, the employer is required to withhold taxes from a bonus, reducing your take-home pay from the windfall. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your bonus and invest that money in your retirement and other financial goals. Read More...

May 02, 2022 Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are taxable but most people do not end up paying taxes on the money they receive because they don't have much more income. There are some scenarios where you may have to pay taxes on Social Security disability benefits, especially if your family has additional income that pushes you over the limit. It may also behoove you to consult with a financial advisor as you navigate the complicated terrain of taxes on Social Security disability benefits. Read More...

Dec 28, 2021 Every year, people's lives change in ways that affect their taxes. They may start a higher education program or have a child, and others take on elderly parents as dependents. These situations can change their eligibility for tax credits. In addition, federal, state and local governments sometimes adjust rules about credits, so it is crucial to understand what credits you can take. Navigating the world of tax credits and deductions can be confusing. That is why a  trusted financial advisor can help you find every tax credit that you're entitled to. Here's a roundup of common tax credits that you could be eligible for in 2022. Read More...

Apr 14, 2022 Simply put, political contributions are not tax-deductible. Americans are encouraged to donate to political campaigns, political parties and other groups that influence the political landscape. When it comes time to file taxes, though, many people may not fully understand what qualifies as a tax deduction. So if you support your favorite candidate, you might be wondering if your political contributions are tax-deductible. Though your political contributions may not lower your tax liability, it pays to have a nuanced understanding of where else in your donations and spending you can secure tax deductions. Do you have complex tax planning questions? Speak with a financial advisor today. Read More...

Oct 15, 2020 A wealth tax is a type of tax that's imposed on the net wealth of an individual. This is different from income tax, which is the type of tax you're likely most used to paying. The U.S. currently doesn't have a wealth tax, though the idea has been proposed more than once by lawmakers. Instituting a wealth tax could help generate revenue for the government but only a handful of countries actually impose one. Read More...

Sep 29, 2020 The question of tax dodging has been in the news a lot lately -- namely because of the New York Times Report that President Donald Trump, despite his claimed billions of dollars in wealth, paid only between $0 and $750 in taxes for the past several years. While rich people paying very little in taxes compared to their wealth isn’t exactly news for anyone who understands the American tax system, this has attracted attention, partially because the mystery of Trump’s tax returns has intrigued many since he entered the race in 2015. While there are still plenty of details to be worked out regarding Trump’s taxes, it is worth taking the time to consider the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance, the latter of which can come in the form of tax credits, deductions and exemptions. If you want help with your own taxes to make sure you are legally lowering your tax liability, consider finding a financial advisor to guide you. Read More...

Sep 25, 2020 A financial transactions tax is exactly what it sounds like -- a tax levied on each transaction an investor makes in the financial markets. The U.S. does not have a significant financial transaction tax, but it has become a favorite cause of many progressives and left-leaning politicians -- including Senator Elizabeth Warren, who made a financial transactions tax a major part of her platform when she was running for the Democratic presidential nomination over the past few years. As the financial transactions tax continues to be a topic of national debate, it is worthwhile to understand how it works so you can be part of an informed discussion and so that you know what to expect if it ever becomes law in a substantial way. For help with all tax and investing questions, find a financial advisor using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Sep 18, 2020 Healthcare was already one of the most high profile and contentious political issues in America, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began it has become even more of a pressing topic. Donald Trump tried and failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) in the first year of his presidency but has mostly abandoned healthcare as an area of potential reform -- especially since the Republicans lost the House of Representatives in 2018. Democratic challenger Joe Biden, though, has a series of healthcare proposals that he hopes to enact if he wins in November. If you have questions about healthcare coverage or any other financial issue, consider finding a financial advisor with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 11, 2021 President Trump's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made big changes to the tax code, specifically in deductions and tax brackets. President Biden is now poised to reverse different aspects of the 2017 tax overhaul, calling for higher taxes on capital gains and high net worth individuals. Let's break down the differences between both tax plans below. A financial advisor can help you keep up with tax code changes and optimize a tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Read More...

May 19, 2022 Tax policy is one of the more inscrutable parts of American politics, yet it's one of the areas that impact the most people on a day-to-day basis. President Joe Biden has released a number of proposed tax policies, but it's understandable if you aren’t sure exactly what they mean for you, your family, and your business. This article breaks down the key points of Biden’s tax and financial policies and explains exactly how they could impact you if Biden is able to implement them. No matter what policies are enacted, it's important to prepare. A  financial advisor can help you make the most out of your money and help you maximize your retirement potential. Read More...

May 27, 2020 Though it may not always be apparent to the average citizen, the federal government is responsible for many of the everyday conveniences that help the country operate. Even some state programs are ultimately paid for by federal government money through intergovernmental aid. SmartAsset wanted to see which states are ultimately most reliant on the federal government for their operations, so we crunched the numbers to find out. Read More...

Aug 04, 2022 A tax deadline extension is an automatic 6-month extension that gives you more time to file your taxes if you're unable to meet the, typically, mid-April deadline. For 2022, the tax deadline for individuals was on April 18th and for 2023 the date falls on April 17th. You can file Form 4868 before the deadline to receive the automatic extension, which pushes your tax deadline to October. This extension applies to filing but not for any payments that are due. Penalties and interest will be incurred if you don't pay any owed monies on time. You can speak with a financial advisor who can help you find the best time to file your taxes. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 A charitable gift annuity allows you to donate money to a non-profit, such as your alma mater. Planned giving can include charitable gift annuities. You can give back and get tax benefits. Meanwhile, you'll receive an additional stream of income for the rest of your life. Here's how to set it up and benefit from it. Read More...

Aug 19, 2022 When you sell something, you’re likely looking to profit from it. Capital gains are profits from an asset sale, like your home, business, or stocks. Capital gains come in two different forms: long-term and short-term. Each faces a different tax consequence. Short-term gains are taxed as ordinary income while long-term gains are taxed at a lower rate. To understand how these capital gains might impact your assets and personal tax situation, consider working with a financial advisor who specializes in taxes.  Read More...

Aug 17, 2022 While death and taxes may both be certain, taxation is the only one of the two that can happen twice. If you own a business, the last thing you want is to get taxed on your income more than once. Double taxation occurs when a corporation pays taxes on its profits and then its shareholders pay personal taxes on dividends or capital gains received from the corporation. If you have questions about how to plan your taxes to avoid double taxation, consider speaking with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 12, 2020 Excise taxes apply to specific goods and services. Businesses that make or sell chosen goods and services pay most of these taxes. As a consumer, you generally won’t get a bill for excise tax. If you purchase a good or service subject to an excise tax, though, you’ll pay it nonetheless -- businesses generally include cost of the tax in the prices they charge. For help with taxes and other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 Before you see a dollar of lottery winnings, the IRS will take 25%. Up to an additional 13% could be withheld in state and local taxes, depending on where you live. Still, you’ll probably owe more when taxes are due, since the top federal tax rate is 37%. So a good first step a lottery winner could take is to hire a financial advisor who can help with tax and investment strategies. Read on for more about how taxes on lottery winnings work and what the smart money would do. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 Maintaining a home office for your business can yield a benefit at tax time if you're able to claim a deduction for your expenses. The IRS lays out the rules for deducting home office costs in Publication 587. There's a common myth about this deduction triggering an audit. But that shouldn't stop you from claiming it if you're eligible. Here's more on how this deduction works and what it covers. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 A taxpayer advocate is an employee of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, also known as the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). Working closely with, but independent of, the IRS, a taxpayer advocate can help you resolve tax disputes you might have with the IRS. While there's no guarantee that you'll see the result you want, working with a taxpayer advocate is the first step towards working out a tax issue. Best of all, the service is free if they agree to take on your case. A CPA or tax attorney can also be a big help in dealing with tax issues. If you'd like to take a more holistic view of your financial plan and long-term tax planning, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 01, 2019 The Lifetime Learning credit is a tax credit for college expenses, though it can also be claimed for tuition paid for graduate courses, vocational schools and continuing education courses. The credit is worth up to 20% of the first $10,000 in qualifying expenses, for a maximum credit of $2,000. To qualify, you must have made tuition and fee payments to the educational institution in question during the tax year. However, if your income is too high during the year, you may not be able to claim the Lifetime Learning credit. We'll walk through what expenses do and don't qualify, and how to claim it on your taxes. Read More...

Aug 05, 2022 When you sell a depreciated capital asset, you may be able to earn a "realized gain" if the asset's sale price is higher than its value after deduction expenses. You'll then be able to recapture the difference between the two figures after you report it as income. Depreciation recapture is popular among taxpayers because it allows them to save when it comes to taxes. Instead of accounting for your asset's entire value at the date of your purchase, you can spread out its cost over time, allowing you to earn tax deductions for its duration. If you want hands-on guidance when it comes to lowering your tax liability on your investments, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 There are two key education tax benefits that can help families who are paying for college: the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). In general, it may be wise to take the American Opportunity Tax Credit if you qualify. It could provide a larger credit, and you may not have to spend as much in order to get it. Here's how to know if you qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit, plus how it works. For help with all types of tax and other financial questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 25, 2021 When filing taxes, it's important to make sure you're reporting all of your income correctly. That includes making note of early distributions from qualified retirement plans or other tax-favored accounts that may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Failing to report those distributions could result in a major tax headache if the IRS determines you owe additional taxes or penalties later. If you've taken a withdrawal from an individual retirement account (IRA) or another account with tax-advantaged status, you may need to file IRS Form 5329 with your regular income tax return. Here's what you need to know about when you're required to submit this form and how to fill it out to avoid any tax snafus. If you need some hands-on expert advice as you navigate your retirement withdrawals, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 For individuals, gross income is the total pay you earn from employers or clients before taxes and other deductions. This is not limited to income received as cash, as it can also include property or services received. On the other hand, net income refers to your income after taxes and deductions are taken into account. For companies, gross income is revenue after cost of goods sold (COGS) has been subtracted. That makes a business' net income equal to profit, or net earnings. A long-term financial plan should account for your income taxes. Speak with a local financial advisor about your financial plan. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 In the world of accounting, finance and taxes, there's more than one type of year. In addition to regular years, there are a number of different fiscal years. A fiscal year is the 12-month period a company uses for accounting purposes. Here's how it works and why it's important in business and taxes. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your business needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 If you're self-employed or a freelancer, you likely get paid as an independent contractor rather than an employee. The IRS defines an independent contractor as someone who performs work for someone else, while controlling the way in which the work is done. In other words, someone pays you to perform a service or deliver a product, but they only have a say in the final outcome. As an independent contractor, there are some unique responsibilities where taxes are concerned. Understanding the guidelines for filing and paying taxes as an independent contractor can help you avoid issues with the IRS. A financial advisor can also help you optimize your tax strategy for your financial goals and needs. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 Paying for health insurance and medical bills can get expensive. Luckily, you can recoup some of those costs when you file your taxes by taking a deduction for medical expenses. To do so, the expenses in question must meet the qualifications outlined by the IRS. We'll show you how to figure out whether your expenses qualify, and how to calculate and take your deductions. And once you've figured out your deductions, a financial advisor could help you connect your tax strategies with your overall financial goals. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 If you're considering buying a new home, a tax abatement may provide an incentive that's hard to pass up. These beneficial tax programs allow for a long-term break on your  property tax bill. Savings like that will undoubtedly impact your bottom line in a positive way. However, tax abatements are only available in specific areas of certain cities, so you may need to do some digging.  Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Doing your taxes is never easy, but for small business owners there are some extra layers of complexity. Schedule C is a tax form that some small business proprietors use to file their tax returns each year. For those using it, command over the Schedule C is an important part of making sure they are compliant with federal regulations and not paying more in taxes than they need to be. If you want help with your small business taxes, consider finding a financial advisor with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Net income refers to a company’s earnings minus business and operating expenses. An individual’s net income is equal to total income minus applicable deductions and taxes paid. Net income helps you understand how profitable your business is. If you’re an investor, it can help you analyze a company’s stock. And as an individual, it can help you understand your actual take-home pay. If you want hands-on guidance as a business owner or investor with net income, check out our free financial advisor matching tool to link up with up to three advisors in your area best suited to your particular needs. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Adjusted gross income, or AGI, is extremely important for filing your annual income taxes. More specifically, it appears on your Form 1040 and helps determine which deductions and credits you are eligible for. Based on the amount of your AGI, you can then figure out how much you'll owe in income taxes. For tax year 2021, you can find your AGI on page 1, line 11 of the  IRS Form 1040. As you take care of your taxes, make sure you have an adequate financial plan in place.  Talk to a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 26, 2019 A large majority (75%) of taxpayers overpay on taxes and receive a tax refund, according to IRS data. A smaller proportion (19%) see the opposite: They will have overestimated their withholdings and learn they still owe the IRS some money. Apart from overpaying and underpaying, there is another small, exclusive group of savvy Americans who manage the Goldilocks fantasy: withholding just the right amount so, come tax time, the tax balance between them and the IRS reads an even zero. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 For many employees in America, especially those at tech companies and other startups, stock options are a part of compensation packages. While the right to buy stock in a company at a set price is an attractive form of compensation, stock options have more complex tax implications than straight cash. Many taxpayers will use a  financial advisor to help them develop the best tax strategy for their investments. Let's take a look at how your tax return will change depending on whether you have incentive stock options (ISOs) or non-qualified stock options (NQSOs). Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 The U.S. experienced a partial government shutdown from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019. This 35-day shutdown was the longest in U.S. history and disrupted the service of multiple federal agencies, such as the National Park Service. However, the IRS did not stop work entirely, and never does during a shutdown. Many of its employees were furloughed (temporarily laid off) and some services experienced interruptions or delays, but others didn’t. What does this mean for your tax return? Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Donating your car to charity is a thoughtful and generous act. It's also one that can save you some money on taxes. Many non-profit organizations that take automobile donations advertise it heavily, but doing research is necessary before you hand over your keys. Here's what you should know if you want to find the best charities to donate your vehicle. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 If you give someone cash or property valued at more than the 2021 annual exclusion limit of $15,000 ($30,000 for married joint filers), you’ll have to fill out Form 709 for gift tax purposes. But don’t fret. This doesn’t always mean you’ll owe an actual tax. The government requires this to keep track of your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. Only once you use up that large exemption would you owe an out-of-pocket tax. Still, filling out Form 709 can get complicated. This article will walk you through the process step-by step. It'll also help you determine if you need to fill out a Form 709 in the first place. We can also help you work with a financial advisor who can guide you through the process so you won't get in trouble with the IRS. Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 Filling out your taxes can be a real headache. It’s no surprise, then, that online software like TurboTax has been growing in recent years to meet the demands of taxpayers in need of expert advice. But there are more resources available to you beyond tax software. Many states have programs to help taxpayers fill out their forms, and some states have an abundance of high-skilled accountants ready to work for those willing to pay. And, given the potentially severe consequences of a tax-filing mistake, the cost may well be worth it. Of course, not all states are equally equipped to help you stay in good standing with the IRS. Below, we look at the best states to get help completing your taxes. Read More...

Feb 22, 2019 About 75% of American taxpayers overpaid on taxes in tax year 2016, according to IRS data. And though they may have been overjoyed to get a handsome tax refund, this scenario means they are simply being reimbursed for money they've lent the government. This tax season, whether or not an individual has a windfall on the way depends on his or her tax-planning savvy, but residents of certain states overpay more on their taxes and thus get higher refunds.   Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 One of the most popular ways to organize a business is as a limited liability company, otherwise known as an LLC. LLCs require less paperwork than C corporations and S corporations, while giving owners some of the same protections against being held personally liable for any actions of the business. But the true advantage of this title comes in the form of tax benefits. LLCs give business owners significantly greater federal income tax flexibility than a sole proprietorship, partnership and other popular forms of business organization. Make sure you have a financial plan in place for your small business. Talk to a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 California does not levy a gift tax, however, the federal government does. That tax rate can climb to as high as 40%. Still, there are plenty of ways you can minimize the hit or avoid it all together. For the 2021 tax year, you can give up to $15,000 to any individual without triggering a gift tax, or up to $16,000 for the 2022 tax year. But even if you go over the limit, you may just need to file some extra paperwork come tax time. You won’t owe an actual tax until you exceed your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. We’ll explain how that works, and how you can give without ever setting off a gift tax. But first, let’s define what a gift really is in the eyes of the IRS. We can also help you find a financial advisor to develop a personalized gift-tax strategy. Read More...

Jan 25, 2019 It can be difficult to look at your paycheck and see upwards of 15% of it sent to the government. Of course, those taxes pay for worthwhile causes, a fact that doesn’t always lessen the initial sting of seeing your money disappear. Thanks to local and state taxes, though, residents in some places have it much worse than others. Below, we look at data from the 25 largest cities to estimate how much the average full-time worker pays in income taxes. Read More...

Apr 25, 2022 An annuity can provide you with income that is guaranteed for as long as you live.  These retirement savings vehicles do provide some tax benefits by letting earnings grow tax-deferred. However, at least part of your annuity payments may be subject to federal income taxes. Throughout this guide, we highlight the different ways the IRS taxes annuities. Consider working with a financial advisor as you do tax and retirement planning. Read More...

Dec 20, 2021 North Carolina does not have a gift tax. However, you may trigger a gift tax at the federal level depending on the value of the gifts you provide. But you won’t owe a gift tax until you breach your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump raised that threshold. For individuals it is $11.7 million for 2021 and $12.06 million for 2022. Nonetheless, you may still have to report some gifts that fall far below that value in order to avoid trouble with the IRS. A financial advisor can help you with tax issues and estate planning. Let's break down how the gift tax works and which steps you can take to avoid triggering it. Read More...

Dec 20, 2021 Florida does not have a gift tax. However, you may trigger a gift tax at the federal level depending on the value of the gifts you provide. But you won’t owe a gift tax until you breach your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump raised that threshold. For individuals it is $11.7 million for 2021 and $12.06 million for 2022. Nonetheless, you may still have to report some gifts that fall far below that value in order to avoid trouble with the IRS. A financial advisor can help you with estate planning and tax-related matters. Let's break down how the gift tax works and what you can do to avoid triggering it. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 New Jersey doesn’t have a gift tax. However, you may still owe a federal gift tax if the value of the gifts you provide exceed a certain amount. Following the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the federal gift tax exclusion rose to $15,000 for 2021 and $16,000 for 2022. So you can give someone $15,000 or $16,000 worth of cash, assets or property (depending on which year it is) annually without worrying about a gift tax. You would have to report it if you breach that threshold. But you won't owe anything out of pocket until you exceed your lifetime exclusion limit. This article will cover everything you need to know about the gift tax as well as steps you can take to avoid or minimize your tax payment obligations. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Minnesota no longer has its own gift tax but it does have an estate tax. You may still owe a gift tax at the federal level if you exceed your lifetime gift and estate tax exemption. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump raised that limit. We’ll explain exactly how gift taxes work and what you need to watch out for. We’ll also explain how to make non-taxable gifts and steer clear of a potential gift tax. Consider working with a  financial advisor who can guide you through the entire estate planning and charitable giving process. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Connecticut increased its lifetime gift tax exemption to $7.1 million for tax year 2021, and it will continue to climb in the coming years. The exemption will be $9.1 million in 2022. This means you won't owe a Connecticut gift tax unless the gifts you provide in those years exceed their corresponding exemption levels. But even if you do, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your assets and your estate from taxes. This article will explain everything you need to know about Connecticut and federal gift taxes, as well as ways you can steer clear of these taxes. We can also help you find a financial advisor to guide you through the entire estate planning process. Read More...

Jan 18, 2022 If you recently received a sizable gift from Mom and Dad, don’t fret about the gift tax. The IRS generally holds the giver liable for taxes. And unless the person is handing over a small fortune, he or she won’t owe any gift taxes either. But if your parents are being generous, you might want to fill them in on how the IRS views the transfer of money. This article will help you understand all about the gift tax, but since rules behind calculating gift tax can be complex, your parents should find a financial advisor if their gift might trigger a tax bill. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 If you run your own business, you need a way to identify it to the government when it comes time to do your taxes. The same is also true if you're the executor of an estate, the creator of a trust or the founder of a non-profit. The way entities accomplish this is with an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you don’t yet have an EIN, you can apply to receive one with IRS Form SS-4. Read More...

Aug 19, 2022 Selling a home is a major life change. But before you can concentrate on buying a new house, you'll need to figure out how to properly report any profits related to the sale of your house. Such profit is known as capital gains. This has the potential to affect your financial plan, as you may experience a large windfall of cash and extra taxes. Things to know include tax breaks, reduced exclusions, how to report your house sale on a tax return and how to determine the total profit of your home sale. It may be helpful to talk to a financial advisor before you sell your house. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 If you have a traditional IRA, you will need to start taking  required minimum distributions (RMDs) when you reach age 70.5. As traditional IRAs are tax-deferred, you will need to pay federal income tax on these distributions, but you can avoid those taxes if you donate your RMD directly to a qualified charity. Here's what you need to know about IRA charitable rollovers. And if you need hands-on help navigating IRA charitable rollovers, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 12, 2022 Being a landlord can significantly bolster your savings, but it's also a lot of work. On top of the finances and responsibilities of your own living space, you have to find tenants, secure insurance and pay a mortgage and property taxes. Renting a home can also complicate your personal tax situation. Luckily, the government allows you to deduct some expenses associated with running a rental property. The IRS stipulates that deductible expenses must be ordinary and generally accepted in the rental business, along with being necessary for managing and maintaining the property. You can also work with a financial advisor who can help manage the tax and financial impact of your real estate holdings. Read More...

Sep 25, 2018 There are a lot of reasons to give to charity. The most obvious is that you're giving money to a cause or group that you believe in. This can make you feel like you’re making a difference in the world. However, there is a common reason beyond that to make a donation: the charity tax deduction. When you give money to charity, you can use the gift to reduce the amount of money on which you must pay taxes. It’s a fairly simple process to get the charity tax deduction, though it does require you to take a few actions to get the most out of your donation. This guide will take you through how to get your charity tax deduction, what qualifies as a charity tax deduction and other questions about the process. Read More...

Jan 13, 2020 The Social Security tax is one reason your take-home pay is less than your income. The tax of 6.2% (on income up to $132,900) is deducted from your pay and appears on your paycheck stub either as FICA or Fed OASDI/EE. Your employer also pays 6.2%, making for a total  Social Security tax of 12.4% per employee. Read on to learn what the pay-stub acronyms stand for, whether the self-employed have to pay the tax and if there's any way to avoid paying it. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 The first-time homebuyer tax credit emerged during the 2008 financial crisis to help make buying a home more affordable for Americans. Though various other mortgage programs and loans exist, the tax provision here was strictly for first-time homebuyers. Simply put, it offered homebuyers a significant tax credit for the year in which they purchased their home. Unfortunately, this credit no longer exists. However, legislation to create a new refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 for first-time homebuyers was introduced in April 2021. Below, we discuss what the tax credit program did, and explore additional mortgage programs that can still help you save on your first home. A financial advisor can help you plan for buying a home, as well as other financial goals. Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 When you're filing your taxes, there's a whole lot to consider. From figuring out who counts as a dependent to organizing your income streams, you may find the process a bit overwhelming. And if you're a new homeowner tackling mortgage payments, there's another key question you'll want to know the answer to this tax season as you try to lower your tax liability: Are closing costs deductible on your recent home purchase? A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy for your property and family needs. Below, we give you the rundown. Read More...

Jul 19, 2018 State and local taxes (SALT) are a frustrating part of living in a high-tax locale. Before the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, which ushered in sweeping tax legislation overhaul, Americans could deduct state and local taxes, including income and property taxes, from their federal income taxes. Under the new tax law, that deduction has been capped at $10,000. This change will disproportionately affect residents who pay high state and local taxes. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 IRS Form W-4 tells your employer how much federal income tax to withhold from your paycheck. You'll be asked to fill one out when you start a new job. You can also submit a new W-4 to your HR or payroll department when you have a life event that affects your taxes - e.g., getting married or divorced or having a baby - or if you paid too little or too much in taxes. The form used to be a bit complicated, but the IRS simplified it for 2020 and beyond. Now there are only five steps, three of which you can skip if you are the only breadwinner in your family, have only one job and have no dependents. The two mandatory steps involve providing your name, address, Social Security number, filing status and signature. Read More...

May 20, 2022 If you’re getting a divorce, the tax implications probably are not the most pressing issue on your mind. The specifics of filing taxes after divorce and how you draw up your divorce agreement could make a big difference when it comes to  your tax refund. Many couples consult a financial advisor to help them divide assets and plan for a financial future after divorce. As you prepare for your divorce needs, here are some important things to think about so you can stay on top of your taxes.  Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 Earning dividends is a great incentive for investing in certain companies and mutual funds. Dividends are particularly useful for people who want to supplement their retirement income. However, like all income, you'll need to pay taxes on any dividends you receive. Which dividend tax rates you pay depend on how long you've held your investments, the size of your dividends and how much other income you have. It can also be helpful to consult with a financial advisor to learn more about dividends and their taxes. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 For many Americans, filing federal income taxes means getting a refund. The IRS says that the average tax refund in 2021 was $2,800 (over $2,500 in 2020). Taxpayers often rely on this money to boost their  retirement savings or save for a home. But what happens when you need the money before the IRS sends your refund? You may want to consider a tax refund loan. It functions like other short-term loans, but the loan amount is based on your refund amount. Refund advances are also a popular alternative. A financial advisor can help you budget for unexpected expenses and offer advice on dealing with them when they arise. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Once you've gone through the burdensome process of filing your taxes, your sigh of relief might be short-lived. That's because you'll likely be wondering, "How long does it take to get a tax refund?" But as excited as you may be to get that refund check from your federal income tax return, you may be disappointed with IRS processing times. So as you plan your budget for the year, you should know how long it will take to get your federal tax refund. If you want to go beyond taxes and build a comprehensive financial plan for your future, a  financial advisor can help you put a financial plan together. Read More...

Dec 22, 2021 President Donald Trump signed a law that dramatically overhauled the U.S. tax code in December 2017. The law created new income tax brackets that changed what many Americans pay in taxes. Most changes went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and did not affect your  tax return until the 2018 tax year, which you filed in 2019. Let's take a look at the 2022 tax brackets, and compare them to the 2021 and 2017 brackets to see how the Trump tax plan could have affected your tax return. And depending on these changes, you might want to work with a financia l advisor to help formulate a tax strategy for your finances. Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 There are many reasons your tax refund could be delayed. Perhaps your numbers and your employer's numbers didn't match. Or you accidentally skipped a line—or an entire form. Or maybe you claimed a credit that the IRS takes longer to check. This year, however, the mostly likely reason your tax refund is delayed is that you filed a paper return.There was an additional backlog of tax returns created by the COVID-19 pandemic. While IRS workers have been back at work for a while, there is always a chance this is still impacting your return. Of course, the reasons for a delayed tax refund before the coronavirus crisis may still apply. Read on for more reasons and how to prevent future delays. Go beyond taxes to build a comprehensive financial plan. Find a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Aug 06, 2022 When you file a federal income  tax return, you have the choice between taking the standard deduction or itemizing your deductions. The option that you pick should depend on which strategy will maximize your tax benefits. Your calculations may also have changed in recent years following the passage of President Donald Trump's  Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. Here’s a look at who should itemize under the new tax plan. Working with a  financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your financial goals and needs. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 If you're investing in cryptocurrency, it's important to know how these currencies - and any gains you earn from buying and selling them - are taxed. The IRS has done its best to keep taxpayers apprised of the relevant rules. In 2014, it released guidance to taxpayers informing them that cryptocurrency transactions, which the agency referred to as virtual currency transactions, must be reported on income tax returns. It issued further guidance in 2019 concerning the tax treatment of specific types of cryptocurrency transactions. In this article, we'll discuss this guidance and all the tax rules you need to know. Read More...

Aug 04, 2022 When you file your federal income tax return, you can check the status of your tax refund by visiting the IRS website or its mobile app. However, each state has its own process for handling state income taxes. If you expect a refund, your state may take only a few days to process it or the state may take a few months. There is no hard-and-fast rule but you can expect paper returns taking significantly longer to process than e-filed returns. In the meantime, you can work with a financial advisor to create a plan for the money you expect to receive. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 When filing federal income taxes, everyone has to choose a filing status. There are five filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widow/er with dependent child. Most people are only eligible for one or two of the statuses and your status is likely to change at some point in your life. One common change is going from filing single to filing married. In this article, let's look at how your tax situation could change when your filing status changes from single to married. Read More...

Dec 28, 2021 After the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the filing deadline for federal income taxes two years in a row, taxes for the 2021 tax year will once again be due in April. Circle April 18, 2022, on your calendar because that's the one general date by which most filers need to get returns into the IRS. While taxes are typically due on April 15, this year's Tax Day falls on Emancipation Day, a legal holiday observed in Washington D.C. As a result, most filers will have until the next business day, April 18, to submit their tax returns. However, you may have a different deadline if you filed for an extension or if you are a corporation. Here's a rundown of all the deadlines you need to keep track of. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 Want to get a big tax refund this tax filing season? You can minimize your tax liability and potentially snag a larger refund by taking advantage of every possible tax break. In this article we'll discuss a few strategies to keep in mind as you look to get the biggest refund possible. But remember, if you want to go beyond this year's tax refund and minimize taxes on your long-term financial plan, your best bet is to find a financial advisor. Here's are four ways to get a bigger tax refund.  Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 If filing your federal income taxes has you filled with apprehension, you may want to find a tax filing service to help you. The right service will not only take the pain out of filing your taxes, but it will also give you confidence by helping you understand the process. Different people will want different features from a tax filing service, but there are a few things you should always look for. For example, you want responsive technical support no matter how much you know about taxes. Below are six things you should look for when choosing a tax filing service. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 After filing your federal income taxes, the wait for your tax refund is on. But you might want to take a step back before you spend that "extra" money. It helps to have a plan for how you'll spend. That way, you can avoid blowing the whole refund on things you don't really need. There are ways to spend that cash to better your financial situation, especially in the long run. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 If you own an investment property and collect rent from your tenants, it's important to declare that rental income on your taxes. You can, however, deduct expenses you incur to maintain your rental property. In other words, becoming a landlord for the first time will make filing your taxes more complex. Planning ahead for these taxes can have many benefits. If you need help with taxes, a financial advisor can help you create a tax strategy. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 When you start a new job, there's a lot of paperwork to fill out, from direct deposit documents and benefits enrollments to your W-4 form. But when you're a contractor or self-employed person, income taxes work a little differently. You will still have to report your earnings to the IRS, and the companies that use your services will have to report those earnings, too. That’s where the W-9 form comes in. Planning out your taxes is just one aspect of your financial plan. Talk to a financial advisor in your area today. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Hollywood and New York City probably come to mind when you think about the places with the most million-dollar earners. While location plays a part in how much money you earn, there are other factors that can help you reach millionaire status. Plenty of patient saving is most likely required. Many people seek professional advice from a financial advisor to help them make the best decisions about their finances. Below, we looked at the unique economic profiles of each state through IRS data to find the states with the most million-dollar earners. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 With the new year starting, it’s just about the time to file your federal tax return. But there’s no need to get stressed out. Tax filing services are making it easier than ever to file your taxes. You will, of course, need to choose between those filing services. Let's compare two of the largest tax filers: TurboTax vs. TaxSlayer. Read More...

Jan 31, 2018 For most people, the only fun part of doing your taxes is getting your tax refund. Not everyone receives a refund. Technically speaking, tax refund is money you overpaid in taxes, meaning it was always your money and the government was just "borrowing" it for a while. Regardless, it always feels good to get a large check. Below we look at this topic at a state level, to determine which states have the largest average income tax refund. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 In December 2017, President Trump signed the new tax plan into law. While most of the changes from the plan went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, they will not affect taxpayers when they file their federal income taxes by April 17, 2018. However, some parts of the tax plan applied retroactively. A small number of taxpayers saw changes to their 2017 taxes as a result. There are also a couple of changes that won’t take full effect until 2019. Let’s take a look at when the provisions of the tax plan will take effect. Read More...

Jan 17, 2018 Many taxpayers fret over where their hard-earned money goes once they've paid their share of taxes. This is true for residents of all states. But some states get a better deal when it comes to income taxes paid and benefits received. These states, and their economies, rely on the federal government for support to a greater extent than other states. Below we rank the states most dependent on the federal government. Read More...

Jan 10, 2018 Many Americans try to reduce the stress of filing taxes by using online tax software or hiring an accountant. In some states getting this tax help is easier than others due to more affordable rates for accountants and better internet access. Below we look at the states where it's easiest to get help during tax season. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 The majority of U.S. states charge a sales tax on retail goods and services. New York state is no different. The state's sales tax is relatively low but once you add on taxes from individual counties and cities, it can add up to a substantial chunk of change. Read on as we explain what New York sales tax is and how it differs across the state. A financial advisor could help optimize your tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 President Trump signed sweeping tax legislation in 2017 that capped  property taxes and other state and local taxes (SALT) deductions at $10,000. This change went into effect in January 2018, which impacted 2018 taxes that were filed in April 2019. The SALT deduction became a major worry for many homeowners in high-tax states. To lessen the impact, some of these homeowners prepaid property taxes for 2018 by December 31, 2017 to deduct them from their 2017 tax bill. Let's take a look at the tax advantages of paying your taxes before January 1. Read More...

Dec 28, 2021 Governments, at all levels, may charge sales tax for goods and services. Retailers collect sales tax on their goods at the point of sale and then send their collections to the government. Currently, 45 states charge sales tax with some counties and cities charging their own taxes. No state has quite perfected the art of sales tax like California. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 There are three main ways to maximize your  tax return. You can file your taxes on your own to save on tax preparation fees. You can work with a financial advisor to develop a tax strategy for your financial goals. Lastly, you can use online tax preparation software to save costs. While online filing is certainly more affordable than many in-person tax services, in many cases, you don't even have to pay for the basic level. That means you have several excellent options for free online tax software. Read More...

Nov 16, 2017 The United States is the second-most generous country in the world, according to 2016 data from the Charities Aid Foundation. But not all states in the United States are equally generous. Residents in some states give more to charity or volunteer more free time to causes near and dear to their hearts. Below we rank the America's most charitable states using those and other metrics. Read More...

Apr 02, 2018 Update December 2017: On December 20, the Senate passed the new GOP tax bill that marks the biggest rewrite of the tax code in decades. Later the same day, the House also gave final approval to the bill. On December 22, it was signed into law by President Trump. This study takes a look at an earlier version of Trump's tax plan that was released on November 2. That version of the plan, reduced the number of tax brackets from seven to four. The final version of the plan that Congress passed keeps the seven tax brackets but reduces some of the rates. For more on the latest version of the tax bill, see this article. Read More...

Sep 27, 2017 For many Americans, being your own boss is a long-held aspiration. But striking out on your own can be challenging and risky. There are many factors that can add potential roadblocks to people hoping to start their own businesses. Income tax rates, for example, come into play, as well as local costs of living. Below we analyze data on these and other metrics to find the best cities to be self-employed. Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 As an employee, you may have noticed that your paycheck never matches your full salary. This is because your employer has to withhold certain payroll taxes. You might think that you don't have to worry about those payroll taxes if you work for yourself. But that's not the case - you'd still have to pay a 15.3% self-employment tax. Below, we'll explore this tax and why you have to pay it. If you need help with this or any other tax issue, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 If you earn a wage or a salary, you're likely subject to Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes. Not to be confused with the federal income tax, FICA taxes fund the Social Security and Medicare programs. Also known as payroll taxes, FICA taxes are automatically deducted from your paycheck. Your company sends the money, along with its match (an additional 7.65% of your pay), to the government. In this article we'll discuss what FICA taxes are, how they're applied and who's responsible for paying them. Planning your finances goes beyond just taxes. Find a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 The state and local tax (SALT) deduction allows taxpayers of high-tax states to deduct local tax payments on their federal tax returns. The tax plan signed by President Trump in 2017, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, instituted a cap on the SALT deduction. Starting with the 2018 tax year, the maximum SALT deduction available was $10,000. Previously, there was no limit. We take a closer look at what the reduced deduction has meant for residents of high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey. If you're concerned about the impact of these changes, consider working a financial advisor to manage the impact of taxes on your financial plan. Read More...

Aug 05, 2022 The IRS uses your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) to determine whether you qualify for important tax benefits like deducting contributions from your individual retirement account (IRA) and making contributions to your Roth IRA. Many taxpayers consult a  financial advisor to maximize their tax strategy for their retirement goals. Let's take a look at your modified adjusted gross income and break down how it may impact your tax bill. Read More...

Mar 11, 2020 Tax-loss harvesting as a way to use investment losses to lower your taxes on any capital gains you have in a year. If you've only invested in your future by contributing to a retirement account, tax-loss harvesting won't help you. But if you have some taxable investment accounts, tax-loss harvesting may lower your tax liability and potentially save you money. A financial advisor can help you with any tax-loss harvesting questions you have. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 No matter how hard you try to keep your debt under control, sometimes it piles up. Depending on your situation, you may be able to cancel some of your debt. That would probably lift a huge weight off your shoulders. But even if your creditor lets you ditch some of your debt, there might be a catch. In some cases, canceled debt can increase your tax bill. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Paying taxes is never fun. Fortunately, you may be able to reduce how much you owe in federal income taxes by claiming certain tax deductions. There are exclusive tax breaks for self-employed Americans. But the key to taking advantage of these benefits is knowing what's tax-deductible. Check out the following seven self-employed tax deductions you might qualify for this season. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 When it comes to investing, you can expect to experience both gains and losses. You might even incur a capital loss on purpose to get rid of an investment that’s making your portfolio look bad. And while selling an asset at a loss may not seem ideal, it can benefit you at tax time. Besides lowering your taxable income, a capital loss may also help you snag a deduction. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy to reach your investing goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Many studies seem to suggest that millennials are in a financial pickle. For starters they earn less than their parents did when they were young adults. Plus, the average millennial has over $30,000 in student debt. For millennials who are struggling to boost their net worth and make the leap to homeownership, the last thing they likely want to face is a large tax bill. But unfortunately, high tax rates are a reality for many millennials across the country. Read More...

Mar 22, 2017 The IRS allows some nonprofits to avoid paying federal income taxes. The only problem is that the application for federal tax exemption ( Form 1023) is extensive. In addition to completing the standard application, you'll likely have to submit additional attachments and financial documents. Wish the application process was shorter? It can be if you're allowed to submit Form 1023-EZ instead. Read on for a breakdown of what the form is and how to fill it out. Read More...

Mar 22, 2017 Businesses and individual consumers have something in common. Both groups have to file taxes. Some groups, however, are automatically tax-exempt, meaning that they're not required to pay federal income taxes. Others must apply for tax-exempt status. If you want your organization to be exempt from federal taxation, you may need to file IRS Form 1023. Here's everything you need to know about it. Read More...

Jan 06, 2022 Owning a home can be expensive. Paying for property taxes, repairs and homeowners insurance can significantly reduce what you can spend on luxury items and discretionary goods and services. Fortunately, homeowners may be able to recoup some of the money they've lost by claiming tax deductions and credits. A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy for your property goals and needs. Read More...

Mar 18, 2022 Going to college seems to get more expensive every year. Tuition, fees, room and board for an in-state student attending a four-year public institution cost $27,650 for the 2021-2022 school year (on average). About a decade ago, an in-state student would've paid an average of $15,180 (in 2016 dollars) for the same expenses. There's not much you can do about rising college costs, but there are a few tax breaks you can use to help offset the cost of college. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your education needs and goals. Read More...

Dec 21, 2021 The IRS knows that some taxpayers provide their children and relatives with financial support. That's why the government offers folks with dependents the opportunity to reduce their tax burden. Being able to claim someone as a dependent may significantly lower your tax bill, especially if you qualify for a tax break like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit. And a  financial advisor can help you take an extra step to align your tax strategy with your overall financial goals and your dependents. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Making sense of the U.S. tax code can be a daunting feat. That's why many taxpayers turn to professionals when they need to file their tax returns. Regardless of whether you're working with a tax accountant or completing your own return at home, it's important to know which tax breaks you're eligible for. After all, claiming tax credits and deductions is one of the easiest ways to reduce your tax burden. If you have questions about claiming miscellaneous expenses, read on for the lowdown on what's deductible. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) reduces tax bills for low-to-moderate-income working families. It's a tax credit that ranges from $1,502 to $6,728 for the 2021 tax year depending on your filing status, number of children and earned income. Taxpayers often work with  a financial advisor to guide them through claiming different types of credits. Let's take a look at how the EITC works, as well as how you can qualify and file for it. Read More...

Feb 27, 2017 Looking for a new job can seem like a job in itself. And after a while, the expenses associated with finding a new gig start to add up. Even if you put effort into writing a resume and going on interviews, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to lock down the position that you want. But at the very least, some of your job hunting expenses may be deductible. Let's take a look at some of the costs that you may be able to write off on your income tax return. Read More...

Jan 26, 2017 Few tax breaks have been more controversial than the mortgage interest deduction. Proponents of the tax benefit contend that it encourages Americans to buy homes. Opponents, on the other hand, argue that it reduces tax revenue and leaves lower-income individuals at a disadvantage. For the second year in a row, SmartAsset assessed how the mortgage interest deduction and the property tax deduction could affect homeowners across the country during tax season. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 If you're planning on using a tax break to minimize your tax bite, keep in mind that deductions come in different shapes and sizes. There's the standard deduction that any taxpayer can claim every tax year just for filing taxes. And there are itemized deductions that you can write off instead of taking the standard deduction. There are also above-the-line deductions. Here's everything you need to know about above-the-line deductions, including how they work and who can take advantage of them. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 The Trump tax law doubled the federal  estate tax exemption for estates and gifts, allowing wealthy investors to pass on their financial legacy with big tax savings for their heirs. Many families work with a  financial advisor to maximize an estate plan for their loved ones. Let’s take a look at how the estate tax could affect affluent investors and their beneficiaries.   Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 If you want to shrink your tax bill or beef up your refund, claiming all the deductions you're eligible for can be a smart strategy. Deductions reduce your taxable income. That's a plus if you want to hang on to as many of your hard-earned dollars as possible. But there are limits on what you can deduct. A financial advisor can help you figure out exactly what you should do with your taxes. Here's a look at some expenses you can't deduct in most cases. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Saving for retirement is something that everyone needs to think about at some point. The earlier you begin socking away money, the brighter your long-term financial outlook. Preparing for your financial future can also work in your favor during tax season. If you've barely saved anything, here are some tax benefits that might motivate you to get serious about planning for retirement. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 Filing federal income taxes can be stressful. Making sure you plug in all the right numbers and snag every tax break you qualify for can make your head spin. If you're relatively new to tax filing, you may not know the difference between taking the standard deduction and itemizing your deductions. Itemizing isn't right for everyone, so before you file, keep reading to find out whether it makes sense for you. Read More...

Oct 18, 2021 In one way or another, taxes are a part of every American's financial life. But for residents of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, they are off the hook for state-level personal income taxes. Additionally, only New Hampshire taxes dividends and investment income, but not wages. While avoiding state income taxes may seem appealing, there's often a catch, like high sales taxes. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax planning strategy. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Under the tax reform bill that passed into law at the end of 2017, the personal exemption was eliminated. This means you cannot claim it on your taxes starting with tax year 2019. So the following information on the personal exemption only applies if you are filing a return for a tax year that was 2017 or earlier. Read on to learn more about what a personal exemption is and whether or not you can claim one on your tax return. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 The NFL salary cap (which limits how much teams can spend on players) has risen from $40 million in 1996 to $155 million in 2016. This means NFL salaries have increased by almost 400% over the past 20 years. To put that in perspective, median incomes in the U.S. rose 12.5% from $24,500 in 2005 to $27,600 in 2015, according to Census Bureau data. While the pay packages are available for public viewing, most people probably don't know how much NFL players pay in taxes. SmartAsset used our income tax calculator to investigate how much the highest-paid players in the NFL pay in taxes. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 Paying taxes is a fact of life for most Americans. Whether you work for a business from 9 to 5 or you're self-employed, you're expected to turn over a portion of your pay to Uncle Sam. There are many different kinds of income, but not all of them can be taxed. Read on for an explanation of what taxable income is and a rundown of what's taxable and what's not. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Filing taxes for the first time can be nerve-racking. But being organized can relieve some of your stress. Knowing what paperwork and materials you'll need is a good place to start, especially if you're concerned about leaving out a key piece of information. If you're preparing to fill out your tax return, here's a breakdown of the documents you'll need to gather. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 It's tax time and if you're self-employed, you'll need to plan ahead. What you do between now and the April tax filing deadline can have a significant impact on the amount of income tax you owe. If you work for yourself, here are some important moves that you'll need to make to reduce your tax bill. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Your tax filing status helps determine how much tax you owe and what kinds of credits you're eligible for. Experiencing certain changes in your life can have a significant impact on your tax liability. So it's important to take that into consideration before filing your tax return. If you're preparing for tax season, here's a rundown of major life events that could change your filing status. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Claiming tax credits and deductions can reduce the size of your income tax bill or increase the size of your refund check. But not all taxes or tax breaks last forever. A few were on the chopping block at the end of 2017 simply because Congress considered letting them expire. But the tax plan passed in late 2017 by Trump and Congressional Republicans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), continues to alter the tax code even in the 2019 tax year. Here's a look at some of the tax changes that go into effect when you file your 2019 taxes in early 2020. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Tax season is right around the corner and if you're filing taxes for the first time, it's best to know what to expect. While you don't have to memorize hundreds of pages of tax code, at the very least you'll need to understand the basics. After all, even a simple mistake could trigger an IRS audit. Here are five mistakes that you don't want to make if you're preparing to submit your first tax return. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 As you prepare for the new year, it doesn't hurt to do some last-minute financial housekeeping. If you're in your 20s or 30s, making certain tax moves before the end of 2016 could potentially lower your tax bill or fatten your refund check. If you're part of the millennial generation, here are some important steps to take before tax season officially begins. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Getting a professional to do your taxes doesn't always come cheap. In 2014, the average tax prep fee for filing Form 1040, a state tax return and a Schedule A form was $273, according to the National Society of Accountants. Tax filers can save money by doing their own taxes. But it's important to avoid making careless mistakes. If you're preparing to do your taxes at home, here are five tips to consider. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 During the holidays, your tax bill is probably the last thing on your mind. But giving it some thought might be a good idea. The decisions you make now can determine how much you owe Uncle Sam in April. If you can squeeze in some free time between your holiday shopping trips and end-of-year parties, here are five steps you can take to lessen your tax bite. Read More...

Dec 07, 2016 The average American spent more than $800 during the 2015 holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation. Total holiday sales for the year reached $626.1 billion, a 3% increase since 2014. A recent survey from the trade association says that this year, the average consumer plans to spend $935.58 over the course of the holiday season. Read More...

Mar 09, 2017 Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 480,000 people die each year from smoking-related deaths, costing an estimated $300 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse estimates that 88,000 people die per year in the U.S. from alcohol-related causes. In order to limit consumption of these two leading causes of death, state and federal governments place taxes on them. Read on for more on the effect of these so-called " sin taxes." Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Have you ever wondered how city governments pay for big infrastructure projects? One method is called tax increment financing. Essentially, it means banking on the increase in property tax revenue that will result when the project is finished. The government can "fund" a project by pointing to the revenue the project will generate once it's complete. Read More...

Apr 20, 2022 Thinking of moving to Tennessee? You can head to a vibrant city like Memphis or Nashville, or opt for a quiet life in the Appalachian Mountains. Tennessee offers a rich culture, natural beauty and a low cost of living. Are you convinced? Here are 15 things to know before moving to Tennessee. Consider working with a financial advisor as you make decisions about where to move and when to move. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 The homestead tax exemption applies to property taxes. It's generally a dollar amount or percentage of the property value that is excluded when calculating property taxes. The amount or percentage depends on the state, as does who is eligible for the exemption. In some states, every homeowner gets the tax exemption, while in other states, eligibility depends on income level, property value, your age or if you're disabled or a veteran. One thing that is true in every state that has a homestead tax exemption, however, is that the home has to be a primary residence. Most states offer the homestead tax exemption. Taxes are one of many factors to keep in mind when you become a homeowner. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you manage the financial aspects of homeownership. Read More...

Apr 12, 2022 If you own a home, you're no stranger to property taxes. There are property tax breaks for seniors, people with disabilities and other protected classes, but did you know that there are agricultural tax exemptions, too? If some of your land can be classified as farmland, you could reap significant tax savings. If you're looking for a professional to help guide you through the ins and outs of agricultural tax exemptions, SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool can pair you with advisors who serve your area.  Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 A tax amnesty is an opportunity for people who owe back taxes to pay some or all of what they owe, often with some penalties and interest waived. In the U.S., tax amnesty often takes the form of a certain window during which state governments allow delinquent taxpayers to come in from the cold. At the federal level, the government may offer tax amnesty for U.S. companies repatriating profits. For help with tax amnesty or any other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 10, 2016 What's the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion? One is legal and the other is not. Tax avoidance means using the legal means available to you to decrease your tax liability. Those means include deductions, credits and tax-advantage accounts. Tax evasion, on the other hand, means taking illegal steps to shrink or eliminate your tax liability.  Read More...

Nov 09, 2016 The Internal Revenue Service recently released details about its new private debt collection program. The program will transfer taxpayers’ inactive IRS debts to one of four private collection agencies beginning in spring 2017. So what does this mean for anyone who  owes taxes? We'll explain what the private debt collection program is and how it will work going forward. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 Taking higher education classes, whether in pursuit of a degree or to acquire additional professional skills, is something the government wants to encourage. To that end, the IRS offers tax credits for post-secondary education expenses. Two of those credits, the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, can be claimed on IRS Form 8863. A financial advisor could help optimize your tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Did you make a mistake on your income tax return? Don't sweat it - it happens. Whether you forgot about a tax deduction or credit or you need to include additional sources of income, you can fix those errors by filing an amended tax return. You’ll do this by completing IRS Form 1040X. A financial advisor can also help you avoid mistakes and optimize your tax strategy for your financial goals. Here’s our guide to understanding and filling out the form. Read More...

Jan 18, 2022 If you're designated the executor of someone's estate, you may need to file Form 1041 to declare the income from that person's estate (or hire someone to file the form for you). Form 1041 isn't a substitute for Form 1040, though. Confused? We don't blame you. A financial advisor can help you maximize an estate plan for your loved ones. Let us walk you through IRS Form 1041, the U.S. Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts.   Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 If you ever need ton resolve an issue with the IRS, whether or not it's related to your federal income taxes, you will need to contact the IRS. That can be intimidating. You may not feel like you know enough about the U.S. tax code to file a complaint or challenge a penalty. Luckily, if you feel this way, there's something you can do about it. If you'd rather have a lawyer or a tax preparer talk to the IRS, you can complete Form 2848. Here's our guide to understanding that form. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 Many businesses don't make any money, particularly during their first year of operation. When this happens, the IRS provides business owners with some tax relief in the form of something called a net operating loss (NOL). What follows is a summary of the basics that you need to know about it. If you need help making sense of any financial concepts for your business, consider finding a financial advisor, some of whom help family businesses. Read More...

Oct 27, 2016 If you've invested in a foreign market or you've opened an offshore account, you may need to report your assets to the federal government. That means you might have to complete IRS Form 8938 every year when you file taxes. If you're not sure whether you need this form or you need help filling it out, here's everything you need to know about it. Read More...

Aug 05, 2022 Thanks to advances in technology, filing taxes isn't nearly as complicated as it once was. Today, many tax filers complete their tax returns online or through apps. The IRS released its own mobile app in 2011. While you can't use it to submit your tax forms, the IRS2Go app can make the tax-filing process easier to navigate. A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy to save money for investing and retirement goals. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 Hiring someone to care for your loved one so you can continue working is a common practice in the U.S. If a child, spouse or other household member requires care and you can't provide the care without quitting your job, you're not alone. A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy to meet your household needs and financial goals. Depending on your eligibility, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit to defray the expenses associated with that care.  Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Starting a business can be expensive. You'll likely have to cover the cost of a building or office space, equipment, utilities and legal and accounting fees. Fortunately, business owners can recoup some of the money they've spent by deducting expenses on their federal income tax returns. While you can't write off the total cost of any property you've invested in (at least after your first year of operation), you can get an annual tax break for depreciation and amortization by filing Form 4562. Read More...

Oct 19, 2016 IRS Form 2106 (Employee Business Expenses) is the form that lets you deduct business expenses you incurred during the tax year. So if you traveled for work or otherwise spent your own money on business costs, you can deduct a portion of those expenses from your taxable income. This can be a great income tax break for freelancers and other self-employed people and those who travel a lot for work. Here's how Form 2106 works.  Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 When you don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement account - like a 401(k) or a 403(b) - you can save for retirement by opening an IRA. Your contributions may be tax-deductible, meaning you can use them to lower your income tax bill. If you want are getting a tax break for IRA contributions, you will receive IRS Form 5498. Never heard of it? Here's what you need to know. A financial advisor could help optimize your tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 We all know that the cost of higher education is steep and getting steeper. If you're not relying solely on student loans or grants and are instead paying some of your own money toward tuition and fees, you may be able to deduct those expenses from your income taxes. To do so, you would use IRS Form 8917. A financial advisor could help you optimize your tax strategy for your education goals.  Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 Meeting deadlines can be tough, especially when you have a lot on your plate. If you won't have time to file your federal 2021 income taxes by the April 18, 2022, deadline,  don't worry. You can get a six-month extension to file, though you must send in the estimated balance due by the deadline. Here's our guide to Form 4868, the tax document you'll need to file for an automatic extension. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Representation in civil lawsuits doesn't come cheap. In the best-case scenario, you'll be awarded money at the end of either a trial or a settlement process. But before you blow your settlement, keep in mind that it may be taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. Here's what you should know about taxes on lawsuit settlements. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your lawsuit settlement. Speak with a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 If you have a pension, you're one of the lucky ones. Defined benefit retirement plans like pensions are increasingly rare, having been largely replaced by defined contribution plans like the 401(k). But drawing on your pension income when you hit retirement isn't a free ride. Some or all of that pension will be taxable. A financial advisor could help you optimize your tax strategy to benefit your retirement. Here's how it works.  Read More...

Sep 08, 2021 The idea of the estate tax, or death tax as it's sometimes known, is scary for many Americans. This is understandable, though the real truth is that the vast majority of people will never encounter it. That's because the federal estate tax has an extremely high exemption amount. In short, if your estate is worth less than the current year's exemption, you won't owe any federal taxes. However, there are state taxes to contend with in certain parts of the country. For help with your estate plan, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Sin taxes are meant to dissuade people from participating in activities considered harmful to their health and well-being. Places around the country tax consumers for buying things like tobacco and alcohol and many people have debated whether it's necessary to levy a tax on soft drinks, too. If you're not sure how you feel about soda taxes, read on to learn more about this controversial issue. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 If you've ever taken a look at your pay stubs you've probably noticed your employer's tax withholding. Based on the W-4 form that you submit when you start a new job or your tax situation changes, your employer will withhold federal and state (if applicable) income taxes from your pay. But if you start a job half-way through the year, you might benefit from the part-year tax withholding method. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Living outside of the country can be a rewarding and eye-opening experience. But it doesn't automatically exempt you from paying taxes, even if you haven't set foot on U.S. soil for months. Filing taxes can be tricky for the average American, so for someone who has to work around a foreign tax code, the process can be downright mind-boggling. For anyone who's working or living abroad, here are five tips that'll help you survive tax season. Read More...

Apr 05, 2016 The words " tax audit" are enough to send a shiver down anyone's spine, but some taxpayers are more likely to be subjected to the scrutiny of the IRS than others. If you're pulling in a salary that's in the seven-figure range, you could be a bigger target than the average Joe or Jane. The IRS recently released audit figures from fiscal year 2015 and there are a few trends that may be worrisome to millionaires. Read More...

Jul 05, 2017 Being self-employed can be a dream if you want more flexibility and control over your work hours. On the other hand, it can turn into a nightmare once tax time rolls around. Filing taxes when you run your own business can be a bit more complicated than filing a personal return. If you're a self-employed tax filer, here are some expensive tax errors you don't want to make. Read More...

Jan 04, 2022 Filing taxes can be stressful. When the IRS opts to take a closer look at your tax return, that can only increase your anxiety level. Getting your return flagged for review doesn't mean you'll be audited, but it can raise the odds that Uncle Sam will conclude that the numbers don't add up. It helps to understand why returns are flagged and what reviews involve. If you've got a complicated tax situation, it may be wise to work with a financial advisor with tax expertise. Read More...

Sep 18, 2021 Buying a home is a major financial feat and once you make an offer on a home, the real work of filling out the loan application begins. Lenders will ask for copies of your tax returns, which they'll use to verify your income and determine what kind of loan you qualify for. If you're preparing to buy a home, there are tax strategies you can use to make yourself more attractive to lenders. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have healthcare coverage. Unless you don't have to file taxes or you qualify for an exemption, you'll likely get stuck paying a penalty called the individual shared responsibility payment if you don't have health insurance. You could also be on the hook for paying the fine if your health insurance isn't considered minimum essential coverage. We'll explain what this government standard means and how you can meet it. Read More...

Jan 20, 2022 Having a hobby can be a great way to unwind, but a hobby can take on an entirely new dimension if you can make money while you're working at it. That's because any money your side hustle brings in may be considered taxable income. If you're thinking of turning a part-time passion into a full-time business, here's how it might change your tax filing status and your income tax bill. A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy to save money for investing and retirement goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Have you been to the zoo lately? If so, you may have found yourself wondering, "How do zoos make money?" Or maybe you've always been curious about how zoos get their hands on the animals their collections contain. Let's take a closer look at the economics of zoos, how they make money and what the future has in store for the zoo. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 Tax considerations should be front-of-mind when you're paying off your student loan debt. Whether you have a standard repayment plan or you've signed up for an income-based repayment program, there are certain tax rules that affect student loan borrowers, including some tax breaks that can provide relief come tax-filing season. A financial advisor can help you figure out what to do with your taxes. Here are five important IRS rules that every student loan debt holder should know. Read More...

Aug 05, 2022 With Form 8962, you are reconciling the tax credit you are entitled to with any advance credit payments (or subsidies) for the tax year. The size of your tax credit depends on the cost of available health insurance, your family size, where you live and your address. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Read on for more essential information about Form 8962. Read More...

Mar 01, 2016 In addition to your W-2 form, you might need access to other documents in order to complete your income tax return. If you have health insurance, for example, you may need a copy of Form 1095-B. Beginning in tax year 2015, it's one of three mandatory forms used to indicate who's complying with the Affordable Care Act's required minimum essential coverage. Find out what's on Form 1095-B and whether you need it to file your taxes. Read More...

Dec 29, 2021 Form 1095-A is a tax document Americans need to file if they buy health insurance through the government health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare). This is not a form you will actually fill out yourself. Rather, you will get it from the healthcare exchange you use after your purchase is complete, and from there you will file it as part of your federal income taxes. If you want help with taxes and other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Feb 26, 2016 The 2012 presidential election set records for the most expensive in U.S. history, and the 2016 election is on track to break that record. Total spending on the 2016 presidential race is projected to top $10 billion. That includes spending by candidates, parties, outside groups and individuals. Let's take a closer look at the campaign finance landscape in the U.S. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 If you're claiming an exemption from healthcare coverage, you'll need to fill out IRS form 8965 when you do your federal income taxes. This form helps you comply with Affordable Care Act rules that require health insurance coverage for just about everyone in the country. Here's everything you need to know about the 8965 tax form and who's qualified to use it. A financial advisor could help optimize your tax strategy for your financial needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 A tax refund can come in handy when you need to pay down student debt or you want to pad your emergency savings. But waiting for the money to hit your bank account can be nerve-wracking. According to the IRS, most refunds are processed within 21 days. For some unlucky taxpayers, the wait can be much longer. If you find yourself relying on your refund year after year, you might need to work with a financial advisor to put a proper financial plan together. Here are eight reasons why its arrival could be delayed. Read More...

Jan 03, 2022 For IRS purposes, a head of household is generally an unmarried taxpayer who has dependents and paid for more than half the costs of the home. This tax filing status commonly includes single parents and divorced or legally separated parents (by the last day of the year) with custody. It can also be an adult who is supporting a parent or other relative under certain circumstances. These certain circumstances can be tricky to understand. Also, your personal situation might be quite complex. For more help with your tax planning, consider consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 14, 2017 Millennials, now the largest age cohort in America, are different than prior generations in a number of ways. They are less likely to get married, for instance. 65% of present day 18-to-35-year-olds have never been married, compared to the 40% of young adults who had never said “I do” in 1980. Another key difference between millennials and prior generations is housing. Whereas in 1980 almost 44% of adults under age 35 owned their home, today that rate is just 35% (likely in part because millennials simply cannot afford to buy in many cities). Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 When you file a federal income  tax return, you have the choice between taking the standard deduction and itemizing your deductions. But after the 2017 Trump tax changes, which nearly doubled the standard deduction, many taxpayers who lowered their tax bill by itemizing deductions could no longer take the same tax breaks. Because of all the tax code changes, many people work with a  financial advisor to optimize a tax strategy for their financial goals. Let's take a look at deductions that you can take without itemizing. Read More...

Feb 10, 2016 Every presidential election cycle the flat tax debate reappears in Americans' political consciousness. While eight U.S. states currently have a flat tax rate, our federal income tax regime is progressive, meaning that those who make more money always pay a higher marginal tax rate. Let's take a closer look at the flat tax system and the arguments made for and against it. Read More...

Jan 04, 2017 Tax season has begun and while the April deadline seems far away, there's no time to waste. Snagging a few tax breaks can boost your refund or lower your tax bill. But you could miss out on them if you wait until the last minute to file. If you're in your 20s, here are some key tax deductions and credits to watch out for. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 Payroll tax deductions are a part of the way income taxes are collected in the U.S.. When you work at a job, a part of your income is taken each pay period, based on a number of factors including your total pay, how often you get checks and how many allowances you take when you fill out your W-4 at the beginning of your time at the job. Payroll taxes can be complicated, but there are people who specialize in them and other financial issues. To get this help, consider finding a financial advisor with SmartAsset's free matching tool. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 If you're reading this, chances are slim that you've ever won a lottery. Why? Because the odds of winning are just so low. In 2014, Americans spent $70.15 billion on lottery tickets alone. That's more than the total spending on music, books, sports teams, movies and video games combined, according to CNN Money. What do we get for all that money spent on the lottery? That depends.  Read More...

Jan 26, 2017 The home mortgage interest tax deduction is one of the most common deductions claimed on federal income tax returns, but that doesn’t mean most taxpayers are taking advantage of it. In fact, according to data from the Tax Foundation, only about 27% of all taxpayers deduct mortgage interest paid from their income when filing their taxes. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Paying taxes is one of the most burdensome parts of being self-employed and one of the trickiest parts is figuring out just how much you need to pay. Instead of having an employer taking taxes out of your paycheck, you're responsible for making estimated tax payments four times a year. If you pay less than what you owe to the IRS, you could get hit with a penalty when it's time to file your return. If you miscalculated, here's what you can do to get back on Uncle Sam's good side. Read More...

Jan 18, 2022 While everyone hopes to come out even or get some money back when they file their taxes each year, sometimes people do end up owing money – and there is a smart way to go about dealing with that. Owing any amount of money to the IRS – large or small – is a scary prospect, but ignoring the debt won't make it go away any faster. If you've completed your income tax return for the tax year and you're looking at a huge tax bill, it's best to take care of it right away. A financial advisor can help you figure out what to do with your taxes. Here's a look at what you don't want to do if you're trying to avoid making the situation worse in the long run.  Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Think your landlord has it made? Just wait until you find out about the tax breaks she's eligible for. Owning a rental property certainly comes with its fair share of frustrations. When you consider what landlords stand to save on their income tax bills, however, you might want to give the job a second thought. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your real estate goals. Let's break down five ways property owners save during tax season. Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 If you have children or other dependents under the age of 17, you likely qualify for the Child Tax Credit. It's been increased as part of the American Rescue Plan, which was signed by President Biden in March 2021 as part of a U.S. government effort to help families deal with the financial hardships stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct cash payments began on July 15. There are also a number of income limits you should know about when planning how much you'll receive. Since planning your family's finances goes beyond just taxes, consider  working with a local financial advisor to optimize your plans. Read More...

Jan 20, 2016 Renewable energy has been gaining steam in recent years. Windmills are popping up on ridges and in fields throughout the country, and solar panels are covering more roofs every day. From 2008 to 2013, the total energy produced by renewable sources increased by more than 25%, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Read More...

Apr 29, 2022 Prior to 2020, one of the biggest things you could do to affect the size of your paycheck was to adjust the number of allowances claimed on your W-4. The ideal number of allowances for you would depend on your individual situation. However, now that the allowances section of the W-4 has been eliminated, filling out the form has become somewhat streamlined. But if you need help figuring out your taxes, a financial advisor could help you optimize a strategy for your finances. Read More...

Aug 12, 2022 A tax deduction is a type of tax break that reduces the amount of money you owe the government. Tax deductions decrease your tax burden by lowering your taxable income and you can either claim the standard deduction or itemize your deductions when you file. Prior to the 2018 tax year, the standard deductions were about half as much as they are now. Below, we cover the standard deductions for the tax year 2022, which will be filed in early 2023. If you think you may be better off itemizing deductions then you'll likely benefit from working with a financial advisor who specializes in taxes. Read More...

Jan 13, 2016 Tax season is upon us. While we all dread doing our taxes, for many Americans there is a light at the end of that dark tunnel: a tax refund. Not everyone gets one, and the refund itself is money that you as a taxpayer have technically overpaid during the course of the year. Nonetheless, it feels good to receive that check and many people make big plans for their refund money.  Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 There are several good reasons to consider filing your own tax return. It can be cheaper than putting everything in the hands of a professional. You'll learn how to lower your tax bill and you'll be able to crunch the numbers in the comfort of your own home. If you'd prefer a DIY approach at tax time, taking the following steps can make the process go more smoothly. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Before you know it, tax season will be here again. If you've made a couple of mistakes on your tax forms in previous years or you've had to file for an extension on more than one occasion, this is the perfect time to right those wrongs. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax planning strategy for your investments and retirement goals. Let's break down what you need to do (and avoid) before the April 15 tax filing deadline (extended to May 17 in 2021).  Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 If you were unhappy with last year's income tax bill, there are several ways to reduce your overall 2021 tax burden before the April 18, 2022, filing deadline arrives. You can try to qualify for as many tax deductions and exemptions as possible. Or, you can find out if you're eligible to receive a tax credit. Taxpayers often work with  a financial advisor to guide them through claiming different types of credits. Let's take a look at the credits that you could be eligible for and how they work. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 We all know that the salary we negotiate is not the same as our take-home pay. Between benefits, retirement contributions and taxes, the difference can be quite substantial. In America, federal and often state and local governments collect income taxes. Understanding which factors affect how much income tax you have to pay can help you make more informed decisions. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 On March 1, 1872 Congress voted to establish Yellowstone National Park, the first national park. Today, there are over 400 national parks and over 20,000 National Park Service employees. Want to know more about these parks, how they're funded and how the economics of national parks affects local communities? You're in the right place.  Read More...

Mar 25, 2017 Investing in securities can yield big returns but adding on to your wealth can potentially drive up your tax bill too. Cashing in on as many tax breaks and tax deductions as possible can minimize the financial hit. There are a number of tax loopholes that benefit wealthy investors, so if you happen to fall into that category, here are some examples that can help you save big. Read More...

Dec 14, 2015 With the year winding down, it's time to cash in on any last-minute tax breaks you can snag. If you normally itemize your deductions each year, it's a good idea to make a donation to your favorite charity. But there are certain rules you'll have to follow when you're making your year-end donations. That's why it's important to watch out for these pitfalls that could cost you a deduction. Read More...

Dec 02, 2015 Shopping season is upon us. For some holiday shopping is a chore and a headache, synonymous with long lines and baffling return policies. Well good news for the Grinches: the rise of online retailers like Amazon and Jet.com means you can take care of your gift purchases from the comfort of your couch, with a credit card and a computer. Read More...

Feb 02, 2018 Whether you've been filing taxes for years or this season will be the first time you're submitting your own tax return, there might be some tax-related concepts that you tend to mix up. It can happen to the best of us, so there's no need to be embarrassed. In case you need the reminder, here are 10 terms you'll find on tax forms that you won't want to jumble. Read More...

Nov 06, 2015 Did you know that there's a way to deduct up to half of your income at tax time? But there's a catch: You have to make a cash donation to a qualified charity. If you donate shares or other non-cash assets, you can deduct up to 30% of your income. If you have plenty of money to spare and you're worried about getting a hefty tax bill, you may want to consider a donor-advised fund. Read More...

Jan 23, 2017 Professional football players lead enviable lives. The pro athletes on an NFL roster make a minimum of $435,000 per year, approximately 10 times the U.S. median income. The top earners get paid over $20 million per year. While that income guarantees a certain level of financial security and material comfort, there’s at least one day of the year that NFL players don’t get to enjoy: tax day. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Every year at tax time you'll pay federal income taxes, state taxes and local taxes. Some states are known for being more tax-friendly than others. Maybe you don't mind paying higher taxes if it means safer streets, better schools and more modern infrastructure. Still, if you're planning to move or buy a home, consider the impact of state taxes.  Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 Filling out your tax forms isn't an ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Whether you fill them out long-hand, use tax preparation software or enlist the help of a tax accountant, you're going to need to spend some time gathering documents and providing the IRS with the information it needs.  Read More...

Aug 11, 2022 Tax season can be stressful. But for many taxpayers, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a tax refund. Indeed, many people even depend on their annual refund, using the windfall for everything from  saving for retirement to working with a financial advisor to invest the money. If you've ever had serious questions about how tax refunds work, we'll fill you in on what you might not know. Read More...

Apr 07, 2022 Every April we have to go through filing federal income taxes, on our own or with the help of a tax accountant. Unless you happen to be a tax policy wonk, you probably don't dwell too much on the theory and practice of taxation. But while America's tax code is notoriously complex, taxes break down into discrete categories that are easy to understand. However, to minimize how much taxes affect your finances, you may want to work with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Form 1040 is the tax form you will out every year when you do your federal income taxes. Prior to the 2018 tax year, there were multiple versions of the 1040, but for 2019 and beyond, the form has been consolidated into one version. While people with more complicated tax situations may need more forms and schedules, everyone filing taxes will need to fill our the 1040. For help with taxes and other financial issues consider finding a financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 Update for tax year 2018 and later: President Trump signed a new tax plan into law in December 2017. The new law consolidated the forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ into one redesigned  Form 1040 that all filers can use. For your 2019 taxes, which you file in early 2020, you will use this new 1040. That means you can no longer use the 1040A unless you are filing a return for tax year 2017 or earlier. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 In limited liability companies (LLCs), a single person usually isn't fully responsible for company debts. Like other business owners, you'll have to pay taxes if you're a member of this type of entity. LLCs are taxed differently depending on whether they're classified as partnerships, sole proprietorships or corporations. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 If you're filling out a Form W-4, you probably just started a new job. Or maybe you recently got married or had a baby. The W-4, also called the Employee's Withholding Certificate, tells your employer how much federal income tax to withhold from your paycheck. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 An estate tax is most notably levied at the federal level, and it's charged to a decedent's estate when their assets pass on to their beneficiaries. Currently, most estates won't trigger the federal estate tax, as it only applies to estates worth more than $11.7 million for 2021. Because this tax can have a significant effect on your beneficiaries, it's best to plan ahead for it in your estate plan. Many people work with a financial advisor to maximize an estate plan for their loved ones. Let's take a look at how the estate tax could affect you and your beneficiaries.   Read More...

Nov 19, 2021 Filing your taxes on an annual basis is a major part of everyone's financial life. While the idea of filing might seem intimidating at first, there are many services and methods available to make doing so much easier. For instance, services like TurboTax and TaxSlayer walk you step by step through the filing process. For more help with your taxes and to start tax planning, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 07, 2022 In late 2017, President Trump signed a new tax plan into law. This law consolidated the forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ into a single redesigned  Form 1040 that all filers can use. For your 2021 taxes, which you file in 2022, you will continue to use this new Form 1040. If you have questions about filing your taxes, a financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy for you financial needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Along with the independence of owning your own business comes a greater level of responsibility. One of those responsibilities is paying business taxes. The business taxes you file will depend on whether the business is a sole proprietorship or whether it has corporation status. Many business owners find that hiring tax help is a worthwhile investment, and work with financial advisors to align their tax strategies to manage financial assets and maximize income. Let's break down your tax obligations, and walk through the tax deductions and credits that can help you save money for your business. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 One of the most important tax forms is the W-2. Unlike many tax forms, most individuals taxpayers won't need to fill this one out themselves. Rather, employers fill out W-2 forms for their employees. If you're an employer who doesn't know how to fill out a W-2 form, or you're not sure whether your employees need one, we've got the lowdown on everything you need to know. A financial advisor can help you optimize your tax strategy to help you reach your financial goals. Find a financial advisor todayRead More...

Jan 18, 2018 The issue of corporate tax rates is a subject of intense political debate. It's worth noting, however, that the share of businesses actually paying corporate tax has declined in recent decades. A lot of the enterprises we consider businesses and corporations don't actually file a corporate tax return. Instead, their profits get filtered through the individual income taxes of the business owner or owners. This trend may change though because the Republican tax plan passed in late 2017 will lower the corporate tax rate to nearly half of its 2017 level. Read More...

Jan 03, 2022 There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to say goodbye to a family member or friend. If you were close with the person who passed away, you might discover that they've left you something in their last will and testament. Before you officially take over your mother's house or claim her jewelry, there's one more thing you might have to worry about: an inheritance tax on your new assets. A financial advisor can help you minimize inheritance tax by creating an estate plan for you and your family. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 Given the complicated nature of income taxes and the popularity of convenient but not foolproof DIY tax filing software, it's understandable that you may make a mistake on your taxes at some point. When this happens, you'll need to file an amended tax return by filling out Form 1040-X. This may be needed if you've made mistakes ranging from under-reporting your income to missing out on tax credits and deductions. For help with fixing tax return issues or any other major financial consideration, think about finding a financial advisor to help you. Read More...

Mar 02, 2022 A tax loophole is a tax law provision or a shortcoming of legislation that allows individuals and companies to lower tax liability. Loopholes are legal and allow income or assets to be moved with the purpose of avoiding taxes. This is different than lesser known tax deductions or strategies that are intentionally available for taxpayers to save money. Let's break down how loopholes work, common examples and how they differ from intended tax-saving strategies. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy to lower your tax liability and reach your investment and retirement goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 If your income is particularly low one year, you may not need to file federal income taxes at all. You can save yourself the time and hassle of filling out your tax returns. The income threshold for determining whether you need to file taxes varies based on several factors, such as whether someone claims you as their dependent, whether the income you received is earned or unearned and whether you are blind.  Read More...

Sep 03, 2019 These days, the government works to lift folks out of poverty by means of subsidized housing, grants, tax deductions, tax credits and hundreds of programs targeting different needs. Some economists and tax policy wonks have questioned the need - and the efficacy - of all these targeted efforts. Why not just give money to people who need it, they ask. One way of doing so would be to implement a Negative Income Tax.  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Special consumption taxes on alcohol, tobacco products and sugary drinks all fall under the heading of a "sin tax." We're guessing that relatively few Americans think of drinking, smoking and consuming soda as really sinful, but these special taxes regulate behavior we find unhealthy or distasteful. Sin taxes are useful sources of revenue for state governments.  Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 The first thing you should know about the different types of 1099 forms is that if you're a worker, you don't need to fill them out yourself. Instead, the entity who is administering your investment account will send you a 1099. It's a relatively simple form to understand, meaning that incorporating one into your tax return process shouldn't be too difficult. You can expect to receive all 1099s that apply to you by early February. And a  financial advisor can help you take an additional step to figure out how 1099 taxes fit into your overall financial goals. Your financial plan isn't complete until you account for annual income tax payments and refunds. Talk to a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 The start of the back-to-school season is weeks away, but now's the time for parents to prepare for it. If you're sending a student off to college this year, there are a number of tax benefits you may be able to take advantage of. Claiming these credits and deductions could result in a lower bill when it's time to file your returns. Read More...

Jan 28, 2016 Failure to keep up with your tax liabilities can lead to what's called a tax levy. With a tax levy, the IRS confiscates assets of yours such as the money in your savings account or a portion of your wages. Of course, an IRS levy doesn't happen overnight. You'll get notices of overdue taxes and have a chance to prevent a levy.  Read More...

Aug 05, 2022 The term "tax liability" describes the amount of money owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of each tax year. Many Americans make reducing their tax liability a goal by chasing deductions and tweaking their filing strategy. If you want to know the answer to the question "Do I have tax liability?" you'll have to compare your income to the deductions, exemptions and credits for which you're eligible. A financial advisor could help reduce your tax liability by creating a full financial plan for your goals. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 If you are an independent contractor or business owner, you are responsible for making sure that you get the correct tax payments to the government -- unlike people who work as employees of a company which withdraws payments from each paycheck. Estimated taxes are what you expect to pay on any salary you earn that isn't subject to withholding, along with other income like interest, dividends and capital gains. For help figuring out your estimated taxes and make sure you don't make any costly mistakes, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 10, 2022 If you've ever looked at your earnings statement from a job, you have likely noticed some tax withholding. As part of your overall payroll taxes, the federal government requires employers to collect the FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax. The FICA tax includes two separate taxes. Social Security taxes fund Social Security benefits and the Medicare tax goes to pay for the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) that you'll get when you're a senior. Below we'll take a closer look at what Medicare taxes are and how they benefit you. And if you'd like the help of an expert one-on-one, head over to SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired up with a financial professional who can provide guidance tailored to your particular needs. Read More...

Jan 20, 2022 Knowing what you can deduct when you're doing your taxes each year is important if you want to reduce your tax liability. Some common deductions, like the mortgage interest tax deduction, are well known, but if you're going to do itemized deductions, you should know all the details. For help on your taxes and other financial questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 A tax shelter is a place to put your money where it will be safe from the long arm of the Tax Man. Many people think of tax shelters negatively, but they are completely legal and legitimate ways to decrease your taxable income. Common examples of tax shelters are home equity and 401(k) accounts. A tax shelter is different from a tax haven, which is a place outside of the country where people can stash money in order to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Here's our guide to tax shelters. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 A health savings account (HSA) is a way to set aside some money, tax-free, to use for possible medical situations you can't see coming. If you don't end up needing the money, can also be used as a vehicle for saving for retirement. Using an HSA is also a way to lower your tax burden each year, and their are a variety ways this can happen. If you want help with medical planning or any other financial considerations, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 12, 2022 Paying a federal income tax now seems so routine that it's hard to imagine a time when income taxes were controversial. The federal income tax as we know it is actually only a little over one hundred years old. That's a whole lot of money. Let's break down how income taxes work. A financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy for your financial needs and goals.  Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, payroll taxes made up approximately 31% of federal tax revenue in fiscal year 2021. That's $1.25 trillion out of $4.05 trillion. These taxes come from the wages, salaries, and tips that are paid to employees, and the government uses them to finance Social Security and Medicare. Employers withhold payroll tax on behalf of their employees and pay it directly to the government. If you take a close look at your earnings statement, you'll see that payroll taxes take a serious bite out your paycheck. But a  financial advisor can look at your tax situation and help you reach your financial goals. Read More...

Jan 28, 2016 A sales tax is a form of consumption tax that is collected by merchants who sell goods. The merchants then pass those taxes on to the government. Most states impose a sales tax, expressed as a percentage of the price of the taxed item. The good news is that sales tax revenue funds a lot of the stuff that makes our states tick. Plus, you can deduct the money you pay in state sales taxes from your federal income taxes.  Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Is your home someone's workplace? You may not have thought about it, but if you hire nannies, babysitters or home health aides the answer is probably yes. The lawn company you use, where the foreman hires, directs and pays his guys? Not your employees. The people you hire directly to do work that you specify and direct in your home are your employees. You should be paying the "nanny tax" for those employees. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 Schools, roads, parks, hospitals, and other public works and services rely on you and your neighbors, businesses, organizations, and estates to pay taxes that will help fund their budgets. Understanding how taxation works can give you a big picture idea about the ways your money gets taxed and empower you to take greater control of your finances. And a  financial advisor can also help you align your tax strategies to reach your financial goals. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 Property taxes got you down? It's worth investigating exemptions, deductions and credits in your area. Even if you don't live in a property that came with a tax abatement, you might qualify for a property tax break through your local or state authorities. And who doesn't want a tax break? Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 According to the non-profit Tax Foundation, the average effective income tax rate for all U.S. households is 18.1%. That is lower than the highest marginal rate paid by most year-round workers, (at least 25% for any individual with an adjusted gross income of more than $36,901)—but it also doesn’t capture the full picture. For the typical tax payer, state and local taxes on income, purchases and real estate can be almost as burdensome as federal income tax. Read More...

Jan 05, 2022 As a general rule, you shouldn't wait until the last second to file your tax return. It helps to plan and make certain decisions ahead of time to speed up the process. For one, if you're married, you'll need to decide whether you will file a joint or separate return. Typically, a joint return is the smartest move, since you can cash in on some valuable tax breaks. But sometimes it makes more sense to file on your own. A financial advisor can help you optimize the best tax strategy for your financial goals. Read More...

Mar 18, 2021 A Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) gives you early access to a sum roughly equivalent to your IRS tax refund. Sounds great, right? Well, the problem with these loans is that they come with significant fees and high interest rates. Another early refund option, the Refund Anticipation Check (RAC), isn't fee-free either. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 The deadline to file your 2021 taxes is April 18, 2022. But you may need even more extra time. You should note that due to the ongoing pandemic last year, the tax deadline for 2020 taxes was pushed back one month to May 17, 2021. If you think you'll need more time to get your taxes done, filing a tax extension is a must. When you file a tax extension form, the IRS gives you an additional six months to get your return in. A financial advisor could help you create a tax plan to meet important deadlines and reach financial goals. Let's break down what you need to know about getting a tax extension. Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 When it comes time to file your taxes, you'll need to comply with the Affordable Care Act. At the most basic level, that means indicating on your tax forms that you had health insurance in 2016. From there, things get a bit more complicated.  Read More...

Jan 21, 2016 Tax season is in full swing and millions of Americans are scrambling to get their returns done. If you've got all your W-2s and you've added up those deductible expenses, there's no reason to put it off until the last minute. But that's something about 20% of taxpayers do, according to the IRS. When you owe taxes, you may be tempted to drag your feet if you need time to come up with the cash. If you're getting money back, however, there are several reasons why you don't want to delay your filing. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 You don't have to be a die-hard hippie to see the sense in adding renewable energy to your home. What stops homeowners from installing these money-saving features is often the up-front cost, but an energy tax credit can help take the sting out of that initial investment. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 It's that time of year again when the cold temperature isn't the only thing that sends shivers down your spine. Tax season is settling in and it'll lay its icy cold grip on us from mid-January to mid-April. As tough as tax season can be, though, it's also a wonderful reminder that children are not only dependent upon us, but also dependents for us. Every year accountants, professional tax preparers and the IRS help line are confronted with questions about what it means to be a dependent, as well as what the rules are for including them on your tax return. Read More...

Dec 28, 2021 Financial experts recommend saving a lot of money for retirement. According to one rule of thumb, you should have twice your salary saved by the time you're 40, and eight times your salary by the time you're 65. Unfortunately, the average American paces well behind that recommendation, and  half of all Americans have no retirement savings at all. To incentivize low- and moderate-income Americans to save more, the U.S. government created the Saver's Credit. This credit provides a tax deduction for some of your IRA or ABLE account contributions, as long your income falls below a certain threshold. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 If you're part of the roughly 60% of Americans who pay someone else to prepare their tax return, then there's a good chance that you've had to make more than one visit to the preparer's office because you forgot something. Since preparing taxes happens only once a year, we've put together a checklist with five items to help you gather all the documents you need beforehand. A financial advisor can also help you optimize your tax strategy to reach investing and retirement goals.  Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 If you're expecting to get a big refund, tax season is probably something you look forward to each year. On the other hand, if you always end up owing Uncle Sam, then the April deadline may be a date you dread. Waiting until the last minute to file only adds to your stress, though, especially if you've got a balance due. But not filing at all can be even more problematic. There are both immediate and long-term consequences for failing to file, so if there's a chance you won't get your return in on time, here's what you can expect. Read More...

Dec 31, 2014 Estate planning requires interdisciplinary knowledge of law, tax and accounting issues. Yet the answer to the question  What makes a professional estate planner a professional? is that they get paid. This answer is not only snarky, but it also exposes a rather disturbing issue: the lack of regulation. In most places, anyone can hang a sign outside their door that says they're an estate planner, because no official license is required. There are, however, several certifications and accreditations that can help provide some legitimacy. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 While it may be tempting to save some money and plan your estate by yourself, it is likely not a good idea. Estate planning is full of small details that the average person just doesn't know about, but which someone trained in estate planning will. For this reason, it almost always makes sense to get professional help from a lawyer or financial advisor for all your estate planning needs -- otherwise, mistakes are likely. While everyone can benefit from estate planning, DIY estate planning is an especially bad idea if the estate in question is going to be worth more than the estate tax exemption, which sat at $11.70 million in 2021 and has risen to $12.06 million for 2022. For help finding someone to help you with estate planning, consider finding a financial advisor with SmartAsset's free matching tool. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 The title of this article is actually a serious question that is too often ignored. For many, the idea of estate planning means having millions of dollars in assets that will need to be distributed. The reality, though, is that estate planning is for anyone and everyone, as each of us, regardless of how much we have, is inevitably going to die. What happens to your assets--which includes more than just your money--is what estate planning is. Read More...

Dec 14, 2021 It's tax time! No, it's not April 15 th and you are not the subject of a time travel experiment gone wrong. But if you are one of the millions of taxpayers who expects to owe and wants to minimize your tax bill, or you want to maximize your refund, the time to think about taxes is before the end of the year. The fact of the matter is that once January 1 st rolls around, your accountant's hands are pretty much tied in terms of finding ways to lower your tax burden. The good news is there are things you can do now that can save you money when it's time to file. If you want help with end-of-year taxes or any other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 13, 2022 No matter the time of year, it's never too early to start working on your tax strategy. For 20-somethings who are struggling to get a grip on their finances, the whole process can seem overwhelming. And if you're not sure what you're doing, it's easy to overlook a key tax deduction or credit that could be worth big bucks when it's time to file. A financial advisor can help you figure out what to do with your taxes. There are certain things millennials need to keep in mind when prepping their returns. Let's break down the most important. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 One of the toughest things you will do as an adult is watch as your parents deteriorate with age. Emotionally, it is taxing to watch the very people or person who cared for you as a child slowly become more and more dependent on you for support. The emotional strain can be difficult enough, but other factors, such as medical costs, deciding the best way to care for them and how their assets will be utilized in aiding with this care, can cause even more frustration. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Taxpayers who can't get their paperwork in order by the extended May 17 filing deadline for their 2020 taxes can buy themselves a little more time by requesting an extension. This gives you an additional six months to complete your return and send it off to the IRS. Oct. 15, 2021 is the cutoff date for filing if you requested an extension and it'll be here before you know it. With the tax extension deadline drawing closer, here's what you need to be aware of when you're getting your documents together. Read More...

Apr 18, 2017 Estate planning is something people tend to put off for one reason or another but it's important that you have certain documents in place to protect your interests. At the very least, you need to draft a last will and testament to spell out what should be done with your assets after you're gone. Writing a will can be pretty straightforward if you have a relatively small estate but things can get complicated if you've built up a significant amount of wealth. If you haven't gotten started on yours yet, here are the top five mistakes you'll want to avoid. Read More...

Feb 10, 2020 When people think about planning their financial future, they tend to focus on things like retirement, paying down debt or saving for their child's education. Planning your estate is one of the things that often gets pushed to the backburner. There are lots of misconceptions about estate planning and if you don't have a clear understanding of how it works, you leave yourself open to some potentially expensive errors. We've put together a list of some of the most common estate planning mistakes you should avoid at all costs. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Planning for the future means more than just saving for retirement or adding a few bucks to your child's college fund. While it's probably the last thing you want to think about, making sure your family is financially prepared for your death is just as important. There are several elements that go into forming a solid estate plan but a last will and testament is the most basic. If you don't have a will, here are a few key points to keep in mind when making one. Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 It is no secret that in this country, many working individuals are lacking when it comes to having enough savings, especially retirement savings. While this is true for Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, it is particularly true for Millennials. The past few years have been tough economically, and Millennials have been some of the hardest hit by the recession, student loan burdens and more. As the economy continues to recover Millennials need to begin looking to increasing their savings. Roth IRAs may be the best way to go for many. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 Taking on a summer job is a rite of passage for many teens and it's a great way for kids to learn some financial responsibility while earning their own money. It's also an opportunity for young adults to get acquainted with what it means to have to pay taxes. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 When it comes to planning a marriage, most people believe they will be with their future spouse for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While skeptics believe signing or even discussing prenuptial agreements is akin to signing a death warrant on your marriage, this is not necessarily so. Not all marriages last a lifetime, and it is important to be realistic about that because a divorce can have major consequences not only for your emotional well-being, but also on your finances. Read More...

Jan 21, 2022 After the April showers come May flowers, which means the summer wedding season will soon be in full swing. Tying the knot is an exhilarating experience but planning your nuptials can leave you feeling frazzled, especially if you're worried about going over your budget. With the average cost of a wedding hovering around $30,000 it pays to look for ways to keep your costs down. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan to help you pay for weddings, buying a home, raising a family, retiring, and other financial goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Planning for your financial future can seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Finances can be confusing and there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are a few key things you should do if you are trying to secure your financial future. You do not have to be rich or extremely wealthy to have a secure financial future. However, you do need to pay attention to your finances and be willing to make changes when needed. Here are four things you should have to help ensure a secure financial future. Read More...

Mar 19, 2021 Benjamin Franklin once said that nothing was certain in this world except death and taxes. Even though it may be unpleasant, preparing for both of these events is important to your overall financial health. When it comes to making decisions about how you want your finances to be handled after you're gone, you can't afford to put it off. If you haven't put much thought into end-of-life planning, here are some steps you may want to take to ensure that your family is protected. Read More...

Mar 17, 2021 The pandemic is complicating many people's efforts to file their 2020 taxes by the deadline. But the good news is that the IRS has extended until May 17, 2021, the amount of time filers have to turn in their 2020 returns. But even if the extra month is not time enough to complete your returns, don't worry. Missing the cutoff date isn't necessarily the end of the world, although you could end up getting hit with some hefty penalties if you don't get your return in on time. If you already owe a sizable tax bill you may find yourself digging an even deeper hole the longer you wait. Here's what you can do to minimize penalties and interest if you end up filing your taxes late. Read More...

Jan 19, 2022 Your death is probably the last thing you want to think about, but you can’t afford not to - especially when you have a family that you will be leaving behind. A wise person once said that the only thing you can count on is death and taxes and they were right. It could be right around the corner or a few decades in the future, but it is something that will get here eventually. Prep your family now for your passing and you will save them the headache and heartache later on. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Established in 1969, the Alternative Minimum Tax was originally intended to prevent wealthy Americans from shortchanging the federal government at tax time. Generally, taxpayers can take advantage of credits and deductions to reduce their tax liability and lower their taxable income. The Alternative Minimum Tax comes into play once your income reaches a certain limit. While the tax was permanently indexed for inflation in 2013, millions of Americans may still find themselves getting hit with the AMT this year. If you're worried you may have to pay, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 It's tax time and for some Americans, that means ponying up a hefty chunk of change to the IRS. Thanks to some key changes, certain taxpayers could find themselves paying even more. If you're looking to shave a few bucks off what you owe, you'll need to plan your filing strategy carefully. Here are a few ways to trim your tax bill so you can hang on to more of your hard-earned cash. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Making sense of the federal tax code is no easy task and with so many new changes taking effect, figuring out what you owe may be even more difficult. Tackling the job yourself can save you money on tax preparation fees but it could end up costing you if you make a mistake. Hiring a professional may mean shelling out serious cash but it could be worth if you're able to lower your tax bill or fatten up your refund. It helps to understand the advantages and disadvantages of either option before you make a decision. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 Tax season is underway and the IRS is hard at work processing the millions of returns being filed. While most returns will be accepted without a second glance, a select group of taxpayers will find themselves subject to closer scrutiny in the form of an audit. A financial advisor can help you figure out what you should do with your taxes. Let's break down the most common IRS audit triggers. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 New research shows what you already know - your family affects your finances. But specifically, your family dynamics play a big part in your retirement plans. Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 The tax filing deadline will be here before you know it. If you haven't started working on your return yet, you can't afford to put it off much longer. Making sense of the federal tax code can be a challenge. For many Americans, it's easier to pay a professional to crunch the numbers. If you've never hired a tax advisor before, finding someone you trust may require a little homework on your part. Here are a few tips. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 The Internal Revenue Service is warning of a popular scam targeting U.S. taxpayers. Every year when it's time to pay income taxes, scammers try to take advantage of the opportunity. The phone scam is widespread. It's been reported in all fifty states throughout the country aimed at taxpayers and recent immigrants. SmartAsset has the details so you don't become a victim. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 Retirement sounds like a dream - no work and all play. The good life. But the good life may actually mean more life. A new study shows when you retire early, you may live longer. It's enough to leave us wondering how to retire at 50. Many people derive great satisfaction from their work, but there are health benefits to leaving work behind.  Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 When you are first starting out in your career, you tend to think of retirement as something far off.  In the days of our grandparents, and even some of our parents, retirement savings wasn't even an issue - many employers took care of that with company pension plans. Read More...

Jan 28, 2019 Even when it isn't April tax season, a tax deadline may still be looming. Millions of people request a six-month extension and then have to file their tax returns by mid-October. To be precise Oct. 15, 2019 is the due date to file your return for those who requested a tax return extension in April. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 Let’s start with the good news: your house has most likely increased in value over the last couple of years. While the recession knocked most property values down to early 2000s levels, most of the country has recovered and home values have increased each year. The bad news is that your property taxes probably jumped upwards as well. Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to limit the pain of rising property taxes. Read More...

Jan 11, 2022 A living trust is a financial instrument used to make sure your money goes to the right people when you die. No one likes to think about dying but when it comes to managing your finances, you have to be prepared for the inevitable. Having a solid estate plan in place can ensure that your family is taken care of after you're gone. A last will and testament and a living trust are two useful tools you can use to form your estate plan. If you don't have a lot of assets or you plan to leave everything to your spouse, a will may be enough. A living trust lets you dictate how your assets are handled before and after you die, but whether or not you need one depends on several factors. A financial advisor can help you with all manner of estate planning issues. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 In today’s day and age, people have much more access to information than ever before. The ease with which we can look up all sorts of data and information is astounding, and often, incomprehensible to past generations. However, given all the information available to us, right at our fingertips, it still seems that many people are confused about their personal finances. If you find yourself in this boat, just know you are not alone. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Here’s the thing about life insurance: you don’t really need it.  Seriously.  Whether or not you have it will have absolutely no effect on you whatsoever.  When your time comes, you will die; that we can guarantee with 100% certainty.  Once you are dead, whether or not you have life insurance will not affect you at all. Read More...

Dec 12, 2014  Are you financially prepared for death? SmartAsset has a few tips on how to avoid making some critical mistakes, and help you prepare for the inevitable. Read More...

Jan 05, 2016 In all the hubbub around getting married you might not have thought about how the change in your marital status would affect your tax bill. Once you’ve written your thank-you notes and returned from your honeymoon, you can turn your mind to practical considerations like taxes. The good news is that you've earned some new tax privileges. The bad news is that you might owe more at tax time. Here are five ways getting married affects your tax bill. Read More...

Jan 20, 2016 You may be planning to do your taxes as close to the April 18th deadline as possible. This year, the usual April 15th deadline has been pushed back to April 18th. But that's no reason to procrastinate. Here are the 5 best reasons to do your taxes early. Read More...

Jan 19, 2017 SmartAsset ran income data for players like Cam Newton and Eli Manning through our income tax calculator to estimate the tax bills paid by the NFL’s stars. Read on to find out which NFL stars are taking the biggest hit. Read More...

Feb 16, 2016 Everyone likes a nice fat tax refund check. A big tax refund can seem like a just reward for 12 months of tax withholding, not to mention taking a few hours to fill out an income tax return. But pulling out all the stops in pursuit of a bigger tax refund is probably not the best idea. Here are 5 things you shouldn’t do just to get a bigger tax refund. Read More...

Feb 23, 2016 When it comes time to elect the next president, Americans will mark their ballots after careful consideration on a range of issues. For many voters, a candidate's tax plan will be a deciding factor. Will your tax bill be higher or lower under your candidate of choice? Here’s where the candidates for the Democratic and Republican nominations stand on the issue of taxes. Read More...

Back