Personal Finance

Income Tax Burdens for the Non-Spouse Beneficiary

Have you heard about a “stretch IRA” and wondered if it was some special kind of IRA? Well, it isn’t. In the simplest terms, a stretch IRA is an IRA that has a beneficiary designation that provides for the possibility of maintaining the tax deferred status of the IRA after the death of the IRA owner. You might be thinking, “I wish I had a stretch IRA. I only named my spouse as my primary beneficiary and my kids as my successor or contingent beneficiary.” Well, guess what? You have a stretch IRA.

Student Housing is an Excellent Investment Opportunity

Far beyond the stereotypical “college” images that may come to mind, off-campus student housing is a good investment.

Martha Stewart & Peter Bacanovic Settle with SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that an agreement to settle insider trading charges against Martha Stewart and Peter Bacanovic, relating to Stewart’s December 2001 sale of ImClone Systems stock, has been reached.Advertisement
Education & Careers

Accounting & Finance Worker Confidence Hits Summer Doldrums

Worker confidence among accounting and finance professionals fell 3.4 points, to 106.6 in July, according to the latest Hudson Employment Index. This level is lower than July 2005 when the confidence level among accounting and finance workers was 110.

Raises Harder to Come by, College Graduates Find

Salaries among the ranks of college-educated, white-collar American workers are eroding for the first time since the 1970s, as globalization adds a new twist to the U.S.

The Consequences of Credit Card Company Created Bankruptcy

Chances are that back when you first began using credit cards, the credit card companies were never shy about offering you more cards and larger credit lines. They acted this way because they wanted you to live beyond your means and take on more debt than you could reasonably pay off on a monthly basis. These companies do not make money when customers charge low amounts and pay off their balances in full; they make money when customers carry high balances and pay hefty interest rates.
A&A

Adding Credit Counseling Helps Businesses Build Customer Loyalty, Build Bottom Line

By the end of the first quarter of 2006, U.S. consumer debt totaled $11.8 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. The new bankruptcy reform, higher interest rates, rising gas prices and increased minimum credit card payments, also make it apparent that consumers are in need of financial advice and more businesses need to offer it.A recent study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) indicates that individuals coming to NFCC agencies for pre-bankruptcy-filing counseling “were in desperate financial shape with debts that vastly exceeded their income.
Community News

NY Crackdown on Bad Accountants Addresses Long-Term Concern

New York State regulators’ new crackdown on the accounting profession addresses an issue that has been roiling in the Empire State ever since the Enron accounting scandal surfaced several years ago.The New York State Board of Regents has revised the definition of "unprofessional conduct" for CPA's licensed by the state to include disciplinary actions taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), meaning that accountants or accounting firms disciplined by either of those bodies now can be subject to censure, reprimand and t
Technology

Accounting Made Easy: BillMonk Formalizes IOUs

A new field of accounting has sprung forth from the software industry: “social money.” And a start-up company is servicing the recently identified market, helping college students and young adults track informal debt. “BillMonk helps you avoid the awkwardness of borrowing and sharing. We track the debts that might otherwise be forgotten, and we do the cumbersome money-math,” the company says.In short, BillMonk helps a circle of friends keep track of who owes how much to whom. For example, a user wants to report a debt like shared rent or an IOU to another person.
Technology

Employers Seek Alternatives for Easing Costs of Going to Work

With gas prices still high and possibly going higher, companies are trying to help their employees save money on their daily commutes by signing up for commuter tax benefit programs and discount programs with local mass transit and offering transportation subsidies, the Associated Press reports. Employers can also reap tax benefits from those participating in the commuter tax program which can help them to retain their employees.
Practice

Mark Your Calendar: 8 Critical Questions Webconference

1st Global is sharing the eight critical questions tax practitioners need to answer about their practice and wealth management in an hour-long webconference on Wednesday, June 21, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Central Time.
A&A

Succession Plans for Family Owned Businesses

Successful transitions from the first to the second or third generations in family-owned businesses come from identifying the family member who is capable of running the business and then structuring the transition as a business transaction, says Christopher Hirschfeld, Vice President and Managing Director, Goelzer Investment Banking, according to insideindianbusiness.com.The business owner may assume that a child wants to run the business and is capable, but “this assumption needs to be validated well before the owner steps aside,” Hirschfeld says.
Tax

Responsibilities of American Taxpayers Working Abroad

American taxpayers with tax homes in the U.S. and who are living or working abroad, still have responsibility for paying taxes on their worldwide income, according to the IRS. The good news is that they may also exclude all or part of their foreign salary, wages or other income, up to the maximum annual exclusion, by meeting the bona fide residence test or physical residence test.

Racing Economics: Horse Tales

Purchasing a racehorse is a risky investment in which the odds of hitting it big for most owners are about as long as getting an entry into this weekend’s Belmont Stakes.Even for the high rollers who pump millions of dollars into the sport, the sheer enjoyment of competing often outweighs grandiose visions of handsome paydays, said Dan Metzger, president of the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association in Lexington, Ky.

Investigation Spreads to Spring-Loading Executive Stock Option Grants

Individuals familiar with the rapidly expanding investigation into executive stock options grants have told Reuters that the practice of spring-loading, or setting a grant date and exercise price to occur shortly before the release of positive corporate news, is being scrutinized along with the practice of backdating.Advertisement

Funding Bill Changes Rules for Ex-Spouses; Military Accountants

Last week the Senate Armed Services Committee approved three adjustments to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act as part of the 2007 defense authorization bill (S 2766).
Tax

National Guard & Military Pay

For tax purposes, military pay is treated like regular income, while parts of National Guard pay have special treatment. Before the passage of the Tax Reform Act of 1986, National Guard members could deduct 100 percent of their travel expenses.
Tax

IRS Encourages Safeguarding Financial & Tax Records

As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 21 – 27, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is encouraging taxpayers to protect their financial and tax records in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.Advertisement
Education & Careers

Free Agent Frame of Mind

Sitting in a cubicle after 5 p.m. on a Friday or even just on a beautiful spring day, can make anyone dream of striking out on their own. Freedom may not turn out the way corporate captives dream it will be. For instance, many freelancers/contractors end up occupying cubicles, just without the benefits or job security enjoyed by many full-time employees.

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