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Personal Finance

Tax

Seller-Funded Down Payment Assistance Programs are Not Tax Exempt

The Sacramento, California-based Nehemiah Corp., a nonprofit mortgage assistance program, and 184 similar programs around the country, have been accused by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of operating a down payment scam and are no longer eligible for tax exempt status, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Practice Management

Survey Reveals Alarming Contract Management Practices

A new AberdeenGroup analyst report reveals some alarming practices in global business today. The report The Contract Management Benchmark Report: Sales Contracts reveals that 85 percent of responding companies are using manual or only partially automated systems to manage sales contracts and 32 percent of customer contracts are not tracked, improperly serviced or forgotten entirely.

SEC Cuts FY 2007 Registration and Transaction Fees

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week that fees on securities transactions and registrations will be reduced by $1 billion in the fiscal year (FY) beginning October 1, 2006. Fees paid by issuers to register securities with the SEC will be reduced 71.3 percent. Fees applicable to most securities transactions will be reduced by 50.2 percent.“This is terrific news for investors,” SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in a prepared statement. “Even by Washington’s standards, a billion dollars is a lot of money.
A&A

Young Farmers Optimistic about the Future of the Family Farm

More than 95 percent of young farmers and ranchers surveyed at the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers annual meeting held in Des Moines, Iowa, last month said that they see a future for their children in farming and ranching, the Prairie Star reports. Last year 89 percent saw a future for their farms.

American Companies Can’t Continue Offering Adequate Pensions

A new survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) indicates that the vast majority of CPA’s in executive positions, such as corporate chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and Controllers, believe American companies can’t continue providing pensions that adequately cover their employees’ retirement years.
A&A

Building a Nest Egg for Your Small Business

Building a financial cushion for your business is never easy. Experts say that businesses should have anywhere from six to nine months worth of income safely stored away in the bank. If you're a business grossing $250,000 per month, the mere thought of saving over $1.5 million dollars in a savings account will either have you collapsing from fits of laughter or from the paralyzing panic that has just set in. What may be a nice well-advised idea in theory can easily be tossed right out the window when you're just barely making payroll each month.
A&A

Bankruptcy Filings Rebounding Despite Intention of New Law

The new bankruptcy legislation enacted on October 17, 2005, apparently only had a temporary effect on the number of bankruptcy filings.

Boomers More Worried About Fuel and Medical Costs

What is keeping Baby Boomers up at night?

Ignore the Tip Jar but Not the Maid

Tip jars are turning up everywhere in America these days. Don’t feel guilty if you ignore the ones at fast food establishments, even coffee shops, if they don’t bring food or beverages to the table. Tip jars are often placed so conspicuously that employees at self-serve businesses, from gas stations, convenience stores, hot dog carts, coffee houses and fast food restaurants, are being rewarded for service they are not providing. In the meantime, people who do provide service are often overlooked, especially when we travel around the country.Tips are not just rewards for good service.

Vacation Costs Increasing

The American Automobile Association’s (AAA’s) Annual Vacation Costs survey found that the overall cost of taking a vacation this year has increased 5.4 percent from the previous year.
Tax

It’s Tax Day: Take the Afternoon Off!

That’s what management is telling staff at Rachlin Cohen & Holtz, Florida’s largest accounting firm. Over the firm’s 51 year history, they have created a culture of year –round tax planning that allows the firm to close the office at 3:00 p.m. today, rather than burning the midnight oil.“The concept of April 15 is only important if you haven’t preplanned,” Rachlin Cohen & Holtz’ Managing Partner Larry Blum told AccountingWEB.
A&A

Fuel Cost Driving Large & Small Business Efficiencies

Large fleet carriers are not the only purchasers of fuel purchasing management software.
Tax

Refund-Anticipation Loans Under Fire

Widely advertised and promoted by U.S. tax preparation companies, refund-anticipation loans are a $1.6 billion market in this country. Jackson Hewitt has seen their latest quarter, ended January 31, beat their quarter revenue estimates. The Asbury Park Press reports that their Money Now loan program has helped the price of its shares swell by more 8.8 percent in a year.
Tax

Hybrid Vehicles Certified for the New Energy Tax Credit

Last Friday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced tax credit amounts for certain hybrid vehicles manufactured by Ford, Mercury, Toyota and Lexus.
A&A

Finance Executives Support Stronger Pension Funds

A survey of 122 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) by Grant Thornton showed that 84 percent support the Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB) proposal to report the level of pension funding on the balance sheet. The response came as a surprise to many, but “because corporate pension information is already disclosed in the notes to the financial statements,” said John Hepp, a senior financial professional-standards manager at Grant Thornton, according to CFO.com, finance executives would not object to the new rule.

Capital Gains Law, Investment Values Drive Second Home Market

The annual number of second homes purchased in the United States doubled between 2000 and 2004, from 405,000 to 881,000, according to research conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The Value of a Minute

Tax time can leave many people, both accountants and taxpayers, feeling overwhelmed. For a quick break and to put life into perspective, visit www.YourMoneyYourWay.com. This short movie was developed by Tracy Piercy, CFP, for those facing financial challenges, but at this time of year it serves as a great reminder, for anyone needing a reminder, of what it is that is really precious in life.For the curious, providing a name and email address in the form at the end of the movie signs you up for MoneyMinding’s ongoing email financial management tips and strategies.

70 Percent of Americans Will Spend Their Refund Saving for a Rainy Day

Millions of Americans have prepared their federal and state tax returns with hopes of receiving a refund. In past years, that refund, real or not, was likely to be used to pay for something fun or extravagant.

Not Doing Homework Costs Parents Too

Parents who forget to do their homework before choosing a state-sponsored college savings plan are being sold funds with the highest fees, according to a survey of state-sponsored 529 college savings plans just published in the Journal of American Taxation Association. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the sales practices of 529 plans and has reportedly requested a copy of the article.“Our results are consistent with the fact that it’s so difficult to choose the right plan that people ask investment brokers for advice, and brokers are selling investors

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