Personal Finance

Education & Careers

Tweens Savvy About Savings

The next generation is learning financial prudence, according to a survey of American “tweenagers” conducted by Weekly Reader Research and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). When asked what they would do with a gift of $100, 59 percent of children between the ages of 9 and 12 indicated they would save at least $50.The announcement of the survey results, coincide with the launch of a special “Budget Buzz” program.

The Marriage Effect on Wealth

“If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay married,” says Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research and author of a new nationwide study on the effect of marriage and divorce on a person’s wealth. “On the other hand, divorce can devastate your wealth.”The study, which used data from 13 of the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth conducted between 1985 and 2000, found that single people experienced a slow, steady increase of wealth.

10 Financial Questions to Ask Before Saying “I Do”

If thoughts of marriage are filling your head this Valentine’s Day, it may be time to take a good look at your finances…and those of the one you love. Financial problems are often among the greatest challenges facing couples. With many people facing increasing levels of debt and more stringent bankruptcy laws making it more difficult to eliminate even crippling levels of debt, being on the same general financial page is more important than ever.The issue is especially important for those under 35.
A&A

Family Limited Partnerships Being Probed by the IRS

Family limited partnerships (FLPs) are the target of increased scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These vehicles are apparently a popular technique for reducing estate and gift taxes. The IRS is increasing the number of audits it performs, focusing on those taxpayers with incomes of $100,000 or greater, according to the Wall Street Journal.The IRS is concerned FLPs are being set up for other than legitimate business purposes. Audit interviews are focusing on how these partnerships are set up and run, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Looking For Love

Commitment is the most desirable characteristic women look for in a potential long-term mate. Appearance, or looks, come in fourth when considering characteristics of long-term mates although it is the most preferred characteristic in short-term mates, according to a study conducted by David Geary, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri – Columbia, and pending publication in the journal Human Nature.These results seem to defy conventional wisdom which holds that women are primarily concerned with status and financial resources when looking for a long-term mate.
Tax

Senior Marriage Penalty

“It’s galling that they have a marriage penalty for seniors, when they’ve addressed it for everyone else,” Lonell Spencer, a 77-year-old retiree from Arcadia, Connecticut, told the Hartford Courant.The penalty he’s referring to is the tax on Social Security income, which applies to every dollar of income over $32,000 for married couples, compared to $25,000 for a single taxpayer.
Tax

IRS Taking New Steps to Improve Questionable Refund Program

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today that new steps, including the notification of taxpayers when refunds are frozen and the more timely release of frozen refunds not warranting further review, have been undertaken to improve the Questionable Refund Program (QRP) and reduce the number of taxpayers subject to frozen refunds.Advertisement
Community News

Helping Clients Keep Their Financial Resolutions

It’s a new year and many clients start it off right by organizing financial files and “cleaning house.” The benefits of this are twofold: 1) They will gain a clearer idea of their current financial situation, and 2) They can form financial goals for their future.
Technology

GoDirect Campaign Aimed at Baby Boomers

A nationwide telephone survey of 1,400 adults sponsored by The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Banks, part of their join GoDirect initiative, revealed that, contrary to widely held perceptions, baby boomers are less inclined to use direct deposit than today’s seniors, a U.S. Treasury press release reports.
Tax

Taxing Vehicles: Business and Personal

The ads are everywhere. “Walk in with your W-2, drive out with a new car,” or some variation on that theme. But before walking in, a little thought is in order.“We find a number of people who get in trouble when they expect a certain amount and they don’t get that amount,” Mike Cherry of the Consumer Credit Counseling Services told KOLR 10.
Technology

In Personal Finance Software, Style Rules

In the world of personal finance software: two rivals, Microsoft Money and Intuit's Quicken, dominate.Both can help organize tax information and all personal accounts, pay bills online, create budgets, handle investments and make financial forecasts. Both are connected to their websites. Features are similar in both programs, so style and personal preferences could be the determining factor as to which one to use.
Tax

Rules for 'Head of Household' Get Stricter

Claiming a dependent child on a federal income tax form may sound like a straightforward matter, but some taxpayers have been bumping up against confusing definitions for years.Congress, last year, brought together the five different definitions of the term “dependent child,” tightening the
Tax

Tax Tip: Gift Taxes

Taxpayers who have given gifts exceeding $11,000 in value to a single individual must report the total gift amount to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The giver may owe taxes on the gifts.
Practice

Year-End Bonuses: $1 Million or $800 or Nothing?

End-of-year bonuses on Wall Street amounted to a total of $21.5 billion, a 16 percent increase and an all-time high.New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi predicted in Time magazine that the extra income would bring $1.5 billion in tax revenue to the state. Bankers and traders got the biggest bonuses, of $1 million and up. The average Wall Street bonus is $125,500. Most people expect far less, if anything. American workers who responded to a Salary.com 2005 Holiday Spending Survey said they expected to receive a bonus of about $800 and would use some of it to buy gifts.
Tax

Keeping Personal & Business Tax Records

This is an important task for everyone. The Ventura County Star describes the organization of tax records like exercise. You might not always have fun, but it is necessary.A good recordkeeping structure is a solid start. The Ventura County Star recommends you make a list of your important assets and then organize your files in the same order. This provides for easy document retrieval. Ensuring that all your records are filed will help you at tax time.
Community News

H&R Block Mailed Free Software with Recipient’s Social Security Number on Label

H&R Block acknowledged last week that it had mailed unsolicited packages, containing their TaxCut software, to former customers early in December and that some of these packages had the former client’s social security number (SSN) embedded in the source code on the mailing label, CIO-today.com news reports. This kind of software mailing is a common marketing practice in many industries, according to WTVQ.com in Lexington, Kentucky.

Advocates Target Predatory Lending Practices

Consider these two adages: Owning your own home is the American Dream, and if it sounds too good to be true, it usually IS too good to be true.Advocates worry that low-income taxpayers are paying too much attention to the first and not enough to the second, as predatory lending practices promise to make them homeowners, but instead put them in far worse financial shape than they were before.Bad lenders aggressively target low-income neighborhoods, offering loans based on inflated appraisals with high annual interest rates and payments the borrower cannot afford.
Tax

Introducing the AMT Assistant

A new tool, developed to help taxpayers and tax preparers determine whether the taxpayer is potentially subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), debuted last week on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. The AMT Assistant automates the AMT Worksheet, called “Worksheet to See if You should Fill Out Form 6251”, of the 1040 Instructions. The IRS estimates it will talk 5 to 10 minutes to get an answer from the new application.“The alternative minimum tax causes a lot of hair pulling for millions of taxpayers each year.
Tax

Requesting Your Tax Return Information

When requesting tax return information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are several ways for you to receive your information. You can request tax return transcripts and tax account transcripts. You can also receive a copy of your original return, generally if it has been less than seven years since filing. This information can be obtained by phone or by mail, according to the IRS. The usual fees for transcripts or return copies requested by taxpayers residing in the Presidential Disaster Areas have been waived by the IRS.
A&A

Tax Season Opens with Extended Deadlines & E-Filing Hopes

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has kicked off the 2006 tax filing season by announcing some extended filing deadlines, reducing the reporting workload for small businesses, and maintaining its high hopes for continued expansion of electronic filing.The agency has changed this year’s filing deadline to April 17 because the traditional April 15 date falls on a weekend.

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