Personal Finance

A&A

New Tools Solve Complicated Requirements for Funds & Individual Investors

GainsKeeper®, part of Wolters Kluwer Corporate & Financial Services division, addes new tax reporting tools to its three industry-leading tax lot accounting suites – GKAdvisor™ used by funds, GKBrokerage™ for shareholders, and FundTax™ used by individual investors – in September.“Our tax lot accounting suites offer an automated solution designed to calculate key fund and investor figures, allowing both professionals and individual investors to spend significantly less time compiling and attempting to make calculations based on tax- relevant date,” Sanjeev Doss, GainsKeeper di

529 College Savings Plans Post Mediocre Returns

In an effort to prepare for the college costs and take advantage of potential tax savings, many American families are enrolling in state-sponsored prepaid tuition and college savings 529 plans. But 529 plans have not performed well in many states due to lackluster investment returns and relatively high fees, the LA Times reports. The most successful of California’s Golden State Scholarshare funds has been the guaranteed option – much like a savings account – which has paid 4.29 percent per year for five years.

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans Rolling Out This Week

Beginning this week, Medicare beneficiaries should expect to receive mailings, emails and calls from telemarketers representing private insurers and health care companies, marketing their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. In California, Medicare enrollees will choose from 47 stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, including the 10 approved national plans, and another 113 Medicare Advantage Plans, InsideBayArea.com reports.
Tax

CCH Capital Helps IRS Accurately Verify Investment Income

Have you ever wondered how the Internal Revenues Service (IRS) verifies the investment income reported by taxpayers on their returns? As of last week, the IRS will use the CCH® Capital Changes online database to conduct research, verify taxpayer returns or pursue audits of returns.CCH Capital Changes database contains information on more than 100,000 companies spanning more than 100 years and is considered the tax authority for accurate basis tracking and related tax issues involving equities in the U.S. and world capital market.

More College Savings: Textbook Deduction Proposed & Unclaimed Tuition Credits Found

After paying the steep costs of tuition, parents and students in American colleges face “shockingly high costs for textbooks in class after class, at school after school,” said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. Schumer has proposed making up to $1,000 of textbook costs tax deductible, his office announced. In addition, Senator Schumer is proposing a national textbook rental program, Newsday reports. Congress would offer $25,000 grants to colleges to conduct feasibility studies to see if a rental program would work for them.

Energy Conservation Urged

President Bush has urged Americans to drive less in the wake of hurricanes and fears that our nation’s economic growth may slow down with the current cost of energy. The president also issued a directive for all federal agencies to promote the use of carpooling and public transportation for their employees and to slash their own energy use.Bush proposed to continue the suspension of certain antipollution laws concerning diesel fuel and gasoline to help alleviate shortages and to attract imports.
A&A

Retail Merchants Groups Sue Credit Card Companies

Four merchant associations have filed a class action suit against Visa USA, MasterCard Inc. and major US banks including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co., alleging collusion in setting interchange fees, according to a report from Reuters. Merchants pay an interchange fee on every transaction, part of which goes to the merchant’s bank and part to the consumer’s credit card company.
Tax

Tax Relief Granted for Hurricane Rita

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday announced that deadlines for taxpayers and businesses in the areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Hurricane Rita have been postponed to February 28, 2006.

26 Approved to Offer Credit Counseling Under New Bankruptcy Law

When the new bankruptcy law goes into effect next month, at least 26 credit counselors have been approved by the U.S. Trustee Program to provide counseling to consumers filing bankruptcy.
Tax

Mark Your Calendar: Facing a Financial Crisis Teleconference

The Department of Labor Women’s Bureau is holding the sixteenth Wi$e Up Teleconference Call on Friday, September 30 from Noon to 1:30 p.m Eastern. The topic is Facing a Financial Crisis and among the issues discussed will be planning for and recovering from disaster.
Tax

RIA Projections Give You a Jump on Tax Season

Some people will probably say it’s too early to be thinking about the 2006 tax season. After all, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t even required to release their tax figures for 2006 until December.

Pace of Giving Slows: Donors Scrutinize Charities

Donations for Hurricane Katrina relief to the online giving site, Network for Good, have dropped 30-fold since September 1st, Katy Anderson, vice president of marketing told the Washington Post.
Technology

Longevity: The Most Dangerous Planning Tool

Life and death are not exact sciences.

Medicare Premiums Increasing in 2006

In 2006, seniors and disabled citizens will be paying another $10.30 over the $78.20 that they are already pay this year. This represents a 13.2 percent increase for Medicare Part B premiums.
A&A

U.S. Businesses Unprepared for Disaster

For nearly 40 percent of American businesses, said business continuity planning is not a priority.
Community News

Katrina Victims Get More Time to Get Direct Deposit

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Tuesday announced the activation of accelerated direct deposit enrollment procedures for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) check recipients displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Technology

Growing Use of Data Mining in Businesses and Government

Data mining technology, which can scan unstructured data to identify trends or link users, and generate reports that answer analytical questions, is finding new users in both government and businesses, according to the Seattle Times. Success came for the technology with the development of programs that allow computers to understand content.
A&A

Insurance Industry Ready to Pay Katrina Claims

As the devastation from Hurricane Katrina becomes more clear and property loss estimates continue to be revised upward, insurers say they should be able to pay the claims.Insurance experts say the industry is prepared to withstand the cost of the claims without threatening its own solvency.
Tax

Giving Guidelines: Be Careful Where You Lend a Hand

As the people affected by Hurricane Katrina begin to spread out across the nation, organizations offering help are springing into action. Unfortunately, some of the organizations springing up are actually scams.

Spending Rises, But Katrina May Slow Economic Growth

Purchases of new cars and goods from the nation's big chain stores drove up consumer spending by 1 percent in July, but observers worry that the fallout from Hurricane Katrina may put the brakes on the nation's economy.While spending was up in July, savings was down. A small, 0.3 percent increase in incomes in July, combined with generous spending, pushed down the personal savings level to a historic low, the Associated Press reported. The rate was negative 0.6 percent, which is the lowest since 1959, when the government began keeping records.

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