Personal Finance

Technology

Identity Theft More Prevalent Offline than Online

The 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report - released by the Better Business Bureau and Javelin Strategy & Research as an update of the Federal Trade Commission's 2003 Identity Theft Survey Report and Javelin's 2003 Identity Theft Report - shows that despite growing fears about identity theft and online fraud, of the victims that know the identity and method used by the criminal, these crimes are more frequently committed offline than online. Internet-related fraud problems are actually less severe, less costly and not as widespread as previously thought.
Tax

Failed Venture Prompts Wealthy Investors to Sue KPMG

A Houston investment fund, which started as a promising money-maker for a group of wealthy, well-connected acquaintances, has ended in a Texas district court with accounting firm KPMG on the hot seat.Investors include the Staley family, founders of the Chicago Bears, the man who brought Nintendo to America, the Cullen family and a former Harris County (Texas) District Attorney, who have all made wise investments in the past.
Tax

Treasury and IRS Announce Guidance On Like-Kind Home Exchanges

Last week the Treasury Department and the IRS published a revenue procedure providing guidance on a like-kind exchange of a home. The revenue procedure clarifies that a homeowner, who may exclude gain upon a sale or exchange of a home, also may benefit from a deferral of gain for a like-kind exchange with respect to the same property. Generally, a homeowner may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for certain joint returns) of gain upon the sale or exchange of a home.
Tax

New EITC Tool Helps Taxpayers Determine Eligibility

The Internal Revenue Service this week announced a new Web-based tool to help working families determine if they are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC Assistant will help take the guess work out of the EITC eligibility rules.The EITC Assistant is one in a series of steps taken by the IRS to encourage all eligible taxpayers, but only those who are eligible, to claim the valuable EITC refund.
Tax

Get Ready, Get Set, Start Shredding

If fears of identity theft haven't sent you to the nearest office supply store to buy a shredder, a new law may be just the push you need.A law that goes into effect June 1 says that you must “destroy” personal information — shred it, burn it or pulverize it — of all people you employ, even if it's just one person and it's the gardener, USA Today reported.
Tax

'Nanny Tax' Deadline Approaching for Household Employers

Taxpayers who hire nannies, gardeners or caretakers for elderly parents have until Jan.
Education & Careers

Majority of Workers Believe Their Bosses Lack Integrity, Fairness

More than half of American workers question the basic morality of their organizations' top leaders and say thattheir managers do not treat them fairly, according to results of a just-released, representative, nationwide survey of 7,718 American workers aged 18 and over.Reacting to ongoing corporate scandals, accelerating outsourcing and continued downsizing, only 36 percent of workers said they believed top managers acted with honesty and integrity.
Community News

Study: Which Metropolitan Areas Are the Most 'Financially Fit?'

A new study by InCharge(R)Institute of America , a nonprofit organization specializing in personal finance education, research and credit counseling, ranks 314 U.S. metropolitan areas to determine which are leading the nation in personal "financial fitness." The study looks at how different population centers measure up in offering the economic climate and conditions that promote financial fitness for its citizens.The study was conducted in late 2004 and examined 314 metropolitan areas across the three population categories.

Companies Delaying 401(k) Deposits, Costing U.S. Workers Millions

Some companies are taking weeks to deposit workers' 401(k) contributions, earning interest on the money that should rightfully go to employees.According to MarketWatch, depositing 401(k) deposits can take as long as seven weeks, enough time for employers to earn short-term interest on the period between the deduction and deposit. The 1997 law is expected to be updated with deadlines of “a couple of weeks or so,” said Ann Combs, assistant secretary for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Labor Department unit that oversees 401(k) plans.

CalPERS Sets Up Pension Debate Information Center

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced this week a special Web resource on proposals to privatize State and public agency pensions. "The Pension Debate Information Center" is intended to educate CalPERS members on existing programs and possible changes. The proposals call for an end to the traditional defined benefit pensions for employees hired as of July 1, 2007. New employees would be placed in defined contribution plans that cap employer contributions and let employees invest in 401(k)-type pension funds.

Nearly Half of U.S. Workers Financially Ill-Prepared for Retirement

Nearly half (45 percent) of the U.S. workforce does not believe it will have enough money set aside for a comfortable retirement. This according to the latest national Hudson retirement survey, which also finds that three-fourths (74 percent) of U.S. workers plan to work at least part-time during their retirement years.
Tax

Audit Avoidance 101: Warding off a Visit from the IRS

No one wants to be audited. It's an experience that ranks up there with having a root canal or running into your ex and his new bride when you're sporting twenty extra pounds and a bad perm. But if you live long enough and earn a healthy income, it could very well happen to you. Still, there are ways to reduce your chances of an indigestion-inducing visit with an IRS agent.
A&A

Class-Action Suit Against H&R Block to Proceed

The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a class-action suit that accuses H&R Block, the nation's largest tax-preparation company, of charging as many as 17 million customers inflated interest on refund loans, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing news wires.The suit contends that H&R Block charged as much as 100 percent in interest on the refund loans and customers were not told that the company profited from the loans, which were advances on estimated tax refunds, the Chronicle reported.The high court this week let stand a lower court's decision that the case should go forward as a c
Community News

AICPA Launches Online Resource for Financial Planners, Consumers

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recently introduced a new online resource for its CPA financial planning community. The resource offers CPAs access to a comprehensive library of tools and educational materials on a full range of financial planning practice areas, from disaster recovery and investment planning to ethics and fiduciary responsibility and more. It also offers information for consumers seeking financial planning guidance.
Tax

IRS Eases Interest Suspension Rule for Amended Returns

The Internal Revenue Service announced late last week a liberalization of the rule for interest owed on additional taxes voluntarily reported by taxpayers. Section 6404(g) suspends interest accrual for individuals on taxes due if the IRS does not notify a taxpayer of the potential liability within 18 months after the filing of the return. This interest suspension then continues until 21 days after the IRS notifies the taxpayer of additional taxes due.Previously, this rule was applied only where the additional taxes were found by the IRS.
Tax

Highlights of the 2004 Tax Law Changes

Below are some highlights of the 2004 changes to the tax law.Education IncentivesThe maximum Tuition and Fees Deduction is $4,000 for those with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) up to $65,000 and $2,000 for those with an AGI over $65,000 but not over $80,000. These AGI amounts are doubled for married persons filing jointly.Distributions from Qualified Tuition Plans (QTPs) maintained by private educational institutions are excludible up to the amount of qualified educational expenses.

Treasury and IRS Issue New Rules for 401(k) Plans

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department and the IRS issued final regulations governing 401(k) plans. The 401(k) plan is the most common type of employer-sponsored retirement plan, providing retirement income security for millions of American workers and their families.

California Sues Edward D. Jones Over Mutual Fund Deals

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed suit on behalf of the state against brokerage firm Edward D.
A&A

Small Business Loan Programs Receive Significant Boost

President Bush signed legislation this month making more than $21 billion available to small businesses through the SBA’s two main loan programs. The legislation also reauthorizes the agency’s programs and provides a $580 million budget for fiscal year 2005.The SBA’s flagship 7(a) loan guarantee program was boosted to a $16 billion level, $3.5 billion above what the program provided last fiscal year, when a record $12.55 billion in financing was made to small business.
A&A

SEI Investments Releases Research for Pension Accounting Disclosures

SEI Investments a leading global provider of asset management and investment technology solutions, today announced the release of a new research paper outlining actuarial assumption ranges to be used for Financial Accounting Standards No. 87 (FAS 87).

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