Personal Finance

Tax

Avoiding a Tax Bite on Inherited IRAs and 401(k)s

Like life insurance, beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and workplace accounts (401k, 403b and 457 plans) inherit the proceeds directly without having to go through probate court. And IRAs and 401(k)s have become popular in many estate plans in recent years because they are not subject to probate costs. But unlike life insurance, inherited tax-deferred accounts can trigger a big tax bill for beneficiaries if they transfer the funds to their banks before they talk to their accountants or financial advisers, SFGate.com reports.
Tax

IRS Guidance on Car Value Treatment

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department announced that they will work to publish guidance for automobile wholesalers, manufacturers and dealers regarding the proper treatment of the dollar-value, last-in, first out (LIFO) inventory method for pooling purposes of crossover vehicles, which have characteristics of trucks and cars, reports IRS e-News for Small Businesses.“The accounting issue confronting the automobile industry has been selected for the Industry Issue Resolution (IIR) Program, which provides guidance to help clarify complex tax issues.
Education & Careers

Rating the Best 529 College Savings Plans

Utah and Virginia offer two of the best plans to save for a child's college education and Alabama has one of the worst, according to a new report by Morningstar, Inc.Parents have been turning to so-called 529 plans to save for their children's college education, and Morningstar is making the selection process simpler by outlining the wide disparity in performance, costs and variety of investment options in the dozens of state plans available.Morningstar started its 529 survey in 2004, and Utah and Virginia have been at the top of the lists since then.
Tax

Florida Rep. Proposes Interest Exclusion

Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) introduced H.R. 228, a bill designed to encourage savings among low and middle-income taxpayers and by allowing the exclusion of $400 of interest income from gross income ($800 for joint filers). It also would save tax preparers the trouble of tracking down information on small amounts of interest earned. E@lert estimates that this bill is only marginally more likely to pass than another bill recently authored by Rep. Stearns that would require the Ten Commandments to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol.
A&A

Online Posting of Delinquents Creates Revenue

Pennsylvania has recently joined the 20 states and the District of Columbia in posting the names of individuals and businesses who owe taxes on their web sites, using names such as Maryland’s “Caught in the Web,” or South Carolina’s “Debtor’s Corner,” to bring pressure on tax scofflaws.In many cases, the threat of disclosure is enough to persuade taxpayers to pay, says Illinois Revenue Director Brian Hamer.
Education & Careers

AICPA Urges Students To 'Feed The Pig'

With the ringing in of the Chinese Year of the Pig this week, Benjamin Bankes is urging 25 to 34 year-olds to “feed the pig.” Benjamin Bankes, a pig in a pink suit, is the official icon of Feed the Pig™ (www.feedthepig.org), a national public service campaign of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Ad Council. The campaign delivers a strong message to career builders – those 25 to 34 years of age – about the importance and benefits of saving to build a solid financial future.

Have Your Clients Really Saved Enough for Retirement?

Financial advisers may be scratching their heads over two recent news stories that appear to be contradictory: Americans spend more than they save, yet many are saving enough for retirement.Not long after a news report that the national savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, new research came out that suggested many Americans are well prepared for their golden years.The personal savings rate does not reflect increases in the value of assets such as houses, said economist John Karl Scholz, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.“This doesn't necessarily

Survey Says: Retirement Planning Is Job One

Retirement is the number one personal financial planning concern, regardless of age, according to an informal survey of CPAs at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) 2007 Personal Financial Planning (PFP) Conference.Surprisingly, it is a major concern for career builders — those 25 to 34 years of age — with the more immediate pressures of education, home buying and debt management following close behind.
AccountingWEB Life

Legacy Assurance Financial Joins BKR Group

BKR Cornwell Jackson Group is pleased to announce the addition of Legacy Assurance Financial Group, L.P. to the BKR Group of companies.Legacy Assurance Financial Group, L.P. focuses on wealth management and business succession solutions designed specifically for entrepreneurs and closely held businesses owners. The managing director of this new division is Robert D. White, a chartered Financial Consultant and 19-year veteran in the financial services profession.
Technology

Tax Prep Software Put To The Test

While a reported 60 percent of taxpayers use a paid preparer to complete their tax returns, there are still many individual filers who prepare their own returns using tax prep software. In two separate instances in 2006, tax courts ruled against filers who tried to blame their erroneous returns on the software they used.
Tax

Why Taxpayers Don’t Claim EITC

Complex steps for claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and a lack of awareness about the benefit are the most common reasons why taxpayers fail to claim it, according to H&R Block.H&R Block, which prepared one of every four tax returns claiming the EITC in 2006, helped more than 5 million taxpayers claim nearly $10 billion in EITC benefits last year. Still, the IRS estimates that nearly a quarter of those who qualify don't claim the valuable credit, leaving as much as $1 billion unclaimed.The EITC offsets income taxes as a work incentive for low-income Americans.
Education & Careers

H&R Block Canada Offers Student Savings, Concert Trip

H&R Block Canada Inc. and SPC Card announced a new partnership to deliver free SPC Cards to students choosing H&R Block for their tax preparation and the chance to win an all expenses paid trip to a Fall Out Boy concert somewhere in Canada or the U.S.Participating students will activate their free SPC Card at rockwithblock.ca and immediately be entered to win a trip to see multi-platinum artist Fall Out Boy in a secret destination.
AccountingWEB Life

The Key to Higher Personal Income

January is National Financial Wellness Month and a recently released Day Timers 2006 New Year's Resolution Survey listed financial changes in the top three respondent promises made for the new year. Success at paying off debts in the past five years was reported by 45 percent; 43 percent had success in saving more money during this period and 20 percent had moved on to a better job.
Practice Management

A Conversation With Barry Goldwater: Growing Your Practice

To define wealth management, one has to look as far as his or her financial discipline. To an investment advisor, it may mean growing assets. To an insurance advisor, it may mean tax-efficient estate preservation and to an accountant, it may mean the best way to sell a business to minimize taxes. One definition that I personally like is taken from the book “Accountants as Wealth Managers.” The authors define wealth management as the blending of core accounting services, plus investment management, plus advanced planning insurance solutions.
A&A

Small Businesses Have More Credit Card Debt

A newly released report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) finds that small businesses have acquired more outstanding debt. Most of it was credit card debt. From June 2004 to June 2005, both the number and dollar amounts of small business loans rose 25 percent. All commercial lending institutions accounted for the numbers, not just SBA loans and the increase in business debt was especially prevalent in the smallest businesses, under $100,000.

As Annual Enrollment Deadline Nears, Study Finds Seniors Better Off Buying Canadian

Just as the December 31 deadline for annual enrollment approaches, a study of Medicare Part D was released showing that for most seniors it is less expensive to order drugs from a Canadian pharmacy. Recent changes to the US regulations, due to a rider on the Homeland Security spending bill, now make it legal to do what thousands have been doing for years to keep costs down, order drugs from our northern neighbor.

Survey Identifies Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

A new survey finds that more holiday gift buyers will be using credit cards this year and it can be a rewarding experience if the cards are used wisely. Credit-Land.com is a group that keeps an eye on credit cards for the consumer by analyzing and ranking cards that offer the best values to customers.
Tax

IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Charitable Donations

‘Tis the season of gift-giving.
Technology

The New Gift Card Market: Buy, Sell or Trade

Chances are that most people either have or will receive a gift card this holiday season and some may not want that particular card or will spend only a fraction of the total.

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