Money Management Articles

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Financing a return to college - 8/17/2014
You’ve advanced on the job, but you think that finishing or enhancing your college degree would help you go further.

Financial fitness advice for freshmen - 8/17/2014
As you get ready to go away to college for the first time, this is a good time to expand your knowledge of day-to-day money management, including smart budgeting and debt management steps.

9 ways to trim your back-to-school budget - 8/7/2014
The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, an increase of 5 percent from last year.

Know what’s at stake before taking student loans - 8/7/2014
With student loan defaults at historic highs, students and their parents need to understand the ramifications of defaulting on a student loan. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) cautions parents to think carefully about co-signing for a student loan and to be sure they understand what it could mean to their own financial future.

Your midyear financial tune up - 6/30/2014
Did you start the beginning of the year by making smart resolutions to get your finances in order? Now that the year is half over, it's a good time to check in and see how you're doing.

Tips for starting a small business - 6/30/2014
The 23 million small businesses in this country are responsible for 54 percent of all U.S. sales, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Do you ever dream of launching your own company? If you do, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice to help you get off on the right foot.

Save money on your vacation - 6/1/2014
Are you planning to take a family vacation this summer? If so, it could become a pricey proposition.

Make a rewarding credit card choice - 6/1/2014
You're ready to sign up for a new credit card that seems to promise a host of appealing rewards. But, are you really sure of what the card has to offer or how it compares with other options?

Five ways to save on moving costs - 5/1/2014
About 36 million people, or 11.7 percent of Americans, moved between 2012 and 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you're in the process of moving, you're probably juggling a lot of tasks, including worrying about the potentially high costs.

Keeping a lid on wedding costs - 5/1/2014
Can you have a memorable wedding day without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Even though the average wedding costs nearly $30,000, according to TheKnot.com, many happy couples have joyous celebrations for far less money.

Most common tax mistakes, overlooked tax opportunities - 4/16/2014
Each year, according to the IRS, millions of taxpayers make mathematical errors on their individual tax returns and miss opportunities to take deductions.

Putting miscellaneous deductions to work - 3/31/2014
Now that you're just about ready to file your tax return, are you sure you claimed all the deductions that you're due? Most Americans know that they can deduct items such as charitable donations, mortgage interest and property taxes.

The virtual workplace: Challenging traditional notions of taxation and 'the office' - 3/31/2014
As technology continues to challenge the traditional paradigm of employees and "the office," many businesses and individuals find calculating taxes for work done outside company office space confusing.

Minnesota's new gift tax sparks questions for taxpayers - 3/17/2014
As part of a campaign to educate taxpayers on confusing, challenging and emerging tax issues, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers filers important reminders and considerations related to Minnesota's new state gift tax.

Five tax tips for the unemployed - 3/17/2014
If you find yourself out of work, taxes may be the last thing you want to think about; but it's important to continue your tax and other financial planning, even when you're unemployed.

Minnesota's residency laws throw 'snowbirds' for a loop - 3/17/2014
Determining residency for tax purposes often proves challenging for Minnesota's population of "snowbirds" (retired individuals who head south each winter).

Tax impact: First official filing year for married same-sex couples - 3/3/2014
As same-sex spouses across Minnesota prepare to file taxes jointly for the first time, many are struggling to understand the benefits recently awarded to them.

Quirky Minnesota sales tax rules: Differences in application of sales tax can leave taxpayers scratching their heads - 3/3/2014
The end of Minnesota's 2013 legislative session brought with it some hotly debated new sales and use tax rules for Minnesota taxpayers and businesses. Some of those rules are being considered for repeal this year.

MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions - 2/17/2014
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) recently conducted its annual CPA member survey about the most strange and unusual tax deductions proposed by clients. Responses included everything from pets and wedding rings to gifts not given.

Tips for organizing your records: Get organized now for a smoother tax-filing process - 2/17/2014
The approaching April 15 tax deadline serves as a great reminder to maintain well-organized and secure records of your personal information. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers recordkeeping recommendations to significantly ease the filing process.

What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits - 2/3/2014
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation.

Your tax return: What could go wrong? - 1/14/2014
Every year taxpayers make mistakes on their tax returns that range from silly to serious. What kinds of errors should you keep in mind as you get ready to file this year's return? The Minnesota Society of CPAs highlights three common missteps to avoid.

Five steps to achieving your financial goals - 1/14/2014
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there's no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

2013 tax changes that may surprise taxpayers - 1/5/2014
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in 2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.

College students home for the holidays? Discuss practical tax decisions - 1/5/2014
The winter holiday break provides a great opportunity for parents and college students to decide who claims whom on their 2013 federal and state tax returns. Surprisingly, it's not just limited to minor children.

Taxpayer identity theft on the rise: Know how to protect yourself - 12/15/2013
Taxpayer identify theft continues to increase in the U.S. In 2012, there were 1.8 million incidents of identity theft and fraudulent tax refunds, creating a $5 billion problem, according to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In the first half of 2013, the number of tax-related identity thefts had already surpassed the 2012 number.

Retirement road blocks for baby boomers - 12/15/2013
From now until 2030, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day, according to the Pew Research Center. This large generation, born between 1946 and 1964, has had a huge impact on American culture and society, and that remains the same as they head into retirement.

'Tis the season for charitable contributions - 12/1/2013
Along with an avalanche of catalogues and holiday greetings from family and friends, you may also find your mailbox inundated with donation requests from charitable organizations.

How can you cut next year's taxes? - 12/1/2013
Taxes may be the last thing you want to think about at the holidays, but the end of the year is a great time to take some smart steps that can help you minimize your future tax outlays. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides these ideas for keeping more money in your pocket.

Five questions to ask your CPA before the end of the year - 11/14/2013
Your to-do list is probably pretty full at this time of year. While the thought of adding one more task may feel overwhelming, it's one that can help put your mind at ease this New Year's Eve: Talk to your CPA.

Don't make these five online shopping mistakes - 11/14/2013
Online spending in the United States is expected to hit $370 billion by 2017, an increase from $262 billion in 2013, according to Forrester Research. Online shopping can be a great convenience, but CPAs advise that there are steps you should take to ensure a safe and satisfying experience.

Take control of holiday spending! - 10/31/2013
What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn't have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.

Deciphering the health insurance requirements - 10/31/2013
You can't put it off any longer: Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all Americans to maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty. While some people are flocking to www.healthcare.gov to research and purchase their insurance, others are unsure how to proceed.

Pump up your credit score! - 10/16/2013
Are you looking for a surefire solution that will lower the interest you pay on your mortgage, car loans, credit card accounts and other debt? If so, there's one easy answer: Raise your credit score. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers the lowdown on why your credit score is important and how it can affect your financial life.

Questions to ask before you volunteer - 10/16/2013
Americans love to volunteer their time to a worthy cause. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 26.5 percent of Americans, about 64.5 million people, volunteered at least once last year.

Should you buy or lease your next car? - 10/2/2013
If you’re thinking of replacing your car, you may also be wondering if you should lease or buy the replacement vehicle. Leasing a vehicle used to be commonplace only for businesses because of the tax write-off. But now with deals like zero money down, low monthly payments or zero-percent interest, leasing has become a popular option for the general public.

Going back to work after retirement: How Social Security, taxes and health care may be affected - 9/16/2013
Retirement isn't what it used to be. Instead of leaving the workforce at age 65 and hitting the golf course every day, many retirees are going back to work. According to a recent Longevity Alliance and Harris Interactive poll, 43 percent of surveyed retirees seriously considered re-entering the workforce shortly after they had left their companies.

Taking the bite out of pet care costs - 9/16/2013
Spending on pets hit an all-time high last year, topping $53 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association. The highest growth came in pet services -- such as grooming, boarding, and pet sitting -- and supplies and over-the-counter medications also saw a sharp rise.

Tax tips for small-business owners - 9/4/2013
There are 23 million small businesses in America, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Although each business is unique, you can be sure that they have a common desire to minimize their taxes and make the most of the deductions for which they qualify. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers these tips on how to achieve those goals.

Protecting seniors from fraud: Tips for safeguarding identity and finances - 9/4/2013
Every September, we honor our grandparents with National Grandparents Day. As this holiday approaches, now is the perfect time to show your loved ones how much you care by helping them learn to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud.

Smart tips on charitable giving - 12/3/2012
This is the season of goodwill to all, a time when people take time to think of others. In addition to giving gifts and planning holiday get-togethers, that means many people are also dipping into their pockets to make donations to worthy charities. While that’s a good impulse, it’s important to do your charitable giving wisely. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) provides the following advice on ways to make your money the most productive.

Budgeting for the holidays: Smart spending for the season - 11/15/2012
The countdown to the holiday season has officially begun with decorations on store shelves and gift catalogs filling mailboxes. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows that individual consumers plan to spend $1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year. Unfortunately, much of that spending will be done on credit cards. That may make consumers feel gloomy when they get their bills in January.

Life after bankruptcy - Getting your credit and finances back on track - 9/18/2012
More than 600,000 new bankruptcy cases were filed in the first half of 2012. If you were one of them, it may feel like your financial future is doomed. Not so, says the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA). While you will face challenges post-bankruptcy, you can chart a new financial course with a commitment to educating yourself, becoming more disciplined with your money and credit, and learning some valuable lessons.


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