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Tax credits that can help lower college costs - 8/24/2015
Are you looking for ways to minimize the costs of higher education? The average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year college education can range from about $40,000 for in-state students at a public college to nearly $135,000 at a private one, according to College Board data. Fortunately, there are some tax laws that can help lower your outlays.

The tax advantages of home ownership - 8/17/2015
If you own your own home, there are some significant tax advantages that can make the prospect more affordable. As a result of the uncertain economy, the federal government has also recently extended a popular tax credit through June of this year and broadened the number of people who qualify.

Three things to know about reverse mortgages - 8/4/2015
One of the retirement planning resources that has gained interest in recent years is the reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without paying additional monthly bills. If you're 62 or older -- and want money to pay off your mortgage, or pay for other expenses -- you may consider a reverse mortgage.

Small business owners beware: Not reporting income paid to vendors can be costly - 8/4/2015
If you are a small-business owner, know that you, too, must send 1099s to nonemployees paid in the course of doing business. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) warns that many small-business owners do not understand the requirements for issuing 1099s, and they can receive hefty fines and costly IRS audits if not complied with properly.

5 steps to boost your home's value - 7/20/2015
If you're planning on putting your house on the market, you'll want to get the best price possible. There are steps you can take to enhance how much you make on the sale, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA).

Business or hobby? Why the difference matters - 7/20/2015
Were you aware that there are tax implications when you earn money from a hobby? If not, or if you're unsure of all the rules, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these insights on why the distinctions between hobbies and businesses matter and what you need to know if your hobby becomes a business.

Finding ways to cut your phone budget - 7/1/2015
When looking for ways to save, consider rethinking your phone bills. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers this advice on how to become a savvy consumer when it comes to budgeting your phone service.

Being financially prepared for college - 7/1/2015
Many parents consider sending a child to college an important financial objective. The College Board reports for a public in-state four-year college, the average tuition for 2014-15 was $9,139. If room and board was included, the average annual education cost was $18,942.

Don't fight over finances! - 6/11/2015
When couples argue, what are they most likely to fight about? You might not be surprised to learn that, according to a Harris Interactive survey on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs, money is the top reason for a marital spat, one that causes disagreements far more frequently than other critical issues.

Get out of debt (and stay out) - 6/11/2015
On average, American households have about $15,000 of credit card debt, according to NerdWallet. If you're struggling to pay off your outstanding balances, or if you're tired of high interest costs, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) explains the best ways to get out from under those bills.

Who's teaching your kids about money? - 5/31/2015
If you think your children aren't learning about money because you're not teaching it, think again. While savvy marketers are telling our kindergartners that they need a certain toy to be happy, credit card companies are peddling instant gratification to our teens.

Adding a teen to auto insurance? Be prepared - 5/31/2015
If adding a young driver to your policy is in your future, you need to be ready for the added costs. While policies vary based on a multitude of factors, financial experts advise being prepared for the unavoidable expense of a teen driver addition. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these ways to save some money on their protection.

5 tips to quickly pay off student loan debt - 5/14/2015
Struggling with student loans? You're not alone.

Fraud prevention for seniors - 5/14/2015
While seniors make up 11 percent of the population, they represent 30 percent of consumer fraud and 50 percent of telephone fraud. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following fraud prevention tips for seniors.

Don't let unexpected costs ruin your retirement! - 4/30/2015
How much do you need to save for retirement? Determining how much you'll spend on housing, food and other fixed expenses may seem relatively easy, but how about the costs that come out of the blue?

Tips for couples on managing Social Security benefits - 4/30/2015
About 59 million people receive Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Were you aware that there are many options for married couples on deciding how and when to take their payments?

Resolving financial concerns for stepfamilies - 4/15/2015
Roughly 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day, according to the Stepfamily Foundation.  And, 41 percent of all Americans have at least one step relative, based on Pew Research Center findings.

IRA early withdrawal exceptions - 4/15/2015
Choosing an early withdrawal from your IRA can be a costly move, often resulting in unfavorable consequences such as tax penalties and loss of future growth.

The ins and outs of filing a tax extension - 4/1/2015
Sometimes April 15 rolls around faster than expected. Despite best intentions, extenuating circumstances could mean that filing your taxes on time just isn't an option. If this scenario sounds familiar, filing an extension may be the best course of action.

Appealing an IRS decision - 4/1/2015
What happens if you disagree with an Internal Revenue Service determination about your taxes? There are options available to you if you'd like to plead your case.

Planning for retirement has many taxing issues - 3/15/2015
Individuals today have much greater responsibility in funding their retirement plans -- a responsibility that can become overwhelming as the life expectancy continues to climb.

10 ways to maximize Social Security benefits - 3/15/2015
For most Americans, Social Security retirement benefits typically represent 30 to 60 percent of their retirement income and, yet, according to the National Social Security Association,,LLC, more than 90 percent of Social Security recipients receive less money than to which they are entitled.

Answers to tax questions for the self-employed - 3/2/2015
Will 2015 be the year when you take the leap into self-employment? Even if you're going to start out small with an office in a spare bedroom, there are some important tax issues you should keep in mind before you take the plunge.

Tax solutions for baby boomers - 3/2/2015
The baby boom generation, the children born in the post-World War II years between 1946 and 1964, includes about 76 million people. Now that generation is heading into retirement, with roughly 10,000 boomers expected to retire every day between now and 2030.

Five tax deductions you should not overlook - 2/15/2015
Did you run up expenses searching for a new job in 2014? Or did you use your car while helping out at a soup kitchen? Are you a self-employed person who paid Medicare premiums out of your own pocket? If so, you may be eligible for one of the many tax deductions that people often fail to take.

Top tips for organizing your tax records - 2/15/2015
With less than two months until the April 15 tax deadline, now is a great time to start maintaining and securing records of your personal information for next year's tax filing -- or to get your financial house in order before filing this year.

Guard against tax return and other forms of ID theft - 1/28/2015
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and tax refund fraud caused by identity theft is a major challenge facing taxpayers. According to a Government Accountability Office report, fraudulent tax refunds were estimated at $5.2 billion for the 2013 tax filing season.

Tax planning update for same-sex couples - 1/28/2015
Since 2013, federal tax laws for married couples have applied to same-sex couples who are married in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal, like Minnesota, even if the couple lives in a jurisdiction that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) addresses some of the tax planning issues facing the growing list of couples affected by these legal changes and offers timely advice.

Four last-minute tips to lower your taxes - 1/15/2015
Now that the New Year has begun, April 15 will be here before you know it. Have you done all you can to minimize your tax payments and maximize prudent financial planning? If you're not sure, there's still time to make some smart choices before you file this year's tax return.

5 financial mistakes to avoid this year - 1/15/2015
Are you satisfied with the financial decisions you made in 2014? If you're not so sure, this is a good time to resolve to make some changes in 2015.

Beware before you buy: 6 considerations for kids' cell phones - 1/7/2015
Have your kids started asking for cell phones or mobile devices of their own? Usage of mobile devices is growing among the younger set. In fact, 45 percent of parents say they have already purchased or plan to purchase mobile devices for their kids.

How to give wisely during the holidays and beyond - 12/15/2014
Have the holidays made you feel more generous? Nonprofit organizations report receiving 41 percent of their donations between Thanksgiving and New Year's each year, according to Charity Navigator, and their overall charitable contributions are significant.

What you should know about timeshares - 12/15/2014
Now that the holidays are upon us, many people dream of taking a tropical vacation or spending time near a popular attraction. If you're shopping for a getaway, you may have considered a timeshare, an arrangement that generally gives you the right to stay at a certain property for a specified amount of time each year.

Low or no-cost gift ideas - 11/30/2014
With costs expected to rise this year, the MNCPA is offering shoppers some tips for saving money on gifts while still making the holidays memorable.

Don't guess when it comes to worker classifications - 11/30/2014
Classifying workers as employees or independent contractors may seem intuitive, but the reality can be much murkier. The MNCPA is shedding light on this subject to ensure business owners comply with IRS regulations.

Tax planning tips for armed forces personnel - 11/13/2014
Those who serve our country -- and their families -- should be aware that there are special tax benefits available to armed forces personnel. The Minnesota Society of CPAs offers these tips on how to make the most of them.

Avoiding not-so-jolly holiday scams - 11/13/2014
It's the beginning of the holiday season, a time when family and friends come together to celebrate. The bad news is that this is also when thieves of all kinds are trying a variety of scams. To help you keep the sparkle in your holidays, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on scams to avoid so you can keep the season merry.

College and taxes: MNCPA outlines the importance of determining who takes the dependency deduction -- parent or student? - 11/2/2014
If you or a member of your household is a college student or returned to school for additional training in the past year, there are important tax considerations to discuss with your CPA as you organize your state and federal income tax return information for 2014, advises the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA).

Are you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and new credit cards with chips? - 11/2/2014
If you are like many holiday shoppers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be when you buy your gifts. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. Black Friday retail sales for 2013 totaled $57 billion, down from $59 billion in 2012. For 2013, this averaged to $407 per person in spending.

How to guard against child identity theft - 10/16/2014
Your child begins to receive offers for pre-approved credit cards. It sounds annoying, but nothing to be worried about, right? In fact, it could be one of the warning signs that your family is the victim of child identity theft. Nearly 3 percent of U.S. households with children under 18 -- or one in 40 households -- has been struck by child identity theft, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center.

How to handle an unexpected job loss - 9/30/2014
Nowadays, when it comes to longevity within the workplace, nothing is guaranteed. How do you prepare if faced with an unexpected job loss? What is your plan B? Consider these five tips for preparing and coping with your financial loss.

Health care reform and your small business - 9/30/2014
What has the Affordable Care Act meant to your business so far? When it was first passed, many small business owners were concerned about new complexities and potential added costs and disruptions to their business operations. Now that important provisions of the law have been in force for a while, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers a review of some of the highlights and some timely advice.

Don't make these common IRA mistakes! - 9/15/2014
About 40 percent of U.S. households -- nearly 50 million -- own individual retirement accounts, which provide tax-advantaged options for saving for your retirement years. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers the following tips on how to avoid some common mistakes people make when managing IRAs.

Five disaster planning steps for small businesses - 9/15/2014
Could your business bounce back if a disaster occurred? A minimum of 25 percent of small to midsize businesses that close temporarily due to a natural or other disaster ultimately never open their doors again, according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety. It is possible to weather any type of business interruption, however, only if you're properly prepared.

Year-end tax planning for 2014 - 9/3/2014
Where has the time gone? We are approaching the final months of 2014, but, before you start thinking about holiday shopping, consider year-end tax planning and preparation. With proper tax planning, you can maximize your potential tax savings and minimize your tax liability.

Medical coverage while traveling overseas - 9/3/2014
While the summer vacation season has passed, thousands of people travel overseas each day for business, school or pleasure. However, few consider that their medical insurance coverage might be less than expected or, even worse, nonexistent.

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.


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