Money Management Articles
The tax advantages of home ownership
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.
IRA early withdrawal exceptions
Choosing an early withdrawal from your IRA can be a costly move, often
resulting in unfavorable consequences such as tax penalties and loss of
The ins and outs of filing a tax extension
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Top tips for organizing your tax records
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
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
Tax planning update for same-sex couples
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
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
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
Beware before you buy: 6 considerations for kids' cell phones
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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?
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
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
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
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!
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
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
Year-end tax planning for 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Are you planning to take a family vacation this summer? If so, it could become a pricey proposition.
Make a rewarding credit card choice
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
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
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
Each year, according to the IRS, millions of taxpayers make mathematical
errors on their individual tax returns and miss opportunities to take
Putting miscellaneous deductions to work
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'
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
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
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
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
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
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
MNCPA issues list of strange and unusual tax deductions
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
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.
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