Money Management Articles
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.
What you should know about taxes and Social Security benefits
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?
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
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
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
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
Taxpayer identity theft on the rise: Know how to protect yourself
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
Retirement road blocks for baby boomers
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
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?
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
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
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
Take control of holiday spending!
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
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!
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
Questions to ask before you volunteer
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?
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
Smart tips on charitable giving
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
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
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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