Money Management Articles
Annuities -- basics, pros and cons
Many things in life are uncertain and retirement is no exception. The
recent stock market plunge is proof enough. With longer life spans and
unpredictable economic factors, investors are looking for ways to
stretch their retirement dollars. Annuities are one way to help provide
you with a steady stream of income during your retirement years.
Tax considerations (and advantages) for small businesses
Are you thinking of launching your own business? Approximately 800,000
new businesses open each year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics
data. When these young companies get started, it's critical for their
owners to understand the many rules and regulations that apply to them.
Back to work after retirement: How Social Security, taxes and health care may be affected
The old notions about retirement have, well, retired. Rather than
leaving work at 65 and going fishing or focusing on gardening, many
retirees are celebrating retirement by going back to work.
Tax credits that can help lower college costs
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.
Three things to know about reverse mortgages
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
Small business owners beware: Not reporting income paid to vendors can be costly
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.
Business or hobby? Why the difference matters
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.
Don't let unexpected costs ruin your retirement!
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
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
Resolving financial concerns for stepfamilies
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Five ways to set yourself up for a secure retirement
Approximately 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day until around
2030. If you're part of that group, or if you're planning ahead for a
comfortable retirement, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public
Accountants (MNCPA) offers this advice for securing your financial
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).
Do's and don'ts for paying your tax bill
About three-quarters of individual taxpayers received refunds last year,
according to Internal Revenue Service statistics. However, many people
find that they do owe taxes when April 15 comes around. If you fall into
that group, the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers these
recommendations on the best way to settle your bill.
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.
Tackling taxes if you're self-employed
Tax time is tough, there's no question about it, but it's even more
challenging when you're self-employed and trying to deal with the
sometimes confusing rules and recordkeeping that can go hand in hand
with running your own show.
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
'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.
Find more information on: