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Mike's Blog

What’s on our mind? You can read about it in our blog. Whether it’s ideas from the investment services world or concepts from the financial industry, you can read about it here. And once in a while, we may throw in a movie review or some other surprise. So keep checking in. We’re glad to have you reading along.

 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What could you do (or do differently) in the months ahead? How will your money habits change in 2017? What decisions or behaviors might help your personal finances, your retirement prospects, or your net worth? Each year presents a...

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We all would love to have a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. Saving up that cash can be a challenge – but with a little effort, that challenge can be met. Imagine a 30-year-old couple with no real savings. Let’s...

 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Do you plan to donate your time to charity this year? If travel is part of your charitable giving, for example, driving your personal auto to collect donations from local business, you may be able to these travel expenses on your tax...

 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Confused about which credits and deductions you can claim on your 2016 tax return? You're not alone. Here are six tax breaks that you won't want to overlook. 1. State Sales and Income Taxes Thanks to last-minute tax extender...

 

Monday, November 21, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, there is still time to reduce your 2016 tax bill and plan ahead for 2017. This letter highlights several potential tax-saving opportunities for you to consider. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss...

 

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, there is still time to reduce your 2016 tax bill and plan ahead for 2017. This letter highlights several potential tax-saving opportunities for business owners to consider. We can arrange to meet to discuss...

 

Friday, October 7, 2016

When you decide to start a business, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is choosing the right business entity. It's a decision that impacts many things--from the amount of taxes you pay to how much paperwork you...

 

Monday, October 3, 2016

With another school year now in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service today reminded parents and students that now is a good time to see if they qualify for either of two college tax credits or other education-related tax benefits...

 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The IRS is sending letters to taxpayers who received advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015, but who have not yet filed their tax return. You must file a tax return to reconcile any advance credit payments you received in...

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back taxes are not an issue that anyone wants to deal with. They can cause a lot of issues with your credit and how much you are able to do with your life. It is best to make full payments on your taxes as soon as you find out that you...

 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Report any gambling winnings as income on your tax return. Be sure you itemize to deduct gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings. If you are a casual gambler, these tax tips can help: Gambling income. Income from gambling...

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The IRS reminds taxpayers that specific rules apply for taking a tax deduction for donating cars to charities. If the claimed value of the donated motor vehicle, boat or plane exceeds $500, you can deduct the smaller of the vehicle's...

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

If you are divorcing or recently divorced, taxes may be the last thing on your mind. However, these events can have a big impact on your wallet. Alimony and a name or address change are just a few items you may need to consider. Here...

 

Monday, September 5, 2016

If you are looking for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs. Here are some key tax facts you should know about when searching for a new job: Same Occupation. Your expenses must be for...

 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Did you move due to a change in your job or business location? If so, you may be able to deduct your moving expenses, except for meals. Here are the top tax tips for moving expenses. In order to deduct moving expenses, your move must...

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Understanding your tax obligation is one key to business success. When you start a business, you need to know about income taxes, payroll taxes and much more. Here are five IRS tax tips that can help you get your business off to a good...

 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tax-related identity theft normally occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Many people first find out about it when they do their taxes. The IRS is working hard to...

 

Monday, August 8, 2016

If you pay for college in 2016, you may receive some tax savings on your federal tax return, even if you’re studying outside of the U.S. Both the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit may reduce the...

 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Usually, profits you earn are taxable. However, if you sell your home, you may not have to pay taxes on the money you gain. Here are ten tips to keep in mind if you sell your home this year. Exclusion of Gain. You may be able to...

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Whether you're new to mutual funds or a seasoned investor who wants to learn more, these tips will help you avoid the tax bite on mutual fund investments. First, you need to understand how distributions from mutual funds are taxed. Tax...

 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Congress, recognizing that most classroom teachers spend a significant amount of their own money on classroom supplies, granted them a special deduction of $250 (indexed for inflation after 2015) as an adjustment to gross income...

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

If you're age 70 1/2 or older, you can now take advantage of recent legislation allowing you to avoid paying income tax on IRA withdrawals transferred directly to a qualified charitable organization. Referred to as Qualified Charitable...

 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Did you contribute to an Individual Retirement Arrangement last year? Are you thinking about contributing to your IRA now? If so, you may have questions about IRAs and your taxes. Here are some IRS tax tips about saving for retirement...

 

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that with certain exceptions, is similar to a traditional IRA and subject to the rules that apply to a traditional IRA. For example, to be considered a Roth IRA, the account or annuity must...

 

Friday, February 12, 2016

For any month during the year that you or any of your family members don’t have minimum essential coverage and don’t qualify for a coverage exemption, you are required to make an individual shared responsibility payment...

 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Most people file a tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should. You may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. Here are six tips to help you find out if you should file a tax return:...

 

Monday, February 1, 2016

You should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from each of your employers for use in preparing your federal tax return. Employers must furnish this record of 2015 earnings and withheld taxes no later than February 1, 2016 (if...

 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Many people use a tax professional to prepare their taxes. Tax professionals with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) can prepare a return for a fee. If you choose a tax pro, you should know who can represent you before...

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

If someone helps you do your taxes, you're not alone. The IRS asks you to choose your tax return preparer wisely – for good reason. You are responsible for the information on your income tax return. That’s true no matter who prepares...

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Planning for emergencies is like buying insurance: you pay into an account, and hope you'll never have to use it. But life happens. Cars break down. Roofs leak. Kids break arms. Having money in the bank to cover those unexpected...

 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Congress finally took action in late December and passed a tax extender bill formally known as the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH), which was then signed into law. Retroactive to January 1, 2015, many tax...

 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Welcome, 2016! As the New Year rolls around, it's always a sure bet that there will be changes to current tax law and 2016 is no different. From health savings accounts to retirement contributions and standard deductions, here's a...

 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Is your debt load straining as the traditional season of giving stretches on? Some kinds of debt are considered "good," such as the mortgage on your home. Other kinds – not so much. Here are suggestions for managing your debt. Stop...

 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

In the past, if you were a victim of identity theft, the IRS would not send you a copy of the fraudulent tax return due to federal privacy laws. Now, under a recent change of policy, you can request certain redacted individual income...

 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Year-end 2015 is approaching fast! You have only a very limited time to make tax-smart moves for 2015. Here are seven suggestions. If you believe you will owe state or local taxes, consider prepaying them before December 31 so you can...

 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Is your retirement plan keeping up with the times? A recent survey of retirement plan sponsors pointed out trends in the way employers are changing 401(k) and other plans to help employees prepare for retirement. For example, companies...

 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The holiday season often prompts people to give money or property to charity. If you plan to give and want to claim a tax deduction, there are a few tips you should know before you give. For instance, you must itemize your deductions....

 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, are important vehicles for you to save for retirement. If you have an IRA or plan to start one soon, there are a few key year-end rules that you should know. Here are the top year-end IRA...

 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Income tax is often withheld from wages and other types of income such as pensions, bonuses, commissions and gambling winnings. Ideally, taxpayers should try to match their withholding with their actual tax liability. If not enough tax...

 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

While the fate of several business-related tax extenders such as Research & Development tax credits, bonus depreciation, and Section 179 expensing that expired at the end of 2014 is uncertain, there are still a number of end of year...

 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tax planning for the year ahead presents similar challenges to last year due to the unknown fate of the numerous tax extenders that expired at the end of 2014. These tax extenders, which include the mortgage insurance premium deduction...

 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Miscellaneous deductions such as certain work-related expenses you paid for as an employee can reduce your tax bill, but you must itemize deductions when you file to claim these costs. If you usually claim the standard deduction, think...

 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Taking money out early from your retirement plan may trigger an additional tax. Here are six things that you should know about early withdrawals from retirement plans:1. An early withdrawal normally means taking money from your plan...

 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

You must keep records to prove the amount of any cash and non-cash contributions you make during the year. Which records you must keep depends on the amount you contribute and whether they are cash or property contributions. New...

 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Selecting your business successor is a fundamental objective of planning an exit strategy and requires a careful assessment of what you want from the sale of your business and who can best give it to you.There are four ways to leave...

 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

If you're a savvy investor, you probably know that you must generally report as income any mutual fund distributions whether you reinvest them or exchange shares in one fund for shares of another. In other words, you must report and...

 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Your employer's retirement plan may have an automatic enrollment feature that has you participating as soon as you're eligible, unless you opt out. Generally, you'll want to stay in the plan because contributing makes tax sense. Two...

 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Penalty relief for failing to bring your existing employer health care payment plans into compliance with the Affordable Care Act expired on June 30. If you're still directly reimbursing your employees for health insurance premiums on...

 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Retirement can creep up on you. One day you're climbing the corporate ladder or building a client base for your business. Next thing you know, you're in your 50s or 60s. Thoughts of spending your days playing golf, pursuing a favorite...

 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

According to research conducted this spring, U.S. workers expect to stay employed past age 65 and to transition into retirement by reducing hours on the job over time.Whatever your expectations for your post-work life, planning now can...

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The fourth quarter is often make-or-break time in sports. Likewise, tax-cutting steps you take in the last three months of the year can transform a financial plan into a bona fide winner.Late-year tax planning is often a matter of...

 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for Tax Year 2015.In general, many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2015...

 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance clarifying the impact a 2014 individual retirement arrangement (IRA) rollover has on the one-per-year limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Code on tax-free rollovers between IRAs...

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2014 is winding down, but you still have time to wrap up business tax strategies before December 31. Here are five to put on your list.Make capital contributions if necessary. When you have losses in your Subchapter S corporation, the...

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

For any number of reasons, you could find yourself opening your home to relatives in need. In some cases, the guests could become fairly permanent occupants.Who can be claimed as a dependent at tax filing time? Suppose that your nephew...

 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This year has been a bumpy ride on Wall Street, with dramatic swings up and down. Now is a good time to review your retirement account and your personal portfolio. While changes you make in your retirement account won’t impact current...

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Once again, tax planning for the year ahead presents more challenges than usual, this time due to the numerous tax extenders that expired at the end of 2013.These tax extenders, which include nonbusiness energy credits and the sales...

 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Taxpayers frequently ask what benefit is derived from a tax deduction.Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer. The reason the benefit cannot be determined simply is because some deductions are above-the-line, others must be...

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

If you moved due to a change in your job or business location or because you started a new job or business, you may be able to deduct your reasonable moving expenses.Additionally, if you meet the requirements of the tax law for the...

 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

If you’re a farmer or rancher and drought forced you to sell your livestock,special IRS tax relief may help you.The IRS has extended the time to replace livestock that farmers were forcedto sell due to drought. If you’re eligible, this...

 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The tax law does not contain any tax rules specifically for grandparents. However, there are a number of breaks that grandparents can avail themselves of to reduce their tax bills while helping their families.Gifts to family...

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

If your family is among the many families that incur child care expenses so that a parent can attend school, you may be eligible for a child care tax credit. Generally, the child care credit is only available to couples where both...

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If you start a business, one key to success is to know about your federal tax obligations. You may need to know not only about income taxes but also about payroll taxes. Here are five basic tax tips that can help get your business off...

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

This is the time of year for many couples to tie the knot. If you marry during 2014, here are some post-marriage tips to help you avoid stress at tax time.Notify the Social Security Administration − Report any name change to the Social...

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When an employee is caught embezzling funds at a giant multinational corporation, news outlets are eager to broadcast the story from coast to coast. Yet small businesses are victimized by employee theft every day. When a worker...

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

All too often, taxpayers wait until after the close of the tax year to worry about their taxes and miss opportunities that could reduce their tax liability or financially assist them. Mid-year is the perfect time for tax planning. The...

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Your will or trust was prepared so that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes after your death. These documents can also reduce estate taxes. However, certain events can cause these documents to become outdated and...