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February 2018

Virtual currencies are all the rage lately. Here are some tax consequences you must know if you decide to dip your toe in that world.

The IRS is paying close attention

The first thing to know is that the IRS is scrutinizing virtual currency transactions, so if you live in the U.S. you'll have to report your transactions in Bitcoins and the like to the IRS. Despite some early misconceptions, virtual currency transactions can be traced back to their owners by governments and other cyber sleuths.

In fact, the IRS just won a case late in 2017 against the prominent... Click here to read more

Working with family can be a pleasure. It can also be a pain, especially if you have to terminate a family member's employment. Here are tips to help you ease the strain of mixing your family and employee relationships:

  • Hire for the right reasons. Make your hiring and firing decisions based on the skill sets needed to keep your business operating effectively. Hiring your son because he's struggling to find a job or employing your niece so she'll be nearby are not good business reasons for bringing staff on board. On the other hand, you may know more firsthand... Click here to read more

With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, deductions of state, local and property taxes are not worth as much as they used to be. Beginning in 2018, taxpayers are limited to a total of $10,000 in combined state income, sales and property taxes as an itemized deduction.

One way you can try to adapt is by lowering your property tax bill. Believe it or not, there is a way.

Why you may need a property tax reassessment

Property taxes are the revenue lifeblood of cities, counties, school districts and states, and they fluctuate along with house prices. Because local... Click here to read more

If you are a small business owner, your planning probably got a lot trickier after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). That's because most small businesses have legal structures that are treated as pass-through entities for tax purposes, meaning they "pass-through" income to the owners or investors, which they record on their Form 1040 individual tax returns. These entities include S corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships.

On one hand, these kinds of businesses will benefit from the TCJA's 20 percent reduction to the taxation of business income. On the... Click here to read more

January 2018

How to locate lost retirement benefits

For one reason or another, you may find yourself in a situation where you've lost track of a retirement account like a 401(k) or pension. There are several ways this can happen:

  • Job change. People change jobs in today's economy much faster than they did in the past, and that means that retirement accounts like 401(k)s or pensions from a brief job tenure may easily be forgotten.
  • A death in the family. Deceased loved ones may have overlooked some retirement assets in their... Click here to read more

It's a nightmare scenario few small businesses consider: hackers breach your computer system, steal your customer lists and threaten to exploit sensitive data. Data breaches by malicious individuals don't just pose a financial risk. They threaten your reputation and can trigger litigation if your customers blame you for the exposure of their data.

So far, many of the victims of these high-profile attacks are large corporations. A poster child for this is the massive 2017 cyber breach of the credit reporting agency Equifax, which affected more than 143 million Americans. Equifax's... Click here to read more

Congress has passed tax reform that will take effect in 2018, ushering in some of the most significant tax changes in three decades. Here are some major items in the new bill that impact individual taxpayers.

  • Reduces income tax brackets. The bill retains seven brackets, but at reduced rates, with the highest tax bracket dropping to 37 percent from 39.6 percent.
  • Double standard deductions. The standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married filing jointly. To help cover the cost, personal... Click here to read more

December 2017

The pressure to please everyone with gifts during the holiday season can be immense. But if you succumb to the temptation to overcharge your cards or dig into your savings, you'll start off the new year with a hole burned in your pocket.

Here are some tips to help you stay financially sound through the holidays.

Budget

The best way to avoid overextending yourself this holiday season is with a budget. Start with realistic assumptions about how much you can afford to spend and still pay off any balances on your January credit card bills.

If you... Click here to read more

Give your business some holiday cheer

Even though the end of 2017 is near, it is not too late to get your business into the best possible tax position for the new year.

Here are some year-end tax moves to consider:

  • Consider vehicle purchases. There are several tax deductions available if you own a vehicle for business use. General expenses can be tax-deductible, including fuel, oil changes, general repairs and even new tires. Depreciation, insurance and interest on a business car loan are also tax-deductible expenses. While there... Click here to read more

You can save more for retirement next year using tax-advantaged accounts, thanks to a boost in the maximum 401(k) contribution rate by the IRS. The maximum rate increases by $500 to $18,500, which is the first increase in three years. Those aged 50 or older can still contribute an additional $6,000 on top of that amount.

This is good news, because a 401(k) is one of most potent tools in your retirement arsenal. It offers many benefits over other forms of saving, including:

  • Tax-deferred growth. Pre-tax income of $18,500 invested over 30 years with 6 percent annual... Click here to read more

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