Is Life Insurance Money Taxable?

Is life insurance taxable? It isn’t as much a yes or no answer as it is a situational answer. It depends on a few factors really. But when it comes right down to it, there are three things you should be aware of in order to answer this question: Continue reading

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Taxpayers Can Connect with the IRS on Their Phone

IRS2GoAnyone with tax questions can just grab their phone for answers. The IRS has a mobile app, IRS2Go, which is available for free to use on Android and iOS devices. It’s also available on Amazon. Taxpayers use the app to:

  • Check the status of their refund. Taxpayers can check on their refund status within 24 hours after the IRS receives their e-filed return, or about four weeks after mailing a paper return.
  • Make a payment. The app offers easy access to mobile-friendly payment options like IRS Direct Pay. This offers the taxpayer a free, secure way to pay directly from their bank account. Users can also make a credit or debit card payment through an approved payment processor.
  • Get Helpful Tips and Information. Taxpayers can use the app to link to IRS accounts on social media. Users can do things such as watch helpful videos and access IRS tweets. Taxpayers can also use the app to sign up to receive IRS Tax Tips by email.
  • Stay Secure. Users can use IRS2Go to create login security codes for certain IRS online services. This allows the taxpayer to retrieve codes through IRS2Go instead of using text messages.

Continue reading

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Car Buying Basics

Whether you are buying new or used, there is nothing quite like getting behind the wheel of your first car. But just like with driving, the process of buying a car should be done slowly. Here are some important things to consider when making a vehicle purchase:

  1. Know Your Money – A reliable vehicle doesn’t need to be expensive, but regardless of your price range, make sure you make a budget and stick to it. While the car of your dreams may be a red convertible, the reality is that a car is for transportation more than it is for status.
  2. Arrange Financing in Advance – Make sure you shop around online and at local banks and credit unions and do your best to get pre-approved for a loan. Don’t walk into a dealership without having completed this step first.
  3. Research – The next step is to do your homework. What you want to look for is a vehicle with a track record of reliability and low maintenance costs.
  4. Test Drive – Finally, the step you have been waiting for the most. But before you actually get behind the wheel of any car, make sure you print out a checklist of every feature you want in your car. Do this before you become emotionally attached to a vehicle. Then take it for a spin and see how it feels.
  5. Inspection – Have a local, certified, independent mechanic inspect any vehicle you are interested in before you buy.

Buying a car is both a fun and stressful experience. But you can come out on top every time if you follow the process and don’t allow your emotions to cloud the facts.

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Here’s What Taxpayers Should Know about Penalty Relief

The following article is from the IRS.

tax penaty reliefTaxpayers who make an effort to comply with the law but are unable to meet their tax obligations due to circumstances beyond their control may qualify for relief from penalties.

After receiving a notice stating the IRS assessed a penalty, taxpayers should check that the information in the notice is correct. Those who can resolve an issue in their notice may get relief from certain penalties, which include failing to:

  • File a tax return
  • Pay on time
  • Deposit certain taxes as required

The IRS offers the following types of penalty relief: Continue reading

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How to Budget When You’re on Inconsistent Income

There are certain jobs, even careers, that don’t provide consistent income. Sure, you can make a living off these jobs, but you can’t ever predict with certainty what your income might be from week to week, month to month, or even year to year.

Regardless of your income, bills and expenses tend to come fairly regularly, and neither seem to care what your income was that month. In addition, your future retirement is still a reality whether you think about it or not.

So rather than fret, give yourself a budget and a “monthly salary.” Even though you may not actually make a salary per se, you can create one for the purpose of your budget by adding together a few key elements: Continue reading

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Do’s and Don’ts for Taxpayers Who Get a Letter from the IRS

IRS tax noticesEvery year the IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers for many reasons. Here are some tips and suggestions for taxpayers who receive one:

Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do.

Don’t panic. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do send letters by mail. Most of the time all the taxpayer needs to do is read the letter carefully and take the appropriate action.

Do take timely action. A notice may reference changes to a taxpayer’s account, taxes owed, a payment request or a specific issue on a tax return. Taking action timely could minimize additional interest and penalty charges. Continue reading

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Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying

The word “shopaholic” is often thrown around jokingly to describe those who get a high out of making a purchase, whether they need the item or not. While there is a disorder assigned to someone whose shopping addiction has a significant negative impact on his or her life, most of us are simply guilty of the occasional impulse purchase.

While making an impulse purchase in and of itself isn’t the end of the world, it can be a budget-buster. How do you stop this kind of behavior? Here are several tips: Continue reading

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