It’s Time to Save for the Holidays

Black Friday is just around the corner!  If you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin setting money aside for one of the most expensive times of the year.  This video touches on a few ways you can free up some money right now:

  • Check your everyday spending.
  • Sell your extra junk.
  • Save on insurance by raising your deductibles to decrease your premiums.
  • Check your tax withholdings at work to ensure you aren’t overwithholding.
  • Open a holiday savings account and put a little away each week.
  • Find ways to earn a little extra money through side jobs.

Bottom line, it is never too early to begin to set aside a holiday spending cushion.  So start saving now, the shopping season will be upon us before you know it!

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ACA and Employers: Terms to Know about Offers of Health Coverage

The following article was published by the IRS.

Red CrossUnder the Affordable Care Act, certain employers known as applicable large employers are subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions. You might be thinking about these topics as you make plans about 2017 health coverage for your employees.

If you are an employer that is subject to the employer shared responsibility provisions, you may choose either to offer affordable minimum essential coverage that provides minimum value to your full-time employees and their dependents, or to potentially owe an employer shared responsibility payment to the IRS. Continue reading

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2017 Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act Opens Soon

It’s just about that time of year again; open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins November 1.  This means that if you buy your health insurance through one of the state exchanges or through, you must make any additions or changes to your coverage during this period, which extends until January 31, 2017.

What happens if you don’t act during this window?  You likely won’t be able to make any changes until the next open enrollment period.  More importantly, if you are stuck without coverage you are faced with a fine.  This fine amounts to the greater of 2.5% of your household income or $695.00/adult and $347.50/child.  This penalty is capped at $2085.00 and will be the same for 2017 and beyond with adjustments for inflation.

Where do you go to find coverage?  Just go to where you can either purchase it directly or be directed to your state exchange if applicable.

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IRS Gives Tax Relief to Victims of Hurricane Matthew; Many Extension Filers in North Carolina Now Affected; Relief for Other States Expected Soon

The following article was published by the IRS.

stormNorth Carolina storm victims will have until March 15, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments, with similar relief expected soon for Hurricane Matthew victims in other states, the Internal Revenue Service announced recently. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief.

Following this weeks disaster declaration for individual assistance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the IRS said that affected taxpayers in Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt and Robeson counties will receive this and other special tax relief. Locations in other states are expected to be added in coming days, based on damage assessments by FEMA. Continue reading

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College Student’s Financial Survival Guide

Heading off to college often marks the first time many young adults manage their own finances.  While this may represent a challenge for some, just a few smart steps can help simplify this process.

  • Create a budget for the entire semester
  • Control impulses and limit spending
  • Use one credit card sparingly to build credit

Building solid money management habits during college can lay the groundwork for a solid financial future.

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Reminder for Parents and Students: Check Out College Tax Credits for 2016 and Years Ahead

UniversityWith another school year now in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service recently 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 when they file their 2016 federal income tax returns next year.

In general, the American Opportunity Tax Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is available to taxpayers who pay qualifying expenses for an eligible student. Eligible students include the taxpayer, spouse and dependents. The American Opportunity Tax Credit provides a credit for each eligible student, while the Lifetime Learning Credit provides a maximum credit per tax return.

Though a taxpayer often qualifies for both of these credits, he or she can only claim one of them for a particular student in a particular year. To claim these credits on their tax return, the taxpayer must file Form 1040 or 1040A and complete Form 8863, Education Credits. Continue reading

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Massachusetts Veterans Assistance

It is not uncommon for many of us to struggle financially from time to time.  For residents of Massachusetts who have served in our military there is help.  A sample of the programs available to help our veterans include:

  • Medical Care
  • Food
  • Shelter

These benefits are applicable to you, your spouse, and your children and are available by checking out the Massachusetts Veteran’s Services homepage at  Check out the benefits section and learn more about the resources to which you are entitled.

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