Gifts to Charity: Six Facts About Written Acknowledgements

donate buttonThroughout the year, many taxpayers contribute money or gifts to qualified organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Taxpayers who plan to claim a charitable deduction on their tax return must do two things:

  • Have a bank record or written communication from a charity for any monetary contributions.
  • Get a written acknowledgment from the charity for any single donation of $250 or more.

Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Charitable Organizations, IRS, Non Profits, Personal Finance, Planning Strategies, Tax Tips | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Save This Halloween

Halloween is as much about decorations and candy as it is about trying to one-up friends and neighbors with your creativity and costumes. It is a great time to take a little risk, spend some time with friends trick-or-treating, and make some fun memories.

But it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The trend to go “all out” seems to be increasing every year, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you need to spend more and more each year. Here are some ways to stay in on the fun while keeping more money in your pocket: Continue reading

Posted in Holiday Tips, Personal Finance, Planning Strategies, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taxpayers Should Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls from the IRS

The following article was published by the IRS.

phoneTaxpayers who get an unexpected or unsolicited phone call from the IRS should be wary – it’s probably a scam. Phone calls continue to be one of the most common ways that thieves try to get taxpayers to provide personal information. These scammers then use that information to gain access to the victim’s bank or other account.

When a taxpayer answers the phone, it might be a recording or an actual person claiming to be from the IRS. Sometimes the scammer tells the taxpayer they owe money and must pay right away. They might also say the person has a refund waiting, and then they ask for bank account information over the phone.

Taxpayers should not take the bait and fall for this trick. Here are several tips that will help taxpayers avoid becoming a scam victim. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How To Do Fall Financial Housekeeping

Fall is an excellent time to take care of some long overdue chores, including tidying up our houses and yards. But what about our finances? This time of year is also the perfect time to take stock of where you stand financially and tidy things up in a few key areas: Continue reading

Posted in Personal Finance, Planning Strategies, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IRS Reminds Parents, Students to Explore Education Resources on IRS.gov

The following article was published by the IRS.

OWLThe Internal Revenue Service today reminded parents and students that there are many tax benefits available to them, and the easiest way to learn more about them is through the education resources available on IRS.gov.

Besides tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit, there are other education-related tax benefits that can help reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability. Savings plans, such as 529 plans, also offer tax-free ways to save for a student’s qualified education expenses.

Deductions:

Student Loan Interest Deduction

If a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in 2017 is less than $80,000 ($165,000 if filing a joint return), there is a special deduction allowed for paying interest on a qualified student loan used for higher education. This may include both required and voluntary interest payments. Eligible taxpayers can claim this deduction even if they don’t itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A. Continue reading

Posted in American Opportunity, Education, Lifetime Learning, Personal Finance, Personal Taxes, Planning Strategies | Tagged , , , ,

Money Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Relationship

Living with someone can be one of the smartest financial decisions you make. Virtually all fixed expenses can be split and many other daily expenses shared as well. But this can be a double-edged sword. Poor financial decisions have the ability to drive a wedge right between two people, stressing even the best of relationships.

The greatest cause of divorce, according to most therapists, is disagreements over money. So avoiding money mistakes in relationships is critical to relationship success. Here are a few to consider:

Secrecy – In order to avoid secret spending behind someone’s back, keep all shared expenses and income in a joint account, but give each other an allowance to spend as you please. This will allow you some room to be yourself without having to be held accountable for every penny you spend.

No Budget – Make sure you have shared goals for the big picture so your money can be directed towards those goals and be used efficiently. Not having a budget makes money control you instead of you controlling your money. Start a budget and stay on track!

No Will – Everyone should have a will.  It’s not if, but when you are going to die, and not having a will can leave behind frustration in addition to heartache. Discussing a will opens up the door for many important financial topics that should be addressed.

No Investment Plan – Investing is critical to future financial stability. When couples are involved, however, it is possible that both individuals will have different investment tolerances. Don’t look at this as a threat, but instead use it as an opportunity to compromise.

Not Talking – Most experts agree that talking at least once a month about your financial big picture is a must. From the moment you get together to the moment you die, communication is the glue that holds everything together, especially finances!

Bottom line, money is something that can bring couples together or tear them apart. Work on addressing the five key issues listed above and watch your relationship grow.

Posted in Personal Finance, Planning Strategies, Tax Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Protect Yourself After the Equifax Data Breach

This article was published by the IRS.

keyboardThe recent Equifax hack has credit users on edge, wondering if they were a victim and if so, what steps they should take.

The first step is to find out if you were among the estimated 143 million Americans who were affected. Use Equifax’s Potential Impact tool to find out. (You will need to input your last name and the last six digits of your SSN to use this tool.)

Whether or not you were impacted, Equifax is offering one free year of credit monitoring through their TrustedID Premier service. (Sign up via the Potential Impact tool.) Continue reading

Posted in Data Security, Fraud, In the News, Personal Finance, Personal Taxes, Planning Strategies | Tagged , , , , , ,