How to Refinance Your Home Loan

The following video is from the IRS

If you are a homeowner, you probably have a mortgage. Mortgages are typically the largest loan a person has, or ever will have. This means that the rate you pay on your loan matters. While mortgage rates have risen slightly, they are still historically low. So should you refinance to lock in a lower rate? Here are the steps to find out:

  1. Find out how much you will spend. Add up all the fees associated with a potential refinance, including both government and lender fees.
  2. Find out how much a lower rate will save you.
  3. Divide the cost by the monthly savings to determine how many months it will take to break even. For example, if your total fees are $2000, and you save $100/month, it will take you 20 months to break even.

It’s typically rather simple to find out how much you will save, thanks to an abundance of online calculators. The tricky part is determining the cost. It’s important to talk to several lenders and even a title company to make sure you understand all the fees that will be associated with your refinance.

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Here’s How a Name Change Affects a Tax Return

The following article was published by the IRS.

people-2595862_1280When someone legally changes their name, there are tax consequences they need to know about, especially at tax time. People change their names for several reasons:

  • Taking their spouse’s last name after a marriage
  • Hyphenating their last name with their spouse’s after getting married
  • Going back to their former name after a divorce
  • Giving an adopted child the last name of their new family

The IRS wants people experiencing a name change to remember these important things: Continue reading

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Retirement Plan and IRA Rollovers

The following video is from the IRS.

Did you know that you can move funds from your Individual Retirement Arrangement and retirement plan to another IRA or plan? There are two ways to do so: you can have the funds directly transferred from one account to another IRA account or plan, or you can have a check sent directly to you.

If you have a check sent to you, you only have 60 days to deposit that check into the other IRA or retirement plan. If you miss the deadline, you may have to pay tax on the distribution, and you may have to pay an additional 10% tax on early distributions.

However, if you miss the 60-day deadline due to circumstances beyond your control, such as an error made by a financial institution, you could be eligible for a waiver. You can even use the model letter on IRS.gov to self-certify that you’re eligible for a waiver.

For more information for rolling over an IRA or retirement plan, go to IRS.gov/rollovers. For information about waivers, scroll down to FAQs relating to waivers of the 60-day rollover requirement.

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Individuals Who Need Passports for Imminent Travel Should Contact IRS Promptly to Resolve Tax Debt

The following article was published by the IRS.

passport-2642172_1280The Internal Revenue Service has reiterated its warning that taxpayers may not be able to renew a current passport or obtain a new passport if they owe federal taxes. To avoid delays in travel plans, taxpayers need to take prompt action to resolve their tax issues.

In January of last year, the IRS began implementing new procedures affecting individuals with “seriously delinquent tax debts.” These new procedures implement provisions of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The law requires the IRS to notify the State Department of taxpayers the IRS has certified as owing a seriously delinquent tax debt, which is $52,000 or more. The law also requires State to deny their passport application or renewal. If a taxpayer currently has a valid passport, the State Department may revoke the passport or limit ability to travel outside the United States. Continue reading

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Financial Rules for Living Together

For many, getting married is just a part of life. But the percentage of those that choose to simply live together and forgo the formality of marriage is on the rise. If you are one of those who prefer simply to live with your partner, here are some facts to consider:

When buying a house, it may not be a wise idea for one to simply buy the house while the other pays. Keep in mind, the house will belong to the person with the name on the deed. If you aren’t married, the law doesn’t make an exception or offer any protections to you financially. Verbal agreements don’t matter; if you’re not on the deed, you don’t own the house. Continue reading

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Here’s What Taxpayers Should Do to Protect Private Data

The following article was published by the IRS.

finger-2081169_1280Taxpayers should protect their personal and financial data from criminals who continue to steal large amounts of information. Thieves use the data to file bogus tax returns and commit crimes while impersonating the victim.

All taxpayers should follow these steps to protect themselves and their data.

Keep a secure computer. Taxpayers should:

  • Use security software that updates automatically. Essential tools for keeping a secure computer include a firewall, virus and malware protection, and file encryption for sensitive data.
  • Treat personal information like cash; don’t leave it lying around.
  • Give personal information only over encrypted and trusted websites.
  • Use strong passwords and protect them.

Continue reading

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Pay Yourself First

Saving money is important, and paying yourself first is one of the best ways to accomplish that. This allows you to set money aside for emergencies, and even plan for long-term goals.

But not everyone knows the best way to save. It is easy to get caught up paying bills and expenses, and forget that the most important person to pay is yourself. That’s why it is so important to create a savings plan that works for you. Saving, in general, can be difficult, so make sure you set a financial goal. Then figure out how much you will need to save to reach that goal. Continue reading

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