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Posted on Friday, August 16, 2019
When people save for retirement they almost automatically use accounts that avoid tax now.  IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, all pretax retirement savings plans.  Certainly, long term savings uninterrupted by withdrawals and the effect of compounding interest on interest earned is unarguably valuable, but doing that in pretax accounts is NOT the only way to have that happen!  Non-qualified annuity and Roth IRAs allow the same mechanics of compounding to happen, and in retirement both can be as valuable depending on the circumstances and actions of the retiree.   Annuities are underappreciated as a tax planning tool, because of the way earnings are treated as ordinary income upon withdrawal.  However if annuitized at retirement (an option the advisors that distribute them...

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Posted on Friday, August 09, 2019
We use the term “Tax Planning” often, but we are aware that many people are not sure what it really is.  Some people think “That means off shore accounts and citizenship shell games ending with jail time.  No thank you!”.  That is not tax planning, that’s tax evasion, and it’s not at all what we recommend.  Others think only the wealthy need a tax planner, and for regular folks it can mean paying a 30 year mortgage off 12 years early or having a college fund with actually enough in it to pay for college.  It’s not for the wealthy, though.  Tax planning can be a useful tool for anyone is aware of the opportunities.  Our tax code is complex...

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Posted on Friday, July 26, 2019
It’s human nature, of course.  We complain about our weight in the line at the ice-cream stand.  We complain about being tired, then stay up late playing the latest game on our smart devices. Humans are funny and contradictory animals. Have you ever noticed that when you’re in a conversation, people are quick to complain about their taxes?  Many people who complain about their tax bill are actually paying very little compared to most folks.  However, some people pay a lot of unintended or surprise taxes.  An example we see a great deal are self-employed folks.  They will tell us “I pay too much in federal or state income taxes”, but on review of their 1040, they actually paid no...

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Posted on Friday, July 19, 2019
Summer is a popular time for people planning a move to put their home on the market.  It happens all year long of course, but the “hot season” is May-September.  There are many reasons.  School is out and if you have kids of that age it’s easier to change schools between grades.  Often, it’s when summer vacation schedules come around and except for tourism many industries slow down and moving done well takes at least a week and two weekends.  It’s easier to move without snow, so for some of the country that’s also a factor.  There’s are many more reasons, but Summer is when a “wave” takes place.  It’s hard work, stressful and a pain in the neck (and other...

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Posted on Friday, July 12, 2019
The tax code is much more fluid than the public is truly aware of and deductions and credits come and go all the time.  Deductions like mileage for business owners change with the cost of gasoline, for instance, and can go up and down annually.  Often, it is actual programs that come and go, like energy tax credits or being able to transfer an IRA to a charity directly without paying income tax but still satisfying RMD requirements.  Often, these programs are temporary, and depending on whether the government believes that they have met their objectives, sometimes expire, or may become permanent.  Capital Gains has remained on sale!  It’s been changed over the years, but under the original Bush tax...

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Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2019
It’s June.  In a few short months people will be filing their 2019 tax returns with a familiar recurring Moooooan and Grooooooan. Now is the time to take your preventative medicine and avoid the pain! Being human, we all form habits.  Some good.  Most bad.  We try to develop good ones to replace the bad ones and often we are successful, but most successes don’t come without a coach, cheerleader or some kind of support. Tax time is usually a time of regret over not being successful at last year’s promise to oneself, “I not going to pay this much again.  I`m going to keep better records and search out a tax planner or some professional help and get smarter...

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Posted on Thursday, June 20, 2019
The answer to that might surprise you.  Because, for the most part, the answer is yes.  However, sometimes they are only fair if you know how to “play the game”.  Most people think only the wealthy can avoid paying income tax because they know how to play the game.  Well, at a much lower level, everybody knows some of the tricks to “playing the game”.  For instance, you might be contributing to your 401k at work.  Well you’re playing the game.  However, you might not know that even though you’re contributing everything you can to your 401k at work, you’re still allowed to open an additional private IRA, and take another $6,000 or $7,000 off of your taxable income.  That trick is “knowing the rest of the rules...

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Posted on Friday, June 14, 2019
Taxes, like rain in the Spring, are a constant, but you can open an umbrella.  Many people are looking at their calendar and seeing the end of June, and although they have great intentions in March and April of getting proactive in and around learning how to mitigate this year’s tax outcomes, the time has slipped by.  People that should be storing capital differently in that stock brokerage account have already been paid six months in dividends that are coming to them as a 1099 next tax season.  Those people that meant to move the funds out of the bank are going to receive six months of interest now.  People who see the calendar, see the date, and are already...

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Posted on Friday, June 07, 2019
Do you like losing weight because you want to look more attractive or fit in an expensive wardrobe you already own? You also often lower blood pressure or lower A1C. It might not be the primary motivation but the extra benefit is of course welcome! If you are a business owner than we pose this question. Some time ago you had an idea, over the years your turned that idea into a successful and profitable business. Have you protected what you worked so hard to build?  An unexpected turn of events could put your biggest asset at risk. Did you know that moving business dollars into a qualified plan could protect your assets as well as provide a current tax...

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Posted on Sunday, June 02, 2019
Everywhere I go, like the dandelions popping up all over my lawn, no matter hard I work at their extermination, there are cars on the side of the road and the unmistakable buzz of people with “yard sale face” rushing to see what hot deals they can find.  It’s a summer ritual, and as badly we all crave summer, a welcome sign.  The biggest yard sale we have ever seen has been open and running for almost a decade now and still not many people are parking out front and rushing in and THEY SHOULD BE!  It’s the capital gains tax rate and it’s a big sale. Does the IRS really have “Yard Sales?”  Yes, all the time! The tax...

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