The IRS has issued some warnings recently about a new scam which seems especially on the rise with more tax professionals having more client data online than ever before. The scammers file a fraudulent tax return – but include the taxpayers’ real bank account information (or if they don’t file for electronic deposit of their […]

What’s the Kiddie Tax? Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986, a new “Kiddie Tax” was introduced in order to close a loophole through which wealthy folks were getting investment income taxed at lower rates by transferring assets to their children. Under the ’86 rule, unearned income (mainly investment income like stock dividends, interest, and […]

While the GOP has apparently tightened up on deductions from folks accelerating state and local tax payments, that was always going to be a somewhat limited option. The big takeaway is this – you need to understand the structure of your current deductions — and whether you are in AMT now — and whether you […]

The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps working families offset some of the cost of childcare.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders weekly and publishes average mortgage rates for the previous week every Thursday.  Today they’ve published rates which show a year-to-date low:  30 year mortgage originations are down to 3.78% (with 50bp points/fees), 15 year mortgages are down to 3.08% and 5/1 ARMs are down to 3.15%. These aren’t quite historic lows […]

Some notes regarding the Equifax data breach  – updated on 9/29/2017 to include links for freezing your credit, getting free credit reports, getting your medical records, getting your Social Security records, plus some additional security items to consider: There’s been a lot of reporting, and Equifax’s response has changed a bit since the first reports […]

“Get real planning, not too much, mostly fee-only” Michael Pollan, in his terrific book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” — came up with the motto “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”. A basic guide to good eating in only 7 words. I’m not sure I can get it quite that tight, but […]

Periodically — typically at least in the fall — some local organizations get together along with a bunch of financial planning professionals who volunteer their time — to provide FREE FINANCIAL PLANNING! The event is called Financial Planning Days and they happen all over the country including places like San Francisco (10/22/2016), Indianapolis (10/15/2016), Baltimore […]

The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the 2017-2018 year bring on a few major changes:   (a) They are available NOW – as of Oct 1 – three months earlier than they used to be.   Note that the FAFSA deadline is not until June 2017. But the sooner you […]

[Note – this was written with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless in mind.  The general principles of getting tax breaks for donating to charities – and doubling them by donating appreciated assets — applies just the same to any 501c3 charitable organizations.] What is the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH)? [The following […]