What Happened to my Tax Exemptions?
Or: The TCJA giveth, the TCJA taketh away. One huge change in the tax code as a result of the 2017 TCJA (“Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”) was that there are no longer “personal exemptions”. Previously, each exemption worked — in addition to either the standard deduction or itemized deductions — to effectively lower one’s […]
Did You or Did You NOT Lose The Home Office Deduction?
There’s been a lot of confusion regarding the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Also known as TCJA, or as the “Trump Tax Cuts”). One particular source of such confusion is regarding the loss of certain itemized deductions — previously included as part of the “Job Expenses and Certain Miscellaneous Deductions” […]
Year end strategizing for the potential tax reform
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 […]
Mortgage Rates hit 2017 Low
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 […]
The Equifax Data Breach
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”
“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 […]
Free Financial Planning!
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 […]
Doubling Your Tax Break: Giving Appreciated Assets to the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless
[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 […]
Willpower – or lack thereof
A recent survey showed that a surprisingly high 72% of Americans do not have an up-to-date will. Via an ABNewsWire article which summarized the results: “A Google Consumer survey by USLegalWills.com suggests that previous surveys may have under-reported the number of Americans without a Will, by not including those who have a Will that is […]
KQED Forum Podcast on Wills and Trusts
Music legend Prince died recently and the news has talked a bit about how he apparently died without a will. KQED Forum, a great discussion show on public radio here in the SF Bay area, hosted a discussion in the wake of this event, to talk about wills, who needs them, and related issues. The […]