Will there be a 2017 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Increase

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[2017 COLA update] It looks highly likely that there won’t be a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase in 2017 based on recent CPI-W figures and comments from the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds.  The main impact of the COLA is to the 70 million+ Social security recipients. Estimates for the 2017 COLA […]

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2017 Pay Raise Likely for Federal Employees on GS Pay Scale

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[2017 GS Pay Raise Update] Despite a low inflation environment it looks like the President may leave a nice farewell gift for Federal employees on the GS pay scale via a 1.6% pay raise in 2017. There are still many hoops to jump through to get this raise approved, with any proposed raises to go via various sub-committees, House of […]

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2016 SEP IRA Contribution Limits and Eligibility Rules

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[Updated for 2016 limits]  A year or so after starting my small business and completing my first annual tax return that showed a slight profit, my accountant advised that I start looking into a retirement account/plan for my business in order to lower my overall tax bill and also effectively set aside some of my […]

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2016 vs 2017 Traditional IRA versus Roth IRA – Contribution and Phase-out Income Limits

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I regularly receive reader questions asking me to clarify the difference between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRA plan. Both are excellent retirement investment vehicles, but based on your income and tax situation one may be a better first choice than the other. Here are some key differences and a summary table of the two retirement investment […]

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How to Get Your UBER rating as a Passenger and see How Drivers Rate You

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Uber, now a verb in the dictionary, is the revolutionary ride hailing service (think taxi on your phone) that millions of people use daily. You basically request an “Uber” via your smartphone, it shows up and drops you off to your destination and your credit card (already on file) is automatically charged when the trip […]

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Tax Filing Deadline – Get Your Refund and Avoid Penalties

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With the deadline for the primary part of the tax season upon us make sure you file in time to avoid penalties or submit a free extension request for an October filing  date – you still need to pay any taxes due. If you have filed you hopefully have gotten your tax refund by now, or if you […]

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California’s Employment Development Department for Unemployment Insurance

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California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) manages the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) programs for the State of California. SDI includes both Disability Insurance (DI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL). You can file a claim for all of these programs online, by phone, or by mail. Mail – CA EDD Unemployment Insurance Employment Development […]

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How Can I Actually Speak to a Real Person or Agent at the IRS – Phone Numbers That Work

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With so many people experiencing high levels of frustration around getting information on their tax refund delays, I thought I would take some of the feedback and tips across 5000 comments from my recently updated IRS schedule article and post some ideas on how to contact the IRS and get an actual agent on the line. These […]

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Maximum Weeks of State Unemployment Insurance Benefits Available

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Great graphic from the CBPP on unemployment insurance benefit duration (in weeks) by state. Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are state administered and generally most workers are eligible for up to 26 weeks. Two states that provide more than this – Montana (28 weeks) and Massachusetts (30 weeks). However there are 8 states that provide fewer […]

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IRS Identity Review and Validation Options – Phone and Online – to Reduce Refund Payment Delays

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You filed your return in a timely manner and were waiting for your refund to be sent within the standard timeline that IRS promises. But alas, it has been much longer than that and you are wondering, “Where is my DAMN refund!” In a lot of recent cases, it appears that the IRS is delaying refund processing […]

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