2015 Tax Brackets and Other Federal Taxation Updates

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Given the low inflation environment over the last year, the 2015 IRS Tax Brackets, standard deductions and personal exemptions have only seen a moderate increase over 2014 levels. Federal income tax brackets and related tax items, under the tax code, provide for mandatory annual adjustments based on inflation. This is to prevent the phenomenon known as bracket […]

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Will I Get a Raise This Year? And What Is The Average Raise?

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Unless you are a senior executive of a Fortune 500 company you probably won’t be seeing a double digit raise this year. According to the seventh annual Compensation Planning Survey by Buck Consultants, workers who were among the highest-rated at their firm got average raises of 4.3% in 2013, an increase of just 0.2% from […]

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Fastest Growing State – Hands Down Texas!

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I sometimes ponder where I would move if I had to leave my current state (VA). And more and more, Texas seems to come to mind. This is because of three main factors – strong employment, housing affordability and quality of life (good weather, diverse cities, lower taxes etc). And clearly I am not alone based […]

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Obamacare Health Insurance Purchase Requirement Extended?

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[Update March 31st 2013] Extension to purchase health coverage may now be in the works. The original deadline to purchase coverage, before incurring penalties was March 31st, 2014. But a number of state exchanges, like Covered California said that, “Individuals who start an online application by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2014, will have until 11:59 p.m. on April 15, […]

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Average 2014 Refund Higher Than in 2013

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The IRS has published its latest statistics to date and it shows that tax filers are getting higher refunds in 2014 than they did in 2013.  To date, the IRS has processed most of the received returns (about 30% of total expected). Of the returns filed, the IRS has issued 6% more refunds than last […]

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Online IRS Tax Tools To Figure, Track and File Taxes For Free

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With the 2014 filing season now officially open tax payers can go to IRS.gov and leverage a number of tools that enables them to file their taxes for free, figure how much in additional tax credits they can get and even plan for their 2014 taxes. The IRS expects to receive more than 148 million individual […]

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8 Danger Signs You Will Likely Owe the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

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The following are 8 signs that you may owe the  Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), or the rich-mans tax, this year. You or your household fall into the high income category (generally $250,000 or more), which means that a good part or all of your AMT exemption is phased-out. You have relatively hefty deductions for state […]

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Why Vanguard and Fidelity Money Market Funds Are a Money Losing Proposition. Go For A High Yield Savings Account Instead

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I recently got an email saying that my Vanguard prime money market fund’s expense ratio had increased from 0.16% to 0.17%. Not such a big deal because even with the higher expense ratio, Vanguard’s prime money market fund fees are still amongst the lowest in the industry. But what caught my attention when I went […]

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Unbundling Auto And Home Insurance Policies Even When Losing The Multi-Policy Discount

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Around this time of year many people get renewal notices for their auto insurance. More often than not they will briefly scan the notice and if the premium hasn’t increased substantially from the prior period they’ll just file away the renewal paperwork and let the auto-payment on file continue to be processed. But when I […]

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Monthly Budget Comparison – Big City $10,000 vs. Small Town $4,000

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I have 2 family friends. One lives in the DC Metro Area (Bethesda, MD) and the other lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. Classic Big Town vs. Small Town. I met them over Thanksgiving and we got talking about the cost of living and how it varies so much across America. Both are married with two kids […]

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