taxes

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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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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2016 and 2017 401k, 403b Contribution Limits and Catch-up Amounts

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[Updated with 2016 contribution limits] The IRS has released 2016 employer sponsored retirement plan limits, which covers 401(k), 403(b), and Government Thrift Savings (TSP) plans.  The  annual contribution limit, which is indexed to inflation, remained unchanged. So like 2015, the maximum amount employees will be able to contribute on a pre-tax basis in 2016 will be $18,000. The catch-up pre-tax […]

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Tax Extension Deadline – Should You File a Tax Return or File an Extension?

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In these economically tough times you might not have enough money to pay your entire tax bill when due. Inside your head, you scream, “I need more time!” But before you stress out realize that the IRS offers a 6-month tax filing deadline extension that is not that hard to get.  So ask yourself, “Should I […]

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How Much Will it Cost to Have a Tax Professional Prepare Your Tax Return this Year?

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I have received variations on this question over the last few years and when I saw this article in the WSJ I had the answer to my question.  The national average fee for 2014 returns will be $273, according to a survey by the National Society of Accountants. This fee is based on filing for the […]

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How Much of Your Wireless (cell or mobile) Bill is Just Taxes ?

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Answer: About 17 percent according to a report by the Tax Foundation. This figure is based on the average U.S. wireless bill and includes the amount for federal, state and local taxes and fees. Larger metros not surprisingly have higher than average wireless taxes on their residents. In New York City and Chicago, some users have more […]

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2015 Official IRS IRA, Roth IRA and 401K Contribution Limits

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Millions of Americans contribute to an employer sponsored 401K or traditional IRA (Individual Retirement Account). And over the last few years the government has steadily been increasing the maximum contribution people can make to ensure that folks can build a larger nest egg during retirement. But thanks for the low inflation environment seen over the preceding year, […]

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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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2014 IRS Tax Brackets and Rates With Standard Deduction and Personal Exemption Updates

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Below are the 2014 IRS federal tax brackets based on annual inflation adjustments. Given the low inflation environment there were only moderate increases in tax brackets, standard deductions and to the personal exemption. The main changes for the 2014 tax year were: Marginal tax rates remained the same as last year with 39.6% being the highest marginal […]

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