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Triple Tax: aka The Lottery

  Most everyone enjoys dreaming of winning it big in the lottery. News media outlets publicize the large unclaimed pots of money on the evening news and they put a spotlight on the lucky multi-million dollar winners. Ever wonder what the tax math looks like? The bottom line when seen from a wage stand point is that 75% or more of the income used to play the lottery does not

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Post tax filing record retention

Toss This. Not That With a sigh you are relieved that yet another tax return has been sent off to the government. Another 12 months before you need to do this again. But before you close that tax file, there is still some work to do. If the IRS or state revenue department selects your return for review, you will need to be prepared. Here is what you need to

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Audit Target: The Sole Proprietor

Are you prepared? Each year the IRS publishes their activities in a publication called the Data Book. And each year for the past number of years the number one target of audits are those tax returns with a Schedule C for small business activity. So how to prepare yourself for a possible audit? Here are some tips. Keep records separate. The quickest way to get a deduction for your business

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Don’t Forget Your Estimated Payment

The tax filing deadline is upon us. The sense of relief that another 1040 form is filed is like lifting a weight from your shoulders. But wait! April 15th is also the 1st quarter estimated tax due date for 2013! So how do you know if you need to place another check in the mail? Here are triggers that suggest you may wish to consider sending in a quarterly estimated

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Is Being Effective Better Than Being Marginal?

Understanding the difference between these two tax rates. The tax code is filled with terms we rarely use in everyday conversation. Two of the more common are Marginal Tax Rates and Effective Tax Rates. Knowing what they mean can help you think differently about your potential tax obligation. Definition Marginal Tax Rate: This is the tax rate applied to the “next” dollar you earn. Since our income tax rates are

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Often Overlooked Medical Expense Deductions

Avoid taking the easy way out. To take your medical expense deduction in 2012 your allowable expenses must exceed 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). In 2013 and beyond, unless you are 65 or older, this amount goes up to 10% of AGI. So why bother? You might be surprised at how much this expense might be. Here are some tips: 1.   Don’t take the easy way out. So

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Don’t Die Here

Estate tax surprises at state level Recently passed federal legislation increased the exemption amount before your estate pays taxes on your assets when you die. The amount for 2013 is $5.25 million. This makes most of our estates tax-free when we die. Or does it? Where you live could cost you a bundle in inheritance and estate taxes since 21 states have some form of estate taxes, inheritance taxes, or

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Are My Social Security Benefits Taxable?

Don’t be surprised at tax time When it comes to retirement many Americans believe they can count on their full Social Security benefits as a core element of income. You can imagine the surprise at tax-time when some of these same benefits are returned to the Federal Government in the form of benefit reduction and taxation. Here is what you need to know. Social Security and Retirement Benefits can be

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Mortgage Insurance Premiums Box Missing

The 2012 Form 1098 does not contain a box for qualified mortgage insurance premiums. This is likely due to the fact that the new tax bill was passed in January when mortgage companies were already in the process of issuing 1098s. The mortgage insurance premiums are deductible for 2012 and 2013, but could easily be overlooked if a tax professional does not specifically ask clients for the amount.

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New Safe Harbor for Home Offices

Beginning in 2013 there is a simplified way to take a home office expense for a portion of your home. This new ‘safe-harbor’ option greatly simplifies how to record valid expenses for business use of your home. Here is how it works. •    You may opt to take your office space square feet times $5 and use this as a valid home office expense up to $1,500 (300 sq. ft.).

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