Social Security Benefits for Widows & Widowers

What happens to Social Security benefits when a spouse dies? Let’s use an example of Bill and Ann Jones. Bill and Ann are both receiving Social Security benefits when Bill dies suddenly of a heart attack. Ann can keep her own Social Security benefit payment or she can claim a survivor benefit based on the[…]

Social Security Benefits

Nearing retirement age?  Not sure when to start receiving your social security?  These are common questions among Americans in their 60s.  Unfortunately, due to insufficient savings, in 2014 Social Security provided 100% of the retirement income for 15% of individuals 65 and over.  It’s important to understand how Social Security works and your options under[…]

Tax Return For A Deceased Taxpayer

What are the income tax consequences if Grandpa dies on June 30, 2014?  If a taxpayer dies during the tax year, the IRS still expects a tax return to be filed on behalf of the decedent.  In general, it is the executor’s responsibility to ensure the final tax return is prepared and filed. When preparing[…]

SEP Plans

Many times I’m asked, “How can I reduce my tax bill?”  One of the best ways for small business owners to reduce their taxes is to create and contribute to a retirement plan.  There are many low cost options available for small employers; however, I believe the best option may be the SEP IRA. SEP[…]

Love Letter from the IRS?

What happens if you receive correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service?  In my experience, most taxpayers either panic or they ignore it.  The very worst thing you can do is ignore the letter! Trust me, the IRS won’t magically go away. The folks who ignore the letter are the ones that wind up with a[…]

ABLE Accounts for Disabled Individuals

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (TIPA), signed into law by the President on December 19, 2014, provides for a new type of tax-advantaged savings program to help meet the financial needs of disabled individuals called the “Achieving a Better Life Experience” program. Effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2014, states will[…]

Income Received For Serving as a Host Family

Question:  Are stipends taxable income for Federal income tax purposes?  The taxpayer has been serving as a host family for a foreign exchange student and has received monthly payments during 2014.  Should this income be taxable to the host family? There is not a specific exclusion for these payments under the Internal Revenue Code. Since[…]

Things to Know for Tax Year 2014

The IRS announced last week they would be ready to accept 2014 tax returns on January 20, 2015.  This is early in the year considering there have been several changes to the law that will affect 2014 personal income tax returns.  What are some of these changes? Changes Related to the Affordable Care Act Shared[…]