Retirement Feed

Are you frantically trying to finish your 1040 by the Oct. 15 extended filing deadline? Yes, it is just a week away, so you need to get to work. But don't be in such a hurry that you miss out on some tax breaks. There are lots of ways to reduce your tax bill, as this week's Weekly Tax Tip highlights. Some of the 10 often overlooked tax breaks are for itemizers only. Others can be claimed by any filer. Philanthropic filers should double-check their contribution records. You don't want to miss out on Schedule A deductions for noncash charitable... Read more →


UK's top financial officer kills 'death tax' on pensions

I've been keeping a close eye on the United Kingdom for the last week because the hubby was in Scotland covering the Ryder Cup international golf tournament. That event got a lot of attention, especially since it came on the heels of Scotland's vote to remain part of the UK. Then there was the European golfers' trouncing of their U.S. counterparts. Now financial and tax folks are focusing on our closest European ally because of the decision by the UK's top financial officer to abolish its tax on some inherited pensions. George Osborne announces to the gathering of the Conservative... Read more →


I am a firm believer in the cliché adage truth that you're as young as you feel. Age is an artificial construct, devised by humans to set limits. I realize that sometimes age requirements are necessary -- driving, voting, drinking. Don't combine these dangerously! Personally, I don't celebrate birthdays. I don't hate them, but making a big deal of the day on which you just happened to appear screaming into (at?) the world seems silly. As a friend from Washington, D.C., (miss you, Maxine!) once said and I repeat often: Age only matters if you're wine or cheese. "Is the... Read more →


Did you have a great three-day Fourth of July weekend? Fantastic! Now it's time to focus on taxes. Really. Don't act so surprised. Yes, it is summer. But you did click over here to the ol' tax blog. Photo courtesy of Camp Laurel, Maine And I know you know that taxes continue well beyond the traditional filing season. So don't let more days slip by without making some midyear tax moves that could help keep you on the Internal Revenue Service's good side an help reduce your upcoming 2014 tax bill. Here are five easy tax tasks to take care... Read more →


July 1 not only marks the middle of the year. It's the start of a new fiscal year for most state governments and that means new laws typically take effect. Here are some of the new tax statutes now on state books. Indiana has changed how it calculates tax on gasoline. Instead of the previous fixed 19-cent-per-gallon sales tax, the tax rate will be modified month-to-month. Specifically, the Hoosier State's gas usage tax rate now will be 7 percent of the average price of gas the previous month. That means, says the Indiana Department of Revenue, that the state's July... Read more →


School is out for the summer, but education remains the hot topic. Starbucks earlier this month announced a partnership with Arizona State University under with the beverage company will cover the tuition costs for its workers who take ASU online classes. And this past week both the House and Senate tax-writing committees examine ways that the Internal Revenue Code could better help students -- and their families -- foot the ever-growing higher education costs. Just as college expenses keep increasing, so do tax breaks to help cover them. The Senate Finance Committee conducted a hearing June 24 on, in Chairman... Read more →


The Ways and Means Committee is continuing its piecemeal approach to the 55 expired tax breaks known as the extenders. House Ways and Means Ranking Member Sander Levin, D-Mich., (left) and Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., talk things over before the full tax-writing panel meets. Photo courtesy Ways and Means Committee. Today (May 29) the House tax-writing panel approved a half dozen tax bills, including a couple that will make taxpayers who count on charitable donation deductions happy. Five of the proposals deal with charitable donations. The sixth is a popular business deduction. IRA RMD charitable rollover: Let's start with a... Read more →


If you are putting money into a retirement savings plan at your office or into an IRA, then make sure you aren't missing out on the saver's credit. This tax break, which offers a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill if you qualify, is today's Daily Tax Tip. The savings could be as much as $1,000 off your tax bill. Contributions to certain workplace accounts -- 401(k), SIMPLE IRA, SARSEP, 403(b), 501(c)(18) or governmental 457(b) -- and both Roth and traditional IRAs count towards the credit. But there are limits. Eligibility computations: This tax break, formally known as the Retirement... Read more →


The adage that the more things change the more they stay the same definitely applies to Congress in general and to tax legislation in particular. New Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called his panel together this morning to review the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act. That's Wyden's version of the extenders tax measures that ended with the start of 2014. Wyden's original version of EXPIRE called for many, but not all, of the now-dead measures to go back into the tax code for the 2014 and 2015 tax years. In his opening statement, Wyden emphasized... Read more →


As regular readers of the ol' blog know, I'm fixated on retirement. Maybe it's just because every year about this time, the tax season begins to wear on all of us who are connected to the industry. I'm sure I am not alone in thinking about being able to not do anything, tax or otherwise! Maybe it's just because I'm getting older. Whatever the reason, the topic of post-work taxes has shown up in recent tax tips. So I thought it might be fun as we're winding down both the day and the week to look at the recent retirement-related... Read more →


Age and wisdom, it is said, triumphs over youth and enthusiasm. With every passing day, I hope that is true! My mom, the lovely lady in red, celebrating birthdays with her friends at her local Seniors Center. One thing, however, I do know about getting older. It offers some tax advantages not available to younger filers. Today's Daily Tax Tip actually is a look at four tax breaks just for us older folks. Don't feel left out. You'll get to join our august group one day! 1. Contribute more to retirement accounts As long as you're earning money, you can... Read more →


"It says the husband gets to retire when he wants and the wife should just go along." That was the hubby this morning, reading the New York Times article on how working couples cope when they don't retire at the same time. That's why I keep him around. He's hilarious. A shared sense of humor is crucial to making a marriage last. So is being able to talk about money. Like how much money you'll need to retire when each of you wants. Making sure we get our rocking chairs on the same porch at the same time is a... Read more →


And so it has happened again. Another month arrives and I am totally unprepared. Regular readers of the ol' blog know I (try to) start each month with some tax-saving, tax-planning thoughts. But March arrived on a Saturday that I spent with my mom. And Sunday, March 2, was Oscars day ... and a Sunday, day of rest and all. That left Monday as the day to highlight some tax moves to make in March. By now you've figured out where this story is going. Today kind of slipped by me, too. But I realized it with just enough time... Read more →


There were no big surprises, tax or otherwise, in President Obama's State of the Union circa 2014. That's understandable. He's -- sorry Obama fans, I have to say it -- a lame duck whose party is trying to hang onto the Senate in the coming midterm elections. So the president's big political assignment last night was to offer some relatively noncontroversial talking points that Democrats could take to voters this fall. Cursory tax reform talk: OK, I know the State of the Union address can't be a total tax talk . But I had hoped for a little more. Oh... Read more →


Singing the praises of tax-favored retirement savings

Welcome Winter Solstice! We Northern Hemisphere residents are glad you're here because after this shortest day of the year (and the accompanying longest night of 2013), we'll start getting a bit more sunlight every day for the next six or so months. The incrementally longer days, however, won't do much to warm us up in the short term. Winter, which officially begins today, Dec. 21, will continue to have most of North America in its cold clutches for a while. All this climatological data makes for an obvious choice for today's 10th Christmas Tax Tips Tune. It's Mele Kalikimaka. OK,... Read more →


I'm a sucker for Christmas. The food, the movies, decorating the tree and the mantel and, of course, the songs. I look forward to them for 11 months of the year. So if the seasonal time-honored trappings are so important to me, why does a novelty song make my holiday listening list? Because sometimes even the strictest traditionalist needs to get a little goofy. That's why this season's third Christmas Tax Tip Tune is Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I know, despite its upbeat tempo, it's a bit of a downer. But you can always opt instead for... Read more →


It's finally here! Everyone's favorite month. The final 31 days in which you can take steps to reduce your 2013 tax bill. What? You thought I was talking about Christmas? C'mon! If you've been reading the ol' blog for the last eight years, you know I started my tax musings by referring to any consideration of taxes as the most wonderful time of the year. And while taxes must share at least 25 of December's days with the big annual gift-giving event, this final month of the year is a great time to give yourself a smaller tax bill. So... Read more →


Washington State on Monday, Nov. 11, enacted the largest corporate tax break any state has ever given to a single company. Boeing, the giant aerospace company from which Seattle gets its Jet City nickname, is the beneficiary. Boeing's Everett, Wash., factory as seen from above in October 2011; Photo by Jeremy Elson via Wikimedia Commons The new law extends a business and operating tax cut for the aerospace giant through 2040, streamlines the permitting process and invests in a transportation package the company had sought. The hurried crafted tax package, estimated to be worth a total $8.7 billion over the... Read more →


The federal government is mostly shut down, including lots of Internal Revenue Service functions, but if you put off filing your tax return until Tuesday, Oct. 15, you still have to meet that deadline. But that's not the only tax move that some folks must make by Oct. 15. Here are four tax deadlines -- making 4 this week's By the Numbers honoree -- that arrive this coming Tuesday. 1. Filing extension OK, we've already mentioned this one and since around 10 million folks filed for an extension and many of them are going down to the wire, let's start... Read more →


When I started working, a handful of companies still offered their workers a pension plan. I'm talking a real pension plan, one where the business alone set aside some money that you could collect each month after you retired. Back then, financial planners regularly referred to pensions as one leg of the three-legged retirement planning stool: pension payments, personal savings and Social Security benefits. Those three retirement components account for this week's By the Numbers figure. But retirement planning has gotten much more complicated in recent years. Two wobbly legs: We continue to hear about Social Security's financial troubles. Whether... Read more →