Retirement Feed

We're two weeks away from the annual tax return filing deadline. For most of us, that means we're stuck tax-wise with what we've got. The chance to make tax-saving moves ended, in most cases, last Dec. 31. But there is one last tax move you can make now that could affect your current tax filing: contribute to an individual retirement arrangement (or account, as most of us say). You have up until the April 15 filing deadline to put money into a Roth or traditional IRA and designate that money as a prior year -- 2014 in this case --... Read more →

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was ready to take a break from tax season. I'm now at that point where I'm beyond wanting a vacation. I'm thinking retirement. When will the hubby and I be able to join this group of happy retirees? Soon we hope! This cycle is not unusual, for me or other folks in jobs where the intensity ramps up to a certain deadline. Things get crazy and you get crazier and some days you just want to chuck it all. This too will pass. Or not. Retirement ruminations: No, it's not that... Read more →

The official name of the politically volatile health care reform law is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That's usually shortened to the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. And it's popularly known as Obamacare. That nickname came from opponents of the president's first-term legislative landmark. Later, however, ACA advocates, including the commander in chief himself, embraced the moniker. Bothered by Bush tax cuts name: Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, found his name appended to the tax laws he ushered through in his first term, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and Jobs and Growth... Read more →

It's Tuesday, but to borrow a phrase and concept popular on the Internet, it sure feels like Throwback Tax Thursday. The reason? The preview of the topics that President Obama plans to address in tonight's State of the Union Address includes some tax provisions that used to be in the Internal Revenue Code. The one that caught my eye is a tax break that's near to my heart, and I mean that in the romantic sense. The hubby and I married in 1982 in part because by waiting until that year, we started off as husband and wife with a... Read more →

There are just two days left in the 2014 tax year. That's not much time, but folks determined to save on this year's taxes still have time to make a few year-end moves. I was up at o'dark-thirty this morning to discuss some quick year-end tax tactics with KARN radio. If you weren't up at 6:10 a.m. (and why in heaven's name would you be!?) or aren't in the Little Rock, Arkansas, broadcast area, here's what I talked about (and more). Do you itemize? If so, you have more tax-cutting options than those who claim the standard deduction. Here are... Read more →

Christmas Day has passed, but it's still the time for giving, both from purely philanthropic and tax perspectives. Just before wrapping up its lame duck session this month, Congress gave some older folks with certain retirement plans a way, again, to share their savings. Lawmakers finally approved for the 2014 tax year direct rollovers from individual retirement arrangements (accounts, or IRAs, to most of us) to qualified charities. This option was one of the more than 50 tax provisions that were renewed retroactively for this year as part of the extenders package. IRA owners age 70½ or older now have... Read more →

For the last few years, my mother has lived just up the road from me. So not only do I get to see her more often, I've also become well-acquainted with the issues that are important as we age Among the tax-related concerns of older folks is meeting the withdrawal requirements of traditional IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and similar workplace plans. Most folks who are 70½ or older -- we'll get back to those in this age group who aren't affected shortly -- must take payments from their individual retirement arrangements and similar saving vehicles... Read more →

It's been a busy week for folks who follow retirement-related numbers. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service's announcement of 2015 inflation adjustments for various retirement plans, the Social Security Administration released how the cost of living will affect that government benefit and workers who contribute to it. These annual cost-of-living changes have been a part of the popular government retirement program since 1975. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935. Participating in the landmark law's enactment are, standing left to right, Rep. Robert Doughton (D-N.C.); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-N.Y.);... Read more →

The key to a comfortable retirement is saving now. The tax code helps by offering tax breaks for a variety of retirement savings plans. Even better, every year the Internal Revenue Service looks at inflation and decides whether the tax limits, both on contributions and income levels that affect some plans, need to be tweaked. For the coming 2015 tax year, the IRS announced today, Oct. 23, that many of the pension plan limitations will change. Others, however, will remain unchanged because the increase in the cost-of-living index didn't meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. Here are some... Read more →

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 →