Retirement Feed

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 →

I know it's late on Friday. But it's also the Friday before April 15. Not to ruin your weekend, but you might need to do some extra tax work this Saturday and Sunday. The reason? April 15 isn't just for filing your annual federal tax return or, if you're a bit jammed up, sending the Internal Revenue Service File Form 4868 to get an automatic six-month extension to file. April 15, or the next business day when it falls on a weekend or federal holiday, also is the deadline for five other tax tasks. I know I mentioned them in... Read more →

Happy Easter. I hope it's been, and continues to be, a wonderful day, regardless of how you celebrate this Sunday. If you have young kids, you likely have been dying eggs, hunting eggs and now are looking for ways to consume the eggs. It's also a good time to think about taxes, not only your current tax return, which is due in just a couple of weeks, but also some tax planning. Photo by Gabriele Corno So on this egg-centric day, today's Daily Tax Tip looks at ways to spread your tax planning eggs across different baskets. Specifically, you should... Read more →

Monday is April Fools' Day, but it's no joke for some septuagenarians. April 1 is the deadline for some folks age 70½ to take money out of their tax-deferred retirement accounts. You know these savings plans: traditional IRAs, traditional workplace 401(k)s and several popular self-employment retirement plans. Earnings in these retirement vehicles grow tax-deferred. But Uncle Sam won't wait for his cut of your nest egg forever. So when you turn 70½, you must start taking out some of your traditional IRA et al money. These withdrawals are known as required minimum distributions, or RMDs. And for some who hit... Read more →

With the enactment of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, workplace retirement plans were expanded for many employees. That law made it possible for workers to convert their traditional 401(k) plans, in which money is contributed pretax and earnings grow tax-deferred, to Roth 401(k)s. Like its Roth IRA cousin, money goes into a Roth 401(k) after taxes are taken out, but eventual retirement distributions are tax free. Now, thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), otherwise known as the fiscal cliff bill enacted this Jan. 2, it is even easier for more workplace retirement... Read more →

In tough economic times, most of us focus on our day-to-day expenses. But if you can swing it, you also need to save money for your eventual retirement. Today's Daily Tax Tip looks at one of the easiest retirement savings options out there, the 401(k). On the job savings: A 401(k) is a workplace retirement plan offered by many companies. If you work for a public school or nonprofit, it's called a 403(b) plan. For state and municipal government workers, they're called 457 plans. As you've already figured out, the names come from the section of the Internal Revenue Code... Read more →

Next week is a big one for taxpayers. The 2013 federal tax filing season begins, finally, on Jan. 30. And the very next day is a deadline for several tax situations. Jan. 31 is the day that employers are required to send out the prior year's W-2 forms. If you employed household help last year, this deadline also applies to you. Yes, the so-called nanny tax applies to regular folks, too, not just political appointees. Find out more in January Daily Tax Tip #17. The last day of this month also is the mailing deadline for all those wonderful 1099s.... Read more →

Where has 2012 gone? The year wraps up just 11 days! But that's still plenty of time to pay heed to Blitzen's tax advice: Convert your traditional IRA to a Roth account. Blitzen design by BoBunny This eighth Reindeer Year-end Tax Games Tip of 2012 from Santa's lightning fast sleighmate is especially critical if you think you'll be in a higher tax bracket in the future. Your tax rate in the coming years matters if you have a traditional IRA because you'll owe tax on those retirement distributions at your ordinary income rate. That's right. Traditional IRA withdrawals are taxed... Read more →