Five Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! How about that Superbowl?

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

It’s time to start thinking about filing your taxes. If you are an early filer — which is smart since early filing reduces the likelihood of becoming a victim of tax filing fraud — or someone who files at the last minute, you will find these tax-filing tips helpful.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Five Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

From Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

When the IRS is reviewing your tax return, it doesn’t care whether a filing mistake is intentional or inadvertent. Any error can trigger a notice, says Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

While a mistake won’t necessarily lead to an audit, you want to avoid as many red flags as possible — particularly if you’re a high-income taxpayer since they tend to be audited more frequently.

Understating income and overstating deductions are two potential problem areas for filers, Rande warns. But those aren’t the only places where returns can go off the rails. Here are five frequent mistakes people make, and ways to prevent them. [Read more…]

Taxes: What’s New For 2017?

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Looks like we might reach the low 50’s in Wisconsin this week!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Taxes: What’s New For 2017?” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you take a look at each of the headings below.

As you work on your tax return for 2016, it may be wise to look at what is changing in the world of taxes for 2017. Understanding right now what is different this year ensures that you have ample time to reduce what you pay in 2017 taxes.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Taxes: What’s New For 2017?

By Rande Spiegelman, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Key points

  • Tax changes in recent years included an additional Medicare surtax for high-income earners, a new top rate for dividends and long-term capital gains, and the phase-out of itemized deductions for high earners.
  • If you’re subject to higher taxes, it’s even more important to take advantage of whatever tax breaks apply to you.
  • Learn more about this year’s inflation adjustments and common tax breaks, including retirement plan contributions and charitable giving.

Although there are no major tax law changes this year, there are still inflation adjustments and other routine changes to consider. Remember, it’s important to take advantage of the tax break you’re entitled to — it’s not what you make but what you keep that counts. Here are a number of items to consider as you plan for the year ahead. [Read more…]

Year-End Tax Tips For 2016

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15I hope you had a great weekend! Welcome to the holiday season!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Year-End Tax Tips For 2016” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you take a look at each section heading below to see if any are of interest.

The end of the year is almost upon us. You only have a little more than three weeks to impact what you will pay in taxes for 2016. Check out the ideas below from Schwab. Maybe one of them can save you money.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Year-End Tax Tips for 2016

By Rande Spiegelman, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

Key points

  • These tax tips for 2016 address key areas of your financial life: portfolio planning, retirement, education planning and charitable giving.
  • It never hurts to consult with a tax professional about your unique tax situation.
  • Be aware of changes to cost-basis reporting rules and how they affect different securities you may own.

If tax time brings you stress, read on. First, take heart that you can act before the end of the year to help minimize the pain of April 15 (April 17 in 2017). Then, consider the tax tips below affecting key areas of your financial life — from your portfolio to your retirement and more.

Whether you do your own taxes or rely on a tax professional, these tried-and-true strategies may help you keep more of your hard-earned income and boost your after-tax returns. After all, it’s what you keep that counts. [Read more…]

Taxes: How Trump, Clinton Proposals Compare

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15

I hope you had a great weekend and you are enjoying the cooler fall weather!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Taxes: How Trump, Clinton Proposals Compare” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share informative and relevant information with you each week. This is a short piece I believe everyone can read in less than 60 seconds.

Tax policy differences, and similarities, can be some of the most important criteria we use to judge who we are going to vote for. Take a look below at Schwab’s analysis of the two Presidential candidates current approaches to taxes.

Have a wonderful week!

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Taxes: How Trump, Clinton Proposals Compare

By Michael Townsend, Charles Schwab

On Capitol Hill, both parties seem to agree: The tax code needs an overhaul. They just have totally different ideas about what kind of system should replace it.

The last major reform to the tax code was in 1986. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been changes since then. In fact, lawmakers have amended the code thousands of times — resulting in the complicated and confusing system we have today.

So what are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proposing to do about it? They’re proposing a lot, but beware: tax reform is never easy. Presidents can call for tax changes, but the nitty gritty of writing tax law is the responsibility of Congress. And with Congress likely to remain closely divided along party lines, a tax overhaul, if it occurs at all, will almost certainly look quite different from the candidates’ initial proposals.

But the president has the ability to shape debate on key issues like tax reform, so it’s worth comparing what those proposals look like. Here’s how the two candidates’ plans stack up: [Read more…]

15 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15I hope you had a great weekend! How are you doing on your taxes?

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “15 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, try and take a quick look at each of the 15 tax deductions in bold below.

You don’t have much time left. Although your personal tax return is not due until April 18, you need to start and finish your taxes soon. Even if you have completed everything for 2015, take a look at the deductions below — they may help you reduce your 2016 tax liability.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

15 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions

By Marlene Y. Satter, ThinkAdvisor

As tax day approaches, there’s often a scramble to find just one more tax deduction to lighten the burden on the bottom line.

While leaving the search till the last minute is definitely not the best way to proceed — since many strategies require advance planning and advance action — there are some ways to lessen your clients’ final tax bills that you — and they — may not have considered.

Fortunately, the folks at Kiplinger have gone the extra mile to uncover some ways to cut one’s tax bill that you, your clients or their tax preparer may not already have employed.

Here’s our look at 15 of the ways you might find appropriate to reduce the amount of tax that your clients must pay: [Read more…]

Five Common Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15I hope you had a great weekend. Do you have your taxes done yet?

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five Common Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you review the major headings below.

It has to happen soon — you will need to file your tax return for 2015. Whether you use a tax preparer or do your taxes on your own, you should be aware of the most common mistakes, outlined below.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Five Common Tax-Filing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

From the Schwab Center for Financial Research

When the IRS is reviewing your tax return, it doesn’t care whether a filing mistake is intentional or inadvertent. Any error can trigger a notice, says Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

While a mistake won’t necessarily lead to an audit, you want to avoid as many red flags as possible — particularly if you’re a high-income taxpayer, since they tend to be audited more frequently.

Understating income and overstating deductions are two potential problem areas for filers, Rande warns. But those aren’t the only places where returns can go off the rails. Here are five frequent mistakes people make, and ways to prevent them. [Read more…]

Five Tax-Saving Tips To Consider Before Year-End

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend. Do you have all of your holiday shopping done?

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five Tax-Saving Tips To Consider Before Year-End” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you review each tax saving tip in bold below.

It’s not too late! There is still time to reduce the amount of taxes you will have to pay for 2015. Read on below to see what the experts advise.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Five Tax-Saving Tips To Consider Before Year-End

By William H. Byrnes and Robert Bloink

It’s that time of year again — yes, the holiday season, but also an important time for you to take stock of 2015 finances to ensure you don’t miss out on any last minute year-end tax planning moves (most tax moves must be made by December 31).

Intelligent year-end tax planning can generate welcome tax savings — not just on 2015 returns, but in future years as well. This article will highlight some of the tax planning strategies that you may be overlooking as the year draws to a close… [Read more…]

Investment Expenses — What’s Tax Deductible?

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend. Baseball season is here — summer must be close!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, Investment Expenses — What’s Tax Deductible?” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you review the Key Points and major headings below.

This is the last in a series of articles related to your taxes. I hope that you not only get your taxes done on time, but also have learned something helpful from the series.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Investment Expenses – What’s Tax Deductible?

By Rande Spiegelman, Charles Schwab & Company

Key points

  • You can deduct a number of necessary, related investment expenses on your tax return.
  • If you treat them as ordinary income, qualified dividends can increase your investment interest expense deduction.
  • Capital losses may be used to offset ordinary income.

We all have a silent partner when it comes to our taxable investments. Uncle Sam insists on his cut of our investment income and capital gains, even though he doesn’t share in the risks. At least our good Uncle is kind enough to allow us a few tax breaks.

Of course, we can invest using tax-advantaged vehicles such as 401(k)s, IRAs, annuities, 529 college savings plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts and so on. And, if it makes sense for your marginal income tax bracket, you can also get a break on tax-exempt municipal bonds held in taxable accounts. And don’t forget the lower rate for long-term capital gains and qualified stock dividends.

But the tax breaks don’t end there. The Internal Revenue Service will also let you deduct certain investment expenses you incur on your taxable investments. Check with your tax professional to make sure you’re taking full advantage of investment-related miscellaneous itemized deductions, investment interest expense and capital losses.

Let’s look at each of these in turn. [Read more…]

How To Avoid The 12 Top Tax Scams

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend. Spring is on the way — it will be in the 50’s in the upper Midwest this week!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “How To Avoid The 12 Top Tax Scams” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, consider skimming the different scams to see if any are of interest.

Think someone else has already filed for your tax refund? It could have happened, and it has already happened to thousands of Americans. As outlined below, see what you can do to protect yourself from the most frequently occurring tax scams.

Have a wonderful week!

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How To Avoid The 12 Top Tax Scams

By Michael S. Fischer, Contributor, ThinkAdvisor

From low-income, non-English speaking immigrants to ultra-high net worth families, anyone can fall victim to a tax scheme — or perpetuate one. Every year, the IRS kicks off tax season with a list of their “dirth dozen” tax schemes and how to avoid them.

The scams take many different forms. Some are employed by fraudulent tax preparers and complicit taxpayers. Often, they victimize the unwary. Other schemes are sophisticated and involve wealthy taxpayers and their unscrupulous or ill-informed tax advisors. For example, the IRS has become very assertive in pursuing U.S. citizens or residents who have assets offshore. Keep reading for 12 tax scams the IRS is warning taxpayers about, and how to avoid them: [Read more…]

Seven Tax Fundamentals Every Investor Should Know

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Seven Tax Fundamentals Every Investor Should Know” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week.

Another tax related piece this week. There is a lot of information here and quite a few links as well. You may wish to skim each section to see if any are of interest.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Seven Tax Fundamentals Every Investor Should Know

By: Rande Spiegelman

The tax code might be complicated, but the basic ideas behind tax-smart investing are pretty simple. Here are seven fundamentals to guide you through the many points in your life when taxes may play a role in your financial decision-making.

  1. Know how your income is being taxed.
  2. Use tax-advantaged accounts to help you reach your education and retirement goals.
  3. Invest tax-efficiently between regular and tax-advantaged accounts.
  4. Determine your costs before you sell.
  5. Consider lifetime gifting and charitable gifts.
  6. Have a plan.
  7. Get help if you need it.

1. Know how your income is being taxed

Virtually all the goods and services we purchase are bought with after-tax dollars. Savvy investors know how important it is to minimize their tax burden. But do you know how each source of income is taxed?

[Read more…]