» Tax Planning

What Is the Difference Between a 401(k) and an IRA?

The terms 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) are bandied about quite a bit when discussing retirement planning, but what are the actual differences between the two? The main distinction is that a 401(k) — named for the section of the ta… Read More
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The State of Estate Taxes

In January 2013, Congress permanently set the amount that an individual can transfer tax-free either during life or at death. The agreement essentially extended the rules that had been in place in 2011 and 2012, with one important exception. The law… Read More
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Do You Pay Capital Gains Taxes on Property You Inherit?

When you inherit property, such as a house or stocks, the property is usually worth more than it was when the original owner purchased it. If you were to sell the property, there could be huge capital gains taxes. Fortunately, when you inherit proper… Read More
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Nine (Potential) Problems with Your Trust

All trusts should be reviewed every few years to make sure that they are up-to-date with the law and meet your goals today. Following is a checklist of trust features you can review yourself. But be aware that these only refer to revocable “living… Read More
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Highlights of the Fiscal Cliff Legislation

The Senate passed a compromise bill, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, to avert the fiscal cliff at about 2 a.m. January 1, 2013, by an overwhelming 89-8 vote. The House passed the bill with a 257-167 vote at 10:45 p.m. President Obama signed… Read More
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Claiming a Parent As a Dependent

If you are caring for your mother or father, you may be able to claim your parent as a dependent on your income taxes. This would allow you to get an exemption ($3700 in 2011) for him or her. If you cannot claim your parent as a dependent but you hav… Read More
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What Will Happen With The Federal Estate Tax?

The fate of the federal estate tax is still unclear. What is clear is that the results of the next election will play a significant role in the future of the federal estate tax system. Here is a little bit of historical background and the most likely… Read More
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Tax Court Clarifies When Long-Term Care Expenses Are Deductible

Long-term care can be very expensive, but many long-term care expenses can be deducted from your taxes. Two important recent decisions by the U.S. Tax Court provide guidance on when care giving services are deductible. In one decision, the court rule… Read More
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Using IRAs in Estate Planning

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are a popular investment tool for retirement, but they also need to be taken into account when doing estate planning. Although IRAs can be used to provide for heirs either directly or through a trust, to what ext… Read More
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Do Surviving Spouses Have a Right to a 401(k) or IRA?

When choosing a beneficiary for a retirement plan, it is important to understand how your spouse will be treated under the plan. Surviving spouses are treated differently under 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). While a 401(k) provide… Read More
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