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Each year more seniors pay taxes on Social Security benefits than did the year before, and those who already were taxed pay more. That is an inevitable result of the way the tax is structured, unless you take action to reverse things. The benefits are taxable when adjusted gross income exceeds certain levels. One big […]
Failing to file a gift tax return is a common mistake that fouls up many estate plans. The gift tax return rules are not what most people think, and that leads to many mistakes and penalties. A gift tax return (Form 709) might be due even if no gift taxes are owed. Gifts are tax […]
Income tax returns for 2002 will occupy some of your time in the next few months. My advice is to complete the return early, even if you let it sit and don’t mail it for a while. The 2002 return can be a tax planning tool for 2003. Many tax and economic changes make the […]
The closing of this year brings some important opportunities to IRA owners. Don’t put this issue aside until you have read this article and decided whether you need to take action by Dec. 31. Those of you who converted a regular IRA to a Roth IRA this year have a decision to make. When a […]
A key issue everyone faces is when to begin Social Security benefits. One aspect of this decision that is easy to overlook is how the choice could affect a spouse’s lifetime income. We’ve discussed when to begin Social Security benefits in past visits, most recently in the May 2002 issue (available in the Archive of […]
The greatest charitable giving innovation of the last decade might be the donor-advised fund. These funds actually have been around for some time, but they were concentrated on the local level. Few national funds existed, promotion of the funds was almost non-existent, and no effort was expended to make the funds accessible to most people. […]
You need an estate plan even if you don’t expect to owe taxes. Even if you expect to owe taxes, tax planning still should not be the focus of your planning. It is more important to decide who should receive the wealth, how much each should receive, when the wealth should be transferred, and how […]
Retirees don’t receive much advice on the best ways to take distributions from their investment accounts after retirement. Financial firms have a wealth of easy-to-find information on saving through taxable and various tax-advantaged accounts. Yet they don’t seem interested in helping you decide how to plan withdrawals from the accounts. Most Americans have their retirement […]