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Stocks and second home sales both soared during the 1990s. They parted ways in the 2000s. While stocks turned south, prices of second homes continued to climb. It is no coincidence. More people are turning to second homes as investment alternatives. The National Association of Realtors reports that purchases of second homes for investment purposes […]
The IRS recently made it easier to cash out a principal residence tax free by plugging gaps and uncertainties in the 1997 rules on tax-free gains. The IRS filled the gaps in ways that are generous to taxpayers. Previously, anyone with a deductible home office had to separate the tax basis and sale proceeds of […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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. […]