Are Trusts Still Useful If the Estate Tax Is Repealed?

With Republicans in control of Congress and the presidency, there is talk of eliminating the federal estate tax.  In 2017 the tax affects only estates over $5.49 million, meaning that for more than 99 percent of Americans, it’s already been repealed.  With no estate tax, do you still need a trust? […]


Owe Back Taxes? The IRS May Grant You Uncollectible Status

Sometimes seniors find themselves owing past-due federal taxes they cannot afford to pay.  Although notices from the IRS can be especially frightening, there are solutions. If the sum owed is less than $50,000, the IRS will accept monthly payments over five years. For example, if $6,000 is owed to the […]


How Medicare and Employer Coverage Coordinate

Medicare benefits start at age 65, but many people continue working past that age, either by choice or need. It is important to understand how Medicare and employer coverage work together. Depending on your circumstances, Medicare is either the primary or secondary insurer. The primary insurer pays any medical bills […]


Calculating Retirement Needs

A staple in retirement planning is the search for “your number.” That is, how much money do you need to accumulate in savings and investment accounts so you can afford to stop working? Life expectancy is increasing, so the amount you have when you retire might have to last for […]


Taxable Versus Tax-Deferred Accounts

Some people do all of their investing in an employer-sponsored retirement plan where earnings are untaxed until withdrawn, and perhaps in an IRA as well. Withdrawals are generally taxed at ordinary income rates, which now go up to 39.6%. Conversely, others have taxable accounts as well; each year, income tax […]


Small Companies Can Do Well While Doing Good

The federal Small Business Administration reports that about 75% of small business owners donate some portion of their profits to charity each year. The average contribution is around 6% of earnings. Fulfilling philanthropic intentions has emotional rewards, and there can also be tangible benefits for your business. The more you […]


The Third Best Investment You Can Make

The second-best investment you can make is paying off high interest rate debt (see CPA Client Bulletin, August 2016). That could come after you’ve contributed enough to your 401(k) to get a full match from your employer. What should come next? If you have no expensive debt to pay down […]


Prenups Can Serve Many Purposes

Some people may think of prenuptial agreements as asset protection vehicles for wealthy individuals who are about to be married. When a wealthy individual gets engaged, a “prenup” can help safeguard the assets that individual brings into the marriage from passing to the future spouse in the case of a […]


Solo 401(k) Plans for Companies Without Employees

Among major corporations, 401(k) plans have become common, but even the smallest of businesses can have a 401(k) plan for retirement. One-participant 401(k) plans, known by names such as Solo 401(k) and Uni-k, are available. For some business owners and self-employed individuals, Solo 401(k)s may offer a chance to save […]


DOL Announces That Fiduciary Rule Will Go Into Effect June 9

After initially delaying a rule intended to prevent financial advisers from steering their clients to bad retirement investments, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the rule will go into effect on June 9, 2017, but its future is still unclear. Earlier this year, President Trump signed an executive order […]