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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Income Taxes
1040-es

I thought I hated estimated taxes. But maybe I don't.

Over the past several years, my tax prep software has often said that I should file estimated taxes. You know, those pesky payments that you send to the IRS four times during the year so that you pay enough in advance to not be hit with an underpayment penalty when you file? I always saw estimated taxes as a bother and a detail that I just didn't want to deal with. Who needs to keep tra...

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Celebrate April: Taxes, Money Smart Week, Financial Literacy Month!

With the hint of spring in our gardens, I feel like we're moving out of the slow-moving pace of winter into the season of festivals, events and outdoor activities. On top of all these activities, April is National Financial Literacy Month, taxes are due, and Money Smart Week returns to our communities during the last week! As you can imagine, my calendar is filling up – maybe you'd like to add...

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Tax brackets 2016

What Can You Learn from Your Tax Return?

President Trump's tax returns have been front-page news this week. Perhaps it's a good reminder that we should each take a look at our own tax returns to see what we can learn from them. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to read to the end, where I list some of the actions you can take right now. How much of your income avoided income tax?...

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Making Taxes More Fun!

Every year we dread doing the one thing we must get done, and that is filing our taxes. This year, I want to help make taxes more fun and enjoyable! Have you heard about IRS Tax Form 8888 ? If not, it's going to be your new best friend this tax season! IRS Tax Form 8888 let's you do some pretty cool things,...

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SOCIAL SECURITY

How to Guard Your Social Security Number!

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about scams and what tasks you need to do right away if you become a victim . Recently my sister had her wallet stolen and unfortunately, her social security card was inside. According to the...

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Tax Info Logo

Not Your Grandfather's Tax Filing System

In the old days, I use to run around town looking for the right tax forms, go through several erasers completing the forms, and then madly race to the post office to mail my tax return by the due date. When I lived in Tucson, one post office stayed open until midnight for procrastinating filers; they even gave you a cookie when they stamped that all-so-important postmark that said you made the...

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401k loan

Transitions: What Happens to a 401(k) Loan When You Leave Your Job?

Did you borrow money from your 401(k) that you haven't paid back yet? You're not alone. According to a study by Aon Hewitt, one in every four participants in these plans has a loan. What happens to that loan when you leave your job? Whether you retire, are laid off, or move to another company, the o...

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Scam-Grams! Watch out!

Everyday someone falls victim to a scam or fraud. With the help of technology, scams happen more often each day. Recently a member of my family fell into a scam. She went to look for some help online with her printer, searched online for the phone number and called asking for help. After 45 minutes on the phone, the scammers installed software to "help" her printer and then asked her for $75. T...

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EITC Awareness Day!

You work. Let EITC work for you! For the last 40 years, Earned Income Tax Credit made life better for millions of workers. You may have extra money waiting for you. If you qualify and claim the credit, it could be as much as $6,242 from the IRS for some workers. Don't be the one in five that misses this credit. If you or someone you know earned less than $53,267 from wages,...

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Transition

Transitions: Strategies for your 401(k)

Deciding what to do with your 401(k) when you leave your job could be one of your biggest financial decisions. Same goes if you have a 403(b), 457, SEP or SIMPLE plan. I'm hoping you already know that, unless you absolutely can't put food on the table without it, you do NOT want to cash out your 401(k) or any other retirement plan when you leave your job. You got that, right? An...

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Why the Next Four Weeks are Critical to Filing Your Taxes

Death and Taxes - two things we can't avoid. I don't know about you but I really hate filing taxes. It is so much paperwork and time consuming, even when my paperwork is organized. I usually put it off until later, much, much later. What I have been reading lately about identity theft and stolen identity refund fraud is making me change my mind. Accordin...

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Transitions: How does leaving a job affect your income taxes?

Most of us expect our income taxes to take care of themselves, except for filing that pesky return: money gets withheld over the course of the year, and then we hope to get some of that back as a refund. When you leave a job, income taxes can get a bit more complicated. If you're retiring or being laid off, the last thing you need is an unexpected tax bill or penalty. On the other hand,...

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tax time

Seven Things you can do NOW to Prepare for Tax Time.

It's tax time! I know it's only December and you'd rather do anything but think about filing your income taxes which aren't due until April 15 th 2016, but I am urging you to start preparing now and file as early as humanly possible. There are lots of reasons to begin your income taxes before the end of the year that could save you money. Making tax deductible contribu...

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Plan Well Retire Well Wins National Award

I'd like to take a minute to toot our own horn. The writing team behind the Plan Well Retire Well blog just won two awards for Internet Education Communications from the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at their annual conference held November 2-5, 2015 in White Sulfur Springs WV. We received first-place in the Central regi...

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Child and Dependent Care Credit – for Summer Camp Costs

Now that school's almost out, do you have plans for child care? The cost of child care during the summer can be quite the budget-buster! However, you may be able to cut the costs if you can use the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you're sending them to summer camp, did you know that the money you pay for that may help you qualify for a tax credit on next year's tax return?...

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Dear Young Friend: IRAs Offer Tax Breaks on Your Long Term Money

Dear Karen, You mentioned that putting my long term savings into an IRA could save me some money on income taxes. How would that work? Your Young Friend ________________ Dear Young Friend,...

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money

An Extra Chance to Avoid the Tax Penalty: Purchase Health Insurance NOW for 2015

The Affordable Care Act requires that United State citizens have health insurance. However, for some, this information is coming as a surprise when they files taxes this year AND they're surprised by the penalty they need to pay too. If you're one of the ones who first learned of this when you were preparing your taxes, then there's a special enrollment period just for you! You can stil...

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Tax Info Logo

Tax Time is a Time to Build Your Savings

Finding money in a tight budget to put towards savings is challenging. However, tax time may provide an opportunity to kick-off that saving goal! The first step is to check if you are eligible for any tax credits. The Earned Income Credit is designed for people who worked part-time or full-time in 2014 and had earned income less than about $48,000. The amount you can re...

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Tax Uncertainty? Tax Diversification to the Rescue

Diversification is the first rule of investing. You knew that, right? But have you thought about tax diversification? Yep. Smart investing isn't just what you own, it's where you own it and how it gets taxed when you take it out. From a tax standpoint, you have three different types of accounts: Regular (taxable) accounts, like your checking and savings accounts and accounts with...

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What do I do with this year's filed tax return?

This year's tax season will soon come and go, and you may be unsure of what you need to do with this year's tax forms. Below are some questions you may have on what you should do with this year's 2013 – filed 1040 tax return. What should I keep? With any financial record, especially tax forms – you should keep all of the documents you u...

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April 15

Losing a Loved One: 1099s and Interest on Savings Bonds

It's been a year since Kathy Sweedler and I started our series of posts about losing someone close to us. For my final post on this subject, I guess it's appropriate that taxes get the last word. My father died toward the end of January of last y...

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Health Savings Accounts: Ten Things to Do and Not Do

My husband is contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA), so of course I wanted to learn all the in's and out's of this relatively new animal. If this is new to you, check out the benefits and who qualifies in last month's post . If you take a few moments to learn the rules, you can reap significant benefits for y...

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EITC: What Could You Do with an Extra $2,000?

Working families may get a larger tax refund this year because of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but to get it, you must claim it. Today, January 31, marks the 8th National EITC Awareness Day, a nationwide effort to increase awareness about EITC and free tax preparation sites. If you worked last year and had income of less than $51,567 you should check out your eligibility for EIT...

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Health Savings Accounts: What's Not to Love?

If you like avoiding taxes, you'll want to learn about Health Saving Accounts. Odds are, someone in your family has a high deductible health plan (HDHP). That makes them eligible to have a health savings account, commonly called an HSA. High deductible health plans have become more common as employers look for ways to reduce the cost of health insurance. And many of the bronze level pla...

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Death and Taxes

Probably everyone has heard the saying, Nothing is certain but death and taxes. Based on my experience since the death of my father, I would say that income taxes are even more certain (or at least more persistent) than death. Why? Because income tax liabilities (and the responsibility to file) continue even after death. It just becomes someone else's responsibility. When my father pass...

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