Tax Pros and Cons of Municipal Bonds

Balanced view of investment tax aspects Municipal bonds (often called “munis” for short) may be attractive to high-income taxpayers, but there are a number of potential tax drawbacks as well. Here is a brief look from both sides of the fence. Tax Pros of Munis First, and most important, the interest income is exempt from
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Four Top Retirement Plans for Self-employeds

Weigh all retirement plan options At one time, pension plans and other qualified retirement plans were usually offered only by larger companies, but now, many small companies have caught up. In fact, if you are self-employed with just one or two employees—or maybe just yourself—you still have plenty of retirement plan options at your disposal.
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Entering a Roth Through the Back Door

Is this retirement strategy right for you? The door to Roth IRAs is closed to some high-income taxpayers because of annual limits imposed on contributions. But you may be able to use a “back-door” method that is perfectly legal. This technique may help you preserve more assets for your eventual retirement. Background: With a Roth IRA,
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What’s the Tax Payoff from Gambling?

Losses may offset annual winnings Do you enjoy the thrill of gambling? Whether you end up winning or losing, it is important to understand the main tax rules related to your gambling activities. Otherwise, you may end up owing considerably more tax than you normally would have to pay. Background: On the federal level, gambling winnings
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Tax Window for Vacation Homes

Perhaps you own a vacation home that you and your family use personally. Key tax break: There is a unique tax window of opportunity for short-term rentals. If the rental for the year lasts 14 days or less, you do not have to report any income or expenses on your tax return. For example, say you
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Facts and Figures

Timely points of particular interest Luxury Car Limits—The deductions for vehicles used for business driving are limited by the so-called luxury car rules. The IRS, which indexes these limits annually, recently announced the maximum deductions allowed for vehicles placed in service in 2017. For passenger vehicles, the maximum deduction is $11,160, including 50% bonus depreciation.
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Tax Window for Vacation Homes

Perhaps you own a vacation home that you and your family use personally. Key tax break: There is a unique tax window of opportunity for short-term rentals. If the rental for the year lasts 14 days or less, you do not have to report any income or expenses on your tax return. For example, say you
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Give a little Get a little

Tax Mileage for Charitable Travel Do you travel in your vehicle on behalf of a charity? In lieu of keeping track of actual expenses, you can use the standard mileage rate of 14 cents per mile, plus related tolls and parking fees, to figure out the deduction. Unlike the standard mileage rates for business, moving
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Ten Moves Forward for a Second Marriage

Consider estate-planning implications If you are getting remarried, you may face some special estate-planning challenges, especially if you have children from a prior marriage. The following 10 tips may help. 1. Talk with one another. Do not start off a marriage by hiding financial interests or concerns from one another. For instance, if you intend to
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Roundup of “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams

IRS updates its list for 2017 The IRS recently released its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams to watch out for in 2017. Here is a rundown gleaned from the IRS’ summary. 1. Phishing: Be on guard against fake e-mails or websites looking to steal personal information. Do not click on e-mails claiming to come
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