While many deductions were cut or modified with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, most tax credits were retained. Tax credits are more powerful than tax deductions because they directly subtract from your tax bill (deductions only reduce taxable income). Refundable tax credits are even better, since refunds can be greater
Early Birds Should Be Careful Have you been waiting patiently to file your taxes? If so, you’re in luck. This tax season is now underway. January 27th, 2020, was the first day that the IRS would accept tax returns for the 2019 tax year, either electronic or paper copies. (You can mail in paper copies
To paraphrase the old adage, there are only three absolutes in life: death, taxes, and the rise of scams during tax season. A major tax scam since 2013 involves phone calls by fictional IRS agents that demand immediate payment for alleged tax debts, threatening lawsuits or even jail time to those who refused to comply.
Tax filing season is upon us. Soon you will be filing your paperwork and perhaps receiving a nice check — unless thieves file a return in your name first and falsely claim your refund. Unfortunately, if a thief has your Social Security number and other relevant information, tax identity theft is very hard to prevent.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limited itemized deductions and doubled the standard deduction to entice more taxpayers to skip itemizing – but money-saving deductions still remain for eligible taxpayers. Do you qualify for any of the following nineteen deductions? 1. Charitable Donations – This is one of the few deductions with
By Andrea Woroch As a new decade begins, many have their sights set on change. After what feels like a lifetime of working, though, it can be difficult to transition to a cold-turkey retirement. To stay busy and supplement income many people are “semi-retiring” instead. Folks are leaving their traditional jobs, cutting costs and
Is it tax time already? You may not want to admit it, but tax time starts well before the filing deadline. Your important tax forms start arriving in the mail in January. If you simply let them accumulate in a pile, it will be April before you realize it, and you will be scrambling around,
Did you have a happy New Year? We certainly hope so. Now it’s time to get back to regular routines and take care of January chores, including gathering your tax information. The 2020 Tax Season Begins on January 27 The IRS has announced that the 2020 tax season will begin on January 27th. The beginning
Holiday Debt On the Increase Are your credit cards still smoking from holiday overuse? Based on a recent MagnifyMoney survey, it wouldn’t be surprising. Consumers who financed their holiday spending averaged $1,325 in holiday spending debt – a sharp increase from 2018’s $1,230, 2017’s $1,054 average and 2016’s $1,003 average. Increases in wages and consumer
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, although new to some Medicare beneficiaries, has been around before. In 2011, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period was altered and changed to the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. The disenrollment period took the open enrollment period’s place from 2011 until 2018. In 2019, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, imitation of your credit cards must be the sincerest form of identity theft. For years, identity thieves have produced copies of credit cards (otherwise called card cloning) by stealing the information stored on a card’s magnetic stripe and transferring it onto fake cards for their own use.
The convenience of modern digital commerce comes with an unfortunate side effect: it makes identity theft more convenient as well. The 2019 Identity Fraud study from Javelin Strategy and Research found that 14.4 million consumers in the U.S. were victims of identity theft during 2018, to the tune of $14.7 billion. “It may seem time-consuming
MoneyTips You’re determined to make 2020 the year you raise your credit score. Why not get off to a good start with these five New Year’s resolutions to send your credit score in the right direction? 1. Resolve to Check Your Credit Report – All your efforts will go to waste if identity thieves have
Many people are reconsidering their budget to prevent holiday overspending over the next few months. If you are one of these people, good for you – but why stop there? This is a great time to look further ahead and tackle your 2020 budget. Lay out your calendar, spreadsheet, or whatever method you use and
MoneyTips Can you avoid a New Year’s Day hangover? We’re not referring to the traditional hangover that comes from too much alcohol, but the financial hangover that comes from too many charges on your credit card. Of course, you can avoid a New Year’s credit hangover – especially with some help. Consider these eleven ways
The signs of the holidays are all around us. The weather has changed, pumpkin spice has been added to everything imaginable, and your mailbox is bending under the weight of catalogs – and unsolicited credit card offers. Credit card solicitations certainly aren’t limited to the holidays, but the intensity of offers tends to pick up
Do you have a rewards credit card? If not, now is the perfect time to consider one. The holiday season provides two motivating factors – special rewards offers from credit card issuers and the increased spending necessary to take advantage of those offers. Many cards offer signup bonuses of hundreds of dollars, or the equivalent
The holiday season is full of plans and activities that make December incredibly hectic. If you are the average American, tax considerations and financial adjustments are pretty low on your holiday to-do list. However, you are not the average American — you enjoy saving money, are diligent in seeking ways to save, and excellent at
Christmas Shipping Can Still Be Free Are you a procrastinator who hasn’t started your holiday shopping yet? If not, are you still hunting for deals even after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday? In any case, you still want to take advantage of online bargains and free shipping offers. You’re in
Credit freezes are one of the most valuable tools in your identity theft protection toolbox. When a credit freeze is placed on your account, lenders can’t access your credit history to assess your risk and are unlikely to approve loans or other forms of credit. You’re in control. Unfreeze (thaw) your accounts whenever you want
You’ve overspent during past holiday seasons, but you’re determined not to let it happen this year. What’s your plan to prevent painful post-holiday bills? A study from Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) may be able to help. The study focused on holiday spending behavior and how it varies depending on credit scores.
MoneyTips Do you like the idea of good deals but not the idea of standing outside the mall in a three-point stance waiting for the doors to open for pre-dawn Black Friday savings? Then Cyber Monday, which will be held on December 2nd, 2019 — the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday — is for you.
What brightens up your holiday shopping season? You may prefer a quiet Christmas season at home, large family gatherings at the home of the relative who drew the short straw, or hand-to-hand combat on Black Friday at the mall. However, everyone agrees that saving money on Christmas shopping gives the holiday an extra layer of
Practice Safe Shopping What does Black Friday protection mean to you? Maybe it’s helmets and elbow pads as you battle your fellow consumers for doorbuster deals. Maybe it’s protecting your space in line. Maybe it should be taking precautions to prevent identity theft. The holidays represent peak season for identity thieves – probably because there
Have you ever had a credit or debit card transaction declined for insufficient funds when you thought you had money in your account? You may have a credit or debit card “hold,” reserving funds that you haven’t spent. Merchants and service providers set a credit or debit hold on a purchase when the total isn’t
Thanksgiving is a time to relax and enjoy a nice dinner with your loved ones. You don’t want to spend it stressing over the Thanksgiving budget; you want to spend it having an enjoyable day with friends and relatives, and relaxing on the couch with a tryptophan-induced nap. Try these tips to save dollars on
Hackers are like any other type of thief. They look for easy targets and take advantage of them. Are you an easy target in the eyes of identity thieves? Let’s assume that you’ve taken basic prevention steps, like using anti-virus software and securing your router to prevent hackers from getting directly into your system. Have
What happened to your credit score? It’s dropped considerably since the last time you checked, and you have no idea why. Maybe one or more of these events is behind the decrease. 1. Missing Payments – On-time payments is one of the biggest factors that make up your credit score. Make all credit card and
By Andrea Woroch The upcoming holiday season may have you feeling joyous and anxious at the same time thanks to all the seasonal expenses, gift purchases and travel costs you will take on in several short weeks. Those who don’t prepare ahead may find themselves relying heavily on credit cards and, ultimately, be in debt
Did you know that your credit history could affect your ability to get a job? Prospective employers are unlikely to turn you down solely for having bad credit, but items in your credit report can make the difference between you and another equally qualified candidate. “Your credit score matters, even if you’re not in the