Newsletter Archive

Tuition Tax Credits

College expenses are on the rise. The College Board reports that the average cost of a college education, including room and board, has risen faster than the inflation rate in recent years, topping $20,000 for public four-year institutions and $45,000 for private colleges for the 2016-2017 academic year.*

Penalty Pointers

If you’re saving for retirement in a qualified plan sponsored by your employer, such as a 401(k), or in a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), you need to remember that the IRS generally imposes a 10% penalty on any withdrawals you make before you turn age 59½.* This penalty is in addition to any income taxes due on the withdrawal. However, there are several exceptions that may apply.**

Managing Employee Absenteeism

Employee absenteeism can be costly to your company — perhaps as much as 22% of payroll, according to one study.* How might you manage employee attendance without running afoul of federal and state laws?

What Income Is Not Taxable?

Many taxpayers assume the IRS taxes any and every form of income. While most types of income are taxable, some are not. Here’s a look at some forms of income that are generally not subject to federal income tax:

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Employee or Independent Contractor?

An important issue for employers is whether their workers are employees or independent contractors. The worker’s status determines whether the employer must withhold income and FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes, pay the employer’s portion of FICA taxes, and pay federal unemployment taxes. Additionally, an employer’s misclassification of workers can cause it to incur stiff penalties.

Simple Ways To Keep Your Best Customers

It’s generally much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to win a new one. It’s also less expensive. Returning customers help build successful, sustainable businesses. What makes customers keep coming back? What strategies can business owners use to retain customers? Product and price, while important, are not the only factors that drive customer loyalty. Here are some strategies you can use to build repeat business.

Is There a Tax-smart Way?

As the owner of a C corporation, you may be aware of a potential double taxation issue: the corporation pays taxes on its profits and, if those profits are distributed to the owners as dividends, the owners are subject to income taxation. Because dividends are not tax deductible to the corporation, profits are essentially taxed twice.

Conflicting Visions

Couples don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to finances. Unfortunately, these differences can create tension in a relationship. What strategies can couples use to reduce conflicts over money and help them make the most of their financial resources? Here are some time-tested strategies.

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Midyear Financial Checkup

Midyear is a good time to review your personal finances to see where you stand. A net worth calculation in particular can help you keep track of your progress and help you identify areas where you might be falling behind in your personal goals.

Should You Have a Living Trust?

If you have acquired significant assets over time, you may wonder if you need a living trust in addition to your will. The reality is that a living trust can be a useful planning tool. However, you should be certain that you understand what it can and can’t accomplish before you decide to make one part of your estate plan.

If They Give You Lemons...

Yelp, Trip Advisor, and numerous other websites allow customers to rate, rave about, or criticize a business’s services or products. Lots of consumers use other social media sites such as Facebook to share their experiences with stores, restaurants, and other service providers. Positive consumer reviews can help a business, but it may only take a few negative ones to harm a business. What can you do when a customer blasts your business via social media? Think about turning lemons into lemonade. Try turning the criticism into an opportunity to win back your customer and improve your business.

Give Your 401(k) a Raise

Have you thought about giving your retirement plan a raise? You can contribute as much as $18,000 to your 401(k) plan account (plus an additional pretax contribution of up to $6,000 if you attain age 50 by the end of the plan year) for 2017. Here’s a look at the potential growth of a single $18,000 contribution using different investment return assumptions:

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Best Practices for the Family Business

How hard can it be to run a family business? It should be easy since presumably all the key people are on the same page and they all share the same goals. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Running a family business is anything but easy when what’s good for the business is different from what’s good for the family.

Watch Out for Expense Account Fraud

The vast majority of employees are honest. However, those employees who are predisposed to theft and fraud can wreak financial havoc on a business. Expense reimbursement fraud is a common form of fraud that particularly targets small companies. Are there steps small business owners can take to protect themselves from this form of fraud?

Watch Those Merchandise Returns

If you own and operate any sort of retail store, you know that fraudulent returns are an expensive headache. In fact, the U.S retail industry lost about $9.1 billion to $15.9 billion to return fraud and abuse in 2015 (the last year for which data was available), according to a recent survey.* The same insiders say that retail revenue losses cost states between $552 million to $962 million in lost sales taxes.

Update Your Beneficiary Forms

Any time you experience a major life change — birth, death, marriage, divorce — you should review your beneficiary designations and update them as needed.

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