Can’t decide where to retire? This may help

Find the best states to retire in, based on categories such as health care, crime, cost of living, taxes and weather.

Source: Can’t decide where to retire? This may help

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Figuring Out Your Form W-4: How Many Allowances Should You Claim? – Forbes

Confused about your form W-4? Not sure how many allowances to claim? Zero? One? The maximum? Here’s what you need to know.

Read More: Figuring Out Your Form W-4: How Many Allowances Should You Claim? – Forbes

Understanding Your Tax Forms 2016 – Forbes

Tax season is officially in full swing. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began accepting paper and electronically filed returns on Tuesday, January 19, 2016; the due date for tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016 (not April 15, 2016, as in years past since there’s a holiday).

By now, you should have received most of your forms. If you’re still looking for yours, here’s a list of due dates for forms – along with information about what to do if yours are late.

Figuring out what’s on your tax forms – and how to report that information on your tax return – can be daunting. Follows is a quick primer for tax forms you might expect to receive in 2016:

Source: Understanding Your Tax Forms 2016 – Forbes

 

read more at forbes.com

55 Days Left to file Tax Returns

time-moneyMoore Bookkeeping is doing tax returns again this year, so if you’re looking for someone reasonably-priced and thorough to get your federal and state return completed, contact us today!

Ask The Taxgirl: The Child Tax Credit – Forbes

Taxpayer asks:If I’m a single stay at home mom with 2 kids but no income Am I eligible for a child credit refund?Taxgirl says:Unfortunately, no. If you don’t have any income, you won’t benefit from most federal income tax credits.When it comes to the Child Tax Credit, you can’t claim the credit if you don’t have income. This is because the credit is nonrefundable which means that if the available tax credit exceeds your tax liability, your tax bill is simply reduced to zero. So even if you were able claim both kids at $1,000 per child (the maximum available child tax credit for the 2015 tax year), if you don’t have any tax liability, you can’t benefit from the credit. The credit does not carry forward to any future years (or back to any past years): it simply disappears.Some taxpayers who don’t receive the full benefit from the Child Tax Credit may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit is refundable which means you can receive a refund even if you do not owe any tax. However, to qualify, you must have at least $3,000 of earned income or have at least three qualifying dependents (additional criteria applies).Other child-related credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Like the Additional Child Tax Credit, the EITC is refundable which means that you can receive a refund even if you do not owe any tax. However, in order to qualify for the EITC, you must have income from working or running a business. Similarly, the Child and Dependent Care Credit is only available to those parents who work (or are looking for work) and who have earned income from wages, salaries, tips, other taxable employee compensation or net earnings from self-employment.

Source: Ask The Taxgirl: The Child Tax Credit – Forbes

Despite Complaints, Past Failures & Opportunities For Fraud, Congress Pushes Private Tax Collection – Forbes

Sometimes it feels like the government does this best. Failed policies are often recycled – often many times – in some sort of desperate attempt to make them work. Or to spend taxpayer dollars to promote self-serving agendas. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart. The latest attempt to recycle failed policies is the outsourcing of tax debts to private collectors, an item which has re-appeared as part of the Highway Trust Fund Bill. Yes, you read that right. And no, the two really have nothing to do with each other. But this is, as you know, something that Congress loves to do (Remember those credit card reporting requirements that found their way into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act? Or last year’s Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 that changed tax return due dates?). So, as Congress moves to slap another band-aid on the wounded Highway Trust Fund (we technically ran out of highway money on October 29), they decided to toss in a handful of other provisions in an effort to sneak them by taxpayers make it look like they were getting something done move things forward. One of the provisions buried inside the Highway Trust Fund is a requirement that IRS use private collectors to collect existing tax debts. Brilliant, right? Only not so much. It’s been tried and failed before (more on that in a bit) so it’s perplexing that Congress would re-introduce the policy except for well, politics. The House is not a big fan of the Internal Revenue Service right now – a cynic might view this as a move to systemically take down the IRS.

Source: Despite Complaints, Past Failures & Opportunities For Fraud, Congress Pushes Private Tax Collection – Forbes

Despite Complaints, Past Failures & Opportunities For Fraud, Congress Pushes Private Tax Collection – Forbes

Sometimes it feels like the government does this best. Failed policies are often recycled – often many times – in some sort of desperate attempt to make them work. Or to spend taxpayer dollars to promote self-serving agendas. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart.

The latest attempt to recycle failed policies is the outsourcing of tax debts to private collectors, an item which has re-appeared as part of the Highway Trust Fund Bill. Yes, you read that right. And no, the two really have nothing to do with each other.

But this is, as you know, something that Congress loves to do (Remember those credit card reporting requirements that found their way into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act? Or last year’s Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015 that changed tax return due dates?).

So, as Congress moves to slap another band-aid on the wounded Highway Trust Fund (we technically ran out of highway money on October 29), they decided to toss in a handful of other provisions in an effort to sneak them by taxpayers make it look like they were getting something done move things forward.

One of the provisions buried inside the Highway Trust Fund is a requirement that IRS use private collectors to collect existing tax debts. Brilliant, right? Only not so much. It’s been tried and failed before (more on that in a bit) so it’s perplexing that Congress would re-introduce the policy except for well, politics.

The House is not a big fan of the Internal Revenue Service right now – a cynic might view this as a move to systemically take down the IRS.

Read more at Despite Complaints, Past Failures & Opportunities For Fraud, Congress Pushes Private Tax Collection – Forbes

The shock of soaring child care costs – CBS News

American families are having a tough time catching a break, thanks to stagnant wages and an uneven recovery. But a less-known issue may be playing an even bigger role: child care costs.

This expense is now a major stress on many American families, given that only a handful of cities meet the Department of Health and Human Services’ affordability threshold for the service — 10 percent of family income — and that child care costs more than college tuition in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

That’s according to a new report from The Economic Policy Institute. The issue increasingly isn’t a problem only for low-income families but also for middle-income and even upper-income Americans, given that the median household income peaked in 1999.

“In 500 out of 618 budget areas, child care actually exceeded the cost of rent. It was so shocking” given that rent is considered one of the major expenses in a family’s budget, said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the EPI who wrote the report with Tanyell Cooke.

While costs vary wildly based on location, the common theme is that most Americans are struggling to pay for quality child care. That’s why so many families create a network of friends and family to provide care, or sometimes cobble together staggered shifts so that one parent is at home with the kids.

Read more: The shock of soaring child care costs – CBS News

When Millennials Move Back Home – WSJ

More millennials are spending early adulthood in the same place where they spent their formative years: in their parents’ homes.It’s crucial that both parties understand the financial implications of this homecoming. For parents, a child’s return often means a greater financial burden, just as the parents may be struggling to meet their own savings and retirement goals. It also can make it more difficult for the millennials to acquire the financial skills they’ll need later in life.According to a recent study by PEW Research Center, the percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds living with their parents is higher today than it has been in decades. Currently, 26% are back in the nest, up from 22% in 2007. The rise has occurred among both high-school and college graduates, and has continued since the recession’s end, despite the fact that millennials are earning more and have a lower unemployment rate than they did a few years ago.

Read more: When Millennials Move Back Home – WSJ

7 habits of highly effective retirement savers

Saving for retirement can be a slog, yet some people have a better time of it than others.

Planning ahead helps a lot. The best retirement savers are more than four times as likely to have given “a great deal” of thought about their retirement age, their lifestyle during their golden years, their future health-care costs and their financial goals than the worst savers, according to a new survey by Voya Financial, which scored more than 1,000 full-time workers on how prepared they were for retirement.

Overall, Voya found that Americans had middling scores for retirement readiness, but the best savers shared some common financial traits.The top scorers did more than think about retirement, they took action. Here are seven habits they had that you can use to boost your retirement savings:

Create a budget. Seems obvious, but 65 percent of the highest scoring workers had a budget compared with 19 percent of the lowest-scoring savers. “This attention to detail here allows for a more predictable glide path through the retirement years,” said George Clough, vice president of wealth management strategies at People’s United Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Max out your workplace retirement plans. The highest-scoring workers were twice as likely to contribute the maximum amount to their workplace retirement plan than lowest-scoring workers. The top savers were also more likely to at least contribute enough to their retirement plans to receive their employer’s matching contribution. It’s free money.

Read more via 7 habits of highly effective retirement savers.