Finances

Wed
01
Jan

Taxpayer identity theft on the rise: Know how to protect yourself

Taxpayer identify theft continues to increase in the U.S. In 2012, there were 1.8 million incidents of identity theft and fraudulent tax refunds, creating a $5 billion problem, according to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In the first half of 2013, the number of tax-related identity thefts had already surpassed the 2012 number.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone intentionally uses the personal information of another person to file a false tax return with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized refund, according to the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants. Victims are left dealing with the aftermath, which can be emotionally draining as they work for years to untangle the financial nightmare. Taxpayers should know how to protect themselves and what to do if they become victims.

Thu
12
Dec

Deciphering the health insurance requirements: What you need to know now about coverage

You can’t put it off any longer: Effective Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Actt requires all Americans to maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty. While some people are flocking to www.healthcare.gov  to research and purchase their insurance, others are unsure how to proceed.
Now is the time for individuals to educate themselves about their options for purchasing insurance and the steps needed to take to make sure they’re complying with the law, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.

Tue
03
Dec

Take control of holiday spending

What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.

Tue
15
Oct

Should you buy or lease your next car? Determine what’s best for you

If you’re thinking of replacing your car, you may also be wondering if you should lease or buy the replacement vehicle. Leasing a vehicle used to be commonplace only for businesses because of the tax write-off. But now with deals like zero money down, low monthly payments or zero-percent interest, leasing has become a popular option for the general public.

Tue
15
Oct

Five smart financial tips for young people

A whopping 70 percent of college students will graduate with student loan debt, which averages about $25,200, according to a recent Fidelity Investments survey.

Mon
23
Sep

Tax tips for small-business owners

There are 23 million small businesses in America, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Although each business is unique, you can be sure that they have a common desire to minimize their taxes and make the most of the deductions for which they qualify. The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) offers these tips on how to achieve those goals.

Mon
23
Sep

Protecting seniors from fraud: Tips for safeguarding identity and finances

Every September, we honor our grandparents with National Grandparents Day. As this holiday approaches, now is the perfect time to show your loved ones how much you care by helping them learn to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud.
Fraud against seniors is on the rise, and it can take a toll emotionally and financially, according to the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accounts (MNCPA). Helping seniors understand the types of fraud that exist and the steps they can take to prevent fraud will help them feel empowered and open the lines of communication about a potentially sensitive topic.

Sat
07
Sep

Five financial building blocks for new parents

While today’s economy continues to put extra stress on most Americans’ wallets, those preparing to welcome a new child into the family experience the added pressure of a whole new set of expenses.
From diapers to baby furniture and daycare, the costs for new parents mount quickly. For some, the reality of these expenses is daunting. Others are completely unaware of how the joy of a new child will affect their financial situation.

Fri
16
Aug

Don’t be swamped by student loan debt!

As students prepare to head back to the books, college planning is on the minds of many families.
It’s common knowledge that the cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the years and that many students end up struggling with a mountain of student loan debt once they graduate. In fact, the average student loan balance last year was $24,803, 70 percent higher than it was in 2004. During those same years, overall student loan debt nearly tripled to $966 billion. If you’re concerned about runaway college costs, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice.

Thu
15
Aug

Four tips to help maximize Social Security

Incorporating Social Security into a retirement strategy is a smart move. The money taken out of your paycheck every month may be unwelcome now, but it can give you monthly income later in life.
However, some question if Social Security will last long enough for those in the work force now to be able to receive these benefits. According to Social Security trustees, enough reserves exist for the system to pay 100 percent of promised benefits until 2033, without further reform. Full benefits are available at age 65 for those born before 1938, gradually increasing to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. There is more to Social Security than just applying for retirement benefits when you are eligible at age 62 or over. By waiting, you can maximize your benefits, which will increase every year you choose to wait to file for Social Security retirement benefits.

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