Even though tax filing season is well under way, there’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2018. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2018 ($6,500 if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2018). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2018 is April 15, 2019 (April 17 for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts).
You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don’t exceed the annual limit (or, if less, 100% of your earned income). You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2018, even if your spouse didn’t have any 2018 income.
You can contribute to a traditional IRA for 2018 if you had taxable compensation and you were not age 70½ by December 31, 2018. However, if you or your spouse was covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2018, then your ability to deduct your contributions may be limited or eliminated, depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). (See table below.) Even if you can’t make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, you can always make a nondeductible (after-tax) contribution, regardless of your income level. However, if you’re eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, in most cases you’ll be better off making nondeductible contributions to a Roth, rather than making them to a traditional IRA.
With age comes responsibility, so if you’re a young adult in your 20s or 30s, chances are you’ve been introduced to the realities of adulthood. While you’re excited by all the opportunities life has to offer, you’re also aware of your emerging financial responsibility. In the financial realm, the millennial generation (young adults born between 1981 and 1997) faces a unique set of challenges, including a competitive job market and significant student loan debt that can make it difficult to obtain financial stability.
Poor money management can lead to debt, stress, and dependency on others. Fortunately, good money management skills can make it easier for you to accomplish your personal goals. Become familiar with the basics of planning now, and your future self will thank you for being responsible.Continue reading “Financial Basics for Millennials”
I just made a gift. Do I have to file a gift tax return
A federal gift tax return must be filed if any gifts you made during the calendar year were other than:
Gifts to your U.S. citizen spouse
Gifts to a political organization for its own use
Gifts to qualified charities, if no other interest has been transferred for less than adequate consideration or for other than a charitable use
Gifts totaling $15,000 (in 2018, $14,000 in 2017) or less to any one individual, unless you and your spouse are “gift-splitting”
Amounts paid on behalf of any individual as tuition to an educational organization or to any person who provides medical care for an individual
However, you may want to file a gift tax return in certain circumstances even if the rules do not require it. For example, you should consider filing whenever you sell hard-to-value assets, such as real estate or stock in a family business, to a relative. This is because the IRS can claim that transactions between family members were actually gifts in disguise. Disclosing such transactions on a gift tax return means that the IRS has only three years to challenge the value.
If you file a federal gift tax return, you must use Form 709 and file by April 15 of the year following the year in which the gift was made.
The federal gift tax rules are complex. If you believe you have made gifts that might be subject to gift tax, you should consult an experienced tax specialist. Check with your state about its own rules regarding gifts, too.
This is such a true sentiment on which to reflect, in the beginning of a new year. As one year ends, a new one begins. So, as we usher in 2019 with new hopes, new resolutions and new beginnings, we must also say a few goodbyes.
At the end of 2018, our family said goodbye to Royal’s father, holding his hand as he ended his life here on earth, and began a new one. We also had to say goodbye to some very dear clients, as they too left this world for a new one, and yet, left it all the better for their presence, honoring us with the task to help take care of their loved ones and heirs, going forward. Continue reading “A New Beginning Must Always Start with an Ending”
Charitable giving can play an important role in many estate plans. Philanthropy cannot only give you great personal satisfaction, it can also give you a current income tax deduction, let you avoid capital gains tax, and reduce the amount of taxes your estate may owe when you die.
There are many ways to give to charity. You can make gifts during your lifetime or at your death. You can make gifts outright or use a trust. You can name a charity as a beneficiary in your will or designate a charity as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or life insurance policy. Or, if your gift is substantial, you can establish a private foundation, community foundation, or donor-advised fund.
It’s hard to talk about college without mentioning financial aid. Yet this pairing isn’t a marriage of love, but one of necessity. In many cases, financial aid may be the deciding factor in whether your child attends the college of his or her choice. That’s why it’s important to develop a basic understanding of financial aid before your child applies to college. Without such knowledge, you may have trouble understanding the process of aid determination, filling out the proper aid applications, and comparing the financial aid awards that your child may receive.
But let’s face it. Financial aid information is probably not on anyone’s top ten list of bedtime reading material. It can be an intimidating and confusing topic. There are different types, different sources, and different formulas for evaluating your child’s eligibility. Here are some of the basics to help you get started.
Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday season, when many people prefer to avoid the crowds and purchase gifts with a few clicks of a mouse. However, with this convenience comes the danger of having your personal and financial information stolen by computer hackers.
Before you click, you might consider the following tips for a safer online shopping experience.
The biggest names in technology powered stock market gains and bouts of volatility in 2017, and the trend continued into 2018. The S&P Information Technology sector index posted a 13.19% total return from January through July 2018, compared with 6.47% for the broader S&P 500 index.1
Wall Street analysts and the business media often refer to well-known technology companies Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (now officially Alphabet) collectively with the acronym FAANG. Others use FAAMG, which substitutes Microsoft for Netflix. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, respectively, are the four most valuable companies by market capitalization in the S&P 500 index; Alphabet is ranked eighth and ninth (based on two different share classes).2
These tech giants are household names because they already play a huge role in everyday life, but they are also bold innovators with lots of cash on hand. They aim to expand their influence further by developing new products (such as self-driving cars and virtual reality) and disrupting established industries.3
“ A fallen leaf is nothing more than a summer’s wave goodbye” author unknown
As we wave goodbye to summer, we are “spicing” and sprucing things up here. We are excited to say that if you are reading this article, our new website is finished and we are officially rolling it out. Christine has been so busy writing content for the website, that she almost ran out of words for the newsletter, but not quite! We simply shortened it this quarter, sending it to many of our folks along with their quarterly reports. But, we are now be able to share so much more on the website, and through this new “Straight Talk” Blog, as well as an IPI Facebook page, and perhaps, even a Twitter account. Our teenagers are proud that we are finally improving our technology, and they are, of course, giving us pointers. Continue reading “Fall Is Here”