Married couples have the choice of filing their taxes jointly or separately. What is the best option for you and your spouse? Generally, it is to file jointly – but there are several factors to consider before making your choice. Obviously, the first hurdle is that you have to be married. For tax purposes, you
Are you having trouble getting a date? Could be your rap, your looks, or your excessive debt. According to a recent survey by Finder.com, 72% of respondents say they would re-think a relationship with a partner in significant debt. (That’s similar to the percentage in last year’s Finder.com survey, so don’t expect debt to
Survey Suggests Economic Overconfidence If the economy is so great and unemployment is so low, why do so many Americans live paycheck to paycheck? And why don’t we seem to care? The February PYMNTS.com Financial Invisibles Report attempts to answer these questions, noting, “For three consecutive quarters, consumers have been optimistic about their financial futures
Congratulations! You’ve got your first major job. Unfortunately, you’ve also got new tax obligations. Welcome to the workforce. You probably want to deal with your taxes as quickly as possible. Most people do, regardless of their age. Unfortunately, if you breeze through tax forms, you might miss potential money-saving strategies like the ones below. 1.
After the 2017 announcement of the Equifax data breach that potentially compromised the personal information of almost 150 million consumers, you’d probably expect Congress to take significant action to prevent future breaches. To date, you’d be wrong – but that may change with a Democratic House eager to address consumer protection issues. The Consumer Financial
To pay someone to figure out how much you have to pay the government seems like adding insult to injury. For many taxpayers, there’s an easier way. Formed in 2003, IRS Free File is the product of a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a group of twelve online tax software suppliers that form
First-time homebuyers face many obstacles, but perhaps the most frustrating one is accumulating down payment money. Traditional loans require a 20% down payment. Using Zillow’s $229,800 median home sale price for November 2018, that’s over $45,000 – and in many urban markets, a 20% down payment will easily top $100,000. How long will it take
If you’re a traditional employee, every year you receive a W-2 form from your employer that records your earnings for the year and the amount of taxes withheld from those earnings. IRS 1099 forms are complements to the W-2 form for non-traditional employee relationships. They are generally designed to record sources of income that have
Valentine’s Day may be one of the few times per year that you go out and buy fresh flowers, but that is no excuse for rookie mistakes. The gift of flowers is a reminder that you are thinking of someone and February 14 is an excellent opportunity to send this message. Make that gesture count
Nobody enjoys a tax audit, but should you fear receiving one in any given year? Generally, the answer is no. According to the 2017 IRS data book, the agency audited nearly 934,000 tax returns during the 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017) – only 0.6% of the total individual
So Long, Free Credit Monitoring Were you one of the nearly 148 million consumers affected by the 2017 Equifax data breach? You may have taken advantage of Equifax’s free one-year offer of their TrustedID Premier service, extended to all affected consumers. TrustedID Premier allowed consumers to lock their Equifax credit report, provided identity theft insurance,
Every direct employee of a company should receive a W-2 form in January. The W-2 is the base document that defines your tax obligations, so it is important that you review and understand yours. However, some people are confused by some of the form’s numbers — for example, why the wage listed on a W-2
First-time homebuyers face many challenges, but the biggest task may be coming up with a suitable down payment. Consumers in the early stages of their careers often face a fresh set of bills – and in some cases, mountains of student loan debt. A National Association of Realtors survey found that over half of
Do you plan to “retire in place” and stay in your current area, or are you interested in retiring in a different state? In either case, you may want to consult an annual study by WalletHub if retirement is imminent. The study ranked all 50 states using 41 statistical metrics that were weighted and grouped
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.
Early Birds Should Be Careful Have you been waiting patiently to file your taxes? If so, you’re in luck. The 2019 tax season is now underway. January 28, 2019, was the first day that the IRS would accept tax returns for the 2018 tax year, either electronic or paper copies. (You can mail in paper
Which would you rather do in 2019 – lose the spare tire around your waist or the excess debt dragging down your finances? Americans clearly struggle with both debt and obesity. In late 2018, NerdWallet estimated the average American credit card debt at $6,929 for households with any credit card debt – part
Your Medicare eligibility date impacts the coverage that you qualify for. If you are eligible for Medicare before 2020, then your options will be different than those of Americans who become eligible from January 1, 2020 on. Since Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015, the plans with no
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.
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
If you’re a furloughed government employee or other worker sidelined by the shutdown – or worse, working without a paycheck – you’re probably at risk of missing payments or racking up large credit card bills. How do you keep your credit score from dropping as a result? On-time payments are one of the
Are you ready to cut your tax bill as much as possible? Consider these thirteen ways to keep your contributions to Uncle Sam as low as possible. 1. Filing Status – Are you filing under the correct status? It’s usually best for couples to file jointly, but married couples filing separate returns could
By Sandra Parsons When you apply for a credit card, the card issuer collects personal information, including your income. It’s one of the factors they consider when deciding whether to approve or decline your application. If they do approve you, your income, along with your current debt load and credit score, helps them decide how
Should you itemize deductions or take the standard deduction for tax year 2018 (the taxes you will file in early 2019)? Recent tax legislation has made the standard deduction the best option for many, but don’t assume that is true for you. With today’s sophisticated tax software, it’s relatively easy to calculate your itemized deductions
By Amy Beardsley You are given the option of “debit or credit” when making purchases with your debit card. As it turns out, there’s a lot more to consider before swiping your debit card to pay for that next purchase. Although debit cards may look like credit cards, they don’t function like credit cards. When
Did Santa bring you more gift cards this holiday season? Do you have a pile of partially used gift cards with small remaining balances? You can redeem them as part of a larger balance, but if you don’t regularly shop at that merchant, that may not be practical. Many consumers forget about partially
By Andrea Woroch There’s nothing more rewarding than starting your own business. Opening the front door of a shop for the first time, launching a new product or watching your problem-solving solution take flight can be life altering. However, regardless of your business idea or efficiency of execution, there’s one certainty – it won’t be
One of the most controversial provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was the limit it placed on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. The TCJA capped the deduction on combined payments for state and local property, sales, and income taxes at $10,000 beginning in the 2018 tax year. According to the
The Shutdown’s Housing Market Woes It’s a great time to buy a home, and you’re ready. You’ve saved up a suitable down payment, found a home, and settled on a lender. As an added bonus, interest rates are at their lowest point in the last nine months – despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.
A balance transfer card with a 0% introductory interest rate can be an excellent way to consolidate high-interest debt and efficiently pay it down. It can also be a way to avoid reality and rack up even greater interest payments in the end. A new study by CompareCards.com finds that too many Americans are taking