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Having a New Baby? These Tax Tips Are Essential

Having a New Baby? These Tax Tips Are Essential

There are big moments in everyone’s life. A new birth is one of them. The irony is that most life events also have tax consequences attached to them. When a new member is added to your family or someone you know, here are some tips to consider. Get A Social Security Number. Obtain a Social Security number for your new…

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Nine Basic Rules of Building a Nest Egg

Nine Basic Rules of Building a Nest Egg

Building a nest egg to give you a secure financial future doesn’t require a degree in economics, just a degree of common sense. The rules are easy and time-tested, and the smart players always abide by them. 1. It’s never too late or too early to start. Think back five or ten years and say to yourself, “Where would I…

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Do You Qualify for a Home Office Deduction?

Do You Qualify for a Home Office Deduction?

Your home. Your office. Are they one and the same? If so, you may be able to take a home-office deduction that can save income and self-employment taxes. The deduction gives you the opportunity to claim expenses related to the business use of your home, such as utilities, repairs, and insurance. Meet the requirements, and you’re eligible whether you rent…

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Cut Taxes With Lifetime Giving

Cut Taxes With Lifetime Giving

If you want certain individuals to receive property from your estate, there may be advantages to making those gifts while you are still alive. Consider these facts about making lifetime gifts: Gifts to spouses. The tax law permits a married individual to make gifts of any amount to a spouse without incurring any gift tax. The value of these gifts is…

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The Alternative Minimum Tax: Will it affect you?

The Alternative Minimum Tax: Will it affect you?

In your tax planning, don’t overlook how your tax-saving strategies might be impacted by the alternative minimum tax. What is the alternative minimum tax? Enacted back in 1969, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a separate income tax calculation that was designed to make sure that high-income taxpayers pay a minimum amount of taxes, even if they have sufficient deductions…

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Parents, Children and Taxes

Parents, Children and Taxes

Being a parent brings tremendous rewards, but also the challenge and responsibility of supporting and educating your child. Fortunately, the tax code has many ways to help ease a parent’s financial burden. Here’s an overview of the many ways that taxes can affect your decisions as a parent. Exemptions and credits Most parents can claim a child tax credit for…

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Amended Returns: What You Should Know

Amended Returns: What You Should Know

Out of sight, out of mind. When it comes to old tax returns,that’s an approach many people like to follow. But before you completely forget about your old tax forms, you may wish to consider filing an amended return. Why file an amended return? If you made a mistake on a prior-year tax return, an amended return is the way…

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Where to get money for a growing business

Where to get money for a growing business

The following sequence of events is common to many new and expanding businesses. The Short-Term Squeeze You start your business with a limited amount of capital and an abundance of good ideas and ambition. The sales activity has been adequate to produce a net profit. Your inventory is about twice as large as you intended. Your accounts payable are past…

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Use financial information to increase your business profits

Use financial information to increase your business profits

Most successful business managers use financial statements and other special reports to generate higher profits. If you haven’t been using all the financial tools available to you, here are some ideas to get you started. There is no need to feel intimidated by financial statements. If your company’s record system is properly designed, you should be getting regular financial reports…

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Tax strategies for homeowners

Tax strategies for homeowners

Be aware that important tax consequences are often associated with some fairly common events involving your home. Here are some handy things to know. Home purchase. When purchasing a home, you may pay a portion of the mortgage interest in advance. This loan origination fee, or “points,” is a percentage of the total amount borrowed. If points are paid for…

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Don’t Overlook Valuable Tax Credits

Don’t Overlook Valuable Tax Credits

Tax credits are one of the most powerful ways to lower your income taxes. A tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar. A tax deduction, on the other hand, only reduces your taxable income, so your benefit is determined by your tax bracket. For example, a tax deduction of $1,000 will lower your tax bill by $320 if…

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High medical bills? Consider these 3 tips to save…

High medical bills? Consider these 3 tips to save…

With increasingly high costs of medications, doctor visits and hospital stays, remaining healthy has become an expensive proposition. In addition, it seems as though health insurers are passing along more and more costs in the form of higher deductibles, increased premiums and larger co-payments. Out-of-pocket costs for even one hospital stay could break a household budget. Fortunately, you can control…

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Your 2019 Social Security benefits recap

Your 2019 Social Security benefits recap

The Social Security Administration (SSA) made a 2.8 percent increase to monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for 2019. Take a look at some of the most significant changes as you create and update your financial plan for 2019: 2019 Social Security benefit highlights Up to $132,900 in wages will be subject to Social Security taxes (up…

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5 ways to get smart when giving

5 ways to get smart when giving

You probably participated in many charity events and fundraisers during the holiday season. If you plan to give again during 2019, here are a handful of charitable donation strategies to consider if you want to boost your deductions: Audit-proof your claims. The IRS imposes strict substantiation rules for charitable donations. In fact, you’re required to keep records for all monetary…

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Seasonal spender or credit card addict?

Seasonal spender or credit card addict?

It’s not a big surprise if you found yourself reaching for your credit card more often around the holidays. The National Retail Federation projected that consumers would spend an average of $1,007 on gifts, decorations,and candy this season. However, if you’ve noticed your plastic habits don’t fluctuate throughout the year, it could mean you’re living beyond your means … and…

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Small businesses: How to compete against the big guys

Small businesses: How to compete against the big guys

When big-box stores come to town, how can a small business successfully compete? That’s a tough question. While one answer doesn’t fit all cases, certain strategies have proven effective for many businesses. Consider these ideas: Compete on your own terms. As a small business, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to compete with larger competitors on the basis of price alone.…

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Outsmart Email Scams in 3 Simple Steps

Outsmart Email Scams in 3 Simple Steps

There’s no doubt you’ve seen an email touting a too-good-to-be-true offer in your inbox every now and then. Random pleas from mysterious people who need your help recovering inheritances they promise to share with you probably makes you shake your head and hit delete.But what do you do when an email says it’s from the IRS and claims you’re about…

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Take Advantage of Being Self-Employed

Take Advantage of Being Self-Employed

When it comes to taxes, being self-employed has some advantages. Whether you work for yourself on a full-time basis or just do a little moonlighting on the side, the government has provided you with a variety of tax breaks: Build up your retirement funds. When you’re self-employed, you’re allowed to set up a retirement plan for your business. Remember, contributing…

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2018 Executive of the Year

2018 Executive of the Year

We are delighted to announce that our own L. Scott Elwell has been recognized as a “2018 Executive of the Year” by South Jersey Biz. Scott has been ranked one of twenty-two leaders who excel in shaping the future of business in South Jersey. This achievement is such an honor and our team couldn’t be more proud! Congratulations, Scott! Below…

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Want to Minimize Rent and Storage Costs? Consider This

Want to Minimize Rent and Storage Costs? Consider This

For many small businesses, office rent and inventory storage costs are perceived as fixed. But are such expenses truly inflexible? Oftentimes, no. Because rent and storage costs often constitute a significant portion of a business’s total expense budget, creative owners who find ways to minimize those costs may reap substantial rewards. Consider the following questions when trying to shave some…

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Protect Your Privacy in 5 Simple Steps

Protect Your Privacy in 5 Simple Steps

Do you use a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer to connect with friends and make purchases, as well as share health concerns with your doctor? If so, your privacy may be at risk. Companies called “data brokers” routinely compile information about your habits and preferences, including your favorite brands, recreational pursuits, and credit habits. Data brokers use this information…

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Survive Financial Stress with These 3 Mindset Changers

Survive Financial Stress with These 3 Mindset Changers

Because financial stress is a normal part of life for most people, learning to cope with money worries is important — vital, in fact — for maintaining positive relationships, job productivity, and personal health. If you’re dealing with excessive anxiety about your finances, consider implementing the following three policies: Move forward and control what you can. If you’ve been laid off…

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Do You Have Misclassified Workers?

Do You Have Misclassified Workers?

Independent contractor and employee —Do you know the difference between the two classifications? As you prepare your third-quarter 2018 payroll reports, take time to review the status of your workers to help you stay away from misclassification issues down the road. Knowing the difference is crucial Often, figuring out if a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or…

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2018 Tax Highlights – What You Need to Know

2018 Tax Highlights – What You Need to Know

2018 is filled with more dramatic tax changes than we’ve faced in over 20 years! Here’s a quick video that goes through the highlights and remember, you can always reach out to use to schedule a meeting if you want to go over these changes and how they affect you and your business specifically. Business Accounting Systems, P.C.: Client Videos

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Schooling Your Children on Money Matters

Schooling Your Children on Money Matters

Teaching your child about money and finances is easiest when you start early. Here’s a quick review of what you should teach your children at each age if you want them to become financially competent adults: Preschool Identify coins and bills, and learn what each is worth. Understand that you can’t buy everything (choices are necessary). Save money in a…

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Business Owners: Do You Have a Succession Plan?

Business Owners: Do You Have a Succession Plan?

Succession planning is very important for business owners, especially those with a family-owned business. Before you sit down with your tax and legal advisors to draw up a succession plan, you should think through three important issues: Who: The question of who will succeed you in the business can be the toughest of all. Most owners want to pass the…

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Make sure you’ve got a plan for your RMDs

Make sure you’ve got a plan for your RMDs

After all the advice you’ve received about saving for retirement, taking money out of your traditional IRAs and other qualified retirement plans may feel strange. Yet once you reach 70½, the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules say you have to do just that. Under these rules, you must withdraw at least a minimum amount from your retirement plans each year.…

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Your child wants to start a business. Now what?

Your child wants to start a business. Now what?

Has your child asked for your help with starting a business? If the answer’s yes, chances are you may not know where to start. Since the failure rate for new businesses is high, it would be supportive for you to do whatever you can to increase your child’s chances of success. That includes considering the following: Find out what groundwork…

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College and Credit Cards: A Good Mix?

College and Credit Cards: A Good Mix?

If you’ve gone back and forth about whether or not it’s a good idea to send your child to college with a credit card, you aren’t alone. Opinions are divided, both among parents and financial advisors. The outcome depends on the kids and the parents. On one hand, there’s a potential that everyone will benefit. If your child uses the…

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3 Debt-Destroying Habits Everyone Should Follow

3 Debt-Destroying Habits Everyone Should Follow

Staying out of debt is simple, but it’s not easy. It requires resilience — forgoing impulsive purchases in exchange for long-term financial freedom. Personal debt can be categorized as necessary or unnecessary. Necessary debt can generally be linked to assets such as your home mortgage, a basic car for getting to work, or a college degree. Unnecessary debt, on the…

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How to Get Your Customers to Pay Up

How to Get Your Customers to Pay Up

Your customer is satisfied — but a month has gone by, and your invoice is still outstanding. You’d like to work with the customer in the future. So how do you get your money without losing the customer? Here are two strategies that may help: Make it a habit to clearly and promptly communicate with your customers. On the day…

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5 questions to ask before starting a home-based business

A lot of people consider self-employment because they’ve lost their seemingly stable jobs in the corporate world. Others just dream of making it on their own. As online marketing becomes easier and more accessible, and employees discover the advantages of telecommuting, home-based work alternatives are becoming increasingly attractive. If running a business out of your home sounds good to you,…

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Want a profitable business? Focus on customer service

Even with the best of intentions, many companies talk up customer service but don’t actually deliver. In order to really provide great customer service, every employee needs to be tuned in to how he or she can contribute to keep customers coming back again and again. This ultimately affects the net profit of any business. Customer service includes every element…

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Audit-proof your shareholder loan

If you’re a business owner and your company lends you money, you’ll enter it in the books as a shareholder loan. However, if your return is audited, the IRS will scrutinize the loan to see whether it is really disguised wages or a dividend taxable to you as income. Knowing what the IRS might look at may be useful when…

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6 ways to avoid credit card catastrophes

6 ways to avoid credit card catastrophes

Credit cards should be a convenient short-term way to pay, not a source of regular spending. Unfortunately, some people have a hard time staying true to this concept. Instead of paying off the entire balance due on the card each month, they let it grow and pay only the minimum amounts. If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to…

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Considering divorce? Think about your tax filing status

Considering divorce? Think about your tax filing status

The advantage of filing a joint tax return is well known — couples generally save money when compared with filing separately. However, there is at least one potential disadvantage. Both spouses are liable for the entire income tax bill, including interest and penalties, even if one earned most or all of the income. The joint-filing downfall This issue most commonly…

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Why a business appraisal may be your best friend

Why a business appraisal may be your best friend

For many business owners, business appraisals can provide vital planning information and help mitigate risk. Consider what it may be able to do for you: Establish a verifiable value for your business. This can show whether assets have appreciated at a reasonable rate. If not, you may need to adjust your firm’s strategy. Create documentation to support new financing. Lenders…

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How to get your marriage off to a good financial start

How to get your marriage off to a good financial start

Wedding season is upon us! Did you know couples often enter into marriage without ever having had a discussion about financial issues? As a result, they find themselves frequently arguing about money. If you are planning a wedding, here are some steps you can take to get your marriage off to a good financial start: Determine your financial compatibility. Take…

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3 Reasons Why Your Child Should (or shouldn’t) Have Life Insurance

3 Reasons Why Your Child Should (or shouldn’t) Have Life Insurance

When determining whether or not to carry life insurance on your children, you’ll find that people have a variety of opinions. Here’s a look at some of the most common considerations for and against life insurance policies on children: Financial security. Traditionally, you take out life insurance to provide for the financial security of dependents. The policy should include funds to…

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Emergency Funds: Why They’re Worth It

Emergency Funds: Why They’re Worth It

Emergency funds can be helpful for everyone. Any unexpected hit to your finances, and unanticipated illness or a natural disaster might all be reasons you may need money right away. What is an emergency fund? An emergency fund is designed to keep your life intact during temporary setbacks and to help you avoid unnecessary debt. That means things like car…

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Is Walking Away from Sunk Costs the Best Option?

Is Walking Away from Sunk Costs the Best Option?

Emotions make us human. They can also cause us to make rash decisions. Business owners and managers often let emotions dominate the decision-making process. This is especially true when choices are based on “sunk costs.” Why sunk costs can lead to trouble Broadly defined, sunk costs are past expenses that are irrelevant to current decisions. For example, many firms hire…

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Nanny Tax – Ignorance isn’t a good excuse

Nanny Tax – Ignorance isn’t a good excuse

As you review your filing requirements for 2018, make sure you don’t overlook the nanny tax related to household employees. If you have a housekeeper or any other household employee, you could be liable to pay state and federal payroll taxes.   How to know if you must pay the nanny tax First, you’ll need to determine whether you have…

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Tax-Time Review

Tax-Time Review

Now is the perfect time to review your financial affairs. You have to gather information to prepare your tax return at this time. Why not take one more step and do something positive for the wellbeing of your wallet?   The following suggestions will help you with your financial review:   Talk to your family. You should factor in the…

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Is it time to update your beneficiary list?

Is it time to update your beneficiary list?

It’s not uncommon to lose track of your beneficiaries, including which accounts have them, and who you designated. However, it is important to keep them current. Make your beneficiary designations a priority When you designate a beneficiary for an account, that person inherits the assets in the account, regardless of what your will says. That’s why updating your will periodically…

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Your Business’ Annual Health Check

Your Business’ Annual Health Check

Business owners and managers spend most of their time monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems. But just as an annual checkup from your doctor helps monitor and manage your personal health, an annual checkup can do the same for your business. Here are seven checkup tasks that you should make time to do every year. These are important for…

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5 Year-End Tax Tips

5 Year-End Tax Tips

The clock is ticking down to 2018 … but you still have a few weeks left to make some last-minute tax moves. Take a look at these five tips and save a little more this year. Check the amount of 2017 tax you have prepaid through withholding and quarterly estimates ASAP. If you’ve underpaid, consider increasing your withholding before year-end.…

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The holidays: A time for mistletoe and … fraud?

The holidays: A time for mistletoe and … fraud?

It’s not surprising that identity thieves and con artists love the holidays. More shoppers, more deals and more buying motivation makes the season rife with opportunities to steal. But you don’t have to let the holiday spirit cloud your shopping safety judgment.   Here are a few tips to avoid fraud, whether you’re shopping online or at your local mall:…

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Keep Your Kids Occupied During the Upcoming Holiday Break Teach Them These 4 Smart Money Lessons

Keep Your Kids Occupied During the Upcoming Holiday Break Teach Them These 4 Smart Money Lessons

Personal finance is often learned through experience. Fortunately, you can give your kids a hand-up on their journey to becoming financially responsible adults. Preschoolers and teenagers obviously have different financial concerns and abilities. But there are a few basic lessons that all children should learn by the time they enter college or start a career: Money = choices. Teach your…

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Savvy Generosity: Do it the right way

Savvy Generosity: Do it the right way

Giving on a yearly basis could trim both your estate and income taxes. First, there’s the annual exclusion for gifts. Currently, you can give $14,000 annually to any number of recipients without paying federal gift tax. Married couples can double this amount by gift-splitting – a gift of $28,000 from one spouse is treated as if it came half from…

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Tax Reform: What You Need to Know

Tax Reform: What You Need to Know

There is now a ton of media chatter about the recently introduced federal tax reform package being passed around in Washington, D.C. While it’s still early in the process, here are some of the key elements of the current proposal. For individuals: Individual tax rate brackets trimmed to three rates of 12, 25 and 35 percent, down from the current…

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Conquer your financial clutter

Conquer your financial clutter

Financial records are notorious for being messy. Bills, paycheck stubs, tax returns and bank statements have a way of getting tucked into random places. Luckily, there are a few pretty painless ways to organize your important documents.   Put all your financial records in one dedicated spot To ensure that bills are paid on time, bank statements are reconciled and…

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Employee meals: 50 or 100 percent deductible?

Employee meals: 50 or 100 percent deductible?

Everyone loves a free meal – especially employees. However, your business tax return will be affected differently depending on the circumstances of the mealtime experience.   While you can generally deduct only half the cost of meals related to your business activities, the tax code includes specific exceptions that allow a deduction of 100 percent of what you spend on…

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Employer company stock: risky or worth it?

Employer company stock: risky or worth it?

Employees often have too much of their employer’s company stock in their 401(k) or other retirement plan. That’s because employees tend to feel like they know their companies best. Here’s the problem: they may be overlooking the risks of having too much of an investment in any one company.   Here are some of the risks of loading up on…

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4 smart ways to cut business costs

4 smart ways to cut business costs

Keeping costs under control is crucial in today’s challenging business environment. Without a doubt, one of the quickest ways for a business to cut costs is through staff reduction. But cutting jobs is not always the best cost-cutting strategy. Drastic job cuts can lead to a vicious cycle of reduced productivity, followed by even slower growth and decreased profitability. Replacing…

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Your Receipts are Important: Save Them!

Your Receipts are Important: Save Them!

When it comes to taking qualified deductions on your federal tax return, three things must happen: Recognize that an expense might be deductible on your tax return. Keep a record of the expense in an organized fashion. Obtain the proper (and timely) documentation to support your deduction.   This might be obvious to most people, but here are some typical…

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Tips On Tip Reporting

Tips On Tip Reporting

If you are like millions of taxpayers who work in the service industry, you may receive tips. The tax code is clear; if you receive tips you must report them as income. Some employers have systems to make this easy, while others do not. Here are some suggestions: Think 1-2-3 Proper tip reporting has three components. 1. Keeping a daily…

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How To Cut Car Maintenance Costs

How To Cut Car Maintenance Costs

Insurance, fuel, loan interest, maintenance, repairs, depreciation – all the expenses associated with owning and driving an automobile can take a huge bite out of your family budget. Some of these are sunk costs. Because the money is already spent – the down payment to purchase your car, for example – such costs are irrelevant when budgeting for the future.…

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Do A Business Valuation When You’re Ready To Sell Your Company

Do A Business Valuation When You’re Ready To Sell Your Company

Well before you’re ready to sell your company, you’ll want to determine its fair market value as a starting point for negotiations. Of course, obtaining a reasonably precise value for your business is often a complicated and time-consuming task. Accurate appraisals must weigh a variety of factors and incorporate numerous assumptions. The more precise the underlying numbers and suppositions, the…

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Get to Know These Tax-Saving Terms

Get to Know These Tax-Saving Terms

As you begin to think about scheduling your midyear tax planning appointment, refresh your memory on the meanings of terms that can save you money. Here are three. Exclusion. Exclusions are items that would generally be included on your return, but are specifically excluded by a tax law provision. For example, gifts and inheritances you receive are excluded from your income…

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Five Reasons to Incorporate Your Business

Five Reasons to Incorporate Your Business

Most new businesses start with no thought about legal structure. In the eyes of the IRS, the default structure is a “sole proprietor,” in which your business profits are taxed on your personal tax return. This can serve you well to start, but there are several reasons you may want to consider incorporating as your business grows. To protect your…

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Curb Appeal

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is often talked about when selling a residential home, however, it applies just as frequently to the commercial building or space. If you want to improve the market value, curb appeal matters. Locations with great curb appeal usually command higher prices and spend less time on the market. Luckily there are simple, inexpensive ways to help your building…

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How to Build Your Business Credit

How to Build Your Business Credit

Whether your firm has been operating for years, or you decided over last night’s coffee to start a new venture, you’re sure to face the need for business credit. Entrepreneurs often ask friends and family to invest in their start-up businesses, and many draw on personal funds to launch new firms. But to address ongoing business needs – such as…

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Disability Insurance – What You Need to Know

Disability Insurance – What You Need to Know

Say “insurance” to most people and auto, health, home, and life are the variants that spring to mind. But what if an illness or accident were to deprive you of your income? Even a temporary setback could create havoc with your financial affairs. Statistics show your chances of being disabled for three months or longer between ages 35 and 65…

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