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8 Tips For Making And Saving Money In 2016

In just a few days, it will be 2016 and we are eager for its arrival. We have some big projects planned for this coming year and we are working hard now to prepare for success. Some of our time is being spent looking for ways to increase our income and reduce our expenses as a family, saving money In 2016.

Increasing your Income in 2016
Who would not want to have more money left over for their budget? If you want to increase your 2016 income a little, now is the best time to plan.

Look over your TurboTax 2015 W-4. Recently, my husband had Human Resources send an email to all the employees to remind them there were some withholding changes in North Carolina. It was good for us to be reminded as well, since we have not really looked over our withholding in a while. If you haven’t looked at your Turbo Tax 2013 return in a couple of years, you might want to take a few minutes to look at it. Make sure your retirement benefits, flexible spending plan and health insurance are all correct. Make sure you are are taking advantage of the opportunities available to you to decrease the amount you pay in taxes. It might be time to find a health plan that is more affordable and accommodates your family better. If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure you are getting the max amount.

Saving Money In 2016Make some extra money with a hobby. Do you play a musical instrument, handcraft something or enjoy number crunching? Talk to your friends, neighbors and extended family and see if you can teach them a skill or assist them for a little extra money on the side. We have a neighbor that is a very good builder and we bought a cat box from him. It was better than what we found for sale in stores and it was better-built and he got a little extra money from doing something he liked. Everybody won.

Sell your things. As we are tidying up our home in preparation for putting it on the market, we have been downsizing and getting rid of things that we do not really want or have not used in a long time. It really is crazy how much stuff you can accumulate without realizing it. If you sell some of your extra stuff, you can increase the space in your home and accumulate a little extra money. Craigslist and other similar sites make it free and easy to unload your extra stuff.

Saving Money in the New Year

You can make more room in your budget by streamlining your month to month bills and doing some things yourself. Weatherproof your house. You do not need to spend a lot of money on this to make a dent. Make sure there are no drafts or leaks so that you do not drain your wallet dry.

Check out your phone plan. Cell phone bills have gotten expensive for some people. Lots of people just sign a two year contract so they can get the newest iPhone model and do not count up the true cost. Some cell phone companies offer great plans that offer unlimited services for a small portion of the cost of a plan with one of the larger companies. Ting, Republic Wireless and other companies have smartphone plans that cost about $25 per month.

Compare prices on insurance. We halved out insurance a few years ago just by switching companies. Now you can go online to look at plans and compare prices for life, health, home and car insurance. Do not just go with the cheapest plan. Find one that offers the best value, as well.

Skip cable. You probably do not need cable anymore, now that options like Hulu Plus, Netflix and Roku are available. Even if you decide you would rather have cable, you should probably shop around and see if you can find a better deal somewhere else which could split the bundle.

Thoughts on Saving and Making Money for 2016
I talked about a few ways you can increase your savings, but I would love to hear more. What financial goals have you set for 2016? What do you want to achieve in the coming year?

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The Best Tax Tips For Your Business

Small business owners know that taxes can be confusing. This is true whether you have filed for several years now, or this is your first year in business. The laws change from year to year, and making sense of the federal tax laws is nearly impossible for anyone except an accountant or an attorney. If you are not careful, you could end up paying far more than you really owe. You could also end up paying too little, which will cause complications with the IRS later. In this article, we will look at some of the most important tax tips to consider and use so you are ready for your taxes.

Keep Track of the Expenses  

It is extremely important that you keep track of all of your expenses throughout the year. You should use software and apps to log each of these expenses and have a central database where you can gather all of them. Keep them sorted by different criteria including type of expense, date, and overall cost. The more detailed the notes, the better. Another tax tip is to make sure you create a backup of your files, so you do not lose them. Keeping the information in the cloud can be a great way to make sure you can always access it from anywhere. Check this recent article to find out some fresh 2014 tax tips

Deductions

Many small companies are unwittingly paying too much for their taxes because they are not taking advantage of all of the deductions they could and should take. These deductions are legal, and you should use them whenever appropriate. Some of the various types of deductions you could use include meals, travel, entertainment, and even health insurance. Just make sure you keep track of those expenses and keep your receipts so you can prove that they are related to your business if necessary. This tax tip makes things easier when it comes to filing. In some specific countries there is very low to zero tax rate, one of the is the BVI or the British Virgin Islands, which is an option to consider in case you pay a lot of taxes. Check this article here about the BVI tax company benefits

Another deduction that many companies are not using is for equipment. Since 2011, small businesses can deduct up to half a million dollars in equipment purchases, as well as equipment repairs. However, the catch is that the business must spend two million dollars or less on equipment for the entire year. Still, for many small businesses, this tax tip could be a huge and beneficial deduction.

Insurance for Employees

Small businesses that have employees and that offer coverage may be able to take the small business health care tax credit. The requirements for eligibility can sometimes be difficult to parse through, so talking with an accountant or an attorney about the matter is a good idea.

Charity Deductions

Just as individuals can reduce their taxes based on their charitable donations, businesses can do the same. When your business donates goods and services, it is possible to deduct the dollar amount or valuation of the items from the taxes.

These tax tips are things you should keep in mind all year long so you can save on your taxes. Make sure you get into contact with a professional when it comes time to go over and file your taxes, just so you can be sure you aren’t paying too much.

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Turbo Tax launching an Online ACA Calculator

Turbo Tax launching an Online ACA Calculator

Turbo Tax 2014 is set to launch new online calculators. These calculators are meant for the calculation of subsidies that you are entitled to when you get insurance cover as well as how much premium you are supposed to pay. The new insurance plans have been made possible by the Affordable Care Act that allows low income earners to get health care by paying low premiums.

Turbo Tax launching an Online ACA Calculator

A CNN poll conducted in March of 2010Citation needed, days after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law found nearly 3 in 5 Americans were opposed to the legislationClarify. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are four categories that are offered by the insurance exchanges. You will get various types of benefits depending on the coverage that you choose and your income level. They include; gold plans, silver plans and catastrophic plans that are offered to the low income earner below the age of 30.

How the Turbo Tax 2014 Calculator Works

The Turbo Tax 2014 calculator is user friendly in its design. There are various settings and inputs on the left and to the right there are running totals. The particulars input on the left side determine two things; how much you will have to pay or the tax refund you will get.

There are various details required to be entered in the Turbo Tax 2014 calculators in order to determine the eligibility for subsidy. The personal information includes:

– Annual income;
– State of residence;
-ZIP code
– Whether your employer pays insurance

By entering your information on the left side, you are able to find out what is the best plan for your tax situation. Should you choose to do this manually, it would take a longer time. Therefore, the Turbo Tax 2014 assists in speeding up the process of selecting a decent plan that will not cost you too much in the first couple of years or participating.

The government study that preceded the launch of the Affordable Care Act determined that 90% of those who are above the federal level of poverty are able to pay higher premiums. However, the subsidies only apply to those who do not have health insurance through their employer. Therefore, when filling in your particulars, if you fill in that you receive health insurance on the left side of the 2014 calculator; it means it will not display any subsidy on the right side of the results. It will only display the amount of premiums you are meant to pay.

In case your income is between 133%-399% of the poverty level, then the calculator will show you that your premiums may be at 3%-9.5% of gross income. Anything less than 133% would mean that you get medicaid coverage and therefore do not need to purchase a plan.

You need to note that there is a chance that you may need to include some of your income in the health care calculation. This is because a normal low income house hold spends at least 75% of their income on home expenses. This is why there needs to be some changes in the act in order to accommodate those who are in the low income level of society and give them more in terms of subsidy and less in terms of payment of premiums. Exempting unions and those in congress just isn’t enough of a government benefit for certain parties in the government. This is still under discussion as the rates are not satisfactory to the low income earners who use most of their income for expenses at home.

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Tax Help 101: Casualty, Disaster, And Theft Losses

Tax Help 101: Casualty, Disaster, And Theft Losses

Internal Revenue Service (Photo credit: LendingMemo)

You never know when problems can occur, and this year people have experienced their fair share of unexpected problems.  This summer alone people across the country are dealing with blazing wildfires, destructive storms with dangerous winds, and other natural disasters.  Some people are lucky and come out of the damage relatively unscathed, but others aren’t as fortunate.  Some people have had significant damage done to their property, and they’re trying to find a way to rebuild.  There are also some people that aren’t dealing with disasters caused by nature, they’re dealing with problems caused by other people. Theft of expensive objects, damage done by vandals, blackmail, and other problems happen to people every day.

Many people don’t know what to do when disaster occurs. People with insurance may be able to get some help from their policy, but some policies don’t have enough coverage to completely compensate the policy holder for their loss.  Luckily for tax paying American citizens, Uncle Sam has measures in place to help people in their hour of need. Financial losses incurred because of casualty, disaster, and theft losses may be tax-deductible. Tax payers can report casualty and theft can be reported on Form 4684 and Form 1040 Schedule A.

Casualty Losses

A casualty is defined as the loss, significant damage, or destruction of property because of a sudden event.  In order to claim property as a casualty cost, the event that caused it must be easily identifiable and unexpected.  Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, storms, and wildfires fit the criteria, but Mother Nature doesn’t have to be the only cause of your loss.  Losses due to car accidents, terrorist attacks, and vandalism can all be claimed as a casualty loss.

Theft Losses

The IRS’ definition of theft isn’t too different from what law enforcement officials view as theft of property.  The IRS defines theft as “the taking and removing of money or property with the intent to deprive the owner of it. The taking of property must be illegal under the law of the state where it occurred and it must have been done with criminal intent.”  According to the IRS embezzlement, robbery, blackmail, burglary, extortion, larceny, and even kidnapping for ransom all full under the umbrella of theft losses.

Losses You Can’t Claim

The government offers IRS tax help to taxpayers that have experienced hardship, but there are some situations where you won’t be able to claim the property and finances you lost over the year.  Property that was misplaced cannot be claimed as a loss, nor can property that was accidently broken.  Tax payers may also not claim any property that has gone through progressive deterioration.  In order to be tax-deductible the damage must be cause by a sudden and unexpected event.  As an example, if your home was significantly damaged in a storm you would be able to claim that.  If your home was damaged because of termite infestation or mold over a period of time, you would not be allowed to claim that.

*Not a solicitation for legal services*

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