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Year-End Gifts and Taxes
Free Dinner Seminars?
Test Post
Wealth Tax Effect
Increasing Regulatory Burdens


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Year-End Gifts and Taxes

As the end of the year approaches quickly, there is still time to make gifts to charities or family members and to not only enjoy the giving but to also reap income tax benefits from the transfers. For example, where deductible items other than charitable gifts are at all significant, then the charitable gifts will be likely to support further income tax deductions, making the gift a benefit to both donor and charity. There is no transfer tax for such gifts which makes the approach even more attractive.

Free Dinner Seminars?

On a regular basis, invitations to seminars with an accompanying free dinner fall through the mail slot. Naming popular restaurants and offering various dates, these seminars propose to inform the attendees all about a variety of topics. Most often they focus on retirement finances but can also address subjects such as Medicare and other health related issues. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it? You get to enjoy a free dinner at a nice restaurant and listen to experts tell you about things that you are not sure about as well as are important to you and your family.

Test Post

Because Vistaprint can't seem to consistently process posts and so very often fails. 

Wealth Tax Effect

Something we have heard a great deal about in the past several months is the interest of some presidential candidates in imposing a wealth tax on individuals who have substantial wealth. This proposed tax is not a substitute for the income tax or other taxes but is an additional tax intended to help fund a variety of planned spending programs.
From the standpoint of a politician, the proposed tax has a great deal of attraction since it not only brings more revenue to the government but appeals to both a desire to reduce inequality of resources among people and the very human feeling of envy.

Increasing Regulatory Burdens

When we speak of the costs of government, the first topic usually is taxes, fees, and charges that appear in a myriad of forms and circumstances. We often don’t get past this aspect of governmental burdens and that means some other direct costs are not fully exposed or understood. One that is often mentioned but rarely discussed in detail is the cost to us all of regulations.
Examples of how regulations can cost a great deal can easily be found – here’s one I ran into recently. As almost everyone knows, the pervasive use of the internet, the cloud and their extended family has resulted (naturally) in some folks using the technology in nefarious ways.

IRA: Retirement or Succession?

There is much ado in the financial world concerning various proposals to curb the use of the stretch IRA approach and otherwise change the current rules. Pundits decry the “devastating consequences” to some IRA owners if the changes are approved by Congress. Specifically, the Secure Act proposal would require complete distribution from many IRAs within ten years of the IRA owner’s death.
While this might seem hard for a person who planned to leave their IRAs to younger generations, letting them face the income taxes as and when they took distributions, a closer look suggests otherwise.

Negative Interest Rate Fun

Negative interest rates, could there be anything more unappealing? Banks don’t like it because they have to pay the government interest on the reserves they hold and have not made available to lend. The government believes that the negative rates will lead banks to loan out the money instead of holding it and that as a result the economy will improve due to the added funds out there working.  The idea is also to boost inflation, a bit, also to help the economy. Of course, the government also requires the banks to hold substantial reserves in case there is a liquidity crisis (such as a run on banks).

Withdrawals from a Minor's UTMA Account

Gifts to minors range from cash in a birthday card to very substantial gifts to accounts established to receive those gifts and hold them until the minor attains their majority and can access the funds. It is not unusual, however, for a parent to wish to disburse some of those funds on behalf of that minor at some point before the minor is able to access the funds.
Whether it is to purchase a car or perhaps pay for a trip, the amount may be substantial and it is important for all to keep in mind the applicable rules.

Considering Intra-Family Loans

A not uncommon situation in many families is the interplay between family members with more goals than funds and those with more money than goals to spend on. The familial relationship makes for a desire to help other family members in need and to take that action within the family without the need to go to a bank or other source of funding.
If you face this situation, an important consideration is how the transaction should be carried out. Even though it is within the family, a simple handshake and verbal agreement is probably not enough for either party.

Timing Social Security Benefits

There have been plenty of studies examining the mass of data collected about Social Security including the timing of claims, the average benefits, the annual adjustments to benefits, claiming strategies and more. One fairly consistent finding of these studies is that a significant number of workers claim their benefits as soon as they are available and very few defer their initial claim for benefits to age 70. The consensus seems to be that those who claim when first eligible, age 62, are making a mistake that will cost them greatly in terms of the total benefits received over a lifetime.
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