Thursday, December 19, 2013

IRS Sets the Date: Tax Season Starts January 31st

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced plans to open the 2014 filing season on Jan. 31 and encouraged taxpayers to use e-file or Free File as the fastest way to receive refunds.

The new opening date for individuals to file their 2013 tax returns will allow the IRS adequate time to program and test its tax processing systems. The annual process for updating IRS systems saw significant delays in October following the 16-day federal government closure.

“Our teams have been working hard throughout the fall to prepare for the upcoming tax season,” IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “The late January opening gives us enough time to get things right with our programming, testing and systems validation. It’s a complex process, and our bottom-line goal is to provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers.”

The government closure meant the IRS had to change the original opening date from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31, 2014. The 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on Jan. 30, 2013 following January tax law changes made by Congress on Jan. 1 under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The extensive set of ATRA tax changes affected many 2012 tax returns, which led to the late January opening.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Three Year-End Tax Tips to Help You Save

Although the year is almost over, you still have time to take steps that can lower your 2013 taxes. Now is a good time to prepare for the upcoming tax filing season. Taking these steps can help you save time and tax dollars. They can also help you save for retirement. Here are three year-end tips from the IRS for you to consider:

  1. Start a filing system.  If you don’t have a filing system for your tax records, you should start one. It can be as simple as saving receipts in a shoe box, or more complex like creating folders or spreadsheets. It’s always a good idea to save tax-related receipts and records. Keeping good records now will save time and help you file a complete and accurate tax return next year.
  2. Make Charitable Contributions.  If you plan to give to charity, consider donating before the year ends. That way you can claim your contribution as an itemized deduction for 2013. This includes donations you charge to a credit card by Dec. 31, even if you don’t pay the bill until 2014. A gift by check also counts for 2013 as long as you mail it in December. Remember that you must give to a qualified charity to claim a tax deduction. Use the IRS Select Check tool at IRS.gov to see if an organization is qualified. Make sure to save your receipts. You must have a written record for all donations of money in order to claim a deduction. Special rules apply to several types of property, including clothing or household items, cars and boats. For more about these rules see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. If you are age 70½ or over, the qualified charitable distribution allows you to make tax-free transfers from your IRAs to charity. You can give up to $100,000 per year from your IRA to an eligible charity, and exclude the amount from gross income. You can use the excluded amount to satisfy any required minimum distributions that you must otherwise receive from your IRAs in 2013. This benefit is available even if you do not itemize deductions. This special provision is set to expire at the end of 2013. See Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for more information.

Friday, December 13, 2013

IRS to Employers: Hire Veterans by Dec. 31 and Save on Taxes

If you plan to hire soon, consider hiring veterans. If you do, you may be able to claim the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit worth thousands of dollars.

You must act soon. The WOTC is available to employers that hire qualified veterans before the new year.

Here are six key facts about the WOTC:

  1. Hiring Deadline.  Employers hiring qualified veterans before Jan. 1, 2014, may be able to claim the WOTC. The credit was set to expire at the end of 2012. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended it for one year.
  2. Maximum Credit.  The tax credit limit is $9,600 per worker for employers that operate a taxable business. The limit for tax-exempt employers is $6,240 per worker.
  3. Credit Factors.  The credit amount depends on a number of factors. They include the length of time a veteran was unemployed, the number of hours worked and the amount of the wages paid during the first year of employment.
  4. Disabled Veterans.  Employers hiring veterans with service-related disabilities may be eligible for the maximum tax credit.
  5. State Certification.  Employers must file Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, with their state workforce agency. They must file the form within 28 days after the qualified veteran starts work. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s WOTC website.
  6. E-file.  Some states accept Form 8850 electronically.


For more about this topic, visit IRS.gov and enter ‘WOTC’ in the search box or give our office a call.
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Plan Now to Get Full Benefit of Saver’s Credit; Tax Credit Helps Low- and Moderate-Income Workers Save for Retirement

WASHINGTON — Low- and moderate-income workers can take steps now to save for retirement and earn a special tax credit in 2013 and the years ahead, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The saver’s credit helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to IRAs and to 401(k) plans and similar workplace retirement programs. Also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, the saver’s credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply.

Eligible workers still have time to make qualifying retirement contributions and get the saver’s credit on their 2013 tax return. People have until April 15, 2014, to set up a new individual retirement arrangement or add money to an existing IRA for 2013. However, elective deferrals (contributions) must be made by the end of the year to a 401(k) plan or similar workplace program, such as a 403(b) plan for employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations, a governmental 457 plan for state or local government employees, and the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. Employees who are unable to set aside money for this year may want to schedule their 2014 contributions soon so their employer can begin withholding them in January.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Three Most Common Budgeting Errors

When it comes to creating a budget, it's essential to estimate your spending as realistically as possible. Here
are three budget-related errors commonly made by small businesses, and some tips for avoiding them.

  1. Not Setting Goals. It's almost impossible to set spending priorities without clear goals for the coming year. It's important to identify, in detail, your business and financial goals and what you want or need to achieve in your business.
  2. Underestimating Costs. Every business has ancillary or incidental costs that don't always make it into the budget--for whatever reason. A good example of this is buying a new piece of equipment or software. While you probably accounted for the cost of the equipment in your budget, you might not have remembered to budget time and money needed to train staff or for equipment maintenance.
  3. Failing to Adjust Your Budget. Don't be afraid to update your forecasted expenditures whenever new circumstances affect your business. Several times a year you should set aside time to compare budget estimates against the amount you actually spent, and then adjust your budget accordingly.

Call our office if you want to discuss setting up a budget to meet your business financial goals. We're happy to help.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Year-End Tax Planning for Businesses

There are a number of end of year tax strategies businesses can use to reduce their tax burden for 2013. Here's the lowdown on some of the best options.

Purchase New Business Equipment

Section 179 Expensing. Business should take advantage of Section 179 expensing this year for a couple of reasons. First, is that in 2013 businesses can elect to expense (deduct immediately) the entire cost of most new equipment up to a maximum of $500,000 for the first $2,000,000 of property placed in service by December 31, 2013. In 2014, the $2,000,000 cap is reduced to $200,000 and the $500,000 deduction limit is reduced to $25,000.

Also in 2013, businesses can take advantage of an accelerated first year bonus depreciation of 50% of the purchase price of new equipment and software placed in service by December 31, 2013 that exceeds the threshold amount of $2,000,000. This bonus depreciation is phased out in 2014.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Year-End Tax Planning For Individuals

Tax planning presents more challenges than usual this year due to the passage of the American Taxpayer
Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), which was signed into law on January 2, 2013, as well as certain tax provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 taking effect in 2013 and 2014.

Tax planning strategies for individuals this year--and for the next several years--require careful consideration of taxable income in relation to threshold amounts that might bump a taxpayer into a higher or lower tax bracket, thus, subjecting him or her to additional taxes such as the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) or an additional Medicare tax.
Even so, there are several more general tax planning strategies taxpayers might consider such as:

  • Selling any investments on which you have a gain or loss this year. For more on this, see Investment Gains and Losses, below.

Monday, November 25, 2013

21 Days of Gratitude

Guest Blogger
Christina Labonte
I heard someone mention recently that it takes 21 days to build a habit. This idea has stuck with me as I’ve been incorporating some healthy activities into my life more consistently over the past few months. Mainly things like meditation and exercise, which I tend to go through off and on phases with. The thought is that if I can do it for 21 days consistently, I’ll turn it into a habit that becomes part of my life.

Psychological studies show that happiness stems not from being the best, most successful, or most attractive, but from gratitude.  I started a gratitude journal a few months ago. In my quiet time each morning, I write down 10 things I am grateful for. Actually 11, because I always write one more that is something I’m specifically grateful for about myself. My goal was to do this for 21 days.

Starting a gratitude journal has a deeper purpose than just reminding yourself all you have to be thankful for in life. It’s about shifting your focus or your energy. It’s retraining your brain to look for the things that are working in your life. All too often we have this tendency or habit of focusing in on the negative, looking at what’s wrong, worrying about the ‘what-ifs’, and stressing about the ‘should-haves’. The gratitude journal is a simple tool to help us create a new habit.

It has shifted my energy. Not just when I’m writing in it, but throughout most of my day as well. It’s a subtle, inner shift. I just feel lighter and calmer and more satisfied inside. I didn’t stop after 21 days. I like focusing my attention on what’s working. It helps me find the opportunities, even in the challenges I may face.

The reality is, there are always going to be challenges we have to face and situations we don’t feel happy about. We are always going to have negative and positive thoughts about things. That’s normal.  We do, however, have a choice about which thoughts we’re going to feed. Are you going to continue feeding the thoughts that bring you down and stress you out? Or, as those thoughts come in, can you just as quickly let them go and feed the thoughts that lift you up, bring you peace, and help you see the opportunities and solutions already present?

This November, I hope you’ll really think about gratitude. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but how you can experience and express it everyday!

Be Well ~ Christina

(Originally posted on Be Well Therapeutics, November 4, 2013)


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tax Tips for Individuals Selling Their Home

If you're selling your main home this year, we have some helpful tips for you. Even if you make a profit from the sale of your home, you may not have to report it as income.

  1. If you sell your home at a gain, you may be able to exclude part or all of the profit from your income. This rule generally applies if you've owned and used the property as your main home for at least two out of the five years before the date of sale.
  2. You normally can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return). This excluded gain is also not subject to the new Net Investment Income Tax, which is effective in 2013.
  3. If you can exclude all of the gain, you probably don't need to report the sale of your home on your tax return.
  4. If you can't exclude all of the gain, or you choose not to exclude it, you'll need to report the sale of your home on your tax return. You'll also have to report the sale if you received a Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions. Please call us if you need assistance with this.
  5. Generally, you can exclude a gain from the sale of only one main home per two-year period.
  6. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is usually the one you live in most of the time.
  7. Special rules may apply when you sell a home for which you received the first-time homebuyer credit. Please call us if you need additional information about this topic.
  8. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.
  9. When you sell your home and move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service. File Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS.
  10. If you have any questions about the tax implications of selling your home, please give us a call.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

IRS Warns Consumers of Possible Scams Relating to Relief of Typhoon Victims

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service today issued a consumer alert about possible scams
taking place in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. On Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan – known as Yolanda in the Philippines – made landfall in the central Philippines, bringing strong winds and heavy rains that have resulted in flooding, landslides, and widespread damage.

Following major disasters, it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.

The IRS cautions people wishing to make disaster-related charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:

  • To help disaster victims, donate to recognized charities.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Time Homebuyer Seminar - TONIGHT!

First Time Homebuyer Seminar
HarborOne U, Mansfield MA
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Make a well-informed decision when you buy your first home. This seminar provides you the opportunity to get answers to your many questions from the professionals involved in the home buying process. Professionals include Mortgage Originator, Buyers Agent & Realtor, Real Estate Attorney, Insurance Agent, JEFFREY SCHWEITZER, Tax Advisor and Home Inspector. A light dinner will be served.

Register today as seating is limited.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.  We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.  Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume

WASHINGTON–The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major work streams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS

Thursday, October 17, 2013

US Government Opens After Congress Ends Its 16-day Shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government reopened its doors Thursday after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations.

Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure, which the House and Senate passed late Wednesday, ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president's landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget.

The White House directed all agencies to reopen promptly and in an orderly fashion. Furloughed federal employees across the country are expected to return to work Thursday.

The impasse had shuttered national parks and monuments, and mostly closed down NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department. Critical functions of government went on as usual and most federal employees won't see their paychecks delayed, but the closure and potential default weighed on the economy and spooked the financial markets.

There were signs early Thursday that the federal government was slowly coming back to life. "We're back from the (hash)shutdown!" the Smithsonian Institution crowed on Twitter, announcing that museums would reopen Thursday and the National Zoo in Washington on Friday.

Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy, and the Fitch credit

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Shutdown Doesn't Mean You Get a Break on October 15th Tax Return Deadline

If you filed for a federal tax extension last April, you’ll still need to send in your return by Oct. 15, despite the government shutdown.

And millions of you had better get busy. According to the IRS, as of the last week of September, many of the 12 million taxpayers who sought extensions had yet to file. (Of course, you needed to pay at least 90 percent of your estimated tax back in April to avoid any penalties.)

If you have questions about federal forms, or need help with last-minute calculations, don’t look to a live IRS tax expert for advice during the shutdown. Customer service agents have been furloughed, and walk-in taxpayer assistance centers are closed. However, you may be able to find answers to your questions on the IRS automated phone system at 800-829-1040 or on its website. You can also give us a call here at NFS toll free at 800-560-4637.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Day of Life Insurance Awareness Month


As we have presented this September, life insurance can do some pretty amazing things for people. It can buy loved ones time to grieve. It can pay off debts and loans, providing surviving family members with the chance to move on with a clean slate. It can keep families in their homes and pre-fund a child’s college education. It can keep a family business in the family. It can provide a stream of income for a family to live on for a period of time. Life insurance can do all of these wonderful things for your family…there’s just one small catch. You need to own life insurance.

There’s a growing crisis of too many Americans not having adequate life insurance protection. According to the industry research group LIMRA, 30 percent of US households have no life insurance whatsoever. Today there are 11 million fewer American households covered by life insurance compared with six years ago. Here’s the bottom line: A majority of families either have no life insurance or not enough, leaving them one accident or terminal illness away from a financial catastrophe for their loved ones.

What if you were suddenly gone and your family had to manage on their own? When was the last time you did the math to make sure your loved ones would be OK financially? Have you checked with your employer to find out what kind of life insurance benefit you have through work and whether you have the option to increase your coverage? When was the last time you had your life insurance needs reviewed by an insurance professional? Northeast Financial Strategies is here to help!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3 Life Changing Events That May Change Your Insurance Needs

Your life insurance coverage should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure you have adequate coverage, but a major life change is a particularly important time to assess your life insurance needs. Here are three life events when you should review your life insurance policy:

1) A change in family situation: Did you get married, divorced, have a baby, adopt children, or change jobs? Any of these life events are likely to change the amount of life insurance coverage you need.

2) An upward change in your income: A big promotion or a raise may be a good reason to review your coverage. Life insurance is often purchased to replace the income of the breadwinner in a family. If your income increases, you may need to review the face value (the amount paid to beneficiaries at the policyholder's death) of your life insurance policy.

3) Retirement: If retirement is just around the corner, it may be time to assess your life insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), life insurance can keep surviving spouses from receiving reduced Social Security benefits. For example, those who begin collecting Social Security survivors benefits at age 60, rather than at the full-benefit age of 66 or 67, receive a permanently reduced Social

Monday, September 23, 2013

Life Happens


No one knows what the future holds. Hopefully, only good things are in store for you.

But realistically, bad things will happen too.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a cautious person, you take little steps every day to improve the odds that good things will happen and guard against the possibility of bad things happening.

You wear seat belts.

You lock your doors when you leave home.

You try to eat well and exercise.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Life Insurance: Why Do I Need It? What Does It Do?

So, why do you need life insurance?

What often comes to mind when thinking about life insurance is that you can use it to pay final expenses. You've seen the commercials: Funeral expenses, burial costs and medical bills can add up to a hefty amount. The last thing you want is for your loved ones to shoulder this extra burden. Life insurance can be used to plan for these final expenses. Permanent life insurance is available in various amounts, so you can pick a death benefit that meets your needs.

But there are other considerations to keep in mind. You can use life insurance …

As mortgage protection. Whether you live by yourself, with a spouse or significant other, you may want to buy life insurance as mortgage protection. Think about it: You don’t want the person you live with to be homeless if you die unexpectedly, do you? Term life insurance can be used to pay off an outstanding mortgage balance. Just select a term that matches the length of your mortgage payment period. Some companies even offer decreasing term insurance, which means the death benefit decreases along with your mortgage balance.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Life Insurance - Why Now?





This is the award winning video created by Jeffrey Schweitzer of NFS-Northeast Financial Strategies for Life Insurance Awareness Month back in September 2011.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why People Buy Life Insurance

If you are asking yourself why you should buy life insurance, here are some reasons why some of our other
clients have bought life insurance....

For the Death Benefit:

  • To replace earning power at death
  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

As a Disciplined Savings Program*:

  • To help pay for educational costs
  • To supplement retirement income
  • To take advantage of business opportunities
  • For Financial Emergencies
Because of the Risk of Waiting:

Monday, September 16, 2013

IRS Provides Tax Relief to Victims of Colorado Storms

WASHINGTON DC –– The Internal Revenue Service is providing tax relief to individual and business
taxpayers impacted by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in Colorado.

The IRS announced today that certain taxpayers in the counties of Adams, Boulder, Larimer and Weld will receive tax relief, and other locations may be added in coming days following additional damage assessments by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The tax relief postpones certain tax filing and payment deadlines to Dec. 2, 2013. It includes corporations and businesses that previously obtained an extension until Sept. 16, 2013, to file their 2012 returns and individuals and businesses that received a similar extension until Oct. 15. It also includes the estimated tax payment for the third quarter of 2013, which would normally be due Sept. 16.

The IRS automatically identifies taxpayers located in the covered disaster area and applies automatic filing and payment relief. But affected taxpayers who reside or have a business located outside the covered disaster area must call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 to request this tax relief.

Practitioners located in the covered disaster area who maintain records necessary to meet a filing or payment deadline for multiple taxpayers outside the disaster area may contact the IRS to identify such clients using the procedures described on the IRS website.

Full details, including information on how to claim a disaster loss by amending a prior-year tax return, can be found in IRS.gov. The IRS encourages taxpayers and tax practitioners to monitor the Tax Relief in Disaster Situations in IRS.gov for updates.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NFS Remembers 9/11/01


September 11th, 2001 changed the lives of many. Never forget that terrible day when we lost over 3000 of our family and friends in the tragic events.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wrentham Day 2013 Winners

Wrentham Day 2013 was a gorgeous day and Northeast Financial Strategies Inc was excited to take part!

In addition to meeting lots of new people and seeing our old friends, we gave out 400 Wrentham T-Shirts, put temporary tattoos on kids of all ages and had a FREE Raffle for some great prizes from lots of local businesses! We thank them all for their support and generosity!!

Here is the listing of the raffle winners:

FREE Income Tax Preparation from NFS
Laura Beaulieu of Wrentham

$50 Gift Certificate to Cafe Assisi
Wendy Purdon of Wrentham

$50 Gift Certificate to Commonwealth BBQ
Suzanne Bodensiek of Wrentham

30 Minute Cranial Sacral or Reiki at Be Well Therapeutics
Renee Knott of Wrentham

$10 Gift Certificate to Town Pizza Wrentham
Jenn Roderigues of Wrentham

$25 Gift Certificate to Village Ski & Snowboard
Jamie Person of Wrentham

Free Oil Change at Bill's Automotive
Timothy O'Toole of Wrentham
Sharon Jennings of Roslindale
Susan Murphy of Wrentham

1 Hour Private Yoga Lesson from VirabhadraYoga.com
Rick Clemon of Wrentham

$50 Gift Certificate to Photo Options Photography/Hughes Photo
Patricia Meador of Wrentham

Framed Artwork from The Preservation Framer
Donald Achin of Wrentham

$25 Gift Certificate to Dance & Beyond
Emily Gebhardt of Wrentham

$20 Gift Certificate to Looking Glass Cafe
Tina Sinioris of Wrentham

If you see your name on this list, please come into the office and claim your prize. You should also receive a message from us.

So many decisions....

This year's design for the FREE shirts

400 Wrentham Wampum Corner shirts FREE for the taking

Our new banner and prize table for the raffle

Thanks to all the local businesses for their donations

Jim Schweitzer and helper of the day Callie getting ready for the day

Soccer players from the Fall 2013 "Team Northeast Financial Strategies"

Jeff Schweitzer and Michelle Ricci

Friday, September 6, 2013

Wrentham Day 2013!!!

Come Join NFS - Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. at Wrentham Day 2013 on Saturday September 7th!!

We will be setting up at Wrentham Day and have lots of fun for everyone...

FREE Wrentham T-Shirts while they last
FREE Temporary Tattoos for the kids
FREE Raffle including items like FREE Restaurant Gift Certificates, FREE Oil Changes, FREE Artwork, FREE Dance Classes, FREE Yoga Sessions and even FREE Income Tax Preparation!!

Everything at our booth is FREE and after you stop by to visit us, checkout the rest of Wrentham Day on the Town Common!

Here is a listing of all the FREE Prizes in our Raffle this year....


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why Now Is The Best Time To Buy Life Insurance


The sluggish economy continues to put financial strain on many of us. So it just makes sense to examine our budgets and look for ways to trim the fat from our monthly expenses and put more into savings, if possible.

That’s a great way to help stabilize your finances, but it’s also important that you have a financial safety net in place in case something were to happen to you. Life insurance is one of the few guarantees your family could rely on to maintain their quality of life if you were no longer there to provide for them.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Treasury and IRS Recognize Same-Sex Marriages for Tax Purposes

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.

The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The ruling implements the federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and had been long-awaited by tax professionals who wanted more clarity from the IRS.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide," said Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a statement Thursday. "It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve. This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Give Withholding and Payments a Check-up to Avoid a Tax Surprise

Some people are surprised to learn they’re due a large federal income tax refund when they file their taxes. Others are surprised that they owe more taxes than they expected. When this happens, it’s a good idea to check your federal tax withholding or payments. Doing so now can help avoid a tax surprise when you file your 2013 tax return next year.

Here are some tips to help you bring the tax you pay during the year closer to what you’ll actually owe.

Wages and Income Tax Withholding

  • New Job.   Your employer will ask you to complete a Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. Complete it accurately to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your paychecks.
  • Life Event.  Change your Form W-4 when certain life events take place. A change in marital status, birth of a child, getting or losing a job, or purchasing a home, for example, can all change the amount of taxes you owe. You can typically submit a new Form W–4 anytime.
  • IRS Withholding Calculator.  This handy online tool will help you figure the correct amount of tax to withhold based on your situation. If a change is necessary, the tool will help you complete a new Form W-4.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

IRS Offers Tips on How to Amend Your Tax Return

If you discover an error after you file your tax return, you can correct it by amending your return.

Here are 10 tips from the Internal Revenue Service about amending your federal tax return:

  1. When to amend a return.  You should file an amended return if you need to correct your filing status, number of dependents, total income, tax deductions or tax credits. The instructions for Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, list additional reasons to amend a return.
  2. When NOT to amend a return.  In some cases, you don’t need to amend your tax return. For example, the IRS usually corrects math errors when processing your original return. If you did not include a required form or schedule, the IRS will send you a request for whatever is missing.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tax Aspects of Divorce and Separation

When it comes to legal separation or divorce, there are many complex situations to address. A divorcing couple faces many important decisions and issues regarding alimony, child support, and the fair division of property. While most courts and judges will not factor in the impact of taxes on a potential property settlement or cash payments, it is important to realize how the value of assets transferred can be materially affected by the tax implications.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back-to-School Tax Tips for Students and Parents

Going to college can be a stressful time for students and parents. The IRS offers these tips about education
tax benefits that can help offset some college costs and maybe relieve some of that stress.

  • American Opportunity Tax Credit.  This credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student. The AOTC is available for the first four years of post secondary education. Forty percent of the credit is refundable. That means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000 of the credit as a refund, even if you don’t owe any taxes. Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment. A recent law extended the AOTC through the end of Dec. 2017.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Leaving a Business: Which Exit Plan Is Right For You?

Selecting your business successor is a fundamental objective of planning an exit strategy and requires a careful assessment of what you want from the sale of your business and who can best give it to you.

There are only four ways to leave your business: transfer ownership to family members, Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), sale to a third party, and liquidation. The more you understand about each one, the better the chance is that you will leave your business on your terms and under the conditions you want. With that in mind, here's what you need to know about each one.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

IRS Website Explains Tax Provisions of the Health Care Law; Provides Guide to Online Resources

The IRS has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions website at IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law may affect them. The new home page has three sections, which explain the tax benefits and responsibilities for individuals and families, employers, and other organizations, with links and information for each group. The site provides information about tax provisions that are in effect now and those that will go into effect in 2014 and beyond.

Topics include premium tax credits for individuals, new benefits and responsibilities for employers, and tax provisions for insurers, tax-exempt organizations and certain other business types.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tax Planning for Small Business Owners

Tax planning is the process of looking at various tax options in order to determine when, whether, and how
to conduct business and personal transactions to reduce or eliminate tax liability.

Many small business owners ignore tax planning. They don't even think about their taxes until it's time to meet with their accountants, but tax planning is an ongoing process and good tax advice is a valuable commodity. It is to your benefit to review your income and expenses monthly and meet with your CPA or tax advisor quarterly to analyze how you can take full advantage of the provisions, credits and deductions that are legally available to you.

Although tax avoidance planning is legal, tax evasion - the reduction of tax through deceit, subterfuge, or concealment - is not. Frequently what sets tax evasion apart from tax avoidance is the IRS's finding that there

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Save for College Tax-Free

According to the US Census Bureau, individuals with a bachelor's degree have the potential to earn more
than double the salary of those with just a high school diploma, so even though tuition and fees are on the rise, most people feel that a college education is well worth the investment. That said however, the need to set money aside for their child's education often weighs heavily on parents.

Fortunately, there are two savings plans available to help parents save money that also provide certain tax benefits. Let's take a closer look.

The two most popular college savings programs are the Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs) or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Whichever one you choose, try to start when your child is young. The sooner you begin saving, the less money you will have to put away each year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eight Tips for Taxpayers Who Owe Taxes

While most taxpayers get a refund from the IRS when they file their taxes, some do not. The IRS offers several payment options for those who owe taxes.

Here are eight tips for those who owe federal taxes.

  1. Tax bill payments.  If you get a bill from the IRS this summer, you should pay it as soon as possible to save money. You can pay by check, money order, cashier’s check or cash. If you cannot pay it all, consider getting a loan to pay the bill in full. The interest rate for a loan may be less than the interest and penalties the IRS must charge by law.
  2. Electronic Funds Transfer.  It’s easy to pay your tax bill by electronic funds transfer. Just visit IRS.gov and use the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. You may also use EFTPS to pay your taxes by phone at 800-555-4477.