Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Safety Tips from NFS

Halloween Safety Tips to Have a safe and fun Halloween!

KNOW THE RULES

1. Instruct your older children to TAKE FRIENDS when “Trick or Treating.”

2. Make sure a TRUSTED ADULT, an older child, or you accompany your younger children when “Trick or Treating.” A trusted adult is a person parents/guardians have come to rely on and with whom they and their children feel comfortable. Discuss with your child who will accompany him or her and make sure you are both comfortable with the choice.

3. Accompany, or make sure a trusted adult accompanies, your younger children to the door of every home they approach. Become familiar with each home your child visits and the people who are providing Halloween treats to your children.

4. Teach your children to only enter homes with your prior permission and only approach homes that are well-lit both inside and outside.

5. Teach your children to NEVER approach a vehicle unless they are accompanied by you, even if it appears no one is inside the vehicle.

6. Make sure your children wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick when traveling during the evening hours.

7. Make sure your children are able to see and breathe properly and easily when using facial masks.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NFS Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary in Wrentham




Although our roots date back to 1976, NFS - Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. re-located offices to Wrentham on October 28th, 2010 - 5 Years Ago today! For the 15 years prior, our offices were located in Norwood and we couldn't have made a better decision to move to Wrentham. We are pleased to call Wampum Corner our home and THANK the entire Wrentham and KP community for supporting our business in everything we do. We THANK you for voting us "Best Place To Do Taxes in Wrentham & Foxboro" as well as voting us honorable mentions for "Best Insurance Agency in Wrentham" numerous times. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact our office.




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Monday, October 26, 2015

Hold On to Your Tax Returns

You should always keep a copy of your tax return for your records. You may need copies of your filed tax returns for many reasons. For example, they can help you prepare future tax returns. You'll also need them if you have to amend a prior year tax return. You often need them when you apply for a loan to buy a home or to start a business. You may need them if you apply for student financial aid.

If you can't find your copies, the IRS can provide a transcript of the tax information you need or a copy of your tax return. Here's more information, including how to get your federal tax return information from the IRS:

  • Transcripts are free and you can get them for the current year and the past three years. In most cases, a transcript includes the tax information you need.
  • A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return that you filed. It also includes items from any accompanying forms and schedules that you filed. It doesn't reflect any changes you or the IRS may have made after you filed your original return.
  • A tax account transcript includes your marital status, the type of return you filed, your adjusted gross income and taxable income. It does include any changes that you or the IRS made to your tax return after you filed it.
  • You can order your free transcripts online, by phone, by mail or fax at this time.
  • The IRS has temporarily stopped the online functionality of the Get Transcript application process on the IRS.gov website that delivered your transcript immediately. The IRS is making modifications and further strengthening security for the online service. While you can still use the Get Transcript tool to order your transcript, the IRS will send it to you via mail to the last address we have on file for you.
  • To order your transcript online and have it delivered by mail, go to IRS.gov and use the Get Transcript tool.
  • To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts.
  • To request an individual tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript. Businesses and individuals who need a tax account transcript should use Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
  • You should receive your transcript within five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives your request. Please note that ordering your transcript online or over the phone are the quickest options.
  • Keep in mind that the method you used to file your return and whether you have a refund or balance due affects your current year transcript availability.
  • If you need a copy of your filed and processed tax return, it will cost $50 for each tax year. You should complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. Mail the request form to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. Copies are generally available for the current year and past six years. Allow 75 days for delivery.

Mortgage Applicants. If you are applying for a mortgage, most mortgage companies only require a

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lending Money? Make it a Tax-Smart Loan

Lending money to a cash-strapped friend or family member is a noble and generous offer that just might make a difference. But before you hand over the cash, you need to plan ahead to avoid tax complications down the road.

Let's say you decide to loan $5,000 to your daughter who's been out of work for over a year and is having difficulty keeping up with the mortgage payments on her condo. While you may be tempted to charge an interest rate of zero percent, you should resist the temptation. Here's why.

When you make an interest-free loan to someone, you will be subject to "below-market interest rules." IRS rules state that you need to calculate imaginary interest payments from the borrower. These imaginary interest payments are then payable to you and you will need to pay taxes on these interest payments when you file a tax return. Further, if the imaginary interest payments exceed $14,000 for the year, there may be adverse gift and estate tax consequences.

Exception: The IRS lets you ignore the rules for small loans ($10,000 or less), as long as the aggregate loan amounts to a single borrower are less than $10,000 and the borrower doesn't use the loan proceeds to buy or carry income-producing assets.

In addition, if you don't charge any interest, or charge interest that is below market rate (more on this below), then the IRS might consider your loan a gift, especially if there is no formal documentation (i.e. written agreement with payment schedule) and you go to make a nonbusiness bad debt deduction if the borrower defaults on the loan--or the IRS decides to audit you and decides your loan is really a gift.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When A Loved One Dies...

In order to relieve loved ones of additional stress, anxiety and expense at the time of a death in the
family, consider recording as much information as possible in advance and providing copies to family members. Using our When a Loved One Dies Life Guide, you'll be able to record and share the following information:


  • Names and contact information of your professional advisors.
  • Your vital statistics.
  • Your specific funeral instructions.
  • Historical information for your obituary.
  • People and organizations to be notified about a death.
  • Locations of vital documents.
  • Important banking and insurance information.
  • Your wishes for the disposition of personal property.
  • Any special requests and/or instructions.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Is Canceled Debt Taxable?

Generally, debt that is forgiven or canceled by a lender is considered taxable income by the IRS and must be included as income on your tax return. Examples include a debt for which you are personally liable such as mortgage debt, credit card debt, and in some instances, student loan debt.

When that debt is forgiven, negotiated down (when you pay less than you owe), or canceled you will receive Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your financial institution or credit union. Form 1099-C shows the amount of canceled or forgiven debt that was reported to the IRS. If you and another person were jointly and severally liable for a canceled debt, each of you may get a Form 1099-C showing the entire amount of the canceled debt. Give the office a call if you have any questions regarding joint liability of canceled debt.

Creditors who forgive $600 or more of debt are required to issue this form. If you receive a Form 1099-C and the information is incorrect, contact the lender to make corrections.

If you receive a Form 1099-C, don't ignore it. You may not have to report that entire amount shown on Form 1099-C as income. The amount, if any, you must report depends on all the facts and circumstances. Generally, however, unless you meet one of the exceptions or exclusions discussed below, you must report any taxable canceled debt reported on Form 1099-C as ordinary income on:

  • Form 1040 or Form 1040NR, if the debt is a nonbusiness debt;
  • Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040), if the debt is related to a nonfarm sole proprietorship;
  • Schedule E (Form 1040), if the debt is related to non-farm rental of real property;
  • Form 4835, if the debt is related to a farm rental activity for which you use Form 4835 to report farm rental income based on crops or livestock produced by a tenant; or
  • Schedule F (Form 1040), if the debt is farm debt and you are a farmer.

Exceptions and Exclusions

Friday, October 16, 2015

Social Security Amounts for 2016

The Social Security Administration has announced the new amounts for 2016.  Due to the CPI index factors for this past year, the gross Social Security benefits do not have an increase for 2016.  Even though benefits do not change for 2016, some of the other limits do change.  Here is the information for 2016:

The amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxes remains at $118,500.

The amount of earnings required to be subjected to Social Security taxes in order to receive a quarter of coverage increases to $1,260 (up from $1,220 for 2015).

Earnings limitations for taxpayers who have not reached full retirement age (before having to repay Social Security benefits) remains at $15,720 ($1,310/month).

Earnings limitations for taxpayers who reach full retirement age in the current year (before having to repay Social Security benefits) remains at $41,880 ($3,490/month). (“Full retirement age” is age 66 for those born in 1943-1954.)

The amount of the SSI Federal Payment Standard remains at $733/month.  For a married couple this remains at $1,100/month.  The SSI Student Exclusion Limits remains at $1,780/month with the annual limit remaining at $7,180.

The Substantial Gainful Activity earnings increase to $1,130/month for non-blind disabled recipients while the blind disabled recipient amount remains at $1,820/month.  The Trial Work Period earnings increase to $810/month.

The full Fact Sheet can be found on Social Security’s web site www.socialsecurity.gov.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall Financial Tidbits

Summer has come to an end. Now that the hottest days, family vacations and back-to-school rush are behind us, it’s a great time to give some attention to your personal finances. Prepare for the coming months – and the holidays on the horizon – with these fall tips:

  • Pay quarterly estimated taxes. If you’re self-employed or you have extra income you haven’t reported on your W-2, now’s the time to make sure you’re paying both state and federal quarterly estimated income taxes so you don’t get stuck with a big bill from Uncle Sam in April. September 17th was the deadline to pay your third quarter estimates, but don’t let that stop you from sending something in anyway.
  • Prepare for the cooler months. Although you may still have summer on your mind, staying warm gets expensive when winter hits. Many utility companies offer “budget billing” plans that allow you to spread your heating costs over the year while avoiding a surprisingly large bill for a particularly cold month. Also, winterizing your home this fall conserves energy and saves money.
  • Start saving for the holidays. It may sound excessive to start thinking about the holidays in October, but Christmas is a less than 90 days away. Now is a great time to create a holiday spending plan. For instance, if you plan to spend $300 on gifts, you should start saving $3-4 per day to get there. Stashing away cash in advance allows you to buy gifts for everyone on your list without taking on debt. Resolve to start a “Christmas Club” savings account in the New Year to jump-start your savings habit.
  • Teach children to save. When kids return to school, they often have a renewed sense of focus and determination. Schools across the country are incorporating financial literacy into the classroom. Take this opportunity to talk to your children about money and the importance of saving. Your efforts will be rewarded as your child develops an understanding of financial principles and positive financial habits. We have a great FREE guide entitled "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees...Teaching Kids About Money". Please feel free to request one by clicking here.
  • De-clutter and donate. As summer winds down and you start spending more time inside, take a hard look at all the stuff you’ve been stockpiling. Sorting through clothes you no longer wear along with electronics and unused household items can free-up space and even make you a little cash. Sell items at a local consignment shop or donate them (by making a tax-deductible contribution).
  • Conquering the Clutter in your Financial Closet. You need only to keep credit card receipts, ATM transactions, and deposit and debit card receipts until you verify the transaction on your monthly statements and then you can shred them. Always remember that any financial transaction, receipt or account statement should be shredded. NEVER throw them in the trash.

PERMANENT items you may want to keep:

  • Educational records
  • Employment records
  • Health records
  • Retirement and Pension Plan information
  • Contents of your safe deposit box


CURRENT items, which need to be reviewed every 3-6 years, before deciding whether to continue keeping or shredding them include:

  • Cancelled checks
  • Bank statements
  • Insurance policies
  • Home purchase, repair and improvement records
  • Warranties
  • Income tax records

Wrentham, Norfolk, Plainville, Franklin


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