Monday, October 31, 2016

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.
All costumes and masks should be clearly marked as flame resistant.

8. Teach your children to always stay in well-lit areas, never take shortcuts, and never go into isolated areas.

9. Teach your children to stay alert for any suspicious incidents and report anything unusual to you and/or law enforcement. Teach your children if anyone tries to grab them to draw attention to themselves and loudly yell “This person is trying to take me,” or “This person is not my father/mother.” Instruct your children to make every effort to escape by walking, running, or pulling away; yelling; kicking; attracting attention; and/or otherwise resisting. Consider organizing or attending parties at home, in schools, or in community centers as a good alternative to “Trick or Treating.”

Have a Safe & Fun Halloween!!

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Reminder: Employers Face New Jan. 31 W-2 Filing Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed Until Feb. 15

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. For similar reasons, the new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15. Here are details on each of these key dates.

New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit their copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as you know an extension is necessary, but by January 31. Please carefully review the instructions for Form 8809, for more information.

"As tax season approaches, the IRS wants to be sure employers, especially smaller businesses, are aware of these new deadlines," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We are working with the payroll community and other partners to share this information widely."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Choosing the Right Business Entity

When you decide to start a business, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is choosing the right business entity. It's a decision that impacts many things--from the amount of taxes you pay to how much paperwork you have to deal with and what type of personal liability you face.

Forms of Business

The most common forms of business are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), and Corporations (C-Corporations). Federal tax law also recognizes another business form called the S-Corporation. While state law controls the formation of your business, federal tax law controls how your business is taxed.

What to Consider

Businesses fall under one of two federal tax systems:

  1. Taxation of both the entity itself on the income it earns and the owners on dividends or other profit participation the owners receive from the business. C-Corporations fall under this system of federal taxation.
  2. "Pass through" taxation. This type of entity (also called a "flow-through" entity) is not taxed, but its owners are each taxed (more or less) on their proportionate shares of the entity's income. Pass-through entities include:
    • Sole Proprietorships
    • Partnerships, of various types
    • Limited liability companies (LLCs)
    • "S-Corporations" (S-Corps), as distinguished from C-corporations (C-Corps)

The first major consideration when choosing a business entity is whether to choose one that has two levels of tax on income or one that is a pass-through entity with only one level directly on the owners.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Income Tax Extension Deadline – October 17th, not the 15th this year

Taxes are normally due on April 15th every year, but taxpayers are eligible to file for an automatic extension if they need more time to prepare their tax return.

If you filed for a federal tax extension in April, your tax forms need to be filed by TODAY, October 17th. Usually, the extension deadline is October 15th, but because the 15th falls on a Saturday this year, it is moved to the next business day.

Please contact our office if you are having trouble completing your returns today and need help getting them done by midnight tonight.





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Friday, October 14, 2016

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.



In addition, this Life Guide provides information and suggestions on the actions to take immediately following a death in the family, as well as in the days, weeks and months to follow.

Click here for your free copy of the NFS "When a Loved One Dies" Life Guide.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Back By Popular Demand - College Planning Workshop with NFS & Paul Hemphill

College Planning Workshop - ONE WEEK AWAY!!

Fiske Public Library, Wrentham MA
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm


"How To Pay A Whole Lot Less For College" hosted by NFS and presented by local Author and College Expert Paul Hemphill. This exciting workshop will help you to reduce your stress about college planning including what to expect from colleges, how to afford college and how to minimize your costs. AND, as an added bonus, if you bring your high school Sophomore or Junior with you to the seminar, you will receive a take away valued at $95! Register for this great session HERE.

Is Canceled Debt Taxable?


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

If you've had debt forgiven or canceled this year and receive a Form 1099-C, you might qualify for an exception or exclusion. If your canceled debt meets the requirements for an exception or exclusion, then you don't need to report your canceled debt on your tax return. Under the federal tax code, there are five exceptions and four exclusions for tax year 2016. Here are the five most commonly used:

Friday, October 7, 2016

8 Financial Must-Dos for Newlyweds

First, just talking about your financial goals and the bigger picture is the biggest step. Open communication between you and your new spouse about your joint financial goals is one of the most important things you can do so you can avoid financial surprises down the road. Once you know where you stand and where you want to go you can take the proper steps to get there. Here are some tips for you.

1. Set up a joint checking account: Even if y
ou plan to keep your finances somewhat separate, it is very helpful to have a joint checking account that you both have access to.

2. Set a budget: Make sure you are on the same page about how much you are saving and spending on a monthly basis. You will also want to evaluate the debt you each have and set up plan in your monthly budget to pay off the highest interest rate debt first.

3. Coordinate benefits at work: Figure out if joining a spouse’s medical or dental insurance plan offers better coverage and/or pricing than what you currently have. Also make sure you are both taking advantage of company matches in your retirement plans.

4. Re-evaluate your overall investment allocation: Now that you have joint goals, you should make sure your investments aren’t counteracting each other. You want to make sure you are not unnecessarily taking risk by being too overweight in a certain area.

5. Protection plans: Someone else is now relying on you and your income. Make sure you have the proper amounts of disability insurance and life insurance in place so if something terrible does happen it won’t financially ruin the other.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Home-Based Business: Basics to Consider

More than 52 percent of businesses today are home-based. Every day, people are striking out and achieving economic and creative independence by turning their skills into dollars. Garages, basements, and attics are being transformed into the corporate headquarters of the newest entrepreneurs--home-based businesspeople.

And, with technological advances in smartphones, tablets, and iPads as well as a rising demand for "service-oriented" businesses, the opportunities seem to be endless.

Is a Home-Based Business Right for You?

Choosing a home business is like choosing a spouse or partner: Think carefully before starting the business. Instead of plunging right in, take the time to learn as much about the market for any product or service as you can. Before you invest any time, effort, or money take a few moments to answer the following questions:

  • Can you describe in detail the business you plan on establishing?
  • What will be your product or service?
  • Is there a demand for your product or service?
  • Can you identify the target market for your product or service?
  • Do you have the talent and expertise needed to compete successfully?

Before you dive head first into a home-based business, it's essential that you know why you are doing it and how you will do it. To succeed, your business must be based on something greater than a desire to be your own boss, and involves an honest assessment of your own personality, an understanding of what's involved, and a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to plan ahead and make improvements and adjustments along the way.


While there are no "best" or "right" reasons for starting a home-based business, it is vital to have a very clear idea of what you are getting into and why. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you a self-starter?
  • Can you stick to business if you're working at home?
  • Do you have the necessary self-discipline to maintain schedules?
  • Can you deal with the isolation of working from home?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Back By Popular Demand - College Planning Workshop with NFS & Paul Hemphill

College Planning Workshop
Fiske Public Library, Wrentham MA
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
7:00 pm to 8:00 pm


"How To Pay A Whole Lot Less For College" hosted by NFS and presented by local Author and College Expert Paul Hemphill. This exciting workshop will help you to reduce your stress about college planning including what to expect from colleges, how to afford college and how to minimize your costs. AND, as an added bonus, if you bring your high school Sophomore or Junior with you to the seminar, you will receive a take away valued at $95! Register for this great session HERE.

IRS Tax Tips for Starting a Business

When you start a business, a key to your success is to know your tax obligations. You may not only need to know about income tax rules, but also about payroll tax rules. Here are five IRS tax tips that can help you get your business off to a good start.

1. Business Structure.  An early choice you need to make is to decide on the type of structure for your business. The most common types are sole proprietor, partnership and corporation. The type of business you choose will determine which tax forms you will file. We can help you to choose the right entity for your situation.

2. Business Taxes.  There are four gener
al types of business taxes. They are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax. In most cases, the types of tax your business pays depends on the type of business structure you set up. You may need to make estimated tax payments. If you do, use IRS Direct Pay to pay them. It’s the fast, easy and secure way to pay from your checking or savings account. We can set up all of these tax payment systems for you.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Changing Jobs? Don't Forget your 401(k)

One of the most important questions you face when changing job is what to do with the money in your 401(k). Making the wrong move could cost you thousands of dollars or more in taxes and lower returns.

Let's say you put in five years at your current job. For most of those years, you've had the company take a set percentage of your pre-tax salary and put it into your 401(k) plan.

Now that you're leaving, what should you do? The first rule of thumb is to leave it alone because you have 60 days to decide whether to roll it over or leave it in the account.

Resist the temptation to cash out. The worst thing an employee can do when leaving a job is to withdraw the money from their 401(k) plans and put it in his or her bank account. Here's why:

If you decide to have your distribution paid to you, the plan administrator will withhold 20 percent of your total for federal income taxes, so if you had $100,000 in your account and you wanted to cash it out, you're already down to $80,000.

Furthermore, if you're younger than 59 1/2, you'll face a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal come tax time. Now you're down another 10 percent from the original amount of $100,000 to $70,000.

Also, because distributions are taxed as ordinary income, at the end of the year, you'll have to pay the difference between your tax bracket and the 20 percent already taken out. For example, if you're in the 33 percent tax bracket, you'll still owe 13 percent, or $13,000. This lowers the amount of your cash distribution to $57,000.

But that's not all. You might also have to pay state and local taxes. Between taxes and penalties, you could end up with little over half of what you had saved up, short-changing your retirement savings significantly.

What are the Alternatives?

Monday, October 3, 2016

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

If you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Wrentham, Norfolk, Plainville, Franklin


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