Tag: ExecFIT

9 Year-End Tax Tips

This year marks our second year living with the sweeping tax law changes passed at the end of 2017, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  How did you fare under the new tax law, or do you know?

Many tax payers had pleasant surprises when they filed their 2018 returns, with smaller tax bills and/or larger refunds than usual.  But some tax payers felt like they didn’t benefit from the tax cuts at all.  As we met with clients in 2019, we found that for some of those clients the total tax paid was in fact higher, but due to higher income levels (from a strong economy and stock market), while tax rates actually did decline from pre-2018 levels. Unfortunately, for a significant minority of our clients, both rates and taxes paid were higher due to limitations on mortgage interest deductions, the elimination of personal exemptions and the cap on state and local tax deductions (the so called “SALT” deductions). 

Regardless of which camp you found yourself in after filing your 2018 taxes, there is still time to minimize what you will owe for 2019 with smart planning.  We have listed 9 tips to consider between now and year-end.

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Are you Paying More Than You Need in Taxes?

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which became effective for tax years starting in 2018, significantly impacted many taxpayers. The change impacting the most taxpayers was the enhanced standard deduction and loss of many itemized deductions. Tax forms were also presented differently making it difficult for taxpayers who reviewed their returns in detail to compare year-to-year. While there were many changes, there are still some important tax savings strategies that may help you pay less in taxes. Which ones apply to your situation?  Ask yourself the following questions…

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Is a Health Savings Account (HSA) Right for Me?

At AFA, we hear our clients express concerns about two financial challenges more often than any others:
• Will I be ready to retire with the lifestyle I want?
• What can I do to protect myself from rising health care costs now and in the future?

Did you realize there is a single vehicle that can help you make progress in both areas? It’s called a health savings account (HSA), which is a government-regulated savings account that combines many of the tax benefits of a Flexible Spending Account and a 401(k), including:
• Your contributions to the plan are pre-tax (if offered through your employer) or tax-deductible (if established on your own). If funded through your employer’s plan, you also don’t pay FICA on the contributions, putting an extra 7.65% back in your pocket.
• Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free (more about that below).
• The balance in your plan (that you don’t spend for medical expenses) grows tax-deferred and can be rolled over from year to year, supplementing other retirement savings.

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When Bad News is Good News – Or Is It?

As we move past the midpoint for 2019, the economic outlook for the US continues to be positive but at a slowing pace, with market watchers focusing on the Fed and interest rate movements as a signal for what might lie ahead. Why are many focused on the Fed and how do markets react to interest rate moves?

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The Importance of Personal Umbrella Policies

In a blog that I wrote a few months ago regarding asset protection, I mentioned that a generally efficient and expedient way for many people to protect their assets is by having an appropriate umbrella liability policy in place. However, this is a part of a comprehensive financial plan and strategy that is often either overlooked or not kept current by many people, so I wanted to follow up with some more detail on the importance of umbrella liability insurance policies. Why do you need an umbrella insurance policy? How would you answer the following questions?

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Tax Season is Over! Now What do I do with All of this Paperwork?

It is always a relief to get your tax return filed and satisfy Uncle Sam for another year. But what about all of the tax documents and records you painstakingly pulled together to prepare the return? And what about all of the other “financial stuff” you have been keeping. Do you really need to keep all of that? The answer is “yes” and “no”… There are two things to consider when determining what to save and what can be discarded. The first is whether or not you will ever need that information in the future (and for how long). The second thing to consider is how to securely store what needs to be retained and dispose of what you can toss. A good organizational system will tackle the first issue (what to save and for how long) in a very systematic way. It may seem painful to set up this system initially, but once it is done and if maintained regularly, you can rest assured that whatever you need will be readily and easily accessible.

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Hear How Atlanta Financial Makes Life’s Journey Richer

Atlanta Financial TV is home to a variety of videos that allow clients and associates to obtain knowledge, insight and experience. Tune in to learn more about our approach to comprehensive wealth management.to comprehensive wealth management.

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