News Stories and Articles
Manufacturing in U.S. Cools as Factories Settle Into More Sustainable Expansion
American factories capped their strongest quarter in more than three years, even with the rate of growth easing in September, as manufacturing helps the U.S. economy withstand slower global markets.
While the Institute for Supply Management’s index dropped to 56.6 from 59 in August, the gauge’s average over the past three months was the highest since early 2011, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings greater than 50 indicate growth. Other figures showed companies added more than 200,000 workers for a sixth straight month in September, including 35,000 at factories.
Charitable Rollovers During Legislative Limbo
Once again, taxpayers have been left in the dark for the year 2014 regarding whether the IRA charitable rollover provision will be available; whether it will be retroactive to 1/1/2014; and the extent, if any, of any special relief provisions that will be applied if Congress does ultimately reinstate this provision. Based on what has transpired in the past when the IRA charitable rollover provision has previously expired and was later retroactively reinstated by Congress, taxpayers should proceed with caution for the tax year 2014.
Because Congress has allowed the IRA charitable rollover provision to expire in 2014 and has not yet taken any action to reinstate it, donors and charities have been left in the dark as to whether the IRA charitable rollover provision will ultimately be available for 2014, thereby diminishing the value of an otherwise very favorable and popular charitable-giving incentive. Donors seeking to use the IRA charitable rollover provision for 2014 should proceed with caution pending congressional action, with the most prudent approach being deferring any IRA distribution until the law in this area becomes clear over the remainder of 2014.
Donors intent on contributing their RMDs to charity prior to such action should have the RMDs transferred directly to charity so the distributions will fall within the IRA charitable rollover provision should it be reinstated retroactively to 1/1/2014. These donors should be aware, however, that such distributions will not be excluded from gross income if the IRA charitable rollover provision is not retroactively reinstated, potentially resulting in negative tax consequences. In any event, until the rollover provision is clarified, donors should not fund charitable contributions from their IRAs in an amount in excess of their RMDs. Read more.
10 Basic Tax To-Dos for the Rest of 2014
Probably the most important is to set aside some time for planning. Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There's a real opportunity for tax savings when you can assess whether you'll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. So, carve out some time. Here are nine other things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year. Read more.
Planning for Mental Incapacity
Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) are useful tools to plan for mental incapacity, by not only naming a proxy that can speak on the person’s behalf but also by directing treatment decisions. However, all PADs are not created the same way. Some states require that a state specific PAD form to be used while others will recognize a general form. More information on PADs and access to PAD forms for a specific state can be found here. Read more.
Ending a Life Income Gift Early
It may seem too good to be true, but the beneficiary of the life interest in a planned gift – if he or she is inclined to do so – is typically free to end the arrangement ahead of schedule by letting the charity become the new owner of the interest in question. Recognizing that there are potentially a number of details to be addressed, the full article is a quick review of the possibilities.
Life interests associated with these planned gifts are eligible for contribution to the charity:
* charitable gift annuities (CGAs)
* charitable remainder trusts (CRTs)
* pooled income funds (PIFs)
* retained life estates (RLEs) Read more.
IRS Updates Phone Scams Warning
The IRS is again warning the public about phone scams that continue to claim victims all across the country. In these scams, thieves make unsolicited phone calls to their intended victims. Callers fraudulently claim to be from the IRS and demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile and abusive.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received 90,000 complaints about these scams. TIGTA estimates that thieves have stolen an estimated $5 million from about 1,100 victims. To avoid becoming a victim of these scams, you should know: Read more.
Five Basic Tax Tips about Hobbies
Millions of people enjoy hobbies that are also a source of income. Some examples include stamp and coin collecting, craft making, and horsemanship.
You must report on your tax return the income you earn from a hobby. The rules for how you report the income and expenses depend on whether the activity is a hobby or a business. There are special rules and limits for deductions you can claim for a hobby. Here are five tax tips you should know about hobbies: Read more.
Five Ways You Pay More for Health Insurance
Health care spending growth may be at record lows in recent years, but employees are shelling out way more for premiums, deductibles, doctors' visits and drugs.
Workers with solo coverage now pay an average of $1,081 in annual premiums, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust report released Wednesday. That's up a whopping 8.1% from a year ago.
Family coverage costs workers an average of $4,823 a year now. That's up 5.7%, though Kaiser said the change is not statistically significant. Read more.