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Book Release from TaxAssurances

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We’re proud to announce the release of our first book, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed. Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes” on Amazon (link in picture).

Every year, our tax clients ask what other tax benefits they can take advantage of. And with every client, that answer is different and depends on their individual circumstances.

But even though every client has a different set of circumstances, some tax benefits are standard and basic under the IRS tax code. And people may not be aware of them. Why?

Because the IRS tax code is long and complicated. Even some of what we have in this book is somewhat detailed. There are a lot of situations for the IRS to consider. But most people don’t have the time, interest or energy to go through it all. That’s our job here at TaxAssurances, LLC.

This book highlights some basic benefits available to taxpayers they may not be aware of. And most importantly, we provide exact IRS wording on what they want in specific situations.

We do offer this word of caution. For those individuals that aren’t sure if they have a simple or complicated tax return, we strongly recommend that they seek professional, personalized tax help. TaxAssurances and other firms are here for that. The savings and clarity are worth it.

Also, because of specific personal circumstances, readers should not solely rely on this book for guidance.

We put this Top 12 list together for people who file simple tax returns. Nothing complicated or complex. It’s designed to complement them as they prepare their own tax returns.

They’ve gone to the store and bought the prep software for $30 or $40 and are comfortable doing their own returns. Also, they don’t want to pay a tax preparer a bunch of money for a simple return. And the last thing they want to do is sit in an office waiting for the preparer to finish the return. They want this process to be quick and easy.

These tax filers do understand however that there might be simple and easy tax benefits that they can take advantage of that they might not be aware of. This book helps them out.

This book does not cover itemized deductions or handling homeownership. It also doesn’t cover having investments or rental properties.

The layout and chapters are simple. They match up with the tax benefits themselves. So if a reader wants a quick overview, they can just go through the table of contents. There they can find the benefit that may apply to their life and go to that chapter.

So hopefully this book provides just what readers are looking for in tax benefits for their life.

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Uber’s Original Pitch Deck

For many business owners, putting together a presentation for investors can be challenging. What do investors want to know? How long or how short should the presentation be? These are just some of the questions they may have.

Well some helpful guidance has come along. Recently, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp released a copy of the first presentation pitch deck that was used to seek investors for the business. Here it is:

Uber’s Original Pitch Deck

It provides a helpful road map in terms of information and length that would be business investment seekers need in order to secure financing.

With this pitch deck Uber has been able to raise roughly $15 billion from investors to date. So it must be good.

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Bank Magic PowerPoint Presentation

Here are the PowerPoint presentation slides for Bank Magic.

Bank Magic is a financial literacy learning program designed to teach young people and adults how to handle many of the financial challenges they’ll be faced with in their life.

 

Contact:

Kolonji S. Murray

Bank Magic Club

8 Sickles Avenue

New Rochelle, NY 10801

( W ) 914-278-9241

(C) 917-916-2534

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BankMagicClub

FaceBook:  https://www.facebook.com/BankMagicClub/

Email: BankMagicClub at gmail dot com

Washington Post REPOST: African Americans are the only racial group in U.S. still making less than they did in 2000

African Americans were worse off financially in 2016 than they were in 2000.

The median income for an African American household was $39,490 last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week. It was $41,363 in 2000. (Both figures are in 2016 dollars, so they have been adjusted for inflation).

African Americans are the only racial group the Census Bureau identifies that has been left behind. White, Asian and Hispanic households have all seen at least modest income gains since 2000.

The uptick in incomes for so many Americans helped lift the overall median U.S. household income to $59,039 last year, the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau. That figure surpassed the previous record set in 1999, during the last period of strong economic growth. Median household income means half of U.S. households earn more and half earn less. It’s an important indicator of the health of the middle class.

But the overall trend masks the fact that African Americans, as a group, have not recovered.

Black Americans have struggled for years to move up the economic ladder. They have a harder time finding jobs. Merely having an “African American sounding name” makes an employer less likely to hire someone, a National Bureau of Economic Research study found.

The black unemployment rate is nearly double the white unemployment rate. It’s been that way since the Labor Department began keeping track of unemployment by race in the early 1970s. Black Americans also receive substantially lower wages than whites and Asians.

“Character, talent and insight are evident in individuals from all income classes. But not all individuals get an equal chance to prove their mettle,” said Mary Coleman, senior vice president of Economic Mobility Pathways, a Boston-based nonprofit group.

The Census data also showed that almost 1 in 4 black households lives in poverty. The poverty rate among African Americans (22 percent) is more than double the poverty rate among whites (9 percent).

African Americans have the lowest earnings of any racial group by far. While median household income for African Americans was just over $39,000 last year, it was over $47,000 for Hispanics, over $65,000 for whites and over $81,000 for Asian American households.

Lower incomes make it harder to get by, let alone get ahead. African Americans are much less likely than whites to own homes or invest in the stock market, in part because low wages leave them with limited extra income to save up for a down payment.

African Americans also are more likely to lack health insurance. The Census released data this week showing that the uninsured rate for the nation overall was 8.8 percent, an all-time low. But it was 10.5 percent for African Americans.

Many books and research papers have delved into why African Americans continue to struggle financially. Williams Rodgers, chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, is one of the scholars who has studied the issue extensively. He co-authored a report last year for the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute that found that black-white wage gaps are larger today than they were in 1979.

The study noted that even when African Americans attend college and actively work to expand their skills and networks, they still earn far less than whites with similar educational background. In fact, the wage gap has expanded the most between college educated blacks and whites.

His conclusion after years of looking at the data and trends? “Wage gaps are growing primarily because of discrimination,” said Rodgers.

The small silver lining in the latest census data is that African American incomes grew nearly 6 percent last year, the most of any racial group, but it’s not moving quickly enough to do much to close the vast income gap between African Americans and other groups.

Here is the original posting of the article in the Washington Post:

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CNBC Repost: 10 Sacrifices Successful People Make for their Dreams

Starting a new business is a challenge that presents many hurdles. No matter the industry, no matter the gender, no matter the age. It’s just inherently challenging. This CNBC repost profiles 10 different entrepreneurs recalling the sacrifices they made in order to succeed with their business.

Here is the original link to the article

10 sacrifices successful people make for their dreams

5 things to give up if you want be a millionaire

Things to give up if you want be a millionaire

These entrepreneurs have achieved incredible success today. But real success is never without sacrifice, and in this article, they share some of what is required to make dreams a reality.

1. I quit my hobby

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

Before 2008, I was playing golf three times a week. I got distracted and entitled, started to rest on my laurels and put my family at risk. I decided to master my work and money; if my golf game or social status suffered, so be it. It’s OK to sacrifice fun today for freedom tomorrow. I sacrifice every day, doing the things I might not want to do, but doing them anyway for a better future.

— Grant Cardone, top sales expert who has built a $500-million real estate empire, and New York Times best-selling author of Be Obsessed or Be Average

2. I got a day job

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

One year, when interest rates were 18 percent, I had huge overhead and was in debt for $400,000. I was sweating big time; no one was buying real estate and I had 400 agents to support. I swallowed my pride and got a day job running the sales office of a new condominium complex. My bosses loved me, but I despised not being the boss. I left The Corcoran Group in the trusted hands of my business partner, Esther Kaplan, who continued to run it daily. Six months later, I’d earned $100,000 in salary to pay down the debt and cover a chunk of overhead. I quickly forgot about my embarrassment; that fast move actually saved my business.

— Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and Shark on Shark Tank

3. I delayed instant gratification

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

I’ve learned the importance of sacrificing short-term pleasures for long-term happiness. Life is a long game, and when you start a business, you’ve made a decision that doesn’t allow any time in year one to focus on anything but building it. I’m talking code red, 18-hours-a-day dedicated  —  even at the mercy of your family time. But in two or three years, when I’m taking my kids on business trips and showing them the world, we’re reaping the benefits.

— Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia (700+ employees with over $100-million annual revenue) and the New York Times best-selling author of #AskGaryVee

4. I spent my last pennies

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

It took me almost two years to turn the idea for Style Coalition into a business. I had to decide whether I was returning to the job market or giving my business one last chance. I cashed out the 401(k) from my last job  —  my only asset  —  to survive a few more months. Putting my last penny into the company was terrifying, but quitting on my dream seemed worse. During those months, I signed a revenue-generating partnership with Elle magazine and sold a major campaign to a national retailer. This sacrifice motivated me to trust my own skills to generate prosperity.

— Yuli Ziv, founder and CEO of Style Coalition, author of Amazon best-seller Blogging Your Way to the Front Row; influencer marketing pioneer, and immigrant founder who bootstrapped her business from zero to millions

5. I lived away from my family

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

My wife and I couldn’t afford to pay rent, so we decided that she would stay at her sister’s while I stayed at my mother’s. We didn’t leave each other; we just lived apart until I got back on my feet. Recently, my son (now 25) confronted me about leaving them for a year. I explained that it was necessary to build the business and give him the life he deserved. My son works with me today and is reaping the rewards. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow at the time, but I knew the sacrifice would eventually be worth it. Today, money isn’t a problem. And it’s because I did what had to be done in order to keep building my dream.

— John Hanna, author of Way of the Wealthy and CEO of Fairchild Group

6. I had to stretch to make ends meet

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

When I founded my first startup, Snoobi, I had to make some tough sacrifices. I’d just graduated from university and didn’t have any money. I got a job as a university researcher and used the money to pay half of the salary of my first employee. I sold the other half of his time to another company, which eventually gave my startup enough budget to pay his full salary and run some ad campaigns. For one year, I worked double hours and managed to make ends meet until I accumulated the necessary seed financing to quit my day job and concentrate fully on growing the business.

— Pekka Koskinen, serial entrepreneur, investor, founder and CEO of Leadfeeder

7. I gave up (negative) relationships

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

I’ve walked away from relationships, friends and family members a few times in my life. It was painful because I lost a piece of my heart and identity  —  but it was ultimately worth it. An unsupportive spouse can be the death of your business, especially if you’re just starting out, yet a supportive significant other can help spawn incredible success in all areas of your life and business.

— Nafisé Nina Hodjat, founder and managing attorney of The SLS Firm

8. I survived bankruptcy

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

I filed for bankruptcy on my first business. I made the mistake of trying to buy an existing business, and it ended up failing miserably in the first year. Having destroyed my credit, I had to bootstrap my current business and learn how to manage profits. I also sacrificed sleep, because I was working a full-time, high-level sales job while building my business at night. The first year was exhausting and challenging, but it got me to where I am today.

— Gary Nealon, president of Nealon Solutions and The Rox Group; five consecutive years on the Inc. 5000

9. I simplified my lifestyle

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

During my earlier years of building a financial foundation, my wife and I moved out of our home and rented it out. We moved into the basement of my in-laws’ home. We lived off of approximately 10 percent of our income and piled the rest into growing the business. In the initial stages of an entrepreneur’s journey, you can have lifestyle or wealth, but not both. We chose to live simply while building assets and wealth. We allowed time to compound our efforts. Imagine where you’d be in five years from putting aside 25, 50 or 90 percent of your income to invest in yourself and your business. That’s what we did and it paid off huge.

— Tom Shieh, CVO of Crimcheck

10. I sacrificed my time

Photo courtesy of The Oracles

 

My job as the co-founder and president of my company takes up all of my available time, but the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society asked me to raise funds for blood cancer research over 10 weeks  —  a huge commitment and sacrifice of time, resources and energy. But cancer is everywhere and affects everyone, and my grandfather, a Syrian immigrant, always said, “Family comes first.” So we took on this philanthropic challenge as a family unit, and I made time, taking some away from my business in order to pursue my charitable dreams. Many people say, “Someday I’ll help, someday I’ll do more.” As a family, we realized that our “someday is today”; our kids’ rock band wrote and produced an original song called, “Someday Is Today!” and in two weeks, the music video reached over 500,000 YouTube views and over 150,000 Facebook views. This sacrifice of time might not have helped my business financially, but it contributed to my personal success.

— Joe Kakaty, co-founder and president of Poker Central

Originally published on Success.com. ©2017 by Success. All rights reserved.

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Chapter from TaxAssurances’ Book: Child Tax Credit

 

The following post is a chapter in the TaxAssurances’ book, “Top 12 Tax Deductions You Might Have Missed. Tax Tips For People Who Do Their Own Federal Taxes.”

You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

Chapter 1  Child Tax Credit

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Besides being a blessing to a parent’s life, children can provide some real tax benefits. There are a few to consider.

First and foremost, they increase the number of exemptions and deductions a parent can have on their tax return. That’s a great start. But in this chapter, we’ll specifically discuss the child tax credit.

The $1,000 credit per child helps lower a parent’s tax liability for the year. And parents can use the credit for each one of their children.

There are some requirements to take the child tax credit and the IRS has provided some guidance. Here’s exactly what they say:

A qualifying child for purposes of the child tax credit is a child who:

  1. Is your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, adopted child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild, niece, or nephew),
  2. Will be under age 17 at the end of the year,
  3. Did not provide over half of his or her own support for the year,
  4. Lived with you for more than half of the year (with certain exceptions),
  5. Is claimed as a dependent on your return,
  6. Does not file a joint return for the year (or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid), and  
  7. Was a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien. For more information, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. If the child was adopted, see Adopted child.

Now, it is worth noting that the IRS imposes limits on taking the credit. Also, some parents may not be able to take the credit at all. Here’s what they says about those limits specifically:

You must reduce the maximum credit amount of $1,000 for each child if either (1) or (2) applies. 

  1. The amount on Form 1040, line 47; Form 1040A, line 30; or Form 1040NR, line 45, is less than the credit. If this amount is zero, you cannot take this credit because there is no any tax to reduce. But you may be able to take the additional child tax credit. This credit is for certain individuals who get less than the full amount of the child tax credit. The additional child tax credit may give you a refund even if you do not owe any tax. 
  1. Your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than the amount shown below for your filing status. 
  1. Married filing jointly – $110,000. 
  1. Single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) – $75,000. 
  1. Married filing separately – $55,000.

Now if that seems confusing don’t worry. The tax prep software works out the details for you. Just know that it is a credit that should appear on your tax return if you qualify.

So if you’re a parent that meets all of these qualifications, make sure you include all your child’s information on your tax return. It can help lower your taxes and potentially get you a larger tax refund.

For more information about the child tax credit and the additional child tax credit, read IRS Publication 972 on the IRS.gov website.

Again, You can purchase the full book on Amazon.

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An Excerpt from TaxAssurances’ Upcoming Book on Teaching Children About Money

A discussion about taxes can get complicated because there are different details and deductions and other things that go into it. But here’s a simple way of understanding taxes.

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The main message here, if you make $10 then $3 of that has to go to pay taxes to the government.

Now let’s dig deeper. The best thing to remember about taxes is that once you make over $6,300 or $10,000 for the year, you have to start paying taxes on the money you make.

There may be three different places where the taxes you pay go.

#1 is the IRS or the federal government in Washington DC.

#2 is the state you live and work in. Although many states don’t have a tax on your income.

#3 in very, very rare situations is to the city that you live and work in.

Now, it’s also worth noting that when it comes to paying federal taxes to the IRS, the more money you make the more of a percentage of income has to be paid in taxes. This is called a progressive tax.

Here’s how it works, let’s say you make $15,000 for the year. In this situation, your federal or IRS tax rate may be 10% of your income. That would make your tax bill $1,500 ($15,000 x 10%) for the year.

On the other hand if you make $150,000 per year your tax rate may be 28% and your tax bill will be $42,000 ($150,000 x 28%) for the year.

There are different details involved in how to figure out how much you should pay in taxes for the year based on the amount of income you make, but here is a more detailed summary of how our federal progressive tax system works. hhh

Again, there are many more details that go into how much has to be paid in taxes. But you have time to worry about that later for the most part.

Now when it comes to paying taxes most people that work for a company have the taxes taken out of their paycheck. That process makes paying taxes pretty ease. Here’s what the form looks like when you first start a job and want to have your federal taxes taken out of your paycheck (Your state and city would have their own separate form to fill out if necessary).ppp

The most important box here is box #5. Why? Because that box determines how much tax is taken out of your paycheck every pay period. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the number in box #5 the more taxes are taken out. If you put 0 (the number zero) here, the most possible taxes will be taken out of your paycheck.

If at the end of the year it turns out that you paid more taxes then you were supposed to, the government will give you back the money as a refund. On the other hand, if you didn’t pay enough in taxes during the year the government wants you to pay the remainder of what you owe.

So how do you know how much you made for the year and how much you paid in taxes for the year? By getting this W2 form from every job you worked at for the year.rrr

Each company has to give you a copy of this form by January 31 of every year. Again, the information on it provides a summary of what happened the prior year from January 1 to December 31. You use this W2 and a number of other pieces of information to prepare your tax return from late January until mid-April. Usually April 15.

So what are the number in the different boxes? Here’s a quick summary:

Box #1 – How much you made that is taxable for the year.

Box #2- How much you paid to the IRS for the year.

Box #17- How much you paid in taxes to the state you work and live in.

Box #19- How much you paid in taxes to the city you live and work in.

Obviously there are more boxes here but we just wanted to highlight the ones you would pay attention to the most.

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Alimony Payments Are Tax Deductible

Here’s how the IRS describes what is tax deductible when it comes to divorce or separation:

Amounts paid under divorce or separate maintenance decrees or written separation agreements entered into between you and your spouse or former spouse are considered alimony for federal tax purposes if:

  • You and your spouse or former spouse do not file a joint return with each other
  • You pay in cash (including checks or money orders)
  • The payment is received by (or on behalf of) your spouse or former spouse
  • The divorce or separate maintenance decree or written separation agreement does not say the payment is not alimony
  • If legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, you and your former spouse are not members of the same household when you make the payment
  • You have no liability to make the payment (in cash or property) after the death of your spouse or former spouse, and
  • Your payment is not treated as child support or a property settlement

So as you can see, for taxpayers that are going through a divorce and have to pay alimony there is a silver lining. The payments are tax deductible.

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