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A New Option for Providing Health Coverage in 2020

December 2019

Under new rules released by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury, employers can offer a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) instead of a traditional group health plan starting in January 2020. With an Individual Coverage HRA, an employer contributes funds to special accounts that employees can use to choose their own… Read more

Qualified Charitable Distributions

December 2019

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act roughly doubled the standard deduction and indexed it for inflation through 2025. (The standard deduction is $12,200 for single filers and $24,400 for married taxpayers filing jointly in 2019; in 2020 it rises to $12,400 and $24,800, respectively.) As a result, far fewer taxpayers will itemize deductions on their… Read more

Prices and the Economy

December 2019

The Federal Open Market Committee raises or lowers interest rates to help keep inflation near a 2% target, which is the rate believed to be consistent with the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate to seek stable prices and maximum employment. According to the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index — the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge —… Read more

What’s Required of the Executor of an Estate?

December 2019

Being named as the executor of a friend’s or family member’s estate is generally an honor. It means that person has been chosen to handle the financial affairs of the deceased individual and is trusted to help carry out his or her wishes. Settling an estate, however, can be a difficult and time-consuming job that… Read more

Online Shopping Tips

December 2019

In 2018, Internet retail sales rose by more than 14% over 2017, while brick-and-mortar sales increased by less than 4%. About $514 billion in goods and services were purchased in cyberspace throughout the year. Even so, traditional retailers still dominated the marketplace, with $4.8 trillion in sales.1 Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday… Read more

Hot Topic: The Ag Economy: Tough Times for Farmers in 2019

December 2019

Net farm income is forecast to grow almost 4.8% to $88 billion in 2019, but this broad measure of profits includes financial support from the federal government. Direct government payments (excluding crop insurance) to U.S. farmers are projected to hit $19.5 billion in 2019, the most since 2005.1 There are also significant regional differences in… Read more

Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed Dangle Tax Benefits

November 2019

As a business owner, you may devote most of your time, energy, and profits to running and growing your business. But working for yourself means that saving money for retirement is also entirely up to you. This is not the only reason it may be worthwhile to divert a sizable chunk of your earnings into… Read more

Taming Investment Taxes

November 2019

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered the marginal tax rates that apply to ordinary income, such as wages and interest from bonds and savings accounts, for 2018 through 2025. Fortunately for investors, capital gains and qualified dividends still receive preferential tax treatment. Although your investing strategy should be based primarily on your financial goals,… Read more

Closed-End Funds May Offer Higher Income

November 2019

Most mutual funds are open ended, which means the investment company can issue and redeem fund shares to meet investor demand. By contrast, closed-end funds issue a fixed number of shares in an initial public offering (IPO), and investors who want to purchase shares after the IPO must do so on a secondary market, such… Read more

Medicare Open Enrollment

November 2019

Each year between October 15 and December 7, Medicare offers an open enrollment period during which beneficiaries can make changes to several coverage options: Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance, referred to as Original Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, which replaces Original Medicare and often includes prescription drug coverage and other… Read more

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