education

Is it time for a financial check-up?

Most of us take the time to schedule our regular or annual doctor check-ups or take our vehicles for regular service appointments.  But, what about your finances?  Summer is the perfect time to review what has happened year to date for your personal or business taxes, evaluate changes coming up, determine if your withholdings or quarterly estimates are enough (or too much), and have the time to address these items before the close of the year.  Hand in hand with taxes are the other financial areas to look at:

  • Are you saving for retirement?  Are you making the best choices for your tax situation?  
  • Do you have an existing 529 plan for your child?  If so, are you paying attention to the returns you are earning?  Do you need to reallocate within your account based on poor financial performance?
  • Are you and your family protected with life insurance?  If so, what type do you currently own?  Just in the past few years, there are some great products that have been developed that will protect you and your family by providing death as well as living benefits, such as long-term care.
  • Do you have goals/dreams you want to achieve?  Retire early?  Travel? Be debt free?

Now is the perfect time to schedule your free financial check-up with us!  We look forward to serving you and the needs of your family and businesses.

Happy summer!

 

College expenses and the IRS

September is here and school is now in full swing around the country.  Many post high school students as well as adults are returning to the college campuses.  It is a busy time of getting tuition, fees, and books purchased and starting new routines.  Now that these tuition payments are fresh in your mind, and prior to the end of the year, help yourself by organizing your 2015 education information prior to tax time.  Come January, you should be receiving Form 1098-T from each educational institution attended, which you will need to compute your potential tax credits.

Recently, the IRS is starting to adjust or deny educational tax credits as a result of how colleges and universities are reporting tuition on the annual 1098-T forms.  When you receive a 1098-T with an amount listed in Box 1 for tuition payments received, the IRS is relying on that information and filing is smooth.  However, I am seeing more and more 1098-Ts with an amount in Box 2 for amounts billed for qualified tuition and fees.  When the IRS receives this information, they are then looking to the taxpayer to be able to provide proof of tuition/fee payments by direct payment, loan payments, grants, etc.  Going forward this will need to be provided to the IRS with the filed returns.

Therefore, while this topic is fresh in your mind, take the time to gather the following information for any dependent, yourself, or your spouse that is attending college on a part-time or full-time basis:

  • Statements from the educational institution for any 2015 tuition assessed and detail of your payments made in 2015.  Also include any required fees, books, as some credits allow for these expenses.
  • Separate this information by each student in your household.
  • Indicate if these expenses are for a student in their first four years of college.

May you all have a great start to the fall season!  

Michele