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Category: Spectrum Financial Solutions

Life policies offer valuable options

[ 0 ] April 2, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, NJ, Life InsuranceWith the wide array of Life insurance products on the market, how can you be sure that you’re getting the best deal for your premium dollar? Although buying Life coverage is a critical financial decision, all too many people choose coverage without taking advantage of the variety of features that can add significant value to their purchase.

According to industry experts, frequently overlooked policy add-ons include:

  • Guaranteed purchase option. This feature permits you to buy coverage starting at a specific life event (such as retirement) or on a set date without showing proof of good health.
  • Term rider for a spouse or child. You can add coverage for a spouse or dependent child, under the age of 26. In many cases, this option offers significant discounts, compared with the cost of purchasing separate policies.
  • Premium waiver. If disability or serious injury leaves you unable to work, the insurance company will pick up your premium.
  • Accelerated death benefit. Should you face a terminal illness, you can borrow cash advances against the policy’s death benefit. Policyholders often use these advances to pick up the tab for palliative services or hospice care during their final days, relieving the financial pressures on their family or caregivers.
  • Long-Term Care rider. Some policies allow you to use policy benefits for long-term medical care in return for reducing the death benefit.

You might also be eligible to benefit from other Life policy options.

Our insurance professionals would be happy to provide a review of your needs and tailor coverage that offers the best value at an affordable price. Just give me a call.

Content provided by Transformer Marketing.

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Forbes Thought for the Day – Success

[ 0 ] March 26, 2014

Spectrum Financial Services, FL, Irving Berlin

The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. Talent is only a starting point in business. You’ve got to keep working that talent.

— Irving Berlin

Content provided by http://thoughts.forbes.com/thoughts/success-irving-berlin-the-toughest-thing

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Investment Alternatives: Basics of investing in mutual funds

[ 0 ] March 19, 2014

Spectrum Financial, FL, Mutual fundsBetter understand and learn how to invest in mutual funds with these informative tips.

1. What exactly is a mutual fund?

A mutual fund pools money from hundreds and thousands of investors to construct a portfolio of stocks, bonds, real estate, or other securities, according to its charter.  Each investor in the fund gets a slice of the total pie.

2. Mutual funds make it easy to diversify.

Most funds require only moderate minimum investments, from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, enabling investors to construct a diversified portfolio much more cheaply than they could on their own.

3. There are many kinds of stock funds.

The number of categories is dizzying.  Some examples: growth funds, which buy shares of burgeoning companies; sector funds, which buy shares of companies in a particular sector, such as technology or health care; and index funds, which buy shares of every stock in a particular index, such as the S&P 500.

4. Bond funds come in many different flavors too.

There are bond funds for every taste.  If you want safe investments, consider government bond funds; if you’re willing to gamble on high-risk investments, try high-yield bond funds; and if you want to keep down your tax bill, try municipal bond funds.

5. Returns aren’t everything – also consider the risk taken to achieve those returns.

Before buying a fund, look at how risky its investments are.  Can you tolerate big market swings for a shot at higher returns?  If not, stick with low-risk funds.  To assess risk level, check these three factors: the fund’s biggest quarterly loss, which will help you brace for the worst; its beta, which measures a fund’s volatility against the S&P 500; and the standard deviation, which shows how much a fund bounces around its average returns.

6. Low expenses are crucial.

In order to cover their expenses – and to make a profit – funds charge a percentage of total assets.  At no more than a few percentage points a year, expenses may not sound substantial, but they create a serious drag on performance over time.

7. Taxes take a big bite out of performance.

Even if you don’t sell your fund shares, you could still end up stuck with a big tax bite.  If a fund owns dividend-paying stocks, or if a fund manager sells some big winners, shareholders will owe their share of Uncle Sam’s bill. Investors are often surprised to learn they owe taxes – both for dividends and for capital gains – even for funds that have declined in value. Tax-efficient funds avoid rapid trading (and high short-term capital gains taxes) and match winning trades with losing trades.

8. Don’t chase winners.

Funds that rank very highly over one period rarely finish on top in later ones. When choosing a fund, look for consistent long-term results.

9. Index funds should be a core component of your portfolio.

Index funds track the performance of market benchmarks, such as the S&P 500.  Such “passive” funds offer a number of advantages over “active” funds: Index funds tend to charge lower expenses and be more tax efficient, and there’s no risk the fund manager will make sudden changes that throw off your portfolio’s allocation.  What’s more, most active mutual funds underperform the S&P index.

10. Don’t be too quick to dump a fund.

Any fund can – and probably will – have an off year.  Though you may be tempted to sell a losing fund, first check to see whether it has trailed comparable funds for more than two years.  If it hasn’t, sit tight. But if earnings have been consistently below par, it may be time to move on.

Content provided by http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson6/

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How Inflation Will Cut Your Taxes in 2014

[ 0 ] March 12, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, NJ, FL, Inflation will help taxesMost of the time, inflation is one of the most serious financial threats people face, propelling slow but steady price increases that erode the purchasing power of your savings and make it harder to make ends meet.

But when it comes to your taxes, inflation’s bite need not be too painful: The government makes annual adjustments to the tax code to reflect the higher cost of living, which should help you save on your taxes in 2014.

1. Higher Standard Deductions

The standard deduction allows taxpayers to earn income up to a certain amount without paying any taxes — and without going to the trouble of itemizing deductions. For 2014, the figure for single filers will rise by $100 to $6,200, with joint filers getting a $200 increase to $12,400. Those who qualify as heads of household split the difference, with their standard deduction jumping $150 to $9,100. Depending on your filing status and tax bracket, these increases could save you anywhere from $10 to $80 on your 2014 tax return.

2. Higher Personal Exemptions

Most taxpayers get to take a personal exemption for each member of their families, including dependents. The personal exemption amount will climb by $50 to $3,950 in 2014. The increase could boost tax savings anywhere from $5 to $20 per person depending on your tax bracket, although high-income taxpayers begin to have personal exemptions phased out once their income goes above certain levels.

3. Higher Tax Brackets

The boundaries of the various tax brackets get an inflation adjustment in 2014, allowing taxpayers to earn more money while getting taxed at a lower rate.

For instance, single filers will see the upper end of the 10 percent tax bracket rise from $8,925 to $9,075, while the top of the 15 percent tax bracket will rise from $36,250 to $36,900. By taxing more of your income at lower rates, these shifts will produce tax savings of $72.50 for a single filer earning $40,000 in taxable income. Higher-end earners will reap more substantial savings: Joint filers with taxable income of $250,000 will see a drop of more than $400 in their taxes.

4. Higher Earned Income Tax Credits

Millions of working low-income taxpayers are eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. The maximum credit amount rises $99 in 2014 for joint filers with three or more qualifying children, with an $88 increase for those with two children, $54 for one-child families, and $9 for eligible individuals with no children.

5. Higher Exclusions for Foreign Workers

If you work abroad, you’re entitled to exclude money you earn in wages or salaries from your foreign job. The amount of money you’re able to exclude will rise in 2014 by $1,600 to $99,200, producing savings of $160 to $640 depending on your tax bracket. The exclusion is designed to offset the taxes that foreign workers typically pay in the countries in which they work.

6. Higher Exemptions for Alternative Minimum Tax

The Alternative Minimum Tax was originally designed to apply only to the richest taxpayers — its purpose being to prevent the wealthy from gaming the system and paying no taxes at all. But over time, thanks to inflation, the tax gradually started capturing more upper-middle-class taxpayers, especially in states that have high taxes that aren’t deductible for AMT purposes. In 2014, the exemption amount of AMT will rise by $900 to $52,800 for single filers and by $1,300 to $82,100 for joint filers. With AMT rates at 26 percent and 28 percent, those increases can save between $234 and $364 in potential AMT liability.

These are just a sampling of the many ways that cost-of-living inflation adjustments will lower taxes for millions of Americans. For more information, be sure to visit the IRS website and get the comprehensive list of inflation adjustments for 2014.

Content provided by:  http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/01/02/taxes-inflation-adjustment-2014/

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7 Alternatives to Investing in the Stock Market

[ 0 ] March 5, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, NJ, InvestmentThe stock market is a great investment if you have a long time horizon.  But should you continue to invest in stocks once you retire?  When you start withdrawing from your retirement portfolio, you will be a lot more sensitive to stock market fluctuations.  Most financial advisers recommend reducing stock market investments as you get older, but you don’t want to just stick the money under the mattress either.  Inflation will erode cash savings over the years, and we need to continue to invest.  Here are seven investment alternatives to the stock market:

Annuities.  There are many types of annuities, but the basic idea is that we pay an insurance company a lump sum in exchange for a guaranteed monthly payment for life.  Annuity payouts are primarily tied to interest rates, so it’s probably a good idea to wait until rates improve.  You probably don’t want to put all of your savings into an annuity because you really don’t know how long you will live.  If your pension and Social Security payments aren’t enough to pay your minimal monthly expenses, then it’s a good idea to buy an annuity to fill that gap.

Bonds.  The classic alternative to the stock market is bonds.  You can lend money to the government or a corporation and receive some interest.  When the stock market goes south, investors turn to bonds as a good diversification from the stock market.

CDs.  CDs are not very attractive at the moment because the yields are very low. However, the return is guaranteed and the risk is also very low. Building a CD ladder is a good way to guarantee stable returns. Once interest rates improve, it will be a good idea to invest in a long-term CD.

Real estate.  Rental properties are a great way to generate some income, but they can be a lot of work. If you don’t want to deal with tenants, then a property management company can be a huge help.  If you really don’t want to be a landlord, consider a real estate investment trust (REIT) instead.  Investing in a REIT is much easier than owning rental properties, and the dividend payout is usually very good compared to other dividend stocks.

Gold.  Gold is another diversification from the stock market.  When economic turmoil hits, the price of gold goes up.  Gold represents stability, and a small portion of your portfolio might benefit from that.  Investing in gold is easier than ever.  You can invest in gold ETFs without having to worry about stashing gold jewelry in the freezer.

Peer-to-peer lending.  Peer-to-peer lending is a great way to generate extra income.  You lend money to individual borrowers and you’ll be paid an interest rate.  The good thing about peer-to-peer lending is that you can lend in $25 increments and diversify your lending portfolio.  Some percentage of borrowers will default, but your lending portfolio should be able to handle some losses because the interest rate is so high.  One big caveat is if we have a big recession and many people lose their jobs, then the default rate will skyrocket.

Long-term care insurance.  The cost of long-term care can put a big dent into any retirement portfolio.  A good nursing home can cost over $10,000 a month depending on where you live.  Long-term care insurance can offset that cost.  If your family has any history of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease, long-term care insurance might be right for you.  However, the cost of long-term care insurance is quite high, so if your family doesn’t have any history of needing long-term care, it might be better to invest the money elsewhere.

Retirees shouldn’t pull out of the stock market completely because it is still a great investment over the long term.  Retirement can last over 30 years, and we need some growth in our retirement portfolio.  However, retirees need to take a close look at their portfolio and ask themselves if they can handle the volatility.  Most people think they can handle a big drop in the stock market, but when it happens, they often sell at the wrong time and lose out on the recovery.  Choosing some alternative investments outside the stock market may bolster your finances during such an event.

Content provided by:  http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2012/12/20/7-alternatives-to-investing-in-the-stock-market

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2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Re-cap

[ 0 ] February 26, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, GA, 2014 Winter OlympicsAnother Winter Olympics season has come and gone and it was a nail-biter, right up until the end.  The United States had received the most medals up until the closing weekend, when Russia dominated in the events.  Russia came through in the end, earning a total of 33 medals with 13 gold medals, 11 silver medals and 9 bronze medals.  The United States came in second, earning a total of 28 medals with 9 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 12 bronze medals.  Norway came in third with 26 medals, 11 of the medals are gold, 5 silver and 10 bronze medals.  Here is the breakdown between Russia and the United States.

Russia won the gold in the following categories:

Biathlon – Men’s Relay
Bobsleigh – Four Men and Two Men
Cross Country – Men’s 50 km
Figure Skating – Ladies, Pairs, Team
Short Track – Men’s 1000m, Men’s 500 Men’s 5000m
Skeleton – Men
Snowboard – Men’s Parallel Giant Slalom
Snowboard – Men’s Parallel Slalom

The United States won the gold in these categories:

Alpine Skiing – Men’s Giant Slalom, Women’s Slalom
Figure Skating – Ice Dance
Freestyle Skiing – Men’s Ski Halfpipe
Freestyle Skiing – Men’s Ski Slopestyle
Freestyle Skiing – Women’s Ski Halfpipe
Snowboard – Men’s Slopestyle
Snowboard – Women’s halfpipe
Snowboard – Women’s Slopestyle

The complete list of all 2014 Sochi Olympic winners is here.

Congratulations to all Olympians!

Content provided by Transformer Marketing and http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/documents/sochi-medal-count/

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Can You Use Your Car As A Tax Write Off?

[ 0 ] February 19, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, NJ, TaxesTax time has come and gone. As you travel down the bumpy road of deductions, you might be able to write off some of your car expenses, including a percentage of your insurance premiums:

  • Business use of your car 

If you’re self employed and drive your vehicle for work, or if you have a job and use the car for work-related reasons without reimbursement, you might be able to deduct part of your premium.

  • Determine the percentage of time that you use the vehicle for work and then base your deduction for auto expenses (including insurance premiums, as well as gas, oil, repairs, registration fees, lease payments, depreciation, parking and toll fees) on this percentage. To qualify for these deductions, they’ll need to total more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.

    The alternative is to take the standard business mileage deduction (currently 55.5¢ a mile).

  • Loss, theft, or damage

You may be able to claim a loss deduction if your car is stolen, damaged, or totaled in an accident, provided your policy doesn’t reimburse you for the full loss. You may also be able to write off your insurance deductible as part of a theft or casualty loss. However, you can take the deduction only if an individual loss comes to at least $100 and the total loss for the year tops 10% of gross income.

Be sure to keep all relevant receipts, including expenses and police reports, in case the IRS or insurance company asks for verification.

 

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Last minute gift ideas for Valentine’s Day

[ 0 ] February 12, 2014
Spectrum Financial Solutions, LLC, NJ, FL, Valentine's DayValentine’s Day is creeping closer and if your significant other deserves more than just a standard drug store chocolate heart, than you came to the right place. We have a complete list of last minute Valentine’s Day gift for both him and her, and the best thing about these 6 gifts is that they are fast and cheap, while still being incredibly thoughtful. So whether you are looking forward to spending the loving day with Mr. Right, or your special lady, these last minute presents will ensure your celebration goes off with out a hitch!

For Him

DIY projects are easy and affordable, but while women normally cry at the sight of anything handmade, men are not so enthralled with the process. However, this gift combines the simplistic nature of DIY projects with an actual gift your significant other will want. 12-months of preplanned dates is such a fun and exciting way to spend the year together. The dates planned can range from stay-at-home movie nights, to meals out, attending sporting events, and maybe even his favorite band’s concert. Use multi-colored envelopes, secured close with ribbon in order to prevent any wandering eyes, label each envelope with the corresponding month for your dates. Not only is it multiple gifts in one, but also your man will love to know that you planned well into the future with him!

Breakfast in bed, who ever said that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach was so right. A way to create a special breakfast for the two of you is to have sweet breakfast in bed, of course you want it to be delicious but you should also make it simple, because the best part about breakfast in bed is having you still tucked in beside him. Try a baked French Toast Casserole, which you can set the day before and then easily bake in the morning before your loved one wakes. Pair with frozen/ pre cooked sausages and of course his favorite juice and coffee. Simple and sweet, the best part is while baking the casserole your whole house will start to smell like cinnamon and sugar goodness, the perfect way to wake up!

While men attempt to pretend they are touch and not so sensitive, they can be big teddy bears. So what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then telling them all the reason you love them. Combining the two best parts of tis annual sappy holiday, your man will love to know that he is loved each and every time he reaches for a sweet candy treat. Make your man the 50 Reasons Why I Love You Jar, using miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, circle labels, and a mason jar. Check out The Dating Diva’s for full instructions!

For Her

Luckily when it comes to Valentine’s Day most women will be over the moon of their significant other just puts in a bit of extra effort. So with these easy to do DIY gifts, you will be getting serious brownie points for a while after Valentine’s Day is over.

A carved initial candle is not only beautiful but romantic as well. This is the perfect gift for your girlfriend that not only loves candles, but also loves personalization. Throwing it back middle school when you and your boyfriend would crave your name into the local kissing tree, the craved candle is the perfect declaration of love without going over the top. Check out HenryHappened.com for full instructions on how to make this gift, and what supplies you’ll need!

Now this DIY project is most certainly a bit more ambitious then the candle but hey anything you worked on your girlfriend will love, right? Well that’s what they say so give it a shot! Give your favorite girl her new favorite accessory- a leather heart coin purse. A sweet reminder of our shared love each time she looks into her purse, luckily no sewing is involved and the directions seem simple enough. Check out FabricPaperGlue.com for a full tutorial and our advice would be to grab a few extra yards of leather, just in case your first heather cut out isn’t perfect.

Our last gift idea for a fast and cheap Valentine’s Day extravaganza is to cook your sweetie something sweet. Now maybe a full dinner is too ambitious and can become costly quick, we understand that. But after you guys have enjoyed a nice Valentine’s Day meal, handled by professionals, head on home for something more romantic made fresh by you! Dessert is easy to make, and hard to mess up, especially if there is chocolate involved. A classic Valentine’s Day dessert are chocolate covered strawberries and luckily for you, you can make them ahead of time, and have your treats ready to serve when you both arrive home from dinner. Check out an easy step-by-step recipe to make these sexy and delicious desserts for Valentine’s Day.

Content provided by http://www.latintimes.com/last-minute-valentines-day-gifts-him-and-her-6-gifts-wont-break-bank-150860

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Privately Financed Graded Premium Universal Life

[ 0 ] February 5, 2014

Spectrum Financial Solutions, NJ, Life InsuranceCurrently, an arbitrage opportunity presents itself to sophisticated investors whereby interest bearing loans (interest paid currently and loans retired in less than ten years) made to a trust for the benefit of family members can create guaranteed Internal Rates of Return (IRR) that far exceed those available from most portfolio assets.  As the accompanying study illustrates, if trust assets grow at a modest 6% annual rate, the underlying trust will have grown terminal value to in excess of $16,145,000 in year 27 (the joint life expectancy of the hypothetical couple used in the study).

That equates to a 12.5% tax-free IRR for the trust assets (19.3% pre-tax).

This program is not a risk-less arbitrage.  Risk may be associated only with the trust’s ability to achieve annual growth of 6% during the loan period and longevity of the investors.  To the degree that growth rates fall below 6%, loans may be extended beyond 9 years and, correspondingly, IRR’s will not be as high as illustrated.  Additionally, because the trust matures upon the death of the investors, if the trust outlasts actuarial assumptions, IRR’s may be less than indicated above (see accompanying schedules).

This program is Internal Revenue Code (IRC) compliant.  Rates of interest charged to and paid by trusts using program are based on the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) for mid-term loans and are published monthly.  Once established, loans will bear that AFR for the term of the loan.

Perhaps a successful individual is not interested in further estate planning. This approach understands that position and posits that the Privately Financed Guaranteed UL Program, aside from offering a superior investment experience, may enable investors’ unique opportunities to expand both charitable and non-charitable goals that previously weren’t possible or were deferred.

To Summarize:

Privately Financed Graded Premium Universal Life may be a solution to issues facing many successful investors and families today.  Through the use of a minimal risk arbitrage technique, estates can be secured, charitable gifts accelerated and a variety of other planning and/or investment goals satisfied very efficiently.

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These 8 Tax Breaks Are About to Expire

[ 0 ] January 29, 2014

Spectrum Financial, NJ, TaxesWhen Congress wants to encourage a certain behavior – fuel conservation, for example – it can approve a tax credit or deduction to make that behavior more attractive. And when times are financially tight, Congress often creates or extends tax breaks.

With the economy improving, Congress is feeling less generous. These eight tax breaks are set to expire, so grab them while you can. Unless Congress acts – it’s happened plenty of times before – these tax breaks will be history after Dec. 31.

1. Beefed-up home energy efficiency

You can get a federal tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of certain energy-efficient home upgrades and appliances. The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit allows you a tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of materials, up to $5,000.

Eligible products include certain roofs, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors, and insulation installed at your primary home. You can include installation costs when you buy eligible biomass fuel stoves, water heaters and high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems.

The credit has limits for some products, like windows ($200), central air conditioners ($300), heat pumps ($300), furnaces ($150) and corn-fueled stoves ($300), says Forbes.

Which products are eligible? Energy Star-qualifying products are a good bet, but they’re not guaranteed to qualify. The IRS’ advice:

Not all energy-efficient improvements qualify, so be sure you have the manufacturer’s credit certification statement. It is usually available on the manufacturer’s website or with the product’s packaging.

You can use up to $500 in credit in your lifetime. EnergyStar.gov tells more about the credits.

States have incentives, too. Find them at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.

2. Electric vehicles

Tax credits for electric vehicles also are due to sunset at year’s end. All-electric vehicles that qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 include: the 2013 Fiat 500e, a 2012–14 Ford Focus EV, the 2014 Chevrolet Spark, the 2011–13 Leaf, 2012–14 RAV4 EV and others.

Also on the way out: a 10 percent tax credit of up to $2,500 for buying a two- or three-wheeled electric vehicle (like electric motorcycles and enclosed three-wheelers) that has batteries with a stored energy capacity of at least 2.5 kilowatt-hours, says EV World.com. Larger, four-wheeled neighborhood electric cars with a battery capacity of at least 4 kwh also qualify.

In the new year, you can still get a tax incentive of up to $7,500, though, for “plug-in” hybrid vehicles like the 2012-2014 Ford Focus Electric, the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, the 2013 Ford C-MAX Energi, and Toyota’s 2012–14 Prius plug-in hybrids. Here’s the whole list. These credits will gradually “phase out for a given manufacturer once that manufacturer has sold 200,000 qualifying vehicles in the United States,” says the Alliance to Save Energy.

3. Classroom supplies

If you’re a teacher, you might have been taking advantage of the $250 deduction for your unreimbursed purchases of classroom books, computer equipment and supplies. Stock up now because this deduction (here’s the IRS description) is set to expire.

4. Conservation easements

A tax deduction for a tool that has helped preserve greenbelts, farmland and wildlife habitat is on the way out. A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a property owner and a land trust or government. The owner gives up some rights to use the land in exchange for claiming a tax-deductible charitable donation. FindLaw has details.

“For example, you might give up the right to build additional structures, while retaining the right to grow crops,” says the Land Trust Alliance. The restrictions stay with the land if it’s sold. Easements also help families pass undeveloped land to future generations. By removing the property’s development potential, its value is reduced, lowering the potential estate tax, the alliance says.

5. State and local sales tax

You can deduct the state and local sales tax you paid during the year, but only if you itemize, says Forbes.

And you must choose: The IRS guidance says you can deduct either state and local sales tax or state income tax but not both.

A tax roundup by information services company Wolters Kluwer is optimistic that Congress may extend this tax break. But just to be sure, make any big purchases you have in mind before the end of the year if you want to deduct the sales tax.

6. Forgiven mortgage debt

In effect, you’ve earned money when the bank lets you off the hook for a part of your mortgage balance. After the tsunami of foreclosures brought pleas from homeowners, lenders sometimes forgive a portion of a borrower’s mortgage debt in a foreclosure, short sale or mortgage modification. The IRS considered this taxable income until Congress passed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act in 2007. It lets taxpayers exclude from taxes up to $2 million in mortgage debt forgiveness on their principal residence. The IRS explains it.

That break is set to disappear. (Those using the Home Affordable Modification Program’s Principal Reduction Alternative should read this article.)

7. Tax parity for commuters

Workers who drive to work can defer $245 a month of pretax salary in 2013 to help pay for parking. Those costs are excluded from your gross income for tax purposes, says the IRS.

The transit parity tax leveled the playing field, giving the same benefits to commuters who use public transit or van pools. But the tax break for those using public transit will shrink to $130 a month in 2014, while increasing to $250 for drivers who pay for parking. Hang onto your receipts next year anyway, in case Congress extends the break retroactively.

8. Charitable contributions from IRAs

If you’re 70½ or older, you can transfer up to $100,000 out of your individual retirement account to charity. This alternative to using an itemized deduction is about to sunset, too.

Content provided by:  http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/12/10/these-8-tax-breaks-are-about-to-expire/#gAwxLKHDMdHGSBSb.99

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