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Tax Planning
Tax Planning

At various times, many people may feel frustrated by the performance of their investments. For example, they expect growth, and they don’t get it — or they think the value of their investment won’t fluctuate much, but it does. However, some of this frustration might be alleviated if investors were more familiar with the nature of their investment vehicles. Specifically, it’s important to keep in mind the difference between long-term and short-term investments.

What defines long-term and short-term investments? Long-term investments are those vehicles that you intend to hold for more than one year — in fact, you generally intend to hold them for several years. On the other hand, you usually hold short-term investments for one year or less.

You can find several key distinctions between short-term and long-term vehicles. Here are a few to consider: read more »

Tax Planning

Now that another year is ending, it’s a good time to take stock of where you are on your journey toward financial security. Of course, you could find many different “measuring sticks” to assess your progress, but you can certainly gain considerable information just by asking yourself some basic questions.

Here are a few to consider:

How close am I to my retirement goals? Your comprehensive investment strategy should include a reasonably good estimate of how much money you will eventually need to sustain the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. At least once a year, you should evaluate how much closer you’ve gotten to your goals than the year before.

Am I making sufficient progress toward my goals? When assessing your progress, try to determine if your portfolio is properly allocated between stocks, stock-based vehicles, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit and other investments. read more »

Tax Planning

Some thoughts on business tax planning.

If you are a cash-basis calendar year taxpayer, consider paying any outstanding deductible expenses before the end of the year. This is based on the theory that due to the time value of money, taxes deferred are cheaper than taxes paid now. If you use a credit card, it still counts as paid this year. Do not do this if you expect your incremental tax rate to go up next year. On the personal side, if you itemize but don’t normally have enough medical to exceed the 10 percent (7.5 percent if you or your spouse are over 64) AGI limit and you have unusually high uninsured medical expenses this year, getting them paid off, even if you have to use credit, might benefit you. This approach is also often popular with your care providers. read more »

Tax Planning

Net revenues by local jurisdictions 2013The topic of an online sales tax is as old as e-commerce itself and has been debated in Congress for years. Currently, there’s no federal law requiring online and mail-order retailers (collectively called remote sellers) to collect taxes from customers in those states where the companies have no physical presence. Shoppers have become savvy too: Many drop by their local retailers to window shop, then order online to take advantage of the tax-free buying.

Many states, including Washington, have a so-called use tax — imposed on tax-free purchases that would normally have a sales tax — but compliance is usually voluntary. read more »

Tax Planning

A tax incentive for employers hiring veterans will expire at the end of December, but the longtime incentive program is likely to get renewed next year by Congress. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit includes incentives for employers who hire employees in certain categories, including individuals who receive public assistance and military veterans. In 2011, Congress made changes to the program by adding new categories to the veterans group. The amounts for the 2012-13 credits were also increased to up to $5,600 for qualified veterans and up to $9,600 for veterans with a service-related disability.

Employers have 28 days from hire date to file for the credit, which is administered through the state Employment Security Department. Generally, the ESD continues taking applications even after the credit lapses, because Congress makes it retroactive after renewal. read more »

Tax Planning

Now that 2012 is drawing to a close, you may want to review the progress you’ve made this past year in many areas of your life — including your financial situation. By going over your investment portfolio and other key areas related to your finances, you can learn what moves you may need to make in 2013 to stay on track toward your important objectives, such as college for your children, a comfortable retirement and the ability to leave the type of legacy you desire.

To get a clear picture of where you are, consider asking yourself these questions:

Am I taking on too much risk? Although 2012 has generally been a pretty good year for investors, we’ve certainly seen periods of considerable volatility. read more »


The Bremerton office of the Washington State Department of Revenue is hosting a free workshop for new and small business owners on Dec. 6 from 9-11 a.m. at the Sheridan Park Community Center, 680 Lebo Blvd. in Bremerton.

Participants will learn about Washington excise taxes, reporting classifications, deductions, tax incentives, sales tax collection, and record-keeping requirements. All receive a workbook and helpful reference guide to Department of Revenue rules and regulations.

To register, visit the Department of Revenue Web site at www.dor.wa.gov or call (800) 647-7706. Space is limited. read more »

Tax Planning

With a call to action by our nation’s military, the federal government and nearly all the states for businesses and innovators to bring truly disruptive innovations to the forefront — where is the capital to support this call?

Our banks won’t even consider a business loan that in the past was simply a matter of standard banking procedure. Today, banks can’t get out of the shadows of their own fear — cash-flow lending has taken on a whole new level of excuse for saying no to traditional type loan requests.

Bankers blame the Feds for the lack of lending saying they now have such strict compliance requirements that most loans will not the meet the technical audit demands of the FDIC or other banking regulators. Yet, we hear and read in the media that the Feds are telling the banks they need to loan more money to businesses. read more »

Tax Planning

Since the early 1930s dividends have accounted for more than 40 percent of the total return of large-cap stocks in the United States.

As baby boomers begin to transition into and through retirement, they’re going to be looking for ways to generate income from their investments while at the same time trying to keep pace with inflation. The fact that 10 thousand boomers are retiring every day is reason to give pause and pay attention to income-producing investments. The baby boomer generation has several options to try to pursue their income and lifestyle goals. Below are a few of the most common read more »

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