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Month: January 2015

New Considerations for Gift Planning

New Considerations for Gift Planning

Recent law changes should cause many folks to rethink which is more important:  estate/gift planning versus income tax planning.  Fewer estates will now be subject to the death tax, and even if it does apply, the top rate of 40% is more favorable than in the past. Gifting has long been a staple of estate planning — get rid of value during life time, and save the death tax on not only the value as of the gift date, but…

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Rethinking Transgender Discrimination Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Rethinking Transgender Discrimination Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Saks & Co. is facing a discrimination lawsuit by a former sales associate who alleges that she was harassed and fired for being transgender. Last month, Saks & Co. filed a motion asking a  federal Texas court to dismiss the case on grounds that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender employees from discrimination. This prompts the question: Is it illegal to discriminate against transgender employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? Thirty years…

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ObamaCare and 2014 Taxes

ObamaCare and 2014 Taxes

If you purchased your health insurance coverage via one of the now famous “exchanges” in 2014, get ready for a new, related tax filing obligation with which you may be burdened. You should soon receive from your exchange IRS Form 1095-A (“Health Insurance Marketplace Statement”).  And particularly if you expected at the outset to be entitled to a subsidy to help pay for your coverage, you will need Form 1095-A to allow you to compute and properly claim the premium…

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FHA Reduces Mortgage Insurance Premiums for FHA Loans

FHA Reduces Mortgage Insurance Premiums for FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration recently announced that as of January 26, 2015, it will reduce the annual mortgage insurance premiums for FHA loans by .5%.  On average, the reduction could save an FHA loan borrower about $900 per year. (Learn more about FHA Loans.) What Are FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums? If you get an FHA-insured loan you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance (mortgage insurance protects the lender in the event you default on loan payments). There are two types of…

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Can I Extend My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Beyond Five Years to Pay a Claim?

Can I Extend My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Beyond Five Years to Pay a Claim?

ASK LEON  Bankruptcy expert Leon Bayer answers real-life questions. Dear Leon,  I have been in Chapter 13 bankruptcy for five years and just made my last plan payment. But the trustee now says I have to pay an additional $8,000 before I am done with my bankruptcy and can get a discharge. The trustee has filed a motion to dismiss my case.  I have talked to several bankruptcy lawyers, and they all agree that the trustee is correct – I…

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