Prep for Safe Tax Filing … and for Scammers

There’s good reason — several, actually — why Monday kicks off “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.” As the tax-filing season gets under way for 2014 returns, the Internal Revenue Service faces massive budget cuts amid two widespread tax scams. As the epidemic IRS impostor scam continues, in which scammers pose as agents of that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department to extort supposedly “owed taxes,” the coming weeks pose another threat: early filing of bogus tax returns to fraudulently collect tax refunds. …

House Rule Sets Up Election-Year Battle Over Social Security

Buried in new rules that will govern the House for the next two years is a provision that could force an explosive battle over Social Security’s finances on the eve of the 2016 presidential election. The Social Security disability program has been swamped by aging boomers, and unless Congress acts, the trust fund that supports it is projected to run dry in late 2016. At that point, the program will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay 81 percent of …

10 New Year’s Resolutions to Prevent Scams

Pledging to drop pounds might be the most popular New Year’s resolution, but consider adding these 10 simple steps to reduce your risk of scams in 2015 and beyond: Get your credit report – three times a year. Only about 1 in 6 Americans check their credit reports annually with each of the three credit bureaus, and 1 in 4 check with only one bureau, AARP has found. Bad move, since everyone is entitled to three freebies per 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s …

7 Social Security Quirks You Should Know

Note: Join AARP expert Jean Setzfand today, Friday, October 24, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET for a live Facebook Chat with Yahoo! Finance about Social Security claiming and ask Jean or another expert your own question here: https://www.facebook.com/yahoofinance. See Setzfand’s advice in a story from Yahoo! Finance just posted today as well: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/3-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-benefit-163853751.html. As I travel and talk with folks about planning for their future, “when to claim Social Security benefits” is, hands down, the most frequently asked question …

8 Year-End Tax Moves to Make Now

As we enter the home stretch of 2014, it’s time to consider some tax moves. Here are a few you might want to consider: 1. Give to charity. For those who itemize, making a charitable contribution could lower your taxes. Rather than just giving cash, consider giving your most highly appreciated securities. You usually will get a deduction equal to the full value of the securities and will not have to pay a capital gains tax. 2. Max out your 401(k). …

Free Financial Advice? What’s Not to Like?

Need financial advice on estate planning, retirement savings or something else? You can get it for free. From Sept. 27 through Nov. 8, hundreds of financial planners will be available to meet one-on-one with people in 25 cities in an annual event called Financial Planning Days. The initiative, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses Financial …