Tax Email Scams Surge This Filing Season

Along with trying to scam the public in the nation’s reigning top ruse — phony phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or seizure of property unless immediate payment is made for alleged back taxes — IRS impostors are also breaking records on another fraudulent front this tax season. Bogus emails and text messages that phish for sensitive information or deliver computer malware have increased fourfold so far this year, reports the Internal Revenue Service. Designed to look like they’re from the …

Coming Soon: IRS Private Debt Collectors — and Scammers, Too?

Combine the nation’s biggest scam, the most criticized profession and a new federal mandate issued to the IRS that’s buried in a highway funding bill and what’s the result? The potential for more top-shelf trickery — and, perhaps, a well-deserved “Whaaa?” As part of the FAST Act (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act) signed into law last month by President Obama, the IRS is now required, versus permitted, to use private collectors to help recoup owed tax debt. See Section 32102 …

Fight Financial Clutter (or Do as I Say , Not as I Do)

As a financial adviser, I’ve seen a lot of clutter in people’s financial lives. I know people who have dozens of financial accounts. Problem is, the more accounts one has, the harder — and more time-consuming and stressful — it is to keep track of everything. I know one person, for instance, who has about a dozen different bank accounts, three brokerage accounts, and many stocks and mutual funds in these accounts. Though I typically don’t name people in my …

Why You Should Consider a Roth Conversion

Soon we’ll be looking at tax day in the rearview mirror, which is the perfect time to plan for future tax consequences. One strategy that’s especially good for recent retirees is converting part of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. First, a little background. Generally speaking, when you contribute to a traditional IRA, you get a tax break immediately but your money is taxed as ordinary income when you take it out later to live on. A Roth is …

3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

AARP Member Leads Effort to Stop Neighbor’s Eviction

Sometimes it takes a village to help a neighbor, and retiree Robert Bennett is mighty grateful for folks in his town on the banks of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. A resident in Bennett’s Annapolis community, situated between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., recently raised $15,000 in six days through an online GoFundMe campaign to help him stay in his home. Bennett was threatened with foreclosure if he didn’t come up with $13,000 by the end of this month to pay back taxes and insurance. Read: …