Tax Updates


How to use the Economic Impact Payment Cards

I’ve been hearing that people are getting their stimulus payments in the form of an “Economic Impact Payment Card” instead of a check. I’ve checked it out: it’s not a scam, it’s really the government trying to send you money (using MetaBank as a bizarre middleman for some reason.) Here’s what you need to do if you get this: 1.) Call 1-800-240-8100 and press 1 for English, then 1 to activate the card. 2.) Punch […]


Strategies Around Charitable Giving

Big news: starting in 2020 you’re going to be able to go back to deducting at least some of your charitable gifts, up to $300, on the front of your tax return, as an adjustment to income. That’s relatively small, but still worth thinking about as you consider your overall charitable giving strategies.    Here are some other things to consider:   What’s Your Deadline? In 2018 tax law changes made itemizing deductions much less […]


How to Apply for MA Unemployment if you’re Self-Employed

It’s open! Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the Self-Employed using this link. You’ll want a guess about your income from 2019, using your GROSS income, the top line on your Schedule C. You can estimate it. You’ll need your driver’s license on hand. You’ll need a check handy to give them the routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit. You may need “wage records”, which includes 1099s and W-2s. I’ve got them all […]


If you haven’t gotten your $1200 stimulus check, read this!

Yesterday I discovered that people who didn’t get refunds on their most recent tax return don’t seem to be getting the direct deposits, even if their banking info is on file. The IRS does not assume the account you use for making payments is the account they should direct deposit into. There are three solutions: 1.) Ignore this. If your income is over $99K as a single person, $136.5K as Single Filing as Head of […]


If your bank has changed since you last filed a tax return, you need to see this!

This morning I woke up and discovered that there’s a live tool to change your bank account with the IRS if you changed bank info since 2018 but haven’t yet filed for 2019. I had a client in that situation, so I called up and got permission to do this, and this is how it went. 1.) It’s an Intuit product, basically using the front end that TurboTax uses. You have to create a login […]


Nutshell tax changes for my clients over 70

RMDs are suspended for 2020! That means that we do not HAVE to take a distribution. You still can, of course, you just aren’t being required to. It’s still a good idea to use up low tax brackets with IRA distributions even if you’re not being forced. I’ll be revisiting this for all my ProsperiTea Planning retainer clients during our regular tax planning meetings. If you’ve already taken them in 2020 you can roll it back in […]


Is your refund lower than you like (or do you owe) after the Trump Tax Act? Here’s how to fix it.

On social media I’m hearing people complain about their refunds being lower and blaming Trump’s tax reform. There’s some confusion going on. You actually probably DID get a tax cut. Just in a ham-handed ineffective way. The issue is that the withholding tables are broken. To be honest, they’ve been broken for a long time, which is why people wait with such bated breath to find out if they’ll owe or get a refund. Withholding tables […]


A mid-year tax withholding check-up

Did you know that only about 6% of people have the right amount withheld from their paychecks? It’s what brings all the drama to tax-time: the uncertainty of knowing whether you had enough withheld to cover the tax bill, or if you’re going to owe more. The main reason for this is that the Federal withholding tables do not work for nearly anyone except a single person with one job. Ever try to use the […]


Tax Planning Issues related to QBI deduction

Yesterday I went for a full day of continuing education aimed at CPAs regarding the Qualified Business Income Deduction. I came away trying to change my focus from the multi-variable linear equations I got there into actual tax planning strategies to bring up with my clients. I’m going to write up my notes here. This will be long. I’ll highlight the actual planning opportunity, though. REITs and MLPs are superstars of this new tax bill. That […]


Cliff notes version of Friday’s tax reform proposal

I’ve spent the week-end digesting what’s in this tax bill, now that it’s formed up and ready for a vote. Obviously it could still fall apart, but here are some quick thoughts. I’ve bolded the ones that could use attention in December. Standard deductions are going up, and some of you may find you have even less reason to itemize than ever before. I’ll revisit my recommendations to everyone individually this week. (Festive yule, anyone?) But […]


Thanksgiving Family Money Letter 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s my annual newsletter filled with tips to talk about with your family over the Thanksgiving table, because money is probably the least stressful topic, right? There are four sections to the newsletter – feel free to skip around between General updates, Tax Tips, Tea T.I.M.E. (Investing news), and Financial Planning Tips. #1: Updates!Tea & Taxes continues to wind down as I make room for more people and more services in ProsperiTea Planning. What […]


A great tip about Roth conversions

At the AICPA conference, and then later in a Journal of Financial Planning article, I read a really cool idea. I’m not sure it’ll still be possible after Congress gets done hashing out changes to the tax code, but I’ll note it here and we can circle back in January. Here’s the trick: let’s say you’re thinking of converting between $10,000 and $20,000 of IRA money this year. You don’t know for sure how much […]


Thanksgiving Family Money Letter – 2015

  Happy Thanksgiving! The biggest payoff comes from being good at things that are absolutely under our control. That’s the lesson I’ve learned studying economics, finance, and investment theory. That includes saving for goals, being a judicious consumer, and maintaining your relationships, your health, and your emotional wellness. One of my new gurus, Bert Whitehead, wrote a book called Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money: Overcoming Financial Dysfunction. He says not to put too […]


Thanksgiving Family Money Letter – 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for your business this year!  You’ve been a big part in helping a Main Street business succeed. We’ve been working with the Franklin County Community Development Corp to add more services – and more jobs – to Tea & Taxes Company. We appreciate your continued support – and your feedback! Please enjoy this newsletter and the sections below, and pass them along if you wish. Think of the Financial Wellness Checklist as […]


Thanksgiving Family Money Letter – 2013

2013 Year-End Tax Planning and Financial Wellness 2013 Thanksgiving Family Money letter   November 27, 2013   Welcome to my annual Thanksgiving Family Money letter! I’m attaching the nicely formatted PDF of the letter to an email, but also including the actual text inline here, in case you don’t like to open attachments or spam filters got the email.  (It’s just more readable as a PDF, I think.) I’ve recently completed several continuing education courses, […]