Erock Tax lets plan for the 2016 Tax filing Season

Well folks it’s that time of year again:  Dreaded Tax Season.   Lot’s to think about as a new administration takes over.  Will tax cuts benefit you and your family or will the middle class get caught in the middle again in regards to taxes?

For you personally and professionally, it is always best to stay organized throughout the year when planning for your taxes.  Even if you do not open up all the envelopes that arrive each day in the mail it’s ok.  You can simply get a large 10 x 13 envelope and put all your tax documents in it when they come in.  When you are ready we will review all your pertinent forms, get your 2016 returns filed, and start planning for 2017 and beyond!

You see taxes are not about just filling in the forms and forgetting about it.    The planning process is often overlooked but it really is the most important part of the tax filing process, especially if you are self employed and/or pay estimated taxes.  If you plan correctly, you won’t get a huge refund or you won’t owe too much unexpected money come tax payment time.

Please reach out when you have questions; do not wait until you have all your tax documents! Do not let financial and tax issues stress you out.  Get the answers you need in a timely fashion.  You will be glad you did!

Stu has quick video message about the beginning of tax season

https://youtu.be/IHm4cagAF30

Listen below as Stu and morning guy Win Damon chat up this topic on WNBP FM Radio 106.1 in Newburyport, MA and streaming live at WNBP.com .

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

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Stu and Win Damon chat with Bob Pezzella of RMS Mortgage

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Stu Steinberg and  Win Damon of WNBP FM 106.1  in Newburyport had a great chat with local mortgage expert Bob Pezzella (NMLS #112811) .  As a local tax guy and entrepreneur, I love to bring others on WNBP for my weekly chats.  Bob fits perfect of course, and now is an amazing time to buy a home.  Click on our radio chat below.

Diligent, meticulous, laser-focused.  This should be your mind-set if you are preparing to buy a home or getting ready to sell the one you’re in…

This holiday-post-election season finds us in a bull market trading off of the idea that lower personal and corporate income taxes will stimulate the economy coupled with the belief that deregulation has been constraining growth.  All week and today the DOW has seen unprecedented highs breaking through 19,000.  A rate hike from the FED next week is virtually 100%.

What does this have to do with your new home sale or purchase?  Higher interest rates will cost you more money per month and for the long haul and can also affect your borrowing power.  You can help minimize this impact by carefully monitoring your credit score and financial profile to ensure that you qualify for the best rates and programs available.

When you’re out holiday shopping and you open a new store charge to reap the large discount that’s offered, make sure you get that first bill and make timely payments. Credit card late payments can crush your credit score, knocking you out of qualifying for the best mortgage opportunities.  In short, get organized now, speak with your financial planner, accountant,  loan office, realtor.  If you’re thinking “Spring Market” NOW is when that preparation starts!

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

 

10 Tips for Stronger Identity Theft Protection

iStock_000043931448_FullIdentity theft is the number one consumer complaint in the country, making it a serious and growing problem. From fraudulent credit card use to misuse of bank accounts to big data breaches, identity thieves use increasingly sophisticated methods to hack and steal personal, sensitive financial data.

More than 34 million Americans experienced identity theft in 2013 alone — that’s about 14 percent of the population — and the financial losses from this crime total more than $24.7 billion each year… almost twice as much as losses from reported burglaries, car theft, and other cases of property theft combined.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. Don’t become one of the millions of victims of identity theft: These 10 tips will help you achieve stronger identity theft protection.

  • Monitor your credit report. You’re legally entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Request your report directly from a different bureau once every four months.
  • Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements. Look for purchases you didn’t make and call your financial institution immediately if you notice anything strange.
  • Shred all documents that contain your personal info. Don’t just throw bills, statements, or even junk mail into the trash or recycle bin; thieves can use anything with your personal details on it to create a false identity.
  • Don’t share personal information on social media or networking sites. Keep your security and privacy settings on “high” and don’t post information that could help thieves assume your identity, like your exact date of birth or your mother’s maiden name.
  • Change your online passwords each month. This makes it harder for would-be hackers to steal your personal data.
  • Use smart passwords. Avoid obvious passwords, like your child’s name, your birthday, or (need we say it) “password.” Instead, use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that would be difficult for hackers to guess; random combinations are better than words from the dictionary. Clear your history, cookies, and saved passwords—especially if you work on a public or shared computer—and never save your passwords on financial sites.
  • Don’t make online financial transactions on an unsecured WiFi connection. Wait to complete any financial transactions, including simply logging in to online accounts, until you’re on a secure network.
  • Use your credit card to shop online. Credit cards tend to offer more protection against fraudulent purchases than do debit cards or online payment systems.
  • Watch out for phishing scams. Be aware of emails or popups that look like they’re coming from your bank; before you enter any personal data, be sure to verify that a website is legit.
  • Secure your mail. Invest in a P.O. box or a locking mailbox to keep thieves from stealing personal data in your incoming or outgoing mail.

Finally, if you suspect your data has been compromised, you can request that a fraud alert or a credit freeze be placed on your accounts. Though these aren’t always convenient, as you have to verify your identity before being issued credit, they may protect you from criminal activity.

Sources

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/vit12pr.cfm, http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/12/31/scariest -identity-theft-
statistics/, https://www.ncjrs.gov/spotlight/identity_theft/facts.html, http://washington.cbslocal.com/2 014/07/01/report-10-million-identity-theft-cases-most-common-consumer-complaint-in-

us/, http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0271-signs-identity-
theft, http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/7-ways-protect-yourself-id- theft.aspx#slide=1, http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/credit/how-to-protect-yourself-from- identity-theft/

Like what you have read? Please share with friends.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu and Win Damon chat with Rabbi Ben Resnick on WNBP

I was very excited to have Rabbi Ben Resnick in the WNBP studio for one of my Tuesday am chats with host Win Damon.  Rabbi Ben is new to the area and takes over at Temple Ahavas Achim, a warm and vibrant community in the Newburyport Area.

We touched on a few topics including the transition from New York City to “sleepy” Newburyport.  Also what is it like to be a Rabbi and what does it mean to have the responsibility that comes along with it.

Please visit http://www.caa-newburyport.org for more information on the Ahavas Achim community and tune in below to hear our chat.  Thanks so much.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Income Tax planning for Olympic Medal Winners

I came across an interesting article that happens to get published around Olympics Time every couple of years.  Did you know that the Olympic medals that Olympians win are taxable?  There is also prize money awarded for winning and that is taxable too.

Here is how it works.  Say Michael Phelps wins a gold medal prize of $25,000.  (Silver = $15,000 and Bronze $10,000).  This could be taxable as high as 39.6% for the federal and ~6% for his state.  This is a huge percentage of his earnings, close to 50%!  Now take into account multiple victories and there is potential for a huge tax bill!

There are a few of important factors here.  An athlete in a sport rich with endorsements will obviously be in a higher tax bracket.  So Phelps’s tax issues will be entirely different from many other athletes.  Also, some of the athletes participate as a hobby, and for some it is their business.  So expenses can be used to offset income for many of the athletes who operate their passion as a self employed business.

The value of the medal is also taxed, and this depends on the commodities market. Current values of gold = ~$600, Silver = $300, and bronze is practically worthless. On the open market however a gold medal will be worth far more than its actual value on the open market and at the point it is sold will have capital gains tax implication for the seller.

Tune in below and listen too our chat.  We really do have fun talking about money each week and hope you enjoy our weekly chats.  Please reach out if you ever have any questions!

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

 

Source:  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/08/15/olympics-victory-tax-gold-medal/88587636/

Newburyport by the numbers and Yankee Homecoming 2016

What a great week this is in the seaport city of Newburyport, MA.  It is the week of Yankee Homecoming, with art, music, and events all day for a week.  There is a road race, kayak races, slow bike races, vendors and food trucks all day every day.   There are so many activities for people of all ages.

Check out http://yankeehomecoming.com for all the key events and times.

Please support our great restaurants and shops in town.  Spend the day on the beautiful Plum Island Beaches and in town at night at one of our great restaurants.  It is always great to shop and eat local when we can.

On Tuesday I spoke with morning guy Win Damon on FM Radio 106.1 “The Legends” about our fair city and some of its key data.  The economy has gown in town over the last 15 years, as has the median price for homes and average salary.

We hope to see you soon in our great city!  Give a listen below to our chat.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

 

Fun Money Game Show Trivia on WNBP Radio with Win and Pete!

I have always enjoyed my weekly chats with Win Damon on WNBP every Tuesday morning at 8:35.  We certainly talk about so many challenging money topics.  It is good to change it up every once and a while and have some extra fun.  So I recently brought in Manager Pete Falconi and we played a little “money” trivia.  I mean ACTUAL money.  Like how old is money and how much does it cost to print etc.  Who knew that paper money is actually not made of paper, but 75% cotton and 25% linen with synthetic fibers woven throughout the bill!

Tune in below and listen too our chat.  We really do have fun talking about money each week and hope you enjoy our weekly chats!  Please reach out if you ever have any questions!

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

Stu chats Home Buying with Mortgage Banker Bob Pezzella

A few times a year I love to bring Mortgage Banker Bob Pezzella on the radio with me in my trusty Tuesday am slot with morning guy Win Damon.  Talking about buying a home is stressful, and the rules put in place to help the consumer have actually made the process harder, more costly, and its taking longer to complete deals.

In other words, it PAYS to be proactive when even THINKING about buying or refinancing.  Get all your ducks in a row and you won’t be let down if you find your dream house and you just are not ready to buy it.

Listen to our chat below on WNBP FM Radio 106.1 In Newburyport, MA.  Streaming live at WNBP.com.

About Stu: With more than 25 years of experience as a credentialed tax professional, Stu Steinberg brings a broad depth of knowledge to his work. Stu founded Erock Tax to help provide tax strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. He uses his CPA expertise to help each client navigate their long-term debt and mortgage, gaining them the best deals and rates possible. Stu is passionate about empowering his clients through education about their tax health. He is highly energetic and brings a sense of optimism, creative problem-solving and a deep level of commitment to every Erock client.

 

RVCS Kids Visit Radio WNBP in Newburyport with their Summer Tips!

On a beautiful spring day the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade kids from Karen and Katie’s E1 class at the River Valley Charter School walked to radio station WNBP (FM 106.1) here in town.  The kids got a tour from General Manager Pete Falconi and they even got to record their favorite summer tips for the audience to hear.

Listen below to hear the great tips for the summer.  The kids really enjoyed their time at the station, which broadcasts live from the beautiful seaside City of Newburyport and always streams live on the web at WNBP.com .

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Stu Steinberg chats with realtor Ron April of Remax in Newburyport

iStock_000062644558_FullThe real estate market in the Newburyport area is booming and should continue says Ron April of Remax Realty.  Ron and I joined morning guy Win Damon on WNBP to chat about the market here in town and discuss strategies for selling and buying a home.

Now there is so little inventory on the market that anything even half decent gets bids right away.  The spring market really gets going far earlier than it has in the past  It takes one warm day in early February to kick off the spring market.  

One important point from Ron.  It is vital to stage your home and get it in the best shape it can be for selling.  Also,  hire a great realtor, not a good one!   You pay the same either way!

Listen to our chat below on WNBP FM radio 106.1 Newburyport.

 

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