IRA charitable donations are permanent: Here’s what it means for retirement planning

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There won’t be any doubt about it this year – charitably-minded retirees will be able to make donations from their Individual Retirement Accounts. Really. For sure. Congress permitted donations direct from IRAs under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, but it’s been a rollercoaster ever since. The Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) would sunset every couple […]

A tax day question: Why do states leave billions in retiree income on the table?

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Illinois is the national poster child for state budget messes. My home state faces a $7.4 billion general fund deficit and a $12 billion revenue shortfall. One proposed idea for plugging at least part of the horrific shortfall: tax retirement income. But our new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, has rejected the idea. Illinois exempts all […]

Charitable IRA makes a last-minute comeback for 2014

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Gotta love the way we make tax policy these days. Congress finally okayed charitable IRA transfers for 2014 (!) this week. This provision – which bounces in and out of existence like a yo-yo – allows IRA account owners who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) to make direct contributions to charitable organizations, and […]

Why the IRS wants you to be careful with those IRA rollovers

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Memo from the Internal Revenue Service to retirement investors: Be careful with those individual retirement account rollovers. That’s the gist of a recent IRS ruling that puts new restrictions on the number of “indirect rollovers” from one IRA to another you can do annually. The ruling comes on the heels of a federal court decision […]

Time to raise – or scrap – the Social Security payroll tax cap

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It’s Tax Day, and a small number of wealthy Americans will have something to celebrate: They’ll be done paying Social Security taxes for the year. The payroll tax that funds Social Security is levied only on a certain amount of income. This year it’s capped at $117,000. That means most wage earners will pay 6.2 […]

Three income tax reforms that would give retirees a needed break

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Congress probably won’t produce a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code anytime soon. But if and when it does, lawmakers shouldn’t overlook some of the oddities of the way we tax retirement income. Many Americans are stressed out about their economic security in old age, and tax code writers could ease their pain. My […]