Home Improvement Scams

Your home is your castle . . . and it is also probably your most valuable investment. Unfortunately, many homeowners unwittingly hire crooked contractors to improve or repair their castles, and they wind up being cheated out of money or paying for inferior work. The home improvement business is crawling with cheats. Before signing on…

credit cards debit cards

Debit Versus Credit Cards

When you are pulling out the plastic to make a purchase, will it be debit or credit? It makes sense to know how each works, and their respective advantages and disadvantages. The bottom line is that debit cards are fine for small and/or routine purchases, but credit cards, as a rule, are better for major…

Minimum Distributions Back for 2010

When retirement plans suffered big losses in 2008, Congress enacted a one year moratorium, for 2009, on the requirement that retirees over the age of 70 1/2 withdraw a certain amount from their individual retirement and 401(k) accounts. Since the distributions are subject to taxation, retirees could avoid the taxman in 2009 by not having…

deductions income tax

Don’t Lose Your Charitable Deduction

For you to claim a federal income tax deduction for a charitable donation valued at $250 or more, you must obtain from the recipient of the donation a “contemporaneous written acknowledgment” letter. Failure to obtain such a letter can result in a disallowance of the deduction by the IRS. The acknowledgment letter, which may be…