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Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions that relate to the laws, practices, and products of the United States.

2
votes
2answers
363 views

Is it worth it to re-finance my car loan?

I have 60-month car loan at 4.75%. My bank sent me a note saying that I am able to re-finance at 3.25%, to either 60 or 48 months. I am calculating that it will probably save me about 400-500 ...
7
votes
2answers
367 views

What are the ongoing administrative requirements associated with running a small business that is incorporated?

Throughout my career, I've done some development and consulting projects in addition to my full time job. I've always just reported the income on my personal income tax forms. Now that I am getting ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

I run my own nonprofit corporation. Should I pay myself as a contractor or an employee?

I started a run my own nonprofit corporation. We have a board of directors and my title is executive director, founder, and am on the board. We have been completely volunteer staffed including ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Anything wrong with American Express “Personal High Yield Savings” account?

I got a letter through the mail from American Express offering me a sweet 1.3% interest rate with an FDIC-insured savings account. I currently have a business savings account with a princely 0.35% ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Which secured credit cards start building your credit history right away?

I spoke with 3 banks this morning and they all said that for the time I was on the secured card, they would not report me to the credit unions and companies. They would just keep the score internal to ...
4
votes
2answers
358 views

The IRS incorrectly changed my return. Is it too late to do anything about it?

My wife and I purchased a home last year and claimed the first-time homebuyer credit. After filing, we received a notice that our return had been changed, and our refund had been adjusted down exactly ...
5
votes
3answers
301 views

How long do you need to have High Deductible insurance before contributing to an HSA?

I am just about to leave my high deductible plan for a plan that is not HSA-eligible. As I understand it, I could max out my HSA for the year right now, and then I could use the money in my HSA for ...
4
votes
1answer
84 views

How do I take a loss on an IRA I converted to a Roth IRA?

Can I take a loss on conversion? If so, how do I do so (i.e. what U.S. tax form do I use)?
4
votes
4answers
383 views

How do I determine how much money to put into pre-tax and post-tax retirement accounts?

Is there a good rule of thumb for determining how much money to put into each type of account? I'm not at a point where I can max both my 401k, my ROTH IRA, and my wife's ROTH IRA, so I'd like to know ...
4
votes
1answer
143 views

Federal Stafford Loan deferment options?

I have a question pertaining to Federal Stafford Loans, I think it goes here, let me know otherwise. I have several student loans, Federal Stafford Loans to be exact, and the National Guard has ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Adding myself as a co-holder of my parent's credit card will build my credit history?

I have been in the U.S. since 2007 as a student, and only recently realized the importance of buliding my credit history. My belief is that a credit card is the way to start building a credit history....
7
votes
2answers
507 views

401(k) administration fees vs Rollover IRA fees?

I'm evaluating rolling over my old 401(k) into a self-administered IRA. I know the general costs and benefits (mostly benefits, in terms of increased flexibility, as stated here), but I'd like to see ...
8
votes
2answers
283 views

How should I go about investing/saving for my children's college education?

I have 2 kids (10 and 6) and I was thinking about putting money away for them (for college, for instance). I've looked at various options and the more I look, the more I am confused with the array of ...
3
votes
1answer
486 views

Are there ways to hedge against a rise in interest rates, other than refinancing my loan?

I was wondering what options do I have available to hedge against the inevitable/eventual rise of US interest rates? One obvious action is to refinance my loan at the current interest rate. However ...
6
votes
4answers
27k views

How to do an international money transfer of a large sum of money to the U.S.?

I may need to transfer a substantial sum of money (worth more than 10K in US dollars) from Israel to US. With this, I have these questions questions: I know IRS is notified on any large transfers. ...
4
votes
3answers
114 views

Is there any tax-credit or deduction I can take if I provided housing for someone that was unemployed in 2010?

With all the tax credits, bailouts, and TARP money I thought there might at least be a chance to claim some kind of deduction on my 2010 tax returns for my particular situation. I'm sure this is a ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is leveraging notoriety to raise stock prices illegal in the US?

Without plagiarizing, I found the following article interesting: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/99665/20110111/50-cent-hustler-entrepreneur-innovator.htm# Essentially, 50 Cent tweeted about a ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

What are some legitimate places to buy gold bullion bars in USA?

I am looking to buy gold bars. Just the element with minimal "craftsmanship". What are some good places/outlets to buy gold in the USA?
4
votes
4answers
25k views

Where can I open a Bank Account in Canadian dollars in the US? [closed]

I went to my Credit Union yesterday and I asked them if they offer a checking and/or saving account in Canadian Dollars. Unfortunately, they don't offer such account. Where can I open one? Is it ...
3
votes
3answers
325 views

At what point does a hobby turn into a business?

Is it based on how much I earn? if so, can I re-invest all of the income back into the hobby and still call it a hobby?
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How much money do I need to have saved up for retirement?

I'm 29, and just started a new job with an excellent mandatory retirement plan. I contribute 5.5 percent of my salary and my employer deposits an amount equal to 8.5 percent of my salary. I have a ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

Are there any issues with registering an LLC in a foreign state?

This topic has probably been beaten to death, but just want to double check with you guys. I'm currently in NYC, although I do not plan on living here (my parents are here tho). I have a web ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Need advice about my financial situation

Here is my living situation in a nutshell Live in California 2 kids (7 and 11) Ex-wife I am almost 40. I rent Financial situation: Make about $170k (includes regular job + moonlighting) before ...
6
votes
3answers
975 views

How can I cash out my prepaid cell phone?

As a very frugal person, I have a prepaid phone plan that costs $100 a year. For the past two years, I've spent roughly $50 of that each year. As long as I renew the plan with another $100 every year, ...
4
votes
2answers
719 views

What are the rules on overfunding a 529 college savings account?

I read somewhere that overfunding a 529 account could be subject to taxes and a 10% penalty. Does anyone know how this works? Obviously, it is very difficult to predict the tuition costs 10 or 15 ...
9
votes
1answer
6k views

I'm self-employed with my own LLC. How should I pay myself, given my situation?

I do a ton of freelance web design and decided to setup a simple LLC so I could have a credit card to make business purchases with. From my limited understanding, I can choose to be taxed as an S-corp ...
5
votes
2answers
443 views

Can you write off time like you can money?

I've spent considerable time in the last year building a portfolio for my business. This time was donated to clients, for my benefit, and theirs. There is a large opportunity cost lost. I could ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

How much control over the Federal Reserve does the U.S. Government have? [closed]

Or, in other words: Who does the head of Fed report to? Is the Federal Reserve a private institution? I'm going to be a bit naive here, have just read about how the Fed has been brought to life and ...
4
votes
4answers
266 views

Working but still in college, worth investing?

Currently, I'm in a predictable but yet uncertain future with my money situation. I'm working for the next semester and summer, but I'll be going back to do a 2-years graduate program in the fall. ...
5
votes
1answer
236 views

Credit check for refinance inquiry?

I'm thinking of refinancing my mortgage. I called my current lender, and was given a quote for a refinance with a lower interest rate, and $1200 in closing costs. Now I'm trying to shop around for ...
6
votes
2answers
347 views

Best way to fund solo 401k account in cash crunch?

I'm Self-employed in the US. 2010 was a good year, and I am facing a big income tax bill. Will owe $18-20k in April. I can reduce that significantly if I max out my solo 401k at $45k. Haven't made any ...
3
votes
1answer
805 views

How can I determine why I received a Form 1099-G?

I received a 1099-G Tax Document in the mail today. Is there a way to determine why I got this and what it is related to?
2
votes
2answers
438 views

At retirement age, can I roll my IRA variable annuity into a bank IRA?

I have reached retirement age and have a variable annuity with Hartford. I would like to get out of the annuity and roll over into a bank account IRA. I have held the product for 12 years and there ...
4
votes
2answers
462 views

Should I try to optimize my credit score before applying for a loan?

I am considering shopping for a house somewhere this year, which of course would involve shopping for a mortgage. And mortgage rates depend on the credit score. My credit history is clean from trouble,...
4
votes
1answer
202 views

First-Time Homebuyer Credit: Did not get my housing tax credit yet. What should I do?

I feel that my new accountant has dropped the ball. In doing my taxes, he failed to get me and my wife the new home tax credit. In looking into it, those who never owned a home were to get $8k back ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

What book or source of information can help me build a business from tax money?

My wife and I are both employed. We are in the middle class family tax bracket, but we don't own a house thus making our tax very high. I want to start a business to work it after hours and divert ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

Can making a donation reduce your tax bill?

If my adjusted gross income is $1000, and I make a donation of $100, then it seems that I'm still going to have to pay a tax on the $1000. The donation is deductible, so I don't pay any tax on that, ...
3
votes
2answers
524 views

What does the Fed do with the extra money it is printing? [closed]

Last month I read some news about the Fed printing money to devalue the U.S. Dollar compared to other currencies. But what do they do with this extra money?
4
votes
2answers
290 views

This is my first job and I've only worked for 4 months in 2010. With a default withholding, should I expect a large refund?

I started my first job out of college in September. I claimed no deductions on my W-4 at that time. My company is withholding enough each month to pay 1/12 of the tax on my yearly salary. I have ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Sending money from Canada to the US

I want to transfer money to an American bank account, but I am in Canada. What is the cheapest way to do so? MetaFilter has: USPS mail order - $700 limit, $4 charge Vanilla wire transfer (My bank ...
4
votes
1answer
830 views

Does unemployment compensation count as AGI?

Does unemployment compensation count as part of your Annual Gross Income? (This is related to my other question about writing off getting braces on my taxes)
6
votes
2answers
1k views

I am an American citizen but have never lived in the US. Do I need to fill a W8-BEN or a W-9?

I have a dual citizenship (US and non-US), and I have never lived in the US, nor have I worked in the US, except for 4 non-consecutive months as a counselor in a summer camp. I work in a multi-...
5
votes
2answers
471 views

Is there a difference between conversion of a traditonal IRA to a Roth IRA vs opening a Roth and transferring the money from a traditional IRA?

Is converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA the same as opening a Roth IRA account and rolling over the money from the traditional IRA? Are they different in any way?
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What laws govern check clearing in the US?

When I deposit a check in my bank, the bank credits the first $100 of the sum immediately and the rest of the sum is credited the next day, usually. I know that it's not a real clearing - i.e. if the ...
18
votes
5answers
14k views

What U.S. banks offer two-factor authentication (such as password & token) for online banking? [closed]

Do you know of any US banks that allow you to have two-factor authentication (i.e. password and token) for your online account? Paypal does that, but it's not really a bank. For some reason banks seem ...
5
votes
2answers
995 views

When does selling (writing) options count for tax purposes?

Let's say I sell an option (say a naked put) that expires in January. If I wait until January to let it expire, does that mean the profits will count towards next year's taxes? Or since I actually ...
2
votes
3answers
210 views

Invest in new mutual funds before the end of the year, or after, in a retirement account?

I changed jobs this year and as a consequence, rolled over my employee 401(k) to a personal rollover IRA. I just completed the rollover earlier this month, and right now the money is just sitting in ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Tracking my spending, and incoming and outgoing (i.e cashflow)

I currently use AceMoney to track my spending, but, it gets a bit tedious. I like to track everything coming in, and going out. I'm self-employed, I have an "account" for every client, and another "...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Can you recharacterize a Roth 401(k) contribution?

I understand that you can recharacterize Roth IRA contributions back into traditional IRA contributions by the next April 15, if you change your mind and decide it would make sense. Then you won't owe ...
5
votes
1answer
150 views

What documentation will I need to apply for a mortgage?

I'd like to get things in order so the application process can be quick, so I thought I'd scan a bunch of documents beforehand. What will I need?