Questions tagged [united-states]

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

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6
votes
2answers
941 views

Good idea to purchase condo with no home owners association?

I'm looking at REO condos on homepath.com (the site for Fannie Mae foreclosures, etc). I'm wondering, is it a good/bad idea to purchase a condo with no home owners association? Most of them have one,...
3
votes
1answer
348 views

Can I claim mileage for traveling to a contract position?

I am employed by a tech. contracting company(A) and travel to another business(B), where I work as a contractor (employed by A). I commute everyday to B. Can I claim my travel to B as an expense?
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Taxes: Get a refund or pay at the end of the year?

Should I change my W4 to not withhold any taxes (or at least withhold as little as possible) and just pay exactly what I need at the end of the year or or should I make my W4 so I pay just enough? I'...
7
votes
2answers
741 views

How to tell if HOA for a prospective condo purchase is financially healthy?

I'm considering purchasing a condo. I live in a major metropolitan area; so I'm almost certainly going to end up in a building maintained by an Home Owners Association (HOA). As I'm learning the ins ...
2
votes
3answers
847 views

401k with paltry match or SPY ETF?

Summary: I read about the SPY ETF here on SE ( Where should my money go next: savings, investments, retirement, or my mortgage? ) and I am curious about JoeTaxpayer's comment specifically on the idea ...
24
votes
12answers
30k views

Why would you elect to apply a refund to next year's tax bill?

Every year I get a refund and the tax software asks me if I'd like to apply some of my refund to next year's taxes. Is there some benefit I'm not seeing to this? Because it looks like a bad deal to me....
12
votes
5answers
35k views

Deductible expenses paid with credit card: In which tax year would they fall?

If I paid my business expenses with a credit card during the month of December, which year can I deduct them from my taxes? 2011 (when the purchase was made) or 2012 (when I paid off the credit card)? ...
0
votes
1answer
75 views

Can you recommend a trading service or a place that ranks them?

I'm looking for a trading service(s) -- a service that recommends stocks and ETFs for shorter term trades, from "day trades" to several month trades -- that has a good track record, and ideally even ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Resources online to help with filing income taxes that include a small business?

My wife an I usually file taxes ourselves using the 1040A (with the standard deduction), but she started her own business this year selling jewelry. Most people are recommending to use a CPA for help ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Why would refinancing my mortgage increase my PMI, even though rates are lower?

I'm currently stuck in a 5.5% loan on balance 167.5k. PMI is roughly $75/mo. I am trying to refinance, but my lender tells me that even going down to ~4% rates, it wouldn't be worth it because my PMI ...
2
votes
1answer
795 views

Proper way to report Simple IRA to Rollover IRA transfer

I have two IRAs: a Simple IRA (for more than two years), which I contribute to every month, and a Rollover IRA, which I use for automated trading. I had the Simple IRA broker do a trustee-to-trustee ...
4
votes
5answers
14k views

When should I update my W-4 and when should I say I am married?

I just started a new job after being in college. Since I have many deductions from being a student and only a partial year of income, I set my allowances accordingly. Now that we are at the end of ...
0
votes
2answers
149 views

Where do I buy low risk securities?

I am looking for places from where I can buy low risk securities (like money market funds). Basically I want to invest my emergency fund in these kind of investments in order to keep up with inflation....
4
votes
1answer
182 views

Renter starts next year, but advance checks received this year. How to report the income for tax purposes?

I have a renter who will start occupying my second home in January. He will provide checks for the first and last month in December. The IRS states that income should be reported in the year that I ...
9
votes
1answer
639 views

How do I keep an S-Corporation open when it has no revenues

I have an S-Corporation using which I used to do consulting work a few years back. Now, the revenues from that corporation has come down to zero. I hate to close it down in case I want to consult ...
1
vote
3answers
174 views

Restrictions or impact on Roth IRA when reaching MAGI threshold?

If I started a Roth IRA in 2011, but start contributing to a Roth 401k and reach the MAGI threshold for additional contributions in 2012 to my Roth IRA, will I eventually be able to move my 401k Roth ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

When you're really young and have about 2K to start investing $ for retirement, why do some people advise you to go risky?

I've heard people suggest (here and in other forums) that you should be willing to take more risks when you are young. Can someone explain what "risky" options are being referred to? I only have ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Can a parent legally qualify for section 8 housing by transferring all assets to their child?

My mother wants move out of her large house and into an apartment. She wants to move to section 8 housing which has lower rents, but first must get rid of all her assets to qualify. Is it legal for ...
2
votes
1answer
527 views

Why are for-a-fee wires faster than 2+ day free ACH

My understanding was that any bank-to-bank transfer (be domestic or international) has to go through the Federal Reserve (why does a private institution have to be privy to all transactions?), and it ...
10
votes
2answers
157 views

Tools for comparing costs between different healthcare providers?

I have a high deductible health insurance plan. That means the first $2000 or so expenses per year are not covered by my insurance. What's a good way to compare health care costs from different ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Roth IRA - Vanguard or Fidelity? If a college student had to pick one?

These are the only two options I will consider at this point, since I was in a very indecisive state, but have managed to narrow it down to these two. It seems that mostly everybody is recommending ...
3
votes
3answers
279 views

Is investing in an ETF generally your best option after establishing a Roth IRA?

It seems that many people recommend investing in an ETF when you just start out with a Roth IRA at a very early age. I was wondering why this is so, and if there are some better or complimentary ...
6
votes
4answers
305 views

Is it illegal to buy derivatives on your own assets?

Is it illegal to buy derivatives on your own assets? Such as student loans you owe, or your own mortgage?
5
votes
2answers
512 views

What is an appropriate level of 401k fees or expenses in a typical plan?

I am aware that there are fees involved in a company 401(k) plan. These can vary widely depending on where you work and the particulars of a plan. What would be an appropriate amount of fees and ...
4
votes
1answer
273 views

What is the “payroll tax cut” as mentioned in the news recently?

Today I was watching news and I heard about a "payroll tax cut." They were talking about a 2 month extension of something being passed, but they wanted to pass a 1 year extension. Can someone please ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

How feasible would it be to retire just maxing out a Roth IRA?

How feasible would it be to retire on just maxed out Roth IRA contributions each year? Obviously this depends very much on how old you are when you start, and your living expenses when you retire. ...
4
votes
3answers
925 views

Which Roth IRA is the best for a 21 year old who has about $1500?

I am looking towards depositing about $700~$1000 of it in something that will hopefully bring in some good interest returns, and at least something that does a lot better than my current "savings ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Where should my money go next: savings, investments, retirement, or my mortgage?

I am a little unsure where to put my money at this point in my life. I have followed all the basic advice on what to do with your money and now I am at a point where I just don't know what to do next....
4
votes
3answers
2k views

I might use a credit card convenience check. What should I consider?

I received a convenience check offer from Chase. The checks incur a 3.99% APR for one year, and there is no transaction fee (no usual 3% of the amount). I have committed to pay $500/mo in Jan, Feb, ...
3
votes
3answers
215 views

Are there criminal implications to having a delinquent or collection account?

I had a collection account I was unaware of that I paid to avoid any issues (less than $500). Since it is reported on my credit score as "collection account or delinquency accounts" or something alike,...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Where can I find a list of credit card interest rates for US issuers?

I'm looking for a website (hopefully independent of major card issuers) that has a good list and comparisons of credit card interest rates for the United States as well as historical data showing how ...
3
votes
2answers
274 views

Put a dollar value on pensions?

A friend of mine who works in another state is advertising help wanted. I'm slowly improving my personal finance techniques, and it seems like this is a good month to look at total compensation and ...
2
votes
2answers
164 views

Where to get prepaid stored value cards capable of having higher limits (e.g. $10,000)?

When I was drafting consumer protection guidelines for stored value cards, I heard there were cards that stored balances as high as $10,000. Yet, when I go to convenience stores, I only see stored ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the tax implications of a LendingClub loan writeoff?

I've invested some small amount of money in LendingClub notes. I wrote about it in my blog, if anyone is interested. Overall it seems to be working great, I spread my investment over a broad variety ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

10-year real Treasury bond yield: How can it be zero, or negative?

How can the 10-year real Treasury bond yield be zero, or negative? That's like giving out money for free, right? Does that mean that people expect the value of the dollar to go up (deflation)?
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Is it ok to use a check without a pre-printed check number?

I opened a new account for my business and got a bunch of starter checks. They have the routing and account numbers preprinted with MICR font and magnetic (I presume...) ink, but they don't have a ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What taxes to pay when working for a US company remotely from Europe?

Situation 1: Portuguese Citizen Starting job with US company, will be working from Portugal US company does not have any official presence in Portugal. So, where do I pay tax -- in US or Portugal? ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Clear example of credit card balance 55 days interest-free “trick”?

I read on this website the following: Maximize Your Statement Cycle The smartest way to use your credit card is to be sure to pay your balances in full and on time. However, you can ...
3
votes
2answers
506 views

Credit card payment date

I recently got my first credit card and after calling the bank, the lady on the phone was not able to clarify my questions (weird, huh?). Maybe you can help me understand the following scenario: Let'...
5
votes
4answers
15k views

Do I have to pay a capital gains tax if I rebuy different stocks?

If I sell stocks and bonds and have a capital gain, and rebuy different stocks within a certain time frame, will I still be paying the capital gains tax from the original sale? ( just want to change ...
2
votes
1answer
259 views

1099 for settlement what about lawyer fees?

I am getting a settlement from a business over a suit but most of the settlement will go to the attorney to cover their fees incurred on contingency. If the 1099 reports the full settlement, will I ...
2
votes
1answer
296 views

Difference between clearing a check and hold on funds

Quick question on banking terminology: Can a check deposited in a U.S. bank clear, but still have the funds be subject to a hold? Or are clearing and not having a hold the same thing?
5
votes
2answers
187 views

Actions to take against paid collection

I received a note from a lender about a debit I had with GAP. It was completely unintentional and I didn't even know about it until then. The firm is in MS and I was living in CA at the time, while ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How to amend IRS form 8606?

How can I amend an IRS tax form 8606 (Nondeductible IRAs)? The form has a signature line, allowing it to be filed by itself, but I already filed one for the year in question and now need to amend it ...
1
vote
1answer
620 views

Can I elect for a deductible Traditional IRA contribution to be treated as non-deductible?

I made a $6k contribution to a traditional IRA in December 2010 for tax year 2010. I filed my tax return and incorrectly listed the contribution as a Roth contribution. Can I amend my tax return to ...
0
votes
2answers
352 views

Expensive agenda book/organizer. Office expense or fixed asset?

I am unsure how to book an agenda book/organizer that was purchased for our business. Normally I book office/organizational expenses (notebooks, printer ink, etc.) as "Office Expenses" but the cost ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Can capital gains be used to fund an IRA with tax advantages?

This may be a naive question, but to me this seems like it should work. Say I earn $1,000 this year in capital gains from selling some stock that appreciated. I think this is taxed at the capital ...
13
votes
5answers
41k views

Is sales tax for online purchases based on billing- or shipping address?

My question is simply clarification: when I make a purchase online, is the sales tax applied based on my billing or shipping address? Possibly similar (possibly illegal?) but with no up-voted or ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

Diversify my retirement investments with a Roth IRA

I'm currently putting 8% of my income into my 401k (through Vanguard) but the funds that are available to us pretty much suck. We're limited to about 20 funds and I've got myself covered in terms of ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I estimate my tax refund if I've held multiple jobs?

I earn about 65000 a year, from a few different jobs that I've held this year. What is an approach that I can take to estimate what I'm going to get back as a refund this year? More details: I've ...