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Should You Pay Off Debt or Save for Retirement?

 Just because you have student loans to pay off doesn't mean you should put investing on hold to do it—you don't have to prioritize one over the other. 
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What Do I Need to File My Taxes? (Tax Preparation Documents)

Tax filers should collect the following documents for a tax preparation appointment: Social Security cards for all family membersDriver license or non-drivers ID (spouses filing jointly must both be present)Last year’s federal and state tax returnsW-2 forms1099s for interest, dividends, retirement, Social Security, unemployment or self-employment1095 for health insurance coverageLetters or documents from the IRSChildcare receipts – name, address, tax ID# and amount paidTuition expens
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Support Your Business Goals With Tax Plans and Preperation

In today's complex tax environment, proactive tax planning should be part of your company's overall business and financial strategy. As tax reform continues to create sweeping tax changes, let Clarity Capital's business tax consultants advise you on how to reduce and manage your tax obligations. We work closely with you to create a strategic tax plan that can support your business goals and create opportunities for reinvestment that can be used to drive growth, increase profitability
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What Is a Trust Fund, and How Does It Work?

Trust funds were once associated with high net worth individuals as a way to pass money to their heirs or charitable organizations. But trusts are fast becoming a popular tool for everyone, wealthy or not, as a solution in their estate planning. What is a trust fund? Trust funds are legal arrangements that allow individuals to place assets in a special account to benefit another person or entity. Trust funds can be complex and often require the assistance of an attorney to set up, though there
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CPI Disappoints (Consumer Price Index): Inflation is Unevenly Distributed

The core Consumer Price Index (CPI), which excludes food and energy, rose to a multi-decade high in September, disappointing both investors and policy makers. The CPI is one, but not the only metric for inflation.September headline inflation eased slightly to 8.2% year-over year from 8.3% in August. Energy commodity prices outright declined for the last three months, offsetting the accelerating price increases in other areas such as food and rent. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy,
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Should You Switch Up Your Savings Plan Due to New Saving Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve has signaled that lower interest rates could be coming in the future, this has some Americans wondering if they should make changes to where their savings accounts are stored.
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Lunch Box Stagflation Isn’t Your 70s Style Slowdown

It’s hard not to call what we’re experiencing stagflation at this point, if there are any holdouts left. With growth flat for the first half of the year, growth expectations for the rest of the year muted, inflation continuing to run very hot, and the Federal Reserve (Fed) aggressively raising rates, we clearly have the combination of economic weakness with high inflation that gave “stagflation” its name.But this is not your 1970s style stagflation and the ultimate conseq
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Fed Gets Pessimistic, Yet Realistic

A Bit More Pessimistic, A Lot More RealisticThe Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) increased the target rate by 75 basis points (bp) to a 3.25% upper bound and delivered a more pessimistic outlook in their published Summary of Economic Projections.The Committee hiked rates at this magnitude for the third consecutive time and Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Powell signaled “ongoing increases…will be appropriate.” So at this point, we expect a 50 bp hike at the next meetin
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Markets Selloff For Fourth out of Five Straight Weeks

U.S. and International EquitiesMarkets Finish LowerMarkets worldwide were down sharply this week with the S&P 500 Index finishing over 3% lower for the fourth week in the past five. Investors are worried that given Q3 earnings warnings and other signs of a slowing economy, the Federal Reserve (Fed) will steer the economy into a hard landing as they attempt to curb present price pressures.Moreover, many market participants believe that Q3 estimates, which have been slashed over 6% from the en
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Important Retirement Age Milestones (Age 50 - 72)

Retirement can be difficult to navigate—planning when to retire and making sure you’ll have enough money are just the tip of the iceberg. Meet key deadlines and avoid penalties to maximize your retirement benefits. Here are important milestones to add to your plan: Age 50—Employees, age 50 and older, can defer paying income taxes with catch-up contributions to their 401(k), up to $27,000. That’s $6,500 more than younger employees. IRA-holders can defer taxes on
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How Do I Correct Excess Roth IRA Contributions?

Contributing to a Roth IRA is a great way to receive tax benefits for retirement savers. If you already do or are planning to take advantage of this tax savings vehicle, it is important to familiarize yourself with the rules that govern these accounts. The IRS has put in place strict limits regarding the amount that individuals can contribute to their Roth IRAs, as well as income limits for determining who qualifies. If you are a single tax filer, you must have Modified Adjusted Growth Inco
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Investing for Impact (ESG, SRI, Impact Investing)

Many investors are looking toMany investors are looking to build a portfolio that reflects their socially responsible values while giving them the potential for solid returns. That’s where SRI Investing, Impact Investing, and ESG Investing may play a role.In the past, some investors regarded these investment strategies as too restrictive. But over time, improved evaluative data and competitive returns made these strategies more mainstream. Even though SRI, ESG investing, and Impact Investi
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Retirement Roadblocks—Choosing a Financial Advisor

Don’t walk the investing path alone.  Few financial concepts get more airtime than the admonishment to start early and stick with your retirement plan. We all know it’s important, but the task can seem downright daunting!  There’s good news, though. “Saving for retirement is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Chad Waddoups, vice president of investment and insurance services at Mountain America Credit Union, “and you don’t have to hold a degree in
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Mega Backdoor Roth Explained!

Everyone thinks about saving for retirement, and not many people want to work forever. However, have you thought about the best way to save for the future? If you are setting aside the yearly max in your 401(k) and channeling extra savings to your brokerage, you might be missing out on powerful tax-advantaged saving opportunities. In this article, we will show you how we help clients maximize savings, minimize taxes and secure their future using the Mega Backdoor Roth IRA.      
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Making a Charitable Contribution

Why sell shares when you can gift them? If you have appreciated stocks in your portfolio, you might want to consider donating those shares to charity rather than selling them.Donating appreciated securities to a tax-qualified charity may allow you to manage your taxes and benefit the charity. If you have held the stock for more than a year, you may be able to deduct from your taxes the fair market value of the stock in the year that you donate. If the charity is tax-exempt, it may not face capit
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Tips for Students Planning to Work During the Summer

As the summer break from school approaches, many students are looking for part-time summer employment. Both parents and students should be aware of the tax issues that need to be considered when working a summer job. Here is a rundown of some of the more common issues.
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June 15 Is an Important Filing Deadline

Article Highlights:  Americans Living and Working AbroadExtension RequestsReport of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)Statement of Foreign Financial AssetsEstimated Tax PaymentsEstimated Safe Harbors June 15 is the due date both for Americans living and working outside the U.S. to file their 2021 federal income tax returns and for the second estimated tax payment for 2022. Here are some important details for both.  Americans Living and Working Abroad - U.S. citizens and res
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What Every Employee Needs to Know About 401(k) Savings

More and more employers are offering 401(k) plans as an employee benefit, and if you have the option and are not currently taking advantage of it, it may be time to rethink your savings strategy.
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When Can You Dump Old Tax Records?

With certain exceptions, the statute for assessing additional tax is 3 years from the return due date or the date the return was filed, whichever is later.
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Corporate and LLC Structure Can Protect Sole Proprietors’ Assets

Where are plenty of advantages to being your own boss, but that doesn’t mean that every decision is easy or straightforward. One of the first things you’ll have to decide is the type of business structure that is best for your situation. While selecting “sole proprietor” may seem like the path of least resistance, if you have personal assets at risk for your business’ debts and liabilities, it may make more sense to go with the more complicated route of electing to
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Important Times to Seek Assistance for Tax Savings

Article Highlights:  When to seek professional assistanceExamples of times where tax saving moves can be made Waiting for your regular appointment to discuss current tax-related issues can create problems or cause you to miss out on beneficial options that need to be timely exercised before year-end. Generally, you should call this office any time you have a substantial change in taxable income or deductions. By doing so, we can advise you about how to optimize your tax liability, avoid o
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With a Possible Recession Looming, You May Want to Review Your Cash Flow Process

If you’re a business owner who has been through a recession before, you know that smart cash flow management is absolutely crucial. If you’re a new entrepreneur who hasn’t been through an economic downturn, you may be less familiar with how quickly your finances can be affected.  To protect yourself and keep your business operating, here are the things you need to know about adjusting your cash flow process to match the economic environment. Evaluate Your Expenses &nb
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Forgot Something on Your Tax Return? It’s Not Too Late to Amend the Return

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Helping Small Businesses Succeed Strengthens Local Economies

Small businesses play a big role in the U.S. economy, and springtime is a great time to recognize their importance. Whether you’re buying Mother’s Day gifts, garden supplies, athletic apparel, books, electronics, lawn and patio items—or something else—consider buying them at a local small business instead of a big box store. Not only will you help the small business, you’ll help your local economy.U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) District Director Beth Goldb
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May is Military Appreciation Month

When General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Sylvanus Thayer Award in May 1962 at West Point, his speech to cadets included three words that still resonate with U.S. military personnel everywhere: “Duty. Honor. Country,” General MacArthur said. “Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”The lifelong commitment behind those three words is one of the many reasons we celebrate Military Appreciation Month. Congress o
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Intimidated by Accounting? Five Simple Steps Are All You Need

Avoid mixing business expenses with personal expenses. Log expenses and payments every single day. If you can’t handle your accounting tasks, get help.
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Tax Benefits When Saving for College Education

A common question among parents is, “How might I save for a child’s post-secondary education in a tax beneficial way?” The answer depends on how much the education is expected to cost and how much time is left until the child heads off to college or a university or enters an apprenticeship program.
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Avoiding IRS Underpayment Penalties

Congress considers our tax system a “pay-as-you-earn” system. To facilitate that concept, the government has provided several means of assisting taxpayers in meeting the “pay-as-you-earn” requirement.
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Corporate Credit Markets are Healthy but Remain Expensive

Like other core fixed income sectors, investment grade corporate credit has had a tough start to the year. After losing 1.0% last year, investment grade corporate debt is off another 2.4% (through January 14) in 2022. However, the paper losses this year (and last year frankly) are not due to declining credit fundamentals or deteriorating credit conditions. To take advantage of low interest rates, shore up balance sheets and extend maturities, corporate CFOs have issued record amounts of debt ove
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Are You a Candidate for Bunching?

The changes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included nearly doubling the standard deduction and placing limitations on or suspending certain itemized deductions, effective for tax years 2018 through 2025.
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Watch Out for Tax Penalties

Most taxpayers don’t intentionally incur tax penalties, but many who are penalized are simply unaware of the penalties or the possible damage they can do to their wallets. As tax season approaches, let’s look at some of the more commonly encountered penalties and how they may be avoided.
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The Fed Plans to Keep Interest Rates Low Until Inflation Catches Up

Federal Reserve Officials are planning to keep loan interest rates historically low and near zero through at least 2023. This is a tactic to hopefully help the rest of the economy back to full strength after the recession caused by the pandemic brought things to slump. All of this was communicated in their September policy statement and economic projections released in the first week of September.
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Today's Retirement Plans Could Use a Shift from the 4 Percent Rule

Now that we are over twenty years past when the Four Percent Rule was written, financial experts have recognized that this simple go-to rule needs some tweaking to continue to help retirees live comfortably in the new decade and decades to come.
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Options for Passing Your Family Home Down to Your Children

When you get down to the logistics of actually passing on the property to your children, it needs to be looked at as a business transaction, putting warm feelings aside. There are several legal factors that go into passing your home on to your children, including tax requirements.
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Investing in Your Health Now Can Help Your Wealth Later

It is not only the medical world that sees the ties between health and wealth. Many financial planners see the relations as well. A better quality of health in later years can drastically reduce the financial impact of health care bills.
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Retirement Planning 101: A Guide to Saving for the Future

Most Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 have less than $100,000 set aside for their golden years. With the right knowledge and planning, you can set yourself up for a comfortable retirement. Here are some good things to know when it comes to retirement planning.
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Clarity Tax Management PS and Multop Merges with Hilsinger & Company

We are pleased to announce that we have completed a merger with Multop Financial and Clarity Tax Management PS. We are excited about the opportunity to work with their team of professional Tax Specialists, Certified Public Accountants, Business Advisors, and Financial Planners.
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Federal Tax Deadlines for 2021 (Tax Filing Season Begins Feb. 12)

Most adult Americans know or refer to April 15 th as tax day. We can help you to file your 2021 taxes in Kent , Vancouver, and Bellingham Washington. If you have any questions about our services or need some tax advice and/or help please contact us any time.
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What are Pension Plans, Do I Need One? (vs 401k)

A pension plan is a form of retirement plan offered to employees by an employer. This type of plan pays the employee a previously set income at the time the employee retires. Pension plans are less and less common as more employers have switched to offering 401(k) plans.
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How Biden’s Proposed American Families Plan Might Affect You

President Biden presented his proposed American Families Plan (AFP) during his Joint Session of Congress address on April 29, 2021. There are also proposed tax increases to pay for the benefits.
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Here’s What Happened in the World of Small Business 2021

Providing your employees with paid time off to get their vaccine will now be covered by the government, so you can encourage vaccinations if you choose without taking on the cost of offering additional PTO. If your small business is still struggling financially and you need additional funding, the EIDL expansion could help.
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How Employee Stock Options Are Taxed

There are two basic types of employee stock options for tax purposes, a non-statutory option and a statutory option (also referred to as the incentive stock option), and their tax treatment is significantly different.
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Saver’s Credit Can Help You Save for Retirement 

The saver’s credit, also called the retirement savings credit, helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to traditional or Roth individual retirement arrangements (IRAs), SIMPLE IRAs, SEPs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans for employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations, 457 plans for state or local government employees, and the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees. The saver’s credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply as a
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Different Types of Income Streams for Your Business

There are several different types of income streams, all of which fall into the category of either active or passive. If you are making something, selling something, or providing a service of some kind in exchange for direct payment, that is active income. While passive income also generates revenue, the payment is not as connected to the original work.
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Relocating? How to Do It with Taxes in Mind

Like everything else in life, relocating to another state and making it your primary residence is not as easy as just deciding to do it. It is important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you have complied with everything required of your new home.
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Did You Get a Letter from the IRS? Don’t Panic.

IRS notices often include errors. However, you do need to respond before the deadline specified on the notice (usually 30 days) or else face significant repercussions. The notice may even be related to suspected ID theft. The first step is to determine which type of notice you have received.
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The Treasury Green Book of Biden Proposed Tax Changes

The U.S. Treasury has released the Biden administration’s 2022 Fiscal Year Budget, which includes a general explanation of the administration’s 2022 revenue proposals. The publication is commonly referred to as the Green Book and outlines the Biden administration’s tax proposals.
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Raising Capital for Your Startup: The Basics

Creating a successful business requires a good idea combined with skill, talent, and ambition. But even if you have all of those elements, you may end up falling short if you can’t raise the capital that you need to move forward.
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Restaurants and Businesses Benefit from Temporary Tax Break  

As part of its COVID relief efforts Congress is allowing businesses to deduct 100% of business meals during 2021 and 2022, provided the meals are provided by a restaurant. Business meals are deductible up to an amount not considered “lavish”.
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Understand The Tax Rules for PPP Loan Forgiveness

The general tax rule for debt forgiveness states that the amount of debt forgiven is subject to federal income tax. PPP loan forgiveness is an exception, although from an overall tax perspective it didn’t start out exactly that way.
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What to Know About PPP Loan Forgiveness [Updated 2021]

The rules for getting a loan forgiven are complex and continue to evolve, even though the extended deadline for applying for a PPP loan has passed. In fact, the Small Business Administration issued a new Interim Final Rule on July 28, 2021 that streamlines the forgiveness process for loans of $150 ,000 or less. And the application form for first-draw loans was updated nine times.
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Child Tax Credit 2021: What’s Changed?

Some people are noticing a little more money in their bank account than normal this July. With some recent changes to the law governing the child tax credit, taxpayers may find themselves thinking more about taxes than just the one time a year. If you typically receive the child tax credit once a year when your return is filed, that may just be why you suddenly have more cash.
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8 Basic and Important Steps of the Accounting Cycle

The accounting cycle is a widely used 8-step process for completing bookkeeping tasks on a business level. It is a clear launching point for recording, analyzing, and final reporting of financial activities for a business.
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10 Tax-Saving Strategies to Consider Before Year-End

In the new year tax-savvy individuals need to take some time from their busy schedules to review the tax benefit steps they’ve already taken and see what else they need to do. Now is the time to ensure that you’ve taken advantage of all of the tax-saving strategies available to you.
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Biden Administration Backs Off on Proposed Bank Transaction Threshold

On October 19, 2021, in the face of widespread opposition, the Biden administration has backed down and is now proposing raising the reporting threshold to $10,000 in annual transactions while exempting income from which federal taxes are automatically deducted, as well as federal benefits like unemployment and Social Security.
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Have a Forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan? Understand The Tax Rules

There’s an old saying that there is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception. Think about it. The general tax rule for debt forgiveness states that the amount of debt forgiven is subject to federal income tax. PPP loan forgiveness is an exception, although from an overall tax perspective it didn’t start out exactly that way.
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17 YEARS IN BUSINESS

OVER 150 YEARS COMBINED EXPERIENCE

300 M ASSETS UNDER MANAGEMENT

 
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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck