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May is Older Americans Month

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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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Another Inflation Surprise Shifts Fed Expectations

Should we be surprised at inflation surprises at this point? The Consumer Price Index (CPI), the most well known measure of inflation, climbed 7.5% over the last year through January, its highest reading since 1982, according to data released this morning by the Labor Department.
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What Could The End Of The Omicron Surge Mean For Inflation?

As COVID-19 cases in the United States linked to the Omicron variant have fallen dramatically during the past month we look once more to high-frequency data for signals on how quickly the economy is reopening and what this could mean for the inflation outlook.
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How Many Seats Could The Democrats Lose In November?

One of the most popular questions we've received lately is what could happen in the upcoming midterm election? Although we are a long way away from Election Day, it is important to note that a new president has historically lost about 30 House seats in the midterm election.
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Gold Breaks Out!

Both stocks and bonds have faltered to start the year, with the S&P 500 down approximately 8% year to date and the Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index down about 4%. However, this tough environment for traditional asset classes has given gold, an asset many investors have forgotten about over the past decade, some time to shine.
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Munis Have Held Up (Relatively) Well in Periods of Rising Rates

The municipal market was a relative bright spot within the fixed income markets last year despite higher U.S. Treasury yields. Strong investor demand and fewer investment opportunities (due to less debt issuance) provided a tailwind to muni returns.
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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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Will the Year of the Tiger Make the Bulls Smile?

“Bulls make money, bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered.” Old Wall Street saying. The Chinese New Year (often called the Lunar New Year) kicked off on Tuesday, February 1, and with it will begin the Year of the Tiger. Although we would never suggest investing based on the zodiac signs (and there is no talk of Tigers in the quote above) —it is important to note that the Year of the Tiger has historically been quite strong for equities. Again, we’d never suggest to invest on zodiac signs, b
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What Would 5 Rate Hikes Mean for Stocks?

The Federal Reserve (Fed) has made a decidedly hawkish pivot, with fed funds futures now expecting five rate hikes in 2022. For our full breakdown of the latest Fed meeting, please read our January 27 blog, Federal Reserve Meeting Recap: March is Officially Live. However, today we want to take a look at other years that had a lot of rate hikes. “Five rates hikes in 2022 sounds pretty scary to a lot of investors who haven’t lived through a period of hiking,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market
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January Market Insights – Markets Lose Ground to Begin 2022

Equities lost ground in January after a strong 2021. Increased COVID-19 cases, inflation concerns, and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) recent hawkish sentiment were major themes in investor’s minds. Moreover, disappointing outlooks from some widely followed tech companies amid relatively high growth equity valuations put downward pressure on stock prices. Developed international market (MSCI EAFE) and emerging market (MSCI EM) stocks also pulled back in January. High COVID-19 variant cases worldwid
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Global Interest Rates Are on the Rise

With the recent hawkish pivot by the Federal Reserve (Fed) indicating a now quicker removal of monetary accommodation, U.S. Treasury yields have moved higher to start the year. Over the past few months, the Fed has indicated it will end its bond buying program in March, start its interest rate hiking campaign (likely starting in March with five hikes expected currently), and potentially reduce its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet (likely starting in July). The sudden shift in expectations has ca
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Stocks Stage an Extraordinary Comeback, But What Comes Next?

On Friday, January 21, the S&P 500 Index closed below its 200-day moving average for the first time since June 2020 and by mid-day on Monday was 10% below its all-time highs, one of the fastest 10% declines from the start of a year on record. “Big market swings tend to signal more market volatility ahead,” explained LPL Financial Asset Allocation Strategist Barry Gilbert. “But after these kinds of pullbacks there’s an increased likelihood of above-average returns over the next three and six mont
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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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Record High for the Consumer Staples Sector

The S&P 500 closed at a record high in December, technology, which as we noted last month, has been showing consistent relative strength since May and was boosted by a more than 10% gain from Apple for the week. However, the other sector to do so may surprise people: consumer staples.
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Five Important Charts To See Right Now

As we head into the end of 2021, here are five charts that caught our attention. First up, last week was one of the best weeks of the year for stocks, and that could be a good sign. “It turns out that big weeks like last week usually have the bulls smiling,” explained LPL Financial Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “23 out of the past 25 times the S&P 500 Index gained at least 3.8% in a week, it was higher three months later.”
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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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