Color of Money: Debt isn't 'Junk' anymore. It's an American treasure.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I recently saw the play "Junk," a retrospective of the 1980s, when Wall Street junk-bond kings were revered and then reviled.

It was a time when financial wunderkinds figured out how to use massive amounts of debt to go on buying sprees, leaving a path of devastation. Think of a plague of locusts swarming companies while wearing ...Read more

Color of Money: Start planning for your 2019 tax return now

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- People hate doing their taxes so much that, as soon as Tax Day is over, they want to retreat from anything related to their returns.

But now is the time to start tax planning for next year, because you have time to make any changes that may be necessary to avoid a huge tax bill.

Eric Bronnenkant, head of tax at online financial ...Read more

Color of Money: Trump promised the tax-cut bill would be a great gift to middle-income Americans. A new poll shows many taxpayers want to return it.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Tax Day is now over, and many Americans say they didn't notice the "tremendous" tax break President Trump promised.

"This is going to be one of the great gifts to the middle-income people of this country that they've ever gotten for Christmas," Trump said in December 2017, just before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed.

But ...Read more

Color of Money: Once the April 15 deadline passes, tax fraudsters go into overdrive

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Maybe your tax return is done and you've already spent your refund.

Or you might have learned you owed the IRS this year, and you're struggling to find the funds to pay your tax bill.

No matter where you stand on your taxes, one thing is certain: After the April 15 tax deadline, the scammers will show up like the folks lining up ...Read more

Color of Money: No, filing an extension does not give you more time to pay your taxes

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Thank goodness the tax code allows for procrastination and the things in life that happen, including events that are out of your control.

You can achieve a reprieve by filling out IRS Form 4868: "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return." The extension gives you six extra months to file...Read more

Color of Money: If you're a middle-class family and can't afford the college sticker price, here's how to appeal for more financial aid

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- There's a lot of attention right now on uber-wealthy families who allegedly bribed their children's way into expensive colleges that they could easily afford -- even after six-figure payoffs.

But in many other households right now, there are parents fretting about the not-nearly-enough financial-aid packages their children have ...Read more

Color of Money: Credit card vs. debit card - Wow Air's recent shutdown highlights why one is better than the other.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- My daughter came rushing into my office last week in despair.

She has a trip planned to Ireland in June. And the return flight she'd booked back from Dublin on the Icelandic budget airline Wow Air had just been canceled -- after the company announced without warning that it had ceased operations.

She wasn't just worried about ...Read more

Office Depot and agree to pay $35 million to settle charges of rigging computer scans

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Naturally, given the rising flood of adware, spyware and sophisticated phishing attempts to access our personal data, people are scared and increasingly willing to pay for protection.

But this fear of being hacked was allegedly the hook used by Office Depot, its subsidiary OfficeMax and a California-based tech-support vendor to ...Read more

Color of Money: What to do right now to improve your 2019 tax return

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Despite claims that it would be simple, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has proved to be anything but.

The new law changed the tax rates and brackets, and it increased the standard deduction. But it also removed personal exemptions and limited or discontinued certain deductions. These changes resulted in lower taxes owed for some. But ...Read more

Color of Money: The college admissions scandal isn't just about rich, entitled people -- it's a mirror of the March madness that befalls a lot of parents

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Please, let's stop pretending that the college cheating scandal is just an indictment of overindulgent, wealthy helicopter parents.

The Justice Department has accused dozens of super-rich parents of making $25 million in illegal payments -- and, in some cases, taking a tax break to boot -- to get their children into selective ...Read more

Color of Money: Not rich enough to bribe your child's way into college? Here's some help to appeal for more financial aid.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- In contrast to the reports that super-wealthy parents have paid six-figure bribes to get their children into the best universities, many families struggle to find the cash to pay for their children's education.

Part of the outrage over the college-admissions scandal -- in which the FBI claims uber-rich parents spent a total of $25...Read more

Color of Money: How the college-admissions scheme exploited the tax code to hide bribes

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The parents swept up in the nationwide college-admissions scam are accused of not only helping their children cheat their way into elite universities, but also of getting a tax deduction for their illicit payments.

The Justice Department last week alleged that dozens of wealthy parents -- including two well-known television ...Read more

Color of Money: Trump's budget could cause epic battles. My advice to federal workers: Save now because another shutdown is likely in the fall

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- I play tug of war with my 11-pound terrier mix, and it's a battle in which the chew toy always loses.

I pull. Simba tugs. And the squeaky stuffed animal gets torn apart.

This, I'm afraid, has become the life of federal employees and contractors during budget negotiations.

President Trump unveiled his 2020 budget proposal this ...Read more

Color of Money: Getting a tax refund? Here are some smart ways to spend the money.

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- No matter how much experts advise that you shouldn't plan to get a tax refund, many people like the lump sum of cash anyway.

If this is you -- and there's no persuading you to get your money throughout the year -- at least make sure you are taking full advantage of this once-a-year infusion of funds. The IRS has already issued ...Read more

Color of Money: CPA experts answer the most common 2019 tax-return questions

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Some taxpayers are feeling a little battle weary after filing their 2018 returns.

People are shell-shocked. Either they got less of a refund than they expected, or they've been hit with a surprise tax bill because they didn't adjust their withholdings to account for changes to the tax code.

Others are upset that they discovered a...Read more

Color of Money: Michael Cohen's stunning admission of financial infidelity

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- We finally found out why Michael Cohen used a home-equity line of credit to pay hush money to a porn star with whom President Trump allegedly had an affair. And it wasn't just to hide his and Trump's misdeeds from the public or prosecutors.

During Cohen's testimony last week before the House Oversight Committee, the former ...Read more

Color of Money: Here's how to become an advocate for financial literacy in your child's school

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- What your children don't know about money will cost them -- dearly.

My husband and I have made it a priority to raise money-smart kids. I, of course, took my lessons to another level, one that often frustrated my children.

Once there was a craft fair at my kids' school. As our eldest, Olivia, was counting how much money she was ...Read more

Color of Money: Does America have a savings crisis?

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- Americans save so little money that there is now an annual, weeklong campaign to encourage people to put cash aside for life's financial emergencies.

If faced with an unexpected expense of $400, four in 10 adults said they wouldn't have the money to cover it, according to a report from the Federal Reserve last year. To get the ...Read more

Color of Money: Tax-refund recipients respond to critics: 'Stop shaming me'

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- The talk of this tax season is that so many people are furious that their refunds are lower than usual because of major changes to the tax code.

But while people are focused on missing the money they expect from their tax returns, it's a good time to discuss tax planning in general. This leads to the question: Should you ...Read more

Color of Money: Why you should love that tax refund less

Business / The Color of Money /

WASHINGTON -- For some, the 2017 tax overhaul has been a bust -- and not necessarily because it increased their taxable income.

Some early tax-return filers this year are fuming about smaller refunds than they'd grown accustomed to. Their rage sheds light on one of the problems with the tax code -- Americans' passionate love affair with their ...Read more


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