Showing posts from January, 2021

Get your IRS PIN today

 An IRS Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number that prevents someone else from filing a tax return using your Social Security number. The IP PIN is known only to you and the IRS and helps to verify your identity when you file your electronic or paper tax return. In the past, you had to be a victim of identity theft to be approved or qualify for an IRS PIN. However the current IRS FAQ states that anyone who has a Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and is able to verify his/her identity is eligible to enroll into the IP PIN program.      Why is an IRS IP PIN important If you file a return closer to the deadline, typically Apr 15th, or file for an  extension , which is Oct 15th, it is vital that you sign up for the IRS PIN. Hackers and malicious actors can file a fraudulent tax return on your behalf and claim a tax refund. Proactively creating a PIN will hopefully prevent this. Important Notes and Tips The IP PIN changes or is

HSA Strategy

 Health Savings Account  A Health Savings Account (HSA) allows contributions on a pre-tax basis, for medical expenses. An added benefit is that you can choose to invest the contributions and the growth is tax free, if used for medical expenses. You are required to have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), in order to qualify to contribute to a HSA. Most providers offer a savings account, with a linked debit card that can be used for medical expenses and a optional linked brokerage account. There are contribution limits for a single filer or family and they are generally increase each year. See links below for a detailed breakdown for your own situation.  A few years ago, there were limited choices for HSA providers . Most had monthly maintenance fees and transfer fees to linked brokerage accounts. In early 2019  Lively and soon after,  Fidelity both reduced and/or eliminated most fees. This made it cost effective to invest in a diversified portfolio of low cost index funds at almost

ESPP - Employee Stock Purchase Plans

 What is an ESPP Employee Stock Purchase Plans provide the ability to purchase shares using after tax income, often at a discount or predefined price. Each employer can define the rules for pricing the purchase. Purchasing ESPP shares is a great way to have some forced savings, as the purchase cost is deducted directly from a paycheck. The income is hopefully never missed and most of us will adjust our spending accordingly.  When to sell The rules and restrictions on sale differ based on the employer. It would not make sense to sell shares that are held for less than 1 year as the gains would be taxed as short term. However, in the event of an emergency it would make sense to tap these reserves and pay the higher tax rate.  Considerations and risks Your employer stock may be doing really well, and for good reason. They have a great product or service, however we all experience bias and as an insider are told how great the company is. This may be justified and true.  Over the years you