2018 Tax Law Changes

The House and Senate have passed a tax reform bill that could dramatically change what you have anticipated for your tax refund or bill. These new rules may benefit you significantly.

On the other hand, the new 2018 tax law changes could dramatically reduce your tax refund. This will depend on your assets, investments, children, and any businesses that you may own.

I will outline the key changes for you in this article. You can also get an estimate of how the 2018 tax changes will impact you with the Wall Street Journal tax plan calculator.

The 2018 Tax Law Changes are as follows:

The tax brackets have been adjusted for individual filers and income tax rates have been reduced

The individual tax brackets for 2018 have been reduced and income tax rates have been lowered. These adjustments are set to be in place until December 31, 2025, unless Congress makes any new adjustments to the tax code.

I have included the new tax table with the tax brackets and corresponding taxable income reductions.

Tax brackets and taxable income table for 2018

Currently, corporate tax brackets are at 35%, they will be lowered to 21%. These are permanent changes and are not set to expire in 2026.

Standard Deduction Increased

The standard deduction and personal exemption have been combined forming a higher standard tax deduction.

Currently, the standard deduction is $6350/individual and married filing separately, $9350/head of household, and $12,700/married filing jointly.

The 2018 tax law changes are $12,000/individual and married filing separately, $18,000/head of household, and $24,000/married filing jointly.

standard deduction of 2018

Child Tax Credit Increased

The child tax credit has been increased from $1000 to $2000, also it increases the amount of the credit that is refundable to $1400. For children over 17 years of age, you will receive $500.

The child tax credit of 2018 phase out at $400,000/married filing joint, $200,000/individual. This is a pretty big increase from the previous limits of $110,000/married filing joint and $75,000/individual.

New Dependent Tax Credit

There is a new dependent tax credit for 2018. Previously, there was no dollar amount/credit assigned to non-child dependents.

The amount that the credit is $500 and applies to non-children, elderly parents, and adult children with disabilities.

Senior Citizen Standard Deduction Increased

The standard deduction for senior citizens (over age 65) has been increased.

Currently, the current deduction for is $1,500/individuals and $2,500/married filing jointly. The 2018 tax law changes are $1,600/individuals and $2,600/married filing jointly.

For the senior citizen’s deduction for married filing joint both spouses need to be over the age of 65.

These new terms will expire if not renewed or adjusted for taxable years after December 31, 2025, and 2017 tax regulations would resume.

With the higher standard deductions, it will not be beneficial to many families to itemize deductions. This will depend on your specific household financial situation.

In addition to the above changes, there are many adjustments that have been made to 2017, tax credits and deductions. I have detailed these items below.

Mortgage Interest

The mortgage interest deduction for 2018 has been decreased from $1 million/primary, second homes, and some home equity debt and limited to $750,000/primary and secondary homes.

This provision applies for taxable years after December 31, 2017, and expires after December 31, 2025,.

State and Local Tax Deduction (SALT)

The state and local tax deduction has been capped at $10,000/sales and state and local property taxes or sales and state and local income taxes.

Medical Expense Deduction

The medical expense deduction for 2018 has been adjusted. Previously, medical expenses that were greater than 10% of the AGI (adjusted gross income) were deductible.

This threshold has been lowered to 7.5% for 2018. This deduction can also be claimed for tax year 2017,.

Adoption expense tax credit

The adoption expense tax credit for 2018 remains unchanged with qualifying expenses up to $13,570.

Retirement Savings Incentives

Retirement savings incentives for 2018 remain the same. Since the current 2017, retirement incentives and contribution limits are considered favorable the new rules do not call for any changes.

Health savings accounts have also rules have also remained intact.

Roth IRA recharacterization options are over for 2018; however, 2017, recharacterizations will still be permitted.

Temporary Increase in Federal Estate Tax Exemption

The federal estate tax exemption of 2018 will temporarily be increased to $11 million/per person ($22 million/couple). The law change will revert to the current law after 2025,.

Changes to AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax)

The AMT will raise the minimum income level at which the AMT will apply. The Alternative Minimum Tax of 2018 will increase from $50,600 (AMT of 2017,) to $70,300/individuals and from $78,750 (AMT of 2017,) to $109,400/married filing joint.

The Alternative Minimum Tax was intended to stop those with high incomes from avoiding paying their income taxes via stacking credits and deductions.

New Corporate Tax Rate and Pass-Through Tax Rate

The corporate tax rate for 2018 will be reduced to 21% and this tax law change is not set to expire as the others are in 2026. This change is permanent.

Sole proprietorships, pass-through businesses, S-corporations, and partnerships will be taxed at individual rates and will be able to deduct 20% of income.

This deduction will only be available to married filing jointly with income below $315,000 to avoid those with high incomes taking advantage.

Those with higher incomes will have more complicated rules, however, there are specific businesses that may still have eligibility for a limited deduction.

529 Plans Become More Flexible

The 529 plans of 2018 allow up to $10,000/year to be used for expenses for grades K-12, college, and post-graduate studies. Certain circumstances will allow for a temporary increase in contributions limits for ABLE accounts.

February Paycheck Income Tax Withholding Decreases

Due to the 2018 tax reform changes, your employers will be withholding less money for income taxes from your paychecks no later than February 15, 2018. This law was released by the Department of Treasury and the IRS on January 11, 2018, click here for more detailed information.

Well, that sums up the 2018 tax law changes for the tax brackets, rates, deductions and credits.
If you have a tax agency prepare your taxes for you they will have all the updated information, however, it is always a good idea to have this information for better financial planning.

If you are like me and prepare your own taxes, this information is imperative to have. I use Turbotax which has a live CPA and tax professionals to assist with any questions that may arise. If you want more information on Turbotax you can check out my Turbotax review by clicking here.

If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and I will get back to you right away.

Intuit Mint Review

In this article, I am going to be providing you with an honest, unbiased review of the budgeting suite Intuit Mint, or Mint for short. In addition to helping youIntuit mint logo manage your money, Mint has an intuitive interface, helps you manage your 401K, other investments, and bill payment service. Mint also helps you find savings on services like insurance, credit card, loans, and bank accounts. What I like most about Mint is that you can link your bank counts, utility bills, and credit account so that you can manage all in one place. Mint is 100% FREE, so it fits into all budgets!

Intuit Mint Review
  • Price
  • Usability
  • Website
  • Support
5

Available Features

  • Bill Payment – Schedule bill payments, receive the bill due-date notificationsMint Features Overview and track all finances under one location.
  • Investments Tracking – Investments are a huge part of your financial health; this feature enables you to stay on top of your portfolio. Instant view of asset allocations for all investments such as mutual funds, 401K, IRA’s and brokerage accounts.
  • Credit Recommendations – Personalized credit card, insurance, bank account, lending, and investment options provided.
  • Account Link/Management – Ability to link all bank accounts, credit accounts,Mint Linked to personal accounts and utility accounts into the database.
  • Easy budgeting – This feature calculates your spending habits by category which enables you to create a budget with your spending patterns in mind. Budgets can be adjusted from the auto-suggestions.
  • Free Credit Score – No credit cards required, after identity verification a free credit summary will be provided with credit education and alerts whenever new credit information is received by Equifax.Mint Credit Score Overview
  • Alerts and advice – Get alerts when bills are due, fees are charged, over on your budget, or any suspicious transactions are in process.
  • Simple categorization – Default categories for spending which are easy to rename, also able to add own categories for spending habits/budget
  • Security – With all the personal information housed within the Mint platform securing information is of the utmost importance. Multi-factor authentication is included as well as the ability to remotely delete all account information ifMint weekly summary needed. Security scanning with Verisign ensures sensitive data transfer is secure.

As you can see, Mint has plenty of features so that you can monitor and track your finances as well as your credit.

Additionally, you are able to set up notifications so that you are always up-to-date on the status of your finances.

==>Click Here Now to Set Up Your Budget With Mint<==

Support

  • Mint Help – Featured questions, bill pay, accounts and transactions, login and multi-factor authentication, ability to search the entire site for specific answers.
  • Blog – Bankruptcy A-Z, credit information, travel tips, investing advice, moneyMint Help options audit, food budgets, housing finances and more topics for your review.
  • Sitemap – All pages listed by category or topics contained within the website.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Mint is an intuitive platform that is everything one needs for budgeting, managing finances, and credit all in one place. There is no need tomint sign up login to multiple platforms any longer. I have no negative findings except that reporting can be delayed from 1-3 days when the system is gathering updated bank account balances, account payments, or fees that have been charged.

You can say goodbye to late fees as the payment notifications and bill due dates approaching come right on time.

Mint has a sitemap which is separated into categories that make it easy to find the topics or answers to the questions that you are searching for. The user interface is very friendly and easy to use, even for those that are not tech savvy.

Start managing your finance now, registration is free and easy, you can sign up by clicking here.

If you have any further questions or comments feel free to email me at shwana@yourcreditrestoredfast.com or leave your comment below.

Best Budget Programs

Best Budget Programs

Maintaining a budget can be a lot of work, but it is not impossible. In the past, budgets were handwritten, which took a very long time. Not only did handwritten budgets take a long time to put together, they also were prone to many errors. Thankfully, presently writing budgets are a thing of the past, for most of us at least. Now, we are able to plan our budgets with the help of technology. The best budget programs have a user-interface that makes it easy for even the least technology savvy person to use.Stacks of coins with the word BUDGET isolated on white background
There are different programs available, however, one of the best budget programs is Intuit’s Mint and Quickbooks. Intuit is also the maker of Turbotax which I talked about in my earlier post. Below I will give you more details on each of their products.

Intuit Mint

Intuit Mint is a very powerful budget platform that has many facets. This platform allows you to easily create budgets with suggestions that are based on your spending habits. Mint also tracks and pays your bills. Additionally, you can schedule payments and set up alerts that notify you when your payments are due. There is a built-in credit score monitor with improvement tips. There is no credit card required for this service.mint logo

Intuit Mint also keeps track of your money; you can link your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement and investment accounts all in one location. This alleviates the need to log into numerous accounts to pay your bills and manage your money or investments; you can do it all with Intuit Mint. There is also an app that you can download onto your phone.

Intuit Quickbooks

Intuit QuickBooks is an accounting platform that is very user-friendly. With this program, you can track your money for both your business and personal accounts. QuickBooks enables you to stay on top of your business(s) mileage, income/expenses, invoicing/payments, payroll, track time/sales/inventory, track receipts. QuickBooks also helps you maximize your tax deductions.quickbooks logo There are four different products; self-employed, simple start, essentials and plus. The prices range from $5-25/monthly. You can click here for a 70% discount.

Intuit QuickBooks Canada

QuickBooks also has a Canadian portfolio with all the same features and benefits that are discussed above. The only difference is that they have three products; EasyStart, Essentials, and Plus. The prices range from $6.50-$12/monthly. These are Black Friday sale prices and will increase on November 29, 2017. This is up to a 70% discount; you can take advantage of these prices by clicking here.

Spentapp (Spent Money)

Spentapp or Spent Money is an application that helps you manage your  finances and with the money that you are already spending on your daily purchases you can earn cash back. This is in addition to any existing loyalty accounts that you have previously set up already. Spentapp has partnered with thousands of financial institutions to enable their users to securelyphone displaying cash back for spent money app connect all credit and debit accounts; these will automatically earn cash back from everyday purchases made.

Once your accounts are linked, your transactions are then categorized. You do have the option to update these categories as well as create additional folders to help classify your expenses. Spent Money analyzes your expenses and makes it easier for you to pin point opportunities for savings. You can separate your business and personal expenses.

Additionally, Spentapp allows you to personalize your cash back options; they provide a list of featured brands monthly of which you can choose from. There are companies such as Amazon, Uber and Walgreens just to name a few. You earn an automatic 1% cash back and up to an additional 15% cash back when you use your connected debit/credit accounts. This is an awesome application and can make your debit account work just like a cash back rewards creditcash back stamp card.

Spentapp for business allows for simple expense reporting; employees can report expenses up to $75 and capture and submit e-receipts. There is an administrator dashboard which enables expenses to be reviewed and approved. Additionally, there is detailed analytics provided for company expenses. There is a free version as well as a Pro version which costs $4/month; where Pro is integrated with QuickBooks. You can get Spentapp for business by clicking here.

The budgeting programs that I recommended above I personally use and they are great products. If you have any questions at all feel free to leave a comment below.

 

How to Make a Budget

How to Make a Budgetsaved money in a jar

Making a budget is more important than many realize. Without one, it is hard to achieve your long-term financial goals. You may also find that you are living outside of your means and that you don’t have enough money for the things that you need. This is most likely because you have spent money on things that you want in the interim without factoring in all the necessities of life.

Many people don’t even think about following a budget let alone prioritizing their spending. If you make up your mind to create a budget and stick to it, you will find that you have the money for the things that you need even if you must cut out a couple of things that you want. This will depend on the amount of income and outgo that you have.

There are many reasons why making a budget is beneficial to your household. Below I have outlined the easiest way to make a budget for those that want to but don’t know where to start.

Calculate Your Net Income/Total Monthly Income

First, combine all your income received monthly. This includes your earningsbudget tips with sample budget from employment and any other source such as Social Security or Disability. Make sure you are listing the after-tax amount, and any income received from your spouse if you have one. Don’t leave anything out.

List All Your Monthly Expenses

Add up all recurring monthly expenses such as electricity, rent or mortgage, and any other utility payments. You must also list other bills like HOA dues, gas, food and items that you spend towards your monthly entertainment such as the movies. Every single dollar that goes out must be accounted for.

Pay Yourself First

When you get your paycheck the first thing that you should do is deduct the amount you can afford your savings. You should have at least $1000 in your savings as an emergency fund. You can put aside whatever you can afford, $5,retirement and savings street signs $20, $50 or $100 prior to paying anything else.

Subtract Your Expenses from Your Monthly Income

When the first two steps are complete just subtract your monthly expenses from your total monthly income. Hopefully, when this step is complete there is a positive number remaining. If the result is a negative number, this means that you are living above your means by spending money that you do not have.

There are programs that can help you budget your income as well as save you money. I have listed them below.

Shrinkabill

logo for Shrinkabill

Shrinkabill saves you money on your existing bills. Their employees’ focus is to negotiate on your behalf to lower your bills. They have a great track record at lowering many types of costs such as your cable, internet, cell phone, and home security bills. Shrinkabill has been featured in Cnet.com, Forbes, AARP, Newsweek, and CBS news. They also provide a 100% risk-free double guarantee, and they also will send you a $25 gift card if they do not lower your expenses.

Trim

Trim is an AI (Artificial Intelligent) assistant that can automatically you save money by negotiating lower rates on your bills, cancel old prescriptions, cuts off forgotten recurring charges, contests overdraft fees with your bank, andTrim assistant services identifies expenses that can be reduced. You can also give commands to Trim for specific actions such as real-time balances on your accounts. Trim also helps you save for retirement and can open investment accounts. You can even communicate with Trim through text. They have been featured in The New York Times and NBC News. There are a lot of advancements coming soon.

Sticking to your budget is key to its success. You will find that making your budget and sticking with it will lead you to financial freedom. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask below.

budget on mobile phone application

Money Saving Techniques

A crucial part of restoring your credit is money. To be able to pay your bills onStack of $100 bills time requires money. Being able to start paying off your debts also requires money. When I say debts, I am referring to the past due bills that are being reported as negative items on your credit report. Those debts are usually the accounts that are most likely being reported on your credit reports by collection agencies. I have listed below some money saving tips that you can try to help you with saving money so that you can build your emergency fund. In addition to the emergency fund you will be able to start paying off your debts and become debt free.

30-day Rule

Avoid making spontaneous purchases. Make it a golden-rule to wait it out for 30 days before making any new purchases. This will save you from the usual buyer’s remorse that usually occurs the morning after. You will also have time to reflect on if the purchase is a necessity or not.

Avoid Fast Food

Not only is fast food bad for your health, but it is also bad for your financial health. If you are wanting to make cuts in your budget, cooking your meals at home is a quick way to save some serious cash. What you spend on one fast food for one person could easily be one meal for the family. If you are not sure where to start there are plenty of ideas on the web.

Design Your Debt Snowball

One of the most important parts of saving money is paying off your debts. The less debt you have, the more money you will have available to save. With the  debt snowball method, there are 2 repeated steps:

  1. List debts from smallest to largest
  2. Make minimum payments on all debts except the smallest – put as much money as you can on that one. Once that debt is gone you move on to the next smallest debt until they are all gone.

It would be wise to incorporate the largest interest rate to the first debts being paid off.

Join Every Free Rewards Program You can

Joining any free reward program that you can find. This can be at your local grocery store or local pharmacy. There are many different types of stores that have rewards programs that allow you to earn points for every dollar that you spend.

Write Shopping List and Stick to It

Before you go to the store make sure to write a shopping list. This will helpsaved dollar bills prevent impulse buys. Do not buy anything that is not on the list. This will ensure that you are not buying unnecessary items.

Entertain at Home Instead of Going Out

Eating out and going out are expensive. You will be surprised at how much money you save by inviting friends over for a barbeque or a game of cards. An even better idea is to have friends pitch-in for dinner. These things will be more rewarding then going out for entertainment and mood0

Negotiate Lower Interest Rate on Credit Cards

If you have even one credit card that carries a balance, you are paying interest on that balance. Consumers have the right to call and negotiate lower interest rates on their credit cards.

Cancel club memberships and magazine subscriptions

Do you have any old, forgotten club memberships? How about piles of unused magazines laying around the house? These accounts have the potential to save you a lot of money. Most likely they are not even being used, so cancel them. You will be surprised the amount of money this adds to your budget. You probably won’t even miss these services.

Fix Broken Items in Your Household on Your Own

Instead of hiring a handyman to fix broken items in your home, first try to fix them yourself. There are thousands of do it yourself videos on the web which show you how to do many different tasks. I’m willing to bet money on it. The best place that I find for DIY videos is YouTube. This tip alone can save you thousands of dollars.

Make Budget and Stick to It

Plan your budget. When the ink dries make sure you follow it. Do not live outside of your means. There are apps that can assist you with saving and budgeting. I have a couple of resources below which can help you with saving more money and your budget.

Saving money takes dedication and focus. You can do it! Fortunately, there are resources available that can assist you in your journey. My personal favorites are Trim, Personal Capital, Paribus and Shrinkabill.

Trim

Trim is a virtual personal assistant application integrated with artificial intelligence that works to save you money. This program will review all your bills, subscriptions, credit cards to see where you can save, cancel old subscriptions and fight fees on your bills and accounts. Trim also helps you save for your retirement, makes basic financial decisions and repeatedly checks your previous spending and automatically tries to recover and lower your costs. It is a must-have for those who have a working goal to save money.

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is your one-stop shop for your finances. It houses state-of-the-art financial software that allows you to set a budget, calculate your net-worth, manage investment accounts and plan for retirement. You can sign up for Personal Capital’s services for free. You even have access to an advisor to provide advice on retirement savings, college and starting a business.budget on mobile phone application

Paribus

Paribus is an app that tracks your online purchases for automatic price-drop refunds. For the app to be able to do its job it must have access to your email and you must keep a credit card on file. Whenever the price drops on any purchase you made online Paribus will file the adjustment claim on your behalf. This is an awesome app. I highly recommend it.

Shrinkabill

Shrinkabill is a service that negotiates lower payments on your current bills. These bills include cable/satellite tv, internet, cell phone, home security,Shrinkabill Logo satellite radio and home automation. This is an awesome service and it is free unless they are successful in getting you a lower rate on your bill. Shrinkabill can help you save up to 35% on these bills and has been seen in CBS Money Watch, TIME Magazine and US News. They also have a referral program.

With your focus, these steps should pay off handsomely. If you have any further questions feel free to post them below.

Trim Financial Mobile Application

Ways to Make Extra Money From Home

$100 bills in rubberbandsWays to Make Extra Money From Home

The best ways to increase your credit score is to pay off your debts as quickly as you can. This will lower your debt-to-income ratio and therefore boost your credit score. The problem is that many of us do not have the income to do so. Many of us are struggling just to pay our daily living expenses it can be difficult to allocate money for anything else.

To do this, you will need extra income. To generate the additional income needed to pay off your debts you will need to pick up another job or borrow the money. The problem with borrowing the money is if you do not have a friend or family member with the extra money that is willing to loan it to you that option is out.  So, the next viable option is to get a part-time job.

There are many part-time jobs that you can pick up even those that you can do from home. Another option would be a side hustle such as house or yard cleaning although a part-time job is more stable and lucrative. Luckily, there are many home-based job opportunities that are available in abundance, due largely in part to the internet. These prospects allow for more flexibility and you can schedule your hours around your regular full-time job.

Uber – Lyft

First up are Uber and Lyft, if you are not familiar with these companies I will be more than happy to define them for you. They are both ride-share outfits that hire people to provide other individuals with transportation to their desired location. You can contact either through an app on your telephone at any time day or night for a fee. It appears these services have replaced taxi services; they are much more convenient, timely and inexpensive. You use your own vehicle for this transportation although Uber does have a program where they provide the vehicles to their drivers.

1099-MomComputer on desk in home office

This is a great resource for the work-at-home mom who has clerical or sales skills. There are job postings such as blogging, freelance writing, proofreading and many other professions that can be done from the comfort of your own home.

TaskRabbit Tasker

If your skill lies in fixing things, cleaning or running errands, this is the job for you. Taskrabbit.com takes care of collecting payments and advertising for a minimal fee which equates to a small percentage of your earnings.

Virtual Assistant Jobs/Zirtual

If your skills lie in transcription services, data entry, editing and proofreading and medical billing there are services that will find clients for you at www.virtualassistantjobs.com or www.zirtual.com. These jobs you can work around your full-time positions easily at home in your downtime.

Customer Service/Telephone Jobs

There are countless telephone sales jobs or customer service positions that you can do from home if you have a landline and a computer; ideas can be found at www.Arise.com, www.LiveOps.com or www.WorkingSol.com.

Hobbies

If you like taking pictures you can make money by uploading them to websites such as www.BigStockPhoto.com. Small businesses and larger corporations will pay for them; these companies are always looking for images to put in their emails and brochures.

If you are talented at making things such as hair ornaments, jewelry, painting, and knitting; any type of arts and crafts, they can be sold on www.etsy.com.

Bookkeeping

If you are good with using accounting software such as QuickBooks you could keep the books for business owners that don’t want to be bothered with the task such as landscapers, plumbers, and carpenters. You can also advertise your services on websites such as www.oDesk.com or www.Elance.com.

With the above ideas, you should have no problem making a little extra money to apply to not only your monthly bills but also your debts.  With stable part-time income, you may even have enough money to put away into a savings account.

There are services like Trim that can also help you with your savings and budgeting; basically, it is a financial personal assistant.  Trim allows you to keep track of all your accounts and charges, identifies expenses that can be reduced, contests overdraft fees with your bank and sends you alerts about your finances plus a lot more.

Trim Financial mobile application
Trim Financial Manager

Well, it’s time to get to work, if you have any additional questions or comments feel free to leave them below.