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Tips for Tax Season

Posted on April 03, 2018 by Suzanne Carroll

It’s springtime, and with the longer days and milder weather, the last thing you probably want to do is your tax return. But the deadline for filing returns is just around the corner. If you’ve been putting off the inevitable, or if doing your taxes was a more harried experience than you would have liked, review these tips for getting through tax season. Read more

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Posted in: Financial
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What Will the New Tax Laws Mean for You or Your Business?

Posted on February 08, 2018 by Suzanne Carroll

In December 2017, Congress passed a comprehensive tax overhaul. With several hundred pages of new tax regulations on the books and tax season just around the corner, Bay Area residents and business owners are eager to learn what the revised code will mean for them. We spoke with Russell Barnett, EA, CTC, a Diamond Certified tax consultant, to help make sense of these new rules.

Businesses Will Be Most Affected by the Tax Overhaul

“The biggest changes to the tax code affect how business income is taxed,” says Mr. Barnett. Read more

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Posted in: Financial
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Take Advantage of Your Health Care Benefits Before the End of the Year

Posted on December 07, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

As the year comes to a close, many of us have money on our minds. Maybe you’re mulling how much to spend on gifts or how much to donate to your favorite charity. As you draw up your end-of-year accounts, one thing to consider is your health insurance benefits. If you’ve been putting off seeing your physician, optometrist, dentist or chiropractor, you may want to make an appointment before January. There are two reasons why December is a crucial time to plan for health care costs: 1) deductibles will reset in January and 2) it’s your last chance to use any money you’ve put in a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Read more

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Posted in: Health Tips
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Giving Well: Advice for Holiday Charity

Posted on December 05, 2017 by James Florence

The holidays represent different things for different people, but there’s one seasonal sentiment that’s universally shared: generosity. This can be seen in the annual outpouring of monetary goodwill that transpires as people from all walks of life open their hearts by opening their wallets. Naturally, charitable organizations haven’t overlooked this custom, which is why you’re likely to find your mailbox, inbox and social media feed teeming with donation requests this time of year. However, with so many solicitations coming from all directions, it’s hard to discern where to direct your generosity. We’ve teamed up with Chris Bjorklund, The Savvy Consumer, to provide some advice for giving wisely during the holidays. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Savvy Tips
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Concentration Station: How to Create a Home Office

Posted on September 05, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, close to 25 percent of all employed Americans work from home at least some of the time. This is hardly surprising given increasingly longer commutes and the growth of the gig economy. If you’re part of this trend of telecommuters, you probably already know that working from home has its upsides and downsides. The key to staying on task while surrounded by the distractions of home is to create a home office where you can be your most productive. Let’s go through the steps.

Step 1: Establish Your Work Station

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated room for a home office, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Home Improvement
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Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy

Posted on August 03, 2017 by James Florence

While part of preparing a rental property for market is getting the physical space move-in ready, the other part is addressing non-physical details such as tenant screening. Due to the potential consequences of oversights or poor decisions in this area, it’s important to take a meticulous, preventative approach. To learn a few critical steps, read the following tip sheet by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Sam LaPlaca of CM Property Management Inc.:

1. Verify income. Accepting a tenant who can’t afford the rent is a mistake that can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. That’s why, in addition to asking for pay stubs and bank statements, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers
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Sign of a Professional Valet Service

Posted on July 11, 2017 by James Florence

With Roy Nickolai of All About Parking

When using a valet service, it’s not always easy to tell its level of professionalism. One indicator that you’re dealing with a professional company is if the valet attendant walks around your vehicle and performs a damage control inspection prior to issuing you a ticket. The purpose of this inspection is to document any scratches, dents or other damage already on the vehicle, which the attendant will typically make note of on the valet ticket. This simple step will help you avoid any controversy about whether damage occurred while the vehicle was in the valet service’s care.

While it should be part of standard procedure, Read more

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