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The Tax Overhaul One Year Later: A Conversation With Russell Barnett, EA, CTC

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Suzanne Carroll

The end of 2017 brought about a major overhaul to the United States tax system called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Last year, we spoke with Russell Barnett, EA, CTC, owner of Silicon Valley Tax Coach, to get a sense of how the new code might impact taxpayers. One year after the overhaul, we turned to Mr. Barnett again to learn what insights he’s gained after working with the new regulations. Here’s our conversation: Read more

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Posted in: Financial
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Start Fresh: A New Year’s Checklist

Posted on January 02, 2018 by James Florence

In addition to implementing personal resolutions, the New Year is an ideal time to review and renew your to-do list.

It’s no wonder the custom of adopting annual resolutions coincides with the year’s beginning rather than its middle or end. A new year means a fresh start—a milestone that signals an opportunity for positive change. Like a blank canvas to a painter, the New Year invites us to entertain new possibilities, inspires us to innovate upon the past and fills us with “momentum of purpose.”

While this sense of positive propulsion is often directed toward personal development, it can also be useful for accomplishing tangible goals, which is why the New Year is an ideal time to review and renew your to-do list. Whether you need to catch up on overdue maintenance, have a project you’ve been putting off or simply want to start off on the right foot, Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Consumers
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The Baby Bomb: Bracing for the Impact of First-Time Parenthood

Posted on April 06, 2017 by James Florence

Three months ago, my wife and I welcomed the newest addition to our family: a baby boy, our third child. Four years after our last visit to the delivery room, the event reawakened the sense of joy and wonderment we experienced when our first two children entered the world. Likewise, the first few days of bonding with our son brought back memories of our early days as parents. By our third time around, we’ve become fairly seasoned—the interrupted sleep and constant diaper changing are practically second nature. But that first time…not exactly a walk in the park. As you’ve no doubt heard, nothing can prepare you for your initial foray into parenthood. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories
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Preparing for Next Year’s Taxes

Posted on January 18, 2017 by Suzanne Carroll

While the beautiful days of winter may be a tax season perk, the real prize comes once you’ve successfully prepared and submitted your tax return. If you’re going to receive a refund this year, congratulations! Now, let’s think about not only how to spend it, but how to spend it to maximize your refund next year. And if you’re not going to receive a refund this year, you may want to consider making some deductible expenditures.
Here are a few ideas:

  • Do you own a rental property? Any maintenance you spend on that property can be deducted. Is it time to re-paint or install new floors? Does it need a new water heater or a retaining wall?
  • Read more

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Posted in: Consumers
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Money Matters: Managing a Loved One’s Financial Affairs

Posted on July 21, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

My brothers and I are fortunate to still have our 95-year-old mother in our lives, but we do have a lot of responsibility for her physical and financial well-being. We’ve helped her with estate planning, medical directives and investments, and we manage her bills, doctors’ appointments, medications, and caregivers. My older brother, a certified public accountant, has power of attorney. Like most families, we have a lot going on and it can be overwhelming at times.

Despite our collective efforts to keep things organized and do advance planning, we’ve had some glitches. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Making Sense of Solar

Posted on January 14, 2016 by Chris Bjorklund

Today, many homeowners are considering the benefits of going solar because of energy savings and tax credits. Systems are also getting more affordable. I asked Sungevity’s Sloane Morgan to answer some of the most common questions.

Is it expensive to install solar?
When residential solar systems were first introduced, they were expensive for the average homeowner, but solar panel prices have dropped radically since then Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Savvy Tips, Solar Energy
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Money Matters: Financial Advice for Engaged and Newly Married Couples

Posted on October 13, 2015 by Chris Bjorklund

I decided to write about this topic after talking to my recently married son and his new wife about some aspects of getting their finances in order that they hadn’t thought about. After a wedding, it’s easy to get distracted writing thank-you notes instead of doing important paperwork and planning related to your new legal status as a married couple.

The first thing that may come to mind is taxes. According to Geoffrey Kulik, a partner at Sterck Kulik O’Neill Accounting Group, Inc., a Diamond Certified firm, newlyweds have to file their taxes for the entire year as either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” “Because of the way the laws are written, Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Savvy Tips
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