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Archive for Manasa Nadig

Cybersecurity: Keep Them Virtual Doors Locked Please!

October has been established as National Cyber Security Awareness Month by the Dept. of Homeland Security, to especially educate individuals and small business owners about cyber security. No better time to talk about Cyber Security I thought!

It has been a busy summer over here at MN Tax Solutions LLC. I was taking stock of our big challenges from the 2015 tax season and so I thought I should share some of the important lessons we learnt from it. No matter how many times we say this, it cannot be said enough- It is imperative to take regular stock of your “cyber-security health”! Just like you would go to the doctor for regular check-ups!

What are your best cyber-security practices? What are the types of threats you could face? Read more

New Rules On Gifts & Inheritances From Expats Proposed By The IRS

We know that increasing globalization keeps us, Enrolled Agents, on our toes especially when we have to consider advising families, businesses and real property owners who have ties with the US and other countries as well. Thanks to my many clients who have business interests in other countries or still have ties/ families back in the countries they migrated from, I deal with cross-border issues quite often.

Interestingly, this summer we did a work-up for a client who had surrendered their green-card & left the country but due to their length of stay in the country, they could be considered “covered-expatriates”, the clients wanted to set up inheritances for their grand-children who are US citizens. Read more

IRA-One Rollover Per Year Rule: Breaking It Down For You!

IRAs or Individual Retirement Accounts are a common vehicle for retirement savings, with tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis. There are 3 types of IRAs: Traditional, Roth and Rollover. Each of these have their own rules & regulations for contributions, eligibility, contribution limits, tax savings etc.

So an IRA is essentially a basket in which you keep your stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other assets. IRAs are retirement accounts you can open on your own and unlike 401(k)s provided by employers, have lower contribution limits.

What Is A Rollover?:

A “Rollover” happens when funds from a retirement account such as a 401(k) into an IRA Read more

New FBAR Deadline: Why This Is Great News?

This is what happened on the last day of July this year (2015): President Obama signed into law H.R. 3236, the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act (The Act). An unlikely vehicle for deadline changes, but it did make some really important changes to Tax Law & Revenue Provisions, including:

1. FinCEN Form 114 (FBAR) filing and extension deadlines;
2. Tax Filing Deadlines;
3. Changes to consistent basis reporting between the estate and the person acquiring the property from the decedent.

Point #3 above modifies due dates for Trust returns: Foreign trusts with US Owners and Read more

Receiving Social Security Benefits While Living Abroad

Social Security – that onerous tax we pay to work in the United States, supposedly for our own retirement but it seems to be more to fund those who are already drawing on it! I have quite a few clients who are on temporary work visas here in the US. They rightfully question whether they will be able repatriate Social Security when they are eligible to draw on it. Or there are those US Citizens who travel after they retire and may even choose to settle abroad or go back to their home country if they had migrated to the USA.

Are You A US Citizen or Not?:

Retirees who are U.S. citizens are entitled to continue receiving benefits for as long as they live outside the United States. However, citizens of other countries who receive Social Security may have some restrictions on how long they can receive benefits while outside Read more

Tax Related Identity Theft

This past year, Identity Theft has become such a buzz word, that it needs to be revisited on my blog. Between scamming crooks on the phone from off-shore based call centers, hackers believed to be from Russia raiding the IRS website and some more hackers from China getting into the national data-base & managing to steal classified information of hundreds & thousands of federal employees, protecting one’s identity has become a top priority for all.

I wrote about Protecting Your Identity here earlier.

According to today’s news, the scammer who took millions with fake IRS calls from gullible taxpayers was sentenced to 14 years in prison. To many, getting a phone call from Read more

Credit Cards: A Necessary Evil!

This email popped up from the Credit Card Insider team just as I was having a conversation about summer jobs with my 19 year old. They asked me if I would be interested in writing a post about advising college students/fresh graduates about credit cards and good practice.

Now, both my teens will tell you that I absolutely love advising, only, they don’t seem to agree on the term used, I think they would rather call it “lecturing” and immediately turn their ears off. (How is that humanly possible, anyway?) Naturally, I immediately shot back an answer to the email, “Serendipitous!” I said, “I would love to.”

If you are a recent college graduate and are trying to stare down a humongous college Read more

What Has Jeeves Got To Do With Taxes?

If you know Jeeves, he is the fictional character in the series of humorous (read rib-tickling funny) short stories by P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves is a very, very capable valet who gets his employer, Wooster out of many a sticky situation.

My father introduced me to P.G.Wodehouse’s books and there was no turning me back after that. The brilliant comic genius’ writing has kept me enthralled through long train rides, boring summer afternoons, quick breaks in the midst of grueling exams, you get the drift!

Now we may not all be able to afford a Jeeves in our lives, but a very common trend these days is to hire a nanny or an “au pair” if one has small gifts. Considering the sky-rocketing Read more

Rental Property In Foreign Countries – A Primer!

I keep saying this, “The world is shrinking!”, ad nauseum perhaps, but I just cannot seem to get over that. When I went into the tax profession 15 years ago, I never thought I’d be reading as many tax treaties as I do now! I found out that the US had a Tax Treaty with Ukraine this year! Go figure!

Speaking of a shrinking globe, Inter-Governmental Agreements and Tax Treaties, it was uncanny this tax season, I had more than my share of clients who had a property or two in foreign countries by way of an inheritance or purchase and after having held it for a while as investments, they were now contemplating turning them into rentals.

I had written about owning foreign real estate a few blog-posts ago. You can read Read more

Special Needs Require Special Deductions

Over the years I have worked with many families with special needs kids. I am amazed at their strength and the resilience of their spirit. The term “Special Needs” now encompasses more than what it used to and rightly so. It is truly phenomenal that studies show that the number of children diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome and many other neurological disorders continue to skyrocket. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control estimated the rate to be as high as 1 in 50.

We know how disruptive the lives of families with special needs dependents are, which is only compounded by the fact that the costs of providing care to the dependents are very high. To further complicate things, parents or care-givers are not aware of possible tax deductions that can help alleviate some of these costs and they unknowingly forgo tax Read more

Aliens: Non Resident or Resident – What Is Your Status?

Star Trek came much later to Indian television, growing up, I was always a big fan of the science fiction stuff, every Sunday morning my brother & I would be glued to the telly waiting for the next episode of “Star Trek”,not even the tantalizing smell of special Sunday breakfasts would get us to budge from our spots. Many, many re-runs of the Star Wars series and the cult movie, E.T later, when I landed in the United States, I was amused to find out that I was considered an “alien”!

Of course, that was not meant as a “stranger-landing-from-a-space-ship” kind of an alien, but it was more as a sedate, ubiquitous immigrant alien. So let’s get to the mundane type of complicated rules to determine – for income tax purposes- if you are an alien, that is, not an U.S. citizen, there are certain criteria you have to examine. Read more

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