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What is FICA?

What is FICA?

FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) taxes are handled by the Social Security Administration, as they are payroll withholdings that go toward Social Security and Medicare funds. Most people will have half of their FICA paid by their employer, but self-employed people must pay it all on their own, which is called the “Self-Employment Tax.” FICA is a tax on employees and employers that funds the Social Security and Medicare programs of the United States. Continue reading...

What Kinds of Social Security Benefits Exist?

What Kinds of Social Security Benefits Exist?

Social Security benefits are streams of income available for retired workers, their spouses, children and dependents, and survivors. It provides insurance against longevity, disability, and, to some extent, the death of the primary contributor. Social Security benefits are available to a worker and their dependents if the worker has triggered eligibility, which usually calculated as earning over $5,040 for 10 years, but is modified if the worker dies or is disabled at a young age. Benefits can be paid to multiple people within a household (and an ex-spouse) based on one worker’s contributions to the system, up to a Maximum Family Limit, which is somewhere between 150-180% of a worker’s full benefit amount. Continue reading...

When Will Social Security Go Bankrupt?

When Will Social Security Go Bankrupt?

Most estimates project that the Social Security Trust Funds will be depleted by 2037. The system could still function at 70% of their full obligations by transferring cash flow directly from social security taxes to the retired beneficiaries, which most people don’t realize when they spread the news that the system is tanking. Adjustments to the system and interest rates could change how this plays out and keep it operating closer to full capacity. Continue reading...

What is Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 515 serves as a guide for employers with regards to the tax withholding requirements for nonresident alien employees. It also addresses income being paid to foreign corporations and partnerships, foreign trusts and estates, and foreign governments and international organizations. Income paid by companies to employees who are not US residents will have to follow regulations including withholding and filing requirements outlines in this Publication and the referenced forms. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA)?

The Federal Unemployment Tax Act was passed in 1939, and it set up trust funds for the purpose of providing unemployment insurance. Businesses, not individuals, are taxed to provide funds for the program. There are 53 state funds (including D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), 4 federal accounts, and 2 associated with railroad retirement. The Federal Unemployment Tax helps states fund their own unemployment programs. Continue reading...

Who Pays for Medicare?

Who Pays for Medicare?

Taxes pay for the entirety of Medicare part A. For the optional or supplemental policies which fall under the Medicare moniker, a regular premium may be due, but it’s still better than what premiums would look like if there were no Medicare. The Social Security Administration (website—here), which is funded by taxes deducted from your paycheck under FICA, or as part of the “self-employment tax,” administers both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

What are Federal Reserve Regulations?

The Fed has been commissioned with upholding the directive of the Federal Reserve Act. The Fed is technically an independent institution from the US Government, even though it works hand-in-hand with the Treasury Department on monetary policy issues. It functions partially as a self-regulatory organization for the banking industry, and the Regulations, which are named with letters of the alphabet, are meant to protect consumers, member banks, and the economy as a whole. The leadership of the Fed is comprised of both government appointees and private sector banking leaders. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Limits for My Keogh Plan?

The contribution limit for a Keogh Plan depends on what type of Keogh Plan you set up. There are Defined Contribution and Defined Benefit Keoghs. Defined Contribution plans could be profit-sharing or money-purchase plans. As of 2013, a Defined Contribution Keogh Plan allows the employer to contribute up to 25% of your income, or $53,000, whichever is less, and this will constitute the profit-sharing or money-purchase aspect of the plan. Continue reading...

What is the foreign credit insurance association?

What is the foreign credit insurance association?

The Foreign Credit Insurance Association protects American businesses from non-payment in international trade deals where goods were sold on credit. The Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA) is a group of insurance companies which underwrite the foreign credit insurance sold by the Export-Import Bank of Washington DC. The Export – Import Bank, also known as the Ex/Im Bank, is an independent government entity that facilitates and encourages some international trade activity of American companies. Continue reading...

What is FICA and How Does It Impact Your Paycheck?

What is FICA and How Does It Impact Your Paycheck?

Unravel the complexities of FICA, the cornerstone of the U.S. social safety net. This guide delves into the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, shedding light on its historical roots, tax rates, and its pivotal role in funding Social Security and Medicare. From the legislation's inception in 1935 to its modern-day implications, understand how FICA taxes impact both employees and employers. Whether you're an individual taxpayer, business owner, or finance enthusiast, this comprehensive overview offers insights into the legislation that safeguards the financial and health well-being of countless Americans. Dive in to demystify FICA's intricate landscape. Continue reading...

Can My Employer Pay Me In Bitcoin?

Can My Employer Pay Me In Bitcoin?

The IRS has already paved the way for employers to pay wages using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and more services to facilitate this activity are being established. If your employer is willing to facilitate it, you can indeed receive your paycheck, or part of it, in bitcoins. Several financial services companies that deal in bitcoins exist that can help you accomplish this, and there will likely be more of them in the future. One such company, Bitwage, acts as an intermediary between your payroll service and Bitcoin exchanges, such as Coinbase, before sending the balance to your Bitcoin Wallet. The IRS has already established guidance on the subject. As an employer, you are free to pay employees in bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies” as long as you adhere to the same withholding and reporting requirements that would pertain to employee remunerations in US dollars, including FICA taxes and the rest of it. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Home Loan Bank Act?

The Federal Home Loan Bank Act was signed into law by President Hoover in 1932. The goal of the legislation was to make liquidity more accessible to banks for the purpose of making home loans, so that more Americans could acquire permanent residences. The bill established the FHL Bank system, which now consists of 11 FHL banks. The Federal Home Loan Bank Act of 1932 established the FHL Bank system, which is a co-operative banking network for banks and other lending institutions who make home loans. The FHL banks are owned by their member institutions, who purchase stock in the bank and are then permitted to take loans out from it, using that money to provide loans to customers. Continue reading...

What is the Federal Reserve System?

What is the Federal Reserve System?

The Federal Reserve System was established by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which created a network of reserve banks that could help to prevent economic meltdowns by serving as a regulator and a source of funds. There are 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks which monitor banks in their jurisdiction and make loans when necessary. The Federal Reserve System is sometimes referred to as one bank, but it is in fact a network of 12 banks with 24 branches, overseen by a Board with members nominated by the US Government. Continue reading...

What is a Federally Covered Advisor?

The Investment Advisers Supervision Coordination Act of 1996 sought to delegate the responsibility of monitoring investment advisors between the states and the federal government. It amended the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, which required all advisors to register with the SEC. The Dodd-Frank Act further amended the IAA, such that only advisors with assets under management exceeding $100 million had to register with the SEC. The IASC was part of the NSMIA legislation passed in 1996. Up until that point, all advisors were regulated and monitored by the SEC. Continue reading...

If I Retire, Can I Keep the Health Plan My Employer Offered?

If I Retire, Can I Keep the Health Plan My Employer Offered?

Some employers will offer legacy employees continued health care coverage even after retirement, but it is not very common these days. The costs of health care are rising too quickly for most corporations to keep up. Some corporations will continue to pay a percentage of premiums for their retirees, but more often than not it is up to the retiree to obtain their own health care. Following employment, most people are eligible for COBRA, and then later in life you can purchase plans through Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading...

How Does Social Security Work?

How Does Social Security Work?

Social Security uses mandatory payroll taxes to grow trust funds that are used to pay income to retirees and other qualifying persons. Any surplus that is collected in a given year and not paid out is used to purchase Treasury Bonds, which pay a guaranteed rate of interest to the trusts and allows the government to use this surplus money in the meantime. When you receive your paycheck, you’ll see a deduction for FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act), which is a “combined payroll tax” for both Social Security and Medicare. Continue reading...

What if I Cannot Get Individual Coverage?

What if I Cannot Get Individual Coverage?

Under current law (the Affordable Care Act), everyone is eligible to receive health insurance coverage. However, not everyone may be able to afford health insurance. There are subsidies provided by the federal government for those who cannot afford it, but cost may still be an issue for many. How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost? Can I Purchase Individual Health Insurance? What Health Insurance Do I Need if I Don't Have a Job? Continue reading...

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

What is a Thrift Savings Plan?

A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a 401(k)-style plan for Federal employees. A Thrift Savings Plan functions the same way a 401(k) does – you can elect to contribute a portion of your salary, known as an employee deferral or employee contribution, and the money will be allowed to grow in the account tax-deferred. The TSP is only available to Federal Employees and United States military personnel. There is a flat contribution of 1% from the employer, and, depending on the type of Federal job, employees may be eligible for a matching contribution from the employer. Continue reading...

How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost?

How Much Will Individual Health Coverage Cost?

There are many factors that determine how much you pay for health coverage, such as age, income level, and the type of plan you want. The least expensive plans will be for young people (age 30 or under) who just want catastrophic coverage – this type of coverage is high deductible and does not cover frequent visits to the doctor or even check-ups. It is designed to provide coverage only in the event of a major accident. Continue reading...

What Is the Social Security Act?

What Is the Social Security Act?

The Social Security Act, signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, is a cornerstone of the U.S. social safety net. This landmark legislation created a system of benefits for retired individuals, the jobless, and those with disabilities, while also providing aid to dependent mothers and children, victims of work-related accidents, and people with visual or physical impairments. Prior to this groundbreaking act, the federal government's involvement in such social welfare programs was minimal, primarily limited to pensions for veterans. Continue reading...