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What is IRS Notice 433 – Interest and Penalty Information?

IRS Link to Notice — Found Here Notice 433 describes penalties and the applicable interest rates for various years of non-payment when corporate taxes are not paid in a timely manner. This does not apply to individuals unless they are incorporated, and is not to be confused with Forms 433-A, -B, -D, or -F which are for individual purposes and concern applications for a Compromise Notice 746 updates the interest rates for more recent years. Continue reading...

What are the IRS Guidelines for Filing a Form 4868 Tax Return Extension?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here An individual can automatically have their tax return due date extended by 6 months by filing a Form 4868. Tax returns are generally due by April 15, so this gives a person until October 15 to have the 1040 return submitted. This also goes for other tax return forms such as 1040-A and 1040-EZ. Please note that the IRS expects your taxes to be paid by April 18th, using your best-guess at what you owe, in order to avoid additional charges. People often do not have their tax returns completed by April 15, for various reasons. Continue reading...

What is Gambling Income?

IRS Link to W2-G Form — Found Here IRS Link to Form 1040 — Found Here Winnings from gambling activity must be reported as income, and they will be subject to different kinds of taxes depending on how they were won and the amount. If you win over a certain amount through a lottery, raffle, horse track, keno game, slot machine, poker tournament, or other form of gambling, it will all be taxed at a 25% rate and will have to file form W2-G. Lesser winnings will still need to be reported as income. If an individual wins over $600, less the amount of the wager, and it is over 300 times the amount of the bet, they must file a W2-G on their taxes. Continue reading...

Can I Withdraw Money From My Cash-Balance Plan?

It’s not likely that a cash-balance plan will allow for early withdrawals. Generally speaking, you can’t withdraw money from a Cash-Balance Plan before you retire unless it is to roll over assets to a new employer’s plan or a personal IRA. Once the money is in another account, you could potentially have full access to it, minus the 10% IRS penalty if you’re under 59 ½. Loans from a cash balance plan may be permitted if they abide by the same rules as 401(k) loans — and if the IRS and the DOL will allow you to consider your vested amount in your hypothetical account as adequate collateral. Continue reading...

What is Form 1099-INT?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Interest income, such as that paid in certain bank accounts and government bonds, will be reported to the taxpayer and the IRS by the payer of the interest income. Form 1099-INT is the form used by these businesses or entities to report the income. Interest income from bonds and interest-paying bank accounts, such as savings accounts, and certain investments, will be reported on Form 1099-INT. The payer of the interest will submit the form to the IRS even for very small amounts of interest payments. Continue reading...

Can I Withdraw Money From My Pension Plan?

This is rarely an option, but the IRS does allow it. In general, you can’t withdraw money from a Pension Plan before you retire. You also may not be able to make non-recurring withdrawals after retirement, unless it is a lump-sum settlement. If your plan allowed it, the IRS would treat it just like withdrawals from a 401(k). Withdrawals before 59 ½ would be penalized with a 10% early withdrawal tax. Continue reading...

What are Required Minimum Distributions?

RMDs are withdrawals that are mandatory for an individual to take from an IRA or 401(k) after the person has reached 70 ½. The government created laws that help and encourage people to save for their retirement by deferring taxes on the growth on certain qualified retirement investment accounts. On Traditional IRAs and 401(k) accounts, they are only waiting to get the tax revenue from distributions/withdrawals that are fully taxable as income. Continue reading...

What if I Need the Money in My 401(k) Before I Retire?

Withdrawals and loans can be taken out of a 401(k) before retirement, but the money may be subject to penalties, conditions, and taxes. It is quite common that 401(k) funds are needed before retirement, even though the IRS wants you to wait until you’re 59 ½, and will generally want to levy a 10% penalty on any premature withdrawals. Most plans allow employees to take non-taxed loans out on their balance, which may stunt the growth of the account which was intended for retirement, but if the funds are paid back on-schedule, as stipulated in the plan’s loan agreement, the employee can get back on track quickly. Continue reading...

What is a Consolidated Tax Return?

A consolidated tax return is a single filing that covers several subsidiary companies and their parent company. One of the advantages of doing so is that the capital gains of one can be offset by the capital losses of another. It can also allow a profit sharing plan for the parent corporation to use profits from the subsidiaries. Corporations with subsidiaries can file a consolidated tax return that covers all of the affiliated companies. Continue reading...

What is a Sole Proprietorship?

Sole proprietorships are businesses owned by a single person. The owner assumes all legal and financial responsibility for the company. Most sole proprietors will file an LLC with their state, to shield their personal assets from business risks to the extent that they can, as well as to be recognized by the state as a business for other purposes. LLC stands for limited liability company, and it serves as a pass-through entity for the owner. Continue reading...

What is Acquisition Accounting?

Also known as Business Combination Accounting, there are specific guidelines and bits of information that must be documented on the books during an acquisition. Acquisition Accounting is a standardized way to account for the assets and liabilities of companies who are part of a merger or acquisition. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) stipulate that even in a merger where a new company is formed, one company must play the role of acquirer and the other of acquiree, but that rule really only applies outside of the US. Continue reading...

What is an Accounting Period?

An accounting period is a specific time frame from which documents and records have been used by accountants to arrive at reported balances and statements. An accounting period can be a fiscal year, quarter, or month, or any other time frame for which reporting is being done. At any given time, there may be different accounting periods running. Books are kept and reports are made for different tiers of accounting periods. Continue reading...

What are the Vesting Rules for My Self-Employed 401(k)?

There is no vesting required for self-employed 401(k) (aka Solo K) plans, since you are the employer and the employee. Vesting is a process in which assets that were completely owned by one party are eventually made the property of another party who has had use of the assets. In retirement plans, employer contributions typically have a vesting schedule, partially to give employees a reason to stick around for a few more years. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My SEP IRA?

SEP IRAs are subject to the same withdrawal rules as Traditional IRAs. SEP IRA contributions and earnings may be withdrawn at any time, but there are penalties that may apply, using the same rules as those applied to Traditional IRA withdrawals. If you are under the age of 59½, you must pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on your withdrawal. Of course, there are certain exceptions to the penalties: first time home-buyers expenses up to $10,000, medical bills, educational expenses, and a few others. Continue reading...

What are Hardship Withdrawals from my 401(k)?

The IRS Code allows for certain penalty-free withdrawals, and gives the plan administrator the freedom to define certain other hardship exemptions. Certain kinds of retirement plan withdrawals are excluded from the 10% early withdrawal penalty tax. These include medical expenses which exceed 7.5% or 10% of Adjusted Gross Income, distributions to the family members of active duty military personnel who have been called to active duty, and distributions needed if the participant becomes disabled. Continue reading...

When Can I Access the Money in my IRA?

You have the ability to make withdrawals from an IRA leading up to retirement, but you may be penalized. You are able to withdraw money from your Traditional IRA at any time (after all, this is your money), but it can be a costly decision. If you decide to take out money before age 59½, you will most likely pay a 10% penalty in addition to regular income taxes on the amount that you withdraw. As the name Individual Retirement Account implies, the money is meant to be taken out during retirement. There are a few circumstances in which the IRS will allow you to make early withdrawals without assessing the 10% penalty. These exemptions are mostly for hardships, but first time homebuyers can get up to $10,000 out penalty-free, and college tuition costs for family members can usually be withdrawn penalty-free. Continue reading...

Who Administers a 401(k)?

A 401(k) plan Administrator will usually be an officer of the Employer sponsoring the plan. A 401(k) plan document will specify who is the Administrator of the plan, but it is generally an executive or officer of the company sponsoring the plan. 401(k)s can be sold in packages that are essentially the same from employer to employer. When the design is well-established, and there are systems in place to enroll employees and maintain the plan, such as an employee website, a company’s CFO or human resources department chair may wear the Administrator hat. Some plans require a special administrator, and this may be a requirement of the broker-dealer acting as Custodian, especially if the plan has been designed from an open architecture, and there are many moving parts. Continue reading...

Does IRS Rule 72(t) Provide a Way to Take Early 401(k) Withdrawals Without Penalty?

Rule 72(t) allows the owner of a 401(k) or IRA account to take “substantially equal periodic payments” from an account without owing the 10% early withdrawal penalty. Taking money out of a401(k) or IRA before age 59½ will generally cause someone to owe a 10% early withdrawal penalty. One of the ways this penalty can be avoided, however, is if the participant uses 72(t) distributions. IRS rule 72(t) is the section of the code that describes early withdrawal penalties, but it also allows “substantially equal periodic payments” to be taken from a 401(k) or IRA without owing the 10% penalty. 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...

How Can I Establish a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA must be established by an employer with fewer than 100 employees. An employer can establish a SIMPLE IRA if they have no more than 100 employees who earned $5,000 or more during the preceding calendar year. The employer cannot have any other type of qualified retirement plan going while a SIMPLE IRA is in effect. SIMPLEs should be established between Jan 1 and October 1 of the first year of the plan, unless the business started after that. Plans can be set up relatively quickly and can even use automatic enrollment if employees are given the ability to opt-out. Continue reading...