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Who Offers Defined Benefit Plans?

Any employer can offer a Defined Benefit plan, but not many do anymore. Before the introduction of Defined Contribution Plans, most large corporations such as General Electric, General Motors, etc. offered only Defined Benefit Plans. Over the years, it has put a huge burden on these corporations to guarantee the performance of these plans. If the plan has not performed according to the assumptions, the company would have to contribute the difference, which would have to come from their profits. In order to shift the burden to the employees, most companies now offer Defined Contribution Plans (such as 401(k)s, etc.) instead of Defined Benefit Plans. Continue reading...

Can I Withdraw Money From My Defined Benefit Plan?

Most pensions will not allow in-service withdrawals but some will allow loans. While you are working for your employer, you typically may not withdraw money from your Defined Benefit Plan. The IRS permits plan loans if the plan administrator permits it. In-service withdrawals are possible after age 62, meaning money can get taken out before separation from service. If you leave your employer before retirement, the funds are usually kept in a Trust until you reach retirement age (or until a specified age at which you can start to receive the benefits). Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Deadlines for My Keogh Plan?

Generally the deadline for contributions is the tax filing deadline, with extensions. In order to deduct your contributions to a Keogh Plan from your taxable income, the Keogh Plan has to be set up by the last day of that year (December 31). The deadline to make contributions to your Keogh Plan is the same as the due date for Federal Income Taxes for your business. This includes extensions, so you may be able to make contributions until October of the following year. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax?

Income tax is paid to the government based on the amount of income earned. There are federal income taxes, and some states have their own income taxes, too. As an employee for a company, income taxes will be withheld from paychecks using the company’s best estimation of your annual earnings. At the end of the year it may turn out that they withheld too much, and the government may give you a tax refund for what was overpaid. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS guide gives taxpayers and businesses an idea of how to calculate the appropriate amount of withholding to do and how to continually estimate tax rate on an ongoing basis for an entire year. It is about 60 pages long and touches on many issues related to tax withholding. Tax withholding applies to payroll needs, self-employed reporting, as well as some retirement planning applications, among other things. Continue reading...

What is Income Tax Payable?

Income Tax Payable is an account on a company’s ledger where they reserve amounts that will be used to pay the tax liability in the current quarter or year. This account tends to be separate from payroll taxes and sales taxes. This account will typically be empty at the end of the fiscal year. Corporations must pay income taxes based on their gross income, and the funds to pay them are held in the Income Tax Payable account on their company ledger. Continue reading...

What is Form 706: Estate Tax and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here The Form 706 is required not only if there is a tax implication for an estate, but also to claim exclusions. Each person has an exclusion of 5.49 Million as of 2017. For married couples, that goes double, such that heirs to an estate under $11 million probably will not owe any estate taxes. A surviving spouse should still report the inherited portion of the deceased spouse’s estate up to the exclusion amount, otherwise the exclusion will be lost. There are also lines for the lifetime gift exclusion amount and the generation skipping transfer tax. 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 are Federal Tax Brackets?

Income taxation in the United States is done by assigning different tax rates to each specific range of income. Generally the lower income amounts will correspond to lower percentage toward federal income tax than higher income amounts. This is called a progressive tax and is frequently misunderstood. Many people mistakenly think that if they “fall into” a specific tax bracket based on their income that they will owe that higher tax rate that corresponds to the bracket on all of their income. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...

What is a Dividend Tax Credit?

In Canada, the dividend tax credit eliminates tax liability for eligible dividends. Eligible dividends can come from public companies, foreign-owned companies operating in Canada, and many privately owned companies. It allows Canadian citizens to avoid having their dividends double-taxed. Canada offers a dividend tax credit that allows investors to eliminate their taxes on dividends paid from eligible companies. Continue reading...

What is Federal Income Tax?

The Federal Government has established several ways to generate the revenue needed to pay for the operations of government agencies and capital improvements benefiting society. The primary source of these funds is through income taxes, which are assessed based on the earnings of an individual. Federal income taxes are paid by individuals in proportion to their earnings, after reducing the considered earnings by the allowable tax deductions. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax credit?

A foreign tax credit (or deduction) allows a citizen who earned income in another country to reduce the amount of domestic income taxes owed if the foreign government has already taxed the income abroad. Workers who earn income in a foreign country may be entitled to a credit or deduction on their domestic income taxes if they show that this income was already taxed by the foreign government where the income was earned. In the US, there are at least three types of foreign income tax exemptions, with a foreign tax credit being one of them. 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...

What are the Tax Implications for Making a Profit (or Loss) On a Stock?

Gains on stock investments will be taxable in the current year unless they can be offset with losses. Stocks that appreciate in value do not incur any tax liability while they are held, unless they pay dividends. Dividends will generally be taxable as ordinary income. For this article we will focus on capital appreciation instead of dividends. Capital appreciation can be considered long-term gains or short-term gains by the IRS upon the sale of the shares. A stock held for less than a year will incur short-term capital gains taxes, which are taxed at ordinary income rates. Continue reading...

What is Earnings Before Tax (EBT)?

Earnings before tax (EBT) is used to look at cash flows after expenses but before taxes. In a world without tax, this is what earnings would look like. Taking advantage of an advantageous tax-event, or hiring a better CPA, or merging with a company that can reduce the tax implications of some regular transactions, can bring earnings closer to their before-tax amount. Earnings before tax from an accounting standpoint is net income (which is another word for earnings) with taxes added together with it. Continue reading...

What are the Tax Implications of Owning Bonds?

Some bonds receive preferential tax treatment. The interest you receive is fully taxable, unless the bonds are issued by municipalities, states, federal governments, or corporations with special tax-exempt statuses (such as school districts, infrastructure facilities, hospitals, and so on). The first very general rule of thumb – if you reside in a certain municipality and buy bonds of that municipality, the interest is not taxable. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 334, Tax Guide for Small Business?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here The Tax Guide for Small Businesses is a 50-page booklet designed to help small businesses navigate the forms and publications needed to file their taxes. There are many nuances to filing small business taxes, and many kinds of small businesses, so this form comes into use quite often. The Tax Guide for Small Businesses includes instructions and a list of documents and forms which will help small businesses file their taxes. Continue reading...

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Bitcoins?

The IRS currently requires that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies be reported as personal property and capital assets. The IRS has published guidance that, yes, you do have to report gains/losses/income in the form of bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies.” Generally, the IRS treats bitcoin as property, instructing taxpayers to follow the existing IRS guidelines for personal property taxation. You can claim them as a capital asset, allowing you to treat them as stocks, essentially, with the ability to only pay long-term capital gains taxes on them if you hold them for a while. You can get paid in bitcoin by your employer, but employers must still withhold the usual amount of taxes, and you must report your bitcoin income the same way you would your regular income. Continue reading...

What is Foreign Investment Funds (FIF) tax?

New Zealand and Australia, in particular, have instituted a tax regime for offshore investments that fall into the definition of Foreign Investment Funds (FIFs). FIFs will generally be mutual fund companies that are based overseas, but can also include cash value life insurance underwritten by a foreign company and some stock portfolios from overseas stock exchanges. The US has the PFIC tax, which is a passive foreign investment corporation tax. The PFIC category generally applies to mutual funds or pooled investment companies from foreign countries. Continue reading...