Families saving for future educational expenses were granted an unexpected gift from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: up to $10,000 of elementary or high school tuition and fees may now be paid (tax and penalty-free) from 529 savings accounts. (Previously, 529 plans were limited only to college expenses.) In this post, I will address how this change to the tax code affects residents of Oregon and Washington and will answer some of the questions we have been getting here at our office. Read more
Like a new year, parenthood brings with it many new experiences. Some are great — the first time you hold your child, the first time they smile, et cetera. Some are not — first diaper changes, the first all-nighter, and so on. The Arnerich Massena team is welcoming three babies in the coming months and we love hearing stories about these firsts from our new parents.
Sometime during those first few sleep-deprived months, most new parents stumble across the same thought: “Since I am now responsible for this other human being, I should probably get my finances and estate in order.” Read more
Republicans in the House and Senate have passed tax reform bills in their respective chambers. As the bills now go to committee for reconciliation, several items are clear: first, the text of the final bill is not likely to be set until around Christmas, leaving taxpayers no time to take action ahead of the new rules for the 2017 tax year. Second, some changes to the itemization of an individual taxpayer’s deductions are on the way. Third, the legislative and budgetary environment in Washington makes it likely that, if a bill is passed, interpreting that bill’s provisions is going to be something of a guessing game– one accountant recently described to me the current state of the environment as being, “akin to the Wild West, where anything goes.” Read more
The end of November means turkey dinners, time with family, and (of course) year-end tax planning! Here are five things you can do in under fifteen minutes to make tax-efficient use of your dollars at the end of the year: Read more
If you are looking into a credit freeze following the Equifax breach, make sure you don’t confuse it with a credit lock. While a credit lock may be a similar action, there are some very important differences. A credit freeze offers better protections, and can be more cost-effective: Read more
The recent theft of data on 145 million Americans at Equifax, combined with horror stories about the filing of fraudulent tax returns with the IRS, had me concerned about identity theft. As a result, I took an hour to review and secure my credit, the steps of which I outline below for those who might be interested in pursuing this measure.
Over the last two decades, I have had the opportunity to work for several large financial institutions in Boston and Portland. Along the way, I have attended more investment meetings than I could possibly count – on everything from corporate bond funds to complicated variable annuity income riders – and heard hundreds of investment managers wax eloquently about why their investment tool was better than the next firm’s offering. At this stage of my career, I do not expect to walk out of these meetings feeling inspired about some new investment strategy, let alone the future of our little planet. This week’s 3×5 Partners’ Annual Meeting did just that, and then some. Read more
Like a lot of Portlanders, I’ve recently spent a bit of money on fans and a portable air conditioning unit. Whether the hot streak is attributable to man-made climate change or merely to seasonal temperature spikes, the result is the same: sweaty days and uncomfortable nights.
There is nothing more terrifying to a young attorney than making a clerical error that ends up wasting a lot of the senior partners’ billable time. This is a difficult risk to manage, as every case has its own set of issues and deadlines, many of which the firm may be liable for if not handled properly. The one that got me as a young associate attorney was a missed estate tax deadline. Thankfully for me, so many attorneys across the country made the same error (and continue to do so), that the IRS has provided a “do-over” for all estates of individuals who have passed away since 2011. With the new IRS rules now in place, this error never would have happened. Read more
(spoiler alert for Star Wars: The Force Awakens)