As featured in The Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, and more!


$362,000 in Income: Not That Much for Mitt Romney

by Luke Landes

It’s no surprise that politicians have difficulty relating to their constituents. When Mitt Romney was asked about his finances, he admitted two facts that would sound strange to most listeners. Romney considers what he earned from speaking fees in one year, $362,000, as “not that much.” Like most individuals who earn most of their income […]

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Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

by Luke Landes

Although the home mortgage interest deduction is one of the most oft-cited benefits of owning a home, most taxpayers don’t take advantage of it because it requires itemizing taxes. If itemized deductions including mortgage interest paid throughout the year exceed the standard deduction, a taxpayer can take advantage of the benefit. The benefit isn’t as […]

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The Worst Celebrity Tax Problems

by Luke Landes

It’s with a tinge of schadenfreude that people are fascinated with the failures and foibles of famous celebrities. Every year, the IRS chases people who evade or underpay federal income tax, and actors and popular figures in the media, who often don’t manage their own finances, make the news. The latest is Lindsay Lohan. You […]

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Payroll Tax Cut Extended for Two Months

by Luke Landes

After political bickering, the House of Representatives agreed to make a deal with the Senate to extend the payroll tax holiday. This tax cut reduced the payroll tax — a tax separate from but often associated with federal income tax — from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of the first $110,100 of wages. The tax benefits Social […]

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Year End Reminder: Donate to Charity

by Luke Landes
Charity Box

The year is quickly coming to a close, and the first priority for many people right now is getting through the holidays with as little stress as possible. Focusing solely on the holidays at the expense of your household’s financial needs can only add to stress later, so it might help to get a few […]

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Tax Deduction for Time Spent Volunteering

by Luke Landes

I recently received reader feedback from a conscious saver who is planning to move his money from Wells Fargo to a credit union. She won’t make the Bank Transfer Day November 5 goal, because the credit union’s branch is planned to open November 7. This reader plans to be one of the new branch’s first […]

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Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan

by Luke Landes
Herman Cain

In the latest CNN poll, Republican Party hopeful Herman Cain is statistically tied with Mitt Romney with support of 25 percent to 26 percent of Republicans asked, but two thirds of the respondents haven’t made up their minds. Likely a big contributor to Cain’s surge from from 9 percent to 25 percent is his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. This […]

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The Jersey Shore Film and Television Tax Credit

by Luke Landes
Jersey Shore

New Jersey has been gaining a worldwide reputation thanks to the plethora of newer television programs featuring the state. It may have started with The Sopranos, but Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jersey Couture have continued. The state government has been providing a tax credit encouraging filmmakers to bring their […]

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2012 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes

The IRS has finalized the 2012 federal income tax brackets, but most people aren’t concerned with these numbers until next year. In April 2012, you’ll need to be concerned with the 2011 tax brackets to file your 2011 income tax returns. Most taxpayers won’t need to deal with the 2012 rates until early 2013. While […]

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Do Millionaires Pay Less Tax Than Their Secretaries?

by Luke Landes

Warren Buffett has frequently claimed that he pays less tax as a percentage of his income that his secretary. President Obama has jumped on this as a basis for the Buffett Rule, a new proposed tax code that ensures that millionaires pay their fair share of income tax. According to Buffett, his effective tax rate […]

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