How Do I End Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) Payments on a Mortgage?

 

Legislation went into effect July 1, 1999, requiring automatic termination of PMI when a homeowner has paid at least 20 percent of the home’s value for loans made after July 29, 1999. High-risk borrowers (such as those with poor credit histories and reduced documentation loans) may have to make PMI payments until they reach 50 percent equity. If you believe that you have reached the 20% home equity mark and your PMI payments have not been discontinued, speak to your …

What is a Coverdell Education Savings Account?

 

 

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) were originally established in 1997 and called “Education IRAs.” They are investment trust accounts created to pay qualified education expenses, including primary, secondary, and postsecondary education, for a designated beneficiary. The beneficiary of the account must be under the age of 18 at the time of the contribution and the contributor’s income must meet specific annual income guidelines. Total ESA contributions per child under age 18 may not exceed $2,000 per year.

Income phaseouts apply …

Is it a Good Idea to Borrow From My 401(k) if I Need Money?

Although most 401(k) plans offer loans of up to half your vested balance, this may not be a good idea. Plan loans usually charge the prime rate plus one or two percentage points. In addition, you lose all future compound interest on the lost earnings on money that was borrowed. If you quit your job or are laid off or fired, your loan may be due immediately at a time when you can least afford to pay it back.

If …

What is the Retirement Saver’s Credit?

A nonrefundable retirement saver’s tax credit is available for individuals with low incomes. In 2017, a single person making up to $18,500 or a couple making $37,000 or less can qualify for a 50 percent tax credit on the first $2,000 they each save toward retirement. For example, an individual who contributes $2,000 to an IRA could qualify for a $1,000 tax credit. The tax credit phases out as income increases.

A single person earning $18,501 to $20,000 and a …

How Can I Obtain an Estimate of my Social Security Benefit?

The Social Security Administration provides a benefit estimate online at http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement/. Users must establish a user name and password when they use this Web site for the first time. This is to assure that their private data is secure.

The benefit estimate includes a record of earnings on which you have paid Social Security taxes. It also includes an estimate of your Social Security disability, survivor, and retirement benefits based on those earnings.Retirement benefit estimates are provided for ages …

What Are the Tax Laws About Giving Gifts?

If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $14,000 (2017 figure), it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift. The person who receives your gift does not have to report the gift to the IRS or pay gift or income tax on its value.

You make a gift when you give property, including money, or the use or income from property, without …

What is the “Kiddie Tax”?

Effective January 1, 2008, so-called “Kiddie Tax” rules pertaining to a child’s investment income were changed. The age limit for this tax increased to include children who are 18 or younger and full-time students over 18 but under age 24. Investment income greater than a specified annual amount for a child affected by the kiddie tax is taxed at the marginal tax rate of the child’s parents.

Exceptions apply for children with paid jobs that provide a large portion of …

Can Non-Cash Donations Lower My Income Taxes?

Yes. Assuming you can itemize deductions using Form 1040-Schedule A, non-cash donations are just as valuable as cash donations. Find some time to gather old clothes, kitchen gadgets, sports equipment, and other closet clutter that someone else could use, donate these items to a qualified chjarity, and you can receive a valuable tax deduction.

Come up with $600 worth of used items to give to your favorite charity, for instance, and you can cut your tax bill by $150 if …

What are the Contribution Limits for Traditional and Roth IRAs?

In tax year 2017, the maximum contribution limit for IRAs is $5,500. This applies to Roth IRAs or traditional IRAs or a combination of the two. The IRS also has a catch-up plan for people who are 50 and older. They can contribute an extra $1,000 (for a maximum of $6,500) in 2017. In order to contribute to an IRA, you must have earned income from wages, a salary, or net self-employment earnings.

There are no income restrictions for contributions …