Am I Locked Into an Investment Option for My 529 Plan?

In the early days of 529 plans, once you selected an investment option within a college savings plan, you could not change that option. Only new contributions could be invested in different investment options.

Under current rules, however, the IRS allows you to change your investment options in a college savings plan once every calendar year.

For more information, see http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/intro529.htm.

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How Long Can Negative Information Remain in a Credit Report?

A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven years and bankruptcy information for up to 10 years.

There is no time limit on reporting information about criminal convictions; information reported in response to your application for a job that pays more than $75,000 a year; and information reported because you’ve applied for more than $150,000 worth of credit or life insurance.

Information about a lawsuit or an unpaid judgment against you can be reported for seven …

Can You Split a Federal Income Tax Refund Between a Direct Deposit and a Paper Check?

No. You cannot split your refund between a direct deposit and a paper check. According to IRS tax refund procedures, you can either opt for the safety, security, and speed of direct deposit to one, two, or three different accounts, or you can request your refund via a paper check, but you cannot combine the two refund methods.

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Can You Direct Deposit a Refund From an Amended Tax Return?

You cannot even have the refund amount direct deposited into any financial account. At the present time (2017), the IRS does not offer a direct deposit option for refunds on amended returns. In fact, there is no place on the form to designate a place for direct deposit.

In addition, only an original tax return can be electronically filed. You must file Form 1040X for an amended return on paper and mail it to the IRS.

The IRS will mail …

How Do You Purchase Stock From a Company That is Going Public?

You are talking about an IPO (initial public offering). You should be able to get information (e.g., company research) from a stockbroker. Also, visit an online search engine (e.g., Bing or Google), type in the company name, and see what information you get. If there is an address or toll-free telephone number for the company’s “shareholder relations” department, call it. As for purchasing an IPO stock, you may or may not be able to buy shares directly from the company. …

How is the Five-Year Look-Back Period for Medicaid for Long-Term Care Calculated?

Regulations exist to prevent people from transferring assets that could be used to pay their long-term care expenses. This eliminates, or at least postpones, the possibility of the government having to finance their long-term care through the Medicaid program. The look-back period for asset transfers with respect to an application for Medicaid is currently five years. Government officials can look at any gifts made as long as five years before the date that an application for assistance is made.

If …

Are Accounts at a Bank Combined for FDIC Insurance?

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guarantees that bank deposits up to $250,000 are safe. All of your single accounts at the same FDIC-insured bank are added together, and the total is insured for up to $250,000. For retirement savings accounts, the limit for FDIC insurance is also $250,000. All of your self-directed retirement savings accounts at the same insured bank are added together and the total is insured for up to $250,000.

This FDIC fact sheet explains the maximum …

What is the Federal Estate Tax Exemption and Federal Estate Tax Rate?

The top estate tax rate for 2017 is 40% and there is a $5,490,000 exemption amount. Individuals can transfer up to $5,490,000 (indexed for inflation in the future) to heirs free from estate tax.

In addition, for married couples, if one spouse dies without using the full exclusion, the remainder can be added to the surviving spouse’s own exclusion. This provision provides a way for couples to take advantage of each other’s exemption, without having to create complicated trusts or …

When Can Someone Withdraw Money from a Roth IRA Without Owing Income Taxes?

You can withdraw money that you have contributed to a Roth IRA (i.e., your own money) at any time because the account was funded with after-tax dollars on which income taxes were already paid.

You can withdraw the earnings from a Roth IRA tax free in the following situations:

1. You have reached the age of 59½, and at least five years have passed since your Roth IRA account was opened. Earnings can be withdrawn tax-free beginning on the first …

How Much of Someone’s Social Security Benefit is Taxed?

First, individual taxpayers or taxpaying married couples must add up their “modified adjusted gross income.” This is their taxable income, plus their tax-exempt income, plus half of their Social Security benefits. If this figure exceeds certain income levels, a portion of Social Security benefits is taxed.

Next, a worksheet is completed to determine the amount of Social Security benefits that is taxable. This worksheet can be found in the annual instructions package for tax forms available online in the “Forms …