A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: The week of January 29th – Feb 2nd has been designated “Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week.” The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will be offering some free webinars and chats on this topic. To learn more about the free webinar offerings, click here.
According to the FTC, tax identity theft occurs when another person uses your social security number for the purpose of getting a job or a tax refund. You will usually know when you receive a letter or notice from the IRS saying that you filed more than one tax return or see on their records that you were paid by an unknown employer. To learn more, click here for the FTC’s article on Tax-Related Identity Theft. If you’re the victim of tax fraud, visit the IRS website.
On a related note – if you are interested to know how long you should be keeping your tax returns, please refer to our “What documents are safe to shred? What must I keep?” blog post.
Feel free to reach out to us for any questions.
You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people. Ongoing updates from Equifax about this incident are available at equifaxsecurity2017.com
Baron Financial does not use Equifax for any services, but we are sharing this information for educational purposes.
Equifax is one of the three main credit reporting agencies. They collect and maintain individual credit information and sell it to lenders, creditors, and consumers in the form of a credit report.
What you should consider doing now:
- Order a Credit Report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Freeze Your Credit Reports (after ordering a copy). A freeze stops thieves from opening new credit cards or loans in your name, but it also prevents you from opening new accounts. So each time you apply for a credit card, mortgage or loan, you need to lift the freeze a few days beforehand. Equifax said it will waive all fees until Nov. 21 for people who want to freeze their Equifax credit files.
- Regularly Monitor Your Financial Accounts, Credit Cards and Loan Accounts for any suspicious activity
Something else to consider: Sign up by November 21 for the free Credit Monitoring offer from Equifax (equifaxsecurity2017.com). Some experts have offered differing opinions on taking advantage of this service. However, we did want to make you aware of the offer.
Continue reading Important information regarding Equifax data breach
A 30-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: As public employees for the great state of New Jersey, there are some important factors to consider when it comes to your retirement income.
Regarding Your Pension:
New Jersey Pensions fall into two categories: “I contribute to my pension” or “I do not contribute to my pension”
- For those employees who say, “I do not contribute to my pension” the entire portion of your pension in retirement will be taxable to New Jersey.
- For those employees who say, “I do contribute to my pension”, when you retire, a portion of your pension will be taxable and a portion of your pension will be excluded from New Jersey state tax. Note: This is the reason your gross income is higher on your New Jersey tax return if you contribute to a pension. The federal government allows pension contributions to be deducted, but NJ State does NOT allow your pension contributions to be deducted.
Regarding Social Security:
Your Social Security may be greatly reduced if you have only worked as a public employee your entire life. The calculated estimates can be difficult, so it is important to speak with your financial planner about the possible impact a pension may have on your social security income.
As always, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Baron Financial Group team.
A 40-second read by Nicholas Scheibner: If you began taking Social Security before full-retirement age, and are looking to postpone payments until a later time, there is a solution: the 1-year payback rule. The 1-year payback rule gives you the ability to pay back the amount of benefits you have received, and delay your social security check until age 70. You have 12 months from the day you began collecting Social Security to do this. This would ultimately increase the monthly payments you would receive, and would maximize your social security. Continue reading What to do if you filed for Social Security and you changed your mind