Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The high cost of bad credit. Also in the news: 5 tips to finding a cheaper flight, auto-paying bills by credit card, and United States workers are losing out on billions of dollars in pay.

How Costly Is Bad Credit? Many Don’t Know, Survey Shows
Ignorance isn’t bliss.

5 Tips to Find a Cheap Flight
Saving a little extra.

Auto-Paying Bills by Credit Card: Help or Hassle? Yes.
It can be both.

Every year, U.S. workers lose out on billions in pay
Getting what you deserve.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

mortgage2Today’s top story: What to do when your employer is acquired. Also in the news: Tips for selling your home this summer, surprising things about cellphone insurance, and how to avoid retirement calculator mistakes.

5 Steps to Take When Your Employer Is Acquired
Tips for uneasy times.

Simple Tips to Sell Your Home for the Right Price This Summer
Summer could be the perfect time to sell.

4 surprising things about cellphone insurance
Reading the fine print.

Using These Retirement Calculators The Wrong Way Could Cost You Thousands
Complicated calculations.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

taxesToday’s top story: A beginner’s guide to filing taxes in 2016. Also in the news: The benefits of a “Walk Away” fund, simple ways to catch up on retirement savings, and the financial choices you’ll regret ten years from now.

A Beginner’s Guide To Filing Taxes In 2016
Don’t be intimidated.

Save money now, so you can fire your boss later
Creating a “walk away” fund.

5 simple ways to catch up on your retirement savings
It’s never too late.

10 Financial Choices You’ll Regret in 10 Years
Things can look a whole lot different ten years down the road.

You Can’t Earn Your Way Out of a Spending Problem
Addressing the spending problem first.

Independent contractor clarity

Dear Liz: I was taken aback by your answer to the receptionist whose employer was paying her as an independent contractor although she should have been paid as a W-2 employee. I believe your response was to lie on her tax returns and hide the fact that her employer was doing something illegal. I cannot say in how many ways that is wrong. As a human resources professional, I would advise this person to contact regulators under her state’s whistle-blower protections and let them know what has happened and take the advice that they give. If the writer has been given a 1099, you can be assured that others in the company have too. Her name remains anonymous. Even if her employer finds out it was her, she has recourse if she’s fired. I’ve always enjoyed your column and look forward to reading it each Sunday, but this response was totally off the charts.

Answer: Actually, the advice was exactly the opposite. Tax pro Eva Rosenberg recommended telling the truth by filing new forms, which would alert the IRS to the employer’s deception. Rosenberg said that it probably would take the tax agency a couple of years to get around to auditing the employer, which would give the receptionist time to find a new job.

Also, not all states have laws protecting whistle-blowers, and some of those that do apply only to public employees. No one should assume she is protected by such a law without during further research.

Employee secretly reclassified as contractor

Dear Liz: I just received my tax forms from my employer for last year. I was originally a W-2 employee, paid hourly, as a receptionist. But it seems that at some point during the year, my employer changed me to a 1099 employee without telling me or having me fill out paperwork. After researching the characteristics of a 1099 employee, I found I do not qualify at all. I am upset that I will have to pay taxes on this income, since I thought they were being withheld from my pay. Do I have any recourse?

Answer: Your employer has put you in an impossible situation. If you tell the truth, you’ll tip off the IRS to the company’s deception, which could put your job in danger. If you go along with the lie, you’ll have to pay your boss’ share of taxes in addition to your own.

“The good news is the IRS is really busy and probably won’t [audit your employer] for a couple of years,” said Eva Rosenberg, an enrolled agent who runs the TaxMama site. “By then, you should have a better job elsewhere.”

To fix this, first report your income from this job as “other income” on line 21 of your 1040 tax return, Rosenberg said.

If you got both a W-2 and a 1099, you can use IRS Form 8919 to pay only your share of the Social Security and Medicare taxes. You’ll pay 7.65% instead of the 15.3% you normally would pay with 1099s, Rosenberg said. You’ll have to select a “reason code” for why you’re using the form. You can use code H, which says that the amount on the 1099 form should have been included as wages on Form W-2.

If you got only a 1099, you’ll need to fill out Form SS-8 to explain why you’re an employee, not a contractor, Rosenberg said. Then use Form 4852 as a substitute for your missing W-2. Use the data from the last pay stub that shows your year-to-date withholding as a W-2 employee so you can get credit for those taxes paid. This process is complicated but is the approach a tax pro “would and should use” when an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor, Rosenberg said.

The forms you’re filing will alert the IRS to your company’s chicanery. Some employers pretend that their employees are independent contractors as a way to reduce the company tax burden and perhaps dodge new health insurance requirements. It’s a scam that tax authorities are keen to uncover and penalize

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Could your job search be impeded by medical debt? Also in the news: Easy steps for a complete money makeover, the future of identity theft, and details on the new MyRa retirement savings plan. Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Could Your Medical Debt Keep You From Getting a Job?
Not if Senator Warren has her way.

9 Easy Steps for a Complete Money Makeover
Start by choosing a better bank.

Here’s What Identity Theft Will Look Like in 2014
Thieves are after more than just your money.

Introducing the myRA retirement savings account.
Announced at last night’s State of the Union, the account would work like a savings bond.

Got a charge for $9.84 on your credit card? Beware
This small charge could put your credit and identity at risk.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailMythbusting disability insurance, how to protect the finances of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, and what Mike Tyson and retirement planning have in common.

5 Myths About Disability Insurance
Mythbusting an essential.

Steps to Protect Finances of Those with Alzheimer’s
Help for those in the difficult role of being a financial caretaker.

How to Develop the Hireable Skills You’ll Actually Need After College
Learning skills that will pay off in both the job and the real world.

What Mike Tyson Can Teach Us About Retirement
The important of keeping your guard up.

Does Getting Approved for a Credit Card Help Your Credit Score?
How opening a new credit card can help your credit score.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Leader of business teamThe best places to work when you’re over 50, how not to support your kids for the rest of your life and tips on retiring almost tax free.

The 50 Best Employers for Boomer Workers
The fifty best employers for those over fifty.

5 Methods for Setting Retirement Targets
Strategic planning to reach your retirement goals.

5 Tips for Parents On How to Be Good Financial Role Models
Being a good financial role model could save you from supporting your kids in their 20’s and beyond.

How to Negotiate Financial Aid With Your College
Everything is negotiable; even financial aid.

3 Moves to Make Your Retirement Almost Tax Free
How to pursue as much tax free retirement income as possible.