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Lastest news articles to help you make informed decisions on lifes most important subjects

For most of us, our home represents our largest asset. Over time, the management of this asset can make a big difference in our overall financial outlook. One of the largest planning opportunities home ownership brings is the favorable tax treatment afforded the sale of a primary residence.

How much of their home office expenses can be deducted is one of the most misjudged tax questions faced by home workers. The reality of home office expense deductibility is much more complex than the common perception.

The federal government imposes a substantial tax on gifts of money or property above certain levels. Without such a tax someone with a sizable estate could give away a large portion of their property before death and escape death taxes altogether. For this reason, the gift tax acts more or less as a backstop to the estate tax. And yet, few people actually pay a gift tax during their lifetime. A gift program can substantially reduce overall transfer taxes; however, it requires good planning and a commitment to proceed with the gifts.

Under the recently enacted Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, generating long term capital gains or acquiring dividend income could be two of your big opportunities to save on taxes. Be aware that the Act of 2003 created “sunset provisions”, however, meaning that the tax rates on both capital gains and dividends may go up again unless congress acts to extend the rates. The lower rates are currently only legislated through 2010.

When planning your retirement, it is important to remember that money, more than any other factor, will dictate most of your retirement decisions. Your level of financial preparedness for your retirement years will determine when you retire, what type of lifestyle you and your family will enjoy during retirement, and what might be left as a legacy to your heirs.