Tax Preparation Checklist

 

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Keep in mind, through the Invest in America program, TurboTax® offers some great discounts on TurboTax® Federal Products.* 

Be treated like the unique individual you are and save money with TurboTax – just for being a credit union member. And you can relax knowing that your taxes are done right with TurboTax’s:

  • Step-by-step guidance with customized questions based on your job, family and life – so you’ll get every penny you deserve.
  • Year-round expert help, so you can get one-on-one answers to your tax questions – free.***
  • 100% accurate calculations** and your guaranteed maximum refund – or your money back.****
Member Benefits:
  • $5 Off Federal Deluxe
  • $10 Off Federal Premium
  • $15 Off Home & Business
TurboTax puts the power in your hands to keep more of your hard-earned money.
 

GET STARTED TODAY!

TurboTax and TurboTax Online, among others, are registered trademarks and/or service marks of Intuit Inc. State filing charges apply. Limited time offer for TurboTax 2012. Terms, conditions, features, availability, pricing, fees, service and support options subject to change without notice. *TurboTax® is a tax preparation software product offered to our members through the Invest in America program and is not a product of this Credit Union. ** Accurate calculations guaranteed. If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculations error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest. ***TurboTax live tax advice service is free and subject to availability, restrictions and change without notice. Available via telephone or live chat. See full offer details by clicking here. ****Maximum (Biggest) Refund Guaranteed or Your Money Back: If you get a larger refund or smaller tax due from another tax preparation method, we’ll refund the applicable TurboTax federal and/or state purchase price paid. TurboTax Federal Free Edition customers are entitled to payment of $14.95 and a refund of your state purchase price paid. Claims must be submitted within 60 days of your TurboTax filing date and no later than 6/15/13. Optional add-on services excluded. Cannot be combined with TurboTax Satisfaction (Easy) Guarantee.

Winter Driving Checklists: Be Prepared and Arrive Safely

Did you know that the leading cause of deaths during winter storms are transportation accidents? Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to safe winter driving.

Before a winter storm, make sure you have a mechanic check the following items on your car:

  • Battery
  • Antifreeze
  • Wipers and windshield washer fluid
  • Ignition system
  • Thermostat
  • Lights
  • Flashing hazard lights
  • Exhaust system
  • Heater Brakes
  • Defroster
  • Oil level

You also want to make sure you tires have adequate tread. All weather tires are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some state jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs. You may also take note of a few of these helpful tips:

  • Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season
  • Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation
  • Always dress warmly but wear layers of loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing
  • Store a supply of high energy “munchies” and several bottles of water

Another couple things you should keep in mind when traveling long distance in the winter months is to make sure you car is stocked with a few essential items that will help you in case a problem arises. Here are some suggestions:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Several blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Extra newspapers for insulation
  • Plastic bags
  • Matches
  • Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap
  • Rain gear and extra clothes
  • Small shovel
  • Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver)
  • Booster cables
  • Set of tire chains or traction mats
  • Cards, games, and puzzles
  • Brightly colored cloth to use as a flag
  • Canned fruit and nuts
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Bottled water

Penny Smart has a few tips she would also like to share with you about how to travel safely in winter conditions with minimum stress! Click the video below:

 Stay safe and warm this winter!

Article Source: NJ State Police

10 IRA Tax Tips

Knowing these 10 IRA tax tips can help you when saving for retirement. When preparing taxes and setting up retirement accounts, it’s important to know how your IRA or individual retirement arrangement affects your tax return. Being knowledgeable will allow you to make smart decisions when contributing to an IRA and how to handle the account in the future until you request disbursement at retirement.

Use these ten IRA tax tips to make smart decisions regarding your retirement future:

  1. Money contributed to a traditional IRA is not taxed until disbursement. Not including Roth IRAs, the person who owns a traditional IRA is not taxed until they request money from the IRA during retirement. Usually, the person’s tax bracket is lower during retirement, saving the person money by waiting to pay taxes until they are retired.
  2. IRAs can only be owned by one person. When the person owning the IRA dies, a beneficiary can be awarded any portion of the monies in an IRA that remains.
  3. Use the correct form. When making nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA, the taxpayer has to use Form 8606, Nondeductible IRA’s.
  4. Know if you are eligible for a tax credit. Use form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions to find out whether you qualify for a tax credit.
  5. Persons can contribute to a traditional IRA up to the age of 70 years old.  If you are 70 1/2 years or more old at the end of a tax year, you may not contribute to a traditional IRA that year.
  6. To be eligible to contribute to a traditional IRA, the person who takes out the IRA or their spouse must have taxable income from specific sources. Income can come from a salary, wages, self-employment income, tips, commissions, or bonuses. Also included are taxable alimony and maintenance payments that the owner of the IRA received during the tax year. Income that does qualify includes deferred compensation, rental property income, pension or annuity compensation, and dividend and interest income.
  7. Contributions to an IRA can be made up till the tax filing date. You can contribute for the applicable tax year (the previous year) until April 15.
  8. Funds withdrawn from an IRA are taxable the same year they are withdrawn. Withdrawals of only deductible contributions are fully taxable.
  9. Early withdrawal may be taxable. Owners of traditional IRAs who withdraw monies before they are 59-1/2 years old may have to pay an additional ten percent tax.
  10. Late withdrawal may be taxable. Owners of traditional IRAs who do not withdraw the minimum amount after they turn 70-1/2 may owe an excise tax.

Contact the First Financial’s Investment and Retirement Center to set up a no-cost consultation at 866.750.0100 option 6 or visit our website for more information.

Article Source: Made Manual, Instructions for Life http://www.mademan.com/mm/10-ira-tax-tips.html#vply=0

A CD or a CD-Type Annuity? How they Compare and Why Annuities are so Attractive

If you’re a conservative investor, you may be wondering what fixed-rate alternatives you have to certificates of deposit. Have you ever looked at fixed annuities? Specifically, fixed “CD type” annuities? Right now, they look a lot better than CDs do.

Yes, CDs are FDIC-insured. But fixed annuities come with a guarantee as well, and often a better rate of return – plus the opportunity for tax-deferred growth and compounding.

The drawbacks of CDs. The interest rate on CDs today is often disappointingly low – often well below 5%. Besides the pitiful return, you have another disadvantage: the interest your CD earns is fully taxable.1 (And FDIC or no FDIC, do you really want your money in a bank right now with the hassles bank customers are going through?)

But you have an alternative.

The appeal of the “CD type” fixed annuity. Just like a CD, a “CD type” fixed annuity is designed to grow your money over a specified term until maturity – usually five or ten years. Right now, some of these annuities are earning well over 5% interest.2 (The interest rate is locked in for the whole term of the annuity, unlike some fixed annuities where the interest rate is only guaranteed for one year.)

Unlike a CD, a “CD type” fixed annuity gives you tax-deferred growth. The earnings aren’t taxed until withdrawal.3

With five- and ten-year terms, these annuities are particularly appealing to people in their fifties who are seeking a conservative retirement savings vehicle.

Learn more. If you think of yourself as a risk-averse investor, you might want to examine the range of options in fixed “CD style” annuities. Before you make a decision, make sure you talk to a qualified insurance agent or financial advisor who can explain the terms and conditions of these annuity contracts.

If you would like to set up a no-cost consultation with the Investment & Retirement Center located at contact First Financial’s Neptune Branch call us at 866.750.0100 option 6 or visit our website for more information.

Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC , a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free 800-369-2862. Nondeposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members.

Citations.

1 streetauthority.com/terms/c/cd.asp [8/08]

2 annuityadvantage.com/annuitydata.htm [8/22/08]

3 investopedia.com/terms/d/deferredannuity.asp [8/08]

03202012-WR-444

Classroom Grant Winner Sincerely Thanks First Financial Foundation

Back in December 2012 we announced our four $500 classroom grant winners for the 2012-2013 school year awarded by the First Financial Foundation. Brick Educational Enrichment Center Teacher Sally Flannery, a resident of Wall, NJ, was ecstatic when we surprised her with a $500 grant to help fund her classroom needs.

Ms. Flannery submitted her grant application in order to purchase drop-proof iPad cases to protect the devices she uses to teach preschool children with special needs.

“The iPad is single handedly helping our children access a world they’ve never had access to before,” said Flannery. ”However, there’s one tiny, little glitch. Preschoolers drop things. Often, children on the autistic spectrum and children with behavior disorders throw things, and they are not able to differentiate between the cost of a stuffed dinosaur and a $500 iPad. The drop-proof cases will help protect our equipment and ensure our children have access to the world at their fingertips.”

Brick EEC Grant Money Put to Use

(Pictured above: Sally Flannery (far right) along with the other teachers of Brick Educational Enrichment Center.)

Recently, Ms. Flannery contacted us with a sincere testimonial, “Recently, a student accidentally dropped one of the iPads.  If it didn’t have the protective case the First Financial Foundation funded, it would have been ruined. This was the first accident, and I’m sure they’ll be many more to come. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from all of us at the Educational Enrichment Center.”

Knowing that the small things we do can help make a difference in someone’s life is the foundation we built our institution on and we will continue to build upon this value to help and support our surrounding communities.

Know the Facts: 0% Financing on Auto Loans

Buying a new car (3)

The Truth Behind 0%

When it comes to getting an auto loan, take the time to carefully look at all your options. What you initially think is a great offer, may end up costing you more money in the long run.

Take a look at the chart below to see some common myths…

mythsabout0%

Research Your Options

As a credit union member you are already aware of the many benefits First Financial offers, including low interest auto loans and great service tailored to your needs. By researching your auto financing options before you visit a dealership, you may find that when using First Financial’s low percentage rate you are still allowed to use any rebates offered by the manufacturer. This could be your best deal! Refer to our auto loans page for information and details about the loan, preferred dealers, links to apply online and our most recent rates and promotions. If you have any additional questions about our auto loans or refinancing options, contact us at 866.750.0100, e-mail us atinfo@firstffcu.com, or stop into any one of our branches.

Don’t forget to use our FREE online car buying and research tool, AutoSMART! This tool allows you to look up new and pre-owned cars based on model, make, year, mileage, color and so much more. Buying and selling a car has never been easier, be sure to download the AutoSMART app for your Android or iPhone today!

*Click here to view the article source.

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