E-ssentials Bulletin

E-ssentials Bulletin

General Business, Management & HR Issues

Most new health insureds enroll at work
Nearly 17 million more Americans have healthcare coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, with more than half of those enrolling through their employer health plans. Contrary to initial expectations, the largest share of new insureds have enrolled through employer health plans.

Conference calls: What are the etiquette rules?
Estimates are that nearly one-third of employees take part in at least one conference call a week. With so many business people participating in so many calls, conference call etiquette becomes a concern. What are the rules of etiquette for professional behavior on conference calls?

Switch to chip credit cards coming by October
Credit cards that contain chips and are read by EMV equipment at the checkout will be the norm at retail stores in the very near future. Credit card companies have given merchants a deadline of October 2015 to switch to the technology that cuts down on credit card fraud.

Wealth Advice, Retirement & Estate Planning

One in four parents don't plan to leave inheritance
Many a Millennial has likely cringed at their parent's bumper sticker: ďIím spending my kidsí inheritance!Ē One in four American parents is doing exactly that, according to a new study. They plan to spend all of the money they have saved and let the next generation create its own wealth.

Consumer rights and online ordering
As more people shop more often online, on the phone or by mail, itís important to know what to do when something goes wrong. You canít just go to the store and complain to the manager. The Fair Credit Billing Act and the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule offer protections to consumers.

DRIPs: Know the pros and cons
DRIPS - dividend reinvestment plans - allow stockholders to reinvest dividends for more stock. There are definite long-term advantages to growing the number of shares of stock you own in this manner. But there are a few negatives that you should be aware of, too.

Washington Tax Update

Students need parents' guidance on W-4s

Proper withholding on your child's W-4 can help prevent unnecessary tax return filing in 2015. If your children are normal high school or college students, they don't have brokerage accounts set up in their names generating unearned income. In that case, they probably want to find jobs this summer. How should they fill out their W-4 forms for the summer jobs?

Reporting gambling winnings may change

Gaming officials are criticizing proposed regulations that would modify the reporting of winnings from slot machines, bingo and keno. In a discussion of the proposed regulations, the IRS requested comments on lowering the information reporting thresholds to $600 and providing a separate reporting threshold for electronically tracked slot machines.

Taxpayer responsible for inaccurate return

It's obvious that taxpayers aren't eligible for the American Opportunity Credit when they don't have any qualified educational expenses, but it may not be as clear to taxpayers that they are responsible for the accuracy of their federal income tax returns - even when they pay a tax preparer to file for them.

What goes on line 21 of your 1040 return?

Line 21 on your Form 1040 return may be confusing because it's somewhat of a catch-all line where different items are reported. Basically, use line 21 to report taxable income not reported elsewhere on your return or on other schedules of your return.

The technical information here is necessarily brief. No final conclusion on these topics should be drawn without further review and consultation.

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