One New Year’s Resolution You Don’t Have to Keep to Be a Winner

Making a resolution to improve your finances puts you several steps closer along the road to a better bottom line, based on data from Fidelity Investments’ eighth annual “New Year Financial Resolutions Study.” Looking for a resolution that will pay off and pay dividends?  Simply resolving to pay more attention to your finances improves the chances that your financial health will improve.

According to the Fidelity study, 45 percent of individuals who reported making financial resolutions at the start of 2016 were more debt-free at the end, compared with 34 percent of individuals who did not report making any financial resolutions within the past year. In addition, those who made financial resolutions were more likely to say they felt financially secure compared to those who didn’t make resolutions (45 percent vs. 34 percent).

3 Tips to Help Small Businesses Save at Tax Time

While running a small business and being your own boss can be satisfying indeed, it can also be tricky come tax time. To ensure that you keep more money in your pocket than the government’s, check out the following tax tips:

1. Deduct everything. The IRS has given dozens of concessions to small business owners, but many don’t take full advantage of all that they can claim. For instance, if there’s a space in your home dedicated exclusively for business, you can deduct some of your housing costs. For a 2013 return, you can claim $5 per sq. ft. of your office up to 300 sq. ft. Additionally, you can also deduct monthly Internet charges, electricity, gas and phone (cell or land line) expenses.

A Cure for the Worst Tax Procrastination: Free Tax Extensions

Now even chronic procrastinators have no excuse for giving the IRS more money than absolutely required.

Last year, more than 10 million taxpayers applied for a tax extension on filing their returns – thus, not only sparing themselves from having to fork over a monthly 5 percent penalty for missing the IRS’ dreaded deadline, but also potentially avoiding making costly mistakes in a mad dash to comply.

“Rushing can cause last-minute filers to forget necessary paperwork and miss out on claiming key tax credits and deductions,” says Elaine Smith, master tax advisor at H&R Block, the giant tax preparation firm.