Businesses: Tame the Variable Interest Rate Rollercoaster

All good things must come to an end, including the historic low interest rates that borrowers have enjoyed over the last few years. As the economy slowly heats up, interest rates will eventually rise. So if you have substantial variable-rate loans on the books, now may be a good time to lock into a fixed-rate payment. Here are some options to consider.


'Heartbleed' Bug: Eight Tips to Protect Yourself Online

A new security bug called "Heartbleed" has made Internet users vulnerable to having their personal information stolen. This includes credit card information, passwords, user names and other sensitive data. Here's a quick explanation of the problem, along with eight tips to help protect yourself online.


Consider the Hidden Costs of Changing Labor Rates

President Obama plans to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 and announced that more people will receive overtime pay soon. Some states and major retailers have also jumped on the wage hike bandwagon. Should you? This article explains who the changes affect -- and how much they could cost.


Counting Down to April 15: Last-Minute Tips

Tax season is almost over! That's music to your tax preparer's ears. Here are some last-minute tips to avoid (and correct) mistakes -- and to expedite refunds. Plus, if you earn income that is not subject to withholding, remember that April 15 is also the deadline for paying your first quarterly estimated tax payments for 2014.


Supreme Court Ruling Spotlights Severance Pay

The U.S. Supreme Court just rendered a rare, unanimous decision on the question of whether employers are obliged to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes for payments to employees they lay off under a severance plan agreement. The short answer: Yes. However, there's more to the story than just tax withholding. Keep reading to learn more about this topic and the High Court ruling.


Lower Tax Bill with a Last-Minute Retirement Account Contribution

If your 2013 tax bill is higher than you'd like, there's still time to contribute to an IRA, Roth IRA or SEP plan before the April 15 tax filing deadline. A retirement account contribution could help reduce your tax bill -- if you qualify -- and make your retirement more secure. Working teens can also contribute and build savings for the future. Here are the basic rules, deadlines and strategies.


Another Alternative to GAAP for Private Companies

If your company leases its facilities from a related party, you might qualify for an exception to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) that could save time and money. On March 20, the Financial Accounting Standards Board released an alternate method of reporting certain common control lease arrangements for private companies. Here's the scoop and what it might mean for your business.


Help Protect Against 'Skimmer Fraud'

Several "hacking" data breach incidents have garnered a great deal of media attention lately but there's another kind of fraud scheme to keep in mind. Many fraudulent credit and debit card charges stem from devices called "skimmers." A recent study shows how skimmer fraud poses a growing threat to U.S. consumers. Fortunately, you can help limit your risk of data breach by learning how these devices work and taking a few simple precautionary measures.


Employers: Are You Ready for Expansion of Overtime Requirements?

President Obama just directed the U.S. Department of Labor to "modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations." What will this mean for employers and how can they prepare for what is ahead? Some employers will be liable for paying time-and-a-half to more employees than they do now. This article explains the upcoming changes, along with the current standards for exemption from overtime.


IRS Approves Automatic Extension for Portability Provision

Portability under tax law allows a surviving spouse's estate to use whatever may be left if the estate of a deceased spouse doesn't use the full estate tax exemption. Recent IRS guidance automatically extends the length of time certain estates have to opt for this benefit. Here are the details of the IRS Revenue Ruling.


Treasury Streamlines ACA Reporting Rules

In the latest in a series of efforts to take the pain out of Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance, the Treasury simplified reporting requirements for employers already providing health coverage. The rules pertain to whether and how employees are notified of their opportunity to receive health coverage. Here is the news.


Refresher on New Limit for Medical Expense Deductions

When tax laws change, people tend to ignore the nitty-gritty details until it's time to file their taxes. With the April 15 filing deadline fast approaching, you might want to devote some attention to the higher threshold for medical expense deductions that became effective in 2013. Here is what changed -- and how you can maximize your tax benefits from health care spending.


 

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