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Budget proposes small-business tax credits

February 14, 2005

WASHINGTON - Small businesses could get refundable tax credits for contributions to employee health savings accounts under the proposed fiscal 2006 budget released Feb. 7 by President Bush. That was one of the more surprising proposals in the...

Breaking up may not be so hard to do after all

February 14, 2005

BOSTON - The future of Putnam Investments LLC may be in flux. Now that Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., Putnam's insurance brokerage parent, has reached an $850 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer on charges of bid...

Revenue-raising idea gets attention of senators

February 7, 2005

WASHINGTON - The government could bring in an additional $164 billion in taxes over the next decade by collecting Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes on salary reduction contributions to employee benefit "cafeteria plans," primarily flexible...

Some advisers tout unique flat-tax idea

January 31, 2005

WASHINGTON - As President Bush's newly appointed advisory panel on federal tax reform begins to consider how to revamp the tax system, several financial advisers have come to a surprising conclusion about one of the most pressing issues: the...

Yen for CPI-tied munis

January 31, 2005

NEW YORK - Municipal bonds tied to the consumer price index may be a better option for inflation-conscious bond buyers than Treasury inflation-protected securities, some observers contend. These bonds provide protection against inflation but...

Dilemma: To 403(b) or not to 403(b)

January 24, 2005

CHICAGO - For the first time in nearly 40 years, the Internal Revenue Service has proposed major changes to the regulations governing 403(b) plans, and some think they could squeeze independent financial advisers out of the market. "Virtually,...

Health savings accounts slowly make inroads

January 24, 2005

NEW YORK - Health savings accounts are either a solution or an enigma, depending on whether you ask an employer or employee, according to surveys released earlier this month. Employers are exploring HSAs as a way of blunting double-digit increases...

The AMT is coming, and planners better be ready

January 17, 2005

WASHINGTON - Financial planners increasingly have to deal with the alternative minimum tax. That is the top message from Michael Kitces, director of financial planning at Pinnacle Advisory Group Inc. in Columbia, Md. He conducted a seminar on...

New Roth IRA regs benefit older, richer Americans

January 17, 2005

CHICAGO - The new year ushered in a new way to determine eligibility for Roth IRAs which will benefit older, more affluent Americans. While the adjusted-gross-income limit for converting a traditional individual retirement account into a Roth...

New year invites fresh look at client financial plans

January 17, 2005

NEW YORK - Advisers are tuning up client financial plans as the new year gets under way, with re-balancing client investment portfolios to account for 2004's investment results as a priority. "Clients who want to maintain a certain asset allocation...

Improved tax incentives for LTC are receiving scant attention

December 13, 2004

CHICAGO - The tax incentives for buying long-term-care insurance continue to improve, but some think not enough financial planners and accountants are taking notice. The Internal Revenue Service said this month that it has increased deductibility...

Warning: Your windfall may be in jeopardy

December 13, 2004

NEW YORK - Ken Jennings, the Mormon software engineer from Salt Lake City who holds the record as the biggest winner in the history of the game show "Jeopardy!" probably isn't a financial planner's average client with an unexpected financial...

Key lawmakers looking to sweeteb 401(k) carrot

November 1, 2004

WASHINGTON - Regardless of which party claims control of the White House or Congress this week, there's likely to be a bipartisan effort next year to make saving for retirement more palatable to the middle class. Talks are under way to draft...

Proposed law would curtail deductions on patent gifts

October 25, 2004

WASHINGTON - Advisers will have to counsel their clients about a change in tax law that would sharply curtail gifts of intellectual property such as patents or copyrights. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, passed by Congress in mid-October,...

529 marketers turn up the heat with 4Q blitzes

October 25, 2004

NEW YORK - Fourth-quarter marketing campaigns designed to build awareness and solicit contributions for Section 529 college savings plans are kicking into high gear as program managers and states attempt to drum up business using vehicles ranging...

NASD probing sales of realty investments

October 25, 2004

NEW YORK - At a time when regulators are conducting wide-ranging investigations into the sales practices of broker-dealers, NASD is turning its attention to real estate, the hottest market since stocks started their descent in 2000. According...

Private-placement VA targets the wealthy

October 18, 2004

NEW YORK - Advisers can now offer qualified high-net-worth clients a private-placement variable annuity similar to the private-placement life insurance products that allow wealthy individuals to purchase insurance policies that invest in hedge...

Unique investment targeted to self-directed IRAs

October 18, 2004

CHICAGO - Planners are pricking up their ears to an alternative investment that allows them to place unique assets - everything from rental property to racehorses - into tax-advantaged retirement plans. Seeking ways to diversify out of securities...

Most give Bush a hand; Kerry fans a sore thumb

October 18, 2004

CHICAGO - Considering that financial advisers tend to vote Republican, the fact that adviser Russell Wild has Kerry signs on his front lawn, has manned a phone bank, and plans to work the polls on election day makes him feel a bit like the odd...

Tax bill looks like it will save Franklin a mint

October 18, 2004

NEW YORK - A new tax bill passed by the Senate last week has shareholders of at least one money manager seeing green. The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004's repatriation provision will help Franklin Resources Inc., the nation's fourth-largest...

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