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Archive for March 2008

Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits and Income Phase Outs

Published 4/1/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Updated IRA and Roth Contribution Tables For Tax Year 2009

Because of the power of compound interest, it is never too early to start saving for your future and planning your retirement nest egg. The earlier you start taking advantage of tax deferred investments, the more money you'll have to live on when retirement rolls around. Don't count on dying young to relieve you of the need to save either. Statistics show that improvements in medical technology and lifestyle changes, coupled with increased health awareness are extending our lives longer than before.

For the younger, single people out there, I know it can be strange discussing retirement so early on, but you must remember that your actions now have a huge impact on your future welfare. The cash you invest today in a tax deferred retirement account has a disproportionately more significant impact on your wealth level than money invested later. Don't delay or keep putting it off - even catch up contributions won't be much help if you wait too long to save for retirement.

When it comes to saving for retirement, there are a variety of tax deferred options such as the common employer sponsored 401K plan. But there is also the Traditional Investment Retirement Account (IRA) and the Roth IRA. Both are excellent ways to save for the future but you must be mindful of IRS rules when funding them - by being aware of the annual contribution limits, the contribution deadlines, and the applicable income phaseout ranges. I've created a list of

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Applying For A Business Credit Card With A SSN, And Without An EIN

Published 3/31/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Business credit cards have grown to become a commonly accepted and practical way for small startup businesses to acquire access to needed venture credit. Not only do they offer benefits unique to business office and supply demands such as higher credit lines, better credit card rewards, and more versatile expense tracking, they offer also the opportunity for growing businesses to build up their business credit history. This is important because one day the business may need to draw upon that developed business credit history to acquire corporate loans.

Individuals Can Apply For Business Credit Cards With Their Social Security Numbers

What many consumers seemingly overlook is that business credit card benefits can be available to them as well and are not reserved for complex business entities alone. Card applicants don't have to be part of a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC) to qualify. Ordinary individuals can go into business for themselves and establish their business operation as a sole proprietorship. If you are self employed, a freelance worker, or an independent contractor like myself, you may very well be operating as a sole proprietor already. In the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government, and credit card companies, the individual and his or her sole proprietorship business are one and the same for legal and income tax purposes. The only significant difference is when it comes to record keeping and business tax deductions. As sole proprietorships are entitled to write off their business expenses against their income, most are encouraged to

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How To Cheaply Repair Auto Window Glass With Used Junkyard Parts

Published 3/28/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

A few years ago I had the misfortune of living in the ghetto inner city of Baltimore. I had no choice - that was where the geniuses at the state of Maryland chose to locate their state run graduate schools. Why they chose to place the school building in a dangerous area surrounded by homeless people and drug hangouts still baffles me. The city is saturated with a population comprised of drug addicts, violent thugs, and opportunistic car thieves.

Along with two other roommates, I lived in a quaint row house near the law school in an area primarily occupied by students. Here, I thought my roommates and I would be safely shielded from the neighboring slums and criminal activity. I was wrong. Within the span of two years, a classmate friend of mine was robbed in person and a neighbor who lived across from our row house had her home burglarized (canned food was stolen, of all things). Furthermore, both of my roommates' street parked cars were broken into. My old red Toyota Corolla survived the criminal onslaught valiantly for while, but it too finally succumbed to the inevitable break in.

I usually parked my car along the street where our row house was located. One day I came home from class only to discover that the small rear side window panel on the passenger end had been smashed to pieces. Auto glass shards were strewn across the back seat, but nothing was taken. Everyone in Baltimore City knows that you must never leave any personal

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Internet Sales Tax: Are eBay Sellers Required to Pay Income Tax on Sales

Published 3/27/08  (Modified 6/17/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

I used to sell products on eBay as a money making hobby and even once attempted to make a side business out of it. It wasn't easy trying to make profit while at the same time avoiding all the internet fraud and scams out there. While I eventually decided to pursue other ventures, I had a friend who continued to dabble in eBay auctions. Soon enough, he had successfully turned what started out as a one room operation to an impressive one man eBay business machine that engulfed his entire basement. Everytime I stopped by his house I was always startled at the sheer number of brand new Dell laptop and ThinkPad boxes stacked in piles throughout his basement that overflowed into his unoccupied garage.

Through his closely guarded network of online connections (he never disclosed them to me), he was able to secure excellent wholesale deals on hot electronics like laptops, desktop computers, and handheld PDA's for sale on eBay. His racket continued for several years to my continued amazement as I wondered how he managed to stay so consistently profitable despite rising eBay fees and heavy online competition. One day I finally turned to him and asked him if he was reporting his eBay earnings as taxable income on his federal income tax. He simply smiled and changed the subject. Obviously, the answer was no, thus exposing the secret to his profitable eBay success - tax evasion!

Frankly I don't really blame him for withholding his eBay profits from the

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The IRS Economic Stimulus Notice Letter Is A Waste Of Taxpayer Money

Published 3/27/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

When I went downstairs to the mailboxes to check my mail today, I discovered a letter in my slot with the ominous letters "IRS" and the trademark federal eagle logo stamped on it. My heart immediately skipped a beat. Was I being audited? But then I thought again - that wouldn't make any sense - I hadn't even filed my 2007 federal tax return yet.

I looked at the envelope more closely - the red lettering advertised the contents of the envelope as an important message from the IRS on the economics stimulus act of 2008 and implored me not to throw it away. Looks like I finally received one of those notorious notice letters that the IRS spent $42 million to issue. For $42 million you'd think the federal government would have been able to design a more conspicuously colored envelope rather than sticking with the traditional white junk mail design. If I hadn't examined the lettering closer I may have chucked it into the trash can like I instinctively do with most spammy mail pieces I receive.

If you want to know what the letter said, I've transcribed the entire content message below. It was a typical boiler plate form message. They didn't even bother to address the letter recipient by name. I'm simply referred to using the standard moniker - "Taxpayer".

Why the federal government and the IRS chose to spend so much money to send us this information is beyond me. Is this part of the economic stimulus plan - injecting precious taxpayer money

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The Best Grocery Credit Cards To Save Money At The Supermarket

Published 3/26/08  (Modified 11/24/13)

By MoneyBlueBook

Updated List Of The Best Supermarket and Grocery Credit Cards To Save Money On Groceries (And Offset Higher Food Prices)

With rising gas energy prices and increased food demand from developing countries comes an unfortunate result - higher food prices. Common grocery staples like milk, eggs, and wheat products have seen a noticeable rise in prices lately. Higher prices at the supermarket is leading to an increase in grocery spending for many. Those with large families and children are finding their food budgets being stretched to the limit. However, there are alternative and supplemental ways to save money on groceries beyond the usual reliance on price comparison shopping and clipping grocery store coupons. There's nothing wrong with relying on coupons and price comparison, however, the regularity of those money saving deals are often unpredictable. They are not dependent on what you or your family need at the time, but rather on the supply and demand assessments of supermarket chains.

Benefits Of Using Grocery Store Credit Card Rewards To Save Money On Supermarket Food Prices

If you are a responsible credit user, have you considered the usage of dedicated grocery credit cards to save money at the supermarket? Most major credit card issuers have tagged grocery stores as a major promotional focus of their credit card reward programs. To encourage consumers to use grocery store credit cards, card issuers are offering a wide array of high cash back rewards and rebates for supermarket related purchases. In fact, along with gas stations and drug stores, grocery stores are often

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