Americans enjoy saving more, 401k blunders to avoid, Is your broker gouging you, and more bits…

Americans enjoy saving more than spending Could it really be true? The majority of Americans enjoy saving money more than spending it, by 62 percent to 34 percent, according to a Gallup poll released this week. The 2014 saving-spending gap is one of the widest since Gallup began tracking Americans’ preferences in 2001.

Don’t make these 401(k) blunders Americans commit a series of blunders with their retirement accounts. Author Jacob Hale Russell of Stanford Law School says that the flubs are not entirely our fault. “Over the past four decades, the American retirement system has dramatically shifted risk onto the individual worker.” Whereas in the past, professional investment management committees were tasked with making complicated financial decisions, today the burden has shifted to individuals and the results have not been good. Retirement investors consistently make the following blunders…

Amazon.com is learning the hard way that people care more about price than brand loyalty. In states where Amazon has been forced to begin charging sales tax, households decreased their expenditures on the site by 9.5 percent and by 24 percent on purchases of more than $299, according to a new study by Ohio State University researchers. Although bricks-and-mortar retailers and state governments pushed for Amazon to collect sales tax, they did not necessarily benefit. Sales increased only 2 percent at local stores, but rose nearly 20 percent at competing online retailers that do not charge sales tax. For expensive purchases, the rivals saw a 24 percent increase.

Is Your Broker Gouging You? How to Tell Over the years, brokers have been performing all kinds of services from cash management accounts to portfolio monitoring. With additional services, though, comes layers of fees. Some of the broker-offered services have come down in price such as commissions, particularly on exchange-traded funds. But brokers can easily overcharge you.

With 131 Million Returns Filed, Millions of Amended Returns Expected As of April 18, almost 46 million returns were e-filed from home computers, more than the total from home computers for all of 2013. The IRS has received more than 131 million returns, of which 88 percent were e-filed.

The IRS also projects that almost 5 million taxpayers will amend their returns by filing Form 1040X during 2014. Taxpayers who need to amend their returns should file this form only after filing the original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, taxpayers must file Form 1040X within 3 years, including extensions, after the date they filed their original return or within 2 years after the date they paid the tax, whichever is later. For most people, this means that returns for tax-year 2011 or later can still be amended.

This year, many same-sex couples may want to consider filing amended returns. A same sex couple, legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes their marriage, is now considered married for tax purposes. This is true regardless of whether or not the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.

For returns originally filed before Sept. 16, 2013, legally married same sex couples have the option of filing amended return to change their filing status to married filing separately or married filing jointly. But they are not required to change their filing status on a prior return, even if they amend that return for another reason. In either case, their amended return must be consistent with the filing status they have chosen.  Further details are available on IRS.gov.

As all amended returns must be filed on paper, allow up to 12 weeks for Form 1040X to be processed.  Starting 3 weeks after filing their amended returns, taxpayers can use the “Where’s My Amended Tax Return?” tool on IRS.gov to check the status.

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