February 25, 2017

About Matheson Russell

Matheson Russell is the Financial Analyst for Marotta Wealth Management. He specializes in tax laws, forms, policy, and planning. He loves complex rules systems, animals, and Koine Greek. His favorite stories are The Jungle Books.

Q&A: What’s My Roth Conversion Limit?

Q&A: What’s My Roth Conversion Limit?

The legal answer to this question is: there is no limit. The practical answer is: it depends on a number of things.

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When Partial-Year HSA Contribution Limits Don’t Apply

When Partial-Year HSA Contribution Limits Don't Apply

Under the “last-month rule,” you can contribute the full amount even after a partial year assuming you meet the “testing period.”

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Billing Client Accounts to the Client’s Greatest Benefit

Billing Client Accounts to the Client's Greatest Benefit

Investment managers can bring clients greater savings by carefully considering how they bill different types of accounts.

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Understanding Virginia’s Tax Withholding Rules

Understanding Virginia's Tax Withholding Rules

We know how federal rules require you to either have tax withheld or make estimated payments of tax that will be due, but it is easy to forget that states have their own revenue departments and their own rules.

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Understanding the Estate Tax Return

Understanding the Estate Tax Return

The estate tax return is definitely complex, but that’s because it has to account for the multitude of special rules that only apply to a few households.

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Bloomberg Article Gets Asset Allocation Exactly Wrong

Bloomberg Article Gets Asset Allocation Exactly Wrong

Investors should not have to deal with financial reporters that misunderstand the field they write about.

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Qualified HSA Funding Distribution

Qualified HSA Funding Distribution

There is an obscure tax rule that allows a one-time Traditional IRA-to-HSA conversion called a Qualified HSA Funding Distribution (QHFD).

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Understanding the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

Understanding the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

The fact that we have an 80% “generous grandparent” tax is ridiculous.

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Can I Contribute to Both a SEP and a 401(k)?

Can I Contribute to Both a SEP and a 401k?

SEP plans offer a powerful way to provide for your own retirement in the same way that 401ks do.

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Mailbag: The Practical Limits of 1031 Exchanges

Mailbag: The Practical Limits of 1031 Exchanges

Using a 1031 exchange to turn investment property into residential property is possible, but it takes careful planning from the outset.

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Is Margin Loan Interest Tax Deductible?

Is Margin Loan Interest Tax Deductible?

Margin loan interest is tax deductible, but the amount you can deduct is limited.

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What is a Roth Conversion?

What is a Roth Conversion?

If you don’t have retirement savings in Roth IRAs, it’s time you considered their benefits. Assets in traditional IRAs can be rolled into Roth IRAs without a withdrawal penalty.

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Government Requires 2.5 Hours of Daily Work

Government Requires 2.5 Hours of Daily Work

Without the burden of federal, state, and local taxes, you could leave your job at 2:27pm every day and earn the same salary.

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Gifts, Taxes, and IRS Form 709

Gifts, Taxes, and IRS Form 709

Most people are unaware that giving a gift can be a taxable event because they themselves have not yet experienced the tax.

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Mailbag: How Is Capital Gains Tax Calculated?

Mailbag: How Is Capital Gains Tax Calculated?

The IRS does not do a good job of helping people understand capital gains taxes. They provide a worksheet to help you calculate it, but it has so many steps that it’s nearly impossible to figure out what’s going on.

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Reasons to Keep a Local Bank Account

Reasons to Keep a Local Bank Account

Investment brokers like Schwab offer many services local banks offer but there are a few reasons why you might want to resist consolidating all of your accounts to a broker.

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Ted Cruz’s Tax Plan

Ted Cruz's Tax Plan

More than many other candidates, Ted Cruz’s tax plan aims to fundamentally change our tax system.

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Millionaire Lifestyle: Drink Sodas at Home, Not Out

Millionaire Lifestyle: Drink Sodas at Home, Not Out

Changing where you drink soda is a small step, but enough small steps can make a huge difference in your savings.

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What Counts as Wages for the Social Security Earnings Test?

What Counts as Wages for the Social Security Earnings Test?

Contrary to the normal way of things, this time what Uncle Sam gives with the IRS, he takes away with the SSA.

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What Counts as “Boot” in a 1031 Exchange?

What Counts as "Boot" in a 1031 Exchange?

1031 exchanges can include “boot,” which is an unofficial term for other property received in the exchange.

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Mailbag: Unexpected Income and Estimated Taxes

Mailbag: Unexpected Income and Estimated Taxes

How do you handle unexpected income that happens late in the year?

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What Games Can’t Teach You About Investing

What Games Can't Teach You About Investing

Many people are first exposed to investing in grade school through a very simple game. Unfortunately, this game teaches all the wrong lessons.

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Mailbag: Where Does Cost Basis Go in a Partial 1031 Exchange?

Mailbag: Where Does Cost Basis Go in a Partial 1031 Exchange?

In a 1031 exchange, the cost basis of the property you give up is rolled into the new property you receive.

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Mailbag: When Can I Move Into a 1031 Property?

Mailbag: When Can I Move Into a 1031 Property?

Because 1031 exchanges are a great way to defer paying large amounts of capital gains tax, the IRS tends to be suspicious of them.

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Jeb Bush’s Tax Plan

Jeb Bush's Tax Plan

Bush’s tax plan is in good company with Trump, Rubio, and Lee. It hits many common Republican talking points but doesn’t seem to take its own reasoning very seriously.

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Donald Trump’s Tax Plan

Donald Trump's Tax Plan

Tax season under Trump’s plan would likely be just as complicated but slightly less painful.

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Mailbag: Can I Use My IRA As Collateral?

Mailbag: Can I Use My IRA As Collateral?

There is a complex way, but we don’t recommend the strategy.

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Mailbag: Marco Rubio and Mike Lee’s Tax Plan

Mailbag: Marco Rubio and Mike Lee's Tax Plan

Is each dollar value the average for that category or is it really the average for a family with $88,871 in annual income?

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Marco Rubio and Mike Lee’s Tax Plan

Marco Rubio and Mike Lee's Tax Plan

Rubio and Lee do make definite improvements but sadly, this good is largely undone by a well-meaning but naive tilt of the playing field towards parents.

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Rand Paul’s Tax Plan

Rand Paul's Tax Plan

2016 Presidential hopeful Rand Paul has released a sketch of an intriguing tax plan.

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Can I Fund My Roth With Book Publishing Royalties?

Can I Fund My Roth With Book Publishing Royalties?

Roth IRAs can only be funded with earned income and therein lies the confusion.

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Managerial Lessons from Game Mastering

Managerial Lessons from Game Mastering

Pen-and-paper roleplaying games have a lot of unique lessons to offer, particularly for policymakers and managers.

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Only 20% of Advisors Avoid Active Management Strategies

Active Management Strategies

The majority of advisors make the mistake of having significant or moderate use of actively managed funds.

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Why is Organic Food Expensive?

Why is Organic Food Expensive?

Organic food has a reputation for being healthier than non-organic food, but neither of these claims should be taken at face value.

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A Guide to Your W-4

A Guide to Your W-4

All new employees have to fill out form W-4, but despite its ubiquity, most people don’t understand it.

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Free eBooks for Lovers of Classic Literature

Free eBooks for Lovers of Classic Literature

If you’re not wedded to the idea of owning a hard copy, there are many options to find classics for free as ebooks.

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Why Liberals Should Hate Real Estate Taxes

Why Liberals Should Hate Real Estate Taxes

Taxes hurt ordinary folks before the extraordinary ones, and it can hurt them badly.

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Tax by Fiat: Legacy of Alexander Hamilton

Tax by Fiat: Legacy of Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton, like our current president, sees people as temporary holders of wealth until such time as the government decides to expand.

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Tax by Fiat: Legacy of James Wilson

Tax by Fiat: Legacy of James Wilson

The arguments for greater government power have always been the same.

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Sordid History of the Income Tax: from 3% to 39.6%

Sordid History of the Income Tax: from 3% to 39.6%

The only time the original terms of the Constitution have been explicitly rejected and changed was to give the government the right to tax people unequally.

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Rethinking Government Spending

Rethinking Government Spending

In 2013, Nancy Pelosi said “there’s no cuts to make,” but that’s ridiculous.

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How Much Does the Government Cost?

How Much Does the Government Cost?

Is it fair for the government to confiscate a full quarter of the average person’s earnings every year? Where does it all go?

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Taxed Enough Already?

Taxed Enough Already?

An unlimited power to tax necessarily involves a power to destroy.

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Who Really Pays the Income Tax?

Who Really Pays the Income Tax?

Income taxes are the largest portion of the federal government’s annual tax haul. But who foots the bill?

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How Much Government: The Math

How Much Government: The Math

See the math behind the dangers of having such a large number of people employed by government.

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How Much Government Do We Really Have?

How Much Government Do We Really Have?

Our governments employ 17.44 million people, 14.90% of the full-time working-age US population. This is larger than the 14 least-populous states put together.

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Federal Program Inventories vs OMB: $622 Billion Missing

The Missing $622 Billion

With trillions of dollars to spend, you’d think the least the government could do is maintain consistent records.

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What is the Federal Program Inventory?

The FY 2013 Federal Program Inventory

The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 had a vision: to “provide Congress and the public a clearer picture of the programs that exist across the Federal government.” Like most things in government, it failed to live up to its goals.

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Trying to Talk to Government? Good Luck.

Trying to Contact Government? Good Luck.

Despite a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”, I have found myself told time-and-again, “You’re on your own”.

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Will Roth Conversion Affect My Estimated Tax Payments?

Will Roth Conversion Affect My Estimated Tax Payments?

Roth conversions are a great way to save money and if you have a good financial planner, they need not be a headache.

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