Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins today!

https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2018-open-enrollment-is-here/

Visit the ACA website to search for options, prices and register before December 15th! You may have an extended enrollment period in states affected by the hurricanes:

https://www.healthcare.gov/

Sleep Better at Night

You have the passion, you have the vision but you still worry. Will I ever stop living paycheck to paycheck? How do I manage the finances in my business? I’ve started my business now what do I do? Let me help you activate the wealth within you. If you have 60 minutes, I have the solution! Schedule a financial coaching session with me today⤵️

bit.ly/sleepbetteratnight60

The Equifax Data Breach: What Do I Do Now?

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

 Data Breach

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed people’s names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. And they grabbed personal information of people in the UK and Canada too.

There are steps to take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

  • Find out if your information was exposed. Click on the “Potential Impact” tab and enter your last name and the last six digits of your Social Security number. Your Social Security number is sensitive information, so make sure you’re on a secure computer and an encrypted network connection any time you enter it. The site will tell you if you’ve been affected by this breach.
  • Whether or not your information was exposed, U.S. consumers can get a year of free credit monitoring and other services. The site will give you a date when you can come back to enroll. Write down the date and come back to the site and click “Enroll” on that date. You have until November 21, 2017 to enroll.
  • You also can access frequently asked questions at the site.

Here are some other steps to take to help protect yourself after a data breach:

  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for free — by visiting annualcreditreport.com. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  • If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

Visit Identitytheft.gov/databreach to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach.

Watch: What to Do After a Data Breach

Income and Flexibility as a Mompreneur

Listen to the podcast of my interview with C Thomas Gambrell II of Birth A New Business where I share my secret to sustaining a home based business as a single parent! Click below to hear it. I’d love your comments and feedback. Did you hear something that was useful to you as an entrepreneur? ⤵️

Birth a New Business Podcast.

How to Balance Your Checkbook 101

I will be the first to admit it. I used my bank as an expensive line of credit. I would walk into a store knowing that I probably didn’t have enough in my bank account to purchase the item I wanted, but I purchased it anyway. I felt ashamed yet I knew that my bank would pay the retailer and I would get charged a fee later for insufficient funds. I told myself that the item was worth the additional fee I would pay. Then there were other times when I really thought I had enough money in my bank account and was shocked when I received a notice of insufficient funds in the mail from my bank and was charged the NSF fee for the three or four days I wasn’t aware of my actual cash balance.

I learned the hard way that knowledge is power and that if I took at least 30 minutes each month (or 10-15 minutes a week) to reconcile my checkbook to the bank statement or online banking detail, I could have saved over $500 in bank fees! In addition to bank fees I’ve sometimes found bank errors where the bank either didn’t credit me for the correct amount of my deposit or a merchant charged me twice through a debit purchase. I would not have recovered the money from these erroneous charges to my account if I hadn’t taken the time to reconcile my checkbook.

Now I make it a point to never walk into a store until I’ve reconciled my bank account and am confident I know how much money I have available to spend. If it’s something I want and don’t necessarily need, I will take a picture of it or write it down and add it to my “rewards” list. If it’s something I need, I will research on the internet to find a way to get it at a discount or a price I can afford. I may also consider checking with my bank to see if I can obtain a personal line of credit. I use my “rewards list” when I have the funds, as a way of rewarding myself for managing my money wisely or reaching another important professional or personal goal.

Stop guessing and stressing about the money in your bank account and invest time in yourself and your peace of mind and take these six simple steps to reconciling your checkbook. The Foundation for Financial Literacy has provided a valuable step by step illustration and worksheet that can be used for yourself as well as your teenager or college student.

Take a few minutes to move towards personal financial freedom. You may find a fortune in savings!

 

Sponsored by MT Austin and Associates, Your Accounting Solution!

 

#TaxTip: Six Important Facts to know before deducting a charitable donation

Groups - Adults and Business People
Groups – Adults and Business People

Welcome to Financial Freedom Press! It’s tax season and we will be sharing valuable information directly from the IRS website that will help you in filing your federal tax return. As always, MT Austin and Associates would be honored to provide your individual or small business, non-profit tax preparation services. We offer competitive pricing and personal attention. You can schedule a 15 minute consultation at your convenience by accessing our calendar HERE —> CALENDAR

or email us at austin@mtaustinandassoc.com. Wishing you Many Happy Returns!

Know these Facts Before Deducting a Charitable Donation

If taxpayers gave money or goods to a charity in 2016, they may be able to claim a deduction on their federal tax return. Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool, Can I Deduct my Charitable Contributions?, to help determine if their charitable contributions are deductible.

Here are some important facts about charitable donations:

  1. Qualified Charities. Taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity. Gifts to individuals, political organizations or candidates are not deductible. To check the status of a charity, use the IRS Select Check tool.

  2. Itemize Deductions. To deduct charitable contributions, taxpayers must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions. File Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, with a federal tax return.

  3. Benefit in Return. If taxpayers get something in return for their donation, they may have to reduce their deduction. Taxpayers can only deduct the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals, tickets to events or other goods and services.

  4. Type of Donation. If taxpayers give property instead of cash, their deduction amount is normally limited to the item’s fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price they would get if the property sold on the open market. If they donate used clothing and household items, those items generally must be in good condition or better. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.

  5. Non-cash Charitable Contributions. File Form 8283, Non-cash Charitable Contributions, for all non-cash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year. Complete section-A for non-cash property contributions worth $5,000 or less. Complete section-B for non-cash property contributions more than $5,000 and include a qualified appraisal to the return. Taxpayers may be able to prepare and e-file their tax return for free using IRS Free File. The type of records they must keep depends on the amount and type of their donation. To learn more about what records to keep, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions.

  6. Donations of $250 or More. If taxpayers donated cash or goods of $250 or more, they must have a written statement from the charity. It must show the amount of the donation and a description of any property given. It must also say whether they received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.

Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

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How to protect your finances before the New Year; ticket #4

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #4: Shred documents with personal information

cr-shredderDo yourself a favor – if you don’t have a personal shredder, purchase one. There are a number low cost shredders made for home use that range from $15-$75 ; the lower priced shredders are made to sit on top of a small wastebasket. Mail theft is still common, especially during the end of the year when tax documents and year end banking and investment statements are often mailed to clients. Shredding your documents with personal and financial information instead of throwing them in the trash will lower your chance of being a victim of identity theft and fraud.

Don’t forget to also shred your old credit cards and insurance cards instead of throwing them in the trash. Most shredders come with ability to shred credit cards. Once your shredder is filled, instead of dumping it in the trash, bag it up and donate it to your local pet shelter! The shelters often use shredded paper when they run out of kitten litter; you will feel good that you’re donating to a worthy cause and recycling at the same time!

 

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to read the previous three tickets . We also invite you to visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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How to protect your finances before the New Year; ticket #3

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #3: Review your health insurance bills

surprised-women-reading-n-0012Insurance companies and doctor’s offices are not immune to making human mistakes yet most people don’t bother to look at the statements from their insurer before they pay the balance due or quickly file away the invoice when no payment is due.

Why is it important to check your health insurance bills? Your insurance bill could be an early detector of identity theft. Hospitals and doctor’s offices must request a copy of your identification and insurance card before they provide services. If you see a charge on your health insurance bill for an item, doctor, facility or date that you do not recognize it could be possible that someone used your identification. If you notice something wrong, contact the doctor or health facility’s billing department for a detailed description of the item. If you are certain that it was not your claim, contact your health insurance company  immediately to request an investigation into the charge and correct the error.

If the health office confirms the person provided accurate identification and you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft to file a claim.

 

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the fourth ticket and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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How to protect your finances before the new year ; TICKET #2

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #2Check your banking activity! 

bank-statementMost banks make it easy for you to view your daily activity and pending transactions through an app on your phone. If you do not have access to an app, you should have the ability to log into your online banking account to view the current activity. You should also be able to download a copy of your last bank statement. If you still receive your bank statements in the mail, we strongly suggest you contact your bank’s customer service department and request “paper free” or digital downloads of your monthly bank statements. Most banks will now charge to mail paper statements and this would be an opportunity to both save on the banking fee and lessen the chance of your sensitive information being taken from the mail.

We suggest you get in the habit of checking your bank statements every month. Financial institutions often make errors and are only liable for them for 90 days after the date of the bank statement. In other words if the bank made an error on your statement, and you wait more than three months to look at your statement and dispute the item, you lose the opportunity to have the error corrected by the bank. You want to make sure everything is accurate, and that you can identify each cash transaction and debit purchase. If you notice something wrong, contact the vendor and/or the bank immediately.

We have provided a link to this FREE sample letter for reporting an incorrect charge to a credit card company or retail store.

If you suspect identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft to report the incident.

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the next two tips and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service! Many Happy Returns!

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How to protect your finances before the new year ; TICKET #1

Welcome to the Financial Freedom Press!  This newsletter is a publication of The Restoration Station the financial literacy division of  MT Austin and Associates,your accounting solution! The mission of  The Restoration Station is to help place you on the right track to financial freedom.  We offer FREE tools (tickets) and resources to support you on your journey to financial freedom and wealth!


TICKET #1Check your credit report! 

 

credit-reportDecember is a busy season for thieves! There is a lot of shopping activity in the stores, credit card activity and online shopping which leaves your financial information and personal information subject to cyber and banking fraud.

The end of the year is the perfect time to check your credit report for any suspicious activity. Aside from the holiday shopping, many are considering a new home, car or possibly even a new job in the new year and all of these transitions are easier with healthy credit.

Good news– it’s free. The law entitles you to one free copy of your credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies every 12 months.

Why is it important to check your credit report? It has important information about your financial accounts, how you pay your bills, and if you filed for bankruptcy. You want to make sure everything is accurate, especially before you buy a house or a car or apply for a job. If you notice something wrong, contact the credit reporting company and business providing the information to correct the error.

Checking your report can help you guard against identity theft. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft if you spot accounts that aren’t yours.

How do you order your free credit report? Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

Keep in mind– you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. So the next time someone asks how’s your credit, you’ll have the answer. To order your free credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

I hope you have found this “tool” useful. Please comment below if you have questions or feedback. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our blog, Financial Freedom Press to receive the next three tips and visit The Restoration Station on Facebook for FREE resources and weekly live broadcasts with valuable tickets and information for the individual household and entrepreneur.

MT Austin and Associates , sponsor of  The Restoration Station provides accounting, financial reporting and income tax services to corporations, non profits and individuals. If we can be of service, please do not hesitate to send a message to us from the contact page of our website. We appreciate the opportunity to be of service!

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