Category Archives: News

Jenny McCarthy explains why she was miserable at ‘The View,’ compares Barbara Walters to ‘Mommie Dearest’

Jenny McCarthy is spilling the tea about her time on ABC talk show The View, beginning with her experience working with executive producer and co-host Barbara Walters.

“You know the movie Mommie Dearest? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow!’ I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters,” McCarthy tells author and Variety reporter Ramin Setoodeh in his new book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View’, according to a press release from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press.

McCarthy also described a time she appeared on the show as a guest, to promote her 2008 book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism, in which she wrote about her beliefs that vaccines played a role in her son’s autism. She said Walters “blew up” at her in her dressing room before the show.

The former host, known for appearing on the MTV show Singled Out and for her time as a Playboy model, joined the ABC daytime show in September 2013 and stayed for just a year — one that she described as “miserable.” Although her understanding was that she’d joined the show to inject some humor and pop culture, McCarthy said she was pushed toward filling the hole the departed co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck had filled as the more politically conservative one at the table.

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“They did try to change me,” McCarthy said of show executives. “They wanted Elisabeth back, and I wasn’t Elisabeth. I would literally have meetings before the show of them trying to input opinions in me to go against [fellow co-host] Whoopi [Goldberg]. I was going to work crying. I couldn’t be myself. Every day I went home and I was miserable. It really was the most miserable I’ve been on a job in my 25 years of show business.”

Some of the other reasons behind McCarthy’s awful time:

Barbara Walters was constantly evaluating her wardrobe.

“Barbara would check out what I was wearing. If she didn’t agree with it, or it didn’t complement her outfit, I had to change,” McCarthy said. “Mind you, she doesn’t look at anyone’s clothes but mine. There were times when she’d say ‘change,’ and she’d make people run out and get that [same exact] dress in her size. I was a human Barbie doll.”

Whoopi Goldberg had ‘controlling’ ways.

“People don’t understand,” McCarthy said. “Whoopi can knock over anyone in a debate. Her voice is strong not only in meaning but also in sound. I was able to get a point out in three words — like ‘I don’t agree’ — and that’s all I would be able to say. I would be stepped on or interrupted.”

McCarthy added, “I wasn’t going to play a kiss-ass. To me, Whoopi had an addiction to controlling people’s thoughts, their words, the room, the table, your feeling, your mood. She had an addiction to controlling all of it and everybody.”

That time Walters accused her of not flushing a tampon in the studio restroom.

“She’s standing in the hallway where the guests are, yelling at me about a tampon. I don’t know. Maybe in her brain, she went, ‘I’m going to the youngest, newest person here, because obviously she has her period and left a tampon floating.’ This is Barbara Walters. I’m not going to yell at her. So finally I said, ‘I’ll take care of it. I’ll take one for the team and I’ll flush it.’”

Walters and Goldberg struggled for power.

The founder of the show and the Oscar-winning actress, who, according to the book, felt she wasn’t being paid enough and was often admonished by Walters for any perceived misstep, often butted heads. One frequent topic: who had the job of leading the conversation at the “Hot Topics” table.

“There was a war between Barbara and Whoopi about Barbara wanting to moderate,” McCarthy said. “This is one of the reasons I decided not to ally with Whoopi. It broke my heart when Barbara would shuffle to Whoopi and say, ‘Can I moderate, please?’ And Whoopi would say no. How can you do this to a woman who paved the way for so many female journalists? The reason we’re doing this job is because of Barbara Walters.”

Walters was denied her request even in her final days of hosting the show before her 2014 departure, McCarthy said.

Reps for Walters and Goldberg did not immediately respond to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.

Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View’ is scheduled to arrive in bookstores on April 2, but it’s available for preorder now at Amazon.

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Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2019/03/20/jenny-mccarthy-explains-why-she-was-miserable-at-the-view-compares-barbara-walters-to-mommie-dearest/23697241/

MBS RECAP: Here’s Why Bonds Loved The Fed Today (And It’s NOT The DOTS)

You may see news stories about the Fed shifting its rate hike outlook (conveyed in a dot plot often referred to as “the dots”) to “zero hikes in 2019,” but that’s not today’s big news.  Today’s big story is exactly the one we were looking for: a concrete announcement on the Fed’s bond-buying plans. Specifically, the Fed’s previous policy of allowing its balance sheet to shrink by a predetermined amount every month is officially on borrowed time.

Starting in May 2019, the Fed will lower the maximum runoff amount from $30bln to $15bln per month.  Simply put that’s an immediate $15bln month injection of new bond buying demand.  If I had to guess (and I don’t anymore), I’d say that is both sooner and a bigger move than the market was expecting.  Just for good measure, the Fed didn’t say they were going to assess the affects and make future changes.  Rather, they went ahead and said balance sheet runoff completely ends after September 2019.  Yep, that’s another $15bln/month of bond buying. 

But that wasn’t all… Then in October, they’re going to stop letting nearly as much MBS fall off the balance sheet.  The first $20bln of MBS proceeds (basically all of it…) will be reinvested into Treasuries.  Simply put, by October, we’re looking at a $50bln/month swing in new bond buying demand that we weren’t planning on having a few months ago.

This is about as big and as fast as such things might have possibly happened.  As such, it’s no surprise to see bonds rallying aggressively, even though so much of 2019’s previous strength can be attributed to hopes for such a move.  10yr yields dropped nearly 10bps to 2.524% and Fannie 3.5 MBS rallied nearly half a point to just under 101-00.

Article source: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/blog/905178.aspx

3 tax-deductible investment expenses you should take

As investors file their tax returns, they’re discovering they can take fewer deductions related to investment expenses.

The new Tax Cut and Jobs Act, known as TCJA, wiped out a lot of the miscellaneous investment expenses that people wrote off previously, says David Faje, a certified public accountant and partner at Warady Davis in Deerfield, Illinois.

CHARITABLE DEDUCTIONS

That higher standard deduction makes it difficult to put together enough charitable deductions to make it worth itemizing. But if you do make large contributions, the threshold for deductions has jumped from 50 percent of adjusted gross income to 60 percent. While it’s too late to make charitable donations for 2018, Kibler suggests tracking down receipts for donations made throughout the year, especially of cash or goods. Giving to eligible nonprofits, religious organizations, and government organizations (such as a school or public library) are deductible. “If you dropped off a bag of clothing at a local charity or gave them $5 at the cash register of your grocery store, make sure to track these contributions so you get the highest tax benefit possible,” Kibler says.

STANDARD DEDUCTION

The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 almost doubled the standard deduction in 2018, pushing it from $9,350 for those filing as head of household to $18,000. But it also eliminated a bunch of helpful credits and deductions, including the personal exemption, which was $4,050 in 2017.

AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT

While tuition and fees deductions have dried up, the American Opportunity Tax Credit remains an option for eligible students — not grad students or long-term undergrads; it’s available only during the first four years of college — with at least half-time status at an accredited school. It covers all of the first $2,000 in expenses and 25 percent of the next $2,000 (for a total $2,500). Schools will send students a 1098-T showing the amount paid last year in tuition and fees, but even expenses including books, supplies, and equipment such as computers can be offset. If the 1098-T does not max out the allowed credit, hold onto those receipts for supplies.

LIFETIME LEARNING CREDIT

This is the tax credit for the older student. Anyone taking classes at an eligible educational institution to acquire or improve job skills is eligible, even students taking just one class well after four years of undergraduate education. There are limits: Students are credited for only 20 percent of $10,000 in expenses ($2,000 is the maximum), though it can be applied to tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. Individuals with an adjustable gross income between $56,000 and $66,000 (or between $112,000 but less than $132,000 for married filing jointly), will get a reduced amount. If it’s over those thresholds, you can’t claim the credit at all.

MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION

If you bought a home and had the mortgage in place before Dec. 15, 2017, you are still eligible to deduct interest on up to $1 million in mortgage debt. If you happened to sign on that date or later, though, your threshold drops to $750,000.

DEPENDENT CARE CREDIT

If a child does not qualify for the Child Tax Credit because they are over 17, they may still be eligible for a $500 credit under new tax laws. The credit also applies for dependents who are elderly or disabled.

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Those who took advantage of the child tax credit in 2017 could claim a $1,000 credit on their income tax return for each child under 17 who qualified. In 2018, that doubles to $2,000 per qualifying child. The credit was also nonrefundable in previous years, but can now be refunded to 15 percent of earned income over $2,500, or up to $1,400. To qualify, children have to be 16 years or younger on the last day of 2018, be related to you, claimed as a dependent, be a documented U.S. citizen or resident, have lived with you for half of the tax year (though absences related to school, vacation, military service, and medical care are exempt) and must not provide more than half of his or her own support. The credit phases out for married taxpayers filing jointly with an income of $400,000 (or $200,000 for all other taxpayers).

EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT

The Earned Income Tax Credit is for low- and moderate-income taxpayers with “earned income” such as wages, salaries, or self-employment pay (but not Social Security, unemployment, or investment income). The limits are strict, ranging from $15,270 for a single person with no children to $54,884 for a married couple with three children or more. The credit’s value is worth $519 to $6,431 depending on filing status and number of dependents, but requires recipients to have less than $3,500 in investment income for the year.

IRA DEDUCTION

Whether it’s through an employer or private plan, a traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement funded with pretax money — unlike a post-tax Roth IRA — is deductible up to a certain limit. Even if an account is opened and funded in 2019, any contributions made before the tax-filing deadline can be credited to the previous year. For 2018, the maximum contribution is $5,500 (or $6,500 for those 50 or older). There are also deduction limitations depending on the taxpayer’s income and access to an employer-sponsored retirement account.

STUDENT LOAN INTEREST DEDUCTION

Students can still deduct up to $2,500 for interest paid on student loans — but get less if median adjusted gross income exceeds $65,000 ($135,000 for joint returns) and nothing if it’s $80,000 or more ($165,000 or more for joint returns).

CREDIT FOR THE ELDERLY OR THE DISABLED

Taxpayers 65 or older — or younger but retired or on permanent and total disability — may be eligible for a credit. Taxable income must be below $17,500 (or $20,000 if married and filing jointly) and nontaxable Social Security, pension, or disability benefits must be below $5,000. If both partners qualify and file jointly, the income limits are $25,000 for taxable income and $7,500 for nontaxable benefits. The credit itself ranges between $3,750 and $7,000.

SAVERS CREDIT

It isn’t much, but the Savers Credit gives back to low- and moderate-income people who contribute to a qualified retirement account. Taxpayers can get a credit for 10 percent, 20 percent, or 50 percent of the first $2,000 contributed, depending on income and family size. To get the minimum 10 percent, the maximum allowed income is $31,500 for single filers, $47,250 for the head of a household, and $63,000 for joint filers. Also, beginning this year, beginning in 2018, if you’re the designated beneficiary you may be eligible for a credit for contributions to your Achieving a Better Life Experience account for persons with disabilities.

SEP-IRA CONTRIBUTIONS

A longtime friend to small-business owners and freelancers, the Simplified Employee Pension IRA offers higher contribution limits than a traditional IRA. As their own employer, business owners and freelancers can contribute up to 25 percent of their annual income or $55,000, whichever is lower. As with a traditional IRA, contributions made before the tax-filing deadline (without an extension) can be applied to the previous year.

MORTGAGE INTEREST CREDIT

Taxpayers who get a Qualified Mortgage Credit Certificate worth up to $7,500 from a local or state government may be able to claim the Mortgage Interest Credit. The home must be the taxpayer’s primary residence, and interest payments can’t go to a taxpayer’s relative. The credit is worth up to $2,000, and unused portions may be carried forward to the following year.

SOLO 401(K) CONTRIBUTIONS

Unfortunately, taxpayers can’t just set one of these up before the tax deadline and save some cash. The one-participant 401(k), or solo or self-employed 401(k), requires you to file for a federal Employer Identification Number and set up the account by Dec. 31. But once a solo 401(k) is established, taxpayers can make contributions right up to the tax-filing date in April (or mid-October, with an extension). Total contributions can’t exceed $55,000, but that’s still nearly four times the maximum employee contribution to a standard 401(k) of $18,500.

BONUS DEPRECIATION

If you bought new office furniture, computer servers, cranes, end loaders, cattle, trucks, or taxis for a business last year, you may be able to write off more from them than you thought. Even if you built oil derricks, warehouses, office space, or utility plants after Sept. 26, 2017, the bonus depreciation you could claim on the first year of owning those assets increased from 50 percent just a day before to 100 percent “expensing” from Sept. 27 onward. Recent tax changes also extended bonus depreciation from items bought or built new to both new and used assets. That “expensing” applies to productions (qualified film, television, and/or staged performances) and even certain fruit or nuts. The law also increased the maximum deduction from $500,000 to $1 million, with the phase-out threshold increasing from $2 million to $2.5 million.

CAR EXPENSES

Self-employed people can deduct 54.5 cents a mile driven for business purposes the previous year; the rate goes up to 58 cents in 2019. That said, detailed mileage logs are required. Writing down the miles driven (odometer readings at the beginning and end of the trip help), the date, the business purpose of the trip, and the destination should be adequate. Taxpayers can also take a 18-cent-per-mile deduction for eligible miles driven for medical purposes in 2018, up from 17 cents in 2017 (and it’s 20 cents in 2019). The standard mileage rate for charitable activities is unchanged at 14 cents. Moving expenses, however, no longer qualify for a deduction.

HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION

This one is tricky, as simply working on the couch or at a kitchen table doesn’t cut it. A home office has to be a dedicated space for working and meeting clients and customers. Furthermore, office-related utilities including telephone, internet, and even heat and electricity have to be parsed out separately. You can try to determine which portion of a home’s expenses, taxes, insurance, and depreciation is dedicated to a home office; a simplified version multiplies the square feet of the room by $5 (if the total size is 300 square feet or smaller). That said, you can only get this deduction if you’re self-employed: It disappeared for employees in 2018.

ADOPTION CREDIT

You may be able to take a tax credit of up to $13,810 for qualified expenses paid to adopt a child in 2018. Those expenses include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, travel expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging), and readoption expenses for a foreign child. Those credits apply to adoptions of anyone under 18 years old or physically or mentally incapable of taking care of themselves. If your modified adjusted gross income is more than $207,140, the credit is reduced; those with MAGI of $247,140 or more can’t take the credit.

FOREIGN TAX CREDIT

If you paid or accrued income tax in a foreign country or U.S. possession in 2018, you can use it as a credit against U.S. income tax. If you already exclude foreign earned income, foreign housing costs, foreign possessions, or income from Puerto Rico exempt from U.S. tax, you aren’t eligible. Also, your foreign tax credit can’t be more than your U.S. tax liability multiplied against a fraction made up of taxable income from outside the United States and total taxable sources.

HOME SALE EXCLUSION

Most people who sell a home know that, if they’ve sold at a gain, they may exclude up to $250,000 of it if single or $500,000 if married filing jointly. Granted, you actually had to live in that home for two of the past five years (military, foreign service, and intelligence personnel are exempt). What most homeowners don’t realize is that the gain isn’t only on the sale price of the home, but on improvements made, real estate agent sales commissions, closing costs, recording fees, and survey fees. Kibler suggests keeping clear records of all of it in case of an audit and to keep a big chunk of the gain tax-free.

FOREIGN EARNED INCOME EXCLUSION

If you live in a foreign country for at least 330 full days out of the year, you can have up to $104,100 of your salaries, wages, professional fees, and other amounts you get as an employee excluded from federally taxable income. You may also exclude amounts your employer pays for rent, furniture rental, parking, or other items.

HSA CONTRIBUTION LIMITS

The IRS will allow taxpayers to make tax-free contributions and withdrawals from Health Savings Accounts as long as they go toward qualifying medical expenses. High-deductible health plans — with premiums ranging between $1,350 and $6,650 for singles and $2,700 and $13,300 for families — allow taxpayers to contribute up to $3,450 for single filers or $6,900 for families to HSAs without any tax implications.

NONBUSINESS ENERGY TAX CREDIT

The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit covers materials that meet the efficiency standards of the Department of Energy. This includes home insulation, exterior doors, exterior windows and skylights, some roofing materials, electric heat pumps, various water heaters, central air conditioning, biomass stoves, furnaces, boilers, and advanced circulation fans. You can claim 10 percent of the minor improvements or 100 percent of the big ones, but you’ll get only a maximum $500 credit for all years of improvements combined. It also sets credit limits for windows ($200), boilers ($150), fans ($50), and bigger jobs ($300).

RESIDENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDIT

If you’re thinking about going solar, installing a small windmill, looking into geothermal heat, or experimenting with fuel cells, there’s tax incentive to do so. You can get a 30 percent rebate on any of the above, but act quickly. If you don’t install it by the end of 2019, the rebate drops every year until 2022.

CASUALTY, DISASTER AND THEFT LOSSES

In previous years, a taxpayer could get a deduction for any mishap that occurred in their home. But starting in 2018, the damage must have occurred during a federally declared disaster for a taxpayer to get that same deduction. This deduction may return in full in 2025, but for now it’s limited to disaster areas.

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Those prior federal tax deductions include brokerage fees, investment advisory fees, safe-deposit box fees, tax preparation fees, subscriptions to investing publications, anything that was directly connected to the production of investment income.

Investors who itemized taxes could deduct those types of fees if the costs exceeded 2 percent of their adjusted gross income, adds Jeff Moes, executive vice president and chief fiduciary officer at FineMark National Bank Trust.

California

State income tax: 1% to 13.3% 

Maine

State income tax: 5.8% to 10.15%

Oregon

State income tax: 5% to 9.9%

Minnesota

State income tax: 5.35% to 9.85%

Iowa

State income tax: 0.36% to 8.98%

New Jersey

State income tax: 1.4% to 8.97%

Vermont

State income tax: 3.55% to 8.95%

Washington, DC

State income tax: 4% to 8.95%

New York

State income tax: 4% to 8.82%

Hawaii

State income tax: 1.4% to 8.25%

Wisconsin

State income tax: 4% to 7.65%

Idaho

State income tax: 1.6% to 7.4%

South Carolina

State income tax: 0% to 7%

Connecticut

State income tax: 3% to 6.99%

Arkansas

State income tax: 0.9% to 6.9%

Montana

State income tax: 1% to 6.9%

Nebraska

State income tax: 2.46% to 6.84%

Delaware

State income tax: 2.2% to 6.6%

West Virginia

State income tax: 3% to 6.5%

Georgia

State income tax: 1% to 6%

Kentucky

State income tax: 2% to 6%

Louisiana

State income tax: 2% to 6%

Missouri

State income tax: 1.5% to 6%

Rhode Island

State income tax: 3.75% to 5.99%

Maryland

State income tax: 2% to 5.75%

North Carolina

State income tax: 5.75%

Virginia

State income tax: 2% to 5.75%

Oklahoma

State income tax: 0.5% to 5.25%

Massachusetts

State income tax: 5.1%

Alabama

State income tax: 2% to 5%

Mississippi

State income tax: 3% to 5%

Utah

State income tax: 5%

Ohio

State income tax: 0.495% to 4.997%

New Mexico

State income tax: 1.7% to 4.9%

Colorado

State income tax: 4.63%

Kansas

State income tax: 2.7% to 4.6%

Arizona

State income tax: 2.59% to 4.54%

Michigan

State income tax: 4.25%

Illinois

State income tax: 3.75%

Indiana

State income tax: 3.3%

Pennsylvania

State income tax: 3.07%

North Dakota

State income tax: 1.1% to 2.9%

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It’s likely that fewer people are itemizing their tax returns. While there remain a few tax-deductible investment expenses, as listed in IRS Publication 550, the increased standard deduction means a vast majority of people are no longer able to itemize. The standard deduction is $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The changes in the tax law will expire at the end of 2025 if Congress does not make the law permanent, so it will impact future tax write-offs for at least a few more years. Even with the changes, experts say there are still a few investment-related expenses that taxpayers can take. Here are three tax-deduction strategies that investors may be able to use for the 2018 tax year:

  • Use capital losses to offset income.
  • Deduct investment interest expenses.
  • Turn qualified dividends into ordinary income.

Use Capital Losses to Offset Income

Paul Joseph, founder of Joseph Joseph Tax Payroll in Williamston, Michigan, says one of the remaining investment-related expenses that people can use to reduce their tax bill is writing off some capital losses.

“That’s still in effect, and it’s not an itemized deduction as it goes on a different schedule,” he says. “It’s still $3,000 that you can use to offset income.”

Capital losses occur when investors lose money on a security. Investors should keep an eye on their cost basis to see if they’re underwater on an investment, Faje says. Cost basis is the original value of an asset. If investors didn’t takes capital losses last year, they can’t use it to offset income as they file taxes this year. But they should make a plan to do that for next year’s taxes, he says.

“Especially toward year-end, investors might want to think about tax-loss harvesting, which is selling securities they’ve lost money on to recognize that loss,” Faje says. Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy that involves selling off a security that has experienced a loss in order to offset taxes on capital gains and income.

As painful as the fourth quarter sell-off might have been for some investors, that would have been a prime time to sell losing stocks and lock in enough capital losses.

Deduct Investment Interest Expenses

Investors who itemize can deduct investment interest expense against their net investment income. This expense occurs when people take out margin loans, which is money borrowed against the value of stocks or mutual funds. The money can be used to buy additional securities or used for other financial needs. That margin interest is deductible.

Moes says investors who want to take advantage of this deduction must do some math to first find their net investment income. To calculate this expense, taxpayers need to take their gross income, subtract qualified deductions, net gains and other investment expenses – those miscellaneous expenses that can no longer be deducted. That total equals an investor’s net investment income. To take advantage of the deduction, the income must be more than the expense.

For example, if an investor has investment income of $1,000 and interest expenses of $500, then he or she can deduct the interest expense of $500 on the tax return. “This is one of the only expenses that relates to production of stock and bond income that you’re (allowed) to deduct,” Moes says.

Turn Qualified Dividends into Ordinary Income

When investors buy securities, they may receive dividends, and they paid out as ordinary dividends or qualified dividends. Qualified dividends are taxed at a preferential rate of 15 percent and don’t count as net taxable investment income. Ordinary dividends are taxed at an investor’s income tax bracket, which means the tax rate could be as high as 37 percent.

Craig Bolanos, founder and CEO of Wealth Management Group in suburban Chicago, says normally people wouldn’t want to turn qualified dividends into ordinary income unless they have a lot of investment interest expenses that they can’t write off.

“It’s one of the little-known things that people should be doing that they’re not,” he says. “If you can’t (take) that investment expense because most of your taxable income is qualified dividends, good gosh almighty I’d be willing to turn those qualified dividends into ordinary income dividends to escape taxation.”

For example, if an investor had $1,000 in investment income, but $2,000 in investment interest expenses, he or she could only deduct the first $1,000. By converting $1,000 of qualified dividends into ordinary income, the investor can deduct the other $1,000, which zeros out the net income.

Faje says because the federal tax code changed so much, taxpayers shouldn’t just assume that the way they’ve always filed their taxes will be the best.

“People should run a lot of different scenarios and projections to see how the different changes will impact them, not only this year, but going forward,” he says.

Copyright 2019 U.S. News World Report 

What is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)?

A CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is an accounting professional licensed and credentialed by a state or territory to offer accounting services, including tax preparation, to the public.

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How to File an Amended Return with the IRS

If you’ve made an error on a tax return you already filed or simply come across new information, such as a tax deduction or credit you now realize you qualify for, file an amended tax return to make the correction. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) knows the tax code is complex, and that people make mistakes. The process for filing an amendment is straightforward. Simply file Form 1040X, Amended Tax Return, along with the corrected or additional documents you did not originally file with your return.

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2018 Tax Reform Impact: What You Should Know

Congress has passed the largest piece of tax reform legislation in more than three decades. The bill went into place on January 1, 2018, which means that it will affect the taxes of most taxpayers for the 2018 tax year.

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10 Things You Won’t Believe Are Taxed

From Fantasy Football to cancelled debt, here are 10 things taxed by the IRS that might surprise you.

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Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/finance/2019/03/20/3-tax-deductible-investment-expenses-you-should-take/23697088/

Katie Couric tells Wendy Williams she’s ‘so proud’ of her for revealing she’s living in a sober house

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Katie Couric is showing her support for Wendy Williams.

One day after Williams revealed that she’s been living in a sober house “for some time now,” Couric stopped by The Wendy Williams Show and praised the host for her openness and honesty.

“I know this is your show, but I just want to start by saying I’m so proud of you,” Couric told Williams after giving her a big hug. “That was a hard thing to do. I felt for you and I think your candor and honesty is going to help so many people.”

Couric continued her kind words, telling Williams that her bravery will help “not only people struggling… with addiction,” but could also “raise additional research dollars so people can really understand the science of addiction better.

“I think you will do phenomenal things with this,” Couric added. “I was really moved.”

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On Tuesday’s episode of her show, Williams tearfully told her viewers about her day-to-day routine since moving in to the sober house.

“After I go to the Pilates, I go to several meetings all around town in the tri-state area. And I see my brothers and sisters, caught up in their addiction and looking for help,” she said. “… After I finished my appointments, seeing my brothers and sisters, breaking bread, I am driven by my 24-hour sober coach back to the home that I live in, here in the tri-state with a bunch of smelly boys who have become my family. They hog the TV and watch soccer. We talk and read and talk and read and then I get bored with them.”

Williams called the whole experience “really interesting” and noted that only her husband and son knew her living situation. She ended her speech by encouraging people to call The Hunter Foundation 24-hour helpline — 888-5HUNTER — if they need assistance, and revealing that they’ve already helped to place 56 people in recovery centers.

Following her reveal, a source close to Williams told ET that she came forward to bring awareness to the issue.

“Wendy has been brave enough to make herself the face of addiction. It’s a disease and a very real and constant fight. It’s been extremely difficult to put herself out there and be vulnerable (as this is such a private struggle), but it’s too important a topic to ignore,” the source says. “She is known for keeping it real, and felt the need to keep it real for her fans.”

“Wendy Williams knew that the Daily Mail story was breaking and she wanted to be honest with the viewers,” the source adds of a story published by the British outlet on Tuesday that claims Williams’ sober house is in Queens, New York. “She wanted it to be her story to tell.”

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Rates Unchanged for 4th Straight Day. That Should Change Tomorrow

Mortgage rates were flat for the 4th day in a row today in a sign that investors have largely taken their seats for tomorrow’s big show.  The Fed will release its new policy statement at 2pm tomorrow, and while they’re not expected to hike rates this time around, there are other important considerations that could have a big impact on rates.

One of the considerations is the fact that March is one of the months where the Fed updates its economic projections.  Investors largely tune-in to these for a glimpse at the collective rate hike outlook.  This has caused big market movement in the past, but something else could be even more important tomorrow.

The Fed has increasingly mentioned the impending end of its balance sheet runoff, which refers to its policy of NOT buying bonds with the money it receives when its existing bonds are paid off.  If the Fed ends the runoff, it will suddenly be a big bond buyer again, and big bond buyers are good for rates!

The Fed has flat-out said that the balance sheet runoff should end this year, but tomorrow’s announcement (or the press conference that follows it) could help markets get a much clearer idea of exactly when and how that might happen.  Those details matter.  The sooner it happens and the less gradual the phasing-in, the better it would likely be for rates.  If, on the other hand, the Fed leaves things vague and mentions a piecemeal approach closer to the end of the year, bond markets could be disappointed, and rates could move higher quickly.

Loan Originator Perspective

Bonds traded in tight ranges today, remaining near their best levels in a year+.  Economic concerns are persisting,  and tomorrow’s Fed Statement will be carefully parsed for their expectations.   I don’t see much upward pressure on rates, but still locking clients within 30 days of closing.-Ted Rood, Senior Originator

With MBS holding near multi month lows, i think locking in is the wise move.  We get the FED tomorrow and if they are at all bullish, then rates will head higher.   Not sure if there is much more room for rates to drop significantly from current levels.  So, more to risk than to gain by floating. –Victor Burek, Churchill Mortgage

Today’s Most Prevalent Rates

  • 30YR FIXED – 4.375%
  • FHA/VA – 4.0-4.125%
  • 15 YEAR FIXED – 4.0 – 4.125%
  • 5 YEAR ARMS –  4.25 – 4.625% depending on the lender


Ongoing Lock/Float Considerations
 

  • Headwinds that had plagued rates for most of the past 2 years began to die down in late 2018.  A rapid decline in the stock market certainly helped drive investors into bonds (which helps rates) Highest rates in more than 7 years in Oct/Nov.  8-month lows by the end of the year

  • This is a bit of a crossroads. The rising rate environment could flare up again.  We may look back at Oct/Nov and see a long-term ceiling, or we may look back at early December and see a temporary correction before more pain. 

  • Either way, late 2018 was a sign that rates are willing to take opportunities presented to them.  From here, it will be up to economic data, fiscal policies, and the stock market to decide on the next set of opportunities.  The rougher the overall outlook, the better interest rates tend to do.
  • Rates discussed refer to the most frequently-quoted, conforming, conventional 30yr fixed rate for top tier borrowers among average to well-priced lenders.  The rates generally assume little-to-no origination or discount except as noted when applicable.  Rates appearing on this page are “effective rates” that take day-to-day changes in upfront costs into consideration.

Article source: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/consumer_rates/905022.aspx

Miley Cyrus says she’s ‘queer’ and ‘ready to party’ in new nude Instagram post

Miley Cyrus is ready for Woodstock!

The 26-year-old singer was announced as a headliner for the three-day music and arts festival taking place this summer in New York.

Following the news, Cyrus took to Instagram to share her excitement – with a nude pic!

“Festival season is here,” Cyrus wrote alongside a sexy snap showing her naked upper body as she lounged on a sun chair in the desert. “I’m queer, and ready to party! 🌈🌈🌈 lets go summer 2019!”

The “Party in the USA” songstress then shared another photo, showing her sitting atop a giant rooster.

“Woodstock here I come! When I’m not riding a wrecking ball, you can find me on a giant cock 🐔 🐓🐔🐓🐔🐓🐔🐓🐔🐓,” she cheekily captioned the photo.

In her next pic, she used a phone as a prompt. “Callin ya Daddy for some cash so you can catch your girl at the gigs this summer,” she wrote as the caption.

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Cyrus was announced on Tuesday as part of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary line-up, which also features JAY-Z, Imagine Dragons, Chance the Rapper, Brandi Carlile and Santana.

The fun announcement came after a grueling day for Cyrus on Monday as she tearfully attended a memorial service for The Voice contestant, Janice Freeman, who was on her team in season 13 of the series. Freeman died earlier this month, at the age of 33, due to combined complications of lupus and a bronchial infection.

Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2019/03/20/miley-cyrus-says-shes-queer-and-ready-to-party-in-new-nude-instagram-post/23696411/

Romney calls out Trump’s attacks on ‘heroic’ McCain

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, denounced Donald Trump Tuesday over the president’s latest attacks on John McCain.

In an interview with CNN in January, Romney pledged to make his disagreements with the president known.

“Where I disagree, I’ll point that out,” Romney said, and he got that opportunity on Tuesday.

During an Oval Office appearance with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Trump railed against McCain’s 2017 Senate vote against a Republican bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act.

“I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be,” Trump said of McCain, who died of cancer on Aug. 25, 2018.

Trump also went after McCain over the weekend, accusing him of sharing a copy of the Steele dossier on the billionaire’s ties to Russia with the media before the 2016 presidential election.

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McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain, a co-host on “The View,” blasted the president over his comments.

“He spends his weekend obsessing over great men because — he knows it and I know it and all of you know it — he will never be a great man. My father was his kryptonite in life and he is his kryptonite in death,” McCain said Monday on “The View,” adding, “Your life is spent on your weekends not with your family, not with your friends, but obsessing, obsessing over great men you could never live up to. That tells you everything you need to know about his pathetic life right now.”

Whereas Romney and Meghan McCain directly confronted the president, Sen. McCain’s longtime friend Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who had been, until Tuesday, muted in his criticism of Trump, took issue with the president’s latest comments.

“John McCain is an American hero. He stepped forward to serve his nation. He risked his life. He spent five-and-a-half years in horrendous conditions as a prisoner of war. He’s one of the most consequential senators in the history of the body. Nothing will ever change that,” Graham told the Washington Post on Capitol Hill. “When he received the dossier, he turned it over to the FBI, it’s what he should have done. He didn’t turn it over to the press, other people did. So he’s my friend. I told President Trump that when it comes to John McCain, I think he acted responsibly. He’s an American hero and nothing will ever change that in my eyes. I want to help this president. I want him to be successful. I’ll help him where I can, but push back when I need to. When it comes to criticizing Sen. McCain and his service, I think that’s a huge mistake.”

Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/03/19/romney-calls-out-trumps-attacks-on-heroic-mccain/23696150/

MBS RECAP: Bonds Officially Held January’s Range Ahead of March Fed Announcement

Bonds began the day in weaker territory following overnight headlines suggesting European leaders would be going up to bat for a compromise Brexit deal.  “Less bad” economic data in Germany also contributed to European bond market selling. 

At the start of the domestic session–particularly the 8:20am CME Open–there was a glut of sell trades in the bond market.  This resulted in what was, at the time, the biggest volume spike of the day (by far) and a noticeable uptick in yields. Technical levels were first to provide support with 10yr yields bouncing at 2.63%.  After that, US/China trade headlines helped take yields to their lowest levels of the domestic session just before 1pm, though the rally proved to be short-lived.

Bonds ended the day slightly weaker but close enough to ‘unchanged’ that the bigger picture is still very flat.  This is what we have been expecting to see on the day before the March Fed announcement for months now.  If anything, I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a bigger challenge to the broader sideways range boundaries set in January (2.55-2.80).  In fact, we haven’t seen any challenge of those boundaries.  We might not see one tomorrow either, but we will likely see significantly more volatility than we’ve seen so far this week.

The Fed statement prints at 2pm ET along with the updated economic projections (aka “dots”).  Then at 2:30pm, Jerome Powell will hold the now customary post-announcement press conference.

Article source: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/blog/905031.aspx

MBS RECAP: Bonds Officially Held January’s Range Ahead of March Fed Announcement

Bonds began the day in weaker territory following overnight headlines suggesting European leaders would be going up to bat for a compromise Brexit deal.  “Less bad” economic data in Germany also contributed to European bond market selling. 

At the start of the domestic session–particularly the 8:20am CME Open–there was a glut of sell trades in the bond market.  This resulted in what was, at the time, the biggest volume spike of the day (by far) and a noticeable uptick in yields. Technical levels were first to provide support with 10yr yields bouncing at 2.63%.  After that, US/China trade headlines helped take yields to their lowest levels of the domestic session just before 1pm, though the rally proved to be short-lived.

Bonds ended the day slightly weaker but close enough to ‘unchanged’ that the bigger picture is still very flat.  This is what we have been expecting to see on the day before the March Fed announcement for months now.  If anything, I’m surprised that we haven’t seen a bigger challenge to the broader sideways range boundaries set in January (2.55-2.80).  In fact, we haven’t seen any challenge of those boundaries.  We might not see one tomorrow either, but we will likely see significantly more volatility than we’ve seen so far this week.

The Fed statement prints at 2pm ET along with the updated economic projections (aka “dots”).  Then at 2:30pm, Jerome Powell will hold the now customary post-announcement press conference.

Article source: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/mortgage_rates/blog/905031.aspx

New report claims Trump received around $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank

  • President Donald Trump was loaned more than a cumulative $2 billion over several decades by Deutsche Bank, according to a new report from The New York Times published on Monday.
  • The Times spoke to more than 20 people who who either currently or previously worked as executives for Deutsche Bank, giving a broader look at the scope of the relationship.
  • The report highlighted the business relationship between Deutsche Bank and Trump, as investigations are being conducted by two committees in Congress and the New York attorney general.
  • Here’s what we learned.

Deutsche Bank cumulatively loaned Donald Trump more than $2 billion over two decades when he was in real estate, according to a new report from The New York Times.

While Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank — which dates back to the 1990s — is not entirely revelatory, The Times spoke to more than 20 people who who either currently or previously worked as executives for Deutsche Bank, giving a broader look at the scope of the relationship. 

RELATED: Take a look at 2016’s most valuable banks list: 

1. JPMorganChase

Current worth: $2.47 Trillion  

Photo credit: Reuters

5. U.S. Bancorp 

Current worth: $438.5 Billion 

Photo credit: Reuters 

6. PNC Financial 

Current worth: $361.3 Billion 

Photo credit: Reuters 

7. Capital One

Current worth: $339.1 Billion 

Photo credit: Getty

8. BBT 

Current worth: $221.9 Billion 

Photo credit: Getty

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The bank was one of the few on Wall Street that would take a risk with Trump following his casino bankruptcies, The Times reported in 2016 ahead of that year’s presidential election. (“Several bankers on Wall Street say they are simply not willing to take on what they almost uniformly referred to as ‘Donald risk,'” The Times Susanne Craig reported.)

Deutsche Bank, however, was trying to make inroads into Wall Street by taking on clients that other banks would not work with, according to the Financial Times. Through their ongoing business, Trump owes Deutsche Bank around $300 million, the Financial Time reported in 2017.

The New York Times’ Monday night report highlighted the business relationship between Deutsche Bank and Trump, as investigations are being conducted by two committees in Congress and the New York attorney general.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Trump worked with the investment-banking division (including the commercial real-estate unit) and private-banking division.
  • He continued to get loans from the bank as recently as 2015, when a $170 million loan was underwritten for the transformation of the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC.
  • Trump continued to be loaned money despite his relationship souring with investment-banking executives: He filed a lawsuit against the bank in 2008 before part of a loan he took out to build Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago was due, claiming the financial collapse that year was an act of God.
  • One section of the investment-banking unit ended its relationship with Trump in 2004, after Trump Hotels Casino Resorts defaulted on bonds.
  • Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, introduced him to Rosemary Vrablic, a private banker with Deutsche Bank.
  • Working with Vrablic, Trump secured funds to purchase Doral Golf Resort and Spa, and another $48 million for Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower.
  • The $48 million personal loan would be used to pay back the investment-banking loan. “Even by Wall Street standards, borrowing money from one part of a bank to pay off a loan from another division within the same bank was an extraordinary act of financial chutzpah,” The Times called the decision.
  • Trump inflated his net worth on several occasions. He once said he was worth around $3 billion, but the bank said it was more like $788 million — yet Deutsche Bank continued to work with him.

Deutsche Bank is not without its own issues with US regulators unrelated to Trump, The Hill reports. In a statement to The Times, a spokeswoman said, “We remain committed to cooperating with authorized investigations.” Business Insider contacted the White House, Deutsche Bank, and the Trump Organization for comment. 

Read the full report at The New York Times »

NOW WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being praised for her line of questioning at Michael Cohen’s hearing — watch it here

More from Business Insider: 
Trump issues his first presidential veto, striking down Senate resolution to terminate his national-emergency declaration for a border wall 
Trump makes no mention of terrorism or bigotry in tweet on New Zealand mosque shootings, as other world leaders decry an act of ‘racist hatred’ 
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SEE ALSO: Mueller reportedly subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information on Trump and his family, Trump lawyer denies

Article source: https://www.aol.com/article/finance/2019/03/19/new-report-claims-trump-received-around-dollar2-billion-in-loans-from-deutsche-bank/23696023/

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