Category Archives: Howard Lipset

The Inherent Inefficiency of Government Bureaucracy

The Inherent Inefficiency of  Government Bureaucracy - Howard Lipset, CPAThere are few who will disagree with the fact that, in recent years, the governmental bureaucracy has grown dramatically while its efficiency has deteriorated in an equally dramatic manner.

From 1952 to 1972, the cost of the public payroll multiplied more than fourfold, from $35 billion to $150 billion. The 330% increase over that period exceeds the 247% growth of employee compensation in private industries ($161 billion to $557 billion). In 1952, the average worker in private employment earned 5% more than his counterpart in government. By 1972, he had fallen 10% behind. Continue reading

Social Security is a Matter of Timing

By Harriet Hoffman, Make the Right Choice

Social Security is a Matter of Timing - Howard Lipset, CPADeciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits can be a major life decision. It can impact your long-term financial security, your retirement prospects and your federal tax burden, or it can provide an immediate and welcome lifeline.

On the surface, when to take your benefits looks like a no-brainer. You can begin collecting any time between age 62 and 70.  Full Social Security age is 66. So if you want or need those monthly payments, many people would advise you to grab the money as soon as possible. If you don’t need the money the common wisdom says wait until you are full Social Security age (for baby boomers that age is 66) and then you will collect for more years than if you wait until the maximum age of 70. If you don’t have other assets, wait until 70 to get more guaranteed-annuity income. This over-simplified guide leaves out the myriad of factors that need to be considered if you are to make the most of the benefit that you have earned and that for many will play a significant role in your future financial security.

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Are You Sure You Can Trust that Most Trusted Deposit?

Are You Sure You Can Trust that Most Trusted Deposit? Howard Lipset, CPAWhat you do not understand can make you poorer.

I have a client who delivered to me a series of transactions and documents in one email.

The first concerned the deposit of a cashier’s check on a bank in Ohio. The second, an email from the agent who sent the check, requesting their commission payment by wire transfer immediately. The agent explained to my client that since the cashier’s check would be available immediately, that there was no problem sending the wire immediately, as well.

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Do You Qualify for a Health Insurance Coverage Exemption?

Do You Qualify for a Health Insurance Coverage Exemption? By Howard LipsetThe Affordable Care Act (ACA) calls for individuals to have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment (this is the penalty tax) when filing his or her federal income tax return.

You may be exempt from the requirement to maintain qualifying health insurance coverage, called minimum essential coverage, and may not have to make a shared responsibility payment when you file your next federal income tax return.

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FTC Warns Small Business: Don’t Open Emails with This Subject Line

FTC Warns Small Business: Don’t Open Emails with This Subject Line By Howard LipsetThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new email scam targeting small businesses.

The FTC is warning small businesses not to open emails with the subject line “Pending consumer complaint” claiming to be from the government agency. The email falsely states that a complaint has been filed with the FTC.

The FTC does not contact anyone via email.

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What is Your Time Worth?

What is Your Time Worth? By Howard LipsetThe difference between a small business simply getting by or forging forward may be that they should be increasing their overhead in the right places.

If a business owner is spending more than five hours a month on any particular function, they must consider outsourcing the work. In today’s world, many functions performed by specialized departments in large corporations are available to small business from small companies.  Continue reading

Your iPhone is Tracking You

Your iPhone is Tracking You By Howard LipsetAnd it is doing it in ways you never imagined.

Yes, we want to be able to use our GPS functions and get directions, but are you aware that some of your apps are tracking you as well?

Apps like Evernote and Dictation are logged into your GPS. Why do you need that? Every bank app I have is logged into my GPS. I don’t need to know where the nearest ATM is. I can search by zip code if I have to.

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IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams

IRS Warns of Tax-Time Scams By Howard LipsetIt’s true: tax scams proliferate during the income tax filing season. This year’s season opened on January 31. The IRS provides the following scam warnings so you can protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of these crimes:

  • Be vigilant of any unexpected communication purportedly from the IRS at the start of tax season.   Continue reading

Tax Credit for Clean Heating Fuel

Tax Credit for Clean Heating Fuel By Howard LipsetThe State of New York is giving a refundable tax credit of up to 20 cents a gallon on clean heating fuel, also known as biofuels. All you need to know is your dates of purchase, gallons purchased and percent of biofuel. Many oil companies that deliver biofuels will give you a delivery schedule for the entire year. You can make a copy and attach it to Form IT-241 and transfer the credit to your primary NYS tax form and reduce your tax.

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A Current Scam

A Current Scam By Howard LipsetIn Long Island, Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) is taking over the management of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for the next 10 years.

So, when I recently saw an email that looked like it was pertinent to the takeover I decided to read it. Then I noticed that it was coming from PGE and they were telling me what my bill was and asking me to check a link. That looked wrong and I decided to delete the email.

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