Brought to you by:
Jeffrey N. Schweitzer, EPA, CEP, ATP
Northeast Financial Strategies Inc
667 South Street
Wrentham, MA 02093
800-560-4637
jeff@nfsnet.com
http://www.nfsnet.com


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About Our Firm:
Offering Financial & Estate Planning, Investments, Insurance, Accounting, Payroll, and Income Tax Preparation for Individuals & Small Business. "Financial Strategies That Fit YOUR Needs!"
QUOTES from the Masters...
On Being the Best On Getting Started
"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well." -– Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek." -– Mario Andretti

"The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give." -– Howard Cosell

"Many risks fail because they were not taken in time. Too many risks are postponed until unnecessarily elaborate preparations are made. This does not mean that one should say, 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!' That is foolish and self-destructive...But don't sit back waiting for the perfect moment. It almost never comes." -- David Viscott

"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." -- John Wooden

"If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest." -- Publilius Syrus

"Start from wherever you are and with whatever you've got." -– Jim Rohn


  Estate Ideas
Marriage Penalty Relief

As is typical of tax legislation over the past decade, a number of Tax Acts offered tax relief to individuals, but did so through a variety of complex provisions that included retroactive, temporary and phased-in/phased-out effective dates.  While some of these provisions may not apply to you, other provisions will and you may want to revise your planning to take full benefit of those provisions.
Today's topic is marriage penalty relief.  If you would like additional information on this topic, please call my office.

Marriage Penalty Relief - Standard Deduction Increase

The standard deduction for married couples was increased to double the amount of the standard deduction for single taxpayers - from $7,950 to $9,500 - but only through 2010.  The 2010 Tax Relief Act, however, extended the double standard deduction for married couples through 2012.  In 2013, without future Congressional action, the standard deduction reverts to a statutory dollar amount 

Joint Filer Standard Deduction (as a % of single filer standard deduction amount)
2011 - 2012
2013 and later
200%
Not applicable

Planning Notes:

1. In 2011, the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly is $11,600; $5,800 for single filers.
2. The increase in the standard deduction for married couples may influence whether to itemize deductions or take the standard deduction.  Since some states with a state income tax allow itemizing for state income tax purposes only when itemizing for federal income tax purposes, additional analysis may be required to determine whether itemization or the standard deduction will provide the best overall tax results in those states.
3. The higher standard deduction may require more married couples to pay alternative minimum tax (AMT).


Marriage Penalty Relief - 15% Tax Bracket Increase

The "width" of the 15% tax bracket for married couples was increased to twice that for single taxpayers, but only through 2010.  The 2010 Tax Relief Act, however, extended the 15% tax bracket increase through 2012.  Without future Congressional action, the 15% tax bracket amounts will again revert to statutory dollar amounts beginning in 2013.

Joint Filer 15% Tax Bracket Size (as a % of single filer 15% tax bracket)
2011 - 2012
2013 and later
200%
Not applicable

Planning Notes:

1. In 2011, the 15% tax bracket for married couples filing jointly applies to taxable income greater than $17,000 and equal to or less than $69,000, as compared to $8,500 and $34,500 for single taxpayers.
2. For married couples who continue to itemize deductions and, as a result, don't benefit from the increase in the standard deduction, the 15% tax bracket expansion will provide them with some marriage penalty tax relief.
3. The expanded 15% tax bracket may require more married couples to pay alternative minimum tax (AMT).


MESSAGES from the Masters...
THE ANT PHILOSOPHY by Jim Rohn

Over the years I've been teaching kids about a simple but powerful concept - the ant philosophy.  I think everybody should study ants.  They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit.  That's a good philosophy.  If they're headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they'll look for another way.  They'll climb over, they'll climb under, they'll climb around.  They keep looking for another way.  What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you're supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer.  That's an important perspective.  You can't be so naive as to think summer will last forever.  So ants are gathering in their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, "Don't build your house on the sand in the summer."  Why do we need that advice?  Because it is important to be realistic.  In the summer, you've got to think storm.  You've got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun.  Think ahead.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter.  That is so important.  During the winter, ants remind themselves, "This won't last long; we'll soon be out of here."  And the first warm day, the ants are out.  If it turns cold again, they'll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day.  They can't wait to get out.  And here's the last part of the ant philosophy.  How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter?  All that he possibly can.  What an incredible philosophy, the "all-that-you-possibly-can" philosophy. 

Wow, what a great seminar to attend - the ant seminar.  Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn
 

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The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information of general interest to our clients, potential clients and other professionals.  The information provided is general in nature and should not be considered complete information on any product or concept described.  For more complete information, please contact my office at the phone number above. 

Published by The Virtual Assistant; 2011 VSA, LP