Posts tagged "money"

Social Security: Why 10 Years Matters

When it comes to your Social Security benefits, chances are that the only number that comes to mind is the amount of money you will be receiving with your monthly benefits package, which is quite understandable. Be this as it may, you also may want to think about another important number:  the number “10,” as in ten years. Believe it or not, one decade plays several big factors in terms of Social Security benefits. Continue reading to discover why this number is so important when it comes to your benefits options.

1. You must have worked a minimum of ten years to receive Social Security benefits. Although a lot of people spend several decades of their lives working a nine to five, many of us do not. Whether you stay at home with the kids, work under the table, simply haven’t had to work, or whatever the situation may be, in order to obtain Social Security benefits based off of your own work history, you must have at least a decade of taxable income under your belt.

2. You must have been married for at least ten years to receive spousal benefits. Your ex may have been the bane of your existence, but they also may be worth something to you where the wallet is concerned. If you were married for at least ten years, then you are entitled to spousal benefits, which is up to fifty percent of your ex’s Social Security benefits. Whether you take advantage of these benefits or not, it will have no effect on your ex-spouse’s benefits. However, you can only receive your own benefits OR spousal benefits, so be sure to choose the option that gives you the highest amount of money.

3. You have to have been in a common law marriage for at least a decade to receive spousal benefits. This is pretty much the same as the aforementioned point in number two, but only applies to those who live in states that recognize “common law marriages” (living with your partner for a specific amount of time with the intent to one day get married). To find out if your state recognizes common law marriage, check with your local government or social security office.

An entire decade may seem like quite a long period of time; however, if you compare ten measly years with the typical life span of most humans, you will realize that ten years is not much more than a brief era of your life. To make the most out of your Social Security benefits, and to set yourself up for a decent financial future when you retire, take the previously mentioned notes into consideration. Toughing it out for ten years may just be worth the higher pay out in the long run.

Jim Blair is a Social Security expert who provides advice to retirees both a consultant and through his popular Social Security Retirement Guide.


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Posted by Taxmaster - May 5, 2013 at 2:46 am

Categories: Tax Law   Tags: , , , ,

Tax Avoidance – Time To Name And Shame?

Much has been made over recent months about aggressive tax avoidance schemes and the types of companies and individuals who enter into them.  As the media has seemingly started to try to ‘name and shame’ those promoting the scheme, as well as some of their higher profile participators (such as Jimmy Carr), is the next step to publicise other individuals and companies who become involved in such strategies?  There seems to be a suggestion that those entering into tax avoidance schemes are somehow immoral.  But is this a fair assumption to make? Consider the generation of people who have never worked and have milked the welfare system for every penny.   Is it fair to name and shame those who have made their money, contributed to the country’s coffers and who want to keep some money back for themselves?

It is widely reported that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) loses out on £5billion of revenue a year as a result of tax avoidance schemes and the exploitation of loopholes.  Despite efforts to try to stem the flow of such schemes, with specialist anti-avoidance teams in place across the UK, there is no doubt the ’boutique’ firms are still peddling their wares.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has recently reported that HMRC is failing when dealing with the ’boutique’ tax practices in more ways than one.  Inefficiency within HMRC when dealing with such matters means that it can take a long time before a scheme can be closed.  As such, scheme promoters will use this as leverage when selling schemes to their clients.   For the taxpayer, they are sold a scheme on the basis that if it works then they will not pay tax at all.  If it fails, then they have delayed paying the tax.

For companies and individuals, this is extremely tempting when it comes to making the choice between making payment to HMRC as required or retaining the funds (even if temporarily) for themselves.  Cash flow has become prevalent as the economy continues to struggle.

The committee advised that there needs to be more of a deterrent, for the firms selling the schemes and those entering into them.  One suggestion is that the scheme providers and participators should be publicised on a list or ‘named and shamed’.  However, there is a strong argument that this is contrary to the rights of the individuals involved.

As well as this, it would be difficult to judge which schemes should be listed.  There is a big grey area between normal, run of the mill tax mitigation planning and the aggressive tax schemes which are under fire.  Mistakes could be made which could ruin the reputation of those perceived to be involved in ‘aggressive’ tax planning as part of a name and shame campaign.  This grey area, whereby people seek to plan for their taxes within the realms and intention of tax legislation, would need to be protected.

Mandy Jones is a highly experienced specialist when it comes to tax planning and so is well placed to offer advice for the likes of


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Posted by Taxmaster - April 26, 2013 at 1:42 am

Categories: Federal Tax, Income Tax, State Tax, Tax Evasion, Tax Law   Tags: , , , ,

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