In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Watch out for these tax traps when filing your 2013 return

By Kevin McCormally

Preparing This Year's Returns Can Be More Taxing

JewishWorldReview.com | While the issues of tax reform and tax simplification received predictable lip service last year, nothing was actually done to simplify your life as a taxpayer. In fact, as you prepare to prepare your 2013 return--or turn the job over to someone else--you may well find that things are more complicated (and more expensive) than ever. All the more reason to get an early start so you don't fall into a trap that costs you money.

If you sold stock, mutual funds or other assets in 2013, you'll find that the already numbingly complex form for figuring the tax due has grown even more tortuous. The Schedule D Tax Worksheet has bulked up from 37 lines for 2012 returns to 45 lines this time around. The 22% inflation is needed to accommodate the new 20% rate for long-term gains for high-income taxpayers. You need to work through the form to see if any of your profits qualify for the 0% rate (they will if your taxable income is less than $36,250 on a single return or $72,500 on a joint return). The 15% rate applies to gains for taxpayers with taxable income above those levels and below $400,000 on single returns and $450,000 on joint returns. The new 20% rate hits gains reported by higher-income taxpayers--and those folks really pay 23.8% on long-term gains when the surtax discussed next is included.

The worksheet also applies a 25% rate to gains resulting from depreciation of real estate and a 28% rate to profit from the sale of collectibles. (In both cases, if you're in a lower tax bracket, your lower rate applies.)

The worksheet is intimidating, and it's a prime motivation for investors to turn to paid preparers or tax-prep software. But by patiently reading and following the step-by-step instructions, a paper-and-pen taxpayer can find a straight path through what at first appears to be a sadistic maze.

Surtax on investment income. The new 3.8% surtax on investment income appears for the first time on 2013 returns. If you owe it, you'll need to file Form 8960 to figure the damage. The tax hits investment income--from interest, dividends, capital gains, annuities and passive rental income, but not retirement-plan payouts--if your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is over $200,000 if you're single or over $250,000 if you are married and file a joint return. (Modified AGI in this case is basic AGI plus any untaxed foreign income.) Follow the form carefully to make sure you don't pay the tax on any more income than you have to.

Surtax on earned income. Those who are still working might have to tackle yet another form, the new Form 8959 needed to figure the 0.9% Medicare surtax. This tax applies to wages and self-employment income if total earnings exceed $200,000 for a single taxpayer or $250,000 for married couples. For self-employed taxpayers, the surtax brings the Medicare tax rate to 3.8% for earnings over the threshold (the basic 2.9% plus 0.9%). For employees, the rate on affected earnings is 2.35% (the basic 1.45% plus the surcharge).


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Squeeze on itemized deductions. Taxpayers younger than 65 face a higher hurdle to deduct medical expenses. Such costs are deductible now only to the extent they exceed 10% of AGI. If either you or your spouse were 65 by New Year's Day, however, you can still use the old 7.5% threshold.

This year's returns also bring the revival of the squeeze on itemized deductions and exemptions. Write-offs are reduced by 3% of the amount by which your AGI exceeds $250,000 if you're single or $300,000 if you file a joint return. Exemptions are cut by 2% for each $2,500 of AGI over those same thresholds. Worksheets in the tax instructions apply the vise.

On the bright side, taxpayers age 65 and older who use the standard deduction get a bigger write-off than younger folks. For a couple who are both age 65 or older, the 2013 standard deduction is $14,600 rather than the basic $12,200 on joint returns.

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Kevin McCormally is Editorial Director of Kiplinger Washington Editors.

All contents copyright 2013 Kiplinger's Personal Finance Distributed by Tribune Media Services. All rights reserved.