Are Quitclaim Deeds As Easy As They Sound, or Are They a Tax Trap?

Are Quitclaim Deeds As Easy As They Sound, or Are They a Tax Trap?

There is something interesting we have come across over the past few months, people changing owners on the deeds to their home. There is an array of reasons why you might want to do this, but most commonly this is found in families who want to easily transfer ownership from siblings or parents to children. The process is simple using a Quitclaim deed to add or remove someone to your property’s title or transfer the title entirely.

The Economy May Also Take a Hit from Smaller Tax Refunds

The Economy May Also Take a Hit from Smaller Tax Refunds

America is definitely feeling the impact from The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) . So far, data from the IRS has shown that the average tax refund is around 8% smaller this tax season and some taxpayers who are used to refunds are even getting bills! Working with the best CPA in Charlotte, NC can help keep that from happening! Even though the data is gloomy thus far, it’s not all because of the TCJA.

Separate Your Piggy Banks: The Importance of Having Business vs. Personal Accounts

Separate Your Piggy Banks: The Importance of Having Business vs. Personal Accounts

When you run a business, you have a lot to manage. Sometimes things get overlooked in the beginning, like setting up a bank account dedicated solely to the business. Why would that be important? Well, for starters, it helps keep your business and personal transactions separated, which is a best practice. There are also the legal issues which can result if you do not take the time to separate the two types of transactions. Nowadays many banks offer free business checking accounts so there shouldn't be much holding you back.

The Difference Between Selecting Credit vs. Debit at Checkout

Self-check, Fast Lane, or Register 4? Insert or Swipe? Credit or Debit? All of these questions play a role in our shopping experiences each day. We don’t think about them much but as times change and technology continues to advance we will continuously be faced with new payment options and methods as consumers. This week I’d like to reflect on how these split second decisions can affect our shopping experience and what you should know about the consequences of each decision.

Breaking Down the Options

There are three questions I mentioned above that aren’t just rhetorical. The first deals with time. Do you want to put in the effort yourself, bag your own groceries, and possibly save time in the long run? Or do you want someone to do that work for you while you stand in line behind people with full carts? What is your time worth and what are you trying to get out of the shopping experience?

The second deals with security. Many large retailers have updated their systems with the chip technology (reference the Target and Home Depot credit card hacks a few years ago). Chip technology? You know, that annoying new process, where you insert your card at checkout instead of swiping it? Unfortunately there are also quite a few retailers where chip technology isn't setup yet. Luckily this doesn’t have much impact on consumers, minus those awkward moments where you swiped instead of inserted your card, or vice versa.

The third and final question from above affects your security, your future spending, and your time. Credit or Debit? Which are you supposed to choose? You probably have both types of cards in your wallet, possibly with the intention to use each for certain purposes. Or maybe you only have a debit card, but you know the machines and the cashiers still ask you how you wish to use your card. What's really the difference? Let me explain.

Credit vs. Debit

The major difference between choosing credit vs. debit is how the money is taken out of your account. A debit card is linked directly to your bank account; therefore, as soon as you make a purchase it is only a matter of hours before the charge is deducted from your account. When you pay with a credit card you decide when you wish to make the actual payment on your card, usually when your bill comes due in a few weeks. MasterCard explains it in the following way: "When you use a debit card ... the transaction is completed in real time ... you authorize the purchase ... and the money is immediately transferred from your bank account. With a credit card, or using a debit card as credit, it's an offline transaction." The difference is that an offline transaction on a debit card means that the funds are not transferred for up to 2-3 days which gives customers time to confirm that the balance is present in one's account. In addition, once you enter your PIN number for a debit card transaction, all of your banking information is available for someone to steal and use.

Prevention of Overcharge Fees

If your card information is compromised, and you paid with a debit card at checkout, there is a high possibility that you could be looking at significant insufficient funds fees. According to an article posted by CNN "under federal law, your personal liability for fraudulent charges on a credit card can't exceed $50. But if a fraudster uses your debit card, you could be liable for $500 or more." In addition to the fees you may need to pay, it could take longer to receive credit for the money that you did not authorize to be spent if your debit card is the one compromised. CNN goes on to say "If a crook uses your debit card, not only can they drain your account, but it can take up to two weeks for the bank to investigate the fraudulent charges and reimburse your account." But, "if someone uses your credit card, the charge is often credited back to your account immediately after it's reported.” The use of a credit card gives you ample time to check your statement charges and determine if each transaction was made by you prior to owing the money on questionable charges. You have more time to report the fraud and need less time to make up for it.

What if I Don't Have a Credit Card?

As a general rule, when given the option, try to sign instead of providing your PIN number at registers and ATMs, and if a machine looks questionable, do not use it! Use ATMs only from reputable banks to avoid the risk of third party theft. Additionally, scan your account activity on a regular basis and report any unauthorized to your bank right away so that you have ample time to take action and protect yourself from any future problems! Finally, if you must use the debit option, try to keep as little cash as possible in your checking account. This may help mitigate how much cash may be stolen from your account in the event fraud does occur.

Have an experience or story to share about your debit or credit card being compromised? Or maybe you have additional tips & tricks you’d like to share. Feel free to post them below!