It's ITIN Renewal Time!

It's ITIN Renewal Time!

Now's the time to act if you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) that expires in 2020—you need to renew your ITIN as soon as possible! (An ITIN is a tax ID number used by taxpayers who can't get a Social Security number.) More than 1 million taxpayers have ITINs expiring this year, so the IRS expects processing delays for people who wait. But you can get your ITIN renewed more quickly and avoid refund delays in 2021 by submitting your renewal application before the end of the year.

SEE MORE 11 Year-End Moves to Lower Your 2020 Tax Bill

Any ITIN with middle digits 88 (e.g., 9NN-88-NNNN) expires in 2020, as does any ITIN not used on a tax return in the past three years. In addition, ITINs with middle digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 that were assigned before 2013 and have not already been renewed will also expire at the end of the year. You can also renew ITINs with middle digits 70 through 87 that expired in 2016 to  2019 if you expect to have a filing requirement in 2021.

How to Renew Your ITIN

To renew an ITIN, simply submit Form W-7 to the IRS. Don't forget to include all required ID and residency documents, though. Send either original documents or copies of documents certified by the issuing agency. If you're submitting a Form W-7 to renew your ITIN, you're not required to attach a federal tax return. Also note that the IRS no longer accepts passports that don't have a date of entry into the U.S. as a stand-alone identification document for dependents from a country other than Canada or Mexico or dependents of military members overseas.

Spouses and dependents only need to renew their ITIN if filing an individual tax return, or if they qualify for an allowable tax benefit (e.g., a dependent parent who qualifies the primary taxpayer to claim the head-of-household filing status). If that's the case, a federal return must be attached to the Form W-7 renewal application.

SEE MORE What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020?

Also indicate the reason for applying. There are eight different options, including an "Other" option. If Reason B is marked (non-resident alien filing a U.S. federal tax return), you must also include a complete foreign address.

If you submit a Form W-7 before the end of the year, allow seven weeks for the

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How to Vote for Social Change with Your Investments

How to Vote for Social Change with Your Investments

One of my clients with several million dollars in investments has a deep passion for protecting the environment. As a result, I’ve invested a part of her portfolio in companies with good records in environmental, social and governance practices.

SEE MORE 15 Best ESG Funds for Responsible Investors

With social causes escalating to new heights in 2020, more investors want to know how they can align their investments with their values. They want to invest in companies committed to a variety of causes, ranging from racial equality to clean energy and those committed to proper corporate governance — meaning they focus on issues including fair compensation for all employees and diversity in the workforce, among others.

In response, more companies are upping their commitments to support these causes.  In early October, for example, JPMorgan Chase announced new long-term commitments to advance racial equity, committing an additional $30 billion over the next five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially Black and Latino communities.

Investment firm Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest owners of real estate, has set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 15% within the first three years of buying any asset or company across its portfolio. The initiative will begin in 2021 and will apply to new investments where Blackstone controls the energy systems.

What Is ESG, and Where Do You Start?

ESG — or environmental, social and governance — investing is a growing field (an interchangeably used term is “Socially Responsible Investing”). Recent data from financial services firm Morningstar shows continued investor interest in ESG. The global sustainable fund universe attracted $45.7 billion in the first quarter of 2020, versus an outflow of $384.7 billion from the overall fund universe. 

Some people willing to consider an ESG portfolio worry that by limiting their investment universe to suit their social concerns, they will sacrifice financial returns. But with today’s sophisticated investment portfolio software, that’s not necessarily the case. A 2019 study by Morningstar found that 73% of the 56 Morningstar ESG indexes outperformed their non-ESG screened equivalent indexes, from 2012-2018. 

However, many peo

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I’m Not a Millionaire, But I Just Gave $250,000 to Morehouse College: Here’s How (and Why)

I’m Not a Millionaire, But I Just Gave $250,000 to Morehouse College: Here’s How (and Why)

If someone just told you they gifted $250,000 to their alma mater, what would you think? That they were just flexing? That they were worth millions? Or maybe even that they would be a great person to ask about making you a 100% “forgivable loan”!

When we hear these kinds of stories, we often think the person behind the philanthropy must be unspeakably rich and wealthy. But the truth is, it’s easier and more affordable than you may think to make a significant planned gift to a worthy institution like Morehouse College — which is what I just did.

SEE MORE The Path to Making a Charitable Impact

Although I’m not worth tens of millions (yet!), I’m very proud and excited to share that I’m that person who made a $250,000 planned gift to the college. And I’m telling you this not to brag, but to explain how you may be able to do the same.

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️, graduate of the Philanthropic Advisor Institute and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, I want to provide the details that may help you align your own giving aspirations with your financial plan.

Start by giving from the heart

When you give to charity, you should not look at what you can get back in return. Whether that benefit is in the form of tax relief, name recognition or simply better seats at a football game, this is something that I always caution individuals against as they make their decision to donate.

One big reason why is purely practical. Those benefits you angle for may not stay in place over time. Take the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as an example. Before this law passed, the standard deduction for a single filer was $6,350. If all of your itemized deductions (which is where charitable deductions show up when you prepare your tax return) exceed this threshold, then you might reap additional tax benefits as your donation could lower your taxable income.

But the standard deduction practically doubled for tax filers after 2017. For 2020, the standard deduction for single filers is $12,400. If you hoped to make a planned gift just for the sake of earning tax breaks, it may no longer make sense to do so!  Although the TCJA made the lives of most taxpayers who can simply use the higher standard deduction easier, over 3

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10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2020

10 Things to Be Thankful for in 2020

In 2020, more than ever, we all need this list. So, for just a moment, try to forget the pandemic, the political divide and the economic challenges that we continue to confront every day. Cozy up in your favorite seat, and embrace what’s going right in the world -- and all the better things to come.

From Kiplinger to your family, have a safe and happy holiday season!

SEE MORE What Biden Will Do: 24 Policy Plays to Expect From the Next Administration

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Stimulus Check Deadline is Today

Stimulus Check Deadline is Today

There's an important stimulus check deadline today for certain people who haven't received a payment yet (or didn't get all they're entitled to). While most people who are eligible for a stimulus check already got up to $1,200, plus an extra $500 for each dependent child 16 years old or younger at the end of 2019, there are still many Americans (millions?) who haven't received a stimulus check yet because they (1) didn't file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return, and (2) didn't claim their check using the IRS's Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. (Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much you should get.)

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families

But time is running out if you're still waiting for a stimulus check. The IRS's deadline for claiming a payment is today! In many cases, it's people with incomes that aren't high enough to trigger the tax return filing requirement that still need to claim their stimulus check. In other words, single people with income below $12,200 and married couples with income under $24,400. Some of these people may be homeless, which makes it more difficult for them to register online. Self-supporting college students also tend to fall within this group.

People receiving Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement benefits, or Veterans Affairs benefits may also have to act before the stimulus check deadline. If they already received a stimulus check, but they didn't receive the extra $500 payment for a dependent child, they need to go online and provide the IRS with information about the child to get a $500 check for the child.

November 21 Deadline

The deadline to claim a stimulus check or an extra $500 payment for a dependent child is 3:00 p.m. Eastern on November 21, 2020. That's today! To beat the deadline, go to the IRS's Non-Filers tool and provide the necessary information. Make sure you don't miss the due date, because the IRS says the tool won't be available after the deadline. That's so the tax agency can turn away from stimulus checks and start preparing for next year's tax filing season.

SEE MORE The 10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families

If you don't act before the November 21 deadline, you can s

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Louisiana's Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane and Pandemic Recovery is Underway

Louisiana's Sales Tax Holiday for Hurricane and Pandemic Recovery is Underway

Attention all Louisiana shoppers! The state's newest sales tax holiday has begun. This one-time event takes place on November 20 and 21 in the Pelican State. It's designed to provide tax relief for Louisiana residents recovering from Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Delta, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

SEE MORE Spend Now, Cry Later: 16 Worst Gifts to Impulse Buy for the Holidays

During the sales tax holiday, the state's 4.45% sales tax will not be charged on the first $2,500 of most consumer (not business) purchases. This is just in time for bargain hunters shopping for the holidays. Be aware, though, that motor vehicle sales and purchases of meals (either to eat-in or to-go) don't count and will still be charged sales tax.

The tax exemption generally applies to layaway sales and to purchases for products that won't be delivered until after November 21. Items purchased during the sales tax holiday period with "rain checks" also qualify for exemption, regardless of when the rain check is issued. However, a rain check issued during the exemption period doesn't qualify for the sales tax break if the item sold is actually purchased after November 21.

SEE MORE The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families

No tax is due if you buy something during the sales tax holiday and exchange it later for an essentially identical item of a different size, color, etc. However, sales tax is due if you return something after the sales tax holiday and receive credit on the purchase of a different item.

For 60 days after the sales tax holiday, no credit or refund of sales tax will be given if you return an item unless (1) you provide a receipt or invoice showing that the state sales tax was paid, or (2) the retailer has sufficient documentation showing that the tax was paid on the item purchased.

SEE MORE 7 Ways Holiday Shopping Will Be Different This Year

For a complete list of 2020 sales tax holidays in Louisiana and throughout the country, see Sales Tax Holidays in 2020. Happy shopping!

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Earnings Reports for the Week of Nov. 23-27 (ANF, BBY, DKS, DLTR, GPS, JWN)

Earnings Reports for the Week of Nov. 23-27 (ANF, BBY, DKS, DLTR, GPS, JWN)

Below is a weekly earnings calendar of the most important upcoming quarterly reports schedule to be released by publicly traded companies. There are also earnings previews for select companies. Please check back often. This earnings calendar is updated weekly.

Monday (11/23)Tuesday (11/24) Wednesday (11/25) Thursday (11/26) Friday (11/27)

(Editor's Note: Earnings dates in tables are tentative. However, companies featured in "Earnings Spotlights" have officially announced their earnings dates.)

SEE MORE Warren Buffett Stocks Ranked: The Berkshire Hathaway Portfolio Earnings Calendar Highlights


MONDAY Noteworthy Earnings Reports CompanySymbol

Earnings estimate

Agilent Technologies A $0.93 per share Ambarella AMBA $0.05 Daqo New Energy DQ $0.60 Korn Ferry KFY $0.05 Nutanix NTNX -$0.57 Urban Outfitters URBN $0.44 Warner Music Group WMG $0.05


TUESDAY Earnings Spotlight: Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree, Gap, Nordstrom

It's a big week for all retailers, with Black Friday nigh, but it's doubly important for a number of the industry's names who report their quarterly earnings. We'll take a snapshot look at six reporting on Tuesday:

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF, $20.89): Abercrombie reports ahead of the Nov. 24 open. Wall Street's expectations are for revenues of $732.26 million (-15.2% year-over-year) and a 5-cent-per-share loss (from a 23-cent profit a year ago). "Positive trends at both brands reversed in October, while generally we believe that even an in-line sales print will not be enough to drive further upside following the stock's 85% run since the second quarter with out-year earnings expectations some 10% above 2019 levels, where we see some risk," say William Blair's Dylan Carden and Phillip Blee, who rate the stock at Market Perform (equivalent of Hold). 

SEE MORE 15 Best Stocks to Buy for the Joe Biden Presidency

Best Buy (BBY, $119.14): Best Buy also reports before Tuesday's open, and analysts are looking for revenues of $10.97 billion (+12.3% YoY) and profits of $1.69 per share (+49.6%). "We think Best Buy capitalized nicely on a strong backdrop for consumer electron

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