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(NewsUSA) - Wow.
Unless you're living in some alternative universe, that's the reaction you're likely shooting for when others open your holiday presents.
But with so many choices out there -- including a seeming bombardment of online offers -- you need to be aware that you're also sending a message about yourself with every gift that's unwrapped.
The right gift, as consumer behavior expert Kit Yarrow has written, "can enhance connections between people." A really bad one
. . .Well, we've probably all distanced ourselves from someone whose obviously inappropriate present screamed "clueless."
Here's what these "wow" gifts say about you:
* I'd rather be safe than sorry. Most women would be thrilled to receive a ginormous bottle of expensive perfume. But beware: A lot of others would interpret such an "easy" choice the way this New York writer did when her (ex-)boyfriend so gifted her after she'd spent weeks searching for the perfect briefcase for him: "It just seemed like something he picked up at the airport duty-free store." Ouch.
* My taste is impeccable. Few things telegraph a person's status like a good watch, and these two beauties from Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier (www.baume-et-mercier.com) make almost anyone look like roaring successes. For women, the new Promesse collection includes an elegant model with a black mother-of-pearl face, punctuated by Roman numerals and 69 strategically placed diamonds, with a glossy alligator strap that's thicker than a foreign empress' accent.
"It really makes quite a statement," says Lauren Dimet Waters of Second City Style.
For men, the gold Clifton 10058 -- no diamonds here, but another thick strap -- is absolutely the way to go to strike a perfect balance between classic and modern. You can shop both watches at the Baume & Mercier e-boutique or by calling 1-800-MERCIER, where free wrapping and free engraving are available. Watch the video at http://youtu.be/IR1a-rMKwXM.
* I recognize your passions. An Italian sports car is beyond the reach of most of us, but there's a whole cottage industry out there offering gift certificates for "experiences" like a few hours behind the wheel of exotic autos. Too Le Mans for you? There's also tandem skydiving and whitewater rafting.
* I'm hipper than you think. If your kids accuse you of being frozen in 70s music, buy them tickets to a hot concert. (Hint: Britney Spears is out; Katy Perry is in.)
One caveat: For those toying with contributing to a charity in someone's name, make sure it's a cause they believe in as much as you do. Otherwise, the message you may unwittingly be sending is "It's All About Me."
(NewsUSA) - No one wants a big surprise at tax time, which is why tax professionals recommend that clients review their tax situation early to make any necessary adjustments to withholding or estimated tax payments.
"This used to be a simple process," said Mary Olson, enrolled agent and manager of The Iola Tax Place in Iola, WI. "This year, many tax professionals need to devote more time to understanding the impact of the new Affordable Care Act on their clients. Taxpayers who obtained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace may be in for a big surprise at tax time."
As part of the Marketplace, eligible taxpayers had the option to receive a subsidy to help pay their monthly health insurance premiums. This subsidy was paid directly to the health insurance carrier and was considered an advance of the premium tax credit. Eligibility for the subsidy was based on estimated household size and income.
Generally, individuals and families with estimated household incomes for the year between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level for their family size were eligible for the subsidy:
One person: household income between $11,490 and $45,960.
Family of two: household income between $15,510 and $62,040.
Family of four: household income between $23,550 and $94,200.
Olson cautioned, "If the actual 2014 household income exceeds these amounts, and a subsidy was granted, the subsidy will need to be repaid on their 2014 federal tax return."
Many people were exempt from the Marketplace, so the subsidy was not allowed. Those exempt were already receiving affordable minimum coverage through an eligible employer plan, were eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP or TRICARE, or were claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.
In August, the IRS issued draft copies of the health insurance marketplace statement and the premium tax credit form, which must be filed along with the tax returns of those wishing to claim the credit. If the final copies of the forms and instructions are not released in sufficient time for the tax software companies to incorporate them into their programs, the start date for the filing of 2014 tax returns could be affected.
Filing a tax return can be daunting and stressful without the advice and guidance of a tax expert. Enrolled agents receive their licenses from the Department of Treasury -- they're America's Tax Experts. To find an enrolled agent in your area, call 1-800-424-4339 or visit the NAEA website at www.naea.org and click on "Find an EA."