By Allan Kunigis 

retired-784483 960 720Many of our clients talk to us about setting up retirement plans, contributing to retirement plans, and focusing on the monetary aspects of retirement. But what they don't do is spend a lot of time thinking about and planning for the nonfinancial aspects of their retirement; they don't realize it's the biggest transition they'll ever go through.

The consequences of not planning can include sitting around with growing boredom. Retirees watch TV an average of 43.5 hours a week, according to Age Wave 2012, and lack of stimulation can be associated with higher risks of alcoholism or depression.

ransomware-warningThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an urgent warning about a new scheme targeting taxpayers. The scheme, which IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called "a new twist on an old scheme" involves a bogus email which impersonates the IRS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage.

The scam email uses the emblems of both the IRS and the FBI. The email urges recipients to click on a link to download a questionnaire allegedly from the FBI. The email implies that the questionnaire is required as part of changes in the law focused on tax compliance. The regs referenced in the email are bogus, and the link doesn't click through to a questionnaire. Instead, the link downloads ransomware.

unnamedOn July 1 several tax changes will go into effect as part of the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act ("Act") passed by the General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session. These changes are related to the Motor Fuel User Fee, Maximum Sales and Use Tax, and Infrastructure Maintenance Fee. The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) is working to ensure a smooth implementation of these taxes for all taxpayers.

"We are committed to assisting all South Carolina taxpayers in understanding, complying, and benefiting from this new legislation," Hartley Powell, SCDOR director, said.

Motor Fuel User Fee (Gas Tax)
The Motor Fuel User Fee will increase from $0.16 to $0.18 per gallon of fuel. The fee will continue to increase by $0.02 per gallon on July 1 every year until 2022. All sales of fuel subject to the Motor Fuel User Fee, such as gasoline or diesel, are subject to these rate increases.

unnamed 1If you're a college student (or the parent of one), you should know about some key tax breaks that are available to you when you do your taxes.

Tax Credits
There are two tax credits for higher education. They're targeted at different types of students, so it pays to know the differences.

American Opportunity Credit
This credit is for students who are earning their undergraduate degrees. The credit is specifically limited to those expenses incurred in the first four years of college.

The credit is worth $2,500; the really good news is that $1,000 of that is refundable, meaning you could get that back as a refund even if you don't owe any taxes. There's an $80,000 income ceiling for single filers to qualify for the credit ($160,000 if you're married filing jointly). If income is more than those amounts, the credit starts to decrease.

The credit is available through the 2017 tax year.

The S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles will begin accepting documents from South Carolinians seeking a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or identification card.

The agency stressed changing driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards to a REAL ID-compliant card is optional and voluntary. "If you feel you will not be boarding a commercial flight, visiting a secure federal building, or a military base, you do not need a REAL ID-compliant license or ID," the agency said in a release. The agency noted that residents who have received their first-ever SC license or ID during or after November 2010, do not have to bring documents. "If you have a valid U.S. passport/passport card, military ID, or another federally approved identification, you may use that as your form of identification to board a commercial flight or visit a secure federal building or military base, but you must carry it with you for the above activities," the agency added.