The Internal Revenue Service for the first time will require the nation's approximately 1 million tax preparers to register with the federal government, with a large percentage of them having to pass competency tests and stay up-to-date on tax laws by taking 15 hours of classes a year.
As years go, 2010 is on course to be a blockbuster for retirement-account owners. Starting in January, all Americans who own a traditional IRA — not just those who have modified adjusted gross income under $100,000 — will be able to convert their accounts to a Roth IRA.
As anyone devoted to the rituals of swirl, sniff and sip can attest, 2009 was a very good year for bargain hunters – whether they’re newbie collectors who rarely pay more than $50 for a bottle, or seasoned wine geeks who write six-figure checks for pristine cases of the rarest old first-growth Bordeaux and Burgundy.
A year ago, with the markets and the economy in meltdown, the SmartMoney Power 30 was full of the usual cast of government giants and Wall Street heavyweights: Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Warren Buffett. But as the U.S. moves into a new phase, a time of slow but seemingly steady recovery, some of the biggest players might seem more on the fringe – academics, advisers, even a lobbyist.
For decades, Dole Food has stuck mostly to its chief business – picking and selling fruit. But recently, the California-based food company branched into a new line of work: offering mutual funds designed specifically for its employees.
With the economy and the markets showing tentative signs of a rebound, millions of Americans are focusing on their 401(k) plans with fingers crossed, hoping to make up the estimated $3.7 trillion employees’ retirement accounts lost during the crash.
If there’s one belief that took hold during the financial mess, it’s "All debt is bad." After all, too many companies borrowed too much money, and when the recession hit, they couldn’t pay back all that cash. Hundreds of firms saw their stock value plummet and filed for bankruptcy protection, and embittered investors lost billions.