(888) 818-0880 info@foremosttrading.com
Select Page

IRS Tax Tips – Gifts to Charity c/o PK Tax Services

Our friends at PK Tax Services shared a blog post that we thought may be worth your read. 

unnamed (1)

The holiday season often prompts people to give money or property to charity. If you plan to give and want to claim a tax deduction, there are a few tips you should know before you give. For instance, you must itemize your deductions. Here are six more tips that you should keep in mind:

1. Give to qualified charities. You can only deduct gifts you give to a qualified charity. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if the group you give to is qualified. You can deduct gifts to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies. This is true even if Select Check does not list them in its database.

2. Keep a record of all cash gifts.  Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return. This is true regardless of the amount of the gift. The statement must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, or bank, credit union and credit card statements. If you give by payroll deductions, you should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other documents from your employer. It must show the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

3. Household goods must be in good condition.  Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances, and linens. These items must be in at least good-used condition to claim on your taxes. A deduction claimed of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if you include a qualified appraisal of the item with your tax return.

4. Additional records required.  You must get an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. Additional rules apply to the statement for gifts of that amount. This statement is in addition to the records required for deducting cash gifts. However, one statement with all of the required information may meet both requirements.

5. Year-end gifts.  Deduct contributions in the year you make them. If you charge your gift to a credit card before the end of the year it will count for 2015. This is true even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2016. Also, a check will count for 2015 as long as you mail it in 2015.

6. Special rules.  Special rules apply if you give a car, boat or airplane to charity. If you claim a deduction of more than $500 for a noncash contribution, you will need to file another form with your tax return. UseForm 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions to report these gifts. For more on these rules, visit IRS.gov.

Pat Kolodziej, CPA, MST
PK Tax Services, L.L.C.

P: 224.227.6061

C: 847.858.5074

Consult with your CPA or legal advisor if you have any questions.

Happy giving from Foremost Trading!

The Foremost Trading Team

Have questions? Call or email us!

(888)818-0880
info@foremosttrading.com

Follow us on Facebook!

facebook

Disclaimer: Trading futures, options on futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions (“Forex”), investing in managed futures and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. This website contains information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but such information has not been independently verified and its accuracy is not guaranteed by Foremost Trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Any mention of performance in any context whether actual or hypothetical is no guarantee of future results. Foremost Trading became a registered ‘dba’ of RCM Alternatives in July of 2020. Please see full disclaimer here: https://www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer/

Some Investors Have Metathesiophobia, Do You?

Lately, I have noticed more and more investors avoiding making any changes to their portfolio. Where did that avoidance come from? Is it an irrational fear, fear based on real causes, is it new, has it been there all along or are some of us simply stuck in a rut that we can’t get out of?

Let me introduce you to ‘metathesiophobia’, an irrational fear of change. Somewhere along the way, people started to believe that the best course of action is to not change course at all. (Boaters know this can be disastrous.) While some “steady as she goes” approaches take the cake, they also could be leaving the individual in a precarious situation. Why is it that investors are becoming more and more comfortable with little diversification from their traditional stock investments? Where does that leave YOU?

As an investor, you owe it to yourself to have all of your diversification options explained to you. You deserve to have the tools and information made available to you, with a proper explanation. Given that the most recent market correction is being compared to the crash of 2008, it is important to know your choices.

Click image to View – Chart Courtesy of Moore Research, Annotations by Foremost Trading

Here are two charts, (click images to view) one shows the major spikes in the CBOE Volatility Index and how it corresponds to different world events. The second chart is the Autumn Gold CTA (commodity trading advisor) Index, January 2000 through July 2015. Why are these significant you ask? Great question, these charts are important because they show that while these spikes in volatility negatively affected stock markets, another asset class (managed futures) was not nearly as affected.

 

AG CTA Index

Click image to view

What if I were to tell you there is a seldom discussed asset class that is not generally correlated to stocks, and that it actually performed well in 2008? How would that change the way you feel about managed futures? Would you be relieved, maybe even a little intrigued or interested in investigating further? The Chicago Mercantile Group (CME) published a piece entitled: Litner Revisited Quantitative Analysis where it demonstrated that the performance of BTOP 50  (there are 20 funds in the Barclay BTOP50 Index) during the worst 15 quarters of S&P 500 Index. The paper “illustrates that CTAs have historically capitalized on the various forms of volatility which accompany market dislocations, be they sustained trends consistent with a flight to or from quality, shorter-term choppy price action, or sudden reversals associated with rapid swings in sentiment explained by market psychology and behavioral finance.” The paper “provides a compelling reason to include managed futures in a diversified portfolio. “Black Monday” in 1987, the events leading up to the Persian Gulf War in 1990, Long Term Capital Management and the Russian Crisis in 1998, the burst of the tech bubble and ensuing recession in 2000-2002, the credit crunch and commodity run-up of 2007-2008, and the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, all serve as examples of market dislocations during which the performance of equities suffered and managed futures strategies performed well”. See the actual link to this piece for more information: Litner Revisited.

Let’s take a look at how your portfolio could potentially benefit from reallocating just 20% from stocks and bonds into managed futures. In the provided chart it is easy to see that a portfolio which included managed futures outperformed a portfolio which included only stocks and bonds. Note: adding managed futures to your portfolio cannot protect you from loss and in fact can decrease a portfolio’s efficiency. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Untitled
*Stocks are represented by the S&P 500 Total Return Index from December 1990 to the end of Data and by the S&P 500 Price Index adjusted for dividends from January 1990 through November 1990. The S&P 500 indices are designed to reflect all sectors of the U.S. equity markets. The S&P 500 includes 500 blue chip, large-cap stocks, which together represent about 75% of the total U.S. equities market. Companies eligible for addition to the S&P 500 have market capitalization of at least US$3.5 billion. The TR Index accounts for the reinvestment of dividends. Bonds are represented by the Barclay’s US Aggregate Bond Index (formerly known as the Lehman US Aggregate Bond Index). The U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based benchmark that measures the investment grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market, including Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, MBS (agency fixed-rate and hybrid ARM pass-throughs), ABS, and CMBS. The U.S. Aggregate rolls up into other Barclays Capital flagship indices such as the multi-currency Global Aggregate Index and the U.S. Universal Index, which includes high yield and emerging markets debt. The U.S. Aggregate Index was created in 1986, with index history backfilled to January 1, 1976. Managed Futures are represented by the Autumn Gold CTA Index. The Autumn Gold CTA Index is comprised of the client performance of all CTA programs included in the AG database and does not represent the complete universe of CTAs. CTA programs with proprietary performance are not included. Monthly numbers are updated until 45 days after the end of the month. Autumn Gold CTA indexes are non-investable indexes compromised of the client performance of CTA programs included in the Autumn Gold database and do not represent the complete universe of CTAs. Investors should note that it is not possible to invest in the Autumn Gold index. Actual rates of return may be significantly different and more volatile than those of the index.

Don’t let yourself become tangled in the grips of Metathesiophobia. Here at Foremost, we have the tools necessary to help investors make an educated decision regarding their individual portfolio and investment needs. Call us today to learn how you and your portfolio may benefit from our services. Check out our Managed Futures Database.

Cited in the article: Bloomberg article

The Foremost Trading Team

Have questions? Call or email us!

(888)818-0880
info@foremosttrading.com

Follow us on Facebook!

facebook

Disclaimer: Trading futures, options on futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions (“Forex”), investing in managed futures and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. This website contains information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but such information has not been independently verified and its accuracy is not guaranteed by Foremost Trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Any mention of performance in any context whether actual or hypothetical is no guarantee of future results. Foremost Trading became a registered ‘dba’ of RCM Alternatives in July of 2020. Please see full disclaimer here: https://www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer/

Investing in Futures and Options with your IRA

Investing in Futures and Options with your IRA to Generate earnings that are Income Tax Deferred or even Income Tax Free

By Dennis Blitz, President, The IRA Club

Bob Miller thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about a little understood provision in the IRA regulations that may help any IRA account owner invest in the opportunities  that can provide the kind of returns people will need to achieve their financial  goals.

Over 97% of all IRA accounts are currently held at major Brokerage Firms and Banks that needlessly load up their IRA accounts with restrictions. These restrictions are there to benefit the Brokerage Firm more than they benefit the IRA owner. While many Brokerage Firms give lip service telling clients that their IRA account may be invested any way the account owner chooses, the reality is that the IRA Account owner is restricted to only those investments on that Brokerage Firm’s “allowable list”.

Two common investment opportunities often not found on the Brokerage Firm’s list are Futures and Options: Hence, over 97% of the IRA accounts are locked out of investing in this potentially profitable area.

Of course having a Futures and Options account is not for everyone however, if you want your IRA to invest in these and other alternative asset types shouldn’t you be allowed to?  Well its surprisingly simple; here’s how:

  1. First, you need to know that the Congressional Act that created the IRA, the IRS and the Department of Labor (DOL) have no restriction on your IRA investing in Futures and Options. The restriction is placed on your IRA by your IRA provider.
  2. Simply ask your Futures or Options brokerage to suggest an IRA company who will accept Futures Accounts or Manages Futures accounts.
  3. Call the new IRA company, they can answer any questions. Generally your IRA account can be opened over the phone.
  4. The new IRA company will transfer the funds you want from the former IRA Company.
  5. The new IRA company will sign your new Trading account application. (This is because your IRA is the owner of the trading account.)

That is it. Such an IRA account will cost you a few hundred dollars a year and will allow your IRA to invest as you (not a major Brokerage Firm) want to invest.

The IRA account can be a Traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, SEP IRA etc. There is no limit to the number of IRA accounts you own.

We hope this information was helpful,

Dennis Blitz
The IRA Club
888-795-7950

Foremost Trading is not a tax advisor and cannot offer tax advice.

Post by Colson Hauser

Alternative Investment Specialist with Foremost Capital Management

Find me on Facebook!

facebook

Contact your Foremost Alternative Investment Specialist for additional information
The Foremost Team (630) 485-2100 or (888) 818-0880

Disclaimer: Trading futures, options on futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions (“Forex”), investing in managed futures and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. This website contains information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but such information has not been independently verified and its accuracy is not guaranteed by Foremost Trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Any mention of performance in any context whether actual or hypothetical is no guarantee of future results. Foremost Trading became a registered ‘dba’ of RCM Alternatives in July of 2020. Please see full disclaimer here: https://www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer/

Attention All Options Traders: Margin Alert

Margin Alert

For those of you who are either trading an occasional options on futures, or trade spreads all day long — you likely have the experience of how frustrating it is to get margin information on an option, or a spread, unless you happen to subscribe to a super classy (and probably pricey trading platform.

Well, we have some good news for those of you that fall into this camp.

We have gone the extra mile, and have created our very own options margin software – and it’s ready for YOU!  Have you ever been pricing an option, spread, or complex spread and couldn’t figure out the margin?  Now we can, so you can.  What does this mean? You may wonder or ask:

  • What about margin on multiple option legs?  No problem.
  • How about across various months, strikes, or markets?  Yep, no problem.
  • What about an option chain, where there are 25 different call and put strikes that you need all at once?  Yep, no problem.
  • What about with intraday option prices, not just prior day close?  Yep.
  • What about maintenance margin, delta value, and futures values?  Yep, yep, and…yep.
  • What if I have a list of 20 markets, each with 20 strikes for calls and puts, and I want to see all of this information quickly in one place, exported to me in a .csv or .txt or .xls file format?  Multiple Yeps.
  • What if I just want my broker to send me a weblink that will show me the results of a pre-defined options chain or portfolio I need?  No problem.
  • Ok…but what if I don’t want to badger my broker every 10 minutes, and I just want the software so I can work this magic myself?   Yes – this is an option (no pun intended).

Get the idea?  We have easy access to Span margin on options.  No more need to subscribe to the clunky CME span program, download tons of files, or guesswork.  Just call your Foremost broker for help or details.

Yep, that’s the Ticket!

Free Charts & Quotes with iBroker

Foremost Trading is always looking for the latest and greatest trading innovations to help you stay on the cutting edge. We have one new product/service we’re excited to tell you about.

iBroker is an amazing application you can use for free on your iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.. This app is excellent for free live streaming quotes. You can create a watchlist of markets you like, create charts, and even trade in your account right from your device. If you don’t already have a quotes/chart service, this is one of the best, easy-to-use quote and chart services available. You are just 2 steps away from having amazing charts and live quotes, wherever your go.

Step 1: Open a free 2-week trial of Open E-Cry’s Trading Platform here, and note the login information that will be emailed to you.

Step 2: Download iBroker for free from your smartphone app store (search for “iBroker”) and log in.

If you already have a trading account at Open E-Cry, the login you received for your platform will work in the “live” login for iBroker already. We especially like the iPad variety, because the charts are so large and clean, easy to read. You can load presets (like 5 min, 10 min, Daily, or whatever you like) for your favorite markets, along with various chart settings and indicators. Below are 2 print screens from the iPad.

To get started, simply follow the two steps listed above, or shoot us a reply to this email with any questions. We’re here to help you be successful.

Silver Chart 2

Quotes 2

 

As always, remember that futures trading involves substantial risk, and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Foremost Trading Team

Have questions? Call or email us!

(888)818-0880
info@foremosttrading.com

Follow us on Facebook!

facebook

Disclaimer: Trading futures, options on futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions (“Forex”), investing in managed futures and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors. This website contains information obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but such information has not been independently verified and its accuracy is not guaranteed by Foremost Trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Any mention of performance in any context whether actual or hypothetical is no guarantee of future results. Foremost Trading became a registered ‘dba’ of RCM Alternatives in July of 2020. Please see full disclaimer here: https://www.rcmalternatives.com/disclaimer/