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Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

Thanks for moving the thread. I really wasn't sure where it belonged, but since everybody here is, or soon will be, knee-deep in tax preparation, it seemed worthwhile to let people know.
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

Also by the way thanks for the tip about the password-protected disk. Of course it's true that I can encrypt the TT data file separately, using a different product. It just creates another layer of inconvenience and concern. It would be great if they eliminate the flaw in the printing/saving functio...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:37 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

There are thousands of applications made for the Mac. How many of them are forced to do this sort of weird print work-around? Yes, I agree with you. I actually worked for a while as a cross-language software developer for the Macintosh, and I've never heard of anything like this with any application.
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:33 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

As far as I know, it was never a problem in the past, but it's possible that my Mac was always connected to the net when I printed or saved files, and I just didn't notice. This year I've been working in a slightly different environment so wasn't connected when I worked through my return, then got t...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

Actually even if Apple wouldn't let Intuit use the print library they'd intended to use, any reasonable company would simply have switched to an acceptable print library. I have no doubt that Apple offers one. But reading between the lines (which isn't always accurate), I'm guessing that Intuit want...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:47 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

There are a whole bunch of Mac programs that will print to pdfs and I think you can print to .pdf within the Mac print dialog boxes so even if Intuit has that feature disabled within TurboTax you should still be able to generate a PDF by going through the print dialogs. The PDF feature will show up...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:28 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

Reading some of the links above... it's nonsensical but not beyond the realm of possibility that Apple may have required them to stop using a third-party printing library if that library is known to be insecure . On the other hand, no other software application I use has such a requirement, so somet...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:24 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

Encryption does require login in, but printing does not. I can print fine with no login. This is with the Premier version on a Mac. Would you mind doing an experiment? Disconnect your computer from the network (easy to do if it's a wired connection but less easy if it's wireless) and then try to pr...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:59 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware

In addition to forcing people to upgrade to their Premier version in order to manage investments, it's important to know that you will not be able to save your data in encrypted form without Intuit credentials, essentially sharing your password with Intuit. Worse, you will not be able to save your r...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:45 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Turbotax 2014: Buyer Beware
Replies: 69
Views: 6663

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

Another key takeaway of this thread - the cost of compliance can easily exceed the higher economic value of the credit. Yes, I've certainly felt that way on occasion. But since I live overseas the FTC is significant and double-taxation of earnings would mean paying roughly 40% to various government...
by Karamatsu
Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: [US Expat Investing] Portfolio Allocation

Welcome to the joys of expatriate investing! If this was your situation, what would your portfolio look like and why? I'd start with something simple. Maybe 30% in a bond fund or two, 35% in US total market (SCHB), and 35% in developed foreign (SCHF). If you wanted you could split the foreign alloca...
by Karamatsu
Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: [US Expat Investing] Portfolio Allocation
Replies: 9
Views: 685

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

Those tables provide the breakdown by country for dividend income. I had mentioned the issue of capital gains distributions and especially for a global fund. You're right. Given that taxes paid on capital gains would also be a factor, I'm sure Vanguard would provide that information. In 2014 I wond...
by Karamatsu
Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:32 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

In fact, that brings up an interesting complication if you have a capital gains distribution from a global fund. You don't know the percentage that is foreign. Fund operating companies, like Vanguard, publish a detailed breakdown of the foreign composition of distributions, and foreign taxes paid o...
by Karamatsu
Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:33 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

Regarding Canadian taxation on Canadian assets held in a US IRA, I only know about this because I had some a few years back that suddenly started getting taxed even though they were in my IRA. The Canadian taxes were withheld, and then you had to file some paperwork with the Canadian tax authority t...
by Karamatsu
Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:29 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: Clarifications on Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

Oh, also, you can take the Foreign Housing Exclusion/Deduction even if you are renting. It's not just for people who receive housing through their work. See the instructions for Form 2555, Part IV. Housing expenses include rent, utilities (other than telephone charges), real and personal property in...
by Karamatsu
Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:46 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Clarifications on Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Replies: 13
Views: 702

Re: Clarifications on Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

To understand what's going on with US taxes you may find it helpful to walk through the process of computing her tax liability in the instructions (PDF) for Form 1040. Since she's using Form 2555, she'd need to start with the Foreign Earned Income Tax Worksheet on page 42, then, for Line 4 of that W...
by Karamatsu
Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:36 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Clarifications on Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
Replies: 13
Views: 702

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

Say you are paid a foreign nonqualified dividend in an IRA, for $1 - 60% foreign tax = .40. When you withdraw the 40 cents, you then pay income tax on it again, leaving 36 cents if in the 10% bracket. If the stock were held in taxable, you would have what, .40 - 10% income tax = .36 + 10% credit = ...
by Karamatsu
Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:50 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: Changing a submitted order at a broker

I've certainly changed orders at Schwab while they were pending, but never had a situation where the first order was partially filled. It seemed to me that a change notification was handled internally as cancellation of one order and submission of another, so the orders would be discrete, but I'm no...
by Karamatsu
Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:52 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Changing a submitted order at a broker
Replies: 34
Views: 1569

Re: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit

It seems to me that this isn't so much a "gotcha" as just the way the FTC is supposed to work. That is, to prevent (or at least offset) double -taxation. If you're over the $300/$600 limit exemption, and the US taxes on a foreign income item are less than that the taxes imposed by the fore...
by Karamatsu
Thu Feb 05, 2015 8:48 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Foreign Stocks in Taxable - Gotcha w/ foreign tax credit
Replies: 58
Views: 6898

Re: The lowest stock allocation you plan to stay with

Interestingly I'm at 35% equities now, too. In the back of my mind I've always thought that 80/20 would be a good choice when I got older, though. The trick is accumulating enough in assets to make the return from that liveable, particularly given the tax treatment of bond interest.
by Karamatsu
Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:10 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: The lowest stock allocation you plan to stay with
Replies: 79
Views: 4362

Re: foreign tax credit

But that is the question: Can one take the foreign tax credit for foreign taxes paid by a TR or LF fund and reported on a 1099-DIV? According to the Fund of Funds article on the Wiki, it appears that this has been the case since passage of the Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010.
by Karamatsu
Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:59 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: foreign tax credit
Replies: 15
Views: 1372

Re: International in tax-deferred?

It seems to me that 10-year tax cost ratios aren't very useful. From a global perspective tax rates are changing all the time, so if/when rates change in countries that are big parts of the indexes (such as Japan, where capital gains rates just doubled) that can have an impact. What you really want ...
by Karamatsu
Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:26 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: International in tax-deferred?
Replies: 2
Views: 441

Re: Slice & Dice International

I suppose it depends on what you're looking for, but what I do is differentiate based on size. The correlation between regional funds like VGK (Europe) and VPL (Pacific) is really quite high (take a look at the graphs), so it's questionable whether there is much benefit to be had in separate allocat...
by Karamatsu
Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:10 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Slice & Dice International
Replies: 11
Views: 1193

Re: Investing in Japan with Yen Hedged to USD or EUR

Assuming you're talking about equities, there are several hedged Japan equity funds. Wisdom Tree has DXJ (ER 0.48%) and iShares have HEWJ (ER 0.48%), so you'd just want to compare the investment philosophy of the two funds. The cleanest comparison is to an unhedged fund is the iShares fund (EWJ) whi...
by Karamatsu
Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Investing in Japan with Yen Hedged to USD or EUR
Replies: 5
Views: 340

Re: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan

Ah, I see what you were doing, working out a kind of total cost. Usually when people around here talk about the ER it's just the expense ratio published for the fund, since (in most cases) any other factor will apply across the board. But with cross-border taxation things do get weird, and it's quit...
by Karamatsu
Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:12 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan
Replies: 31
Views: 2598

Re: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan

It looks to me like the Mitsui and SBI funds may be needlessly complicated. I wonder if you could simplify and reduce costs by investing directly the underlying ETFs that represent the asset classes you're interested in? Alas I'm not sure what the options are. Although maybe it's worth paying SBI's ...
by Karamatsu
Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:44 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan
Replies: 31
Views: 2598

Re: Question about stocks and taxes

Yes, as with everything else in finance there are clever exceptions, so you really have to look carefully at the information you've received and see how that fits your particular situation. The few times I've had something like that the company usually included some general tax guidelines in the mat...
by Karamatsu
Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:18 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about stocks and taxes
Replies: 4
Views: 550

Re: Question about stocks and taxes

In the most common scenario you'd receive shares of C in exchange for the shares in A. There should be a formula defining how many shares of C you'll receive in the memo that you received describing the merger. There should be no taxes involved unless you received "cash in lieu" of fractio...
by Karamatsu
Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:47 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Question about stocks and taxes
Replies: 4
Views: 550

Re: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan

I'm afraid I'm being lazy and not following the links (about time to close up shop for the night), but just wondered offhand what the function of the two Mitsui equity funds are? Just going by names alone, they seem to overlap the others, and have higher ERs. Also is the international bond fund hedg...
by Karamatsu
Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:05 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan
Replies: 31
Views: 2598

Re: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan

I recall that KPMG or PwC told me that the tax advantage for using a Japanese brokerage is gone now, and the following seems to back that up... Yes, the tax advantages I was talking about were things like greater flexibility in loss carry-forwards. Of course, if you never have any losses that doesn...
by Karamatsu
Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:01 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan
Replies: 31
Views: 2598

Re: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan

Well, if you're not a US citizen then presumably your Japanese income isn't taxed by your home country and things do indeed become much simpler. There are big tax advantages to doing all of your investments through a Japanese broker, so it's really just a question of seeing what mutual funds SBI has...
by Karamatsu
Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:57 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: ETF / Mutual Fund in Japan
Replies: 31
Views: 2598

Re: Schwab or Vanguard for account when living abroad?

There's no way to know what the restrictions will be in the future, so I think the most important thing is to invest in what you want while maintaining flexibility. ETFs are easier to move around and, at present, don't have the kinds of restrictions that are common to mutual funds, but of course the...
by Karamatsu
Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:40 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Schwab or Vanguard for account when living abroad?
Replies: 7
Views: 957

Re: Schwab to unveil their own robo-broker service

I'll have to wait and see how it really works, but this doesn't appeal to me for the same reason that I'm uneasy letting a computer drive my car for me. I guess for people totally uninterested in investing (or driving) it might be attractive, but I worry about biases in the algorithms, etc, that cou...
by Karamatsu
Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Schwab to unveil their own robo-broker service
Replies: 27
Views: 3850

Re: Selling Stock question (Schwab)

If it's like the sale of ordinary stock shares (I don't know why it wouldn't be, but you never know), then the way you do it is: From the "Trade" tab choose "Stock & ETFs" Enter the stock symbol, number of shares, etc Next to "Cost Basis Method" there should be the ...
by Karamatsu
Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:33 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Selling Stock question (Schwab)
Replies: 4
Views: 541

Re: Step by Step of Buying ETFs at Schwab

It's not complicated, as people have described. Just take your time and make sure you understand it all before you confirm the order. If you have questions, just ask. The other thing you can do, if there is a Schwab branch close by, is go in and ask someone to go through the process with you. I'm su...
by Karamatsu
Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:38 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Step by Step of Buying ETFs at Schwab
Replies: 16
Views: 1176

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

Good call. Looking back, the tax brackets haven't changed since at least 2007 (the oldest document I have handy), so it seems they aren't indexed. Anyway, I guess we'll see. I fully expect things in Japan to get much worse before they get better. The patient has to be taken off of life support and l...
by Karamatsu
Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

However when you do get increases in indirect taxes, they don't usually hit the poorest hardest, for just that reason: the increase reflected in the CPI is passed through to their benefits. It is the *working poor* who tend to get hit That makes sense. I asked one of the people working in the depar...
by Karamatsu
Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:21 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

I think a lot of companies took the tax hike as an opportunity to slip in other price increases (or volume reductions for the same price) on the sly. Yes, it's weird how this has suddenly occurred, and in such a widespread manner. At first I thought there might be some kind of government-led whispe...
by Karamatsu
Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:26 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

Good point. I didn't think of the offsetting value, though I'm not sure if that really holds. Although the long-term plan is to raise the consumption tax by 5% (3% this past April, another 2% next year), they're also lowering the corporate tax by 5%. I don't have the tax revenue breakdown handy to k...
by Karamatsu
Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:19 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

Oh, I see what you mean. As a Japanese consumer it doesn't matter to me whether prices rise 3% organically or 3% due to an increased tax component, but if you're using inflation as a proxy for organic demand, then yes, it makes sense, and in fact, things are getting worse, since the inflation rate b...
by Karamatsu
Sat Sep 20, 2014 9:41 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

Huh??? Not sure what you're reacting to. If you look at the latest figures , through January-March, the CPI (all items) showed an average increase of 1.5% over the same month in the previous year, then jumped to 3.5% each month from April to July. It's non-trivial to strip out the effect of the tax...
by Karamatsu
Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:06 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: A safe full of cash

I know Depression-era folks who put cash in safe deposit boxes. I always thought it was nuts not to have your money work for you, but these people have a different perspective. The thing to remember about the Depression is that there was no FDIC back then. Money you had on deposit in the bank was t...
by Karamatsu
Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:43 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: A safe full of cash
Replies: 22
Views: 3120

Re: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar

but what other reasons might there be? Inflation. Nobody seems to talk about it much, but even government statistics show that inflation has doubled since April, and is now at 3.4%. What happened in April is that the government increased the consumption tax by 3%, but producers used the event as an...
by Karamatsu
Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:31 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Yen almost @ 109 to the dollar
Replies: 19
Views: 2253

Re: Why Not Buy Vanguard ETFs Through Schwab?

Given that the Schwab ETFs are each a little cheaper, doesn't it make sense to open an account at Schwab to use their cheaper ETFs for US/Bonds/REITs and pay a little extra for the better diversified Vangard International ETF (also bought through Schwab)? Although the reasons for my choice of Schwa...
by Karamatsu
Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:35 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Why Not Buy Vanguard ETFs Through Schwab?
Replies: 18
Views: 2411

Re: PFIC Pain at Taxtime

Interesting! So looking at the instructions, I find: PFIC Annual Information Statement. For each year of the PFIC ending in a taxable year of a shareholder to which the QEF election applies, the PFIC must provide the shareholders with a PFIC Annual Information Statement. The statement must contain c...
by Karamatsu
Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:57 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PFIC Pain at Taxtime [Passive Foreign Investment Company]
Replies: 8
Views: 664

Re: PFIC Pain at Taxtime

I've used the mark-to-market option but never attempted to get the QEF treatment. If it's a reasonable thing for a non-accountant, non-tax-lawyer to do, it would be very useful to know.
by Karamatsu
Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:29 am
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: PFIC Pain at Taxtime [Passive Foreign Investment Company]
Replies: 8
Views: 664

Re: Nikkei index 20+ years later.

Japan is NOT the US, meaning US stock and Real Estate market was never as inflated as Japan's also US does not save as much as Japan meaning we spend and that keeps the economy humming and also US has VAST natural recourses from fuel to agriculture as well as Technology and I think Entertainment / ...
by Karamatsu
Sun Sep 14, 2014 8:55 am
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Nikkei index 20+ years later.
Replies: 9
Views: 1694

Re: Convincing fears on investing for now?

At best, I decided not to invest more than 30% in stocks at this time. That's a perfectly reasonable allocation decision except for the last bit... "at this time." What's important to realize is that the uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach that you're feeling right now is you...
by Karamatsu
Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:15 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Convincing fears on investing for now?
Replies: 33
Views: 3548

Re: Interesting article on CEOs, BODs and stock performance

I've often wondered about this, the degree to which funds engage in due diligence when voting the shares purchased with their customers' money. It's not something they seem to document.
by Karamatsu
Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:56 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Interesting article on CEOs, BODs and stock performance
Replies: 1
Views: 389
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