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Got a Nice Refund Coming From the IRS? 10 Wines to Celebrate With (slideshow)

Got a Nice Refund Coming From the IRS? 10 Wines to Celebrate With (slideshow)

What should you do with that unexpected windfall? Our suggestion: Buy a few nice bottles of vino

Got a Nice Refund Coming From the IRS? 10 Wines to Celebrate With

These aren't necessarily the most expensive wines in their categories, just some definitely costly ones that are worth the money if you have it to throw around. (Prices are approximate and will vary from place to place.)

Bollinger R.D. 2002 ($325)

Bollinger is a champagne brand for people who think of champagne as real wine, not just some fizzy frivolity. The R.D. stands for récemment dégorgé, or "recently disgorged," meaning that the wine sat in the bottle with its lees (dead yeast cells left over from the fermentation) for eight years before they were removed, thus developing the toasty, yeasty aromas the wine is known for. This is a meaty, earthy wine with a keen acid edge, perfectly balanced and capable of standing up to just about any dish, but also glorious to drink by itself.

Von Winning Förster Kirchenstück Riesling Großes Gewächs 2013 ($150)

There are many more expensive German rieslings out there, and certainly more famous ones, but this is one that will dramatically illustrate why riesling — though not all that popular in the United States these days — is one of the greatest white-wine grapes, easily the equal in complexity and finesse to chardonnay. "Großes Gewächs" — which means something similar to the French term "premier cru," or "first-growth" — is a description applied to Germany's best dry wines. Rieslings from the Pfalz region, like this one, tend to be richer and riper than their counterparts from other parts of Germany, and Von Winning's has a forthright, opulent, juicy character that's truly memorable.

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Bourgogne Blanc 2012 ($250)

A really remarkable wine that pretty much defines what white Burgundy is all about. Expect a seductive aroma that hints at jasmine and melted butter, and a spicy multi-layered blend of flavors leading to a finish that goes on forever. Why so much money for a simple Bourgogne Blanc? Because this is in effect a young-vines version of de Vogüé's legendary Musigny Blanc. When the estate replanted their chardonnay vines in 1993, they stopped making Musigny and probably won't release one again until the vines mature sufficiently — at least another few years. Meanwhile, this wine upholds de Vogüé's reputation for ethereal chardonnay.

Marcassin Estate Chardonnay 2010 ($390)

This impressive Sonoma Coast bottling, from highly esteemed winemaker Helen Turley, is big and rich and ripe, as the best California chardonnays tend to be, but is somehow not really very Californian in overall character. It's more like a white Burgundy that has been supercharged with luscious fruit. Toasty and buttery, it has plenty of oak, but with a crisp mineral edge that deftly makes all that new-oak richness very palatable. The challenge with this wine is simply finding it; Turley cultists tend to snap up her wines the instant they're available.

Château Dereszla Tokaji Aszú Eszencia 2000 ($270/250 ml)

thinkstock/winesearcher

Probably the least-known of the world's great dessert wines, Hungary's tokaji aszú is a dense, amber-hued wine based on furmint and several other grapes affected with Botrytis cinerea, the so-called "noble rot" that gives these wines (and their French and German counterparts) their intensity and pronounced honeyed character. Eszencia is fermented not from crushed aszú grapes but from the juice that leaks naturally from them when they are first harvested. With a concentrated flavor that will remind you of apricot preserves, eszencia is syrup-sweet, dense, very low in alcohol (typically five or six percent), and very pricey; this excellent example of the wine would cost $810 for a normal-size bottle. The good news? It's so concentrated that you won't want to drink more than a few ounces at a time.

The Sadie Family Columella 2012 ($115)

This Rhône-style blend of syrah and mourvèdre from South Africa's Swartland region, just north of Cape Town, is the least expensive wine on this list, but easily the most esoteric — a wine to show off not your pocketbook but your erudition. That's partly because it's South African, and uncommonly pricey for a wine from that nation; partly because the label is written in Latin (the wine is named for Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, the most important agricultural writer in ancient Rome), reading in part "Liberatus in castro bonae spei," which translates to something like "Set free in the Cape of Good Hope"; and partly because nobody will believe that this elegantly fashioned, deeply complex, thoroughly delicious red comes from a wine-growing country better known here for $8 sauvignon blancs.

Vincent Girardin Grands-Échezeaux 2010 ($275)

Red Burgundy is universally considered to be one of the world's great wine categories, but the truth is, buying a bottle — almost invariably very expensive — can be a crapshoot. A lot of feeble, sour, monodimensional wine gets sold under a lot of famous labels. In this uneven landscape, Vincent Girardin is a name to remember, both for the exquisite biodynamic whites and reds he makes from his own vineyards in the Côte de Beaune and for the Maison-labeled wines whose fruit he sources from elsewhere in Burgundy. A sterling example of the latter is this authoritative Grands-Échezeaux, with its elegant bouquet and its mineral-tinged, jammy savor on the palate, finishing with a faint hint of mocha. Sure, you could spend $1,800 or so for a bottle of the big-boy Grands-Échezeaux, the fragrant but definitely not jammy one from the celebrated Domaine de la Romanée Conti — but wouldn't you rather have six bottles of this excellent pinot noir and have enough left over for a nice steak dinner?

Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita Velles Vinyes 2006 ($750)

font-family:"Arial","sans-serif"">Thirty years ago, Spain's Priorat region, west of Barcelona, was known primarily for altar wines and the fortified Sherry relatives called vi ranci. Today, it is one of the most famous red wine areas in Europe, and Spanish super-winemaker Alvaro Palacios is one of the people responsible for that reputation. The main grapes here are carinyena and garnatxa — carignan and grenache to most of the world — and Palacios has some of the best vineyards for both, including L'Ermita, a perfectly situated plot of land planted with biodynamically tended old vines (velles vinyes) garnatxa. It yields a perfect mouthful of wine, big and ripe but also elegant and wonderfully smooth, with pervasive blackberry fruit and enough acid to make it stand up straight. Really something extraordinary.

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 2010 ($785)

No longer the most expensive wine produced by this first-rate Australian outfit — they released a limited edition Kalimna shiraz last year at $1,800 a bottle — but still a pretty penny. This uniquely Aussie bottling, first sold in 1952, is a complex blend of shiraz (syrah) from the Barossa Valley and three or four other regions, given a touch of elegance most years with a small percentage of cabernet sauvignon, likewise from various sources. Ripe, dense, and earthy, full of juicy, sweet fruit, this wine will live and develop for many years, but — unlike many reds with this kind of structure — is very nice to drink right now.

Le Pin 2012 ($2,000)

Okay, let's be honest: This opulent offering from Pomerol in Bordeaux is an I've-Got-It-and-I'm-Gonna-Flaunt-It kind of wine. Only about 600 cases of it are made annually, and it has the kind of cult following that usually attaches to pubescent pop stars, so it's not an easy wine to find. Is it worth the money if you do locate a bottle? Of course not. But it's pretty darned good. Made entirely from merlot, it's an eloquent expression of what the grape can produce — silky, floral, ripe but not raisiny, beautifully in balance, with a touch of anise and spice in the finish. Pretty memorable.


Don't Mess With Taxes

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It's going to be a special New Year's celebration for hard cider aficionados. They will be raising a glass of their favorite bubbly fruit beverages not only to celebrate the arrival of 2016, but also to cheer tax law changes that should help their industry.

Hard cider, like its cousin wine, is made from fermented juice. In cider's case, that's apples or pears instead of grapes. But hard cider's main competitor really is the craft beer sector.

And cider makers have long argued that the tax law imposed an excise tax that put their specialty beverage at a disadvantage to comparable beers.

Spending bill's effect on cider: That has changed thanks to the spending bill that became law on Dec. 18. It includes a provision that broadens the definition of hard cider.

And that means those involved in making hard cider can now boost the alcohol level a bit without facing a higher excise tax.

Specifically, new law contains three changes which hard cider makers are toasting:

  1. Carbonation levels allowed in hard cider are increased.
  2. Pear juice now may be used in addition to apple juice.
  3. The maximum alcohol percentage for cider is bumped up from 7 percent to 8.5 percent.

The U.S. Association of Cider Makers (USACM) says the changes will make small cider producers more competitive in the market by giving them increased flexibility in production and ingredients. It also brings the cider definition into line with international standards for alcohol by volume, carbonation and allowable recipes, according to the trade association.

Taxing the bubbles: The carbonation and alcohol content change is particularly welcome since they affect the excise tax rate cider producers face.

That tax rate has fluctuated over the years. Under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the cider tax was the same as the beer tax rate. The next year, however, a technical correction to the law clarified that hard cider would be a considered a still wine, with lower carbonation levels and a higher tax rate.

To avoid falling into the  higher tax rate for stronger alcoholic beverages, when a hard cider topped the allowable alcohol content limit, cideries diluted their products with water or raw, unfermented cider. Or the cideries had to invest in equipment designed to stop the fermentation process before alcohol levels get too high.

With the law change, however, the over-fermentation worries are gone. Now hard cider makers can bump up the bubbles and remain taxed at a lower rate (22.6 cents per gallon) than still ($1.07 per gallon) and sparkling ($3.40 per gallon) wines.

The bottom of the barrel tax line is that the hard cider levy comes to about $7 per barrel. That's the same tax rate as assessed small beer breweries (those producing fewer than 2 million barrels) on their first 60,000 barrels of beer.

"This legislation represents a huge step forward for cider makers throughout the nation," said Mike Beck of Uncle John's Hard Cider Company and president of the USACM. "We are excited for the positive impact it will have on the U.S. cider industry, which is growing rapidly and creating small manufacturing and agricultural jobs across the country."

Old beverage, new options: Cider originated in colonial days when drinking water was not always safe and fermenting apples that otherwise might go to waste into cider provided an appealing alternative. Since then, the drink has become increasingly popular.

National hard cider sales tripled between 2007 and 2012 to about $600 million, according to IBISWorld, a market-analysis company.

Thanks to the new law, that growth trend could continue. Cideries say the law changes will give them more flexibility in creating new products without facing higher costs.

I'm not much of an alcoholic beverages drinker. Part of the reason is that I got that out of my system when I was in college and the legal drinking age way back then was 18.

But maybe this year, the hubby and I will pick up some hard cider and see if we agree that this beverage sector got a deserved tax break.

You also might find these items of interest:

Posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 01:27 PM in Business, Food and Drink, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

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6 Friends-Inspired Cocktails For Your Reunion​ Viewing Party

Pssst. Did you hear? Brit + Co's 10-week business program for women, Selfmade, is back for the summer! And that also means our scholarship program is back in action thanks to our amazing partner, Office Depot. Keep reading for more about the life-changing program and how to join the thriving, entrepreneurial community that's helped mentor over 5,700 women to date.

What's Selfmade?

Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to our founding sponsor Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!

When is the program?

The summer session of Selfmade kicks off Monday, June 28 and runs for 10 weeks through Friday, September 3, 2021.

How much does it cost to enroll?

The enrollment price is $2,000, but for the summer session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.

To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our application form right here. The deadline for scholarship applications is June 8 — it's time to take the leap!

Once scholarship recipients are chosen in June, prospective students will have 48 hours to accept their seats, so keep an eye on your inbox starting June 8! For those who don't receive a full-ride scholarship, you'll be eligible to receive a special discount and perks just for applying!

So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)

Discover what valuable lessons these small business owners and entrepreneurs took away from the spring session of the Selfmade 10-week course at Selfmade Success Stories.


Why Student Debt Is a Racial Justice Issue

Student loan debt burdens more than 44 million Americans, and prevents millions from buying homes, starting businesses, saving for retirement, or even starting families. This debt is disproportionately affecting Black families, and Black women in particular.

Higher education has long been held as a critical gateway to getting a job and achieving economic stability and mobility. But because of long-standing systemic racial discrimination, Black families have far less wealth to draw on to pay for college, creating barriers for Black communities to access higher education and build wealth. Black families are more likely to borrow, to borrow more, and to have trouble in repayment. Two decades after taking out their student loans, the median Black borrower still owes 95 percent of their debt, whereas the median white borrower has paid off 94 percent of their debt.

Students of color pursue higher education in a social and economic system built on racist ideologies that is set up to work against them and perpetuate racial wealth and income and achievement gaps. To redress this systemic inequality, the ACLU, Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), and more than 300 other organizations are calling on the Biden-Harris administration and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to use their authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower, and Congress must act as well.

To understand the systemic issues rooted in the student debt crisis, we must start with its history. Though we have normalized the idea that students must take on debt for college, historically students benefited from broad public investment in higher education. However, not all students benefited equally: Black students had little access to GI Bill benefits and, even a decade after Brown v. Board of Education (1954), predominately white institutions (PWIs) in many states resisted integration and equal treatment. Further, state and federal governments continued to inadequately and inequitably fund historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) despite the high-quality opportunities they provided and the critical function they performed for Black students and communities. This created and cemented the racial wealth and resource gap in institutions of higher education.

It was in this context that Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Higher Education Act of 1965. Recognizing the value of broad higher education access, Johnson hoped the legislation would open the doors of opportunity to everyone, especially Black students and other students of color, through Pell Grants and other subsidies.

To join our Systemic Equality agenda to take action on racial justice, click here.

Yet by the end of the 20th century, just as Black and Brown students and women gained entry after decades-long legal battles and social struggles, reactionary policymakers shifted the significant costs of higher education from the public to individual families. What had been considered a public good when it was predominantly for white men, became a public burden to be shifted to families.

This shift away from public financing, which accelerated after the Great Recession, led to predictable and damaging results: Today the cost of higher education is beyond imagination. It is out of reach for most families, especially Black and Brown students, unless they agree to unsustainable debt. In effect, we are perpetuating the ugly legacy of redlining and housing discrimination by requiring the same Black families that were historically denied wealth to take on a greater debt burden than their white peers.

The student debt crisis is just one of the latest iterations in the long and shameful history of too many unkept promises to Black and Brown communities. This country didn't keep its promise to give formerly enslaved people the land that they worked on to build wealth following the Civil War. Then from redlining, inaccessible GI benefits, and now the decreased value of college degrees, Black people have continuously had the roads to economic success blocked outright.

Canceling $50,000 in student debt can help secure financial stability and economic mobility for Black and Brown borrowers who are disproportionately burdened by this student debt crisis and the impacts of the racial wealth gap in this country. But even after graduation, Black and Latinx people face substantial job discrimination and earn far less than their white counterparts. This income gap makes building financial stability and managing student loan repayment even harder. A college education actually deepens the wealth gap due to the high costs and structural issues in our system. Yet, higher education is a necessity, not a luxury, for today's workforce.

Due to these persisting inequalities, even with $50,000 cancelation per borrower, there will still be millions of borrowers with debt. That number will only grow unless we overhaul loan repayment altogether and create a debt-free college system. The Center for Responsible Learning argues that the federal government should improve repayment by: (1) clearing the books of bad debts, such as debts that have been in repayment for longer than 15 years (2) restoring limitations on collections and making student debt dischargeable in bankruptcy and (3) making repayment truly affordable and budget-conscious through a new income-driven repayment plan open to all borrowers. For new students, a new social contract could also double the Pell Grant and increase funding and support for HBCUs.

We have an opportunity to help millions of families realize their American Dreams, secure financial stability and economic mobility for Black and Brown families, and take a critical step toward closing the racial wealth gap. The charge is clear, the moment is here, and the time for action is now: The Biden administration must cancel $50,000 in student debt per borrower.


3. Bank fees

According to a MoneyRates survey, the average monthly maintenance fee for a checking account reached $13.24 in 2018, so accountholders would need to pay almost $160 per year just to have an account.

Monthly maintenance fees aren't the only cost consumers pay. ATM fees have risen by 10.7% compared with five years ago, and many banks also charge a host of other fees including for early closure, failing to maintain a minimum balance, returned deposits, foreign transactions, receiving paper statements, and even for going to an in-person teller.

Avoiding fees is challenging, but it's important to read the fine print before signing up for a bank account to find out what costs you'll incur and what you can do to avoid them. For example, you can often avoid a monthly maintenance fee by having your paycheck directly deposited.

Local credit unions may also provide more affordable banking service, as a recent Bankrate survey found 84% of credit union checking accounts don't charge monthly maintenance fees. Fees also tend to be much lower at credit unions for out-of-network ATM use.


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Before his death, Joseph received the check because he'd been treated at an out-of-network hospital after his jaw was shattered in a bar fight.

Despite having paid for his drug rehab stints in the months prior, Blue Cross Blue Shield expected Joseph to be responsible for turning over the money to the out-of-network provider.

Insurers say that putting patients in the middle is a last resort when they can't reach a payment agreement with an out-of-network provider.

Critics say it's just a tactic: putting the money in patients' hands makes it harder for out-of-network providers to recover and incentivize them to switch to the insurer's network and cut out the patient-turned-middle-man.

Jennifer says its an 'immoral' temptation to put in front of a drug-addicted patient.

Jennifer Alba (left), Joseph's mother, told CNN her son had long struggled with addiction and some of his rehab stints had even been billed to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

'[It's] like dangling a piece of meat in front of a lion and telling him not to eat it,' she told CNN.

'Why would you give a person with mental health and addiction problems cash like that?

'It's careless. It's morally wrong. It's horrible. I don't know of any other way to put it.'

Joseph had struggled with substances since he was 13 and first got caught with weed by the police.

In more recent years, his mother told CNN, his cocktail of choice was cocaine Xanax and alcohol.

He wasn't typically an opioid user, as far as Jennifer knew, until January 2017, when a worked-up bar patron landed a punch on Joseph's jaw, shattering it and breaking several of of the 29-year-old's teeth.

A friend drove a bloodied Joseph to the nearest hospital. It was not a time for checking insurance coverage.

Joseph had to have multiple surgeries to repair the damage to his mouth and jaw, which was wired shut to heal afterwards.

Joseph mostly used Xanax, alcohol and cocaine, according to his mother (left). After his jaw surgery, Joseph was prescribed liquid Oxycodone, despite his addiction history (right)

He had been hurt badly and was undoubtedly in a great deal of pain. Joseph was prescribed 5mg/5mL of liquid Oxycodone - a far more powerful drug than Joseph's usual combination.

Three months later, Joseph came-to on the floor, his own blood surrounding him, but unsure where he was.

He texted Jennifer, scared, and teetering on the verge of suicidal thoughts that had long haunted him. Shortly thereafter, Joseph asked to be buried next to his grandmother.

Joseph went back to rehab in April, more determined than ever to get clean, but still speaking of his own life as though he were in purgatory, between living and dead.

On a good day, he told Jennifer he wanted to make her a steak. He did, and the family enjoyed an evening together, unaware it would be their last.

On September 2, 2017, Joseph was discovered dead in a hotel room of an overdose of heroin and cocaine.

In addition to addiction, Joseph had struggled with suicidal thoughts from a young age (left) and had told his mother (right) he was unsure if he was still alive shortly before the overdose

In his backpack were receipts for the initial $33,000 deposit, and a series of subsequent withdrawals. The last was made just two days prior to his death.

The writing was on the wall, as far as Jennifer was concerned. Her son had taken the 'dirty money' from the insurers and spent it on a final, fatal bender, she told CNN.

Putting patients in the position the BCBSNC put Joseph in is 'not okay,' Cody Hand, a vice president at the North Carolina Healthcare Association told Daily Mail Online.

'It's a prime example of why insurers need to be more deliberate about making sure that, not only providers are reimbursed, but that large sums of money are not landing in patients' mailboxes without them having any expectation of what that money's for.'

Since his death in 2017, Jennifer (left) says she's continued to receive checks from BCBSNC, made out to Joseph's estate

Insurers and some policy experts believe that paying providers directly will allow them to name their prices - ultimately driving up costs for everyone in an insurance network.

Hand says it's all well and good that BCBSNC covered some rehab costs for Joseph, but 'they're not on board with the corporate responsibility to ensure that a patient who is really in a vulnerable state isn't getting a large sum of money with - basically - no strings attached.

This happens because North Carolina is one of a handful of states that don't enforce something called an assignment of benefits.

Patients sign this document before they are discharged, and it gives the insurer permission to mail reimbursement for services directly to an out-of-network provider.

It's not just a measure for people like Joseph with misuse disorders, but to keep all patients out of the fight between insurers and health care providers.

'It's not that we want to say to someone with a misuse disorder, "you're not worthy of this money, but someone with cancer is."

Jennifer wears a tattoo of a note Joseph wrote to her as a tattoo now, and continues to try to raise awareness about the dangerous positions insurers put vulnerable patients in

'What we want to say to either of these patients is "you're signing this document, so we'll send money out to the provider,"' as a way of avoiding the confusion and temptation of a giant check appearing without explanation.

In fact, even after his death, Jennifer said they checks kept coming. She estimates that BCBSNC has sent her son and his estate over $50,000 - money that was never meant for him.

'I've been in a cloud of grief for the last year and a half,' she told CNN.

'I'm angry at Blue Cross Blue Shield because they gave him money that wasn't his . [and] it killed him.'

She continues to speak out about Joseph's death in the hopes that insurers will consider the position they put vulnerable patients in and perhaps help another mother avoid burying her son.

'My heart goes out to the family,' Hand says.

'The correct response is to prevent this from happening in the future.

'We can't do anything to bring him back, but we can make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.'


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It has been a difficult few months forTeresa as her husband serves time behind bars.

Joe was convicted of bankruptcy fraud in October 2014 and will be facing the possibility of deportation back to Italy when he is released from prison.

Teresa was convicted on similar charge and began serving her sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut in January of last year, being released two days before Christmas.

The judge ruled that the couple did not have to report at the same time for the well being of their four daughters - Gia, Gabriella, Milania, and Audriana.

Joe's attorneys are already attempting to fight the possibility of deportation after his sentence, and argued back during the trial that because their client came to the US as an infant from Italy he was not aware that he was not an American citizen.

The judge in that trial also recommended Joe participate in an alcohol program, this after his lawyer, Miles Feinstein said he had a drinking problem and should be sent to rehab rather than prison.

Joe read a letter to the court before he was sentenced, saying: 'I stand here humiliated before the court and my family and society.

'I disgraced many people, including my wife and four daughters. I take full responsibility for my actions. I promise to be a better person.'

Joe, 43, also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004 and acknowledged he didn't file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008.

For that he was given a 12-month sentence, but one that will run concurrently with the 41 months he had already received for his other crimes.

There is a chance that Joe's sentence could be shorter, with his wife not serving her full term behind bars.

She's back: The new trailer for Real Housewives of New Jersey premiered on Tuesday (above)

Touching: This season viewers will see Teresa returning from prison (above greeting her daughters)

Teresa's 15-month sentence was ultimately cut short and she was released from prison two days before Christmas after a little less than a year behind bars.

As part of her parole, a portion of the remaining time of her 15-month sentence was served on home detention, during which time she was only allowed to leave for things like pre-approved trips to see the doctor and dentist or attend church services.

She was also allowed to go to see family whenever she wanted, meaning that her house and her brother Joe Gorga's home were two of the few places she could be filmed without running the risk of getting in trouble while starting work on the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey.

The trailer for that show was released on Tuesday by Bravo.

Teresa's parole period ended on February 5, at which time she was able to remove her ankle monitor and began the next phase of her punishment, two years of supervised release.

She is certainly doing her part to bring in money, starting with the release of her autobiographical book Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again earlier this year.

The popular, and polarizing, reality star is so important to Bravo that the network also featured her in a special three-episode spin-off series Teresa Checks. In that followed her before she prepared to head off to prison.

Bravo has never confirmed the salaries of any Housewives cast members, but there are reports that Teresa is receiving $1million for the upcoming seventh season of the show.

She has also found success in the world of cookbooks, releasing three volumes of Italian recipes that all landed on the New York Times Bestsellers list - Skinny Italian, Fabulicious and Fabulicious!: Fast & Fit.

Teresa also released her own line of Bellini cocktails called Fabellini, which she can often be seen toting around to parties and events while filming for Real Housewives.


6 of 10

How to Get a Copy of Your Car Title

Why you need it: To sell your car.

Where to get a new one: Your state&rsquos Department of Motor Vehicles. (Go to dmv.org to find your state's website to download the form or bureau locations and hours.)

What you need to get it: A completed DMV application form and the application fee, which varies by state (Utah charges $6 Oregon, $55). You&rsquoll also need to show ID and proof that you own the car, such as your vehicle registration or your license-plate number and VIN (vehicle identification number).

How long it takes: As little as four days, depending on the state.


Their view: You’re married, but your assets don’t have to be

People who aren’t rich or famous typically don’t have prenuptial agreements, which are legal documents detailing who gets what in a divorce. Even ordinary folks without prenups, though, should think about how to protect their money if something goes wrong.

Planning for divorce may be cynical, but it’s also smart, San Diego certified financial planner Ginita Wall says.

“It’s cynical to put on a seat belt when you pull out of your garage, because you’re planning for an accident,” says Wall, who is also a certified public accountant and the author of several books including “The ABCs of Divorce for Women.” ”You want to be safe if that happens, God forbid.”

Marital breakups aren’t the only concern. Creditors can come after joint accounts and property if a spouse has unpaid debts or gets sued, says Carl Soranno, a family law attorney in Roseland, New Jersey.

“Even if your marriage is strong, or you think it’s strong, there are events that can put pressure on it,” Soranno says.

Estate planning also can be easier when at least some assets are kept as separate property. You might trust your spouse to do right by the kids after you’re gone, for example, but can you trust your spouse’s next spouse? Separate property can allow you to better control who inherits after your death.

“Separate property,” by the way, is the legal term for assets such as cash, investments and real estate that you owned before you married. It also applies to any gifts or inheritances you receive during marriage.

But there are plenty of ways separate property can become marital property if you’re not careful. Depositing an inheritance into a joint account can do it. So can using money from a joint account to pay taxes on separately owned investments or property. State laws vary enormously, so it can be worth consulting an experienced attorney or financial planner to find out the rules that apply in yours, says CFP Shelly-Ann Eweka, a wealth management director with TIAA in Denver.

“You want someone familiar with your state laws and your situation to give you advice,” Eweka says.

Here are some moves that typically help to protect what you own:

Have “mine” and “ours” accounts. Some couples keep all their accounts separate, but many prefer the convenience of joint accounts for joint expenses. If you decide to share accounts, open new ones together rather than adding a partner to existing accounts. If you’ve already commingled funds, open new accounts in your name alone if you receive a gift or inheritance. Use separate accounts to pay expenses for any property that’s solely in your name.

Be careful with real estate. A reader added her beloved husband to the titles of her home and rental properties. When he died, she ended up with his two children from a previous marriage as co-owners of the real estate — not an outcome she expected or wanted. Another way separate property could potentially turn into marital property is using joint funds to pay the mortgage, maintain the building or remodel.

Keep good records. Ideally, you’ll know what your assets are worth the day you marry. Bank, brokerage and retirement account statements from the previous month or quarter can help establish their value. If you own a business or other hard-to-value property, consider getting it appraised before the wedding. Hang on to copies of wills or trusts that show an inheritance, along with account statements showing the deposits. If you receive a gift, keep a copy of the check or ask for a letter from the giver documenting the value.

Consider a “postnup.” A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup, but created after a couple marries. Postnups can be especially helpful when couples want to divide things up differently — either in a divorce or in their estate plans — than their state laws would otherwise dictate. (Just one example: In most states, income from separate property is also considered separate. In Texas, it typically belongs to both spouses.) A written agreement is much better than an “understanding” or verbal promises about who owns what, Wall says.

“What happens in divorce is a scarcity mentality sets in,” Wall says. “People start going for every dime they can get, because there’s not enough to go around.”


Corporation vs. LLC – Tax Benefits of Each

Determining the best entity for your business is a complex but important decision that you will make.

Corporations and LLC’s offer liability protection. Without Liability Protection, anytime you interact with another person, there is a risk. From a liability standpoint, think of an LLC or Corporation as insurance for your personal assets. By operating as a Sole Proprietor or Partnership, you are personally liable for all business debts. You are also potentially liable for any lawsuits that may arise. Sole Proprietors and Partnerships also must pay self-employment tax on the net income of the business.

LLC&rsquos are the simplest to form. They do not have formalities and record keeping requirements that Corporations have. For tax purposes, the financial data passes through to your personal return. You generally owe self-employment on your net income up to $106,800 for 2010. However, you can elect to be taxed as an S-Corporation.

S-Corporations offer the opportunity to save on self-employment taxes after paying a reasonable salary. Like a C Corp, Payroll taxes must be paid for salaries and wages. However, there is no payroll tax on the extra income your company makes.

As a business owner, you cannot abuse this benefit. You cannot take an artificially low salary with the sole intent of avoiding payroll taxes – hence the term reasonable salary.

The main drawback for an S Corporation is the lack of easy operation. There are differences in formalities and record keeping requirements. For example, you must have shareholders and stock – as well as a board of directors and officers.

C-Corporations are similar in structure to an S-Corporation. The tax on salaries and wages is essentially the same. This entity type can save money for high income earners. For example, if you (personally) are in the highest income tax bracket, you can leave a portion of your profit inside the C-Corporation. This saves tax dollars because the first $50,000 in corporate profits is taxed at the 15% rate. By splitting the income, you may be able to stay out of the top tax brackets.

The main drawbacks with a C-Corporation are the same as those of an S-Corporation. They lack ease of use, they have a more complex structure and are more formal, they require more maintenance, and they both require having to file another tax return.


FC Cincinnati lost 1-0 to New England Saturday.


Watch the video: Ηφαιστειακά Κρασιά (January 2022).