municipal bonds

5 Ways to Pay the IRS Less Next April

If you're still in shock from the amount of taxes you just paid, start working now to reduce what you send the IRS next year. Here are five ways you can shave your tax bill.

13 Financial Resolutions for Retirees in 2013

Being retired means not having to worry about waking up early to get to work. But retiring doesn't mean its time to quit worrying about making your money work as hard as it can.

Year-End Tips to Trim Your 2012 Tax Tab

Year-end tax planning is trickier this time around: Unless Congress compromises, all the Bush tax cuts will expire when 2013 arrives, and many popular tax breaks that expired at the end of 2011 may not get revived. Here's how you can lower what you owe the IRS, regardless of what happens in Washington next month.

How Thousands of Wealthy People Pay No Taxes (It's Totally Legal)

Debate all you like about whether the rich pay their fair share in taxes, but this is certain: Some high earners pay no taxes at all. A recent IRS study found that 35,000 U.S. taxpayers earning $200,000 or more paid no income tax in 2009. Curious how they pulled it off? Read on...

Voila! Bankrupt Cities Are Solvent Again! (Or Not)

Last month, Harrisburg, Pa., tried to throw in the financial towel and declare Chapter 9, but a judge threw out the bankruptcy petition. That doesn't mean the city is magically healthy again, though, and it's not the only municipality in similar straits. Here's why it matters to the rest of the country.

Get Ready for Great Recession, Part 2

The capital of Pennsylvania just fell into bankruptcy. What? You didn't hear? Neither did the financial markets -- yet. The day after Harrisburg bit the bullet, the Dow barely trembled, while the Nasdaq actually rose slightly. But two of our smartest investors seem to think this is a very big deal indeed.

Alabama County Avoids Bankruptcy Filing

Jefferson County, Alabama's, sewer debt crisis is coming to a close. Commissioners voted Friday on a deal framework that will let it restructure and partially write off $3.14 billion debt, saving the county from filing for Chapter 9 in what would have been the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

What Government Defaults Mean for Muni Bonds

U.S. municipalities have filed five bankruptcies this year, and -- next week -- Jefferson County, Ala., could make a sixth. Could city and county defaults shake the muni-bond market just as investors are fleeing to it amid stock-market declines?

Alabama County on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Investors and officials in Jefferson County, Ala., are trying to negotiate a deal to avoid bankruptcy by Thursday's deadline. If they're unsuccessful, the county could end up with the largest Chapter 9 filing in U.S. history, which could rattle the $2.9 trillion municipal bond market.

One Safe Way to Invest Now in Municipal Bonds

After respected banking analyst Meredith Whitney rattled the municipal bond market with her prediction of hundreds of billions of dollars in muni defaults, small investors dumped the bonds. That dire prediction may yet come true, but there are a few types of munis that still carry virtually no risk.

11 Smart Places to Invest Your Money Now

As the economic recovery takes hold and the investing landscape shifts again, it's important to adjust your investment strategy to take advantage of the new opportunities. Here are 11 areas experts think you should consider putting your money into right now:

Will Property Taxes Really Escape the Downturn?

A recently updated Fed working paper happily points out that even as other sources of municipal tax revenue have plummeted recently, property taxes have held fairly steady, and the authors expect that to continue. Unfortunately, their optimistic prediction ignores the bigger picture.

California Kicks Off $14 Billion in Bond Sales

The fiscally struggling state hopes that investors concerns over its troubles will be offset by their desire for yield. Governor Schwarzenegger has called a special legislative session to address a deficit now projected to be more than $25 billion over the next 18 months.

Why Municipal Bonds Are Looking Riskier Lately

Despite still-low default rates, munis aren't nearly as solid as they've traditionally been. And thanks to the shrinkage among bond insurers, far fewer bonds are being issued with that extra layer of protection.

Chicago's Next Mayor Could Find City Coffers Almost Empty

Chicago%u2019s next mayor may will find the city%u2019s coffers almost empty after Richard M. Daley dipped into reserves to balance this year%u2019s budget. The city expects a $654.7 million deficit for 2011, Bloomberg News reported. Daley balanced this year%u2019s budget partly with reserves. If he uses funds from leasing parking meters, garages and a toll road to fill the 2011 gap, the city will be left with only $121 million.

New Jersey Settles SEC Fraud Claims

The state of New Jersey settled claims that it misled investors in $26 billion of municipal bonds. The state agreed to settle the SEC case without admitting or denying the agency%u2019s findings, Bloomberg News reported.

Meet Muni Bond Champion Jim Lebenthal

As investments, municipal bonds have been traditionally seen as safe, stodgy and boring. None of those terms describe Jim Lebenthal, one of "munis" biggest fans. Now 81, Lebenthal gave up a promising career as a Hollywood correspondent to join the family business of investing in muni bonds.