Sahil Vakil, CFP®, CFA® MYRA Wealth

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About Sahil Vakil, CFP®, CFA®

Sahil Vakil is the Founder & CEO of MYRA Wealth – a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in NY/NJ that provides Personal Finance services to International & Multicultural individuals in the United States – a large majority of whom are 1st & 2nd generation immigrants.

As a 1st Generation Immigrant himself, Sahil is on a mission to make MYRA Wealth the “home away from home” for this vibrant and thriving International & Multicultural community. “Aliens,” as he (and the IRS code) lovingly calls them, are the heartbeat of America, and Sahil seeks to make a meaningful impact in their lives.

Sahil currently holds several leadership roles in the Financial Planning and Investment Management industry, including serving on the Advisory Board at XYPN, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee(s) at NAPFA, ACP & XYPN, and the Pro Bono Committee at FPA. He also serves as a Mentor on the CFP Board Mentor Program, as an Experimental Partner on the CFA Institute Driving Change initiative, and as a Volunteer to the IRS VITA Program. He was recently accepted into the Forbes New York Business Council, and was recently named as a 40 Under 40, by InvestmentNews. Finally, Sahil is among a few select entrepreneurs in this world, that have been selected by Y Combinator (a world-renowned American accelerator) to participate in their YC Start Up School program.

Prior to MYRA Wealth, Sahil served as a Management Consultant to the Financial Services industry, advising CEOs and CFOs at Fortune 500 firms on Business Strategy and Financial Management. Sahil holds an MBA from The Wharton School, a Masters in Electrical (& Aerospace) Engineering from USC, and a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering (& Computer Science) from the University of Mumbai. He is also a CFA Charter holder and a CFP Certificate holder.

Outside of MYRA Wealth, Sahil is an avid cricket fan and enjoys traveling the world with his wife and daughter (Myra). Fun Fact: Sahil & his wife were cast on HGTV’s House Hunters: ‘Buying on a Budget in Manhattan’ episode.

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Recently Published

What Is A Reverse EIN Lookup?

January 25, 2021


If you own a business, you likely have an EIN (Employee Identification Number) that identifies your business. As a business owner, it’s important to know how to look your EIN up, what you can do with it, and how to do a reverse EIN lookup. 

Related Article | The Finance Dictionary: Learn the jargon your Finance friends speak!

What Is an EIN?

Each business has a unique number called an EIN that they use to file their taxes and conduct other business with the government. Just like your Social Security Number identifies you as an individual, an EIN identifies your business. 

Most businesses must have an EIN. You may also hear it called a Tax Identification Number (TIN) or 95 number. You'll use the number in a variety of ways, but it’s most important for your tax filings and payroll.

Why You Need an EIN

Any business can apply for an EIN, but some businesses require it. Financial or legal activities associated with your business require your EIN.

If any of the following apply to your business, you must have an EIN:

  • You have employees

  • You file business taxes

  • You operate as a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company

Related Article | 5 Scams To Watch Out For As An Immigrant Business Owner

Are EIN Numbers Public Record?

EIN numbers are federal, public record, which means someone could get their hand on it if they wanted to. Just like your Social Security Number, your EIN contains private, crucial information. Theoretically, someone with your EIN number could open up an account as your business.

Avoid displaying your EIN in public areas. You’ll only need your EIN when you conduct business with the government or financial institutions. Customers and vendors don't need it, so avoid displaying it on your business license or on other certificates.

Getting an EIN

If your business has employees, or you want to file your taxes under your business name and not under your personal Social Security Number, you’ll need to get an EIN. Fortunately, this process is easy.

The fastest way to apply is online, which is also the method preferred by the IRS. Within seconds of completing the application, you’ll have your own EIN. As long as your business is located in the U.S., you’re eligible to apply online. 

If applying online isn't an option, your other options are:

  • Complete IRS Form SS-4 and fax it to the appropriate number. If you provide a fax number, you'll receive your EIN within four business days from the IRS.

  • Complete IRS Form SS-4 and mail it to the IRS. The turnaround time is four  weeks, so make sure you plan accordingly.

  • International applicants may apply for an EIN over the phone. You'll complete Form SS-4 over the phone, and you must be authorized to receive the EIN number.

Related Article | What Is FICA Tax?

How to Cancel or Change an EIN

Just like your Social Security Number, your EIN stays with you forever. If your business closes, however, you can close the business with the IRS and no other business will ever receive your EIN.

Should you choose to reopen your business after closing it, you'll be given the same EIN. However, if you have an EIN but close your business with the IRS before you’ve ever used it, then deciding to “reopen” your business will be like opening a completely new business and you will receive a new EIN.

If you submit a cancellation request, be sure to do so in writing. In your letter to the IRS, include your business's legal name, EIN, and the reason you want to close the account. Include a copy of the original EIN certificate, too.

Technically, you can't change your EIN, but some situations may require that you add an additional number, such as:

  • Changing your business structure

  • Filing bankruptcy

  • Starting a company retirement plan

  • Merging with or acquiring another business

How to Look Up Your EIN

Your EIN is on many business documents, but if you can't find it easily, here are a few places you can search for it:

  • On your EIN confirmation letter. You should keep a copy of this letter (which was sent to you via email, fax, or mail). This is the easiest way to find and verify your EIN number.

  • On your business tax returns, business license, business credit report, or payroll.

If you can't find your EIN through any of the above methods, you’ll need to call the IRS at +1 (800) 829-4933. They are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. Before a representative will give you your EIN, they will need to verify your identity, much like they would before providing other sensitive information like Social Security Number.

Related Article | What Is the FICA Tax Refund?

Can I Look up My EIN Online?

If your company is public, you can find your EIN online on the SEC's website. When you search for your company name, look at the 10-Q for EIN verification.

How Do I Get a Copy of My EIN Confirmation Letter?

Unfortunately, you can't get a copy of your EIN confirmation letter. It's a one-time issuance.

While the IRS can't provide a copy of your EIN confirmation letter, they can provide an EIN letter which is close to an EIN verification. Most banks and financial institutions will accept this letter in place of the original confirmation letter.

The IRS will only send the EIN verification letter by mail or fax; they won't email it. Note that if you accept it via mail, it could take four to six weeks whereas a fax will likely be sent while you're still on the phone with them.

How to Look up Another Company's EIN?

Searching for another company's EIN depends on whether their business is public or private.

Public companies' EINs are easy to find. Head to the SEC's website and search for the 10-Q or other business documents which will contain the company's EIN.

If the company is private, you won't find their information on the SEC's website. Instead, you'll have to do a little investigating. You can ask an employee for the number from their paycheck, or you can contact the company's payroll department.

If you still can't find the number with either of these methods, you could get it by paying for the company's credit report.

Related Article | Tax Planning Services vs Tax Preparation: Which Do I Need?

Reverse EIN Lookup

Sometimes, you'll have a company's EIN but won’t know which company it’s associated with. In this case, you can do a reverse EIN lookup. 

On FEINSearch, you have up to five free searches. Before searching, you will need to register for an account, but it's free. If you exceed five searches, you’ll need to pay for a membership for LexisNexis. You can either pay a one-time fee of $20 or sign up for a monthly membership, for which fees vary based on the number of reverse lookups you need to do.

EIN Lookup Is Important

If you run a business or do business with other businesses, you'll need their EINs. Rather than asking a company for their EIN, you can do an EIN lookup yourself. Or, if you have a company's EIN but not their name, you can do a reverse EIN lookup just as easily as you can look up a company's EIN.

Remember to keep your business EIN private unless the IRS or a financial institution is asking for it. Just like you wouldn't share your Social Security Number with just anyone, avoid sharing your EIN with someone you don't trust.

MYRA provides personal finances for immigrants.

To learn more, Click Here. To get started, Click Here.

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Tax Planning Services vs Tax Preparation: Which Do I Need?

January 18, 2021


Many people assume tax planning and tax preparation are the same. These services are very different. When combined, they help you maximize your personal and business income, investments, and bottom line, even after paying your taxes.

Related Article | The Finance Dictionary: Learn the jargon your Finance friends speak!

What Is Tax Planning?

Different from tax preparation, tax planning is creating strategies to minimize your tax liability. Executing strategies that minimize your tax burden is a year-round process, not something you do right before the tax due date.

When you work with a tax planner, they consider current tax laws, new tax laws and regulations, and your current situation. They aim to prepare individuals for the lowest tax liabilities while staying within the current tax regulations.

What Are the Benefits of Tax Planning?

Tax planning offers many benefits for you and even your heirs when done properly. 

Benefits include:

  • Lowering tax liability. Essentially, reducing your liability for income tax as well as any investment gains or wealth tax is the main goal when working with a tax planner. Planning throughout the year, especially when you have business income, ensures you take advantage of the right tax credits, use tax-loss harvesting techniques in your investments, and manage your wealth accordingly.

  • Ensuring estate planning flexibility. Just leaving money for your heirs isn't enough. You may feel good about what you're leaving them, but you may not realize how you could complicate their tax situation. Tax planning not only ensures you lower your own tax liability but the tax liability of your heirs.

  • Understanding your investment returns. Capital gains, expenses, and even inflation can ruin your carefully thought-out investment planning, leaving you with much less than you anticipated.

Related Article | What Is FICA Tax?

What Is Tax Preparation?

Tax preparation is typically a one-time process. Your certified public accountant (CPA) will prepare your tax return for filing by the tax deadline. Most individuals undergo tax preparation in January through April. Tax preparation requires documents to complete your tax return, including income documentation, any investment documents, and retirement plan statements.

What Are the Benefits of Tax Preparation?

While some individuals can prepare their tax returns on their own, most people benefit from professional income tax preparation services by letting tax professionals handle their tax returns and minimize their tax burden.

Benefits include:

  • Saving more money. Tax professionals understand tax laws and tax compliance. They know how to maximize your deductions and tax credits so you keep more money in your pocket.

  • Saving time. Completing your tax return independently takes a lot of time and effort. A tax professional could save you as much as 20 hours. You need to spend an hour or two with your tax professional, but they handle the rest.

  • Fewer errors. Erroneous tax returns can be devastating. Errors put you at risk for audit and penalties. When a tax professional prepares your tax filing, their guarantee that they followed tax laws lowers your risk for audit.

Related Article | What Is the FICA Tax Refund?

Tax Planning vs. Tax Preparation

Tax planning and tax preparation sound similar, but there are many differences. You won't get the expertise you need for tax planning from a tax preparation business.

Tax planners may offer tax guidance or help you save money on your taxes. However, tax planning services are not proactive. If you want to minimize your tax liability, you must work year-round to acquire and execute tax planning advice. Some tax saving efforts may be made at tax time, but best results require careful planning throughout the year.

The most common services offered by tax planners include:

  • Tax loss harvesting strategy. If you have taxable investment accounts, you could be on the hook for large liabilities at tax time. Figure out the best tax loss harvesting strategies to use in your investments. Using a tax loss harvesting strategy ensures your investment strategies align with your needs.

  • Managing your tax bracket. Determine how to plan your income to manage your tax bracket. Offsetting certain income helps minimize what you owe on your taxes. Offsetting may include making retirement plan contributions or using other tactics to save for the future and decrease what you owe on your taxes now.

  • Managing charitable contributions. In some cases, donating to charity can minimize how much you owe on your taxes. A tax planner can help you determine if and how charitable contributions benefit you.

The most common services offered by tax preparers include:

  • Filing your tax returns.

  • Ensuring adherence to state and federal tax laws.

  • Managing missed deadlines and the necessary resolution paperwork.

Related Article | Top US Tax Filing Questions Immigrants Ask

Tax Planning Services FAQ

How Much Does a Tax Planner Cost?

A tax planner's cost varies based on what the tax planner provides. You can buy tax planning software (not recommended), use your CPA, or, if you have complex tax reporting issues, hire a tax attorney.

What Does Tax Planning Require?

Tax planning requires consultation with a tax planning professional who understands your situation and helps you minimize the amount you owe on your taxes for personal and business income. You'll work with a professional year-round and provide your income documents, asset documents, and all other financial information, such as your retirement plan contributions and balances and estate plans.

What Are Tax Planning Strategies?

Tax planning strategies help you get your finances in order to reduce how much you pay at tax time. Using tax code, current tax regulations, and your financial information, tax planning determines how to best reduce the amount of income you lawfully report and/or how to best invest or use your money to reduce what you pay at tax time.

Use Tax Planning to Your Advantage

Take advantage of tax planning professionals who help you maximize your bottom line and minimize the amount you pay the government. Work with someone who is used to working with clients like you to get the most out of your service and your financial bottom line.

MYRA provides personal finances for immigrants.

To learn more, Click Here. To get started, Click Here.

Read the full post →

What Is the FICA Tax Refund?

January 11, 2021


Many immigrants don’t owe FICA tax, yet their employer doesn’t realize it until it’s too late. If you paid FICA tax, yet were exempt, you are eligible for a FICA tax refund.

The fastest way to get it is through your employer, but if that’s not possible, the IRS will issue it too. The process is more complicated and lengthier through the IRS, but either way you’ll get your money back.

Related Article | The Finance Dictionary: Learn the jargon your Finance friends speak!

What Is FICA?

The FICA tax is the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax. Everyone with an earned income pays FICA taxes and usually the employer and employee contribute (the employer pays 50 percent of the tax).

In 2020, the FICA tax rate is 15.3 percent, but only 7.65 percent is your responsibility as an employee. If you own your own business, though, you are responsible for both sides (15.3 percent) of the FICA tax.

Employers send the FICA tax payments in either bi-weekly or monthly depending on the pay schedule and report to the IRS quarterly on IRS Form 941, which reconciles FICA tax, ensuring the employer paid in enough to cover each employee’s portion of the tax.

Related Article | What Is FICA Tax?

Who Is Exempt From Paying FICA Taxes?

Some immigrants are exempt from paying FICA taxes including:

  • Non-resident aliens

  • Anyone on an F-1, J-1, M-1, or Q-1 visa

If you’re exempt, yet you don’t tell your employer and provide the proper information, they will deduct FICA taxes from your pay. Once deducted, it’s up to you to ask for a FICA tax refund and provide the necessary documentation to prove why you are eligible for it. 

Is There a FICA Tax Refund?

There is a FICA tax refund for immigrants who are exempt from the tax as well as for anyone required to pay FICA, yet who overpay.

This usually happens if you change employers. Since employers aren’t legally obligated to disclose payment information to one another, any subsequent employers wouldn’t know if you’ve already reached the limit of $137,500, at which point you no longer owe FICA tax.

If you make more than $200,000 an additional Medicare tax is assessed, but only at $200,000.

If you end up paying more FICA tax than necessary because of the job change, you may claim the overpayment on Line 69 of your 1040 tax return. The IRS will refund the difference IF you don’t owe any income tax. If you owe income tax (this year or previous years), the IRS will apply the refund to that amount first, then refund you any difference. 

Related Article | Can I Take The Foreign Tax Credit?

What Happens if Employers Overpay FICA Taxes?

It’s not just employees that may overpay FICA taxes. Mistakes happen and sometimes employers overpay too.

If that’s the case, employers must first reimburse you (the employee). They may then file an adjusted business tax return. If there was an excess payment, the IRS will issue a credit for any future tax obligations.

How Do You Claim a FICA Tax Refund?

If you are exempt from FICA taxes, yet your employer withheld them either out of error or because you didn’t provide adequate information to let them know the type of visa you were on, you are eligible for a FICA tax refund.

Here’s how to claim it:

  • Ask your employer for a refund

  • If your employer already issued your W-2 for the year, ask for a corrected W-2

  • If your employer can’t or won’t refund the taxes, file Form 843, this is a request for a refund from the IRS

If you have to file Form 843, the IRS will contact your employer and ask them to correct their records and issue you a new W-2. Most employers will do what they can to fix the situation with you rather than dealing with the IRS, so starting with the employer is always the best bet. 

Related Article | 10 Employee Benefits You Could Be Eligible For With Your Employer

Is FICA Tax Separate From Income Tax?

FICA tax and income tax aren’t the same. FICA tax is for Social Security and disability income and is only assessed on earned income - income from a job.

Federal income tax is assessed on all income, not just earned income. For example, you earn dividends on a stock, interest on a bank account, or you receive pension income - you pay income tax on all of it. 

Here’s the difference, though. There are no tax deductions on FICA taxes. You pay your portion to pay into the Social Security and Medicare system. There are deductions on federal income taxes. Any deductions you’re eligible for that you itemize on Schedule A or even if you take the standard deduction, lowers your federal income tax obligations, but not your FICA tax obligations.

How to Check Your FICA Tax Refund

You can check the IRS ‘Where’s my Refund’ app to see the status of your FICA tax refund. Keep in mind, these refunds take longer than standard income tax refunds and may take up to 6 months to receive if you have to go through the IRS.

If you get the refund from your employer, you can follow up with them to see the status and ask when you should expect it. 

Related Article | Top US Tax Filing Questions Immigrants Ask

Get Your FICA Tax Refund Started

If you know you aren’t supposed to pay FICA tax or you overpaid and are eligible for a FICA tax refund, process your request right away.

Like we said earlier, start with your employer. This is the fastest and most direct way to get the refund. Your employer can re-file their business taxes and get the tax credit for future obligations, so it will be a wash for them, but the money is owed to you.

If your employer won’t cooperate for some reason, request the refund from the IRS, but know that it could be up to 6 months before you see it. 

MYRA provides personal finances for immigrants.

To learn more, Click Here. To get started, Click Here.

Read the full post →

Ideal Clients

  • Gen X
  • Gen Y/Millennials
  • Graduate Degree
  • Immigrants

Ways Advisor Charges

  • Monthly Fee
  • Quarterly Fee
  • Flat Fee
  • Assets Under Management

Fee Options

  • Monthly Fee: $250+
  • Quarterly Fee: $900+
  • Flat Fee: $3,000+/engagement
  • AUM: 0.3%

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