Tag: accounting help

Lost Pet? Don’t Become a Fraud Target

Lost Pet? Don’t Become a Fraud Target

When a pet disappears, owners can become distraught, calling animal shelters, advertising in local papers, posting photos on every telephone pole and fence post all in the hope of hearing news of their lost animal. At such times, pet owners are also more vulnerable to fraud. Consider the following scenarios: The truck passerby: You get a call from a truck…

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How to Defend Your Deductions

How to Defend Your Deductions

When faced with questions on your tax return deductions, it is getting all too common for tax authorities to deny everything and then make you prove that your deductions are valid. Do not let this happen to you. Here are some suggestions. The one-two punch To prove your deduction most auditors are looking for two key documents. Miss one of…

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Investing Basics: Know When to Sell a Stock

Investing Basics: Know When to Sell a Stock

Selling a stock is an important decision – almost as important as the decision to buy. Unfortunately, while the world is full of buy recommendations, there is very little advice on when to sell. Many investors make the mistake of holding onto losing stocks too long. Sometimes they compound this error by selling their winners too soon. The results? A…

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Avoid the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty

Avoid the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty

It is one thing to be taxed on retirement contributions and their related earnings when you withdraw funds from your Traditional IRA, it is quite another when you pay the tax PLUS a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. Need funds prior to retirement and want to avoid the early withdrawal penalty? There are cases when this can be done: Medical…

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Lifestyle Audits. A thing of the past?

Lifestyle Audits. A thing of the past?

The word “audit” is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure. If the IRS agent then tells you they want to see bank accounts and personal records you may need a heart monitor. Should this happen to you, you could be in a process known as a lifestyle audit. Background The lifestyle audit was a tool used by auditor’s to ascertain…

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Financial Basics: Buy the Right Insurance

Financial Basics: Buy the Right Insurance

To keep your insurance costs down, don’t buy insurance to pay for every small medical bill, auto repair, or financial loss. Build a savings account to handle life’s small financial inconveniences. Think of insurance as protection against catastrophes. You can lower your insurance premiums significantly by taking larger deductibles. Also, look for comprehensive insurance, not coverage for one specific event.…

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Six Questions Every Family Business Should Answer

Six Questions Every Family Business Should Answer

Tax and business planning is important for the success of any organization, but especially for the family-owned enterprise. Here are some important questions that owners of family businesses need to address. 1. Do you have a plan? Without a plan, your business has no direction and possibly no future. You can be sure your strong competitors have written plans. Write…

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Cut Taxes With Lifetime Giving

Cut Taxes With Lifetime Giving

If you want certain individuals to receive property from your estate, there may be advantages to making those gifts while you are still alive. Consider these facts about making lifetime gifts: Gifts to spouses. The tax law permits a married individual to make gifts of any amount to a spouse without incurring any gift tax. The value of these gifts is…

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Tax strategies for homeowners

Tax strategies for homeowners

Be aware that important tax consequences are often associated with some fairly common events involving your home. Here are some handy things to know. Home purchase. When purchasing a home, you may pay a portion of the mortgage interest in advance. This loan origination fee, or “points,” is a percentage of the total amount borrowed. If points are paid for…

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Don’t Overlook Valuable Tax Credits

Don’t Overlook Valuable Tax Credits

Tax credits are one of the most powerful ways to lower your income taxes. A tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar. A tax deduction, on the other hand, only reduces your taxable income, so your benefit is determined by your tax bracket. For example, a tax deduction of $1,000 will lower your tax bill by $320 if…

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Outsmart Email Scams in 3 Simple Steps

Outsmart Email Scams in 3 Simple Steps

There’s no doubt you’ve seen an email touting a too-good-to-be-true offer in your inbox every now and then. Random pleas from mysterious people who need your help recovering inheritances they promise to share with you probably makes you shake your head and hit delete.But what do you do when an email says it’s from the IRS and claims you’re about…

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Protect Your Privacy in 5 Simple Steps

Protect Your Privacy in 5 Simple Steps

Do you use a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer to connect with friends and make purchases, as well as share health concerns with your doctor? If so, your privacy may be at risk. Companies called “data brokers” routinely compile information about your habits and preferences, including your favorite brands, recreational pursuits, and credit habits. Data brokers use this information…

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Conquer your financial clutter

Conquer your financial clutter

Financial records are notorious for being messy. Bills, paycheck stubs, tax returns and bank statements have a way of getting tucked into random places. Luckily, there are a few pretty painless ways to organize your important documents.   Put all your financial records in one dedicated spot To ensure that bills are paid on time, bank statements are reconciled and…

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Employee meals: 50 or 100 percent deductible?

Employee meals: 50 or 100 percent deductible?

Everyone loves a free meal – especially employees. However, your business tax return will be affected differently depending on the circumstances of the mealtime experience.   While you can generally deduct only half the cost of meals related to your business activities, the tax code includes specific exceptions that allow a deduction of 100 percent of what you spend on…

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Employer company stock: risky or worth it?

Employer company stock: risky or worth it?

Employees often have too much of their employer’s company stock in their 401(k) or other retirement plan. That’s because employees tend to feel like they know their companies best. Here’s the problem: they may be overlooking the risks of having too much of an investment in any one company.   Here are some of the risks of loading up on…

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Tax planning is good for corporations too

If you own a calendar-year corporation, you can benefit from planning moves you make before December 31.  For example, corporations can accelerate or defer income or deductions to stay within a certain tax bracket.  You’ll also want to look at your corporate alternative minimum tax exposure to determine whether you qualify for an exception to the tax.  Finally, reviewing estimated…

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A Quick Recordkeeping Guide

Is your cabinet overflowing?  Do you hesitate to purge tax information because you’re not sure what to keep and what to discard?  Here’s a quick guide to help you cut through the clutter. Expenses.  Substantiation for deductions includes charitable donation acknowledgments, receipts for employee business expenses, and automobile mileage logs.  Retain these at least seven years after you file the…

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Don’t overlook above-the-line deductions

Even if you don’t itemize deductions on your tax return, you may be entitled to certain “above-the-line” deductions.  These deductions are subtracted from your income to arrive at your adjusted gross income, an important number because it determines your qualification for certain tax credits and various tax breaks.  Above-the-line deductions include such things as IRA contributions, health savings account contributions,…

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Summer job tax tip

If your child has a summer job, consider opening an IRA for him or her.  According to the tax rules, anyone under age 70 1/2 who has earned income can contribute to a traditional IRA.  There’s no age restriction for Roth accounts, though the amount of the contribution phases out at higher income levels.  The advantage of a Roth over…

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Midyear tax planning tip

Take time this summer to examine your investment portfolio for potential tax savings, such as selling stocks that are worth less than you paid to offset your capital gains.  You might also donate appreciated stock that you have held for more than one year to charity and avoid capital gains altogether – plus getting a deduction for the stock’s fair…

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IRS launches new “misclassification initiative”

How you classify your workers – as “independent contractors” or “employees” – matters a great deal to the IRS.  The IRS is aware that employers prefer to treat workers as independent contractors to avoid paying fringe benefits and payroll taxes.  The IRS estimates that 80% of workers who are classified as independent contractors are actually employees.  About 100 new auditors…

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Filing deadline extended in 2016

Next year, taxpayers will get a few extra days to file their 2015 income tax returns.  The District of Columbia will be observing Emancipation Day on April 15, 2016, the usual filing deadline.  Because April 16 and 17 fall on a weekend, the 2016 filing deadline is moved to the next business day which is April 18.  Taxpayers in Maine…

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Public safety heroes law passed

A new law, the “Don’t Tax Our Fallen Public Safety Heroes Act,” was signed on May 22, 2015, to clarify the tax treatment of federal and state benefits for public safety officers killed or injured in the line of duty.  Under the law, such benefits will not be subject to federal income tax.

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Business survey identifies taxes as biggest burden

In a survey of small businesses conducted by the National Small Business Association, 59% of respondents said taxes were more of an administrative burden than a financial one.  Most businesses put payroll taxes at the top of the list of taxes with the greatest administrative burden.  Payroll taxes also outranked other taxes, such as income, property, and sales taxes, as…

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Year-End Tax Strategies for Businesses

YEAR-END TAX STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESSES Gift shares of stock to family members who are in a low tax bracket before declaring a dividend, as part of a larger plan to shift ownership of the business to younger family members. The owners of pass-through entities, such as S corporations and partnerships, have the income taxed on their personal tax returns.  The…

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IRS Impostors Phishing for Personal and Financial Information: Report them immediately

It is important to be aware of pop-ups or emails ‘phishing’ for personal information. They are transmitted electronically and done so very easily. You may even receive a text, SMS message or a personal message through social media platforms. These false requests are daily occurrences and are sent in hopes to lure innocent victims into disclosing personal and/or financial information.…

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