Tag: tax help

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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Sharing Economy Now in IRS Spotlight

Sharing Economy Now in IRS Spotlight

Did you know… 40% of the workers in the Sharing Economy are unaware of their tax responsibilities and over 60% of the service provider companies are not training their new workers on their tax responsibilities. Source: Written statement of Nina E. Olson, National Taxpayer Advocate given at the Hearing on “The Sharing Economy” to the Committee on Small Business, U.S.…

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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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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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The Alternative Minimum Tax: Will it affect you?

The Alternative Minimum Tax: Will it affect you?

In your tax planning, don’t overlook how your tax-saving strategies might be impacted by the alternative minimum tax. What is the alternative minimum tax? Enacted back in 1969, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a separate income tax calculation that was designed to make sure that high-income taxpayers pay a minimum amount of taxes, even if they have sufficient deductions…

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Amended Returns: What You Should Know

Amended Returns: What You Should Know

Out of sight, out of mind. When it comes to old tax returns,that’s an approach many people like to follow. But before you completely forget about your old tax forms, you may wish to consider filing an amended return. Why file an amended return? If you made a mistake on a prior-year tax return, an amended return is the way…

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Use financial information to increase your business profits

Use financial information to increase your business profits

Most successful business managers use financial statements and other special reports to generate higher profits. If you haven’t been using all the financial tools available to you, here are some ideas to get you started. There is no need to feel intimidated by financial statements. If your company’s record system is properly designed, you should be getting regular financial reports…

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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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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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4 smart ways to cut business costs

4 smart ways to cut business costs

Keeping costs under control is crucial in today’s challenging business environment. Without a doubt, one of the quickest ways for a business to cut costs is through staff reduction. But cutting jobs is not always the best cost-cutting strategy. Drastic job cuts can lead to a vicious cycle of reduced productivity, followed by even slower growth and decreased profitability. Replacing…

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Your Receipts are Important: Save Them!

Your Receipts are Important: Save Them!

When it comes to taking qualified deductions on your federal tax return, three things must happen: Recognize that an expense might be deductible on your tax return. Keep a record of the expense in an organized fashion. Obtain the proper (and timely) documentation to support your deduction.   This might be obvious to most people, but here are some typical…

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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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Not all “income” is taxable

There are several sources of revenue that are not subject to income tax. Here are the most common sources of money that are not taxed on your federal income tax return: Borrowed money such as from banks or personal loans. Money received as a gift or inheritance from family or friends. Money paid on your behalf directly to a school…

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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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