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Advantages of Completing your Taxes Early

Tax time is stressful, even if you’re going to receive a refund. The anxiety that accompanies filing yearly income taxes leads many to wait until the last minute to even begin gathering the records they need. There are actually a number of benefits to conquering the fear and filing your taxes early.

Quicker Refunds

Filing as soon as possible means you’re going to receive any refund faster. That’s especially true if you file electronically. There’s a significant difference in the time it takes to process a paper return than one that’s e-filed. Filing early also increases the accuracy of your return.

Extra Time to Pay

If you do owe money to the IRS, finding out early gives you extra time to pay them. You can submit your tax return early, but you don’t have to have the money to the IRS until the filing deadline in mid-April.

Information for Planning

If you have kids that will be attending college and they rely on your income to apply for financial aid, filing early gives you that crucial data. Tax return information is also utilized for other purposes such as financial pre-approval for purchasing a home.

Avoid Extensions and Interest

You may very well need the services of a tax professional to file your taxes if you wait until the deadline is near. The closer it is to the filing deadline, the more difficult it will be to schedule an appointment with a tax preparer.

You may also need to file an extension if you wait. Doing so will give you additional time to plan on how to pay the IRS what you owe. However, if the amount isn’t paid in full, the IRS can charge you interest and penalties until the balance is fully paid off.

Identity Theft

Scammers file billions in fraudulent tax returns every year, robbing people of the refunds to which they’re entitled. Filing early helps prevent someone from submitting a tax return in your name and getting your refund.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Ways to Cut your Tax Bill

Everyone wants to cut their tax bill and reduce their taxes. There are ways to accomplish those goals of which you may not be aware. The following are just some of the ways that you can cut your tax bill.

401k

The IRS doesn’t tax contributions to an IRA, making them an ideal way to reduce taxable income. Up to $19, 500 can be placed in an IRA and people 50 and over can add an extra $6,500 to that amount.

Education

You can establish an educational savings fund and deduct your contributions on your federal tax return. Contributing to the state’s 529 prepaid tuition or educational savings plan may also be deductible on state taxes. Be aware that the gift tax may apply if it exceeds $15,000 to a single beneficiary.

FSA

A flexible spending account for medical and dental expenses can aid in lowering your tax bill. There’s a limit of $2,750 in contributions. If you have a dependent care FSA account for child care expenses, the IRS will exclude contributions of up to $5,000. It may also cover eldercare expenses. Check with a tax professional to be sure.

HSA

Contributing to a health savings account can be beneficial if you have a high-deductible insurance plan. The plan parameters change each year and not everyone may qualify for the deduction, but they also have investment potential. It’s not a good option for everyone, so check with a tax professional first.

IRAs

There are standard/traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. You might be limited on how much you can contribute or unable to deduct contributions under certain circumstances, depending upon which type you have. It’s best to discuss the situation with a tax professional or accountant.

Tax Calculators

There are numerous types of tax calculators that can help you save. There are calculators to estimate your taxes and refund to more complex calculators for determining capital gain taxes. Knowing where you stand financially is an effective tool for managing your finances and reducing tax liability.

W4s

Your W4s tells your employer how much to deduct from your check each week. If you had to pay in a sizable amount last year, increase your withholdings. The opposite is true if you got a large refund the previous year. You can change the withholdings on your W4 any time you want.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Keeping your Business up to Date with Tax Laws

Tax laws change quickly and often with very little warning. It can seem like an impossibility to keep track of all the changes and utilize them to your business advantage. You have three choices when preparing your taxes – do them yourself, use tax preparation software, or have a professional do them.

No matter which option you choose, changes in tax laws will ultimately affect your business in some way. It’s much better to engage the services of a professional accountant than be surprised at tax time. It’s an accountant’s business to know about changes, inform clients, and help them develop a strategy to minimize tax liability.

Your business will need to remain legally compliant with all state laws – which will depend on where you live – along with federal tax laws. There will be different requirements, depending upon your business structure and you’ll need to ensure all certificates, licenses, and permits are current.

As a small business owner, you’ll be subject to a variety of different taxes unless you’re in a partnership – in which case you’ll be required to file an information return. You’ll be required to pay self-employment taxes and employment taxes on employees. Sole proprietors, S corporation shareholders, and partners will pay estimated taxes and you’ll need to have withheld a sufficient amount to meet tax liabilities.

There are also excise taxes, which can often seem very vague but cut across multiple industries. You’ll be liable for these if you operate certain types of businesses, sell specific products, offer certain types of services, or use specific types of equipment, facilities or products. Some classic examples are alcohol, fuel and tobacco, but the list is extensive.

Of special interest for business owners are changes for net operating losses, first-year depreciation, pass-throughs that include sole proprietorships, S corporations, and LLCs, and those that have significant operations overseas. Many individuals outsource their marketing and other functions when applicable through the gig economy and accounting for that can be a headache for you and the person that provided the services.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Tax Penalties you Need to Avoid

It doesn’t matter whether it’s time to pay your personal taxes or your business taxes, it’s easy to run afoul of the IRS. There are some common types of tax penalties that you may incur if you don’t stay focused. The following are the most common tax penalties you need to avoid.

Bad Checks

If you write a check to pay your taxes and the funds aren’t available when the IRS tries to withdraw the money, you can be penalized a set amount or the full amount of the check you wrote.

Charitable Contributions

Anyone caught operating for-profit activities while claiming the endeavor as a charitable organization will face considerable penalties. Non-profits that are caught operating for-profit activities can lose their tax exempt status.

Failure to File

There are some taxpayers that aren’t required to file a return, but if you do have to file, you need to do so by a specific date or file for an extension. An extension gives you six more months to file, but won’t absolve you from the need to pay any taxes owed by the usual deadline.

Failure to Pay

When you owe taxes to the IRS, you have 21 days to pay the entire amount. If you don’t, the IRS will charge you ½ of 1 percent per month on the amount you owe.

Fraud

Fraud occurs when you don’t report all your income or inflate the number of deductions you have to lower your taxes. The IRS can penalize you by 75 percent of what you actually owe and/or have you jailed. The IRS receives a copy of your earnings every year, just as you do.

Late Payments

If you fail to pay a balance owed the IRS by the filing deadline, there will be financial penalties that will be added to what you already owe. Those penalties accrue compound interest each month that they go unpaid.

Social Security Number

You have to provide a Social Security number for yourself, spouse, and anyone you claim as a dependent. You must disclose those numbers or face penalties for each instance of non-compliance.

Underpayment

For individuals that estimate their tax burden, you’ll incur a fine if you fail to pay the entire amount. There is also a fine for underestimating what you owe. The fine will be added to the amount you owe the next time you’re required to file.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Common Practices to Reduce Your Tax Liability

At tax time, everyone is looking for ways to reduce their tax liability and keep more of their hard-earned income. It’s possible to reduce your liability without having your return red-flagged by the IRS. The following are just some of the common ways to do so.

Business Expenses

If you own a small business, always hire a professional to do your taxes. There are a variety of deductions you may be eligible to take, but may not take advantage of for fear of triggering an audit. A professional tax preparer will be cognizant of the types of expenses that you can claim and the documentation you’ll need.

Charity

Charitable donations can be written off if they exceed your standard deduction and you itemize your taxes. You’ll need receipts to prove the contribution and they should be realistic.

College

You can contribute to a 529 account for yourself or grandchildren, nieces and nephews. You can’t deduct a 529 on federal taxes, but it can provide savings on state tax returns, depending upon the state in which you live. You can also deduct $2,000 in educational expenses through the Lifetime Learning Credit, even if you aren’t working toward a degree and your income isn’t too high.

Health Insurance

The federal government will no longer penalize you financially for not having insurance, but many states have initiated their own fines in the form of a tax for not having a qualifying healthcare plan. The rules vary on what a qualifying health plan means, so it’s best to consult with a professional and get covered.

Retirement Funds

Contribute as much as you can to an IRA or 401k account. You can contribute $6,000 to an IRA or $19,000 to a 401k. Additional amounts can be contributed if you’re over 50.

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

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Are You Ready For Tax Day?

Because deadlines are strict, and penalties will be given to late tax payments, you should make sure that you do not put off your “tax day.”  You should definitely start preparing your income tax return well before April 15. Whether you are doing your own income tax return or you are getting the help of a certified public accountant or firm to prepare your income tax return, you should get a few things together before you begin or meet with the CPA.

The main thing you will need for your income tax return is proof of the income you made and the taxes you paid in the previous year.  That includes income made through employers, interest from accounts, dividends from investments, income made through self-employment, income made as a subcontractor, and any other income.  Student loans and other types of loans may also be considered income for the purposes of income tax, as can winnings from a lottery, casino, or other contest. If you are unsure about what can be considered as income for tax purposes, you should contact a certified public accountant.

The other thing that is important is social security numbers for everyone you will claim on your income tax return.  That includes social security numbers for your spouse and any children you will claim. Without social security numbers, proof of residence, and birth dates, you cannot claim deductions on your income tax return for these individuals.

The next thing that you should gather is what you will need for deductions.  If you have a mortgage, your interest paid to the mortgage company may be tax-deductible.  If you use a vehicle for business purposes, you can claim a tax deduction for mileage. If you have children in daycare so that you can work, you can claim a tax deduction for that expense.  You can also claim tax deductions for excessive medical expenses and charitable contributions.  

If you are self-employed, you will need to also gather your receipts for tax-deductible expenses.  A tax-deductible business expense is any expense that is used solely or primarily for the business you are involved in.  The tax-deductible expense must be documented in order to claim it, so any receipts you have, usage logs for computers and vehicles, etc. should be gathered so that you can take the highest deduction possible.  If you have any doubts about what is tax-deductible for your business, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax preparation.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary tax documents, you must determine which tax forms you need to file.  If you are an individual with a few tax-deductible items, you can file a simple tax return. However, if you are self-employed you must also file a tax form called Schedule C.  If you have a lot of tax-deductible items, you will want to file a more complex tax return to itemize your tax deductions. If you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax return preparation.

Tax Day can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be.  Gather all of your required tax documents as early as possible, and don’t put off the inevitable.  Contact a certified public accountant as soon as you can if you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, or what tax deductions you can take.  And, most importantly, don’t panic on tax day!

 

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

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All About Tax Planning

Tax planning is very important if you want to make sure that your income tax return is filed quickly, effectively, accurately, and painlessly.  Through careful tax planning, you can have everything you need to file your income tax return at your fingertips whenever you are ready to file.  Tax planning is also helpful in the case that your income tax return is brought up for audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

Tax planning is essentially tracking your income tax-deductible items as they come up, and keeping records organized and handy in case they are needed.  The most important tool for tax planning is a small filing cabinet. You can use this filing cabinet to file your tax planning documents and receipts, as well as keep track of previous tax returns filed and other important documents such as birth certificates and social security cards.  The file cabinet you get to use for your tax planning should be fireproof and have a lock. That way your tax planning documents are safe in almost any disaster and other people cannot easily gain access to your tax planning and other important documents.

Part of tax planning is making sure that you are aware of what expenses are tax-deductible.  You cannot engage in tax planning and track tax-deductible expenses if you don’t know what you should be tracking!  The Internal Revenue Service offers many publications on this subject. However, if you have any questions about income tax-deductible items you should contact a qualified, certified, and licensed tax professional.

Once you know what tax-deductible expenses you will need to track for the coming tax year, you need to set up a tax planning record-keeping system.  This can be a simple receipt book, expanding file, index cards, envelopes, or any other method that makes sense to you. Keep in mind, however, as you engage in tax planning, that your tax planning record keeping system should not only make sense to you but also make sense to your income tax preparer and the Internal Revenue Service if necessary.

At the end of each month, you can add up the totals for the different types of income tax-deductible expenses you recorded in your tax planning records for that month.  This way, all you have to do to discover your tax-deductible amount is add up the totals for each month. The other records you collect and track through your tax planning are simply for proof that you can claim these income tax deductions, and are not really needed for preparing your income tax return if you have all of your totals in order.

On the surface, income tax planning may seem complicated and difficult.  But with proper organization, tax planning is really quite easy. Not only that, but when you engage in income tax planning, you better your chances for that larger income tax refund that you need and deserve.  If you have any questions about tax planning, you should contact a tax planning professional tax accountant today!

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

CONTACT US TODAY

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All About Tax Deductions

Income tax time can be a dreadful season if you are not aware of all of the income tax breaks you can get through income tax deductions.  It is important to understand what is tax-deductible so that you can get as large of a tax refund as possible.

Probably the most well-known income tax deduction is the Earned Income Credit.  The earned income tax credit is available to those who make a minimum amount of money and can file tax as single, married, or head of household.  The more money you made, the more your earned income tax credit is until you hit the peak, which is around $30,000. Once you hit that peak, the earned income tax credit goes down until you reach the maximum income allowed to receive the earned income tax credit.

The second well-known income tax deduction is the Child Tax Credit.  The child tax credit is available to you if you have two or more children in the home for more than six months out of the year for which you are filing tax, and if you have a tax liability.  Through the child tax credit, you receive around $1000 per child. This total amount is then applied to your tax liability, and any amount of child tax credit left over is made a part of your income tax refund.

Another income tax deduction is for child daycare when the child daycare is needed in order for one or both parents to work outside the home.  This daycare income tax credit is equal to a percentage, up to a maximum amount, of the actual daycare expenses paid for that tax year.  

Other expenses can also be tax-deductible.  Interest paid on a mortgage for the primary residence can be claimed as an income tax deduction.  Medical expenses can also be claimed as an income tax deduction, although this is not very helpful unless you have an excessive amount of medical expenses to deduct on your income tax return.  Tax paid to another state can be used as an income tax deduction in the state that you live in. Donations and contributions to charities, fundraisers, churches, etc. can also be tax-deductible.  

If you are self-employed, you can also claim business expenses as income tax deductions.  This includes any expenses directly related to running your business. You can take a mileage income tax deduction for any miles you put on your vehicle for business purposes.  You can also take an income tax deduction for your office space in your home if it is used only for business purposes in the form of a portion of your rent, utilities, and phone bills.  You can also take an income tax deduction for your personal computer, printer supplies, and other office supplies as long as you have the receipts for the tax-deductible expenses, and usage logs for the personal computer and other equipment to show that it is used primarily for business.

As you can see, there are many income tax deductions available to you.  If you have any questions about what is tax-deductible, you should contact a qualified, certified, licensed tax accountant today.

 

At Peavy and Associates PC our mission is to assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

CONTACT US TODAY

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Understanding the In’s and Out’s of GAAP

While many businesses assume that accountants are bound by generally accepted accounting practices and that these are inviolate, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything is subject to interpretation, and GAAP is no different. For one thing, GAAP themselves permit alternative accounting methods to be used for certain expenses and for revenue in certain specialized types of businesses. For another, GAAP methods require that decisions be made about the timing for recording revenue and expenses, or they require that key factors be quantified. Deciding on the timing of revenue and expenses and putting definite values on these factors require judgments, estimates and interpretations.

The mission of GAAP over the years has been to standardize accounting methods in order to bring about uniformity across all businesses. But alternative methods are still permitted for certain basic business expenses. No tests are required to determine whether one method is more preferable than another. A business is free to select whichever method it wants. But it must choose which cost of good sold expense method to use and which depreciation expense method to use.

For other expenses and for sales revenue, one general accounting method has been established; there are no alternative methods. However, a business has a fair amount of latitude in actually implementing the methods. One business applies the accounting methods in a conservative manner, and another business applies the methods in a more liberal manner. The end result is more diversity between businesses in their profit measure and financial statements than one might expect, considering that GAAP have been evolving since 1930.

The pronouncement on GAAP prepared by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is now more than 1000 pages long. And that doesn’t even include the rules and regulations issued by the federal regulatory agency that jurisdiction over the financial reporting and accounting methods of publicly owned businesses – the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

Contact Us Today

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tax day preparation

Preparing for Tax Day…Are you ready?

Due to tax day deadlines being strict, and the penalties given for late tax payments, you should always make certain you’re prepared before (and for) “tax day.” You should start preparing your income tax return well before April 15th. Whether you are doing your own income tax return or you are getting the help of a certified public accountant or firm to prepare your income tax return, you should get a few things together before you begin or meet with the CPA.

The main thing you will need for your income tax return is proof of the income you made and the taxes you paid in the previous year. That includes income made through employers, interest from accounts, dividends from investments, income made through self-employment, income made as a subcontractor, and any other income. Student loans and other types of loans may also be considered income for the purposes of income tax, as can winnings from a lottery, casino, or other contest. If you are unsure what can be considered as income for tax purposes, you should contact a certified public accountant.

The other thing that is important is social security numbers for everyone you will claim on your income tax return. That includes social security numbers for your spouse and any children you will claim. Without social security numbers, proof of residence, and birth dates, you cannot claim deductions on your income tax return for these individuals.

The next thing that you should gather is what you will need for deductions. If you have a mortgage, your interest paid to the mortgage company may be tax deductible. If you use a vehicle for business purposes, you can claim a tax deduction for mileage. If you have children in daycare so that you can work, you can claim a tax deduction for that expense. You can also claim tax deductions for excessive medical expenses and charitable contributions.

If you are self-employed, you will need to also gather your receipts for tax deductible expenses. A tax deductible business expense is any expense that is used solely or primarily for the business you are involved in. The tax deductible expense must be documented in order to claim it, so any receipts you have, usage logs for computers and vehicles, etc. should be gathered so that you can take the highest deduction possible. If you have any doubts about what is tax deductible for your business, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax preparation.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary tax documents, you must determine which tax forms you need to file. If you are an individual with few tax deductible items, you can file a simple tax return. However, if you are self-employed you must also file a tax form called Schedule C. If you have a lot of tax deductible items, you will want to file a more complex tax return to itemize your tax deductions. If you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, you should contact a certified public accountant to assist you in your income tax return preparation.

Tax day can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Gather all of your required tax documents as early as possible, and don’t put off the inevitable. Contact a certified public accountant as soon as you can if you are unsure what tax forms you need to file, or what tax deductions you can take. And, most importantly, don’t panic on tax day!

 

At Peavy and Associates, PC we can assist you with all your tax preparations, payroll and accounting needs.  We provide our clients with professional, personalized accounting services and guidance in a wide range of financial and business needs. Give us a call today and discover why our clients return to Peavy and Associates, PC year after year!

 

Contact Us Today

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