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Tax Extension

Reasons to File a Tax Extension

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many forward-looking individuals are already thinking about their tax return. Even though federal tax returns are due on April 15, there are a variety of legitimate reasons why individuals may want to file for an extension on their taxes. For those that file an extension, be aware that the deadline for paying their taxes is Oct. 15.

Incomplete Documentation

The IRS requires documentation of all earnings and individuals may not have it. They may have lost their W2 from an employer and be waiting for a copy or the documentation. Though it doesn’t happen often, forms may be lost in the mail. It’s far better to file for an extension and wait for the W2 or other forms. It’s not uncommon for documents such as Form 1099 or Schedule K-1 to be late.

Life Events

Natural disasters, a death in the family, or severe illness are also reasons for filing an extension. Filing taxes is something that requires an individual’s full attention and any of those situations are distractions that aren’t conducive to filing tax returns.

Tax Savings

In some instances, an extension can be a strategic money-saving decision for converting an IRA. Taxpayers can perform a Roth IRA conversion, and while they’ll still have to pay taxes on it, the advantage is that individuals can take tax-free deductions from the IRA in the future. Filing an extension makes good business sense.

Procrastinators

A number of individuals simply run out of time to file due to procrastination. The IRS won’t ask individuals to supply a reason for late filing, but for those that insist on waiting until the last moment, an extension does give them some breathing room.

Fees and Penalties

Even if a taxpayer files an extension on their taxes and doesn’t file by the extension deadline, they’ll still be subject to fees and penalties. The IRS will charge 1½ percent for each month the taxes aren’t paid after the filing deadline has passed. For those that don’t file a return at all by the extension date, the penalty increases to 5 percent per month and can reach a maximum of 25 percent.

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 Accountant

How can a Tax Accountant Help Me?

Approximately 33 percent of all taxpayers prepare their own taxes each year, thanks to online tax preparation software. What you may not know is that you could be leaving money on the table by not consulting with a tax accountant. Tax laws are highly complex and complicated. The following are just some of the ways that a tax accountant can help.

Minimize Audits

The odds of being audited increase the more you make and a tax accountant will considerably reduce the potential. If you make less than $200,000, the chances of being audited is 0.9 percent. That number increases to 3.7 percent if you make over $200,000 and 12.5 percent if your income exceeds $1 million.

Own a Business

If you own a business, are self-employed, or are in partnership, a tax accountant can determine how much you should pay in quarterly taxes. The benefit is that you won’t be faced with a huge tax bill at the end of the year.

Life Changes

Buying a house, getting married, having a child, getting a divorce, or investing in the stock market are all significant events in anyone’s life. A tax account is able to help you take advantage of the available tax breaks and even help you adjust your withholding to accommodate those changes.

Failure to Pay

If for any reason you failed to pay your taxes in the past or owe a balance, a tax accountant is able to help you file appropriately. He/she will also know about IRS programs designed to help people in these situations.

Other Situations

A tax accountant can help in a wide variety of situations, including if you’re anticipating a large capital gains tax, have investments and income from foreign sources, or if you have rental properties. You can utilize a like-kind-exchange to minimize taxes if you’re thinking of selling real estate. A tax accountant can also help you if you’re planning on making a large gift, putting away money for your kids’ college, or creating a trust.

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 records

4 Ways to Organize Tax Records

Documentation is essential for the IRS when filing taxes. Saving receipts and a myriad of tax-related items can seem overwhelming. Without a system for preserving documents, individuals can easily lose track of those important papers. The result is lost money in deductions.

No matter what method people use, it’s important that they choose a system that best fits their needs and more importantly, they’re likely to maintain. No one enjoys the process of saving documents for tax time or sorting through them, but it’s a critical step for income tax returns.

Another option that people are turning to is digital documents. Digital scanners are an excellent way to keep a backup copy of paperwork of all types. It’s a good idea to keep originals, while digital copies provide an important resource in the event of an audit. Digital documents can also be backed up to the cloud. The following are four ways that people can utilize to keep their tax documents organized.

Boxes

It may seem old-fashioned, but a simple box with file folders is still a reliable way to keep track of tax documents. When individuals receive receipts and other important paper documents, simply place them in the correct file folder. However, many people still maintain a box in which they drop documents, pay slips and receipts and just sort them at the end of the year.

Envelopes

Equally effective is using 9×12 manilla envelopes and labeling each envelope for specific categories. Don’t forget to write the tax year the documents are for on the envelope. The envelopes need to be placed in a box or file cabinet to ensure all tax documents are kept together in a single location.

Category

There are deductions for a wide variety of situations. Individuals can organize their documents by categories that include, home, business, military service, and employer, and self-employment for side hustles.

Spreadsheet

Individuals will still need to keep the originals, but a spreadsheet is an easy method to jog a memory at the end of the year and ensure that income and expenditures match the paper documents kept in boxes and envelopes.

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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elder care

Can I Deduct Elder Care on my Tax Return?

An increasing number of individuals are caring for elderly parents and the costs can add up. Many people overlook the deduction when filing their income taxes. There is definitely an elderly care tax credit, but it represents a highly complicated set of rules. Unlike most credits, the individual doesn’t have to qualify as a dependent, but they can be.

Eligible Costs

In 2021, you could claim up to $4,000 in elderly care costs for one individual and up to $8,000 when caring for two people or more. Costs can include medications, medical care, exams, therapy, and mental health support.

Expenses can also encompass meals and household services, along with qualifying long-term care services. Dental care, transportation, recreational activities may also qualify. There are very specific rules governing whether you can claim it.

Who Qualifies?

The person being claimed must have lived with you for at least six months during the year. They must be physically or mentally unable to care for themselves. Only one sibling may claim the deduction, and the parent must be a legal resident, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national, a resident of Canada or Mexico, the Republic of Panama, or the Canal Zone. They’ll also need valid ID and Social Security number.

In-Home Care

Your parent’s gross income must be less than $4,300. You may also claim an elderly care credit if you hire an in-home caregiver. If you plan on claiming the credit, it’s best to consult with a tax accountant to determine if you’re eligible and if specific conditions and costs qualify.

Seniors and Spouses

If you’re a senior residing in an assisted living or long-term care facility, you may be able to claim a variety of deductions. IRS rules are different for individuals claiming the expenses for themselves vs. a child claiming the deductions for a parent. There are also precise rules for spouses. The rules are complicated and will also depend on who is actually paying the costs.

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 accountant

Top Tips for Hiring the Right Tax Accountant

In the digital age, a majority of individuals simply file their taxes through an online service that provides tax software. Others make use of tax preparers that can be found at kiosks located in malls and chain stores. The people that work in retail franchises such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are competent for individuals that are filing a very straight forward tax return.

Individuals often find certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents (EAs) working at those kiosks. EAs are the elite by IRS standards and are allowed to represent clients before the IRS. For those that choose to utilize the experience and knowledge of a tax accountant, there’s some basic information individuals should ascertain before hiring them.

Qualifications

One of the best ways to find a reliable tax accountant is to seek recommendations and referrals from family, friends and business owners. Don’t be reticent about contacting the firm and asking questions. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints may have been filed.

The tax accountant should be willing to provide their qualifications and any areas of specialization. Ask if they’ve ever been involved in an audit, how they handled the situation, and the outcome. Tax accountants can’t accept payment without a preparer tax ID number (PTIN). Make sure the tax accountant has one.

Due Diligence

After the initial interview with a tax accountant, individuals can contact the state’s board of accountancy to discover if they’re licensed, in good standing, and if they’ve had any disciplinary actions taken. It can also be helpful to search their name online.

Red Flags

There are some red flags of which every individual should be aware. If a tax accountant promises a large refund before they’ve even looked at a person’s financial situation, look elsewhere. The same is true if they tell a client they can claim an excessive number of deductions.

Shop Around

Every taxpayer and tax accountant won’t be a good fit for each other. Individuals have the right to shop around, change their mind, or even take their return elsewhere if they desire. If necessary, individuals can always ask for an extension on filing their taxes. No one should trust their finances and tax returns to someone without the proper certifications and experience.

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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small business tax

Common Bookkeeping Mistakes of Small Business Owners

Tax time can be especially stressful for small business owners. They invest a lot of time, money and effort to create a successful enterprise and they want to save as much money in taxes as possible. When it comes to bookkeeping, there are a number of common mistakes that business owners make that can cost them money or land them in trouble with the IRS.

Business owners must maintain communication with their accountants for effective services. If they outsource work or pay a bonus, for example, they need to inform their accountant and provide a receipt. Even the use of petty cash must be handled appropriately, along with categorization of accounts. Paper trails are critical.

Receipts

Business owners know the importance of saving receipts for high ticket expenses, but they often overlook receipts of $75 or less that can provide documentation in the event of an audit. It pays to embrace modern technology for this. Apps are available that enable people to snap a photo with their phone for filing purposes. There are also scanners that will scan receipts and automatically categorize them for retrieval when needed.

Reimbursable Expenses

These are expenses that a business owner may incur on behalf of their clients. That can include phone calls, travel, office expenses, delivery fees, conversion fees, or even lunch with a potential client. The expenses need to be tracked and documented. There are convenient apps for that.

Employees

Classifying employees can be confusing. There are regular employees, independent contractors and consultants, and freelancers in the gig economy. Misclassifying employees and contractors will result in expensive tax penalties and lawsuits.

Reconciliation

The books a business maintains must be reconciled with bank statements. It provides individuals with information about their business health and enables them to plan for things like equipment purchases or expansions. Reconciliation will identify bank errors, if more employees can be added, and how much money is available at any given time. It can be time-consuming and complicated without the assistance of an experienced bookkeeper.

Sales Tax

Failure to collect sales tax, or deduct sales tax, can turn into a nightmare due to the many ways in which business is conducted today – especially e-commerce. A tax professional should be experienced in the rules governing multiple types of commerce.

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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reduce taxable incom

Best Ways to Reduce Taxable Income

There are a number of ways that even the average taxpayer can utilize to reduce their taxable income, thereby mitigating their tax burden. Those methods are also available to lower income earners of less than $100,000 per year. The following are just a few of the ways that people can use to lower their taxable income.

Charitable Donations

Taxpayers will need to itemize deductions to take advantage of the credit if they contribute more than $300 in cash or goods. Those with cash donations of $300 or less can also claim the deduction.

Earned Income Credit

Even individuals that aren’t required to pay taxes may qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC) worth a maximum of $6,660, providing they meet income limits and other criteria. It’s available for single people with no children and married couples with 3 or more children.

Education

Higher education costs can net individuals a $2,500 per person tax credit. Adults that return to school or training can receive a $2,000 credit per year.

Health Care

A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) sets aside a portion of earnings for out-of-pocket health care expenses and the money is untaxable. FSA contributions are limited to $2,750 per year and HSA contributions are capped at $3,600 per individual.

Home Business

Anyone operating a business from their home can claim a deduction for a portion of their home used as their office, equipment and supplies. The deduction can also be beneficial for individuals that have a side-hustle or are working in the gig economy.’

Military

Active military and military reserve personnel can deduct moving costs associated with a change of duty station.

Mortgage Insurance

Premiums to private mortgage insurance companies can be deducted if deductions are itemized.

Retirement Savings

Employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k) and 403(b) can contribute up to $19,500 and people over 50 can make catch-up contributions. The contributions are made before taxes and don’t count toward taxable income. An IRA serves the same purpose for those that are self-employed, though the contribution amounts are different.

Self-Employment

People that are self-employed can deduct 50 percent of the amount paid from income taxes to compensate them for paying the full amount for Social Security and Medicare taxes. Itemizing deductions isn’t required.

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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medical expenses

Deducting Medical Expenses

Everyone wants to lower their tax burden by getting every possible deduction to which they’re entitled and medical expenses is one way to accomplish that. However, individuals must itemize to claim the deduction and much will depend on an individual’s income. Claiming medical expense deductions is beneficial if the amount of the deductions exceeds the standard deduction on income taxes.

What can be Deducted?

The IRS enables taxpayers to deduct unreimbursed medical, dental, vision, and mental health expenses for themselves, a spouse and dependents, up to 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. Those expenses can include diagnostics, mitigation, treatment and cures, along with preventative measures. Individuals can also deduct travel expenses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many individuals with astronomical medical bills. Some private insurance companies have pledged to cover all COVID-19 expenses, while others have not. Taxpayers that rely on Medicaid and Medicare for medical care may have co-pays and spend-downs that they can claim.

There are a great many expenses that taxpayers can deduct if they’re itemizing deductions, up to 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income. They include fees to a wide range of medical and mental health professionals, including surgeons, dentists, chiropractors, psychiatrists and psychologists, and non-traditional medical practitioners.

Wide Range of Deductions

Other expenses include oral and injectable prescription medications, weight loss programs prescribed by a doctor, and in-patient costs for drug, alcohol and nicotine addiction. Nursing home costs, insurance premiums, and medical aids such as crutches, wheelchairs, dentures and even service dogs are all allowable expenses.

The range of medical-related expenses that can be deducted is extensive, but there are also restrictions on what can be claimed. For taxpayers with substantial costs, it can be beneficial to claim those deductions. The best solution for those intending to claim medical expense deductions is engaging the services of a tax professional or certified public accountant (CPA) that has the experience, knowledge and resources to help them get every deduction to which they’re qualified.

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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Stimulus Relief and Taxes

Various stimulus payments during the COVID-19 pandemic have been designed to provide relief for those struggling during job loss and lock downs. The coronavirus has affected every aspect of life, and that includes income taxes.

Payment Delays

The federal government has made three rounds of stimulus payments to individuals, even to those that typically don’t file or aren’t required to file. The distribution of those payments has encountered a number of problems. Individuals may have received one, but not the other payment, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t receive the second and third.

Others received less than the full amount and in many cases, the payments were confiscated for child support and similar court-ordered payments or the full amount wasn’t disbursed. For those individuals, they may be eligible to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit, but to do so they need to file a tax return.

Tax Liability

The good news is that stimulus checks aren’t taxable. Individuals must pay taxes on income, but stimulus checks aren’t really income for tax purposes. It’s classified as an advance payment on a tax credit and a tax credit isn’t taxable either. Pay careful attention to the new tax forms, as they can save taxpayers money if they:

  • Had a baby
  • Were married and one spouse doesn’t have a Social Security number
  • Income dropped in 2020
  • Are a recent college graduate
  • Didn’t receive a full round of stimulus checks
  • Didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return

Delivery Difficulties

The stimulus payments were first made to people that filed tax returns by e-file. Paper checks were then dispersed to those that filed paper copies of their return. It led to delays, shorted amounts, and no check at all, since distribution was based on 2019 and 2020 tax returns. That means individuals will be able to claim the amount they missed as a tax credit on their taxes.

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 professional

5 Reasons a Tax Professional is Better than Online Filing Services

Millions of people across the nation file their taxes each year using popular online software. It’s easy, convenient, and fairly inexpensive. The IRS recommends that individuals use e-file options for their taxes. However, the best solution can be a tax professional. The more complex the tax filing, the more a tax professional makes sense and they can also e-file for clients.

  1. Year-Round Help

Online tax software is only available for a limited time each year and it can’t provide advice on potential tax issues that may arise during the coming year. A tax professional is available to answer questions and concerns at anytime during the year, not just at tax time.

  1. Best Software

Tax professionals have access to better and more sophisticated software than that offered online. An individual’s information can be scanned, entered, and organized quickly and efficiently. The process eliminates manual data entry, significantly reducing the potential for human error.

  1. On Time

Online software depends on individuals buckling down, collecting their information and beginning the task of filing taxes. Fear of a mistake is common among self-filers and it’s exacerbated when the individual happens to be a procrastinator. Provided that individuals get the information to their tax professional in a timely manner, taxes will always be filed on time, thereby eliminating late fees and running afoul of the IRS. Filing via a tax professional may also reduce the potential of an audit.

  1. Business Needs

Complying with new tax laws for operating a business and investments becomes more complicated every year. A tax professional is one of the first to have access to upcoming changes that affect clients’ taxes and livelihood. They have a thorough understanding of tax laws in multiple areas and can guide individuals. Even those with straightforward tax returns will fare better.

  1. Stress

Tax time generates a considerable amount of stress each year and it’s compounded when people try to do their own taxes – even with online software. The changes in tax laws and the COVID-19 pandemic are further confusing requirements. An ordinary tax return can take up to two hours to complete online. A tax professional saves clients time, effort and stress.

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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