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Should I Itimize my Deductions?

When you finally decide it is time to prepare your taxes, the first question is whether you should itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction provided by the IRS.

Tax deductions are a very simple part of a theoretically simple tax reporting system. If you’ve ever prepared your own taxes, you know this simply isn’t true. Complicated tax forms can be a nightmare to fill out. Ever helpful, the IRS gives you an option of just taking a standard deduction instead of itemizing your deductions. So, what should you do?

The standard deduction is the easiest method because it requires no calculations or supporting documentation of any sort. You figure out your adjusted gross income and simply submit the amount for your classification. The amount differs based on whether you are filing as single, married, older than 65 or have kids.

Many people scoff at the mere idea of taking the standard deduction. As with all tax issues, deciding whether to take the standard deduction isn’t so easy. If you have a fairly simple financial life and don’t have many deductions, the standard deduction is almost always the best choice. For instance, if you make $45,000 as an employee of a company, rent a residence and don’t have any major medical bills or losses, the standard deduction is probably going to save you more money than itemizing. Unfortunately, you can never be sure until you take a stab at itemizing your deductions in a rough draft of a tax return.

Itemizing your deductions is exactly what it sounds like. You literally go through your records and categorize every possible deduction. These deductions are then subtracted from your adjusted gross income to get a final figure from which tax is determined using the tax tables. Itemizing is the way to go if you have significant tax deductions or tax credits in your financial life. For instance, you almost always want to itemize if you own a home as mortgage interest can be deducted. Generally, you want to itemize if you own a home, have significant medical bills, can claim a tax credit or suffered some type of major loss. Obviously, there are other situations where itemizing makes sense, but this gives you an idea of the situation.

If you have a simple financial situation, claiming the standard deduction may be the answer. If life is a bit more complicated, itemizing is probably going to save you more on your tax bill.

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 a Certified Management Accountant

A CMA is a Certified Management Accountant.  This is different from a Certified Public Accountant.  A Certified Management Accountant is employed by a business firm or a not-for-profit organization and deal with private accounting.

A CMA can obtain employment by companies, government, and non-for-profit entities.  A CMA can obtain employment as a Bookkeeper, Payroll Clerk, General Accountant, Budget Analyst, Cost Accountant, Internal Auditor, or Information Technology Auditor.  These CMA careers have starting salaries ranging from $28,500 to $72,500, which is much higher than the salary range for CPAs.  

A Bookkeeper does not need to have any certification and therefore does not have to be a CMA.  A Payroll Clerk must have certification called Certified Payroll Professional, or CPP, but does not need to be a CMA.  A general accountant or budget analyst may not be required to be a CMA, but many CMAs begin as a general accountant or budget analyst.  A Cost accountant must be a CMA and be licensed by whatever state agency monitors and regulates accountancy in that state. An Internal auditor must be a CMA and have an additional certification as a certified internal auditor, or CIA.  An Information technology auditor must be a CMA and also have certified information system auditor licensing, or CISA.

The certification program to become a CMA is sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants or IMA.  The CMA certification is proof of competence in management accounting. To receive a CMA certification, you must have a college degree, two years of experience, and pass a two-day session of testing.  

A CMA does not have the versatility of a CPA.  Because a CMA works internally within a firm, the duties given to a CMA are fairly rote, meaning that the CMA does typically the same work each day.  On the other hand, a CPA has as much variety in the type of work and work duties as the variety of his or her clients. It is due to this fact that most accountants choose to obtain a CPA certification and licensing rather than a CMA certification and licensing.

Most CMAs are cost accountants.  A CMA cost accountant enters transactions into accounting records like journals and ledgers.  CMA cost accountants also prepare financial statements. The financial statements that the CMA prepares are vital to the business.  The financial statements that the CMA prepares are used for business decision making, investor decision making, competitive comparison, and searching for industry trends.  A CMA must also attempt to discover and correct any errors in the cost accounting records. This can be done in a number of ways but is always very tedious for the CMA.

A CMA should be found if you are starting a business that will require extensive and accurate bookkeeping and accounting.  You can save a lot of money in your business by hiring a CMA in house rather than using a CPA on a fee for service basis. In this way, you are left free to run your business while someone else worries about the accounting for your business

 

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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