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tax preparation Conway

Do Single People Pay Fewer Taxes Than Married Couples?

The answer is no. In fact, the opposite is true. Single people are taxed at a higher rate than a married couple that file jointly. It’s essentially a penalty for being single. It’s not just something that affects people who are single by choice – it also impacts individuals who are divorced or lose a spouse through death.

Singles pay more over their lifetime in taxes, receive less in Social Security benefits than their married counterparts, and don’t have the luxury of two incomes to pay for life’s necessities or to create a retirement fund. The inequality affects women more than men.

The state of your finances is your responsibility. Diligence in managing, planning and saving for your future is critical at every stage of your life. You’ll need to factor in your Social Security benefits, pensions and other sources of income for retirement.

Don’t let a spouse or partner control your finances without your input. Enlist a financial advisor or accountant to help you identify tax strategies and other means of maximizing your money.

Single people are charged a higher rate on their income taxes than married couples. Child-focused policies are written in favor of married couples and don’t consider single parents. The tax structure in the U.S. also favors couples at upper income levels.

High-income couples have access to shelters, credits and deductions that singles and lower-income people don’t. Tax laws are written with the traditional nuclear family in mind and don’t account for modern family units and living arrangements.

The more people make, the more they’re taxed as they enter higher tax brackets. Couples receive the same amount of tax breaks for both people, even if only one person is working. That’s not true for single people The current system is designed in such a way that a married couple pays less in taxes than 2 unmarried people filing individually.

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 Grants Tax-Free?

A wide variety of grants are available for education, research, business, municipal, and even home projects. Whether the funds are taxable or not will depend on the type of grant received and the purpose for which its intended.

The funds may be distributed under the auspices of a grant, emergency relief funds, a stipend or a variety of other names. It can be a one-time payment or made through recurring payments. A grant can be in the form of cash, supplies or equipment.

Education

Grants and scholarships are not taxable, providing the money is used for study or research for a degree. The funds must be spent at an eligible educational institution.

Business

Grants for business purposes are taxed by the IRS as income, regardless of its source. Depending upon the state in which the business is located, owners may also be required to report grant funds as income on their state income tax returns. Some grants are only allowed to be used for very specific purposes.

Home

Programs are available for projects ranging from home repairs for low-income families to those for installing eco-friendly solutions that protect and preserve natural resources.

Reporting

A schedule C should be completed for grant money. The benefit of claiming it as income is that it will usually be taxed at no more than 30 to 40 percent on federal or state income tax returns. Even if a state says the grant is tax-free, it will still be subject to federal taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes.

In some instances, recipients must prove what the grant was spent on or what was purchased. No matter how it’s distributed, the source, its intended purpose, or if it’s in the form of cash, equipment or supplies, recipients are better off financially if they report it as income. It will be considered revenue by the IRS.

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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What is Capital Gains Tax?

There’s some confusion for some about what the capital gains tax is, especially if they’ve sold an asset or they’re new to trading. It’s a tax that’s levied on the profit an individual makes when they sell an asset or investment. The asset can range from real estate to stocks and bonds. The amount of tax is determined by how much the asset has appreciated in value during the time it was held by the owner.

The rate of tax is also dependent on the filer’s income bracket. The tax can range from 0% to 15% or 20%. A long-term capital gains tax is assessed if an individual has owned the asset for a year or more. Short-term capital gains taxes will apply if the investment has been owned for less than a year and will be taxed according to the individual’s normal tax rate.

Unrealized capital gains refer to unsold investments. It doesn’t matter how much in assets an individual has, how long they’re held, or how much they’ve increased in value. Purchasing or investing in an asset and keeping it over the long term is a way of building wealth that can be passed on to heirs.

Maximizing profitability and minimizing capital gain taxes requires careful, well-though out strategies. For tax purposes, a purchased asset is typically treated the same as if was a salary or wages. The same is true of dividends derived from an asset.

An increasing number of people are using software applications to trade online. The thrill of buying and selling can override any benefits if they’re not aware of the capital gains taxes they’ll have to pay or if they don’t understand IRS laws.

However, taxable gains can be offset by capital losses. A maximum tax of $3,000 per year is levied on net losses. Leftover losses can be carried forward into following tax years.

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 preparation

Why do the Wealthy Pay Fewer Taxes?

The Office of Management and Budget reports that between 2010 and 2018, the wealthy paid an average of 8.2 percent of their income from their wealth, and a large part of their wealth went untaxed. There are 22 different tax brackets in 2022, with the highest rate at 37 percent, making the taxation system confusing at best.

That estimate is at odds with millionaire Warren Buffett’s statement in 2013, who famously said he pays lower taxes than his secretary. The wealthy pay less in taxes for multiple reasons. The first is that their income is derived from dividends, stocks, and capital gains from investments, rather than wages, that are taxed at a lower rate of 20 percent.

Additionally, a tax code feature called “stepped up basis,” says gains on an asset is never subject to income tax if an asset isn’t sold during the owner’s lifetime. That continues when the wealthy pass it on to their heirs.

That means that a significant amount of the wealthy’s income will never appear on their income tax return. A study by the White House in Sept. 2021 showed that the wealthy paid an average of 8.2 percent in actual taxes, while the typical middle-class family paid 13.3 percent.

Taxes are just one component of a highly complicated and complex tax code that enables the ultra-rich to pay a small fraction of taxes on their actual wealth. They use legal loopholes that includes depreciation, hiring their children, deducting business expenses, and rolling forward business losses.

Other legal methods of avoiding income taxes are deducting interest payments on debt, claiming investment losses, and like-kind exchanges of property. The wealthy also claim a deduction when they transfer money to their own philanthropic foundations.

For millions of Americans, the avenues used by the wealthy aren’t available to the average taxpayer. It’s also interesting to note that in the 1950s and 1960s, the federal income tax rate was 91 percent for the wealthy, down from 94 percent in 1944-1945. The tax rate for the wealthy has steadily been decreasing since then.

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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How is Mortgage Tax Calculated?

Not to be confused with interest rates on a mortgage or ongoing property taxes to be paid each year, a mortgage recording tax is used to document a loan transaction. It’s a fee that’s paid when someone takes out a mortgage. There are currently eight states that charge a mortgage tax and one of those is Florida. Numerous lending institutions offer online mortgage tax calculators that perform the financial calculations.

Individuals can do the math themselves by taking the total amount being borrowed and dividing it by 100. Then round up that number to the nearest whole number. Local laws may allow for a deduction to reduce the amount.

Florida residents pay 35 cents per $100, based on the amount of debt being incurred on the mortgage. However, that amount can vary among counties and a surtax may also apply. It’s customary for the seller to pay the tax, though that isn’t a mandate. The real estate agent is responsible for securing a check for the amount before the deed is recorded.

Failure to pay the amount promptly can result in the state assessing a monthly penalty fee. A floating interest rate may also be placed on any unpaid document. Parties exempt from the tax include state and federal government agencies, political subdivisions, and Florida counties and municipalities. When an entity is exempt from the tax, the other party must pay it.

Many types of deeds require this documentation, including warranty and quit claim deeds, easements, and contracts for mineral, timber, gas and oil rights. A mortgage tax is also collected if an individual refinances. However, a mortgage reassignment can transfer the original mortgage tax to the new lender. Not all lending institutions will do this, but if the lender agrees to do so, it can save individuals a significant amount of money.

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 Extension

What to Know About Filing an Extension

One of the biggest misconceptions about filing an extension on federal tax returns is that it means individuals don’t have to pay any amount owed on time. An extension gives people more time to file, but not more time to pay.

Individuals can file an extension on their federal taxes, but it has to be done before the last day for filing the taxes. An extension provides taxpayers with additional months to prepare and file their return for any reason. The IRS automatically grants a request for an extension, but the proper forms must be filed and the extension is valid until Oct. 15. The extension can be filed electronically.

Taxpayers are expected to pay the full amount they owe by the tax deadline, even if they file an extension. The IRS assesses a penalty for late payments, usually 0.5 percent per month of the balance that’s due, but failing to pay can increase that penalty to a maximum of 25 percent.

There are 3 primary reasons that individuals file an extension. The first is missing or inaccurate information. Many people find that they haven’t received a form they need in time to file.

The second most common reason for an extension is that a taxpayer will be out of town during tax season. Many people from northern states winter in the south, while others choose to vacation during spring break. If they anticipate a refund, they often file an extension.

Lastly, people run out of time. Filing federal taxes can be stressful, leading to procrastination. Despite taxes being due on or near the same date every year, some individuals lose track of time, simply get busy, or find themselves dealing with a major life event.

For those that don’t have the money to pay their tax bill in full, the IRS offers some payment plans. Individuals will still have to pay their tax bill, along with any applicable penalties and interest, but at a lower rate. Installment agreements are also available, in which individuals pay a set amount each month. The IRS advises individuals pay their tax burden with a credit card or take out a loan to save money.

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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Adjusting Your W-4

There are some very good reasons to adjust your withholdings on your W-4. The form tells your employer how much money to keep out of your check for federal income tax. It will have an effect on your tax liability and prevent you from receiving an unexpected tax bill when filing your federal return.

Your W-4 is also critical for preventing a penalty for underpayment. Some people choose to claim every possible withholding, essentially living on less throughout the year to obtain a large refund at tax time. The IRS wants you to reduce your tax bill and have a refund that’s as close to zero as possible.

Life Events

Any time that your life circumstances change, you should complete a new W-4 with your employer. That includes a marriage, divorce or the birth or adoption of a child. Major life events also include buying a house, getting a raise, and contributing to educational funds. Some of those changes will make you eligible for credits on your federal tax return.

Part-Time Employment

If you normally work all year, but get laid off or experience downtime, you’ll need to adjust your withholding to account for those changing circumstances.

Second Job

It doesn’t matter whether you get a part-time job, work the gig economy, run a side hustle, or have a home business, you’ll need to adjust your withholding. There are a great many types of income producing ventures that are viewed as self-employment by the IRS, which makes you liable for income tax on the amount, along with the self-employment tax, Social Security and Medicare.

Spousal Employment

If your spouse gets a new job or changes jobs, they’ll also have to complete a W-4. Any change in income – an increase or a decrease – will have an impact on your income and amount of taxes you owe. Couples need to use both incomes and approximate as closely as possible what they need to claim on their W-4.

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

Can You Get Tax Help for Free?

There are dozens of reasons why you need assistance with your taxes, especially if you’re doing them yourself. If you’re one of the millions that prepare their own taxes online, the services offer help in the form of popup windows, but those can be even more confusing and you may want to speak with a real person that’s knowledgeable about your particular circumstances.

You should bear in mind that the IRS was overwhelmed with calls in 2020 and again in 2021. People waited for hours on the phone to have their questions answered. That situation is likely to continue in 2022 and beyond.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

VITA can be found online. You enter your zip code and the distance within which you want to find a volunteer. If you don’t find someone within your search criteria, keep expanding the distance. The online search will provide you with the name of the agency, it’s location and directions for contacting it. VITA help is available at a variety of locations ranging from colleges to community centers.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

To qualify for TCE, you must meet certain criteria. You’ll need to be a senior citizen, disabled, earn moderate or less income, or not be able to speak English very well.

IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center

These are IRS offices where you can search for a location where you can make an appointment to speak with an IRS representative. However, these sites can be 50 miles or more away from your location.

Taxpayer Advocate Center

The service is an independent organization within the IRS. It can be a good resource for those with a financial hardship due to a tax situation, levy or lien.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program

Operated by the AARP for over 50 years, its focus is on those age 50 and older with a low to moderate income, though technically they offer help to any taxpayer.

MilTax Program

This is for current military personnel, a spouse or dependent child of someone in the military, or those who have served in the past. The organization offers help over the phone 24/7 and appointments can also be scheduled for MilTAX at a VITA office.

Local Services

Each year libraries and community centers in almost every town offers services provided by volunteers to help individuals with their tax-related questions. Some offer tax preparation seminars and workshops.

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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accountant conway south carolina

What is the Penalty for Not Paying Taxes?

Individuals that don’t pay their taxes in full by the deadline of April 15 each year are subject to a monetary penalty. The IRS can charge up to 6 percent interest on the unpaid balance and may choose to add a late payment penalty of 0.5 to 25 percent. Individuals that don’t pay their taxes are digging themselves a financial hole that can be almost impossible to escape.

Notices about the unpaid balance will begin to arrive and the letters will take on a more severe tone the longer a taxpayer ignores them. The IRS may place a tax lien against any property and financial assets that the person owns. The IRS will then be entitled to some or all of the money if an asset is sold.

Even if the actions aren’t reported on the taxpayer’s credit report, liens are part of public records. It can affect the person’s ability to maintain security clearance, obtain employment, a credit card or loan. Filing bankruptcy is no guarantee that the lien or tax bill will be dismissed.

The account may be sent to a collection agency for recovery. For those that owe tens of thousands of dollars or more, an individual could receive a visit from a revenue officer. During this time, the IRS may begin seizing assets.

The law says the IRS can take the taxpayer’s vehicle to sell at auction, 401(k) accounts, IRAs and homes. The State Department may get involved and can refuse to renew or issue a passport or revoke an existing passport.

However, what many don’t know is that the IRS generally won’t pursue individuals for unpaid taxes after 10 years, but they might, due to the 10 Year Statute of Limitations. The IRS doesn’t consider it in their best interests or cost effective to continue trying to collect and will wipe it clean from their books. It’s a complicated process that can be temporarily suspended under circumstances and the only one qualified to advise an individual on this is a tax professional.

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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efile

E-File for a Quicker Tax Refund

E-filing a tax return is the quickest and easiest way to get a refund if one is due, prevent identity theft, and arrange for the financial resources required if a balance is owed. Despite the convenience and ease of filing digitally, many still don’t take advantage of the technology even though it has distinct advantages.

E-filing is offered by tax preparers, online tax services, and tax software programs. Filing digitally is an easy way to know if the return has been accepted by federal and state governments and track its progress.

Faster Refund

The biggest motivator for e-filing a tax return is a quicker refund for those that have money coming back. By choosing to file electronically, tax returns arrive quickly and individuals can have the funds deposited directly to their bank, a pre-paid card, or a cash app card. Paper tax returns take longer to arrive at the IRS and requires extra effort on the part of IRS workers to process. A return can take weeks to be processed.

Balance Due

For individuals that owe the IRS, filing early lets them know how much they owe and buys them extra time to come up with the money owed. The amount is due on the filing deadline. If the money owed is readily available, people can opt to have the money automatically withdrawn from their account.

Late Filers

There are those that always procrastinate and wait until the last minute to file their taxes. E-filing ensures that tax returns arrive at the IRS in a timely manner and prevents them from being late.

Avoid Extensions

Filing early can prevent tax payers from the need to apply for an extension. The IRS will charge interest and penalties on any outstanding tax debt until the balance is paid in full.

Identity Theft

The risk of identity theft and having a refund stolen increases the longer tax payers wait to file their return. The instances of fraudulent tax returns continue to increase and all the unscrupulous need to file a return and steal a tax return is an individual’s Social Security number. Tax payers at the highest risk are those that wait until the last minute 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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