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tax preparation Conway

Your Tip Earnings and Taxes

The internal revenue service takes a very simple approach to tips. It views all tips you make in your job as taxable income that must be reported and for which taxes must be paid. Put another way, the IRS has a simple but brutal view towards taxes.

Now tips come in different forms. Some are received directly from customers while others are automatically added to the customer’s bill. The IRS takes the position you must report and pay taxes on both amounts. This also includes taxes you earn through any group splitting where all tips are collected together and then split amongst the employees. On top of this, the IRS also takes the view that any non-cash tips such as tickets to something are also income that should be reported and taxes paid on. Put another way, the internal revenue services gets you coming and going. 

To make things a little more brutal, the internal revenue service requires you to take some steps in reporting tips. If your tips total $20 or more in any calendar month from a single job, you are supposed to report the total to the employer by the 10th day of the next month. The employer is then supposed to withhold federal income tax, social security and Medicare taxes from your paycheck. Keep in mind that the failure to do so can lead to the placement of a 50 percent penalty on your taxes. Obviously, the IRS is fairly serious about getting its money. 

Tips paid to waitresses, bartenders, barbacks and so on are a hot spot with the IRS and always have. Since tips tend to be given in cash form, the potential for forgetting to report them is particularly high. The IRS seems to think so and has shown a generally aggressive attitude on the subject. If you indicate you are a waitress or bartender on your tax return, but fail to report any tip income, it could be audit time.

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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Your Appeal Rights When Fighting The IRS

Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case. 

During their contact with taxpayers, IRS employees are required to explain and protect these taxpayer rights, including the right to appeal. The IRS appeals system is for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or other adjustments to their tax liability. In addition to examinations, you can appeal many other things, including: 

  1. Collection actions such as liens, levies, seizures, installment agreement terminations and rejected offers-in-compromise,
  2. Penalties and interest, and 
  3. Employment tax adjustments and the trust fund recovery penalty.

Internal IRS Appeal conferences are informal meetings. The local Appeals Office, which is independent of the IRS office, can sometimes resolve an appeal by telephone or through correspondence. 

The IRS also offers an option called Fast Track Mediation, during which an appeals or settlement officer attempts to help you and the IRS reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Most cases not docketed in court qualify for Fast Track Mediation. You may request Fast Track Mediation at the conclusion of an audit or collection determination, but prior to your request for a normal appeals hearing. Fast Track Mediation is meant to promote the early resolution of a dispute. It doesn’t eliminate or replace existing dispute resolution options, including your opportunity to request a conference with a manager or a hearing before Appeals. You may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

When attending an informal meeting or pursuing mediation, you may represent yourself or you can be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or individual enrolled to practice before the IRS. 

If you and the IRS appeals officer cannot reach an agreement, or if you prefer not to appeal within the IRS, in most cases you may take your disagreement to federal court. Usually, it is worth having a go at mediation before committing to an expensive and time-consuming court process.

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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When to Use a Certified Public Accountant

A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, can help you make sure that your small business accounting or individual taxes are accurate and complete.  Some businesses are small enough, such as home-based businesses, that a Certified Public Accountant is not needed for most accounting tasks.  However, there are times when a business or individual should use a Certified Public Accountant.

If you have a small business, and you have discovered that an error in your bookkeeping exists, it can often be difficult to locate where and when the error was made to correct the mistake.  A Certified Public Accountant has special training and education to find these errors through an external audit process.  It is vital that these errors be corrected because the books you use in your business are used to determine taxes and business decisions. 

These records also allow investors to see how well your business is doing so that you can get more backing to help your business grow.  A Certified Public Accountant can find and correct any errors in your bookkeeping, and help you organize your bookkeeping so that you or the Certified Public Accountant can easily generate financial statements and reports.  These financial statements and reports prepared by a Certified Public Accountant are the documents that most banks and investors want to see before making any financing decisions.

If you are starting up a home-based or small business, you should seek the guidance of a Certified Public Accountant.  The Certified Public Accountant can help you set up a double-entry method of accounting with a journal and ledger, as well as a chart of accounts to help you use these tools effectively in your business.  The Certified Public Accountant can also advise you as to what taxes you will be responsible for paying throughout the year.  Quarterly taxes are often required of businesses and self-employed individuals.  To avoid penalties, late fees, and a large tax bill at the end of the year, you should contact a Certified Public Accountant for this information.

Any individual that is self-employed should seek out the services of a Certified Public Accountant when it is time for tax return preparation.  Tax laws change every year, and a Certified Public Accountant can help you make sure that you are receiving all of the deductions you have available as a self-employed individual.

Any individual with children, who is separated or newly divorced, or who may wish to itemize deductions based on mortgages, medical expenses, and charitable contributions should also seek out a Certified Public Accountant for assistance in income tax preparation.  This is because the tax laws are very complex, and change often.  If you make a mistake and claim a deduction that you could not legally claim, the IRS may audit your return and cause you to pay back the refund amount, with penalties.  Additionally, if you make a mistake and do not claim a deduction that you could legally claim, the IRS will not attempt to correct the mistake, causing you to receive a smaller refund.  Either way, you lose money.  The best way to avoid these and other errors is to have a Certified Public Accountant prepare your income tax return.

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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Top 7 Reasons To File Your Income Tax Returns On Time

  1. Avoid Late Filing Penalties

Late filing can result in substantial and continuing penalties. This is in addition to any interest that is due.

  1. Receive Better Service from Your Accountant

The earlier you get your paperwork to your accountant, the sooner he can start preparing your tax returns. More importantly, there will be more opportunities to explore and implement tax saving strategies. On the other hand, if you file late, you tie your accountant’s hands. For example, he may hesitate to retain profit in your corporation if such profit will be subject to substantial penalties.

  1. Avoid Criminal Charges

Of course, if you don’t file tax returns at all for a few years, you may also face charges of tax evasion.

  1. Prevent Bankruptcy

Generally speaking, persons who don’t file tax returns on a timely basis also lack adequate records for managing their business. Since they don’t keep their bookkeeping and accounting up-to-date, they only think they know how they’re doing and how they stand financially. This, of course, is a recipe for financial disaster.

  1. Enjoy Better Relations with Tax Authorities

Late filers also receive the unwanted attention of the taxation departments. Non-compliance can result in audits, aggressive collection action and legal proceedings. In addition, if you ever do have extenuating circumstances that might call for some leniency or extraordinary consideration on the part of the tax department, you are more likely to receive it if you have a flawless history of co-operation and compliance.

  1. Obtain Financing

You’ll have difficulty obtaining financing if you can’t provide your financial institution with current income information. Assessment Notices from taxation authorities give banks more assurance that the income claims you make are true. As well, if you haven’t filed your current income tax returns, what hidden tax liabilities exist? What is the state of your record-keeping? How do you run your business without adequate financial information? Your bank may hesitate to loan you money or refinance under these circumstances.

  1. Reduce Stress and Worry

Many people who are late filing their tax returns feel guilty about it. At the back of their minds, they worry about taxation authorities contacting them, audits, asset seizures, criminal prosecution, penalties and interest, and so on. Some of these worries can become magnified beyond what the actual situation warrants. Save yourself unnecessary stress by filing your income tax returns on time.

By following these simple steps, you can have confidence in finding an accountant who will work hard to help you direct your company into a positive direction for financial growth and expansion.  

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 Retirement Contributions Affect your Taxes

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need to save for retirement and highlighted how many individuals are living paycheck to paycheck. Many individuals were unable to continue their contributions, while others were forced to withdraw funds due to pandemic-related situations. The following are some of the ways in which retirement contributions will affect your taxes.

Filing Status

Navigating tax-deductible amounts can be highly complicated and depends on your filing status, age, and the type of retirement plan you have. The best option to ensure accuracy on your income tax return is to seek the services of a professional accountant or tax preparer that will be knowledgeable in the tax laws governing multiple types of retirement accounts.

Roth IRA

Contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible. You’ll pay the full amount of taxes on any money placed in the account. The trade-off is that you won’t pay taxes on contributions or investment returns after you retire and begin drawing money from the account.

Traditional IRA

Contributions to a traditional IRA reduces taxable income in direct proportion to the amount contributed. There’s a limit of $6,000 that can be contributed to the retirement plan. However, if you’re aged 50 or over, you can contribute up to $7,000.

Retirement & the CARES Act

The CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic added some changes to retirement funds and how they’ll affect your tax liability. The Act removed the 10 percent penalty on withdrawals if you’re under 59.5 years old. The tax liability can be spread over three years and an amended tax return can help regain money paid on the distribution if you’re paying back the account.

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 COVID-19 will Affect your 2020 Tax Filing

The COVID-19 pandemic already affected the way you filed your taxes for last year by extending the deadline from April 15 to July 15. The virus will continue to impact the way you file your taxes in 2021 and the CARES Act introduces some circumstances for which people may not be prepared.

Some of those changes can be beneficial, while others may result in a nasty surprise. Be prepared for an additional push to e-file if you don’t already. It takes longer for the IRS to process paper returns. E-filing will help protect against identity theft and you’ll get your refund quicker.

Change in Tax Liability

Loss of jobs, unemployment benefits, or increased hours for essential workers will result in significant income differences over previous years. You can easily find yourself in an entirely new tax bracket.

Charitable Deductions

Even if you don’t itemize deductions, the CARES Act enables anyone to claim a charitable deduction up to a maximum of $300. You’ll need to provide records for any charitable deduction you claim.

Mortgages

Relief was provided for home mortgage holders due to the pandemic. The result was that many individuals paid less in interest, meaning there will be a smaller amount of mortgage interest to deduct. Unfortunately, if your mortgage debt was cancelled due to a foreclosure, the cancelled amount may be considered taxable income if you don’t qualify for an exception to exclude the cancelled debt.

Retirement Withdrawals

For those that had to dip into their retirement accounts to survive the pandemic, the CARES Act removed the 10 percent penalty, providing you’re under 59.5 years old. You can also spread the tax liability over three years. If you pay back the account, you can file an amended tax return to recoup the money you paid on the distribution.

Self-Employed

The IRS has moved some of the deadlines for estimated tax payments for those that are self-employed. You don’t have to wait until the deadline to pay if you have the money available, but it’s beneficial if you need a little extra time.

Stimulus Payments & Unemployment

If you received the $1,200 stimulus payment, it won’t be considered taxable income. However, unemployment benefits are still taxable and it can lead to a very unpleasant surprise for individuals that received the extra $600 per week unemployment benefits in addition to their regular benefits. The full amount of your unemployment benefits will be taxable at the federal level and in all but 15 states.

Student Loans

The CARES Act also provided temporary relief of student loan payments. If you paid less interest on your student loan, you’ll have less interest that can be deducted from your income 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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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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Tips for Preventing a Tax Audit

Despite what individuals may have been told in the past, an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t random. The IRS utilizes a state-of-the-art software program to flag tax returns for auditing. The software is called Discriminate Income Function (DIF). It flags returns for investigation by comparing the deductions an individual or business takes compared to others that are within the same income bracket.

There’s no reason taxpayers should be afraid to take the deductions to which they’re legally entitled, as long as they have the appropriate documentation to support what they’re claiming. There’s no foolproof way to be protected against an IRS audit, but there are steps individuals can take to minimize the potential.

Targeting Factors

Some jobs, careers, tax brackets, and geographical locations are more likely than others to be targeted for an audit, along with the very rich and the very poor. Individuals with an annual income of less than $25,000 have an audit rate of about 0.69 percent, a figure that’s 50 percent higher than all others.

Areas with a large African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and poor population are audited more. People that regularly receive tips such as hairdressers, waitresses, and bartenders are audited with more frequency, along with accountants, doctors, and attorneys that typically keep their own books. It’s a good idea for anyone in these categories to avoid miscellaneous deductions.

Self-Employed & Small Business

Small businesses and the self-employed are favorite IRS targets. Many choose to incorporate or form a limited liability company as they’re audited less often. File any pertinent worksheets, avoid amendments, know when to file, and hire a professional to prepare tax returns.

Know What’s Questioned

Keeping exemplary records is critical. Home office deductions, medical expenses, casualty losses, and business costs for travel, entertainment, and meals are some of the most often questioned.

Neatness Counts

Being neat really does make a difference. Returns that are difficult to read or have blank lines are more likely to be audited. It’s better to use a zero on a line than to leave it blank.

Do the Math

Use a calculator, double check the math, and make sure federal and state returns match. For those that use online tax preparation software, if it says there’s a problem and something needs to be revisited – pay attention.

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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