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Tax preparation professionals

The Importance of Keeping Good Records

Every business owner knows the value of maintaining accurate records for tax purposes, but keeping good records also provides individuals with a measure of the health of their enterprise. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brick and mortar store or operated completely online through e-commerce, good record keeping is critical.

It’s recommended that individuals keep pertinent records for three years and that includes tax returns. Most business owners envision boxes and file cabinets full of paper documents and that can seem overwhelming. Welcoming the digital age and appropriate software programs into a business will eliminate the clutter and keep records immediately available should they be needed for any contingency.

Keeping good records provides business owners with the knowledge required to know if their endeavor is failing or flourishing. It also tells them which products are selling well, where their largest expenditures are, and any areas where changes may need to be made.

Business owners have a legal obligation to maintain full and accurate records about their enterprise. They’ll need those records if they’re audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or asked to explain any items on their tax returns.

Maintaining detailed records enables individuals to prove income, deductible expenses for tax purposes, and make projections about their tax liability. Those records will also be utilized to prepare a variety of financial statements and balance sheets that will be essential when working with banks and creditors.

Good record keeping allows business owners to ascertain where the majority of purchases are originating, along with the reliability of the vendors with which they regularly conduct business. The receipts provide a record of who pays promptly and who doesn’t.

All of those records provide a health check on the business, allowing owners to make critical decisions about issues such as expansions, new product lines, vendors, and employees. Keeping good records is the key to operating any business more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

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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Preparing for tax audit

Reduce Your Chance for a Tax Audit

Everyone fears the dreaded tax audit – and with good reason. It means that the algorithm scoring formula used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has found what it deems to be an irregularity on your tax return. Few audits turn out well for the individual or small business being questioned and the following are just a few of the ways that people can help mitigate the chance of being audited.

Hire a Professional

Nothing can compare to the personalized service and expertise available with a tax professional. It’s tempting to use online tax software. It’s easy and convenient, but the software may not be able to account for special circumstances and you may be leaving money on the table that could go in your pocket. Hire a professional if your tax return is complicated or complex in any way.

File on Time

Seeking an extension or filing an amended return can activate you for review by IRS systems, particularly for high-end earners. The same is true for those that file paper returns. It’s always best to e-file and makes sure they’re filed before the deadline.

Documentation

When dealing with the IRS, documentation is everything. If there’s a chance that the IRS may not understand expenses you’ve claimed or deductions, the onus will be on you to provide documentation to prove your right to make the claims. A professional tax preparer will know what documentation you’ll need.

Deductions

Another instance that will red-flag your tax return is the deduction-to-income-ratio. Deduction amounts that are unusually high compared to stated income may be a symptom of claiming the same deductions twice in the eyes of the IRS. Stay away from dubious deductions.

Exemptions

A high number of exemptions and dependents will bring unwarranted attention from the IRS. There are specific rules about what dependents are eligible for you to claim. For example, in some instances, a dependent may be required to file their own return, which means you can’t claim them.

Compliance

Remaining in compliance with your responsibilities in regard to withholding taxes, filing status, deductions, and exemptions will significantly reduce the potential for a tax audit. If you do get audited, having a professional file your tax return will ensure you have knowledgeable backup should you need it.

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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Great Ways to Keep Track of your Finances

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to monitor and manage your financial health. Keeping track of your finances involves more than simply knowing how much is in your account or making sure you pay the rent or mortgage on time. There are a number of ways that anyone can utilize to better manage their money that includes the following, in no particular order.

Accurate Budgeting

A budget doesn’t mean you can’t spend for fun. It does mean that you need to account for the must-pay expenses first, such as rent, car payments, utilities, groceries, and insurance premiums. The remainder will provide information on major expenditures ad areas where you might save.

The Little Things

Small expenses are the bane of a budget. They nibble away at money that you could be saving and they account for a significant amount of money each day. Some of those small expenses include eating lunch out, whether it’s by yourself or with co-workers, or designer coffees and juices. Start saving receipts from each purchase and total them up at the end of the month or use a debit card for each purchase so you can go back and identify each one on your bank statement.

Savings

Everyone should have a savings goal whether it’s for a major purchase or for retirement purposes. If your budget doesn’t have a category for savings, create one. It can be any amount you want, but financial advisers recommend a set percentage of your income. Don’t be tempted to draw upon your savings. If you have extra money at the end of the month, shift it to your savings.

Software

There are dozens of software programs that will help you budget your money, track expenditures, and even send you alerts via mobile device so it’s easy to manage your money on the go with today’s busy lifestyles.

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

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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Tax Tips for Mortgage Holders

It’s that time of year again when numbers such as 1040, W-2 and INT-1099 become all too familiar to millions of people.  One of the benefits of holding a mortgage on your house is the ability to claim certain deductions that can assist you in offsetting some of your tax burden.  As you prepare to file your yearly taxes let’s look at a few areas where you can take advantage of tax deductions and keep a little more green in your pocket this tax season.

The most obvious deduction that many tax filers take advantage of is the interest paid on the mortgage for their primary residence.  For those of us with a mortgage balance of less than $1 million dollars (and hopefully that is the majority of us!) you can fill out Schedule A, also known as “itemized deductions”, and claim all the interest paid in the previous year on your mortgage.  Keep in mind this is for your primary residence (where you live) only and does not include other properties and houses you may own for rental purposes, etc.  If you paid off your mortgage this year and were slapped with a pre-payment penalty you can also use Schedule A to take a deduction on those fees as well.

Taxes paid to local governments, known as real estate or property taxes, are also tax deductible.  If your mortgage company pays your taxes for you through an escrow account you can find the deductible amount listed there – else check your assessment notice sent to you by your local taxing authority.

If you decided to spruce up your home and took out a home equity loan you may also be eligible to take a deduction for the interest of the home equity loan.  One thing to keep in mind though is if the home equity loan plus your mortgage amount puts you over the real value of your home in total amount owed there are limits to what you may deduct.

Points of all types are usually tax deductible as well.  If you refinanced in the past year any points you paid to buy down the mortgage rate can be written off proportionately over the life of the loan.  This means that if you have a 20 year mortgage, you get to deduct 1/20th of the points each year.  An added bonus comes if you refinanced in a prior year and then refinanced against in the past year and ended up paying off the first refinance.  Any points you had not deducted from that first loan now become eligible for write off in their entirety.

If you took out your mortgage in the past year, any points that you paid on the purchase are fully deductible if the mortgage was for your primary residence and you paid an amount down at least equal to the points you were charged.  This one can be tricky, so be sure to consult your tax prepared for more information.

This tax season make sure you are taking advantage of every deduction you can; part of owning a home and having a mortgage means that you get to reap some of the benefits of that ownership through the tax system.  Don’t let the IRS keep the money that you can use to help pay off that mortgage faster!

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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Bookkeeping Basics

Most people probably think of bookkeeping and accounting as the same thing, but bookkeeping is really one function of accounting, while accounting encompasses many functions involved in managing the financial affairs of a business. Accountants prepare reports based, in part, on the work of bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers perform all manner of record-keeping tasks. Some of them include the following:

They prepare what are referred to as source documents for all the operations of a business – the buying, selling, transferring, paying and collecting. The documents include papers such as purchase orders, invoices, credit card slips, time cards, time sheets and expense reports. Bookkeepers also determine and enter in the source documents what are called the financial effects of the transactions and other business events. Those include paying the employees, making sales, borrowing money or buying products or raw materials for production.

Bookkeepers also make entries of the financial effects into journals and accounts. These are two different things. A journal is the record of transactions in chronological order. An accounts is a separate record, or page for each asset and each liability. One transaction can affect several accounts.

Bookkeepers prepare reports at the end of specific period of time, such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. To do this, all the accounts need to be up to date. Inventory records must be updated and the reports checked and double-checked to ensure that they’re as error-free as possible.

The bookkeepers also compile complete listings of all accounts. This is called the adjusted trial balance. While a small business may have a hundred or so accounts, very large businesses can have more than 10,000 accounts.

The final step is for the bookkeeper to close the books, which means bringing all the bookkeeping for a fiscal year to a close and summarized.

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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