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Tax preparation professionals

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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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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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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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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tax credits and tax deductions

Can You Use Tax Credits and Tax Deductions?

You can definitely use tax credits and tax deductions to lower the amount of federal income tax you pay. Tax credits directly reduce your tax. Deductions reduce the amount of your taxable income, the taxes you pay and may increase the amount of your refund if you have one coming. However, taking some deductions and credits will depend on which tax bracket you fall within and your personal situation.

Tax Credits and Tax Deductions

Federal income taxes can be complex, even for low-income filers. The Advance Child Tax Credit payments that began in the summer of 2021 is an example. You may have been receiving them, but the amount is half of what the total would be. You can claim the other half when you file your federal income tax return. Corona Virus Impact payments and stimulus payments will also have to be considered.

Tax Credits

There are credits for Earned Income, dependent care, adoption, and the elderly or disabled. There’s a foreign tax credit, those for undistributed capital gains, excess Social Security and RRTA withholdings and retirement savings contributions. You may have a credit if you’re a homeowner or have costs from healthcare and education. Some have limits on the amount that can be claimed.

Deductions

Work deductions are one of the most common types of deductions, enabling you to deduct expenses such as union dues and uniforms, or the use of your car and a portion of your home space if you’re working from home. If you’re part of the gig economy or use an employment app for per-day jobs, you can still take those deductions.

If you use those apps or are part of the gig economy, you should be aware that you’ll be classified as self-employed by the federal government and that means you’ll be paying higher taxes. You’ll be liable for self-employment taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes. The good news is that you can typically claim your earnings on your regular income tax form under “Other Income.”

Tax Preparation

There are a number of good online tax preparation software programs for those that have fairly straightforward tax forms. If your taxes are more complicated, you should definitely seek the services of a professional tax preparer or CPA.

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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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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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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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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Does my Teen Need to File Taxes?

Filing income taxes can be difficult enough with the constant changes to IRS rules. The situation becomes significantly more difficult when a teen and their income are involved. You’ll need to have a variety of information at your fingertips. The IRS sets dollar amount limits and whether or not your teen will have to file a tax return will depend on their total income was from all sources.

Income Levels

Unlike adults, there’s more flexibility when a child is filing, but that can also make it more complicated. If your child has income above the level set by the IRS, he/she won’t need to file. However, when a child has both earned and unearned income, the two will have to be added together to determine their filing status.

Financial Support

You can claim your child if you provide more than 50 percent of their financial support, they live with you more than half the year, and they’re under the age of 19 during the entire year. You can claim them up to the age of 24 if they’re a full-time student, even if they live outside your home due to their education.

Wages and Salary

The type of income your child has will also affect their filing status. Dependent children that have earned income of more than $12,400 (as of 2020) through wages and salaries must file. They may also owe income taxes. A child’s standard deduction can’t exceed the larger of $1,100 or their earned income plus $350. The maximum is $12,400.

Investment Income

A child’s investment income is treated differently. It’s considered unearned income when acquired through dividend or interest payments, for example. If all the child’s money was unearned income, you can include it on your return and combine it with your income. However, doing so has the potential of elevating you to a higher tax bracket.

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 To Use Accounting Software To Organize Your Tax Records

Keeping track of your tax records does not need to mean an overflowing file cabinet. Plenty of free online resources will help keep even the most chaotic offline tax records well organized. Finding out which records should be kept and where is just half the battle. Storing them properly takes discipline, without which you will be left with an over-loaded shoebox full of receipts.

There are many different ways that you can store and organize your records; some work better than others for different people. In the case of individual tax returns, it is easier to use accounting software to manage the accounting side of things; you simply record when you make a purchase, when you make a payment or write in a check. It would be much more time consuming, however, if you want to organize your receipts and other documents.

One of the first steps in keeping up with your records is to have a system in place for storing all of the receipts that come into your business. If you are using a single computer for all of your document filing and accounting needs, then you can easily install and use one of the free accounting software programs available online. You can then print out each receipt and store it in your receipt folder. If you have more than one location for your receipt and bookkeeping needs, you can use labels or tags to organize the documents as you see fit.

If you use accounting software to organize your tax records, you may also want to purchase a receipt scanner. With this tool, you can scan every receipt that comes into your office. These scanners are usually used by accountants and other individuals who have a lot of paperwork to process. There are even models available that can be mounted on the wall so you can scan everything that comes into your office. There are even some models available that will allow you to print out everything that is scanned. The benefit of using these products is that you will be able to save money by eliminating the cost of purchasing ink and paper.

In addition to using an accounting software product to organize tax records, you can also take advantage of available online resources. One of the best options available is the ability to use an online filing program. These types of programs will allow you to electronically file your income tax documents so that you can avoid the extra time and money spent filing by hand. When you file electronically, you can usually do it from any location with an Internet connection. This will allow you to access your files from any computer with an Internet connection. This option is often times very helpful if you have a home office because you can easily conduct your tax records there.

The tax records that you maintain should be organized so that you can easily retrieve them when you need them. There are a variety of ways that you can organize these documents. If you want to save time while filing your tax returns, consider buying an accounting software product that will help you organize your tax records. If you are unsure about how to organize your tax records, then you can hire a certified public accountant to help you. There are many advantages to keeping your tax records in order and using a tax software product that helps you organize your information.

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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