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Tax preparation professionals

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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tax professional

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!

 

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Common Tax Deductions you should Never Miss

Income tax time can be a dreadful season if you are not aware of all of the income tax breaks you can get through income tax deductions.  It is important to understand what is tax-deductible so that you can get as large of a tax refund as possible.

Probably the most well-known income tax deduction is the Earned Income Credit.  The earned income tax credit is available to those who make a minimum amount of money and can file tax as single, married, or head of household.  The more money you made, the more your earned income tax credit is until you hit the peak.  Once you hit that peak, the earned income tax credit goes down until you reach the maximum income allowed to receive the earned income tax credit.

The second well-known income tax deduction is the Child Tax Credit.  The child tax credit is available to you if you have two or more children in the home for more than six months out of the year for which you are filing tax, and if you have a tax liability.  The total amount is then applied to your tax liability, and any amount of child tax credit left over is made a part of your income tax refund.

Another income tax deduction is for child daycare, when the child daycare is needed in order for one or both parents to work outside the home.  This daycare income tax credit is equal to a percentage, up to a maximum amount, of the actual daycare expenses paid for that tax year.  

Other expenses can also be tax-deductible.  Interest paid on a mortgage for the primary residence can be claimed as an income tax deduction.  Medical expenses can also be claimed as an income tax deduction, although this is not very helpful unless you have an excessive amount of medical expenses to deduct on your income tax return.  Tax paid to another state can be used as an income tax deduction in the state that you live in.  Donations and contributions to charities, fundraisers, churches, etc. can also be tax-deductible.  

If you are self-employed, you can also claim business expenses as income tax deductions.  This includes any expenses directly related to running your business.  You can take a mileage income tax deduction for any miles you put on your vehicle for business purposes.  You can also take an income tax deduction for your office space in your home if it is used only for business purposes in the form of a portion of your rent, utilities, and phone bills.  You can also take an income tax deduction for your personal computer, printer supplies, and other office supplies as long as you have the receipts for the tax-deductible expenses, and usage logs for the personal computer and other equipment to show that it is used primarily for business.

As you can see, there are many income tax deductions available to you.  If you have any questions about what is tax-deductible, you should contact a qualified, certified, licensed tax accountant today.

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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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 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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Why Tax Filing Status Matters

Federal tax returns are never fun to complete. Their complex and convoluted nature causes serious stress and even fear in those trying to do their own taxes – even with online tax services. Getting as much of a refund as possible while reducing tax liability is the goal and it begins with the question of filing status.

Filing status is extremely important as it affects the filer’s tax bracket and the amount they’ll owe. Filing status also determines how much – if any – refund that will be received and the deductions and credits for which individuals are eligible. The more deductions and credits for which an individual or family qualifies, the less their tax liability will be. Individuals can file as:

  • Single
  • Head of Household
  • Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child
  • Married Filing Jointly
  • Married Filing Separately

Single

Unmarried people on Dec. 31, those whose divorce was finalized before that date, and people that have never been married can claim this status. It can reduce tax liability for individuals with children, providing certain conditions are met.

Head of Household

Filing in this category lowers the tax rate and provides a higher standard deduction for single filers. As a head of household, individuals will need to have a higher income than a single filer before they owe income taxes.

Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child

Men or women filing this way receive a higher standard deduction and lower tax rate. It can be taken for two years following the death of a spouse, provided they remain single. The filer must have a dependent child, stepchild, or adopted child and meet income, age, and support requirements. This category and married filing jointly offer the highest standard deduction. These filers may also qualify for tax breaks on investments.

Married Filing Jointly

Filers in this category can help couples qualify for a lower tax bracket, less tax liability, and may even net a refund. There are a number of credits and deductions that can be taken, especially with dependent children that aren’t available to single filers or married couples filing separate returns.

Married Filing Separately

This can be beneficial if one spouse earns significantly less money than the other. The individual making less may then be eligible to benefit from certain deductions of which the other spouse may not qualify.

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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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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