No one enjoys the thought of preparing, filing and paying taxes, yet we all hope there is a refund in the works. As a result many of us wait til the last minute to file causing stress and possible mistakes. Filing isn't an option, so let's get it done - this year's deadline is April 17th!
The IRS urges taxpayers to avoid waiting until the last minute to file their taxes. For those who do wait, the IRS has easy-to-access online resources to help.
These eight tips from the IRS can help make filing less taxing:
There is still an opportunity to lower your tax liability before the year ends.
This can be accomplished in a Charitable and NonCash Charitable Contributions:
Charitable Contributions: If you are electing to itemize your allowable itemized deductions on Schedule A of your 2016 federal income tax return, then charitable donations are an excellent way to accomplish this goal. Whether the contribution is in the form of checks written and deposited into the U.S. Postal Box before midnight on December 31, 2016, or made online with a credit card or direct transfer from a bank account, your tax bill can decrease based on your individual marginal tax bracket. For example, if your bracket is at 25% then you will save 25 cents on each dollar contributed.
Life events such as marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, birth or adoption of a child, a new job or the loss of a job and retirement, all impact year-end tax planning.
Marriage: Marital status (single, married or divorced) for the entire tax year is determined on December 31st. Because the income tax brackets vary depending upon filing status, a marriage penalty or a marriage benefit may result for any particular couple.
As a general rule, if each partner has income approximately in the same amount as the other, they will pay more filing as a married joint return than as two single individuals. Accelerating or postponing marriage or divorce at year- end might be considered based upon this difference in tax brackets.
As tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers there are things they should do now to get ready for filing season.
For most taxpayers, Dec. 31 is the last day to take actions that will impact their 2017 tax returns. For example, charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2017 count for the 2017 tax year, even if the bill isn’t paid until 2018. Checks to a charity count for 2017 as long as they are mailed by the last day of the year.
What you need to know about accountable and nonaccountable plans
If you have employees, you can reimburse or give them an advance or allowance for business expenses, including but not limited to ordinary and necessary transportation, business entertainment, travel, meals and lodging expenses. These types of payments can either be treated under an accountable or nonaccountable plan. Below, are the requirements for both types of plans.
The holiday season is upon us. Even if we aren't following traditions of the season, giving gifts to clients and employees makes everyone involved feel good. Gifts that range from flower arrangements to gift cards to personalized trinkets will all leave a lasting impression on the receiver and as well as the giver. But with each gift comes a hidden cost - the IRS's rules for what is deductible and how to list it on your tax return.
If you give gifts in the course of your trade or business, you can deduct all or part of the cost. Following are the limits and rules for deducting the cost of these gifts.
Having a tax pro saves you time and money
Like it or not, tax season comes around each and every year. And with it comes annual changes to the tax law, making it more and more complicated. Therefore, it’s important to rely on a tax professional to guide you through filing your taxes. This not only saves you time, but also money.
I welcome the opportunity to serve you year after year. Below, I’ve detailed some of the reasons why it’s important to stick with a tax professional rather than self-preparing your return.