Our Blog

Impacted by the Equifax Hack? Take These Steps Now!

September 14, 2017

If you were a victim of the recently announced Equifax hack, you need to take action to mitigate any negative impact it may have on your finances and credit. If you’re not sure if you were affected, you can use Equifax’s Potential Impact tool to find out. You will need to input your last name and the last six digits of your social security number to use this tool.

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Tax Deadline and Tax Relief Updates for Individuals and Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma

September 13, 2017

We hope that the beaches community will recover quickly from the impacts of Hurricane Irma. Please note that if we are working on a return or other project for you with a Sept. 15 or Oct. 15 deadline, we will contact you as soon as possible.

In addition, please note the following information about IRS tax relief offered to...

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Tips for Maximizing the Value of Your Next Staff Retreat

August 30, 2017

Staff retreats can offer companies a lot of value. They can also be expensive and, unless managed effectively, not particularly productive. Before you plan your next (or first) staff retreat, review the following key factors to help you make the most of...

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Free Money-Saving Apps for Every College Student

August 15, 2017

There likely aren’t many college students who don’t have a smart phone loaded with helpful apps. However, it is unlikely that any of these apps are dedicated to helping them build their financial fortitude. This is why we created our list below—chock-full of apps designed to make it easier for college students of any age to save money.

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Expert Advice to Keep Your Internet-Enabled Devices Safe from Cyber Criminals

August 1, 2017

Did you know that your webcam and even your home or office internet router can be the gateway through which cyber criminals gain access to your most sensitive data? If not, don’t panic—we have helpful tips below from the experts at the National Cyber Security Alliance to ensure that you head off this type of malicious action.

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Be Alert and Aware: Tax Scammers Don’t Take a Summer Vacation

July 13, 2017

The IRS has identified several new variations of standard tax scams involving fake tax bills and demands for payments. Many of these scams involve purchasing and transferring information using a gift card or iTunes card. Other scams to be aware of include:

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Tips for Implementing a Successful Flex-time Schedule this Summer

June 29, 2017

Now that summer/vacation season is here, your business may be enjoying a more relaxed vibe with employees taking time off or leaving early. If you’ve ever thought about implementing a flexible work program, now may be the time to pilot one, especially if your business is a bit slower this time of year. To help, we offer the following tips...

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Four Money-Saving Mid-Year Financial Planning Tips

June 15, 2017

It’s almost exactly the mid-point of the year, which makes it prime time for a mid-year financial review. If you need some monetary motivation for evaluating your financial progress so far this year, you may want to think of mid-year planning as a series of potential money-saving opportunities, for example:

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How to Protect Your Business from the Next “Wanna Cry” Attack

June 1, 2017

The recent “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack that paralyzed several large organizations in the U.S. and Europe is a solemn reminder that the risk of cyber security breaches is real. Every business owner should take steps...

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Tips to Help You Stem the Flow of Potential Risks This Flood Season

May 16, 2017

Whether from heavy rains or hurricanes, this time of year can bring with it the risk of floods across many parts of the United States. While you may not be able to predict the likelihood of a flood in your area, with these tips you can help to mitigate physical and financial damage if a flood occurs where you live.

  1. Treat structural damage seriously. In any...

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How to Really “Clean Up” at Your Next Yard Sale

May 4, 2017

This time of year is when you often see yard sale signs popping up. For some, holding a yard sale is a means of clearing out unwanted items. For others, it’s an opportunity to get some great “finds.” Whichever side of the yard sale fence you’re on, these tips can help you “clean up”:

Choose your timing carefully. Research continues...

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Take Your Spring Cleaning to the Office with These Tips

April 19, 2017

Window washing, carpet cleaning, garden grooming—these are all popular spring cleaning chores for homeowners. However, with year-end and tax season behind you, this time of year is also perfect for spring cleaning at the office. These tips will help you and your staff get—and keep—that “just cleaned my office” feeling:

Start with a clean sweep of...

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These Tax Day Treats Shine Light at the End of the “Tax Season Tunnel”

April 3, 2017

With just a few weeks to go until Tax Day on April 18, it’s time to make sure that you’re on track to get your individual return filed. If you haven’t already engaged our firm to help you with your taxes and you need assistance, don’t delay…it’s time to let us know!

While tax season can be stressful, Tax Day itself can be quite rewarding if you...

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Do You Sit All Day? Take a Stand Against a Sedentary Lifestyle

March 20, 2017

The average American sits a lot. Many of us sit while we work, while we relax and while we learn. Over the long term, this sedentary way of life can have a negative impact on our health, increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer—in addition to shortening life spans. To counteract these negative effects, it’s important to get up, get active and get...

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Set the Stage to Help Your Home Sell This Spring

March 1, 2017

Spring is in the air...which means peak home-selling season isn’t far away. In fact, according to recent market data, 60 percent of all home sales in the United States will occur in the spring and summer months. If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to get prepared—which includes considering how you will “stage” your home to...

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Avoid March Madness—Why You Should File Your Taxes Now

February 17, 2017

For sports fans, this time of year is an exciting one. First the Super Bowl, and then the buildup toward the NCAA March Madness tournament. While tax season isn’t quite as exciting as these events, you’ll still want to make the effort to get ahead of the game—and the April 18 deadline—to score the benefits of early filing.

Avoiding identity...

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Small Businesses Can Restart Health Reimbursement Accounts in 2017

February 1, 2017

Although the fate of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is not yet clear, thanks to the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act at the end of 2016, employers with fewer than 50 employees can now start funding stand-alone health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) again. Employees can use HRAs to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the Obamacare health insurance...

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Tips to Defend Your Business from Cyber Attacks

January 17, 2017

You need only tune into the news to see that cybercrimes are a very real threat. From viruses to malware, everyday computer use and online browsing can leave you vulnerable to hackers who want your valuable information. If you have a small business, your risk of a cyberattack is likely even higher, especially if you do not have the resources or know-how to enact effective security policies....

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Break Barriers in 2017 with These Mind-Changing Mini Resolutions

December 28, 2016

There’s a reason why the regular New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, exercising more and sticking to a budget are popular—so many of us need to do them! There’s also a common reason why so many of us fail to meet our goals in these areas: we haven’t developed the mindset to support the changes that we want to make.

Instead of setting a big,...

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Keep the Holidays Merry with These Simple Stress Relievers

December 14, 2016

The holiday season can be wonderful, but they can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Fortunately, the experts at Psychology Today also offer these simple stress relievers to put the joy back in this special time of year:

  1. Take a time-out. Time-outs aren’t just for toddlers who have a tantrum. In fact, rather than being a...

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Obama’s New Overtime Pay Rule is On Pause—What Does it Mean for Your Business?

November 30, 2016

Just days before it was scheduled to be implemented on December 1, a federal judge in Texas has blocked the implementation of the new Department of Labor (DOL) federal overtime rule, which would have doubled the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA’s) salary threshold for exemption from overtime pay. According to an NPR report, this extension of overtime eligibility would have...

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Important Changes Mean Your Client Portal is More Secure than Ever

November 21, 2016

Our firm is deeply committed to keeping your personal and financial information secure. As part of this commitment, we have recently implemented some security enhancements which impact the way you use your secure client portal to access your information and provide information to us. These enhanced portal security features include:

1. Your session...

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Take Note of New Business Tax Deadlines in 2017

November 15, 2016

As a result of the highway funding extension bill signed into law by President Obama in 2015, there are important changes coming in 2017 to deadlines for business tax filings including:

  1. W-2 and 1099 filings are due January 31 in 2017 instead of March 31. These forms are still due employees and contractors by January 31, so it’s important to prepare and...

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Five Key Areas Every Business Owner Should Review Before Year End

November 1, 2016

We’re well in to the fourth quarter of the year, which means year end is fast approaching. Here are five important areas of your business to review before the calendar turns to 2017.

  1. Tax planning opportunities. November and December are prime time for tax planning, which can pay big dividends when filing time arrives. Touch base with our firm now to...

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Start Holiday Gift Giving for the Kids with an IRA Contribution

October 17, 2016

If you’re like many parents and grandparents, you may already be thinking about what kind of gift to get the children on your list this holiday season. For teens and young adults especially, it can be challenging to come up with truly unique and meaningful gifts. One idea with long-lasting impact is to make a contribution to either a traditional or Roth IRA on your children or...

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Don’t Let Year-End Cost-Cutting Derail Your Business Goals

October 3, 2016

Many businesses need to adjust their spending to meet the reality of their cash flow during the last few months of the year. While it can be tempting to just cut expenses across the board, this strategy may actually backfire if you cut in the wrong places. Here are four budget areas you should try to preserve to avoiding derailing your long-term business goals:

1....

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Wondering About Tax Deductions for Political Contributions? Here’s the Lowdown

September 19, 2016

With election season in full swing, you may be wondering, “Are political contributions tax deductible?” Here’s the lowdown:

Whether it’s your county mayor or the future President of the United States, the rules on taking advantage of tax deductions for political contributions are the same: Donations are deductible if the organization you give to is a 501(c)(3)...

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Take Note! The Filing Deadline for W-2s and 1099s is January 31 in 2017

September 1, 2016

Consider this blog post as early notice that the date by which employers must file their W-2s and 1099s with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and IRS will change to January 31 in 2017.

Previously, W-2s and 1099s were not due to governmental agencies until March 31, so this new deadline will significantly reduce the window for making any necessary changes. These forms are still...

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The World is Chipping Away at Credit Card Fraud—But Individual Vigilance is Still Key

August 16, 2016

EMV chip technology, which is the first major upgrade for credit card fraud protection in many years, is slowly being rolled out by merchants around the world, including in the United States. While this technology has the potential to provide better security for your credit card data, it still has its limits and it is not completely hacker-proof or secure. As such it is still important to be...

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Before the First School Bell Rings, It’s Time to Reset the Alarm Clock

August 2, 2016

It’s August and children and parents everywhere are facing a grim reality: back to school season is just around the corner. At this time of year, many parents struggle to get their kids back into a regular sleep routine. To help, we offer these tips to reset your family’s alarm clock before the first school bell rings:

  1. Start tonight. While child...

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Getting Married this Year? Here’s Your Tax Tip Sheet

July 18, 2016

While most couples go to great lengths to ensure that their wedding day is perfect, far fewer think about how their nuptials will impact their tax liability. The truth is, the moment you get married, no matter what time of the year it is, in the eyes of the government you are considered to have been married for the entire tax year. With this in mind, here are some tax tips to consider as you...

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Key Lessons from the Financial Fallout of the ‘Brexit’ Vote

July 5, 2016

It’s fair to say that the recent ‘Brexit’ vote by Britons to exit the European Union (EU) has shaken global financial markets to their core, at least in the short-term. Financial analysts say that it’s too early to tell what the long-term impact of this historic vote will be. But one thing is for certain, the Brexit offers several important lessons that individual...

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Smart Strategies to Handle the “Downfall” Problem 1 in 4 New Businesses Experience

June 21, 2016

One of the most (if not the most) important indicators of business health is its cash flow. Even if your business is profitable and growing, if you don't have a consistent stream of cash coming in, you'll run into financial trouble. Lack of cash flow is the primary reason that more than one quarter of new businesses fail—29 percent to be exact. Here are some smart strategies...

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IRS Fights Scammers – Instructs Staff to Initiate All Future Audits by Mail; Never by Telephone

June 10, 2016

With a rise in IRS phone scams, the Agency changed its policy on contacting taxpayers whose tax records are subject to an audit. The new policy instructs IRS agents to contact affected taxpayers only by mail—never by phone (which used to be the IRS’ go-to method of contact). As such, we urge all of our clients to adhere to the following guidelines should...

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No Time to Garden? Try These Time-Saving Tips

June 1, 2016

While many of us appreciate the glory of a beautiful garden, there’s no denying that having one is a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips to help you make the most of your yard in less time:

1. Start with a plan.
A well-thought-out plan for your garden that utilizes low-maintenance plants and flowers will save you time...

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Overtime Pay Eligibility Expanded – What Businesses Need to Know

May 20, 2016

President Obama, declaring that “Americans have spent too long working more and getting less in return,” ordered the Labor Department to revise federal rules on overtime pay for salaried workers that log more than 40 hours a week. The long-awaited rule change will extend overtime pay to an estimated 4.2M workers.

Under current federal regulations, only salaried employees...

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Sleep on This! Think Quality Not Quantity When It Comes to Shut-Eye

May 16, 2016

We’ve likely all heard the news—Americans are incredibly sleep-deprived. However, according to recent research, achieving better quality sleep may be more important than actually increasing the number of hours of sleep. In fact, experts report that 6 hours of deep refreshing sleep is more beneficial than 8 hours of light interrupted sleep.

May is Better Sleep...

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Be $1,000 Richer by Next Year with These Simple Savings Strategies

May 2, 2016

Wow! May is already here—and if you’re like many Americans your savings account balance is still stuck where it was at the beginning of the year. So what to do? You can’t make up for lost savings opportunities…or can you? We believe that you can with a little bit of discipline. For example, saving $125 a month can be as easy as:

  • Renegotiating your...

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5 Actions to Reduce Cyber Liability Risks in Your Business Today

April 14, 2016

A quick glance at the news is all it takes to realize that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing for businesses. So how can your business beat the odds and avoid becoming another victim of cybercrime? Try putting the following five action items at the top of your priority list:

  1. Encrypt your data. Whether it's bank routing digits, credit card accounts or...

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Final Check – Did You Claim Every Eligible Tax Deduction?

March 31, 2016

Every year, American taxpayers leave millions of dollars on the table for Uncle Sam—in the form of unclaimed tax deductions. With Tax Day just around the corner, it’s time to do one final check to make sure that you are not missing out on three of the most common deductions:

  • Retirement contribution deductions for single-income couples and the...

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Five Snacks to Spring Clean your Body and Mind

March 15, 2016

Spring is here and the season for new beginnings. This is a good time to re-think "spring cleaning" and choose snacks that can cleanse our bodies from the inside out.

These five snacks are guaranteed to feed your mind, detoxify your body, and satisfy your palate!

1. Guacamole - High in fiber and “fat” but don’t worry, it’s good fat!...

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Make Your Spring Break Worry-Free with These Home Security Tips

March 1, 2016

If you’re packing your bags for a spring break getaway, take a little time before you leave to implement the tips below—they’ll help keep your home safer while you’re gone, and free your mind of worry so that you can truly enjoy your trip.

  1. Tell your neighbors that you will be away. Inform your neighbors and friends of the dates that you...

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Tax Season is Scam Season... Keep Your Information Safe!

February 16, 2016

The IRS has joined with industry and states on a public awareness campaign to provide taxpayers with easy tips to better protect themselves. For some quick tips, you can watch an informative video here.

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return...

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Identity Protection PIN Letters List Incorrect Tax Year

February 1, 2016

According to a recent IRS notice, due to an error, taxpayers are receiving Identity Protection (IP) PIN letters with an incorrect year listed. If you received the CP01A Notice dated January 4, 2016, be aware that the PIN contained in it is valid for use on all individual tax returns filed in...

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Getting Over It… Quick Tips for Beating the Post-Holiday Slump

January 18, 2016

It’s a stark reality that millions of us face once the holiday season is over: the post-holiday slump. Even just a few days off can make coming back to the office seem excruciating—there’s all that work to do, the anticipation and cheer of the holidays are gone, and for many people the next vacation day is a long way off. Yes, being a working adult is tough, but getting over...

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Customer Service Goes Social—Is Your Business Prepared?

January 4, 2016

If your business engages in social media, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of customers who are posting questions on your Facebook page, tweeting comments or engaging with your company on other social platforms looking for customer service support. It’s a trend that is affecting just about every type of business—and using social media as a customer service channel will...

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IRS Simplifies Filing and Recordkeeping for Small Business – Hooray!

December 15, 2015

In an ongoing effort to keep you informed of IRS changes, we have a new and important one to report. And this time, the change eases your filing burden.

Within the last month, the IRS significantly simplified the paperwork and recordkeeping requirements for small business by raising the safe harbor threshold for deducting certain capital items from $500 to $2,500. This applies to...

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Tis the Season! Avoid Common Holiday Scams with These Tips

December 1, 2015

As cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the holiday season, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid having your money, credit card information, social security number, or identity stolen. E-commerce thieves, at this time of year especially, will try to create holiday-related websites, scams, and other phishing e-mails that can trick even the most alert consumers. The...

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The Key to Scoring on Black Friday? Create a Pre-Game Plan

November 16, 2015

The countdown is on to the what retailers hype as the best shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving dubbed by Americans as ‘Black Friday’—represents the kick-off to the holiday shopping season. However, given the explosion of retail competition and the Internet in the past several years, Black Friday is really not what it used to be. And if you’re not...

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It’s Tax Planning Time—Here Are Some Money-Saving Tips for Individuals and Businesses

November 2, 2015

With just a few short weeks to go before the end of the year, it’s important to take a look at your tax situation and consider ways to decrease your tax obligations. In other words, it’s time for tax planning. We put together the following tips for you to support smart tax decisions:

  1. Stay apprised of potential tax provision extensions. Congress...

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4 Steps to Finding the Sweet Spot for Success

October 14, 2015

Ah, the sweet smell of success! Achieving goals and bringing our vision to fruition is the end-game for most of us, especially in our business lives. Unfortunately, success can sometimes elude us to the point where we have to start looking at what, exactly, is going wrong. Perhaps, though, the question we ought to be asking is this: What is going right? By honing in on what is bringing you or...

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Ease Aches, Pains and Worker’s Comp Claims with These Ergonomics Tips

September 30, 2015

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has designated each October as National Ergonomics Month (NEM). Ergonomics is an applied science that incorporates principles of usability into the design process with the goal of making finished products more effective and safe for people to use.

In the workplace, proper ergonomic practices can play an important role in reducing pain,...

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Spending Less Cash on Gas? Use Your Savings to Rev-Up Your Finances

September 15, 2015

If you did any road trips over the summer—or you commute to work—you’ve likely noticed that filling up your vehicle doesn’t necessarily empty your wallet anymore. Thanks to lower gas prices, the average American is on track to save approximately $750 on gas this year.

While it’s not life-changing, $750 can make a difference to your personal finances if...

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New Tax Law More Than Doubles Fines for Failure to File Information Returns and Failure to Provide Payee Statements

September 1, 2015

The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 was recently signed into law. Part of this new law includes a provision that more than doubles the cap on penalties from $1.5 million to $3 million for 1) failure to file correct tax information returns and 2) failure to provide payee statements. In both cases, fines have been increased from $100 to $250.

These changes are...

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New Team Member!

August 25, 2015

We would like to welcome Christina A. Cutler, CPA as the newest member of the SBDP team! We look forward to working with her. Thanks for joining us Christina!

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Highway Funding Bill Ushers in New Tax Return Due Dates and Other Important Changes

August 13, 2015

As reported by The Journal of Accountancy on July 31, the short-term highway funding extension passed by the Senate—and signed by President Obama—at the end of July contains several important tax provisions (H.R. 3236). The bill was passed by the House of...

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Understand the Pros and Cons of DRIPs

June 30, 2015

Appropriately enough, investors may notice a slow trickle in earnings from "dividend reinvestment plans" (DRIPs). But these investments may end up providing a steady stream of income over the long run.

The concept is relatively simple. More than 1,000 companies and closed-end mutual funds around the country offer DRIPs to their shareholders. These programs enable shareholders to...

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Check the "Support" Test to Maintain Dependent Deductions

June 23, 2015

Keep your college student qualified as your dependent by meeting the "support" test. Generally, your child cannot provide over one-half of his or her own support during the year. Add up funds your child will have received from work, student loans, and other sources of income. Do you need to increase your level of support during the rest of the year in order to claim the

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Do Mutual Fund Tax Planning at Midyear

June 16, 2015

Are mutual funds part of your portfolio? As you begin your mid-summer investment review in preparation for year-end, think about how your funds can affect your federal income taxes.

Here are two things to consider.

Dividend income. The dividends you receive from mutual funds held in nonretirement accounts are included in the calculation of net investment...

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IRS Announces 2016 HSA Limits

June 9, 2015

The 2016 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) have been released by the IRS. Individuals will be allowed to contribute up to $3,350, and contributions for family coverage will be limited to $6,750. As before, an individual aged 55 or older may contribute an additional $1,000. For 2016, a "high-deductible health plan" is one with an annual deductible of not less than...

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Calculate your Basis

June 9, 2015

It's important for S corporation shareholders to know their basis in the corporation. Basis is the key to determining whether current-year losses can be deducted by the shareholder or not. Losses in excess of basis are generally "suspended" for use in later years when the business has income. Basis is also important when shareholders plan to take nontaxable distributions. In cases where...

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Should You Pay More Attention to Cash Flow in Your Business?

June 9, 2015

In assessing their business, most owners focus on growth in sales and profits. Yet these do not guarantee business health and success. Another important gauge is cash flow. Simply put, is there enough cash inflow to cover cash outflow? Cash flow needs change on a daily basis. The more you're aware of cash flow needs, the more control you'll have over your business.


●...

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Five Things Every Business Owner Must Do

June 9, 2015

If you own or manage your own business, you're probably busy monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems. But there are a few things that you should make time to do every year. These are important for your long-term business and personal success.

1. Review your business insurance coverage.

Don't just automatically write a check to renew your...

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Reminders on Child Tax Credit

June 4, 2015

Working parents should be aware that the child and dependent care tax credit is available to offset some of the expenses for child care. Six facts the IRS wants taxpayers to know about the credit:

● Children must be under age 13 to qualify for the credit.
● The credit applies whether the childcare provider is a sitter at home or a daycare facility.
● The credit...



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Summertime Tax Tip

June 4, 2015

If you itemize your deductions, you can deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes paid for your vacation home. A boat or RV can qualify as a vacation home if it has sleeping quarters, cooking facilities, and a bathroom. If a retreat also serves as rental property, you can control your tax deductions by changing the number of days you use it for

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Watch Out for the AMT

June 4, 2015

As you review your income tax situation at midyear, consider your exposure to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The alternative minimum tax involves a separate tax calculation that disallows many of the deductions and credits used to calculate regular income tax. If you have high levels of deductions or exemptions, or if you exercise incentive stock options this year, it's worth checking for...

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Don’t Let the IRS Become Your Pen Pal

June 4, 2015

Getting a letter or notice from the IRS can be upsetting, confusing, and unnecessary. The IRS sends taxpayers notices to request payment for taxes, to notify them of a change to their account, or to request additional information. Attention to the following details will reduce the likelihood that you will become pen pals with the IRS.

Never send a payment to the IRS without...

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Don’t Take a Vacation From Tax Planning

June 4, 2015

Don't ignore your opportunity to save on taxes just because it's summertime. Here are some summertime tips to keep your tax plans going.

If you are a sole proprietor with children, you might consider putting them on the payroll during the summer months. Wages paid to your children under age 18 are not subject to social security and Medicare taxes. What's more, their earnings are...

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IRS Announces 2016 HSA Limits

June 2, 2015

The 2016 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) have been released by the IRS. Individuals will be allowed to contribute up to $3,350, and contributions for family coverage will be limited to $6,750. As before, an individual aged 55 or older may contribute an additional $1,000. For 2016, a "high-deductible health plan" is one with an annual deductible of not less than...

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For Effective Tax Planning, Do a Midyear Review

May 26, 2015

With summer vacations and warm weather just around the corner, tax planning may not be a priority on your agenda. The problem is that if you wait until December, you cut the time for planning strategies to take effect. But if you take the time to plan now, you still have eight months for your actions to make a difference on your 2015 tax return. Making time for 2015 tax planning now not only...

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Roth IRAs: A Smart Tax Idea for Children

May 19, 2015

Persuading your working children to make retirement contributions may not be easy, but investments in Roth IRAs may be the wisest possible use of their earnings. The nature of Roth IRAs, coupled with the effects of long-term compounding, can create exceptional returns on such early investments.

Although contributions to Roth IRAs are not deductible, earnings within the accounts (such...

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Create a Road Map to Retirement

May 12, 2015

Preparing for your retirement is a journey. And like most journeys, success or failure often hinges on decisions made early in the trip. Consider some of these pointers as you develop your personal road map to retirement.

A solid retirement plan begins with an honest assessment of what your golden years will look like. Will they involve exotic travel, special purchases, or carefree...

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Your 401(k) and a Job Change

May 6, 2015

If you change jobs this year, don't forget about your 401(k) in your old employer's retirement plan. You may be tempted to cash out the balance in the account, but remember that distributions from such accounts are generally taxable. Instead, ask your plan administrator to make a direct rollover to your IRA or another qualified plan. If you're under age 59½, this decision also avoids...

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Business Travel Away from Home (Within the U.S.)

April 28, 2015

The purpose of this post is to advise you of the rules for deducting the cost of your out-of-town business travel within the U.S. These rules only apply if the business conducted out of town reasonably requires an overnight stay.

The actual costs of travel (e.g., plane fare, cab to airport, etc.) are deductible for out-of-town business trips. You are also allowed to deduct the cost of...

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Reasonable Compensation

April 28, 2015

As the owner of an incorporated business, you're probably aware that there's a tax advantage to taking money out of the corporation as compensation (salary and bonus) rather than as dividends. The reason is simple. A corporation can deduct the compensation that it pays, but not its dividend payments. Thus, if funds are withdrawn as dividends, they're taxed twice, once to the corporation and...

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IRS's "Common Law" Test to Determine Independent Contractor/Employee Status

April 28, 2015

It's critical for an enterprise periodically to review the status of its workers and see if they are properly classified. An enterprise must withhold federal income tax, social security taxes, and federal unemployment taxes on wages it pays workers who are employees. It also may have to provide them with the same fringe benefits and retirement plan coverage available to its other employees....

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Protecting Credit and Debit Card Numbers

April 27, 2015

The best protection is to read your monthly statements, and report unauthorized charges. If a criminal steals a credit card number, you are not liable for unauthorized charges. If a criminal steals a debit card number, you are not liable for the charges if you report them within 60 days of receiving the statement.  Reviewing the monthly statements is critical with debit...

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Put a Freeze on Your Credit Unless You Need to Borrow Soon

April 27, 2015

Each month seems to bring news of another major security breach, whether at Blue Cross, Anthem, Target or Home Depot.  One big concern is the use of SSN to apply for credit in your name.  Did you know that you can put a freeze on your credit with the three bureaus and it will prevent someone from taking on debt in your name?  Reports are that it can be a hassle to get the...

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Identity Theft Victims May Opt into IRS Program

April 27, 2015

In an effort to help victims of identity theft, the IRS has issued approximately 1.5 million six-digit Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs) for taxpayers to use in filing their federal tax return. The IP PIN is a unique number that is assigned annually to victims of identity theft with resolved cases. The IP PIN is intended to help these individuals avoid delays in filing returns and receiving...

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Identity Theft is One of the Fastest Growing Crimes in America

April 27, 2015

Imagine receiving this message in your email:  Fraudulent IRS tax scheme affecting Florida Physicians.  Physicians should be on the lookout for problems with their federal tax return.  The Florida Medical Society has learned within the last week that multiple Society members have been affected by a multi-state identity theft scheme designed to steal their federal tax...

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Can a Business Grow Too Fast?

April 21, 2015

Most businesses hope to grow. They consider themselves successful if growth is taking place, and the faster the growth the better. Can too much business growth be bad for a company? It can be if the growth is not adequately planned.

For example, an established company that doubles its sales volume in a year may find itself strapped for cash, for working space, and for trained...

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Use Your Income Tax Refund Wisely

April 14, 2015

To many people, an income tax refund might be one of the largest single cash receipts for the entire year. Avoid the temptation to spend your refund on consumption items. There are several places you can invest the refund to enhance your long-term financial goals. You can pay off current debt, invest in the stock market, make home improvements, or invest in a pension plan for...

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Should You Be Making Estimated Tax Payments?

April 7, 2015

During the tax year you must prepay a substantial amount of the taxes you'll owe for that year, or you risk being hit with an underpayment penalty. If you're an employee, that's usually not a problem. Your employer will withhold taxes from each paycheck. You can adjust the amount withheld so that it covers your total tax bill, even if you have extra income from moonlighting or investments....

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Reports Required for Foreign Investments

March 31, 2015

Owning foreign assets or having signature authority over certain foreign accounts means extra filing requirements. For example, Part III of Schedule B, the form where you report interest and dividends, has questions you might need to complete about foreign accounts and trusts. You may also need to file "Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets," with your income tax return....

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No Paperwork Means No Deduction

March 24, 2015

Did you give contributions to qualified charities during 2014? Be sure to get a receipt. Tax rules are strict when it comes to substantiating your contributions. In order to take a deduction, you must generally have a written contemporaneous receipt from a qualified charity. "Contemporaneous" means you must receive an acknowledgment of your contribution by the earlier of the date on which you...

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Retirement Contributions May Qualify for a Tax Credit

March 17, 2015

Did you contribute to retirement plans or an IRA for 2014? You may be eligible for a federal income tax credit. The Saver's Credit can be taken when you make contributions to your traditional or Roth IRA as well as certain employer retirement plans. The amount you can claim varies, depending on your income, but can be as much as 50% of your contributions, up to a maximum credit of $1,000...

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Deducting the Costs of a Spouse on a Business Trip

March 12, 2015

Expecting to take a business trip in the near future and interested in whether you can deduct the costs of having your spouse accompany you?

The rules for deducting a spouse's travel costs are very restrictive. First of all, to qualify, your spouse must be your employee. This means you can't deduct the travel costs of a spouse, even if his or her presence has a bona fide business...

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Tax Strategies for Business People Stepping Up to a New Car

March 12, 2015

The decision of whether to trade in an old business car or try to sell it for cash generally should be based on factors such as the amount you can get on a sale versus a trade-in, and the time and bother a sale will entail. However, important tax factors also may affect your decision-making process. Here's an overview of the complex rules that apply to what appears to be a simple transaction,...

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The Employer Mandate and the Excise Tax for Failure to Meet Certain Group Health Plan Requirements

March 12, 2015

Beginning in 2015, if you employ at least 100 full-time employees (and after 2015, at least 50 full-time employees), you may become subject to the employer mandate that was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and if you fail to meet its requirements, you may owe a nondeductible excise tax.

You could potentially be subject to the excise tax, if any of your full-time...

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Is Your Worker an Independent Contractor or an Employee?

March 12, 2015

The question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or employee for federal income and employment tax purposes is a complex one. It is intensely factual, and the stakes can be very high. If a worker is an employee, the company must withhold federal income and payroll taxes, pay the employer's share of FICA taxes on the wages plus FUTA tax, and often provide the worker with fringe...

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March 16 is the Deadline for Making an S Corporation Election

March 12, 2015

If you own a small business, you have until March 16, 2015, to choose S corporation status for this year. In order to become an S corporation, you'll need the unanimous approval of all shareholders.

The principal advantage of an S corporation is that you avoid paying double taxes. In a traditional C corporation, profits are taxed at the corporate level and then they're taxed again...

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Your Social Security Benefits May Be Taxable

March 3, 2015

Did you sign up for social security benefits last year? If so, you may have questions about how those payments are taxed on your federal income tax return.

The good news is the formula is the same as prior years. That's also the bad news, because the thresholds for determining taxability are not indexed for inflation, and did not change either. Those thresholds, or "base amounts,"...

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The Gift Tax Annual Exclusion

March 2, 2015

Taxpayers can transfer substantial amounts free of gift taxes to their children or other donees through the proper use of the federal gift tax annual exclusion.

The statutory exclusion amount ($10,000) is adjusted for inflation annually, using 1997 as the base year. The amount of the exclusion for 2015 is $14,000.

The exclusion covers gifts an individual makes to each...



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Home Office Expense Deduction for a Self-Employed Taxpayer

March 2, 2015

If you're self-employed and work out of an office in your home, and if you satisfy the strict rules that govern those deductions (discussed below), you will be entitled to favorable "home office" deductions-that is, above-the-line business expense deductions for the following:

  • the "direct expenses" of the home office-e.g., the costs of painting or repairing the home office,...

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Penalty Relief for Repayment of Advance Premium Tax Credit

March 2, 2015

As part of the tax return filing process for 2014, taxpayers who received advance payments of the premium tax credit must reconcile the amount of credit they are eligible for with the amount of advance credit received. For some taxpayers, the reconciliation process may result in an excess advance payment that must be repaid as an additional tax. This additional tax may come as a surprise to...

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Check Qualification for Health Insurance Exemption

February 24, 2015

If you didn't have health insurance in 2014 or the insurance you had did not meet minimum requirements, you may have to pay a penalty on your 2014 federal income tax return - unless you qualify for an exemption. Exemptions include unaffordable coverage when premiums would have exceeded 8% of your household income, a coverage gap of three months or less, and general hardship. You can claim...

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Sticking to Budgets and Diets

February 17, 2015

Budgets, like diets, are short lived for most of us. You do a proper job of planning by looking over the past and determining where you need to make changes to meet your goals. And, you live by your plan for a few days, maybe even a few weeks. But, then all the detail of keeping track of what comes and goes gets to be more than you are willing to put up with.

If you can plan a...

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Warning: Watch Out for Aggressive Phone Scams Again This Tax Season

February 10, 2015

The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) is warning taxpayers about one particular category of tax scams that has proven to be very widespread, very aggressive, and very relentless. Callers claim to be IRS employees, and they tell their intended victims that they owe taxes that must be paid immediately using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The fake IRS agents...

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Business Website Costs

February 3, 2015

The business use of websites is widespread, but IRS has not yet issued formal guidance on when Internet website costs can be deducted.

Fortunately, established rules that apply to the deductibility of business costs in general, and formal IRS guidance that applies to software costs in particular (the "software guidelines"), provide a taxpayer launching a business website with some...

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Going into Business with a Franchise

February 3, 2015

Have you ever wanted to be your own boss, but didn't want to start a business from scratch? If so, buying a franchise might be the right choice for you.

When you purchase a successful franchise, you're buying the right to sell a product or service using a system developed by the franchisor. You usually receive the right to use a trademarked name, training in profitably operating...

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Elect S Corporation Status by March 16

February 3, 2015

If you own a small business, you have until March 16, 2015, to choose S corporation status for this year. In order to become an S corporation, you'll need the unanimous approval of all shareholders.

The principal advantage of an S corporation is that you avoid paying double taxes. In a traditional C corporation, profits are taxed at the corporate level, and they're taxed again...

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Small Employer Health Insurance Credit for Taxable Employers

February 3, 2015

A tax credit is available for certain small employers providing health insurance coverage for their employees. The credit is specifically targeted to help certain small businesses that primarily employ moderate-income workers and lower-income workers. The credit can offset a taxable employer's regular tax liability or its alternative minimum tax (AMT) liability.

For tax years...

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Identity Theft Victims May Opt into IRS Program

February 2, 2015

In an effort to help victims of identity theft, the IRS has issued approximately 1.5 million six-digit Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs) for taxpayers to use in filing their federal tax return. The IP PIN is a unique number that is assigned annually to victims of identity theft with resolved cases. The IP PIN is intended to help these individuals avoid delays in filing returns and receiving...

Read More...

Filing Season Opens

February 2, 2015

The IRS announced the on-time opening of the 2015 filing season highlighting online services. The announcement also highlights the Affordable Care Act healthcare provisions included in the 2014 individual income tax return. The IRS expects more than four out of five returns will be filed electronically. They will begin accepting and process all tax returns on 1/20/15. The fastest way to...

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IRS Service will be Affected by ACA and Budget Cuts

February 2, 2015

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has informed taxpayers that the Agency's level of service to taxpayers is likely to decline, thanks to increased workloads resulting from the Affordable Care Act and cuts to the IRS's 2015 budget. Taxpayers can expect longer waits in IRS responses to both written inquiries and phone calls. Refunds may also be delayed this year. The IRS will also have fewer...

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Electronic Refunds Limited to Three Per Account

February 2, 2015

The IRS announces that, as part of its efforts to curb fraud and identity theft, it will no longer directly deposit more than three electronic refunds to a single financial account or prepaid debit card. Taxpayers who exceed the limit will receive an IRS notice and a paper refund.

The IRS also warns that direct deposit must be made only to accounts bearing the taxpayer's

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What's New on the 2014 Form 1040?

February 2, 2015

Here are the changes with the greatest impact on the preparation of 2014 individual returns:

FORM 1040-NEW FORMS-PREMIUM TAX CREDIT

Form 1095-A and Form 8962. If the taxpayer, his spouse, or a dependent enrolled in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, he should have received Form(s) 1095-A. If the taxpayer receives Form(s) 1095-A...



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Should You Have a Business Buy-Sell Agreement?

January 27, 2015

What will happen to your business if you die, retire, or become disabled? If you are the owner of a small business, you need a means for the transfer of that business in the event something happens to you. With a "buy-sell" agreement, you are able to plan for many contingencies over which you would otherwise have little control. A buy-sell agreement should establish a price for the business...

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Work Opportunity Credit

January 22, 2015

Employers can qualify for a tax credit known as the work opportunity tax credit that is worth as much as $2,400 for each eligible employee ($4,800, $5,600 and $9,600 for certain veterans and $9,000 for "long-term family assistance recipients"). The credit is generally limited to eligible employees who began work for the employer before Jan. 1, 2015. The credit, calculated as described below,...

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Business Use of Automobiles and Standard Mileage Rates

January 22, 2015

Taxpayers may use the optional business standard mileage rate in computing the deductible costs of operating passenger automobiles owned or leased by them (including vans and pickup or panel trucks) for business purposes.

A taxpayer who uses this method multiplies the number of business miles by 56¢ per mile for travel during 2014. The rate for 2015 is 57.5 cents per mile for...

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Not All "Income" is Taxable

January 20, 2015

There are several sources of revenue that are not subject to income tax.

 

Here are the most common...

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Every New Business Needs a Record System

January 13, 2015

Many small start-up businesses are off and running before any record system has been set up. There is money deposited into the new business checking account, some from invested funds and some from sales. Money has been paid out for equipment and supplies, some by check and some by cash out of pocket or from sales receipts.

This informal method of cash receipts and disbursements...

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How the Affordable Care Act Affects Your 2014 Tax Return

January 12, 2015

In an effort to consistently keep you informed and updated on regulatory changes that may affect your tax outcome, we want to provide you with much-needed information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the impact on your 1040 tax return in 2014. As you recall, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (commonly...

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Pushing the Envelope: What You Need to Know to Go Paperless This Year

January 12, 2015

As the world becomes more digital, reducing the dependence on paper documents is becoming a priority for many people. And because digital technology has come such a long way, going paperless is easier than you might think. To help you get started on your paperless journey, check out the following tips.

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Refresh Your Finances for 2015

January 12, 2015

It’s a brand new year, which means you get to wipe the slate clean and make good on your financial resolutions. So whether it's putting money aside to pay down debt, planning for the future or getting organized for tax season, now is a great time to change up your financial habits. Now that the holidays...

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Do It Now - Get Ready for Tax Season

January 12, 2015

Even though the deadline to file your 2015 taxes isn’t until April 15, don’t wait until the last minute to get the ball rolling.

 

Unfortunately,...

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Congress Retroactively Extends Tax Breaks for 2014

January 6, 2015

In its final session of the year, Congress extended a long list of tax breaks that had expired, retroactive to the beginning of 2014. But the reprieve is only temporary. The extensions granted in the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 remain in effect through December 31, 2014. For these tax breaks to survive...

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Is Your Business Using Part-Time Workers

December 30, 2014

Recent job statistics indicate that more employers are using part-timers to deal with variations in workload and for short-term projects. Here are a few tips your business will find useful if you hire part-time workers.

* Communicate clearly with the part-timer. Explain the person's duties, the hours and benefits, and the individual to whom the part-timer will report.


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Age Matters in the World of Taxes

December 23, 2014

Are you aware of the numerous age-related provisions in the IRS code? They are probably more plentiful and significant than you thought. Here are a few examples of the age-related tax rules that could affect you and your dependents.

* At birth up to age 19 and even 24: dependency deduction. Parents can claim a dependency exemption for a child under 19 or for full-time students...

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New Tax Extender Provisions

December 19, 2014

With just under two weeks left in 2014, Congress has passed the tax extenders bill (also known as the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014). The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law this week.

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Standard Mileage Rates Will Change Slightly in 2015

December 18, 2014

Optional standard mileage rates for use of a vehicle will change a little for 2015, the IRS announced on Wednesday, with the business use rate going up and the medical and moving rate going down (Notice 2014-79). Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the...

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Does Your Business Make Use of Your Financial Statements?

December 16, 2014

Many small business owners pay too little attention to their financial statements. This is due in part to not understanding just what the statements have to offer. In fact, many may not be able to tell you the difference between a Balance Sheet and an Income Statement.

Think of them this way. The Balance Sheet is like a still picture. It shows where your company is at on a...

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1099 Filing Time is Near and IRS is Checking!

December 10, 2014

Are you aware of the IRS regulations regarding Form 1099 reporting for Forms 1065, 1120, 1120S and 1040 Schedule C (Self-Employment) ?

IRS has included the following two questions in the previously named forms:

1. Did you make any payments in 2014 that would require you to file Form(s) 1099?

2. If “Yes,” did you or will you file all required Form(s)...

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You May Have a Deduction for Moving Expenses

December 9, 2014

If you moved in 2014 because of a new job location, you may be entitled to a tax deduction for your moving expenses. To qualify for a tax deduction, your new job location must be fifty miles further from your old home than the distance from your old home to your old job. In other words, if your commute would be increased by fifty miles or more from your old house, you have met the distance...

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How to Tell You Have Credit Card Problems

December 2, 2014

If you're living beyond your means, you could be courting financial disaster. Here are some indicators that you need to get your credit card usage under control.

* Your income's dwindling but your credit card balances keep growing. Lost your job but can't seem to reign in those charge cards? Don't be surprised when the bill collectors come calling.

* You pay only...



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Investors Should Be Aware of Inversions

November 25, 2014

Some U.S. companies are using corporate inversions to reduce their taxes. Investors in companies that do an inversion may find that their own taxes are increased.

When the U.S. company becomes the subsidiary of the foreign company, it issues replacement shares. Typically, the new shares are equal to the former shares but no cash is involved. As a shareholder, you're required to...

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Update your Beneficiary Designations

November 18, 2014

Who have you designated as beneficiaries for your insurance policies and retirement accounts? If you can't remember, you're not alone. But it's worth checking. If you make the wrong decision, it could affect who inherits those assets. In some cases, it could also change the taxes your beneficiaries will pay and the value they'll receive. Here are some key facts about beneficiary...

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Self-Employeds Get Tax Breaks

November 11, 2014

When it comes to taxes, being self-employed has some advantages. Whether you work for yourself on a full-time basis or just do a little moonlighting on the side, the government has provided you with a variety of attractive tax breaks.

  • Save for retirement. When you're self-employed, you're allowed to set up a retirement plan for your business. Remember, contributing to a...

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Review Your 2014 Deductions

November 4, 2014

Some itemized deductions are limited by a percentage of your gross income. An example is miscellaneous deductions. These provide a benefit only if your total outlay for costs such as investment fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

If you consistently lose out on these deductions, check now to determine if pulling some of January's...

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Avoid These Six Mistakes in Selling Your Business

October 28, 2014

Most entrepreneurs eventually think about selling their businesses, whether as a prelude to retirement or to pursue other activities. In doing so, they often underestimate the effort required for a satisfactory outcome and overestimate the value and salability of their enterprises. If you're contemplating selling, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

1. Overestimating the...

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Don't Make This Tax Mistake

October 21, 2014

You're probably well aware that interest from municipal bonds is generally not subject to income tax or the 3.8% Medicare surtax. So don't make the mistake of turning tax-free income into taxable income by holding municipal bonds in the wrong kind of account. Municipal bond income in a retirement account will be taxed as ordinary income when you eventually take distributions from the account....

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Advance Projections Released for 2015 Tax Numbers

October 14, 2014

Each year the IRS is required to make inflation adjustments to hundreds of tax numbers in the tax law. Advance projections of what some of the 2015 numbers will be have recently been published.

The top tax rate of 39.6% is projected to start at income exceeding $413,200 for single taxpayers and $464,850 for married taxpayers. The projected standard deduction is $6,300 for singles...

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Important Reminder for Employers

October 14, 2014

A reminder to employers: Effective January 1 of this year, you may no longer reimburse employees for their individual health insurance policies or pay the premiums directly to the insurance company on a pre-tax basis. Employers that continue to pay employee's premiums or reimburse their payment must include these amounts in the employee's taxable wages or be subject to substantial penalties....

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Make Time for a Year-End Tax Review

October 13, 2014

Take some time to review your tax situation for 2014 while there are still a few months to make tax-cutting adjustments. With more of the Affordable Care Act going into effect for 2014, both individuals and businesses will find that an investment in a year-end review could make a significant difference in their final tax

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IRS Reminds Taxpayers About Education Credits

October 13, 2014

With schools back in session, the IRS has issued a reminder to taxpayers not to overlook available tax credits for education expenses. Tax credits are applied directly against the income tax you owe. Two available credits: the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The AOTC can be up to $2,500 annually for an eligible student and is 40% refundable. That...

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Four Tips for Organizing Your Finances

October 7, 2014

In our busy lives, it's sometimes tough to corral our financial records. Bills, paycheck stubs, tax returns, and bank statements can disappear into dusty attic corners and bulging desk drawers. Important insurance policies can hide out beneath bins of holiday ornaments and electrical supplies. Mortgage documents can sneak into old books or ensconce themselves in nooks and crannies throughout...

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Switching Funds Can Bring a Tax Surprise

September 30, 2014

Many mutual fund companies allow you to switch funds without a penalty or commission, as long as you stay within their family of funds. There's a catch though. Unless the funds are in a tax-deferred retirement account, you could owe income tax each time you make a switch. When you move money between funds, the IRS considers it a sale. You've sold shares in the first fund, then reinvested the...

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Delay Paying Taxes with a Like-Kind Exchange

September 23, 2014

Sitting on a piece of investment property that you would like to sell? By structuring the transaction as a tax-deferred exchange, you can delay paying taxes on the full amount of the gain realized.

Also known as a "like-kind exchange" or a "1031 exchange," these transactions are only available for investment or business assets. Certain types of assets don't qualify for a...

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Use the 80-20 Rule to Increase Your Business Profits

September 16, 2014

How well do you know your customers? Which ones are the most profitable? Which ones take most of your time? It's worth taking the time to find out. If your business is like most, the 80-20 rule applies. That is, 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers.

If you can identify that top 20%, you can work hard to make sure this group remains satisfied customers. Sometimes all...

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There are Tax Breaks When You Do Charitable Work

September 9, 2014

If you do volunteer work for a charitable organization and have not kept track of your out-of-pocket expenses, you might be passing up an excellent opportunity to lower your tax bill. To qualify, your unreimbursed expenses must relate directly to the charity, and you must itemize your deductions on your tax return. Here is a brief rundown of some possible deductions.

* Volunteers...

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2015 HSA Contribution Limits Announced

September 2, 2014

The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted contribution limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) for 2015. HSAs allow taxpayers with high-deductible health insurance plans to set aside pretax dollars that can be withdrawn tax-free to pay unreimbursed medical expenses. The 2015 contribution limit for individuals is $3,350; the limit for family coverage is $6,650. A catch-up...

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September 15 Tax Deadlines for Business

August 26, 2014

September 15 is an important tax filing deadline for partnerships and corporations. It's the filing deadline for 2013 tax returns for calendar-year corporations that received an automatic extension of the March 17 filing deadline. It's also the filing deadline for 2013 partnership tax returns that received an extension of the April 15 filing deadline. If you need assistance,

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How to Go into Business with Your Spouse and Succeed

August 19, 2014

Starting and running a business is rarely a safe or simple process, and doing so with one's spouse creates an additional layer of complexity. Whether that complexity will have a positive or negative effect depends on several factors. Here are some of the questions you need to discuss before going into business with your spouse.

* How well do you work together at home? If you...

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Avoid Five Common Mistakes in Your 401(k) Plan

August 12, 2014

Participating in a 401(k) or similar retirement plan is a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement. If you have the option of participating in a 401(k) plan, avoid these five common mistakes.

* Failing to participate fully. Too many employees opt out of the plan or don't contribute as much as they can afford. At a minimum, try to set aside enough to receive the...

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Will Business Growth Bring More Profits?

August 5, 2014

Question: My business has not been growing but it seems as though I add more people and equipment without increasing my net profit. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: Let's see what happens in a typical company as the business grows. Suppose that a company is netting $50,000 on total sales of $1,000,000 (a 5% net profit). If this company has a 40% gross profit (on items sold), a...

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Consider Tax Filing Status if You're Divorcing

July 29, 2014

It's difficult enough to think about taxes under normal circumstances. Finding yourself amid a divorce action can make this task even more daunting. A little planning, however, may ease this burden. Consider, for example, the following ideas about your tax filing status if your divorce isn't final by December 31, 2014.

Advantages of filing a joint tax return. It is often better,...

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IRS Posts "Taxpayer Bill of Rights"

July 22, 2014

The IRS has just issued a "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" that you should be aware of.

The Rights are divided into ten main categories. According to this "cornerstone" document you have The Right:

  • to be informed
  • to quality service
  • to pay no more than the correct amount of tax
  • to challenge the IRS's position and be heard
  • to appeal an...


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More About Your 2013 Tax Return

July 15, 2014

Once you have filed your 2013 tax return, you may still have a few tax questions. The IRS provides these answers to commonly asked questions.

* How can I check the status of my refund?

You can go online to check on your refund. Go to www.irs.gov and click on "where's my refund?" Or call 1-800-829-4477 for automated refund information available 24 hours...



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Worthless Stock and Tax Timing

July 8, 2014

In the last few years, you may have purchased stock in a dot-com that's now out of business, or in another company whose share price is now just pennies. Does this mean you can take a tax loss for a worthless security? Here's a quick look at the rules.

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Take Some of the Sting Out of a 401(k) Loan

July 1, 2014

When your financial situation leaves you no other choice but to borrow from your 401(k), there are a few things you can do to make the situation better. Consider withdrawing the funds from the cash or fixed-rate portion of your plan's portfolio. This may leave higher-earning investments at work. Try to pay off...

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Hiring Family in the Family Business Can Cut Taxes

June 24, 2014

As the summertime school vacation season approaches, young family members may be looking for a job – and having a hard time finding one. Hire them in your family business, and you get a double benefit: helping the kids gain valuable experience and garnering tax breaks for your company.

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Selling Vacant Land Could Bring a Tax Break

June 17, 2014

You probably know that you can exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for most joint filers) when you sell your principal residence. IRS regulations may now allow you to apply this gain exclusion when you sell vacant land that is adjacent to your home.

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Classify Workers Properly

June 10, 2014

Don't subject your business to tax penalties by misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor. The IRS is aware that employers prefer to treat workers as independent contractors to avoid paying fringe benefits and payroll taxes. If you're not absolutely sure how to treat a given worker,

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Employee Attitudes Affect Customer Service

June 10, 2014

The quality of the customer service your company provides will have an effect on the net profit of your business.

Even with the best of intentions, many companies only give lip service to this very critical area. It is necessary that every employee be tuned in to how he or she can contribute to outstanding customer service – the kind of customer service...

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Don't Overload on Company Stock

June 3, 2014

Don't invest too much of your 401(k) plan contributions in your company's stock. Remember, even if the company is doing well now, things can change. And if the worst happens and you lose your job, you don't want to lose your retirement savings too. If your employer used company stock for the matching...

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Should You Incorporate Your Business?

May 27, 2014

One of the first decisions you face as a new business owner is whether or not to incorporate the business. The biggest advantage of incorporating is limitation of your liability. Your responsibility for debts and other liabilities incurred by a corporation is generally limited to the assets of the business....

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IRS Issues "Repair Regulations"

May 20, 2014

The IRS has issued regulations intended to clarify for businesses which costs related to fixed assets must be capitalized and which can be expensed currently. Included in the regulations are several safe harbors that make the capitalize-or-expense decision easier for small businesses. If your company owns or...

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Study Reveals Retirement Concerns

May 13, 2014

A recent study conducted by Harris Interactive of 1,000 middle class individuals aged 25 to 75 revealed some interesting statistics about retirement attitudes.

 

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Adjust Your 2014 Investment Strategy with an Eye on Taxes

May 6, 2014

As you investigate opportunities for managing your investment portfolio in 2014, remember to pause and plan for the effect of tax laws. Here are some important rules to consider.

 

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IRS Publishes Business Vehicle Deduction Limits for 2014

April 29, 2014

The IRS has published depreciation limits for business vehicles first placed in service this year.

50%...

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myRA Pilot Program Announced

April 22, 2014

Watch for details on a new retirement savings account called the myRA. The Treasury Department has been instructed to begin a pilot program for this new savings vehicle by the end of 2014. The myRA (my retirement account), would let workers open individual retirement accounts with as little as $25 that invest in government bonds. Contributions would not be...

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Do You Need Life Insurance on Your Children?

April 17, 2014

Ask whether you should carry life insurance on your children and you'll receive a variety of answers. Here's a look at the arguments for and against.

 

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Who Owes Self-Employment Tax?

April 15, 2014

If you earned $400 or more of net profit during 2013 from work as a sole proprietor or independent contractor, you may owe self-employment tax. That's true no matter what your age – even if you're receiving social security benefits.

The tax is assessed on your net earnings from self-employment, which can include income from qualified joint ventures and...

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Deductions for Business Travel Expenses Need Support

April 8, 2014

If you intend to deduct business travel expenses on your income tax return, keep adequate records. If you are later audited, you will be able to substantiate your deductions. Your oral summary of your business expenses will not hold up to an IRS audit....

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Notify the IRS About Name Changes

April 1, 2014

If you or a dependent had a name change last year, notify the Social Security Administration before you file your 2013 tax return with the IRS. Why? If the name on your tax return does not match SSA records, the IRS is likely to notify you about the mismatch. Any refund you expected could be delayed. So if marriage, divorce, or child adoption resulted in a name change,...

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Be Aware of Tax Season Scams

March 25, 2014

The IRS is urging taxpayers to be aware that tax-related scams using the IRS's name become more frequent at this time of year. Here are the suggestions the IRS offers that can help protect against scams and identity theft. 

• Don't carry your social security card or any documents that include your social security or...

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Rule for Deducting Medical Expenses Has Changed

March 18, 2014

You may be familiar with the old tax rule that let you take an itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses that exceeded 7½% of your adjusted gross income. For 2013 and future years, the income threshold increases to 10% for taxpayers under age 65. Those 65 and older may continue to use the 7½% threshold through the...

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Take a Different Route to a Roth IRA

March 12, 2014

If your income exceeds certain levels, you cannot make contributions to a Roth IRA. However, you can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA no matter how high your income. Roth IRAs are popular because qualifying distributions are tax-free and annual distributions are not required at age 70½. A conversion to a Roth is a taxable...

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Health Insurance Tax Credits are Good Medicine for Small Businesses

March 4, 2014

Small businesses may be missing out on an important new tax perk related to health insurance. And the stakes are even higher in 2014. 

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IRS Alerts Taxpayers to Latest Tax Scam

February 25, 2014

The IRS has issued a warning about the latest phone scam. The caller claims to be from the IRS and tells the intended victims they owe taxes which must be paid immediately with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. Individuals who don't pay up are threatened with arrest or loss of their business or driver's...

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Tax Planning for 2014 Starts Now

January 30, 2014

Looking forward or looking back as a tax strategy?  Click on the TAX PLANNING LETTER LINK below for tax saving ideas.

The beginning of the year offers a unique opportunity for your tax planning:  the opportunity to look back over last year as you gather your documents for 2013 tax return preparation and looking ahead in 2014 to determine what you can repeat or...

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KEY 2014 TAX NUMBERS

January 8, 2014

 WAGES

SOCIAL SECURITY taxable wage limit increases from 2013
limit of $113,700 to $117,000 for 2014. Retirees under
full...

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Are you doing all you can to save taxes in 2013 - and beyond?

December 27, 2013

To help you make the most of the tax savings opportunities available to you, we're pleased to introduce our online Tax Planning Guide.  It discusses key tax law changes and presents time-tested strategizes for minimizing your tax liabilities and achieving your financial goals.

Tax planning this year will be just as challenging as last year and it seems there is no end in...

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May the Blessings of this Christmas Season...

December 19, 2013

TreeOnBeachMay the blessings of this Christmas Season last throughout your whole year.

We wish you a holiday season filled with happiness and a New Year filled with peace and prosperity.

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IMPORTANT 1099 INFORMATION

December 4, 2013

 Are you aware of the IRS regulations for Forms 1065, 1120, 1120S and 1040 Schedule C (Self-Employment) for the 2013 tax year?

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Plan for the return of some tax break phase-outs

November 25, 2013

 Are you familiar with PEP and Pease? Though they sound like a pop duo, the terms refer to tax rules known as phase-outs that can impact how much federal income tax you owe.

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2013 Medicare Tax Reminder

November 22, 2013

As we move closer to the end of the year,  we  wanted to remind you that beginning January 1, 2013, employers are responsible for withholding an additional 0.9% Medicare tax from an employee's wages and compensation paid over $200,000 in a calendar year.   If you have  employees who are subject to Medicare tax, now is a good time to...

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2014 Inflation Adjusted Amounts Announced

November 11, 2013

The IRS has just released a number of inflation adjusted amount for 2014:

 Net unearned income on a child’s return subject to "kRead More...

Our New Website

November 5, 2013

We are excited to announce the launch of our firm’s new website. We’ve been working very hard to enhance our presence on the web, and we continue to research and identify the latest and greatest technologies to improve the services we provide and how we can best utilize them to better serve you.

Take a moment to look around our website and review some of our advanced features....

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