Tuesday, June 19, 2018

GETTING SUMMER HELP? CLASSIFY PROPERLY

Don't subject your business to tax penalties by misclassifying employees and independent contractors. You can avoid misclassification by understanding how the law defines employment (we can help you with this), and by creating and following work-habit guidelines. Thoroughly review your work arrangement not only at the beginning of professional relationships, but regularly to ensure both you and your employee are on the same page

Friday, June 15, 2018

DON'T FORGET YOUR MIDYEAR TAX-PLANNING


Can you believe 2018 is already half over? If you haven't thought about your 2018 tax situation yet, it's time to do so. At this point, you should have a good idea what your income and deductions will be. With all the big tax law changes that take effect this year, you need to start planning now if any of them will impact you.

Don't procrastinate or you could end up paying more tax in 2018 than necessary. Contact us at (518) 798-3330 to schedule your midyear review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

ARE BUSINESS MEALS STILL DEDUCTIBLE?

Deducting business meals with clients is no longer so clear-cut following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That's because meals are still 50% deductible, but entertainment isn't. Make sure you make a clear distinction between entertainment and meals by keeping an expense log documenting the business purpose of each meal.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A NEW CREDIT FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS


Starting this year, employers can take advantage of a new credit for paid family and medical leave created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Employers may claim the credit based on wages paid to employees while they are on leave for the birth of a child, a serious health condition, and other family and medical events.
The credit is a percentage (ranging between 12.5 percent to 25 percent) of the amount of wages paid to an employee while on family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks.

The credit is set to expire after the 2019 tax year, however, so keep this in mind for long-term planning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

CONSIDERING DIVORCE? THINK ABOUT YOUR TAX FILING STATUS

If you're thinking about divorce, you should also be considering what tax filing status you should choose. Here's why.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

WHY A BUSINESS APPRAISAL MAY BE YOUR BEST FRIEND

There are a lot of ways a business appraisal can help business owners. Take a look at why you should consider getting one.

Monday, May 21, 2018

DON'T LET SCANT TAX RECORDS BE YOUR DOWNFALL


Generally, returns can be audited up to three years after filing. However, if income is underreported by more than 25 percent, the IRS can collect underpaid taxes up to six years later. In other words, you need good records to verify what you report on your tax return, and you should hang on to those records for seven years

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

MAKE SURE YOUR TAX WITHHOLDING IS RIGHT FOR YOU

If you receive a sizable refund of your 2017 taxes, it may be time for you to check your withholding. Reducing your withholding is as simple as filing a new Form W-4 with your employer. The form comes with a worksheet to figure out how many allowances you should claim. Don't forget to allow for other taxable income besides wages, such as dividends or investment gains.

Monday, May 14, 2018

DON'T FORGET TO DOCUMENT YOUR SPRING CLEANING DONATIONS

If spring cleaning has left you with items that you want to donate to charity, remember that donations of used clothing and household items must generally meet certain requirements to be tax-deductible. First, such items must be in "good used condition or better." Second, a receipt from the charity is required. If a receipt is not available (such as at unattended drop-off locations), reliable written records are still required.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

HOME EQUITY LOAN INTEREST DEDUCTIBILITY HAS CHANGED

Congress cracked the whip on home equity interest tax deductions in 2018. Now, only loans used to buy, build or improve your home will be deductible. That means if you used a home equity loan to consolidate debt or fund a purchase that was not related to your home, you can no longer deduct the interest.

Friday, May 4, 2018

DON'T GET HOOKED BY A PHISHING SCAM


This year, the IRS ranked email phishing schemes as a top tax scam to make the yearly Dirty Dozen list. This type of scam targets taxpayers as well as tax professionals by using fake emails and bogus websites to collect sensitive taxpayer information.
The best way to avoid scams now and throughout the year is to keep in mind that the IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers via email, phone or text to request personal or financial information. If you get unsolicited email from what appears to be the IRS or an organization related to the IRS, report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

DO YOU NEED TO TAKE AN RMD? APRIL 1 MIGHT BE AN IMPORTANT DATE FOR YOU


April 1 is the last day you can take your required minimum distribution (RMD) for 2017 from your traditional IRAs. If you reached age 70½ last year, this is a big deal.

Monday, March 19, 2018

PUTTING YOUR TAX REFUND INTO A RETIREMENT ACCOUNT?

Considering depositing your tax refund into your retirement account? Make sure no snafus happen along the way.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

IF YOU DONATED MONEY TO CHARITY, YOU'LL NEED THESE RECORDS


If you plan on deducting charitable contributions on your 2017 tax return, you'll need to have certain records. Gifts by check or credit/debit card must have written documentation showing the contribution amount and date, as well as the name of the organization you gave to. If the contribution is more than $250, you'll also need a written acknowledgement from the charity created at the time you made the donation.
If you receive something in return for donating, you can deduct only the difference between the contribution amount and the value of the benefit you received in return. Give us a call  at (518) 798-3330 if you have questions about deducting your charitable contributions.

Monday, March 12, 2018

GONE: UNREIMBURSED EXPENSES DEDUCTION FOR EMPLOYEES


If you're an employee who has deducted unreimbursed job expenses in the past, know that this deduction is now no longer available under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, employers can consider reimbursing employees directly for the cost of expenses like tools, uniforms, travel or continuing education. Employers can still deduct those expenses on their business returns. Ask your employer about reimbursement.

Monday, March 5, 2018

ARE YOU A CAREGIVER? THESE TAX BREAKS MAY BE HELPFUL


Those who care for people who are sick, elderly or disabled are often up against a lot of challenges. Fortunately, there may be a handful of tax breaks that can help. They include the medical expense deduction, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the new family credit in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Give us a call at (518) 798-3330 if you have questions.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

MORE TAX BREAKS AVAILABLE FOR 2017 TAX RETURNS

Several tax breaks were revived for use in 2017 tax filing by last month's federal budget bill. Among them are four you may be able to take advantage of: the tuition and fees deduction, the mortgage insurance deduction, the mortgage debt forgiveness exclusion and the energy-efficient home improvement credit. Give us a call at (518) 798-3330 if these tax breaks should be considered for your 2017 tax return.

Friday, February 9, 2018

DON'T SAY YES TO A REVERSE MORTGAGE UNTIL YOU READ THIS


You've likely heard the good and the bad about reverse mortgages. But what's real? Before you consider this strategy, consider a few key components.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

IS YOUR BUSINESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO PAYROLL FRAUD?

Although you may not want to hear it, all businesses can be hit with payroll fraud. Find out how it happens and what you can do about it.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

DO YOU HAVE A HOUSEHOLD EMPLOYEE? DON'T IGNORE THE NANNY TAX


It's simple enough to overlook this tax related to household employees. But you could be in trouble if you do. Here's why you'd better pay attention to the nanny tax.

Monday, January 29, 2018

YOUR TAX-TIME FINANCIAL REVIEW

It's the new year … and that means it's time to review your financial affairs. Take advantage of all of that top-of-mind tax-time knowledge and increase your changes of a fiscally sound 2018.

Friday, January 26, 2018

KEEP GOOD RECORDS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

Brokers are required to report your cost basis to the IRS. Without good recordkeeping, you may not be able to prove you were overtaxed because of incorrect basis reporting by your broker. You can avoid problems caused by errors in reporting by keeping detailed records of every transaction. Work with your broker to ensure your records match with the information he or she is reporting to the IRS.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

AVOID HIGH RMD PENALTIES

Required minimum distribution (RMD) rules are pretty strict. If you don't want to face a hefty fine, you must withdraw a certain amount of money every year from tax-deferred retirement plans like 401(k)s  and traditional IRAs after you reach age 70½.  The withdrawals you make are then taxed as ordinary income. Not following these rules can lead to a penalty equal to 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn, plus regular tax.

BUSINESS OWNERS: FORMS DUE JAN. 31


Don't forget that Jan. 31 is an important due date if you own a business, or have a side business in addition to your regular job.
 
Avoid fines by making sure Forms W-2 and 1099-MISC are postmarked or sent electronically by this date to the IRS as well to the people you did business with in 2017. Remember, you may face separate fines for each late form. The Jan. 31 deadline for these forms was unified as part of the IRS's larger effort to minimize refund fraud.

Monday, January 15, 2018

UPDATE YOUR MILEAGE RATE REIMBURSEMENTS


If you plan on using your vehicle for business, medical appointments or moving during 2018, make sure you know the standard mileage rates have changed. The standard business mileage rate increased to 54.5 cents per mile (up from 53.5 cents in 2017). The medical and moving rates also increased by 1 cent, to 18 cents per mile. Charitable rates remain at 14 cents per mile.

Friday, January 5, 2018

IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR BENEFICIARY LIST


Simply said, your beneficiary designations are important. It's just as important to keep your list up to date. Consider making it a priority or things might not go as you planned.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

YOUR BUSINESS YEAR-END HEALTH CHECK


Just like people, businesses need yearly checkups. Follow these seven suggestions and take some time this December to look into the health of your business.