Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Bookkeeping Tips: Tax Preparation Checklist

April 1, 2011

It is that time of year again and it is so important to have a plan in place when you file your taxes. You may need to consult with an accountant or bookkeeper. You may need to inquire about which deductions are the most advantageous for your situation. You may need to make sure you are not missing important pieces of paperwork. The simple tax preparation checklist below will get you started and on track.

1. Do you have copies of your W-2’s or 1099’s? There may also be additional paperwork related to investments of any kind that must be filed. If you are not sure ask an expert. .

2. Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule time with your accountant or bookkeeper. This time of year is crazy for people in the financial industry and you will want to make sure they have time to assist you. Last minute pressures can sometimes lead to hasty decisions.

3. Keep up on any tax credits you can take advantage of or ask an expert. New tax bills are always being passed and it can be confusing. The IRS website is a great resource for helping you stay up to date on the current tax laws. Of course there is no substitute for hiring a trustworthy accountant to stay on top of all the details.

4. If you are a W-2 employee there are deductions you can take advantage of. Ask your accountant about these and what you need to do. If you are self-employed there are a wide variety of deductions that can work for you. Be sure and keep all business related receipts and ask your accountant or bookkeeper what expenses can be used as deductions.

5. Compare itemizing your deductions vs. not itemizing them and see which scenario provides the best result for you. Again if you don’t know how to evaluate this then hire an expert.

6. Double check any exemptions you are claiming.

7. Check your eligibility for tax credits such as the child tax credit, adoption credit, education credits, etc.

8. Will you file electronically? Make sure you have everything you need in order to do so.

9. If you are a business or self-employed be prepared to make your tax payments on time.

10. Have a massage or night off planned once your taxes are done! Nothing is complete without a celebration. Enjoy that fact that another year has gone by and you have managed your finances.

Happy tax season!

 

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Bookkeeping Tips: Commmon Tax Questions

March 25, 2011

Every year tax questions pile up, not only for individuals but also for businesses. It is essential that you complete thorough research and if necessary consult an expert, such as a bookkeeper or accountant.

The IRS website provides a list of frequently asked questions for anyone to review and use as a guideline when working on personal or business taxes.

FAQs from the IRS

Find answers to the following questions:

What are the tax changes for this year?
What are itemized and standard deductions?
How to manage Social Security Income?
What are child care credits?
Earned Income Tax Credits explained.
Information on IRAs.
Electronic filing how to’s.

 

Bookkeeping Tips: Filing Your Taxes after April 15th

March 25, 2011

Protocol for Filing Taxes After the 15th

What do you do if you can’t meet the IRS filing deadline? How to file an extension on your 2010 tax return.

The federal tax return filing deadline for tax year 2010 is Monday, April 18, 2011

If you miss the deadline and do not file for an extension, it’s very important to file your taxes as soon as possible. One way to file that is fast and easy is to use TurboTax. TurboTax offers some great tips on how to file your extension and what details you must remember in order to comply with IRS requirements.

Why file for an extension?

Filing an extension automatically pushes back the tax filing deadline until the fall and helps you avoid late-filing fees.

If you file an extension by April 18, 2011 you have 6 months. The late filing deadline is October 17, 2011. Keep in mind an extension of time to file does not mean you are not responsible for paying your taxes. If you owe money you are expected to pay by the April deadline, but paperwork can be filed as late as Oct. as mentioned above.

If you don’t ask for an extension the consequences differ depending on whether you owe the IRS money or the IRS owes you a refund.

If you expect a refund and are correct there is no penalty for failing to file your tax return by the deadline, even if you don’t ask for an extension.

Ask your accountant or bookkeeper if an extension is right for you and be sure and make your payments on time if you owe the IRS.

To learn more visit TurboTax and read their article on tax filing extensions for 2011.

Bookkeeping Tips: Maximize Your Tax Deductions

March 25, 2011

Understanding tax deductions can be difficult. Each year IRS tax law changes and knowing which itemized tax deductions are legal and offer the greatest potential for reducing tax debt can be nearly impossible for the average person. There are additional non-itemized deductions

According to an article on WalletPop on AOL written by Kelly Phillips Erb, “While it’s true that many taxpayers rely on popular itemized deductions, those aren’t the only deductions available. Taxpayers who file a form 1040 may also opt to claim a number of what the IRS calls ‘adjustments to income’ — that’s another way of saying non-itemized deductions. Since deductions reduce your taxable income, they’re a relatively painless way to chip away at your tax bill.”

Erb goes on to explain a variety of ways to maximize your tax deductions

1. Educator Expenses. People working for schools such as teachers (grades K-12), counselors, principals or aides who work in a school at least 900 hours during the school year in 2010 can take a deduction of up to $250 for qualified expenses.

2. Alimony. Alimony payments can be deducted on your federal income tax return. There are parameters to follow so make sure you understand how the alimony payments can be deducted properly.

3. Student Loan Interest Deduction. Anyone paying off college loans can claim interest on a qualified student loan as a deduction. Again be certain to review the tax law so you make certain your loan interest can be legally deducted.

4. Career-Related Moving Expenses. In 2010, if you moved for job or career reasons you may be able to deduct your moving expenses. Ask your accountant or bookkeeper.

5. Health Savings Account Deduction. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are tax-favored accounts that you may be able to take a deduction for those contributions that you make to a HSA during the year.

There are a a variety of ways to maximize your tax deductions. For more information read the rest of “10 Ways to Maximize Your Tax  Deductions Without Itemizing“, by Kelly Phillips Erb on WalletPop.  You can also speak with your bookkeeper or accountant about the options for non-itemized deductions.

Don’t miss Quickbooks News on Twitter

August 2, 2010

If you are looking for a fast and easy way to get answers to your Quickboooks questions make sure you follow @QuickbooksNews on Twitter. Keep up with all the latest news and find out about new versions of Quickbooks and other complimentary financial tracking and bookkeeping tools.