July 4, 2017

Deducting Losses from a Disaster

The IRS wants taxpayers to know it stands ready to help in the event of a disaster. If a taxpayer suffers damage to their home or personal property, they may be able to deduct the loss they incur on their federal income tax return. If their area receives a federal disaster designation, they may be able to claim the loss sooner. Ordinarily, a deduction is available only if the loss is major and not covered by insurance or other reimbursements. Here are 10 tips taxpayers should know for deducting losses from a disaster: 1. Casualty loss. A taxpayer may be able to deduct a loss based on the damage done to their property during a disaster. A casualty is a sudden, unexpected or unusual event. This may include natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes. It can also include losses from fires, accidents, thefts or vandalism. 2. Normal wear and tear. A casualty loss does not include losses from normal wear and tear. It does not include progressive deterioration from age or termite damage. 3. Covered by insurance. If a taxpayer insured their property, they must file a timely claim for reimbursement of their loss. If they don’t, they […]
June 27, 2017

Taxpayer Bill of Rights

Every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights. You should be aware of these rights when you interact with the Internal Revenue Service. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights takes the many existing rights in the tax code and groups them into 10 broad categories. That makes them easier to find and to understand. You can find a list of your rights and the IRS’s obligations to protect them in Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer. Taxpayer Bill of Rights The Right to Be Informed. Taxpayers have the right to know what they need to do to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices, and correspondence. They have the right to be informed of IRS decisions about their tax accounts and to receive clear explanations of the outcomes. The Right to Quality Service. Taxpayers have the right to receive prompt, courteous, and professional assistance in their dealings with the IRS, to be spoken to in a way they can easily understand, to receive clear and easily understandable communications from the IRS and to speak to a supervisor about inadequate service. The Right to Pay […]
June 16, 2017
should i use a roth or traditional

How a Properly Planned 401k Can Lower Your Taxes?

If you participate in a qualified 401k plan, you’re among millions of Americans utilizing this option for retirement planning. These plans are a great way to stock away pre-tax dollars to fund your future lifestyle once you retire. A properly planned 401k can also represent an excellent benefit for a business owner as well. Here’s how. The Scenario We recently met with small business clients, along with their CPA. This particular client generates around two-and-a-half million dollars in gross revenue a year. The owners, a husband and wife team, each earn $75,000 a year in W-2 wages, and the business saw a profit of just over $297,000, which is split 50/50 between them. They’re frugal with their money, carrying no debt and spending roughly $6,000 a month on living expenses. This has been the key to their success. The Before and After They’re making almost $450,000 a year in taxable income. Before they incorporated 401k planning into their business model, it wasn’t unusual for them to get tax bills ranging from $150,000 to $180,000 a year. Now, with their 401k plan in place, their combined tax bill was $63,000. We placed $106,000 of their income into the plan. Utilizing employee […]
May 30, 2017
Scams targeting taxpayers

Scams Targeting Taxpayers

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scams Aggressive and sophisticated phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. Scammers tend to know a lot about their targets, and usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They tell victims they owe money to the IRS and it to pay immediately. They often insist the payment is with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due too, trying to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request. Please See: Consumer Alert: Scammers Change Tactics, Once Again Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For more details see the IRS YouTube video: Tax […]