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- TAXABLE VS. TAX-ADVANTAGED: WHERE TO HOLD INVESTMENTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 18 2019

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When investing for retirement or other long-term goals, people usually prefer tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s or 403(b)s. Certain assets are well suited to these accounts, but it may make more sense to hold other investments in traditional taxable accounts.

Know the rules

Some investments, such as fast-growing stocks, can generate substantial capital gains, which may occur when you sell a security for more than you paid for it.

If you’ve owned that position for over a year, you face long-term gains, taxed at a maximum rate of 20%. In contrast, short-term gains, assessed on holding periods of a year or less, are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate — maxing out at 37%. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)

Choose tax efficiency

Generally, the more tax efficient an investment, the more benefit you’ll get from owning it in a taxable account. Conversely, investments that lack tax efficiency normally are best suited to tax-advantaged vehicles.

Consider municipal bonds (“munis”), either held individually or through mutual funds. Munis are attractive to tax-sensitive investors because their income is exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes state and local income taxes. Because you don’t get a double benefit when you own an already tax-advantaged security in a tax-advantaged account, holding munis in your 401(k) or IRA would result in a lost opportunity.

Similarly, tax-efficient investments such as passively managed index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, or long-term stock holdings, are generally appropriate for taxable accounts. These securities are more likely to generate long-term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. Securities that generate more of their total return via capital appreciation or that pay qualified dividends are also better taxable account options.

Take advantage of income

What investments work best for tax-advantaged accounts? Taxable investments that tend to produce much of their return in income. This category includes corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are required to pass through most of their earnings as shareholder income. Most REIT dividends are nonqualified and therefore taxed at your ordinary-income rate.

Another tax-advantaged-appropriate investment may be an actively managed mutual fund. Funds with significant turnover — meaning their portfolio managers are actively buying and selling securities — have increased potential to generate short-term gains that ultimately get passed through to you. Because short-term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains, these funds would be less desirable in a taxable account.

Get specific advice

The above concepts are only general suggestions. Please contact our firm for specific advice on what may be best for you.

Sidebar: Doing due diligence on dividends

If you own a lot of income-generating investments, you’ll need to pay attention to the tax rules for dividends, which belong to one of two categories:

  • Qualified. These dividends are paid by U.S. corporations or qualified foreign corporations. Qualified dividends are, like long-term gains, subject to a maximum tax rate of 20%, though many people are eligible for a 15% rate. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)
  • Nonqualified. These dividends — which include most distributions from real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — receive a less favorable tax treatment. Like short-term gains, nonqualified dividends are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Alert: Planning to travel outside of the U.S. this year? Don’t risk a passport revocation - arrange to settle large IRS debts now

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service is urging taxpayers to resolve their significant tax debts, $50,000 or more, to avoid putting their passports in jeopardy. If you owe $50,000 or more and haven’t made payment arrangements, please contact the IRS now to avoid travel delays later.

Why is the State Department allowed to limit or revoke my passport due to unpaid taxes?

In December 2015, Congress passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That act authorized the IRS to certify to the State Department taxpayers who owe a seriously delinquent tax debt. A seriously delinquent tax debt is an unpaid, legally enforceable federal tax debt totaling more than $50,000 (Please note that this amount is adjusted annually for inflation.) for which a notice of federal tax lien has been filed and all administrative remedies under IRC § 6320 have lapsed or been exhausted, or a levy has been issued. The IRS began certifying these debts to the State Department in 2018. Under the law, the State Department must deny your passport application and may revoke or limit your passport if the IRS has certified you as having a seriously delinquent tax debt. A seriously delinquent tax debt does not include non-tax debts collected by the IRS, such as the FBAR penalty and child support.

When will my seriously delinquent tax debt be certified to the State Department?

The IRS already began certifying certain taxpayers in phases and will continue certifying all seriously delinquent individual taxpayer accounts. The IRS will send a Notice CP 508C to your last known address at the time it certifies your seriously delinquent tax debt to the State Department.

There are some exceptions from passport certification; see more on denying, revoking passports because of tax debt for a list of those special circumstances. For taxpayers serving in a combat zone and who have a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS will postpone certifying their tax debt to the State Department while they remain performing such service.

In addition, taxpayers who have open cases with the Taxpayer Advocate Service will now temporarily be excepted thanks to TAS’s past advocacy efforts.

How will I know if I’m at risk of revocation?

Before contacting the State Department about revoking your passport, the IRS will send you a Letter 6152, Notice of Intent to Request U.S. Department of State Revoke Your Passport, to let you know what it intends to do and give you another opportunity to resolve the debt before it takes that action.

What should I do if I receive an IRS Notice or Letter about passport revocation?

Don’t delay! Call the IRS immediately or at least within 30 days from the date of the letter. There will be a special telephone number to call listed on the notice or see the IRS Contact information below. Generally, the IRS won’t recommend revoking your passport if you’re making a good-faith attempt to resolve the tax debts. However, some payment resolutions take longer than others, so don’t take a risk by waiting.

If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft which has resulted in your receiving Letter 6152 or other IRS notice concerning your tax debt, use the resources available at Identity Protection: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance to correct your account.

What if I’ve already been certified and my travel plans are in jeopardy?

The IRS has an expedited decertification procedure for taxpayers who live abroad or have plans to travel within 45 days.

If you’re leaving soon for international travel, need to resolve passport issues and have a pending application for a U.S. passport, you should call the phone number listed on top right-hand corner of your Notice CP 508C.

If your passport is cancelled or revoked after you’re certified, you must resolve the tax debt by paying the debt in full, making alternative payment arrangements or showing that the certification was erroneous.

The IRS will reverse your certification within 30 days of the date you resolve the tax debt and provide notification to the State Department as soon as practicable.

However, if you’re unable to resolve your balance with the IRS or your passport issue, the Taxpayer Advocate Service may be able to help.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source : Taxpayer Advocate Service

-DOUBLE UP ON TAX BENEFITS BY DONATING APPRECIATED ARTWORK-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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From a tax perspective, appreciated artwork can make one of the best charitable gifts. Generally, donating appreciated property is doubly beneficial because you can both enjoy a valuable tax deduction and avoid the capital gains taxes you’d owe if you sold the property.

The extra benefit from donating artwork comes from the fact that the top long-term capital gains rate for art and other “collectibles” is 28%, as opposed to 20% for most other appreciated property.

Requirements

The first thing to keep in mind if you’re considering a donation of artwork is that you must itemize deductions to deduct charitable contributions. Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has nearly doubled the standard deduction and put tighter limits on many itemized deductions (but not the charitable deduction), many taxpayers who have itemized in the past will no longer benefit from itemizing.

For 2019, the standard deduction is $12,200 for singles, $18,350 for heads of households and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly. Your total itemized deductions must exceed the applicable standard deduction for you to enjoy a tax benefit from donating artwork.

Something else to be aware of is that most artwork donations require a “qualified appraisal” by a “qualified appraiser.” IRS rules contain detailed requirements about the qualifications an appraiser must possess and the contents of an appraisal.

IRS auditors are required to refer all gifts of art valued at $50,000 or more to the IRS Art Advisory Panel. The panel’s findings are the IRS’s official position on the art’s value, so it’s critical to provide a solid appraisal to support your valuation.

Finally, note that, if you own both the work of art and the copyright to the work, you must assign the copyright to the charity to qualify for a charitable deduction.

Deduction tips

The charity you choose and how the charity will use the artwork can have a significant impact on your tax deduction. Donations of artwork to a public charity, such as a museum or university with public charity status, can entitle you to deduct the artwork’s full fair market value. If you donate art to a private foundation, however, your deduction will be limited to your cost.

For your donation to a public charity to qualify for a full fair-market-value deduction, the charity’s use of the donated artwork must be related to its tax-exempt purpose. If, for example, you donate a painting to a museum for display or to a university’s art history department for use in its research, you’ll satisfy the related-use rule. But if you donate it to, say, a children’s hospital to auction off at its annual fundraising gala, you won’t satisfy the rule.

Careful planning

To reap the maximum tax benefit of donating appreciated artwork, you must plan your gift carefully and follow all applicable rules. Contact us for assistance.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.       

Source: Thomson Reuters                    

-MORTGAGE MATTERS: TO PAY DOWN OR NOT TO PAY DOWN-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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If you’re a homeowner and manage your finances well, you might have extra cash after you’ve paid your monthly bills. What should you do with this extra money? Some would say make additional mortgage payments toward your principal to pay off your mortgage early. Others would say: No, invest those dollars in the stock market!

The decision is very much about risk vs. return. There’s little, if any, risk in prepaying a mortgage, because you already know what your rate of return will be: the interest rate on your mortgage. For instance, if your mortgage interest rate is 4.5%, this would be the return earned by every dollar that goes toward prepayment (not factoring in the mortgage interest deduction if you qualify).

However, if you invest the money in the stock market, you’ll assume much more risk. The level of risk depends on the assets you invest in, but there’s no such thing as a risk-free investment.

Your mortgage interest rate is indeed an important factor. If your rate is relatively low, so is the return from prepaying your mortgage. The final decision for many people comes down to whether they believe they can earn a higher return investing the money than they would prepaying their mortgage.

Clearly there’s the potential to outperform your mortgage interest rate by investing your money for the long term. Remember, though, that the stock market may be volatile in the short term and offers no guarantees.

There’s no single answer to the “pay down the mortgage or invest in the market?” question. We can provide additional, more specific guidance on

making the right decision for you.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

-KNOW A TEACHER? TELL THEM ABOUT THIS TAX BREAK

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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When teachers are setting up their classrooms for the new school year, it’s common for them to pay for a portion of their classroom supplies out of pocket. A special tax break allows these educators to deduct some of their expenses. This educator expense deduction is especially important now due to some changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Old school

Before 2018, employee business expenses were potentially deductible if they were unreimbursed by the employer and ordinary and necessary to the “business” of being an employee. A teacher’s out-of-pocket classroom expenses could qualify.

But these expenses had to be claimed as a miscellaneous itemized deduction and were subject to a 2% of adjusted gross income (AGI) floor. This meant employees, including teachers, could enjoy a tax benefit only if they itemized deductions (rather than taking the standard deduction) and only to the extent that all their deductions subject to the floor, combined, exceeded 2% of their AGI.

Now, for 2018 through 2025, the TCJA has suspended miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% of AGI floor. Fortunately, qualifying educators can still deduct some of their unreimbursed out-of-pocket classroom costs under the educator expense deduction.

New school

Back in 2002, Congress created the above-the-line educator expense deduction because, for many teachers, the 2% of AGI threshold for the miscellaneous itemized deduction was difficult to meet. An above-the-line deduction is one that’s subtracted from your gross income to determine your AGI.

You don’t have to itemize to claim an above-the-line deduction. This is especially significant with the TCJA’s near doubling of the standard deduction, which means fewer taxpayers will benefit from itemizing.

Qualifying elementary and secondary school teachers and other eligible educators (such as counselors and principals) can deduct above the line up to $250 of qualified expenses. If you’re married filing jointly and both you and your spouse are educators, you can deduct up to $500 of unreimbursed expenses — but not more than $250 each.

Qualified expenses include amounts paid or incurred during the tax year for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, the costs of supplies are qualified expenses only if related to athletics.

More details

Some additional rules apply to the educator expense deduction. If you’re an educator or know one who might be interested in this tax break, please contact us for more details.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IS "BUNCHING" MEDICAL EXPENSES STILL FEASIBLE IN 2019?

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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Some medical expenses may be tax deductible, but only if you itemize deductions and you have enough expenses to exceed the applicable floor for deductibility. With proper planning, you may be able to time controllable medical expenses to your tax advantage.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made bunching such expenses beneficial for some taxpayers. At the same time, certain taxpayers who’ve benefited from the medical expense deduction in previous years might no longer benefit because of the TCJA’s increase to the standard deduction.

The changes

Various limits apply to most tax deductions, and one type of limit is a “floor,” which means expenses are deductible only to the extent that they exceed that floor (typically a specific percentage of your income). One example of a tax break with a floor is the medical expense deduction.

Because it can be difficult to exceed the floor, a common strategy is to “bunch” deductible expenses into one year where possible. The TCJA reduced the floor for the medical expense deduction for 2017 and 2018 from 10% to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI).

However, beginning January 1, 2019, taxpayers may once again deduct only the amount of the unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year that exceeds 10% of their AGI. Medical expenses that aren’t reimbursed by insurance or paid through a tax-advantaged account (such as a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account) may be deductible.

Itemized deductions

If your total itemized deductions won’t exceed your standard deduction, bunching medical expenses into 2019 won’t save you tax. The TCJA nearly doubled the standard deduction. For 2019, it’s $12,200 for singles and married couples filing separately, $18,350 for heads of households, and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly.

If your total itemized deductions for 2019 will exceed your standard deduction, then bunching nonurgent medical procedures and other controllable expenses into 2019 may allow you to exceed the floor and benefit from the medical expense deduction. Controllable expenses might include prescription drugs, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, dental work, and some types of elective surgery.

Exploring the concept

As mentioned, bunching doesn’t work for everyone. For help determining whether you could benefit, please contact us.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAXABLE VS. TAX-ADVANTAGED: WHERE TO HOLD INVESTMENTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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When investing for retirement or other long-term goals, people usually prefer tax-advantaged accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s or 403(b)s. Certain assets are well suited to these accounts, but it may make more sense to hold other investments in traditional taxable accounts.

Know the rules

Some investments, such as fast-growing stocks, can generate substantial capital gains, which may occur when you sell a security for more than you paid for it.

If you’ve owned that position for over a year, you face long-term gains, taxed at a maximum rate of 20%. In contrast, short-term gains, assessed on holding periods of a year or less, are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate — maxing out at 37%. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)

Choose tax efficiency

Generally, the more tax efficient an investment, the more benefit you’ll get from owning it in a taxable account. Conversely, investments that lack tax efficiency normally are best suited to tax-advantaged vehicles.

Consider municipal bonds (“munis”), either held individually or through mutual funds. Munis are attractive to tax-sensitive investors because their income is exempt from federal income taxes and sometimes state and local income taxes. Because you don’t get a double benefit when you own an already tax-advantaged security in a tax-advantaged account, holding munis in your 401(k) or IRA would result in a lost opportunity.

Similarly, tax-efficient investments such as passively managed index mutual funds or exchange-traded funds, or long-term stock holdings, are generally appropriate for taxable accounts. These securities are more likely to generate long-term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. Securities that generate more of their total return via capital appreciation or that pay qualified dividends are also better taxable account options.

Take advantage of income

What investments work best for tax-advantaged accounts? Taxable investments that tend to produce much of their return in income. This category includes corporate bonds, especially high-yield bonds, as well as real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are required to pass through most of their earnings as shareholder income. Most REIT dividends are nonqualified and therefore taxed at your ordinary-income rate.

Another tax-advantaged-appropriate investment may be an actively managed mutual fund. Funds with significant turnover — meaning their portfolio managers are actively buying and selling securities — have increased potential to generate short-term gains that ultimately get passed through to you. Because short-term gains are taxed at a higher rate than long-term gains, these funds would be less desirable in a taxable account.

Get specific advice

The above concepts are only general suggestions. Please contact our firm for specific advice on what may be best for you.

Sidebar: Doing due diligence on dividends

If you own a lot of income-generating investments, you’ll need to pay attention to the tax rules for dividends, which belong to one of two categories:

  • Qualified. These dividends are paid by U.S. corporations or qualified foreign corporations. Qualified dividends are, like long-term gains, subject to a maximum tax rate of 20%, though many people are eligible for a 15% rate. (Note: These rates don’t account for the possibility of the 3.8% net investment income tax.)
  • Nonqualified. These dividends — which include most distributions from real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — receive a less favorable tax treatment. Like short-term gains, nonqualified dividends are taxed at your ordinary-income tax rate.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAS TAX TIP: Filing Past Due Tax Returns

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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Did you forget to file your 2018 tax return by April 15, 2019? Have you not filed tax returns for several years?

If the answer is yes to either, here’s some information to help you catch up with your filing requirements. It’s important to file past due tax returns before the IRS does it for you (see Consequences of Not Filing below).

First, figure out if you need to file a federal income tax return or not. If you live outside the United States, see Tax Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Living Abroad. If you are not required to file, you don’t need to do anything further.

Filing a 2018 Tax Return

If you need to file your current year federal income tax return, file it as soon as you are able. There are options for filing, and return preparation assistance available. If you owe money and can’t pay, there are solutions to help with that too.

Filing 2017 or Older Prior Year Tax Returns

Okay, so what if you do need to file, and discover you didn’t file for several past years?

 First, don’t wait to start gathering your income information for each year and then file or find help to file all the returns required. If you need return preparation assistance with a prior year tax return and the IRS has already contacted you about that return, you may be available for assistance from a low income taxpayer clinic.

Consequences of Not Filing

Penalty, interest charges and other pitfalls

If you do need to file and you owe money, filing and paying sooner will generally limit interest charges and penalties, which can otherwise add up significantly.

If you are self-employed and do not file your federal income tax return, any self-employment income you earned will not be reported to the Social Security Administration and you will not receive credits toward Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Loan approvals may also be delayed if you don't file your return.

Loss of refund

The IRS will hold income tax refunds in cases where the IRS’s records show that one or more federal income tax returns are past due. In addition, if you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date or risk losing the refund altogether. The same rule applies to a right to claim tax credits, such as the Earned Income Credit.

The IRS will file for you, but the IRS-filed return may not be as accurate as it should be

If you fail to file voluntarily, at some point the IRS may file a substitute return for you. First, they will send you a Notice of Deficiency proposing a tax assessment, then you will have 90 days to file your past due tax return or file a petition in the United States Tax Court (150 days if the Notice of Deficiency is addressed to you outside the United States). Filing a timely petition allows you to challenge the IRS’s determination without having to pay the liability in advance.

If the IRS files a substitute return, generally the tax the IRS assesses is much higher than if you filed on your own. The reason for that is the IRS is not allowed to determine filing statuses, other than single, for which you may qualify, and the IRS cannot give credit for deductions or exemptions you may be entitled to receive. So, it is in your best interest to file your own tax return.

The IRS will begin enforcement actions

If you do not file a return nor file a petition with the United States Tax Court, then the IRS will proceed with the proposed tax assessment, bill you and, if not paid, begin collection and enforcement actions. This can include such actions as a levy on your wages or bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien. But that’s not all, depending on the amount owed, and in certain instances, your passport can be revoked or denied or your account could be assigned to a private collection agency.

If you repeatedly do not file, you could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and criminal prosecution.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Taxpayer Advocate Service 

-TAS Tax Tip: It’s Time to Check Your Tax Withholding

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service recently launched the new Tax Withholding Estimator, an expanded, mobile-friendly online tool designed to make it easier to have the right amount of tax withheld during the year.

The new Estimator features include:

  • plain language to improve comprehension;
  • ability to move back and forth through the steps and correct previous entries and skip questions that don’t apply;
  • tips and links to help users quickly determine if they qualify for various tax credits and deductions;
  • automatic calculation of the taxable portion of any Social Security benefits;
  • and much more…

In addition, the Tax Withholding Estimator tool makes it easier to enter wages and withholding for more than one job held by each taxpayer, their spouse, as well as separately entering pensions and other sources of income. At the end of the process, it provides specific withholding recommendations for each job and each spouse and clearly explains what to do next.

Why check it at all?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a lot of changes for 2018 and for this year too. One change directly affects the rate at which taxes are withheld from paychecks for last year and again for this year, generally reducing the amount taken out. This change, combined with the other changes, may reduce the amount of an expected refund or may even cause an amount to be owed. But if you check now, you can make any adjustments needed before tax time.

Who should check and when?

It is a good practice for everyone to do a paycheck check-up every year. The earlier in the year that you do, the more accurate you can be when it comes time to file your tax return next year. Whether you did this already or not, it is a good idea to take the few minutes it takes to use the tool – to double check that you won’t be overpaying, or worse, underpaying and end up owing taxes. Checking now allows for several months still to catch-up if the results show you may owe. Keep in mind that the results will only be as accurate as the information you provide.

This tool works for most taxpayers, however, people with more complex tax situations should use the instructions in Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. This includes taxpayers who owe self-employment tax, alternative minimum tax, the tax on unearned income of dependents or certain other taxes, and people with long-term capital gains or qualified dividends.

Plan ahead before trying the Tax Withholding Estimator

Before using this tool, you’ll need to have your latest paycheck handy, and it may help to have last year’s tax return to estimate income from investments or a side job.

What if I don’t have enough withholding or none?

If you think you need to make changes to the amount withheld, the tool gives you the information you need to fill out a new Form W–4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Because this form tells your employer how much you want them to withhold, submit the completed W-4 to your employer as soon as possible to make the changes.

Since our federal income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax system, there are two ways to pay as you go, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. If the amount of income tax withheld from your salary or pension is not enough, if you don’t have any at all, or if you receive income such as interest, dividends, self-employment income, capital gains, prizes and awards, or other income, you may have to make estimated tax payments. Also, if you are in business for yourself, you might need to make estimated tax payments.

What about next year?

The IRS recommends that you also recheck your withholding at the start of 2020. This is especially important if you reduce your withholding sometime during 2019. A mid-year withholding change in 2019 may have a different full-year impact in 2020.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source : Taxpayer Advocate Service 

-THE TAX COST OF DIVORCE HAS RISEN FOR MANY

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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Are you divorced or in the process of divorcing? If so, it’s critical to understand how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has changed the tax treatment of alimony. Unfortunately, for many couples, the news isn’t good — the tax cost of divorce has risen.

What’s changed?

Under previous rules, a taxpayer who paid alimony was entitled to a deduction for payments made during the year. The deduction was “above-the-line,” which was a big advantage, because there was no need to itemize. The payments were included in the recipient spouse’s gross income.

The TCJA essentially reverses the tax treatment of alimony, effective for divorce or separation instruments executed after 2018. In other words, alimony payments are no longer deductible by the payer and are excluded from the recipient’s gross income.

What’s the impact?

The TCJA will likely cause alimony awards to decrease for post-2018 divorces or separations. Paying spouses will argue that, without the benefit of the alimony deduction, they can’t afford to pay as much as under previous rules. The ability of recipients to exclude alimony from income will at least partially offset the decrease, but many recipients will be worse off under the new rules.

For example, let’s say John and Lori divorced in 2018. John is in the 35% federal income tax bracket and Lori is a stay-at-home mom with no income who cares for John and Lori’s two children. The court ordered John to pay Lori $100,000 per year in alimony. He’s entitled to deduct the payments, so the after-tax cost to him is $65,000. Presuming Lori qualifies to file as head of household, and the children qualify for the full child credit, Lori’s net federal tax on the alimony payments (after the child credit) is approximately $8,600, leaving her with $91,400 in after-tax income.

Suppose, under the same circumstances, that John and Lori divorce in 2019. John argues that, without the alimony deduction, he can afford to pay only $65,000, and the court agrees. The payments are tax-free to Lori, but she’s still left with $26,400 less than she would have received under pre-TCJA rules.

The pre-2019 rules can create a tax benefit by reducing the divorced couple’s overall tax liability (assuming the recipient is in a lower tax bracket). The new rules eliminate this tax advantage. Of course, if the recipient is in a higher tax bracket than the payer, a couple is better off under the new rules.

What to do?

If you’re contemplating a divorce or separation, be sure to familiarize yourself with the post-TCJA divorce-related tax rules. Or, if you’re already divorced or separated, determine whether you would benefit by applying the new rules to your alimony payments through a modification of your divorce or separation instrument. (See “What if you’re already divorced?”) We can help you sort out the details.

Sidebar: What if you’re already divorced?

Existing divorce or separation instruments, including those executed during 2018, aren’t affected by the TCJA changes. The previous rules still apply unless a modification expressly provides that the TCJA rules must be followed. However, spouses who would benefit from the TCJA rules — for example, because their relative income levels have changed — may voluntarily apply them if the modification expressly provides for such treatment.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source : Thomson Reuters

PLANNING FOR THE NET INVESTMENT INCOME TAX

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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Despite its name, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) didn’t cut all types of taxes. It left several taxes unchanged, including the 3.8% tax on net investment income (NII) of high-income taxpayers.

You’re potentially liable for the NII tax if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filers and qualifying widows or widowers; $125,000 for married taxpayers filing separately). Generally, MAGI is the same as adjusted gross income. However, it may be higher if you have foreign earned income and certain foreign investments.

To calculate the tax, multiply 3.8% by the lesser of 1) your NII, or 2) the amount by which your MAGI exceeds the threshold. For example, if you’re single with $250,000 in MAGI and $75,000 in NII, your tax would be 3.8% × $50,000 ($250,000 - $200,000), or $1,900.

NII generally includes net income from, among others, taxable interest, dividends, capital gains, rents, royalties and passive business activities. Several types of income are excluded from NII, such as wages, most nonpassive business income, retirement plan distributions and Social Security benefits. Also excluded is the nontaxable gain on the sale of a personal residence.

Given the way the NII tax is calculated, you can reduce the tax either by reducing your MAGI or reducing your NII. To accomplish the former, you could maximize contributions to IRAs and qualified retirement plans. To do the latter, you might invest in tax-exempt municipal bonds or in growth stocks that pay little or no dividends.

There are many strategies for reducing the NII tax. Consult with one of our tax advisors before implementing any of them. And remember that, while tax reduction is important, it’s not the only factor in prudent investment decision-making.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

-YOUR APPEAL RIGHTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 17 2019

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Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, explains some of your most important taxpayer rights. During their contact with taxpayers, IRS employees are required to explain and protect these taxpayer rights, including the right to appeal.

The IRS appeals system is for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or other adjustments to their tax liability. In addition to examinations, you can appeal many other things, including:

  • Collection actions such as liens, levies, seizures, installment agreement terminations and rejected offers-in-compromise
  • Penalties and interest
  • Employment tax adjustments and the trust fund recovery penalty

Appeals conferences are informal meetings. The local Appeals Office, which is independent of the IRS office that proposed the disputed action, can sometimes resolve an appeal by telephone or through correspondence.

The IRS also offers an option called Fast Track Mediation, during which an appeals or settlement officer attempts to help you and the IRS reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Most cases not docketed in court qualify for Fast Track Mediation. You may request Fast Track Mediation at the conclusion of an audit or collection determination, but prior to your request for a normal appeals hearing. Fast Track Mediation is meant to promote the early resolution of a dispute. It doesn't eliminate or replace existing dispute resolution options, including your opportunity to request a conference with a manager or a hearing before Appeals. You may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

When attending an informal meeting or pursuing mediation, you may represent yourself or you can be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or individual enrolled to practice before the IRS.

If you and the IRS appeals officer cannot reach agreement, or if you prefer not to appeal within the IRS, in most cases you may take your disagreement to federal court. But taxpayers can settle most differences without expensive and time-consuming court trials.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-BUSINESS OR HOBBY?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 10 2019

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It is generally accepted that people prefer to make a living doing something they like. A hobby is an activity for which you do not expect to make a profit. If you do not carry on your business or investment activity to make a profit, there is a limit on the deductions you can take. You must include on your return income from an activity from which you do not expect to make a profit. An example of this type of activity is a hobby or a farm you operate mostly for recreation and pleasure. You cannot use a loss from the activity to offset other income. Activities you do as a hobby, or mainly for sport or recreation, come under this limit. So does an investment activity intended only to produce tax losses for the investors.

The limit on not-for-profit losses applies to individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts, and S corporations. For additional information on these entities, refer to business structures. It does not apply to corporations other than S corporations. In determining whether you are carrying on an activity for profit, all the facts are taken into account. No one factor alone is decisive. Among the factors to consider are whether:

  • You carry on the activity in a business-like manner,
  • The time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable,
  • You depend on income from the activity for your livelihood,
  • Your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the start-up phase of your type of business),
  • You change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability,
  • You, or your advisors, have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business,
  • You were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past,
  • The activity makes a profit in some years, and
  • You can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IS NOW THE TIME FOR SOME LIFE INSURANCE?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 09 2019

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Many people reach a point in life when buying some life insurance is highly advisable. Once you determine that you need it, the next step is calculating how much you should get and what kind.

Careful calculations

If the coverage is to replace income and support your family, this starts with tallying the costs that would need to be covered, such as housing and transportation, child care, and education — and for how long. For many families, this will be only until the youngest children are on their own.

Next, identify income available to your family from Social Security, investments, retirement savings and any other sources. Insurance can help bridge any gaps between the expenses to be covered and the income available.

If you’re purchasing life insurance for another reason, the purpose will dictate how much you need:

Funeral costs. An average funeral bill can top $7,000. Gravesite costs typically add thousands more to this number.

Mortgage payoff. You may need coverage equal to the amount of your outstanding mortgage balance.

Estate planning. If the goal is to pay estate taxes, you’ll need to estimate your estate tax liability. If it’s to equalize inheritances, you’ll need to estimate the value of business interests going to each child active in your business and purchase enough coverage to provide equal inheritances to the inactive children.

Term vs. permanent

The next question is what type of policy to purchase. Life insurance policies generally fall into two broad categories: term or permanent.

Term insurance is for a specific period. If you die during the policy’s term, it pays out to the beneficiaries you’ve named. If you don’t die during the term, it doesn’t pay out. It’s typically much less expensive than permanent life insurance, at least if purchased while you’re relatively young and healthy.

Permanent life insurance policies last until you die, so long as you’ve paid the premiums. Most permanent policies build up a cash value that you may be able to borrow against. Over time, the cash value also may reduce the premiums.

Because the premiums are typically higher for permanent insurance, you need to consider whether the extra cost is worth the benefits. It might not be if, for example, you may not require much life insurance after your children are grown.

But permanent life insurance may make sense if you’re concerned that you could become uninsurable, if you’re providing for special-needs children who will never be self-sufficient, or if the coverage is to pay estate taxes or equalize inheritances.

Some comfort

No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind. But you’ll no doubt find some comfort in having a life insurance policy that helps cover your family’s financial needs and plays an important role in your estate plan. Let us help you work out the details.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-ORGANIZATIONAL AND START UP COSTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 09 2019

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Have you just started a new business? Did you know expenses incurred before a business begins operations are not allowed as current deductions? Generally, these start up costs must be amortized over a period of 180 months beginning in the month in which the business begins. However, based on the current tax provisions, you may elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred. The $5,000 deduction is reduced by any start-up or organizational costs which exceed $50,000. If you want to deduct a larger portion of your start up cost in the first year, a new business will want to begin operations as early as possible and hold off incurring some of those expenses until after business begins. Contact us to help determine how you can maximize your deduction for start-up and/or organizational expenses. For additional information on what costs constitute start-up or organizational expenses, refer to IRS publication 535, Business Expenses.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX INCENTIVES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 09 2019

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The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e. you, your spouse, or dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit and the ability to claim the credit phases out at higher income levels.

If you don't qualify for the credit, you may be able to claim the "tuition & fees deduction" for qualified educational expenses. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. This deduction phases out at higher income levels.

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040. However, this deduction is also phased out at higher income levels.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

USE CAPITAL LOSSES TO OFFSET CAPITAL GAINS

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 09 2019

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When is a loss actually a gain? When that loss becomes an opportunity to lower tax liability, of course. Now’s a good time to begin your year-end tax planning and attempt to neutralize gains and losses by year end. To do so, it might make sense to sell investments at a loss in 2018 to offset capital gains that you’ve already realized this year.

Now and later

A capital loss occurs when you sell a security for less than your “basis,” generally the original purchase price. You can use capital losses to offset any capital gains you realize in that same tax year — even if one is short term and the other is long term.

When your capital losses exceed your capital gains, you can use up to $3,000 of the excess to offset wages, interest and other ordinary income ($1,500 for married people filing separately) and carry the remainder forward to future years until it’s used up.

Research and replace

Years ago, investors realized it could be beneficial to sell a security to recognize a capital loss for a given tax year and then — if they still liked the security’s prospects — buy it back immediately. To counter this strategy, Congress imposed the wash sale rule, which disallows losses when an investor sells a security and then buys the same or a “substantially identical” security within 30 days of the sale, before or after.

Waiting 30 days to repurchase a security you’ve sold might be fine in some situations. But there may be times when you’d rather not be forced to sit on the sidelines for a month.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative. With a little research, you might be able to identify a security in the same sector you like just as well as, or better than, the old one. Your solution is now simple and straightforward: Simultaneously sell the stock you own at a loss and buy the competitor’s stock, thereby avoiding violation of the “same or substantially identical” provision of the wash sale rule. You maintain your position in that sector or industry and might even add to your portfolio a stock you believe has more potential or less risk.

If you bought shares of a security at different times, give some thought to which lot can be sold most advantageously. The IRS allows investors to choose among several methods of designating lots when selling securities, and those methods sometimes produce radically different results.

Good with the bad

Investing always carries the risk that you will lose some or even all of your money. But you have to take the good with the bad. In terms of tax planning, you can turn investment losses into opportunities — and potentially end the year on a high note.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-PERSONAL DOCUMENTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 01 2019

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Federal law requires you to maintain copies of your tax returns and supporting documents for three years. This is called the "three-year law" and leads many people to believe they're safe provided they retain their documents for this period of time.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

 

April 15 has come and gone and another year of tax forms and shoeboxes full of receipts is behind us. But what should be done with those documents after your check or refund request is in the mail?

 

Please be aware that if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

Personal Documents To Keep For One Year

While it's important to keep year-end mutual fund and IRA contribution statements forever, you don't have to save monthly and quarterly statements once the year-end statement has arrived.

Personal Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Credit Card Statements
  • Medical Bills (in case of insurance disputes)
  • Utility Records
  • Expired Insurance Policies

Personal Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Supporting Documents For Tax Returns
  • Accident Reports and Claims
  • Medical Bills (if tax-related)
  • Sales Receipts
  • Wage Garnishments
  • Other Tax-Related Bills

Personal Records To Keep Forever

  • CPA Audit Reports
  • Legal Records
  • Important Correspondence
  • Income Tax Returns
  • Income Tax Payment Checks
  • Property Records / Improvement Receipts (or six years after property sold)
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • Retirement and Pension Records (Forms 5448, 1099-R and 8606 until all distributions are made from your IRA or other qualified plan)

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IS NOW THE TIME FOR SOME LIFE INSURANCE?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 30 2019

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Many people reach a point in life when buying some life insurance is highly advisable. Once you determine that you need it, the next step is calculating how much you should get and what kind.

Careful calculations

If the coverage is to replace income and support your family, this starts with tallying the costs that would need to be covered, such as housing and transportation, child care, and education — and for how long. For many families, this will be only until the youngest children are on their own.

Next, identify income available to your family from Social Security, investments, retirement savings and any other sources. Insurance can help bridge any gaps between the expenses to be covered and the income available.

If you’re purchasing life insurance for another reason, the purpose will dictate how much you need:

  • Funeral costs. An average funeral bill can top $7,000. Gravesite costs typically add thousands more to this number.
  • Mortgage payoff. You may need coverage equal to the amount of your outstanding mortgage balance.
  • Estate planning. If the goal is to pay estate taxes, you’ll need to estimate your estate tax liability. If it’s to equalize inheritances, you’ll need to estimate the value of business interests going to each child active in your business and purchase enough coverage to provide equal inheritances to the inactive children.

Term vs. permanent

The next question is what type of policy to purchase. Life insurance policies generally fall into two broad categories: term or permanent.

Term insurance is for a specific period. If you die during the policy’s term, it pays out to the beneficiaries you’ve named. If you don’t die during the term, it doesn’t pay out. It’s typically much less expensive than permanent life insurance, at least if purchased while you’re relatively young and healthy.

Permanent life insurance policies last until you die, so long as you’ve paid the premiums. Most permanent policies build up a cash value that you may be able to borrow against. Over time, the cash value also may reduce the premiums.

Because the premiums are typically higher for permanent insurance, you need to consider whether the extra cost is worth the benefits. It might not be if, for example, you may not require much life insurance after your children are grown.

But permanent life insurance may make sense if you’re concerned that you could become uninsurable, if you’re providing for special-needs children who will never be self-sufficient, or if the coverage is to pay estate taxes or equalize inheritances.

Some comfort

No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind. But you’ll no doubt find some comfort in having a life insurance policy that helps cover your family’s financial needs and plays an important role in your estate plan. Let us help you work out the details.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-NAME MISMATCH = POSSIBLE TAX RETURN REJECTION-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 30 2019

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Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could cause your tax return to be rejected by the IRS.

For newlyweds, the tax scenario can begin when the bride says "I do" and takes her husband's surname, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the SSN.

Similarly, after a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband's name and had made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.

It's easy to inform the SSA of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency's Web site, www.ssa.gov, by calling toll free 1-800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA Web site provides the addresses of local offices.  Alternatively, please contact us as we can be of even greater assistance with your spousal situation.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 30 2019

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When it comes to tax records, some are required to be kept under special circumstances.

However, if the IRS believes you have significantly underreported your income (by 25 percent or more), it may go back six years in an audit. If there is any indication of fraud, or you do not file a return, no period of limitation exists. To be safe, use the following guidelines.

  • Car Records (keep until the car is sold)
  • Credit Card Receipts (keep until verified on your statement)
  • Insurance Policies (keep for the life of the policy)
  • Mortgages / Deeds / Leases (keep 6 years beyond the agreement)
  • Pay Stubs (keep until reconciled with your W-2)
  • Sales Receipts (keep for life of the warranty)
  • Stock and Bond Records (keep for 6 years beyond selling)
  • Warranties and Instructions (keep for the life of the product)
  • Other Bills (keep until payment is verified on the next bill)
  • Depreciation Schedules and Other Capital Asset Records (keep for 3 years after the tax life of the asset)

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR CERTAIN WORKERS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 30 2019

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Millions of Americans forgo critical tax relief each year by failing to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal tax credit for individuals who work but do not earn high incomes. Taxpayers who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund.

The IRS estimates that 25 percent of people who qualify don't claim the credit and at the same time, there are millions of Americans who have claimed the credit in error, many of whom simply don't understand the criteria.

EITC is based on the amount of your earned income and the number of qualifying children in your household. If you have children, they must meet the relationship, age and residency requirements. And, you must file a tax return to claim the credit.

It's easier than ever to find out if you qualify for EITC using the online tool, EITC Assistant. Please contact us for more information!

Are you eligible for any of these tax credits?

Taxpayers should consider claiming tax credits for which they might be eligible when completing their federal income tax returns, advises the IRS. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed. Some credits are refundable – taxes could be reduced to the point that a taxpayer would receive a refund rather than owing any taxes. Below are some of the credits taxpayers could be eligible to claim:

  • Earned Income Tax Credit This is a refundable credit for low-income working individuals and families. Income and family size determine the amount of the EITC. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit. For more information, see IRS Publication 596, Earned Income Credit (EIC).
  • Child Tax Credit This credit is for people who have a qualifying child. The maximum amount of the credit is $2,000 for each qualifying child. This credit can be claimed in addition to the credit for child and dependent care expenses. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, see Pub. 972, Child Tax Credit.
  • Child and Dependent Care Credit This is for expenses paid for the care of children under age 13, or for a disabled spouse or dependent, to enable the taxpayer to work. There is a limit to the amount of qualifying expenses. The credit is a percentage of those qualifying expenses. For more information, see Pub. 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
  • Adoption Credit Adoptive parents can take a tax credit of up to $13,460 for 2016 and $13,570 for 2017 for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. For more information, see Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses.
  • Credit for the Elderly and Disabled This credit is available to individuals who are either age 65 or older or are under age 65 and retired on permanent and total disability, and who are citizens or residents. There are income limitations. For more information, see Pub.524, Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled.
  • Education Credits There are two credits available, the American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) and the Lifetime Learning Credit, for people who pay higher education costs. The American Opportunity Credit is for the payment of the first four years of tuition and related expenses for an eligible student for whom the taxpayer claims an exemption on the tax return. The Lifetime Learning Credit is available for all post-secondary education for an unlimited number of years. A taxpayer cannot claim both credits for the same student in one year. For more information, see Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education.
  • Retirement Savings Contribution Credit Eligible individuals may be able to claim a credit for a percentage of their qualified retirement savings contributions, such as contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA or salary reduction contributions to a SEP or SIMPLE plan. To be eligible, you must be at least age 18 at the end of the year and not a full-time student or an individual for whom someone else claims a personal exemption. Also, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must be below a certain amount. For more information, see chapter three in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

There are other credits available to eligible taxpayers.  Please contact us so we may realize your specific situation, and offer advice.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.                                   

Source: Thomson Reuters

-BUSINESS DOCUMENTS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 20 2019

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Business Documents To Keep For One Year

  • Correspondence with Customers and Vendors
  • Duplicate Deposit Slips
  • Purchase Orders (other than Purchasing Department copy)
  • Receiving Sheets
  • Requisitions
  • Stenographer's Notebooks
  • Stockroom Withdrawal Forms

Business Documents To Keep For Three Years

  • Employee Personnel Records (after termination)
  • Employment Applications
  • Expired Insurance Policies
  • General Correspondence
  • Internal Audit Reports
  • Internal Reports
  • Petty Cash Vouchers
  • Physical Inventory Tags
  • Savings Bond Registration Records of Employees
  • Time Cards For Hourly Employees

Business Documents To Keep For Six Years

  • Accident Reports, Claims
  • Accounts Payable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Schedules
  • Bank Statements and Reconciliations
  • Cancelled Checks
  • Cancelled Stock and Bond Certificates
  • Employment Tax Records
  • Expense Analysis and Expense Distribution Schedules
  • Expired Contracts, Leases
  • Expired Option Records
  • Inventories of Products, Materials, Supplies
  • Invoices to Customers
  • Notes Receivable Ledgers, Schedules
  • Payroll Records and Summaries, including payment to pensioners
  • Plant Cost Ledgers
  • Purchasing Department Copies of Purchase Orders
  • Records related to net operating losses (NOL's)
  • Sales Records
  • Subsidiary Ledgers
  • Time Books
  • Travel and Entertainment Records
  • Vouchers for Payments to Vendors, Employees, etc.
  • Voucher Register, Schedules

Business Records To Keep Forever

While federal guidelines do not require you to keep tax records "forever," in many cases there will be other reasons you'll want to retain these documents indefinitely.

  • Audit Reports from CPAs/Accountants
  • Cancelled Checks for Important Payments (especially tax payments)
  • Cash Books, Charts of Accounts
  • Contracts, Leases Currently in Effect
  • Corporate Documents (incorporation, charter, by-laws, etc.)
  • Documents substantiating fixed asset additions
  • Deeds
  • Depreciation Schedules
  • Financial Statements (Year End)
  • General and Private Ledgers, Year End Trial Balances
  • Insurance Records, Current Accident Reports, Claims, Policies
  • Investment Trade Confirmations
  • IRS Revenue Agent Reports
  • Journals
  • Legal Records, Correspondence and Other Important Matters
  • Minutes Books of Directors and Stockholders
  • Mortgages, Bills of Sale
  • Property Appraisals by Outside Appraisers
  • Property Records
  • Retirement and Pension Records
  • Tax Returns and Worksheets
  • Trademark and Patent Registrations

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-AMENDED RETURNS-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 19 2019

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Oops! You've discovered an error after your tax return has been filed. What should you do? You may need to amend your return.

The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms (such as W-2s) or schedules. In these instances, do not amend your return. However, do file an amended return if any of the following were reported incorrectly:

  • Your filing status
  • Your total income
  • Your deductions or credits

Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a previously filed paper or electronically-filed Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ return. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. If you are amending more than one tax return, use a separate 1040X for each year and mail each in a separate envelope to the IRS processing center for your state. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the centers.

Form 1040X has three columns. Column A is used to show original or adjusted figures from the original return. Column C is used to show the corrected figures. The difference between the figures in Columns A and C is shown in Column B. You should explain the items you are changing and the reason for each change on the back of the form.

If the changes involve another schedule or form, attach it to the 1040X. For example, if you are filing a 1040X because you have a qualifying child and now want to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, you must complete and attach a Schedule EIC to the amended return.

If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund. If you owe additional tax for the prior year, Form 1040X must be filed and the tax paid by April 15 of this year, to avoid any penalty and interest.

You generally must file Form 1040X to claim a refund within three years from the date you filed your original return, or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.  Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-FOR BUSINESS FINANCING, WHAT KINDS OF LOANS EXIST?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 19 2019

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You must know the exact amount of money that you need, what your purpose is and how you will repay it in order to be successful in getting a loan. You must convince the lender in a written proposal that you are a good credit risk.

There are two basic kinds of loans, although terms vary by lender:

Short-term and long-term, maturity periods of up to one year are generally short-term, which include accounts receivable loans, working capital loans and lines of credit.

Maturities greater than a year and less than seven years is a typical long-term loan. Equipment and real estate loans can have maturity up to 25 years. Major business expenses such as purchasing real estate and facilities, durable equipment, construction, vehicles, furniture and fixtures, etc. are a few purposes for long-term loans.                                                

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX SAVING TECHNIQUES-

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 19 2019

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Following are some generally recognized financial planning tools that may help you reduce your tax bill.

Charitable Giving - Instead of selling your appreciated long-term securities, donate the stock instead and avoid paying tax on the unrealized gain while still getting a charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - If you have a high deductible medical plan you can open an HSA and make tax deductible contributions to your account to pay for medical expenses. Unlike flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), the contributions can carry over for medical expenses in future years.

ROTH IRAs - Contributions to a ROTH IRA are not tax deductible but the qualified distributions, including earnings are tax-free.

Municipal Bonds - Interest earned on these types of investments is tax-exempt.

Own a home - most of the cost of this type of investment is financed and the interest (on mortgages up to $750,000) is tax deductible. When the property is sold, individuals may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married jointly) of the gain.

Retirement Plans - Participate in your employer sponsored retirement plan, especially if there is a matching component. You will receive a current tax deduction and the tax-deferred compounding can add up to a large retirement savings.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-DEDUCTIBLE TAXES

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 19 2019

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Did you know that you may be able to deduct certain taxes on your federal income tax return? The IRS says you can if you file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Deductions decrease the amount of income subject to taxation. There are four types of deductible non-business taxes:

  • State and local income taxes, or general sales taxes;
  • Real estate taxes;
  • Personal property taxes; and
  • Foreign income taxes.

You can deduct estimated taxes paid to state or local governments and prior year's state or local income tax as long as they were paid during the tax year. If deducting sales taxes instead, you may deduct actual expenses or use optional tables provided by the IRS to determine your deduction amount, relieving you of the need to save receipts. Sales taxes paid on motor vehicles and boats may be added to the table amount, but only up to the amount paid at the general sales tax rate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) limit the total amount of the above state and local taxes an individual can deduct in a calendar year to $10,000.

Taxpayers will check a box on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, to indicate whether their deduction is for income or sales tax.

Deductible real estate taxes are usually any state, local, or foreign taxes on real property. If a portion of your monthly mortgage payment goes into an escrow account and your lender periodically pays your real estate taxes to local governments out of this account, you can deduct only the amount actually paid during the year to the taxing authorities. Your lender will normally send you a Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement, at the end of the tax year with this information.

Call us or contact us today to find out how we can save you money!

To claim a deduction for personal property tax you paid, the tax must be based on value alone and imposed on a yearly basis. For example, the annual fee for the registration of your car would be a deductible tax, but only the portion of the fee that was based on the car's value.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE IMPLICATIONS IF I CO-SIGN FOR A LOAN?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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The co-signer enters an agreement to be responsible for the repayment of the loan if the borrower defaults. A lender will usually not go after the co-signer until the borrower defaults, but they can lawfully go after the co-signer at any time.

It has been stated by finance companies that in the case of a default most co-signers actually pay off the loans that they have co-signed for including the legal and late fees that end up being tacked on. Clearly this can be a large financial burden, and it can also reflect negatively on the co-signer's credit.

If you do agree to co-sign on a loan for someone, you can request that the financial institution agrees that it will refrain from collecting from you unless the primary borrower defaults. Also, make sure that your liability is limited to the unpaid principal and not any late or legal fees.

Upon co-signing you may have to brandish financial documents to the lender just as the primary borrower would have to.

Co-signing for a loan gives you the same legal responsibility for the repayment of the debt as the borrower. If there are late payments, this will affect your credit as well.

If you are asked to co-sign for someone, you may want to provide another option and suggest that they get a secured credit card. This way, they can build up their own credit history and not open themselves up to the possibility of taking on a debt too large, placing themselves, and you, in financial danger.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

should I refinance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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In order to refinance your home, the current market rate should be at least 2 percentage points lower than what you are paying on your mortgage. Speak with a lender to see what rate you may be able to get. Remember to factor in costs like appraisals, points from the lender, and others, which may not be apparent in your initial price assessment.

After assessing that cost, get a quote of what your total payment would be after refinancing. The simplest way to find out how long it will take to recover the refinancing costs will be to divide your closing costs by the monthly savings with your new monthly payment.

Also take into consideration how long you plan on holding your home. It may not make sense to refinance the home if you plan on selling in the near future.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-deducting mortgage interest-

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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If you own a home, and you itemize your deductions on Schedule A, you can claim a deduction for the interest paid. To be deductible, the interest you pay must be on a loan secured by your main home or a second home (including a second home that is also rented out for part of the year, so long as the personal use requirement is met). The loan can be a first or second mortgage, a home improvement loan, or a home equity loan. To be deductible, the loan must be secured by your home but the proceeds can be used for other than home improvements. You can refinance and use the proceeds to pay off credit card debt, go on vacation or buy a car and the interest will remain deductible. There are other financial reasons for not wanting to do this but it will not disqualify the deduction.

The interest deduction for home acquisition debt (that is, a loan taken out after October 13, 1987 to buy, build, or substantially improve a qualified home) is limited to debt of $750,000 ($375,000 if married filing separately).

In addition to the deduction for mortgage interest, points paid on the original purchase of your residence are also generally deductible. Taxpayers who are required to pay mortgage insurance premiums may also be able to deduct this amount subject to certain income limits. For more information about the mortgage interest deduction, see IRS Publication 936.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

WHAT DO BANKS LOOK FOR IN A LOAN REQUEST?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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The bank official who reviews the loan request is focused on repayment. Most loan officers request a copy of your business credit report to determine your ability to repay.

The lending officer will consider the following issues while using the information you provided and the credit report:

  • Have you invested at least 25% or 50% of savings or personal equity into the business for the loan you are requesting? (Keep in mind that 100% of your business will not be financed by an investor.)
  • Do your work history, your credit report and letters of recommendation show a healthy record of credit worthiness? This is a key factor.
  • Do you have the training and experience necessary to operate a successful business?
  • Do your loan proposal and business plan document your knowledge of and dedication to the success of the business?
  • Is the cash flow of the business sufficient to make the monthly payments on the requested loan?

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- HOW DOES LEGAL TREATMENT DIFFER BETWEEN MARRIED AND UNMARRIED COUPLES?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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Unmarried couples don't:

Inherit each other's property automatically. Married couples have the state intestacy laws to support them if they do not have a will. Under the law, the surviving spouse will inherit (at the minimum) a fraction of the deceased spouse's property.
Have the privilege to speak for one another in a medical crisis. In the case that your life partner loses capacity or consciousness, someone will have to make the go-ahead decision for a medical purpose. It should be you, but if you haven't filed certain paperwork, you may not have the ability to do so.
Have the privilege to handle one another's finances in a crisis. A married couple that jointly own assets is less affected by this problem than an unmarried couple.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-LEGAL ISSUES DURING A DIVORCE

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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Make an agreement with your spouse to plan for the legal issues that will be dealt with in the future, such as division of property, alimony or support payments and child custody. The amount of time and money that will be spent trying to reach a legal solution will be lessened dramatically if this can be done, either with the help of lawyers or court.

The following are general tips to face the legal aspects of divorce:

  • If there are important issues with regards to child custody, alimony or assets, find your own attorney.
  • Use referrals from other professionals, trusted friends or the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org) to find a good matrimonial lawyer.
  • Verify that the agreement of divorce approaches all topics such as insurance coverage, life health and auto.
  • On IRA accounts, life insurance policies, pension plans, 401(k) plans, and other retirement accounts make sure to modify the beneficiaries.
  • Update your will.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 Source: Thomson Reuters

-WHICH IS BETTER, BUYING OR LEASING MY NEXT CAR?

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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It depends on factors such as 1) what kind of deal you can make with the dealership, 2) the typical mileage you put on your car, 3) how much you wear down a car, and 4) the primary use for the car.

To determine whether leasing or buying is best, compare the costs and other issues involved in a lease or purchase. The following factors should be considered:

•             Beginning costs

•             Continual costs

•             Total costs

•             Is there a possibility of deduction of any of the costs due to the car being used for business?

•             How important is it to have ownership of the car

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-DEDUCTIBLE HOME OFFICE

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 30 2019

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Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.

You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business. If you use a separate structure not attached to your home for an exclusive and regular part of your business, you can deduct expenses related to it.

Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if you use it exclusively and regularly for the administrative or management activities associated with your trade or business. There must be no other fixed place where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities. If you use both your home and other locations regularly in your business, you must determine which location is your principle place of business, based on the relative importance of the activities performed at each location. If the relative importance factor doesn't determine your principle place of business, you can also consider the time spent at each location.

If you are an employee, you have additional requirements to meet. You cannot take the home office deduction unless the business use of your home is for the convenience of your employer. Also, you cannot take deductions for space you are renting to your employer.

Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your deduction will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX INCENTIVES FOR EDUCATION

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 29 2019

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The tax code provides a variety of tax incentives for families who are paying higher education costs or are repaying student loans. You may be able to claim an American Opportunity Credit (formerly called the Hope Credit) or Lifetime Learning Credit for the qualified tuition and related expenses of the students in your family (i.e. you, your spouse, or dependent) who are enrolled in eligible educational institutions. Different rules apply to each credit and the ability to claim the credit phases out at higher income levels. 

If you don't qualify for the credit, you may be able to claim the "tuition & fees deduction" for qualified educational expenses. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. This deduction phases out at higher income levels. 

You may be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. The deduction is claimed as an adjustment to income so you do not have to itemize your deductions on Schedule A Form 1040. However, this deduction is also phased out at higher income levels.  

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters 

-CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 19 2019

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When preparing to file your federal tax return, don't forget your contributions to charitable organizations. Your donations (up to 10% of taxable income) can add up to a nice tax deduction for your corporation.

Here are a few tips to help make sure your contributions pay off on your tax return:

You cannot deduct contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations and candidates, the value of your time or services and the cost of raffles, bingo, or other games of chance. To be deductible, contributions must be made to qualified organizations. Cash contributions must be substantiated by a bank record, or a receipt, letter or other written communication from the doCHARnee organization indicating the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. In addition, if the contribution is $250 or more, a written acknowledgement showing the amount of cash contributed, any property contributed, and a description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services provided in return for the contribution or statement that no goods or services were provided in return for the contribution, is required. Non-cash contributions over $500 must be supported by an attachment to the return which states the kind of property contributed, along with the method used to determine its fair market value. Form 8283, Non-cash Charitable Contributions is required for contributions with a claimed value of more than $5,000. Contributions which exceed the 10% limitation can be carried over for five years.

Organizations can tell you if they are qualified and if donations to them are deductible. IRS.gov has an Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool to help you see if an organization is qualified. In addition, taxpayers can call IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at 1-877-829-5500. Be sure to have the organization's correct name and its headquarters location, if possible. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and governments are not required to apply for this exemption in order to be qualified. Alternatively, contact us for more information!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-4 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE HIRING HOUSEHOLD

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 19 2019

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When you hire someone to work in your home, you may become an employer. Thus, you may have specific tax obligations, such as withholding and paying Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes and possibly federal and state unemployment insurance. Here are four questions to ask before you say, “You’re hired.”

1. Who’s considered a household employee?

A household worker is someone you hire to care for your children or other live-in family members, clean your house, cook meals, do yard work or provide similar domestic services. But not everyone who works in your home is an employee.

For example, some workers are classified as independent contractors. These self-employed individuals typically provide their own tools, set their own hours, offer their services to other customers and are responsible for their own taxes. To avoid the risk of misclassifying employees, however, you may want to assume that a worker is an employee unless your tax advisor tells you otherwise.

2. When do I pay employment taxes?

You’re required to fulfill certain state and federal tax obligations for any person you pay $2,100 or more annually (in 2018) to do work in or around your house. (The threshold is adjusted annually for inflation.)

In addition, you’re required to pay the employer’s half of FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes (7.65% of cash wages) and to withhold the employee’s half. For employees who earn $1,000 or more in a calendar quarter, you must also pay federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) equal to 6% of the first $7,000 in cash wages. And, depending on your resident state, you may be required to make state unemployment contributions, but you’ll receive a FUTA credit for those contributions, up to 5.4% of wages.

You don’t have to withhold federal (and, in most cases, state) income taxes, unless you and your employees agree to a withholding arrangement. But regardless of whether you withhold income taxes, you’re required to report employees’ wages on Form W-2.

3. Are there exceptions?

Yes. You aren’t required to pay employment taxes on wages you pay to your spouse, your child under age 21, your parent (unless an exception is met) or an employee who is under age 18 at any time during the year, providing that performing household work isn’t the employee’s principal occupation. If the employee is a student, providing household work isn’t considered his or her principal occupation.

4. How do I make tax payments?

You pay any federal employment and withholding taxes by attaching Schedule H to your Form 1040. You may have to pay state taxes separately and more frequently (usually quarterly). Keep in mind that this may increase your own tax liability at filing, though the Schedule H tax isn’t subject to estimated tax penalties.

If you owe FICA or FUTA taxes or if you withhold income tax from your employee’s wages, you need an employer identification number (EIN).

There’s no statute of limitations on the failure to report and remit federal payroll taxes. You can be audited by the IRS at any time and be required to pay back taxes, penalties and interest charges. Our firm can help ensure you comply with all the requirements.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRS ALGORITHMS COULD DETECT FRAUD AND INACCURACIES IN TAX RETURNS

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 19 2019

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According to the IRS, returns are chosen for examination by computer scoring, information received from third party documentation (W-2, 1099 questionable treatment of an item), information received from other sources on potential non-compliance (newspapers, public records and individuals). 

A computer program called the Discriminant Inventory Function System (DIF) assigns a numeric score to each individual and some corporate tax returns after they have been processed. If your return is selected because of a high score under the DIF system, the potential is high that an examination of your return will result in a change to your income tax liability.

Your return may also be selected for examination on the basis of information received from third-party documentation, such as Forms 1099 and W-2, that do not match the information reported on your return.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

SELF EMPLOYED? YOU MAY NEED TO INCREASE OR LOWER THE AMOUNT OF TAXES YOU PAY

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 07 2019

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Self-employed workers are responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. One way is to make estimated tax payments during the year. The next due date for 2019 is Sept. 16.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the way tax is calculated for those with substantial income not subject to withholding. As a result, many self-employed workers may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they pay each quarter.

The revised estimated tax package, Form 1040-ES, on IRS.gov is designed to help taxpayers calculate their estimated payments correctly. The package includes a quick rundown of key tax changes, income tax rate schedules for 2019, and a worksheet for figuring the right amount to pay.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS  

YOU CAN CHECK THE STATUS OF YOUR REFUND

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 07 2019

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Employees and other wage earners who filed an extension and are submitting their 2018 tax return this summer can easily check the status of their refund by using the IRS “Where’s My Refund?” tool.

This tool is available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go app. Taxpayers can use Where’s My Refund? to start checking the status of their tax return within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return. For paper returns, the wait is four to six weeks after the return was mailed to the IRS.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS   

Aquí está la información acerca de quién puede deducir gastos de vehículos en sus declaraciones de impuestos

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 07 2019

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Los contribuyentes que han deducido el uso de gastos de operar un vehículo en declaraciones de impuestos anteriores deben revisar si todavía pueden reclamar esta deducción. Algunos contribuyentes pueden, otros no.

Aquí hay una lista de los contribuyentes que pueden reclamar esta deducción cuando presentan sus declaraciones de impuestos:

Dueños de negocios y trabajadores por cuenta propia

Las personas que son dueños de un negocio o son trabajadores por cuenta propia y usan su vehículo para negocios pueden deducir los gastos de automóvil en su declaración de impuestos. Si un contribuyente usa el automóvil para ambos propósitos, negocio y personal, debe dividir sus gastos. La deducción se basa en la porción de millaje real usada para el negocio.

Hay dos métodos para determinar sus gastos deducibles de medio de transporte:

1.   Usando los gastos actuales.

o    Algunos ejemplos de gastos actuales incluyen:

  • Depreciación
  • Pagos de arrendamiento
  • Gasolina y aceite
  • Llantas
  • Reparaciones
  • Seguro
  • Gastos de registración/licencias
     

2.   Usando la tasa estándar de millaje.

o    Los contribuyentes que quieren usar la tasa estándar de millaje para un auto propio deben escoger este método en el primer año en que el automóvil está disponible para su uso en su negocio. 

o    Si un negocio desea usar la tasa estándar de millaje por un auto de alquiler, deben usar esta tasa por el periodo completo del alquiler.

o    La tasa estándar de millaje para 2018 es de 54.5 centavos por milla. Para 2019, es de .58 centavos por milla.

Hay requisitos de mantenimiento de archivos (en inglés) para ambos métodos.

Empleados

Los empleados que usan su automóvil para trabajar ya no pueden tomar una deducción de gastos de negocio según el empleado como parte de sus deducciones detalladas diversas reportadas en el Anexo A.  Los empleados no pueden deducir este costo incluso si su empleador no reembolsa al empleado por usar su propio auto. Esto es para los años tributarios posteriores a diciembre de 2017. La Ley de Empleos y Reducción de Impuestos suspendió varias deducciones detalladas sujetas al piso del 2 por ciento. 

Sin embargo, ciertos contribuyentes todavía pueden deducir los gastos de viaje de los empleados no reembolsados, esto incluye a los reservistas de las Fuerzas Armadas, artistas calificados y funcionarios del gobierno estatal o local.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, contabilidad para negocios, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS  

IRS has begun sending letters to virtual currency owners advising them to pay back taxes, file amended returns; part of agency’s larger efforts

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 07 2019

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WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has begun sending letters to taxpayers with virtual currency transactions that potentially failed to report income and pay the resulting tax from virtual currency transactions or did not report their transactions properly.

"Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously by reviewing their tax filings and when appropriate, amend past returns and pay back taxes, interest and penalties," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "The IRS is expanding our efforts involving virtual currency, including increased use of data analytics. We are focused on enforcing the law and helping taxpayers fully understand and meet their obligations."

The IRS started sending the educational letters to taxpayers last week. By the end of August, more than 10,000 taxpayers will receive these letters. The names of these taxpayers were obtained through various ongoing IRS compliance efforts.

For taxpayers receiving an educational letter, there are three variations: Letter 6173, Letter 6174 or Letter 6174-A, all three versions strive to help taxpayers understand their tax and filing obligations and how to correct past errors.

Taxpayers are pointed to appropriate information on IRS.gov, including which forms and schedules to use and where to send them.

Last year the IRS announced a Virtual Currency Compliance campaign to address tax noncompliance related to the use of virtual currency through outreach and examinations of taxpayers. The IRS will remain actively engaged in addressing non-compliance related to virtual currency transactions through a variety of efforts, ranging from taxpayer education to audits to criminal investigations.

Virtual currency is an ongoing focus area for IRS Criminal Investigation.

IRS Notice 2014-21 states that virtual currency is property for federal tax purposes and provides guidance on how general federal tax principles apply to virtual currency transactions. Compliance efforts follow these general tax principles. The IRS will continue to consider and solicit taxpayer and practitioner feedback in education efforts and future guidance.

The IRS anticipates issuing additional legal guidance in this area in the near future.

Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions are, when appropriate, liable for tax, penalties and interest. In some cases, taxpayers could be subject to criminal prosecution.

More information on virtual currencies can be found on IRS.gov. 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS      

Year-round tax planning includes reviewing eligibility for credits and deductions

Posted by Admin Posted on July 31 2019

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Tax credits and deductions can mean more money in a taxpayer’s pocket. Most people only think about this when they file their tax return. However, thinking about it now can help make filing easier next year.

Taxpayers should be prepared to claim tax credits and deductions. So, here are a few facts about credits and deductions that can help a taxpayer with their year-round tax planning:

  • Taxable income is what’s left over after someone subtracts any eligible deductions from their adjusted gross income. This includes the standard deduction. In fact, most individual taxpayers take the standard deduction. On the other hand, some taxpayers may choose to itemize their deductions because it could lower their AGI even more.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made changes to itemized deductions. Many individuals who formerly itemized may find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction.
  • As a general rule, if a taxpayer’s itemized deductions are larger than their standard deduction, they should itemize. Also, in some cases, taxpayers may even be required to itemize.
  • Taxpayers can use the Interactive Tax Assistant to see what expenses they may be able to itemize.
  • Taxpayers can subtract tax credits from the total amount of tax they owe. To claim a credit, taxpayers should keep records that show their eligibility for it.
  • Here are a few examples of taxpayers who can benefit from certain credits:
    • Parents may qualify for credits like the child tax credit and child and dependent care credit.
    • Families with students may qualify for the American opportunity credit or lifetime learning credit.
    • Low to moderate income taxpayers may qualify for the earned income tax credit.
  • Properly claiming these tax credits can reduce taxes owed and boost refunds. Taxpayers can check now see if they qualify to claim it next year on their tax return. Some tax credits, like the EITC, are even refundable, which means a taxpayer can get money refunded to them even if they don’t owe any taxes.

The IRS has several online tools taxpayers can use to stay updated on important tax information that may help with tax planning. In addition to visiting IRS.gov, they can download the IRS2Go app, watch IRS YouTube videos, and follow the IRS on Twitter and Instagram.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS                      

Planificación tributaria incluye determinar estado civil tributario

Posted by Admin Posted on July 31 2019

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¿Soltero o casado? ¿Hijos o no hijos? Estas son solo un par de preguntas que ayudarán a alguien a determinar su estado civil tributario. Los contribuyentes, generalmente, solo piensan en su estado civil al presentar sus declaraciones. Sin embargo, esto es algo en lo que deben pensar todo el año, especialmente si cambia.

Estas son algunas cosas sobre el estado civil tributario que los contribuyentes deben considerar ahora:

El estado civil de un contribuyente se usa para determinar su:

  • Requisito de presentación
  • Deducción estándar
  • Elegibilidad para ciertos créditos
  • Cantidad correcta de impuestos

Si se aplica más de un estado civil tributario a alguien, puede usar el Asistente Tributario Interactivo (en inglés) para ayudarle a elegir el que resultará en la menor cantidad de impuestos.

Los cambios en la vida familiar pueden afectar la situación tributaria de alguien. Estos cambios incluyen:

  • Matrimonio
  • Divorcio
  • Nacimiento de un bebé
  • Adopción de un hijo
  • Muerte

Generalmente, el estado civil tributario de un contribuyente al 31 de diciembre se aplica a todo el año para propósitos del impuesto federal. Por ejemplo, si alguien se casa a finales de año, para propósitos del impuesto federal se le considera como casados por todo el año.

El IRS tiene varias herramientas que los contribuyentes pueden usar para mantenerse actualizados sobre información tributaria importante que puede ayudarles con la planificación tributaria. Además de visitar IRS.gov/espanol, pueden descargar la aplicación móvil IRS2Go, ver videos de YouTube del IRS y seguir al IRS en Twitter (en inglés) e Instagram (en inglés).

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, contabilidad para negocios, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS      

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Posted by Admin Posted on July 31 2019

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The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

When Can I Expect My Refund?

If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC) on your tax return, by law the IRS, can’t issue your refund before mid-February. Find out more on when to expect your refund.

After you file your return, the best way to track your refund is Where's My Refund? or the IRS2Go mobile app.

Who Qualifies

Do I Qualify for EITC?

To qualify for EITC you must have earned income from working for someone or from running or owning a business or farm and meet basic rules. And, you must either meet additional rules for workers without a qualifying child or have a child that meets all the qualifying child rules for you.

You can use Publication 5334, Do I Qualify for EITC? to see if you are eligible for EITC.

EITC Assistant

Use the EITC Assistant to see if you qualify for tax years: 2018, 2017, and 2016. The EITC Assistant helps you find out your filing status, if your child is a qualifying child, if you are eligible and estimate the amount of the EITC you may get.

Income Limits and Table

See the EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates for the current year, previous years and the upcoming tax year.

Claiming EITC

How Do I Claim EITC?

You need to file a tax return to claim EITC. Find out:

  • the documents you need
  • the common errors to watch for
  • the consequences of filing an EITC return with an error
  • how to get help preparing your return
  • what you need to do if your EITC was denied in a previous year
  • how to claim the credit for earlier tax years

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS      

Foreign Tax Credit

Posted by Admin Posted on July 31 2019

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If you paid or accrued foreign taxes to a foreign country or U.S. possession and are subject to U.S. tax on the same income, you may be able to take either a credit or an itemized deduction for those taxes.

Qualifying Foreign Taxes

You can claim a credit only for foreign taxes that are imposed on you by a foreign country or U.S. possession. Generally, only income, war profits and excess profits taxes qualify for the credit. See What Foreign Taxes Qualify For The Foreign Tax Credit? for more information.

Taken as a deduction, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. taxable income. Deduct foreign taxes on Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions

Taken as a credit, foreign income taxes reduce your U.S. tax liability. In most cases, it is to your advantage to take foreign income taxes as a tax credit.

If you choose to exclude either foreign earned income or foreign housing costs, you cannot take a foreign tax credit for taxes on income you can exclude. If you do take the credit, one or both of the choices may be considered revoked.

How to Claim the Foreign Tax Credit

File Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, to claim the foreign tax credit if you are an individual, estate or trust, and you paid or accrued certain foreign taxes to a foreign country or U.S. possession.

Corporations file Form 1118, Foreign Tax Credit—Corporations, to claim a foreign tax credit.

French Contribution Sociale Generalisee (CSG) and Contribution au Remboursement de la Dette Sociate (CRDS)

In 2019, the United States and the French Republic memorialized through diplomatic communications an understanding that the French Contribution Sociale Generalisee (CSG) and Contribution au Remboursement de la Dette Sociate (CRDS) taxes are not social taxes covered by the Agreement on Social Security between the two countries. Accordingly, the IRS will not challenge foreign tax credits for CSG and CRDS payments on the basis that the Agreement on Social Security applies to those taxes.

The IRS’s change in policy means individual taxpayers, who paid or accrued these taxes but did not claim them, can file amended returns to claim a foreign tax credit.

Generally individual taxpayers have ten (10) years to file a claim for refund of U.S. income taxes paid if they find they paid or accrued more creditable foreign taxes than what they previously claimed.  The 10-year period begins the day after the regular due date for filing the return (without extensions) for the year in which the foreign taxes were paid or accrued.  This means that amended returns may be filed, using Form 1040X to include accompanying Form 1116, going back to tax year 2009.

Individual taxpayers should write “French CSG/CRDS Taxes” in red at the top of Forms 1040-X, file them with accompanying Forms 1116 in accordance with the instructions for these forms.  U.S. employers may not file for refunds claiming a foreign tax credit for CSG/CRDS withheld or otherwise paid on behalf of their employees.

Compliance Issues

The foreign tax credit laws are complex.  Refer to Foreign Tax Credit Compliance Tips for help in understanding some of the more complex areas of the law.  Below are some of the compliance issues:  

  • Foreign sourced qualified dividends and/or capital gains (including long-term capital gains, collectible gains, unrecaptured section 1250 gains, and section 1231 gains) that are taxed in the United States at a reduced tax rate must be adjusted in determining foreign source income on Form 1116, Foreign Tax Credit, line 1a.
  • Interest expense must be apportioned between U.S. and foreign source income.
  • Charitable contributions are usually not apportioned against foreign source income; however, contributions to charities organized in Mexico, Canada, and Israel must be apportioned against foreign source income.
  • The amount of foreign tax that qualifies as a foreign tax credit is not necessarily the amount of tax withheld by the foreign country. If you are entitled to a reduced rate of foreign tax based on an income tax treaty between the United States and a foreign country, only that reduced tax qualifies for the credit. It is up to you whether you want to ask for a refund from the foreign country of the difference (excess) for which a foreign tax credit is not allowed.
  • If a foreign tax redetermination occurs, a redetermination of your U.S. tax liability is required in most situations. You must file a Form 1040-X or Form 1120-X. Failure to notify the IRS of a foreign tax redetermination can result in a failure to notify penalty.
  • A foreign tax credit may not be claimed for taxes on income that you exclude from U.S. gross income.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS       

Planificación tributaria debe llevarse a cabo a través del año e incluir repaso de créditos y deducciones para los que califican

Posted by Admin Posted on July 31 2019

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Las deducciones y los créditos tributarios pueden rendirle más dinero a su bolsillo. La mayoría de las personas solo piensan en esto cuando presentan la declaración de impuestos. Sin embargo, pensar en ello ahora puede ayudar a facilitar la presentación de solicitudes el próximo año.

El contribuyente debe prepararse para reclamar créditos tributarios y deducciones. Por esa razón, aquí le presentamos algunos datos sobre créditos y deducciones que le podrían ayudar con su planificación de impuestos a través del año.

  • El ingreso tributable es lo que sobra luego de restar las deducciones elegibles de su ingreso bruto ajustado (AGI, por sus siglas en inglés). Esto incluye la deducción estándar. De hecho, la mayoría de los contribuyentes individuales toman la deducción estándar. Por otro lado, algunos contribuyentes optan por detallar sus deducciones porque de esa manera logran disminuir el AGI aun más. 
     
  • La Ley de Empleos y Reducción de Impuestos hizo cambios a las deducciones detalladas. Muchos contribuyentes que anteriormente detallaban sus deducciones podrían encontrar mayor beneficio al tomar la deducción estándar. 
     
  • Como regla general, si las deducciones detalladas son mayores que la deducción estándar, debería detallar. Además, en algunos casos, puede que el contribuyente tenga el requisito de detallar.
     
  • El contribuyente puede usar el Asistente Tributario Interactivo (en inglés) para ver qué gastos podrá detallar.
     
  • El contribuyente puede restar los créditos tributarios de la cantidad total que adeuda. Para reclamar un crédito, el contribuyente debe mantener registros y archivos que muestre que es elegible para tomarlos. 
     
  • Aquí le presentamos algunos ejemplos del tipo de contribuyente que se puede beneficiar de ciertos créditos:
  • Si reclama estos créditos adecuadamente, podría reducir sus impuestos adeudados y aumentar su reembolso. Los contribuyentes ya pueden revisar si califican para reclamar los créditos el próximo año en la declaración de impuestos. Algunos créditos como el EITC, también son reembolsables, lo cual significa que el contribuyente puede recibir un reembolso aun sin adeudar impuestos.

El IRS dispone de varias herramientas en línea que los contribuyentes pueden usar para mantenerse actualizados acerca de información tributaria importante que le pueda ayudar con la planificación tributaria. Además de visitar IRS.gov/espanol, pueden descargar la aplicación móvil IRS2Go, ver los videos de IRS en YouTube y seguir al IRS en Twitter e Instagram.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, contabilidad para negocios, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS     

Buena planificación tributaria incluye mantener buenos registros

Posted by Admin Posted on July 26 2019

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La planificación tributaria debe ocurrir durante todo el año, no sólo cuando alguien presenta su declaración de impuestos. Una parte importante de la planificación tributaria es el buen mantenimiento de registros. Los registros bien organizados facilitan que un contribuyente prepare su declaración de impuestos. También puede ayudar a proporcionar respuestas en caso de que la declaración del contribuyente sea seleccionada para una auditoria o si el contribuyente recibe una notificación del IRS.

Aquí hay algunas sugerencias para ayudar a los contribuyentes a mantener buenos registros:

  • Los contribuyentes deben desarrollar un sistema que mantenga junta toda su información importante. Pueden usar un programa de software para el registro electrónico. También podrían almacenar documentos en papel en carpetas etiquetadas.
     
  • Durante todo el año, deben agregar registros de impuestos a sus archivos a medida que los reciben. Tener registros a la mano facilita la preparación de una declaración de impuestos.
     
  • También puede ayudarles a descubrir deducciones o créditos potencialmente pasados ​​por alto. Los contribuyentes deben notificar al IRS si su dirección cambia. También deben notificar a la Administración del Seguro Social de un cambio de nombre legal para evitar un retraso en el proceso de su declaración de impuestos.
     
  • Los registros que los contribuyentes deben mantener incluyen recibos, cheques cancelados y otros documentos que respaldan los ingresos, una deducción o un crédito en una declaración de impuestos.
     
  • Los contribuyentes también deben mantener registros relacionados con los bienes que transfieren o venden. Deben mantener estos registros para determinar su costo para calcular la ganancia o la pérdida.
     
  • En general, el IRS sugiere que los contribuyentes mantengan registros durante tres años a partir de la fecha en que presentaron la declaración.
     
  • Para los empresarios, no hay un método particular de contabilidad que deban usar. Sin embargo, los contribuyentes deben encontrar un método que refleje de manera clara y precisa sus ingresos y gastos brutos. Los registros deben corroborar los ingresos y los gastos. Los contribuyentes que tienen empleados deben mantener todos los registros de impuestos de empleo durante al menos cuatro años después de la fecha de vencimiento o pago del impuesto, lo que ocurra más tarde.

El IRS tiene varias herramientas en línea que los contribuyentes pueden usar para estar actualizados sobre información importante que puede ayudar con la planificación tributaria. Además de visitar IRS.gov/espanol, pueden descargar la aplicación IRS2Go, ver videos de YouTube del IRS y seguir al IRS en Twitter e Instagram (en inglés).

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, contabilidad para negocios, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS     

Tax planning includes determining filing status

Posted by Admin Posted on July 26 2019

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Single or married? Kids or no kids? These are just a couple of questions that will help someone determine their tax filing status. Taxpayers usually only think about their filing status when filing their returns. However, this is something to think about all year, especially if it changes.

Here are some things about filing status that taxpayers should consider now:

A taxpayer’s filing status is used to determine their:

  • Filing requirements
  • Standard deduction
  • Eligibility for certain credits
  • Correct amount of tax

If more than one filing status applies to someone, they can use the Interactive Tax Assistant to help them choose the one that will result in the lowest amount of tax.

Changes to family life may affect someone’s tax situation. These changes include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth of a new baby
  • Adoption of a child
  • Death

Typically, a taxpayer’s status on December 31 applies to the entire year for tax purposes. For example, if someone gets married late in the year, for tax purposes they’re considered married for the entire year.

The IRS has several tools taxpayers can use to stay updated on important tax information that may help with tax planning. In addition to visiting IRS.gov, they can download the IRS2Go app, watch IRS YouTube videos, and follow the IRS on Twitter and Instagram.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS                

Good tax planning includes good recordkeeping

Posted by Admin Posted on July 26 2019

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Tax planning should happen all year long, not just when someone is filing their tax return.  An important part of tax planning is recordkeeping. Well-organized records make it easier for a taxpayer to prepare their tax return. It can also help provide answers if a taxpayer’s return is selected for examination or if the taxpayer receives an IRS notice.

Here are some suggestions to help taxpayers keep good records:

  • Taxpayers should develop a system that keeps all their important info together. They can use a software program for electronic recordkeeping. They could also store paper documents in labeled folders.
  • Throughout the year, they should add tax records to their files as they receive them. Having records readily at hand makes preparing a tax return easier.
  • It may also help them discover potentially overlooked deductions or credits. Taxpayers should notify the IRS if their address changes. They should also notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change to avoid a delay in processing their tax return.
  • Records that taxpayers should keep include receipts, canceled checks, and other documents that support income, a deduction, or a credit on a tax return.
  • Taxpayers should also keep records relating to property they dispose of or sell. They must keep these records to figure their basis for computing gain or loss.
  • In general, the IRS suggests that taxpayers keep records for three years from the date they filed the return.
  • For business taxpayers, there's no particular method of bookkeeping they must use. However, taxpayers should find a method that clearly and accurately reflects their gross income and expenses. The records should confirm income and expenses. Taxpayers who have employees must keep all employment tax records for at least four years after the tax is due or paid, whichever is later.

The IRS has several online tools taxpayers can use to stay updated on important tax information that may help with tax planning. In addition to visiting IRS.gov, they can download the IRS2Go app, watch IRS YouTube videos, and follow the IRS on Twitter and Instagram.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS                        

Contribuyentes que necesitan transcripción de impuestos primero deben visitar IRS.gov

Posted by Admin Posted on July 26 2019

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Los contribuyentes pueden necesitar una transcripción de impuestos por muchas razones, como solicitar una hipoteca o un préstamo estudiantil. La página Permítanos ayudarle en IRS.gov ayudará a los contribuyentes a entender las transcripciones de impuestos. Esta página tiene enlaces a información que ayudará a los contribuyentes a conocer los diferentes tipos de transcripciones y el proceso de cómo obtener una.

Ordenar transcripción

  • Desde aquí, los contribuyentes pueden visitar las páginas donde pueden solicitar una transcripción, ya sea en línea o por correo. Los contribuyentes pueden obtener diferentes tipos de transcripciones de la serie 1040 de esta página.

Tipos de transcripción

  • Dependiendo de por qué un contribuyente necesita una transcripción, determinará qué tipo necesita. Esta página contiene información detallada acerca d lo que se incluye en los cinco tipos diferentes de transcripciones.

Preguntas frecuentes

  • Los contribuyentes pueden visitar la página de Preguntas y Respuestas para preguntas específicas sobre el servicio de Ordenar Transcripción en línea. Encontrarán preguntas frecuentes acerca de cómo obtener una transcripción tanto en línea como por correo.

Sin embargo, los contribuyentes podrían no necesitar una transcripción completa. Si solo necesitan averiguar cuánto deben o verificar los pagos que realizaron en los últimos 18 meses, pueden visitar la página de su cuenta de impuestos.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, contabilidad para negocios, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC    al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS  

I got an IRS notice; now what do I do?

Posted by Admin Posted on July 25 2019

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The IRS will send a notice or a letter for any number of reasons. It may be about a specific issue on your federal tax return or account, explain changes to your account, ask for more information, or request a payment.

You can handle most of this correspondence without calling or visiting an IRS office if you follow the instructions in the notice.

However, sometimes these communications can be confusing and hard to understand. So, here are some tips to help you when you receive a notice or letter from the IRS. The first step is to identify the important information in the notice or letter.

Start by determining:

Reason the Notice or Letter Was Sent

Your notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give you instructions on how to handle the issue. If you still aren’t able to understand the information provided, the IRS has a Search Notice and Letters feature on the Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter page.

You can find the notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number on either the top or the bottom right-hand corner of your correspondence. Once you find it, you can enter that number in the search box and you will be taken to a corresponding page that has more general information that may help.

In the Taxpayer Advocate Service, we also have a GET HELP section on various topics that can lead you through important information, steps and actions necessary to help you resolve many common tax issues.

Sometimes you do not need to take any further action, but sometimes you will.

Do I Need to Reply?

Whether you need to reply or not will depend on the issue.

If you agree with the information or change listed on the notice, generally there is no need to reply. That is unless the action causes a balance due, then you would need to take some action. Other times, even if you do agree, you may need to provide specific information to resolve the issue, particularly if you need to verify your identity.

If you disagree, you will need to act as soon as possible, as penalties and interest may be accruing, depending on the circumstances. The letter should outline what that action is and include a due date for your response.

Whether you agree or not, if it requires a reply – do not delay! Delaying can create more issues. See more on this below.

When to Respond By

If your notice or letter requires a response by a specific date, there are many reasons you’ll want to comply. Here are just a few:

  • minimize additional interest and penalty charges;  
  • prevent further action from being taken on the account or against you; and
  • preserve your appeal rights if you don’t agree.

 

How and Where to Reply

All notices and letters should tell you where to send your response, whether it’s to a mailing address or fax number. (Note: The IRS generally does not allow communication via email yet, although they are currently working on developing some alternative digital communication options.)

Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office if you follow the instructions in your letter or notice.

 What If I Want to Talk to Someone?

Each notice or letter should include contact information. Some phone numbers on letters or notices are general IRS toll-free numbers, but if a specific employee is working your case, it will show a specific phone number to reach that employee or the department manager. The telephone number is usually found in the upper right-hand corner of your notice or letter.

As a last resort, you can use the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-829-1040. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call. But your best option is to use the specific number or address provided.

When Should I Ask for Help?

You can resolve most notices or letters without help, but you can also get the help of a professional – either the person who prepared your return, or another tax professional.

If you can’t afford help from a tax professional, you may be eligible for free or low cost representation from an attorney, certified public accountant, or enrolled agent associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). In addition, LITCs can provide language assistance if you speak English as a second language and need help understanding the notice or letter.

If your IRS problem is causing you financial hardship, you've tried repeatedly and aren't receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights are not being respected, consider contacting us, the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

What Are Your Rights?

Every taxpayer has ten Rights when dealing with the IRS. For example, the Right to Be Informed, means the IRS should give you clear instructions about what you need to do to comply. You also have the Right to Pay No More Than the Correct Amount of Tax and the Right to Challenge the IRS’s Position and Be Heard. So, exercise those Rights and reply to the notice or letter if you disagree with the IRS, or provide the information needed so the IRS can get it right.

If any of those Rights aren’t being respected, again, you can contact us for assistance.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS    

Filing Past Due Tax Returns

Posted by Admin Posted on July 23 2019

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Did you forget to file your 2018 tax return by April 15, 2019? Have you not filed tax returns for several years?

If the answer is yes to either, here’s some information to help you catch up with your filing requirements. It’s important to file past due tax returns before the IRS does it for you (see Consequences of Not Filing below).

First, figure out if you need to file a federal income tax return or not. If you live outside the United States, see Tax Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Living Abroad. If you are not required to file, you don’t need to do anything further.

Filing a 2018 Tax Return

If you need to file your current year federal income tax return, file it as soon as you are able. There are options for filing and return preparation assistance available. If you owe money and can’t pay, there are solutions to help with that too.

Filing 2017 or Older Prior Year Tax Returns

Okay, so what if you do need to file, and discover you didn’t file for several past years?

First, don’t wait to start gathering your income information for each year and then file or find help to file all the returns required. If you need return preparation assistance with a prior year tax return and the IRS has already contacted you about that return, you may be available for assistance from a low income taxpayer clinic.

Consequences of Not Filing

Penalty, interest charges and other pitfalls

If you do need to file and you owe money, filing and paying sooner will generally limit interest charges and penalties, which can otherwise add up significantly.

If you are self-employed and do not file your federal income tax return, any self-employment income you earned will not be reported to the Social Security Administration and you will not receive credits toward Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Loan approvals may also be delayed if you don't file your return.

Loss of refund

The IRS will hold income tax refunds in cases where the IRS’s records show that one or more federal income tax returns are past due. In addition, if you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date or risk losing the refund altogether. The same rule applies to a right to claim tax credits, such as the Earned Income Credit.

The IRS will file for you, but the IRS-filed return may not be as accurate as it should be

 If you fail to file voluntarily, at some point the IRS may file a substitute return for you. First, they will send you a Notice of Deficiency proposing a tax assessment, then you will have 90 days to file your past due tax return or file a petition in the United States Tax Court (150 days if the Notice of Deficiency is addressed to you outside the United States). Filing a timely petition allows you to challenge the IRS’s determination without having to pay the liability in advance.

If the IRS files a substitute return, generally the tax the IRS assesses is much higher than if you filed on your own. The reason for that is the IRS is not allowed to determine filing statuses, other than single, for which you may qualify, and the IRS cannot give credit for deductions or exemptions you may be entitled to receive. So, it is in your best interest to file your own tax return.

The IRS will begin enforcement actions

If you do not file a return nor file a petition with the United States Tax Court, then the IRS will proceed with the proposed tax assessment, bill you and, if not paid, begin collection and enforcement actions. This can include such actions as a levy on your wages or bank account or the filing of a notice of federal tax lien. But that’s not all, depending on the amount owed, and in certain instances, your passport can be revoked or denied or your account could be assigned to a private collection agency.

If you repeatedly do not file, you could be subject to additional enforcement measures, such as additional penalties and criminal prosecution.

Alternatives for Help

For filing help, see the links below. However, if;

  • your problem is causing financial difficulties for you, your family or your business,;  
  • you've tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or
  • you face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action, you should contact us right away.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS          

Filing, Requesting an Extension of Time to File and Payment Options

Posted by Admin Posted on July 23 2019

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 The tax return filing deadline is almost here. Have you filed yet? The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.

So, if you haven’t filed yet, you should file timely to avoid possible penalties and interest. See below for tax return filing help.

Filing Help

If you need assistance with filing your 2018 tax return still, see our TAS Tax Tip: Tax Filing Help Information. You can also visit the Filing for Individuals page, Online tools and resources can help or Free tax preparation available for millions of families pages on IRS.gov.

If you haven’t filed yet and you cannot do so by the due date, you can request more time. See below for how to request more time to file. Please be aware - there are consequence to not filing at all.

Requesting an Extension of Time to File

To request more time to file your tax return, individuals can file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This allows you six more months to file. However, if you can file sooner, do it and don’t wait the whole six months. Instead of filing Form 4868, you can apply for an automatic extension by making an electronic payment by the due date of your return. You can pay online or by phone.

See Extension of Time To File Your Tax Return on IRS.gov for more details and for information on filing extension requests for special situations.

An Extension to File Does Not Mean You Can Wait to Pay

The IRS urges people with a filing requirement and a balance due to file by the April deadline even if they cannot pay in full. Taxpayers in this situation should pay what they can and consider a payment plan for the remaining balance. This is because any monies paid after the due date will incur interest and penalties (up to the maximum allowed by law) until the balance is fully paid. There are certain instances when some or all of the penalties charged can be waived, but interest isn’t generally waived for any reason other than an IRS delay.

Payment Options

There are several payment options, but you need to review them all and understand the consequences of each before you choose. You can visit our I can't pay my taxes for more information on where to start.

Other great resources are, IRS provides various payment options for taxpayers who owe but can’t pay in full and Paying Your Taxes.

Don’t Wait

The worst thing you can do is take no action! Get help for filing, paying or both from the IRS, a Tax Return Preparer or the Taxpayer Advocate Service, if appropriate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS         

Educators can claim deduction to get money back for classroom expenses

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Educators may be able to deduct unreimbursed expenses on their tax return. This deduction can put money right back in the pockets of eligible teachers and other educators.

Here are some things to know about this deduction:

  • Educators can deduct up to $250 of trade or business expenses that were not reimbursed. As teachers prepare for the next school year, they should remember to keep receipts after making any purchase to support claiming this deduction.
  • The deduction is $500 if both taxpayers are eligible educators and file their return using the status married filing jointly. These taxpayers cannot deduct more than $250 each.
  • Qualified expenses are amounts the taxpayer paid themselves during the tax year.
    • Examples of expenses the educator can deduct include:
    • Professional development course fees
    • Books
    • Supplies
    • Computer equipment, including related software and services
    • Other equipment and materials used in the classroom
  • Taxpayers claim the deduction on Form 1040 or Form 1040NR. The taxpayer should remember to complete and attach Form 1040, Schedule 1 to their return.
  • To be considered an eligible educator, the taxpayer must be a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide. They must also work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS 

Have a sunnier tax season with these summertime IRS tax tips

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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WASHINGTON — Buying a home? Working a summer job? Volunteering? Activities that are common in the summer often qualify for tax credits or deductions. And, while summertime and part-time workers may not earn enough to owe federal income tax, they should remember to file a return to get a refund for taxes withheld early next year.

Here are some summertime tax tips from the IRS that can help taxpayers during tax season next year:

  • Marital tax bliss. Newlyweds should report any name change to the Social Security Administration before filing next year’s tax return. Then, report any address change to the United States Postal Service, employers and the IRS to ensure receipt of tax-related items.
  • Cash back for summer day camp. Unlike overnight camps, the cost of summer day camp may count as an expense towards the Child and Dependent Care Credit. See IRS Publication 503, Child and Dependent Care Expenses, for more information.
  • Part-time and summer work. Employers usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from pay for part-time and season workers even if the employees don’t earn enough to meet the federal income tax filing threshold. Self-employed workers or independent contractors need to pay their own Social Security and Medicare taxes, even if they have no income tax liability. Normally, employees receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from their employer — even if they don’t work there anymore — to account for the summer’s work by January 31 of the following year. The Form W-2 shows the amount of earnings, withholdings for state and federal taxes, Social Security, Medicare wages and tips. Employees use the information on this form when they file their annual tax returns.
  • Worker classification matters.  Business owners must correctly determine whether summer workers are employees or independent contractors. Independent contractors are not subject to withholding, making them responsible for paying their own income taxes plus Social Security and Medicare taxes. Workers can avoid higher tax bills and lost benefits if they know their proper status.

Though the higher standard deduction means fewer taxpayers are itemizing their deductions, those that still plan to itemize next year should keep these tips in mind:

  • Deducting state and local income, sales and property taxes. The total deduction that taxpayers can deduct for state and local income, sales and property taxes is limited to a combined, total deduction of $10,000 or $5,000 if married filing separately. Any state and local taxes paid above this amount cannot be deducted.
  • Refinancing a home. The deduction for mortgage interest is limited to interest paid on a loan secured by the taxpayer’s main home or second home that they used to buy, build, or substantially improve their main home or second home.
  • Buying a home. New homeowners buying after Dec. 15, 2017, can only deduct mortgage interest they pay on a total of $750,000, or $375,000 if married filing separately, in qualifying debt for a first and second home. For existing mortgages if the loan originated on or before Dec. 15, 2017, taxpayers continue to deduct interest on a total of $1 million in qualifying debt secured by first and second homes.
  • Donate items. Deduct money. Those long-unused items in good condition found during a summer cleaning and donated to a qualified charity may qualify for a tax deduction. Taxpayers must itemize deductions to deduct charitable contributions and have proof of all donations. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to help determine whether you can deduct your charitable contributions.
  • Donate time. Deduct mileage. Driving a personal vehicle while donating services on a trip sponsored by a qualified charity could qualify for a tax break. Itemizers can deduct 14 cents per mile for charitable mileage driven in 2019.
  • Reporting gambling winnings and claiming gambling losses. Taxpayers who itemize can deduct gambling losses up to the amount of gambling winnings. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to find out more about reporting gambling winnings and  losses next year.

The last two tips are for taxpayers who have not yet filed but may be due a refund and those who may need to adjust their withholding.

  • Refunds require a tax return. Although workers may not have earned enough money from a summer job to require filing a tax return, they may still want to file when tax time comes around. It is essential to file a return to get a refund of any income tax withheld. There is no penalty for filing a late return for those receiving refunds, however, by law, a return must be filed within three years to get the refund. See the Interactive Tax Assistant, Do I need to file a tax return?
  • Check withholding. Newlyweds, summertime workers, homeowners and every taxpayer in between should take some time this summer to check their tax withholding to make sure they are paying the right amount of tax as they earn it throughout the year. The Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov helps employees estimate their income tax, credits, adjustments and deductions and determine whether they need to adjust their withholding by submitting a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate. Taxpayers should remember that, if needed, they should submit their new W-4 to their employer, not the IRS.

In addition to these tips, taxpayers can get helpful consumer tips by signing up for the IRS Tax Tips email service. For details on any of these tips, visit IRS.gov.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS        

Contribuyentes pueden revisar en línea para actualizaciones sobre estado de su reembolso

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Los contribuyentes que solicitaron una prórroga y presentan su declaración de impuestos de 2018 este verano podrían estar esperando por su reembolso.  Es fácil para estos contribuyentes revisar el estado de su dinero. Pueden ir a IRS.gov y usar la herramienta ¿Dónde está mi reembolso? 

Esta herramienta está disponible en IRS.gov y a través de la aplicación móvil IRS2Go. Los contribuyentes pueden revisar ¿Dónde está mi reembolso? para revisar el estado de su declaración de impuestos dentro de las 24 horas luego que el IRS confirma recibir una declaración presentada electrónicamente. Para declaraciones en papel, son cuatro semanas.

La herramienta tiene un rastreador que muestra el progreso a través de tres fases:  

  • Declaración recibida
  • Reembolso aprobado
  • Reembolso enviado

Lo único que el contribuyente necesita para usar “¿Dónde está mi reembolso?” son estas tres cosas:

  • Número de seguro social
  • Estado civil tributario
  • Suma exacta del reembolso reclamado en su declaración de impuestos

Los contribuyentes deben recordar que “¿Dónde está mi reembolso?” está disponible solo en IRS.gov o a través de la aplicación móvil IRS2Go.

“¿Dónde está mi reembolso?” se actualiza una vez cada 24 horas, normalmente durante la noche, por lo cual no es necesario verificar el estado con mayor frecuencia.

Los contribuyentes solo deben llamar al número de servicio al cliente del IRS acerca del estado de su reembolso si:

  • Pasaron más de 21 días desde que presentó su declaración electrónicamente.
  • Pasaron más de seis semanas desde que envió su declaración por correo.
  • La herramienta “¿Dónde está mi reembolso?” le indica que se comunique con el IRS. 

Contribuyentes quienes adeudan deben pagar lo más posible para minimizar cargos de intereses y multas. Los contribuyentes deben visitar la página IRS.gov/pagos para explorar opciones de pago.

Los contribuyentes también deben tener cuidado con los correos electrónicos o las estafas de texto que solicitan información personal para verificar el estado de un reembolso del IRS. El IRS no contacta a los contribuyentes de esta manera. 

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS                                   

Tips for taxpayers who make money from a hobby

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Many people enjoy hobbies that are also a source of income. From painting and pottery to scrapbooking and soap making, these activities can be sources of both fun and finances. Taxpayers who make money from a hobby must report that income on their tax return.

If someone has a business, they operate the business to make a profit. In contrast, people engage in a hobby for sport or recreation, not to make a profit. Taxpayers should consider nine factors when determining whether their activity is a business or a hobby.

In making the distinction between a hobby or business activity, take into account all facts and circumstances with respect to the activity. A hobby activity is done mainly for recreation or pleasure. No one factor alone is decisive. You must generally consider these factors in determining whether an activity is a business engaged in making a profit:

  • Whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner and maintain complete and accurate books and records.
  • Whether the time and effort you put into the activity indicate you intend to make it profitable.
  • Whether you depend on income from the activity for your livelihood.
  • Whether your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control (or are normal in the startup phase of your type of business).
  • Whether you change your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability.
  • Whether you or your advisors have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business.
  • Whether you were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past.
  • Whether the activity makes a profit in some years and how much profit it makes.
  • Whether you can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity.

They should base their determination on all the facts and circumstances of their activity.

If a taxpayer receives income for an activity that they don’t carry out to make a profit, the expenses they pay for the activity are miscellaneous itemized deductions and can no longer be deducted. The taxpayer must still report the income they receive on Schedule 1, Form 1040, line 21.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS   

ESTATE PLANNING PORTABILITY LIVES ON UNDER THE TCJA

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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When the TCJA was passed, the big estate planning news was that the federal gift and estate tax exclusion doubled from $5 million to an inflation-indexed $10 million. It was further indexed for inflation to $11.18 million for 2018 and now $11.4 million for 2019.

Somewhat lost in the clamor, however, was (and is) the fact that the new law preserves the “portability” provision for married couples. Portability allows your estate to elect to permit your surviving spouse to use any of your available estate tax exclusion that is unused at your death.

A brief history

At the turn of this century, the exclusion was a mere $675,000 before being hiked to $1 million in 2002. By 2009, the exclusion increased to $3.5 million, while the top estate tax rate was reduced from 55% in 2000 to 35% in 2010, among other changes.

After a one-year estate tax moratorium in 2010, the Tax Relief Act (TRA) of 2010 reinstated the estate tax with a generous $5 million exclusion, indexed for inflation, and a top 35% tax rate. The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 made these changes permanent, aside from increasing the top rate to 40%.

Most important, the TRA authorized portability of the estate tax exclusion, which was then permanently preserved by the ATRA. Under the portability provision, the executor of the estate of the first spouse to die can elect to have the “deceased spousal unused exclusion” (DSUE) transferred to the estate of the surviving spouse.

How the DSUE works

Let’s say Kevin and Debbie, who have two children, each own $5 million individually and $10 million jointly with rights of survivorship, for a total of $20 million. Under their wills, all assets pass first to the surviving spouse and then to the children.

If Debbie had died in early 2019, the $10 million ($5 million owned individually and $5 million held jointly) in assets would be exempt from estate tax because of the unlimited marital deduction. Thus, her entire $11.4 million exclusion would remain unused. However, if the election is made upon her death, Kevin’s estate can later use the $11.4 million of the DSUE from Debbie, plus the exclusion for the year in which Kevin dies, to shelter the remaining $8.6 million from tax, with plenty to spare for some appreciation in value.

What would have happened without the portability provision? For simplicity, let’s say that Kevin dies later in 2019. Without being able to benefit from the unused portion of Debbie’s exclusion, the $11.4 million exclusion for Kevin in 2019 leaves the $8.6 million subject to estate tax. At the 40% rate, the federal estate tax bill would amount to a whopping $3.44 million.

Although techniques such as a traditional bypass trust may be used to avoid or reduce estate tax liability, this example demonstrates the potential impact of the portability election. It also emphasizes the need for planning.

Other points of interest

Be aware that this discussion factors in only federal estate taxes. State estate taxes may also have a significant impact, particularly in some states where the estate tax exemption isn’t tied to the federal exclusion.

Also, keep in mind that, absent further legislation, the exclusion amount is slated to revert to pre-2018 levels after 2025. Portability continues, although, for those whose estates will no longer be fully sheltered, additional planning must be considered.

Furthermore, portability isn’t always the best option. Consider all relevant factors, including nontax reasons that might affect the distribution of assets under a will or living trust. For instance, a person may want to divide assets in other ways if matters are complicated by a divorce, a second marriage, or unusual circumstances.

Details, details

Every estate plan includes details that need to be checked and rechecked. Our firm can help you do so, including deciding whether portability is right for you.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters                        

Contribuyentes deben estar atentos a nuevas versiones de dos estafas

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Contribuyentes deben estar atentos a nuevas versiones de dos estafas

Mientras los estafadores trabajan duro todo el año, los contribuyentes deben estar atentos a una oleada de correos electrónicos de phishing y estafas telefónicas.

Los contribuyentes deben estar atentos a las nuevas versiones de dos estafas relacionadas con los impuestos. Uno involucra números de seguro social relacionados con asuntos de impuestos. La segunda, amenaza a los contribuyentes con una factura de impuestos de una agencia gubernamental ficticia. Aquí hay algunos detalles acerca de estas estafas para ayudar a los contribuyentes a reconocerlas:

El esquema del número de seguro social (SSN, por sus siglas en inglés)

  • El último giro incluye a los estafadores que afirman poder suspender o cancelar el número de seguro social de la víctima. Esta estafa es similar y a menudo asociada con la estafa de suplantación del IRS.
  • Es otro intento de los estafadores para asustar a los contribuyentes para que devuelvan los mensajes automatizados.
  • Los estafadores pueden mencionar impuestos vencidos además de amenazar con cancelar el número de seguro social del contribuyente.

Agencia de impuestos falsa

  • Este esquema involucra una carta que amenaza con un embargo o gravamen del IRS.
  • El estafador envía la carta al contribuyente por correo.
  • El embargo o gravamen se basa en impuestos atrasados falsos adeudados a una agencia inexistente.
  • La agencia falsa se llama “Bureau of Tax Enforcement” (“Oficina de Control de Impuestos”). No existe tal agencia.
  • La estafa de notificación de gravamen también hace referencia al IRS para confundir a las posibles víctimas al pensar que la carta es de una agencia legítima.

Ambos esquemas muestran señales clásicas de ser estafas. El IRS y sus socios de la Cumbre de Seguridad, las agencias tributarias estatales y la industria tributaria, les recuerdan a todos que estén alertas a las estafas que usan al IRS o los impuestos de referencia. Estar alerta es especialmente importante a fines de la primavera y principios del verano, ya que es en esta época cuando llegan facturas de impuestos y reembolsos.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS           

Why You Should Check Your Tax Bracket

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Many taxpayers learned some tough lessons upon completing their 2018 tax returns regarding the changes brought forth by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). If you were one of them, or even if you weren’t, now’s a good time to check your bracket to avoid any unpleasant surprises next April.

Under the TCJA, the top income tax rate is now 37% (down from 39.6%) for taxpayers with taxable income over $500,000 for 2018 (single and head-of-household filers) or $600,000 for 2018 (married couples filing jointly). These thresholds are higher than they were for the top rate in 2017 ($418,400, $444,550 and $470,700, respectively), so the top rate probably wasn’t too much of a concern for many upper-income filers.

But some singles and heads of households in the middle and upper brackets were likely pushed into a higher tax bracket much more quickly for the 2018 tax year. For example, for 2017 the threshold for the 33% tax bracket was $191,650 for singles and $212,500 for heads of households. For 2018, the rate for this bracket was reduced slightly to 32% — but the threshold for the bracket is now only $157,500 for both singles and heads of households.

So, a lot more of these filers found themselves in this bracket and many more could so again in 2019. Fortunately for joint filers, their threshold for this bracket has increased from $233,350 for 2017 to $315,000 for 2018. The thresholds for these brackets have increased slightly for 2019, due to inflation adjustments. If you expect this year’s income to be near the threshold for a higher bracket, consider strategies for reducing your taxable income and staying out of the next bracket. For example, you could take steps to accelerate deductible expenses.

But carefully consider the changes the TCJA has made to deductions. For example, you might no longer benefit from itemizing because of the nearly doubled standard deduction and the reduction or elimination of certain itemized deductions. For 2019, the standard deduction is $12,200 for singles and married individuals filing separately, $18,350 for heads of households and $24,400 for joint filers.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters                              

Disfrute de una temporada de impuestos más soleada con estos consejos tributarios de verano del IRS

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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WASHINGTON — ¿Compra una casa? ¿Tiene un trabajo de verano? ¿Hace voluntariado? Las actividades que son comunes en el verano a menudo califican para créditos tributarios o deducciones. Y aunque puede que los que trabajan en el verano o a tiempo parcial no ganen lo suficiente como para adeudar impuestos federales, deben recordar completar una declaración de impuestos a principios del próximo año para recibir un reembolso por impuestos retenidos.

Aquí están los consejos tributarios de verano del IRS que pueden ayudar a los contribuyentes durante la temporada de impuestos el próximo año.

  • Felicidad tributaria matrimonial. Los recién casados deben informar cualquier cambio de nombre a la Administración del Seguro Social antes de presentar la próxima declaración de impuestos. Luego deben informar cualquier cambio de dirección al Servicio Postal de los Estados Unidos, a los empleadores y al IRS, para asegurarse de recibir documentación relacionada con los impuestos.
     
  • Reembolso en efectivo para campamento de verano diurno. A diferencia de los campamentos nocturnos, el costo del campamento de verano diurno puede contar como un gasto para el Crédito por Cuidado de Menores y Dependientes. Consulte la Publicación 503 del IRS, Gastos del cuidado de menores y dependientes (en inglés), para más información.
     
  • Trabajo a tiempo parcial o de verano. Es posible que los trabajadores de verano no ganen lo suficiente para adeudar impuestos, pero los empleadores generalmente deben retener los impuestos de Seguro Social y Medicare del salario. Los trabajadores por cuenta propia o contratistas independientes deben pagar sus propios impuestos del Seguro Social y Medicare, incluso si no tienen ninguna obligación tributaria. Normalmente, los empleados reciben un Formulario W-2, Declaración de Salarios e Impuestos (en inglés), de su empleador - incluso si ya no trabajan con el mismo empleador - antes del 31 de enero del año siguiente. El Formulario W-2 muestra la cantidad de ganancias, retención de impuestos estatales y federales, Seguro Social, salarios de Medicare y propinas. Los empleados usan la información de este formulario cuando presentan sus declaraciones de impuestos cada año.
     
  • La clasificación del trabajador importa. Los dueños de negocios deben determinar correctamente si los trabajadores de verano son empleados o contratistas independientes. Los contratistas independientes no están sujetos a retención, haciéndoles responsables de pagar sus propios impuestos además de impuestos de Seguro Social y Medicare. Los trabajadores pueden evitar facturas de impuestos más altas y beneficios perdidos si conocen su clasificación adecuada.

Aunque el aumento de la deducción estándar significa que menos contribuyentes detallan sus deducciones, aquellos que todavía planifican detallar el próximo año deben tener en cuenta estos consejos:

  • Deducir los impuestos estatales y locales, ventas e impuestos a la propiedad. La deducción del contribuyente por ingresos estatales y locales, ventas e impuestos a la propiedad está limitada a una deducción total combinada de $10,000 ($5,000 si casado que presenta por separado). Cualquier impuesto estatal y local pagado por encima de esta cantidad no es deducible.
     
  • Refinanciación de una vivienda. La deducción por intereses hipotecarios se limita a los intereses pagados por un préstamo garantizado por la vivienda principal o secundaria del contribuyente que usó para comprar, construir o mejorar sustancialmente la vivienda principal o secundaria.
     
  • Comprar una casa. Aquellos que compren una casa después del 15 de diciembre de 2017, solo pueden deducir los intereses hipotecarios que pagan por un total de $750,000, o $375,000 si están casados y presentan una declaración por separado, en deuda calificada para una primera y segunda vivienda. Para las hipotecas existentes, si el préstamo se originó en o antes del 15 de diciembre de 2017, los contribuyentes continúan deduciendo intereses de hasta $1 millón en deuda calificada asegurada por primera y segunda vivienda.
     
  • Donar artículos. Deducir dinero. Aquellos artículos en buenas condiciones que no se usan durante mucho tiempo y que se donan a una organización benéfica calificada, pueden calificar para una deducción tributaria. Los contribuyentes deben detallar las deducciones para deducir las contribuciones caritativas (en inglés) y tener comprobantes de todas las donaciones. Use el Asistente Tributario Interactivo para ayudar a determinar si puede deducir sus contribuciones caritativas (en inglés).
     
  • Donar tiempo. Deducir millaje. Conducir un vehículo personal mientras se donan servicios en un viaje patrocinado por una organización benéfica calificada, podría calificar para una exención de impuestos. Los que detallan sus deducciones pueden deducir 14 centavos por milla para el millaje caritativo conducido en 2019.
     
  • Reportar ganancias y reclamar pérdidas de juegos de azar. Los contribuyentes que detallan pueden deducir las pérdidas de juegos de azar hasta la cantidad de ganancias de juegos de azar. Use el Asistente Tributario Interactivo para obtener más información acerca de cómo reportar ganancias y pérdidas de juegos de azar el próximo año.

Los dos últimos consejos son para los contribuyentes que aún no han presentado, pero a quienes se les puede deber un reembolso, y aquellos que pueden necesitar ajustar su retención.

  • Los reembolsos requieren una declaración de impuestos. Aunque puede que los trabajadores no hayan ganado suficiente dinero de un trabajo de verano para tener que presentar una declaración de impuestos, es posible que quieran presentar una declaración a la hora de impuestos. Es esencial presentar una declaración para obtener un reembolso de cualquier impuesto retenido. No hay multa por presentar una declaración tarde para aquellos que reciben reembolsos, sin embargo, por ley, se debe presentar una declaración dentro de tres años para obtener un reembolso. Consulte el Asistente Tributario Interactivo, ¿Necesito presentar una declaración de impuestos? (en inglés).
     
  • Verificar retención. Los recién casados, los trabajadores de verano, los propietarios de viviendas y todos los demás contribuyentes deben tomarse algún tiempo este verano para verificar su retención de impuestos para asegurarse que se les retiene la cantidad correcta de impuestos a medida que lo ganan durante todo el año. La Calculadora de Retención en IRS.gov ayuda a los empleados a estimar sus impuestos, créditos, ajustes y deducciones, y determinar si necesitan ajustar su retención mediante la presentación de un nuevo Formulario W-4 (SP), Certificado de la Retención del Empleado. Los contribuyentes deben recordar que, si es necesario, deben presentar su nuevo W-4 a su empleador, no al IRS.

Además de estos consejos, los contribuyentes pueden obtener consejos útiles al inscribirse en el servicio de correo electrónico de Consejos Tributarios del IRS. Para obtener más información acerca de cualquiera de estos consejos, visite IRS.gov.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS                                       

Use your 2018 return to get 2019 tax withholding right

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Done with taxes this year? Then use your 2018 return to get your 2019 tax withholding right.

It’s very important to have the correct amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator and your 2018 tax return information to adjust your withholdings to ensure you don’t have too little or too much withheld.

Checking and then adjusting tax withholding can help make sure you:

  • don’t owe more tax than you are expecting;
  • don’t get a surprise tax bill, and possibly a penalty, when filing next year; and
  • don’t receive a refund that is much larger or smaller than expected.

It’s important to do this as early in the year as possible, so that if a tax withholding adjustment is needed, there is more time for withholding to happen evenly during the rest of the year. Waiting means there are fewer pay periods to withhold the necessary federal tax.

For 2018, the average refund was around than $2,700. As you do your new calculation, decide if you want to reduce withholding to have a larger paycheck and smaller refund and adjust accordingly. Then provide your employer with the new information on Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. It’s that simple!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS                

Consejos para contribuyentes que ganan dinero con un pasatiempo

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Muchas personas gozan de pasatiempos que también son una fuente de ingreso. Desde la pintura y la cerámica hasta hacer jabones, estas actividades pueden ser fuentes de diversión y finanzas. Los contribuyentes que ganan dinero de un pasatiempo deben reportar esos ingresos en su declaración de impuestos.

Si alguien tiene un negocio, opera el negocio para obtener ganancias. Por el contrario, las personas participan en un pasatiempo por deporte o recreación, no para recibir una ganancia. Los contribuyentes deben considerar nueve factores (en inglés) al determinar si la actividad es un negocio o un pasatiempo.

  • Si realiza la actividad de manera profesional y mantiene libros y registros completos y precisos.
  • Si el tiempo y el esfuerzo que dedica a la actividad indican que tiene la intención de hacerlo rentable.
  • Si usted depende de los ingresos de la actividad para su sustento.
  • Si sus pérdidas se deben a circunstancias fuera de su control (o son normales en la fase de inicio de su tipo de negocio).
  • Si cambia sus métodos de operación en un intento por mejorar la rentabilidad.
  • Si usted o sus asesores tienen el conocimiento necesario para llevar a cabo la actividad como un negocio exitoso.
  • Si tuvo éxito en obtener ganancias en actividades similares en el pasado.
  • Si la actividad obtiene beneficios en algunos años y cuánto beneficio obtiene.
  • Si puede esperar obtener un beneficio futuro de la apreciación de los activos utilizados en la actividad.

Asegúrese de incluir la determinación en todos los datos y circunstancias de su actividad.

Si un contribuyente recibe ingresos por una actividad que no es para generar ingresos, los gastos que pagan por la actividad son deducciones misceláneas detalladas y ya no pueden deducirse. Los contribuyentes aún deben reportar el ingreso que recibieron en el Anexo 1, Formulario 1040, Línea 21.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS  

Taxpayers can check online to get updates about their tax refund

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Taxpayers who filed an extension and are submitting their 2018 tax return this summer might be waiting for their tax refund. It’s easy for these taxpayers to check on the status of their money. They can just zip over to IRS.gov and use “Where’s My Refund?”

This tool is available on IRS.gov and through the IRS2Go app. Taxpayers can use Where’s My Refund? to start checking the status of their tax return within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return. For a paper return, it’s four weeks after the taxpayer mailed it.

The tool has a tracker that displays the progress of a tax return through these three stages:

Return received

  • Refund approved
  • Refund sent

All a taxpayer needs to use “Where’s My Refund?” are these three things:

  • Their Social Security number
  • Their tax filing status
  • The exact amount of the refund claimed on their tax return

Taxpayers should remember “Where’s My Refund” is only available on the IRS website or through the IRS2Go app.

“Where’s My Refund?” updates once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check the status more often.

Taxpayers should only call the IRS tax help hotline on the status of their tax refund if:

  • It has been 21 days or more since the tax return was e-filed
  • It has been six weeks or more since the return was mailed
  • When “Where’s My Refund?” tells the taxpayer to contact the IRS

Taxpayers who owe should pay as much as possible to minimize interest and penalty charges. These taxpayers can visit IRS.gov/payments to explore their payment options.

Taxpayers should also watch out for email or text scams asking for personal information in order to check the status of an IRS refund. This IRS does not contact taxpayers in this way.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS          

How to Get Tax Transcripts and Copies of Tax Returns from the IRS

Posted by Admin Posted on July 15 2019

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Taxpayers should keep copies of their tax returns for at least three years. Those who need a copy of their tax return should check with their software provider or tax preparer. Prior year tax returns are available from IRS for a fee.

For those that need tax transcripts, however, IRS can help. Transcripts are free.

Tax Transcripts

A transcript summarizes return information and includes Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). They are available for the most current tax year after the IRS has processed the return. People can also get them for the past three years.

When applying for home mortgages or college financial aid, transcripts are often necessary. Mortgage companies, however, normally arrange to get one for a homeowner or potential homeowner. For people applying for college financial aid, see IRS Offers Help to Students, Families to Get Tax Information for Student Financial Aid Applications on IRS.gov for the latest options.

Tax Return Transcript.  A tax return transcript shows most line items including AGI from an original tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as filed, along with any forms and schedules. It doesn’t show changes made after the filing of the original return. This transcript is only available for the current tax year and returns processed during the prior three years. A tax return transcript usually meets the needs of lending institutions offering mortgages and student loans.

Tax Account Transcript.  A tax account transcript shows basic data such as return type, marital status, adjusted gross income, taxable income and all payment types. It also shows changes made after the filing of the original return.

To get a transcript, people can:

Order online. Use the ‘Get Transcript’ tool available on IRS.gov. There is a link to it under the red TOOLS bar on the front page. Those who use it must authenticate their identity using the Secure Access process.

Order by phone. The number to call is 800-908-9946.

Order by mail.  Complete and send either Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ to the IRS to get one by mail. Use Form 4506-T to request other tax records: tax account transcript, record of account, wage and income and verification of non-filing. These forms are available on the Forms & Pubs page on IRS.gov

Those who need an actual copy of a tax return can get one for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee per copy is $50. Complete and mail Form 4506 to request a copy of a tax return. Mail the request to the appropriate IRS office listed on the form. People who live in a federally declared disaster area can get a free copy. More disaster relief information is available on IRS.gov.

Plan ahead. Delivery times for online and phone orders typically take five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. You should allow 30 days to receive a transcript ordered by mail and 75 days for copies of your tax return.

Avoid scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using social media or text message. First contact generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out. Those who need an actual copy of a tax return can get one for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee per copy is $50. Complete and mail Form 4506 to request a copy of a tax return. Mail the request to the appropriate IRS office listed on the form. People who live in a federally declared disaster area can get a free copy. More disaster relief information is available on IRS.gov.

Plan ahead. Delivery times for online and phone orders typically take five to 10 days from the time the IRS receives the request. You should allow 30 days to receive a transcript ordered by mail and 75 days for copies of your tax return.

Avoid scams. The IRS will never initiate contact using social media or text message. First contact generally comes in the mail. Those wondering if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov to find out.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

INTERNATIONAL TAX GAP SERIES

Posted by Admin Posted on July 03 2019

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The United States has income tax treaties with a number of foreign countries. Under these treaties, residents of foreign countries may be:

  • Taxed at a reduced rate or
  • Exempt from U.S. income taxes on certain items of income received from sources within the U.S.

Because treaty provisions are generally reciprocal (apply to both treaty countries), a U.S. citizen or resident who receives income from a treaty country may also be taxed at a reduced tax rate by that foreign country.

While tax treaties may reduce U.S. tax for nonresidents and foreign tax for U.S. residents and citizens, each treaty must be reviewed to determine eligibility for these provisions. This article provides some highlights about tax treaties and how to properly apply their provisions.

Saving Clause

Most tax treaties have a saving clause that preserves the right of each country to tax its own citizens and treaty residents as if no tax treaty were in effect. However, the saving clause generally excepts specified income types from its application, which may allow you to claim certain treaty benefits even if you are a U.S. citizen or resident.

Nonresident Aliens

For nonresident aliens, treaties can limit or eliminate U.S. taxes on various types of personal services and other income, such as pensions, interest, dividends, royalties, and capital gains. Many treaties limit the number of years you can claim a treaty exemption for some types of income (e.g., see provisions applicable to students/apprentices/trainees and teachers/professors/researchers). Once you reach this limit, you may no longer claim the treaty exemption. In some cases, if you exceed the limit, the income is taxed retroactively for earlier years. Treaties may also have other requirements to be eligible for benefits. Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties, provides a summary of these treaty provisions.

U.S. Citizens and U.S. Treaty Residents

In many cases, U.S. citizens and U.S. treaty residents will not be able to reduce their U.S. tax based on treaty provisions due to the saving clause. However, those who are subject to taxes imposed by a treaty partner are entitled to certain credits, deductions, exemptions and reductions in the rate of taxes paid to that foreign country. These treaty benefits are generally only available to residents of the United States. Foreign taxing authorities sometimes require certification from the United States that an applicant filed an income tax return as a U.S. resident, as part of the proof of entitlement to the treaty benefits. Form 8802, Application for United States Residency Certification, must be filed to obtain this certification.

Disclosing Treaty Benefits Claimed

If you claim treaty benefits that override or modify any provision of the Internal Revenue Code, and by claiming these benefits your tax is or might be reduced, you must attach a fully completed Form 8833, Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure, to your tax return. There are exceptions to this requirement for certain types of income that are outlined in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, under the section on Reporting Treaty Benefits Claimed.

Competent Authority Assistance

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident for purposes of a treaty, you can request assistance from the U.S. competent authority if you think that the actions of the U.S., the applicable treaty country or both caused or will cause double taxation or taxation otherwise inconsistent with the treaty. You should read any treaty articles, including the mutual agreement procedure article, that apply in your situation. The U.S. competent authority cannot consider requests involving countries with which the U.S. does not have a treaty.  Refer to Competent Authority Agreements and Competent Authority Assistance for information on existing competent authority agreements and how to make a competent authority request.

Obtaining Copies of Tax Treaties

To view the text of a specific tax treaty, go United States Income Tax Treaties - A to Z. You will find the text of each treaty, and in most cases, the Technical Explanation for the treaty. The Technical Explanation provides more detail on the intent of the treaty language.

Tax treaties are updated periodically and amended by protocols.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS  

In 2018 Whistleblowers were paid over 312 million dollars.

Posted by Admin Posted on July 03 2019

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The IRS Whistleblower Office pays money to people who blow the whistle on persons who fail to pay the tax that they owe. If the IRS uses information provided by the whistleblower, it can award the whistleblower up to 30 percent of the additional tax, penalty and other amounts it collects.

Who can get an award?

The IRS may pay awards to people who provide specific and credible information to the IRS if the information results in the collection of taxes, penalties, interest or other amounts from the noncompliant taxpayer.

The IRS is looking for solid information, not an “educated guess” or unsupported speculation. They are also looking for a significant Federal tax issue - this is not a program for resolving personal problems or disputes about a business relationship.

What are the rules for getting an award?

The law provides for two types of awards. If the taxes, penalties, interest and other amounts in dispute exceed $2 million, and a few other qualifications are met, the IRS will pay 15 percent to 30 percent of the amount collected. If the case deals with an individual, his or her annual gross income must be more than $200,000. If the whistleblower disagrees with the outcome of the claim, he or she can appeal to the Tax Court. These rules are found at Internal Revenue Code IRC Section 7623(b) - Whistleblower Rules.

The IRS also has an award program for other whistleblowers - generally those who do not meet the dollar thresholds of $2 million in dispute or cases involving individual taxpayers with gross income of less that $200,000. The awards through this program are less, with a maximum award of 15 percent up to $10 million. In addition, the awards are discretionary and the informant cannot dispute the outcome of the claim in Tax Court. The rules for these cases are found at Internal Revenue Code IRC Section 7623(a) - Informant Claims Program, and some of the rules are different from those that apply to cases involving more than $2 million.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS  

What do I need to keep for tax reasons?

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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It is a good idea to keep all of your receipts and any other records that you may have of your income and expenses. These will come in very handy if you are audited.

It is advantageous to categorize your expenses the following way:

  • Income
  • Exemptions
  • Medical Expenses
  • Taxes
  • Business Expenses
  • Education
  • Travel
  • Auto

It is recommended that you keep these documents for three to seven years, depending on the document.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

What retirement plans are available to aid in the deferral of taxes?

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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You have the ability to invest some of the money that you would have paid in taxes to add to your retirement fund. Many employers will offer the opportunity to defer a portion of your earnings and contribute them directly to your retirement account. Some of them may even match a portion of your savings. If this is the case, it is always advisable to save at least the amount that your employer will match. This will give you an automatic 100% gain on your money.

If you are self-employed, look into getting a Keogh, SIMPLE or a SEP IRA.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

EDUCATION AND TAX QUESTIONS

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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Yes, you can take distributions from your IRAs for qualifying education expenses without having to pay the 10% additional tax penalty. You may owe income tax on at least part of the amount distributed, but not the additional penalty. The amount of the distribution that is more than the education expense does not qualify for the 10% tax exception.

What tax deductions can be used for college education?

There is a limited deduction allowed for higher education and related expenses. In addition, business expense deductions are allowed, without a dollar limit, for education related to the taxpayer's business, employment included.

Is student loan interest tax deductible?

In certain instances, yes, although deductions need to adhere to a few guidelines. The deduction is also subject to income phaseouts.

The deduction ceiling is $2,500.

If you are a dependent, you may not claim the interest deduction.

You need to be the person liable for the debt and the loan must be purely for education.

Can I deduct for education that helps at the workplace?

If you are receiving this education to maintain or improve skills at your current job, yes, but not if it is to meet the minimum requirements.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

How long should I keep old tax returns?

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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If you are audited, it is very likely that the auditor will ask to see the last few tax returns. It is recommended to keep these tax returns forever.

An added benefit of keeping your tax returns is that you can see what you claimed last year, allowing you to adjust for the current year.

If you purchased goods that you plan to sell later, you should keep the receipts to calculate your gain or loss on it correctly.

Anything regarding the property you own and any fixes and repairs that you perform.

Receipts for any jewelry or other valuable collector's items

Records for capital assets, stocks, bonds and such

What recordkeeping system should I have?

If you are an employee of a company, your system needn't be complex - you can keep your records separated in folders.

If you are a business owner, you may want to consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

SAVING ON TAXES FOR EDUCATION

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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There are many different ways to use tax breaks for the higher education of your children. Be aware that you can only receive one type of relief for one item. It is best to consult with a professional to determine which would be the most advantageous.

What is the education tax credit?

You must make a choice between two types of tax education credit.

  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit will work for the first 4 years of college for at least full-time study.
  • The Lifetime Learning Credit applies for as long as the student studies, but the percentage of savings per year decreases drastically.

What is a Coverdell (Section 530)?

An education IRA is different than a standard IRA in these ways:

  • Withdrawals aren't taxed if used for qualified education expenses.
  • Contributions can be made only up until the point that the client reaches 18, and all funds must be distributed by the time that they are 30.
  • Contributions are not tax deductible

How can I best use the Coverdell (section 530)?

It is possible to have various 530 accounts for the same student, each opened by different family members or friends. There is no limit to the number of people that can open an account like this for a child.

The account can be transferred to another family member at any time. If the original child decides against going to college or is granted a scholarship, another family member can still utilize the money that has been saved.

What is a qualified tuition program?

The Section 529 is a college savings program available in most states. Money is invested to cover the costs of future education. These investments grow tax free and the distributions may also be tax-free.

What differentiates the Coverdell Section 530 and the Section 529?

  • The Section 529 allows for much larger yearly investments, whereas the Section 530 currently only allows for $2000 annually.
  • The choice of investments in the Section 529 is extremely conservative and limited while the Section 530 allows for many different options.
  • The Section 530 is a nationwide program while the 529 varies from state to state.
  • The Section 530 will let you use its funds for primary and secondary education, while the Section 529 can only be used to pay up to a total of $10,000 of tuition per beneficiary (regardless of the number of contributing plans) each year at an elementary or secondary (k-12) public, private or religious school of the beneficiaries choosing.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

What other ways can I defer this year's income?

Posted by Admin Posted on June 25 2019

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If you own your business you may want to postpone sending certain invoices to ensure that you will receive payment in the following tax year. This can help greatly if some of this income would push you into a higher tax bracket. You may want to accelerate paying for expenses to cover your taxes in the current year.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-INNOCENT SPOUSE RULES: PROTECTION UNDER SOME CIRCUMSTANCES

Posted by Admin Posted on June 20 2019

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Must one spouse pay the tax resulting from a fabrication or omission by another spouse on a jointly filed tax return? It depends. If the spouse qualifies, he or she may be able to avoid personal tax liability under the “innocent spouse” rules.

Joint filing status

Generally, married taxpayers benefit overall by filing a joint tax return on the federal level. This is particularly the case when one spouse earns significantly more than the other. Filing jointly may also help the couple maximize certain income tax deductions and credits.

But joint filing status comes with a catch. Each spouse is “jointly and severally” responsible for any tax, interest and penalties attributable to the return. And this liability continues to apply even if the couple gets a divorce or one spouse dies. In other words, the IRS may try to collect the full amount due from one spouse, even if all the income reported on the joint return was earned by the other spouse.

Basic rules

However, the tax law provides tax relief for an “innocent spouse.” Under these rules, one spouse may not be liable for any unpaid tax and penalties, despite having signed the joint return.

To determine eligibility for relief, the IRS imposes a set of common requirements. The spouses must have filed a joint return that has an understatement of tax, and that understatement must be attributable to one spouse’s erroneous items. For this purpose, “erroneous items” are defined as any deduction, credit or tax basis incorrectly stated on the return, as well as any income not reported.

From there, the other (“innocent”) spouse must establish that, at the time the joint return was signed, he or she didn’t know — or have reason to know — there was an understatement of tax. Finally, to qualify, the IRS needs to find that it would be unfair to hold one spouse liable for the understatement after considering all the facts and circumstances.

Additional notes

For many years, innocent spouse relief had to be requested within two years after the IRS first began its collection activity against a taxpayer. But, in 2011, the IRS announced that it would no longer apply the two-year limit on collection activities.

In addition, by law, when one spouse applies for innocent spouse relief, the IRS must contact the other spouse or former spouse. There are no exceptions even for victims of spousal abuse or domestic violence.

Help available

Historically, courts haven’t been particularly generous about upholding claims under the innocent spouse rules. State laws can also complicate matters. If you’re wondering whether you’d qualify for relief, please contact us for help.

Sidebar: What does the IRS consider?

The IRS considers “all facts and circumstances” in determining whether it would be inequitable to hold an “innocent” spouse liable for taxes due on a jointly filed tax return. One factor that may increase the likelihood of relief is that the taxes owed are clearly attributable to one spouse or an ex-spouse who filled out the errant return.

If one spouse was deserted during the marriage, or suffered abuse, it may also improve the chances that innocent spouse relief will be granted. In some cases, the IRS may examine the couple’s situation to determine whether the spouse applying for relief knew about the erroneous items.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters      

-Vacation Homes: Do You Understand the Tax Nuances?

Posted by Admin Posted on June 20 2019

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Owning a vacation home can offer tax breaks, but they may differ from those associated with a primary residence. The key is whether a vacation home is used solely for personal enjoyment or is also rented out to tenants.

Sorting it out

If your vacation home is not rented out, or if you rent it out for no more than 14 days a year, the tax benefits are essentially the same as those you’d receive if you own your primary residence. In this scenario, you’d generally be able to deduct your mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A of your federal income tax return, up to certain limits. Also, you may exclude all your rental income.

But the rules are different if you rent out your vacation home for 15 or more days annually. First, the rental income must be reported. Second, in this scenario, the IRS considers your vacation home to be an investment property and, thus, allows deductions related to the rental of the property, with certain limitations. In addition to mortgage interest and real estate taxes, these deductions generally include insurance, utilities, housekeeping, repairs and depreciation. Also, the deduction for certain categories of expenses cannot exceed the rental income.

If you exceed this number of days of rentals and use your vacation home for personal use, these deductions will be limited by the ratio of actual rental days to the total days of use of the home. Suppose, for example, that you personally use your vacation home for 25 days and rent it for 75 days in a year, so the home is used for 100 total days. Here, you would be allowed to deduct 75% of the expenses listed above as rental expenses. Be aware that a portion of the mortgage interest and real estate taxes may be deductible on Schedule A. In certain circumstances, however, the personal portion of your mortgage interest may not be deductible.

Bottom line

If you want to maximize the tax benefits of your vacation home, limit your personal use of the home to no more than 14 days or 10% of the total rental days. If you want to personally use the home more than this, you can still realize some limited tax benefits. Contact our firm for details about your specific situation.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters   

-CONSIDER THE TAX ADVANTAGES OF QUALIFIED SMALL BUSINESS STOCK

Posted by Admin Posted on June 20 2019

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While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) reduced most ordinary-income tax rates for individuals, it didn’t change long-term capital gains rates. They remain at 0%, 15% and 20%.

The capital gains rates now have their own statutory bracket amounts, but the 0% rate generally applies to taxpayers in the bottom two ordinary-income tax brackets (now 10% and 12%). And, you no longer must be in the top ordinary-income tax bracket (now 37%) to be subject to the top long-term capital gains rate of 20%. Many taxpayers in the 35% tax bracket also will be subject to the 20% rate.

So, finding ways to defer or minimize taxes on investments is still important. One way to do that — and diversify your portfolio, too — is to invest in qualified small business (QSB) stock.

QSB defined

To be a QSB, a business must be a C corporation engaged in an active trade or business and must not have assets that exceed $50 million when you purchase the shares.

The corporation must be a QSB on the date the stock is issued and during substantially all the time you own the shares. If, however, the corporation’s assets exceed the $50 million threshold while you’re holding the shares, it won’t cause QSB status to be lost in relation to your shares.

Two tax advantages

QSBs offer investors two valuable tax advantages:

1. Up to a 100% exclusion of gain. Generally, taxpayers selling QSB stock are allowed to exclude a portion of their gain if they’ve held the stock for more than five years. The amount of the exclusion depends on the acquisition date. The exclusion is 100% for stock acquired on or after Sept. 28, 2010. So, if you purchase QSB stock in 2019, you can enjoy a 100% exclusion if you hold it until sometime in 2024. (The specific date, of course, depends on the date you purchase the stock.)

2. Tax-free gain rollovers. If you don’t want to hold the QSB stock for five years, you still have the opportunity to enjoy a tax benefit: Within 60 days of selling the stock, you can buy other QSB stock with the proceeds and defer the tax on your gain until you dispose of the new stock. The rolled-over gain reduces your basis in the new stock. For determining long-term capital gains treatment, the new stock’s holding period includes the holding period of the stock you sold.

More to think about

Additional requirements and limits apply to these breaks. For example, there are many types of businesses that don’t qualify as QSBs, ranging from various professional fields to financial services to hospitality and more. Before investing, it’s important to also consider nontax factors, such as your risk tolerance, time horizon and overall investment goals. Contact us to learn more.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters       

Señales reveladoras de una estafa

Posted by Admin Posted on June 19 2019

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El IRS (y sus agencias privadas de cobro autorizadas (en inglés)) nunca:

  • Llaman para solicitar un pago inmediato mediante un método de pago específico, como tarjeta de débito prepagada, tarjeta de regalo o transferencia bancaria. El IRS no usa estos métodos para el pago de impuestos. En general, el IRS enviará primero una factura a cualquier contribuyente que deba impuestos. Todos los pagos sólo deben hacerse a nombre de la Tesorería de los EE. UU. y los cheques nunca deben hacerse a nombre de terceros.
  • Amenazan con traer de inmediato a la policía local u otros grupos de ley y orden para que arresten al contribuyente por no pagar.
  • Exigen que se paguen los impuestos sin darle al contribuyente la oportunidad de cuestionar o apelar el monto adeudado.
  • Solicitan números de tarjeta de crédito o débito por teléfono.

Para cualquier persona que no deba impuestos y no tenga razones para pensar que sí:

  • No provea ninguna información. Cuelgue de inmediato.
  • Comuníquese con el Inspector General del Tesoro para la Administración Tributaria para reportar la llamada. Use su página de informes de estafas de suplantación de identidad del IRS (en inglés).
  • Reporte la identificación de la persona que llama y/o el número para devolver la llamada al IRS a phishing@irs.gov(Asunto: Estafa telefónica del IRS).
  • Informar a la Comisión Federal de Comercio. Use el Asistente de quejas de la FTC (en inglés) en FTC.gov. Agregue en la sección de notas "Estafa telefónica del IRS".

Para cualquiera que adeuda impuestos o cree que adeuda:

  • Vea información de su cuenta de impuestos en línea en IRS.gov para ver el monto real adeudado. Los contribuyentes también pueden revisar sus opciones de pago.
  • Llame al número que aparece en el aviso de facturación, o
  • Llame al IRS al 800-829-1040. Los representantes del IRS pueden ayudar.

El IRS no usa mensajes de texto o redes sociales para hablar acerca de cuestiones tributarias personales, como las relacionadas con facturas o reembolsos. Para obtener más información, visite la página de estafas de impuestos y alertas al consumidor en IRS.gov. También se encuentra disponible información adicional acerca de estafas tributarias en los sitios de redes sociales del IRS, que incluyen los vídeos de YouTube.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS        

Estafas telefónicas

Posted by Admin Posted on June 19 2019

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El IRS no llama y deja mensajes pregrabados, urgentes y amenazantes que solicitan se devuelvan la llamada, ni solicita información personal como números de tarjetas de crédito, contraseñas o información de cuentas bancarias. En muchas variaciones de las estafas telefónicas, se les dice a las víctimas que si no devuelven la llamada, se emitirá una orden de arresto. Otras amenazas verbales incluyen la intervención de una agencia policíaca, la deportación o la revocación de licencias.

Los delincuentes pueden adulterar o "falsificar" los números de identificación de llamadas para que parezcan estar en cualquier lugar del país, incluso desde una oficina del IRS. Esto evita que los contribuyentes puedan verificar el verdadero número de llamada. Los estafadores también han falsificado las oficinas locales del alguacil, los departamentos estatales de vehículos motorizados, las agencias federales y otros para convencer a los contribuyentes de que la llamada es legítima.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS       

Alerta: Estafadores al acecho

Posted by Admin Posted on June 19 2019

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WASHINGTON — Aunque ya pasó la fecha límite de presentación de impuestos de abril, los estafadores continúan trabajando fuerte y el IRS instó hoy a los contribuyentes a tener cuidado con nuevas versiones de correos electrónicos de phishing y estafas telefónicas.

El IRS está viendo señales de dos nuevas variaciones de estafas relacionadas con los impuestos. La primera involucra números de Seguro Social relacionados con asuntos de impuestos, y la segunda amenaza a las personas con un recibo de impuestos de una agencia gubernamental ficticia. Aquí hay algunos detalles:

  • Números de seguro social. El último giro incluye a estafadores que afirman poder suspender o cancelar el número de seguro social de la víctima. En esta variación, la estafa de amenaza de cancelación del seguro social es similar y, a menudo, asociada con la estafa de suplantación del IRS. Es otro intento de los estafadores por asustar a las personas para que devuelvan los mensajes de voz "robocall". Los estafadores pueden mencionar impuestos atrasados además de amenazar con cancelar el número de seguro social de la persona.
     
  • Agencia de impuestos ficticia. Este esquema implica el envío por correo de una carta que amenaza con un embargo o gravamen del IRS. El embargo o gravamen se basa en impuestos morosos falsos adeudados a una agencia inexistente, la "Oficina de Fiscalización Tributaria". Es probable que la estafa de notificación de embargos también haga referencia al IRS para confundir a las posibles víctimas al pensar que la carta es de una organización legitima.

Ambas incluyen señales clásicas de estafas. El IRS y sus socios de la Cumbre de Seguridad, las agencias tributarias estatales y la industria tributaria, les recuerdan a todos que se mantengan en alerta ante las estafas que usan al IRS o incluyen referencias de impuestos, especialmente a fines de la primavera y principios del verano, a medida que llegan las facturas y reembolsos de impuestos.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS       

Estafas de phishing por email

Posted by Admin Posted on June 19 2019

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El IRS no inicia el contacto con los contribuyentes por correo electrónico para solicitar información personal o financiera. El IRS inicia la mayoría de los contactos a través del correo regular entregado por el Servicio Postal de los Estados Unidos. Sin embargo, hay circunstancias especiales en las que el IRS llamará o visitará una casa o negocio, como cuando un contribuyente tiene una factura de impuestos vencida, para recoger una declaración de impuestos atrasada o un pago atrasado de impuestos de nómina, o para visitar una empresa como parte de una auditoría o durante investigaciones criminales.

Si un contribuyente recibe un correo electrónico no solicitado que parece provenir del IRS o de un programa estrechamente vinculado al IRS, debe reenviarlo inmediatamente a phishing@irs.gov. La página Reporte práctica fraudulenta de pesca de información proporciona detalles completos.

Si tiene preguntas sobre contabilidad, impuestos nacionales o internacionales, representación del IRS o implicaciones tributarias en bienes y raíces, entre otros temas, no dude en llamar a Lord Breakspeare Callaghan LLC al 305-274-5811.

Fuente: IRS       

Adjust Tax Withholding

Posted by Admin Posted on June 19 2019

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WASHINGTON — With this year’s average tax refund around $2,700, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers they have options to control the amount of their take-home pay and the size of their tax refund by adjusting their tax withholding.

A Paycheck Checkup using the IRS Withholding Calculator can help taxpayers determine the right amount of tax they should have their employer withhold from their paychecks.

Taxes are pay-as-you-go. This means taxes must be paid as income is earned or received during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments. As of May 10, nearly 101.6 million taxpayers received federal tax refunds. With the average refund around $2,700, some taxpayers received a refund that was much larger than they expected, which means they paid too much tax throughout the year and took home less money in their paychecks.

To help taxpayers who want to change this amount, the Withholding Calculator will offer recommendations for adjusting withholding. A taxpayer who wants to increase the amount of their paychecks would pay less tax throughout the year by increasing the number of allowances on Form W-4. A taxpayer who would prefer a larger refund when they file would decrease their withholding allowances on Form W-4. Decreasing the number of allowances means paying more tax throughout the year and receiving a smaller paycheck.

A taxpayer’s unexpected tax surprise or larger-than-usual refund may be due to life changes such as getting married, having or adopting a child, or it may be from changes included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The TCJA made changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, eliminating personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets. These changes affected 2018 returns and are also in effect for 2019. It’s important to check withholding every year. Just because these changes didn’t affect a taxpayer last year doesn’t mean they won’t apply this year.

Sooner is better

Checking and adjusting tax withholding as early as possible is the best way to avoid having too little or too much tax withheld from paychecks. Too little withheld could result in an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time next year.

Taxpayers can help manage and adjust their tax withholding by using the IRS Withholding Calculator. It’s helpful if taxpayers have their completed 2018 tax return available when using the Withholding Calculator to estimate the amount of income, deductions, adjustments and credits to enter. Taxpayers also need their most recent pay stubs to compute their withholding so far this year. Based on the Withholding Calculator’s recommendations, taxpayers can then fill out and submit a new Form W-4 to their employer.

The Withholding Calculator does not request personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, address or bank account number. The IRS does not save or record the information entered on the calculator.

Estimated taxes

Some workers are considered self-employed and are responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. Often, this includes people involved in the sharing economy. One way to pay taxes directly to the IRS is by making estimated tax payments during the year. The next deadline for tax year 2019 estimated taxes is June 17.

TCJA changed the way tax is calculated for most taxpayers, including those with substantial income not subject to withholding. As a result, many taxpayers may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they pay each quarter through the estimated tax system.

The revised estimated tax package, Form 1040-ES, on IRS.gov is designed to help taxpayers figure these payments correctly. The package includes a quick rundown of key tax changes, income tax rate schedules for 2019 and a useful worksheet for figuring the right amount to pay.

Estimated tax penalty

Taxpayers should keep in mind that if not enough tax is paid through withholding and estimated tax payments, a penalty may be charged. A penalty may also be charged if estimated tax payments are late, even if a refund is due at tax time.

Pay electronically anytime

Taxpayers can pay their 2019 estimated tax payments electronically anytime before the final due date for the tax year. Most taxpayers make estimated tax payments in equal amounts by the four established due dates. The three remaining due dates for tax year 2019 estimated taxes are June 17, September 16, and the final payment is due January 15, 2020. Direct Pay and EFTPS are both free payment options, and taxpayers can schedule their payments in advance as well as receive email notifications about the payment. Visit IRS.gov/payments to schedule electronic payments online, by phone or via the IRS2go mobile app.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS           

-Can married couples hold property?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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Yes. After marriage, there are many ways of owning property. They differ from state to state.

  • Sole tenancy, which is when one individual has ownership. The property is passed on in accordance with the will at death.
  • Joint tenancy, with the privilege of survivorship. Two or more people have equal ownership. The property is passed to the joint owner upon death. This should be used to effectively avoid probate.
  • Tenancy in common, property has joint ownership with the privilege of survivorship. The property is passed on according to your will upon death.
  • Tenancy by the entirety, like joint tenancy, with privilege of survivorship. This doesn't allow a spouse to get rid of the property without the other's consent and is only possible for spouses.
  • Community property, property that is gained through marriage that has equal ownership. States such as AZ, CA, ID, LA, NV, NM, TX, WA, and WI allow community property.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Upon a family member's death, what taxes are due?-

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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The following sums up the different taxes that may need to be paid upon death of a family member:

  • Federal Estate Tax. Amounts that are given to the surviving spouse or to a charity are typically exempt from estate tax. Normally, the estate tax is only owed on estates (which, after decreasing the amount by what is given to the spouse and charity, surpasses the unified credit exemption equivalent).
  • If you need to file an estate tax return, get in touch with the IRS to get a Form 706. Within nine months of the death, absent extension date, a federal estate tax return must be filed.
  • State Estate Taxes. These differ by state. States may enforce estate taxes that may be applied on top of the federal estate taxes while others may be utilized when federal estate taxes don't. There are inheritance taxes that some states impose, which are on the individuals that receive the inheritance, rather than on the estate itself.
  • Income Taxes. The deceased's state and federal income taxes are due for the year of death. Unless an extension is solicited, the taxes are due on the regular filing date of the coming year. For the year of the death, the deceased's spouse may file a joint federal income tax return. If the spouse has a dependent child, he/she may file for an additional two years. It might be helpful to look at the IRS's Publication 559, "Information for Survivors, Executors and Administrators".

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Is the cost of getting a divorce a deduction?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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Typically no, although specific fees paid for income or estate tax advice due to the divorce may be deductible. The fees used to decide the alimony amount or to collect the alimony may be deducted. These would be subject to the 2% limitation under the miscellaneous item deductions.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-After a divorce, what happens to my credit history?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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If the name on your account changes, lenders may appraise the application and credit line to decide if your qualifications meet the credit standards. You may be asked to reapply.

To avoid inconvenience, maintain credit in your own name. Preserving your own, separate, credit history makes things easier in the future. In an emergency, if you need credit, it will be available.

Avoid using your spouse's name - i.e. Mrs. Peter Johnson - for purpose of credit.

Get an update on your credit report. Be sure that your name, as well as your spouse's, is being reported correctly. If you would like to use your spouse's credit history to your benefit, simply write a letter to the credit agency and request that both names be put on the account.

Find out if there is any incomplete or inaccurate data in your account. Send the credit bureau a letter asking them to correct this information. They need to confirm receipt within a normal time period and inform you when the mistake is fixed.

Improving your own credit history in your name should be simple if you have been sharing accounts with your spouse. Make a call to a major credit bureau and ask for copies of your account information. Get in touch with the issuers of the cards with whom you share accounts with your spouse and request to have your name on the account as well.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Should I take any particular steps with regard to the assets of the deceased?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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To learn how to handle the following assets of the deceased, speak with your financial advisor.

General rules are as follows:

  • Automobiles. Find out if the title of the car of the deceased needs to be modified by checking with the State DMV.
  • Insurance Policies. The beneficiaries of policies held by the deceased's spouse may need to be modified. It might be smart to lessen the amount of life insurance coverage if the spouse doesn't have any dependents. Revision of home and auto insurance may also need to be done.
  • Bank Accounts. The title of a joint bank account will automatically pass to the surviving spouse. Advise the bank to change the ownership records. If the name of the deceased was the only name on the bank account, the asset will go through probate unless it is a trust account.
  • Safe Deposit Box. A court order is necessary, in most states, to open a safe deposit box that is only in the deceased's name.
  • Stocks and Bonds. Verify with the broker of the deceased to change title of stocks and bonds.
  • Credit Cards. If the credit cards are only in the deceased's name, they should be cancelled and the estate should pay outstanding payments. If the cards are in both names, the surviving spouse should inform the credit card companies of the death and ask for cards only in the survivor's name to be reissued.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Upon a family member's death, what taxes are due?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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The following sums up the different taxes that may need to be paid upon death of a family member:

  • Federal Estate Tax. Amounts that are given to the surviving spouse or to a charity are typically exempt from estate tax. Normally, the estate tax is only owed on estates (which, after decreasing the amount by what is given to the spouse and charity, surpasses the unified credit exemption equivalent).
  • If you need to file an estate tax return, get in touch with the IRS to get a Form 706. Within nine months of the death, absent extension date, a federal estate tax return must be filed.
  • State Estate Taxes. These differ by state. States may enforce estate taxes that may be applied on top of the federal estate taxes while others may be utilized when federal estate taxes don't. There are inheritance taxes that some states impose, which are on the individuals that receive the inheritance, rather than on the estate itself.
  • Income Taxes. The deceased's state and federal income taxes are due for the year of death. Unless an extension is solicited, the taxes are due on the regular filing date of the coming year. For the year of the death, the deceased's spouse may file a joint federal income tax return. If the spouse has a dependent child, he/she may file for an additional two years. It might be helpful to look at the IRS's Publication 559, "Information for Survivors, Executors and Administrators".

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

-What can I do to avoid overpaying for a funeral of a member of my family?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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Planning ahead is the best way to avoid overpaying for a family member's funeral. You should know about the Federal Rule or the regulation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dealing with practices of the funeral industry. It provides that:

  • You must be given, over the phone, price and other relevant information by the funeral provider to answer your questions.
  • You must be given 1) a disclosure of important legal rights, 2) a general price list, and 3) information about caskets for cremation, embalming and required purchases by the funeral provider.
  • You must be given, in writing, any service fees for the payment of goods or services such as flowers, obituary notices, and pallbearers, on your behalf by the funeral provider. Some funeral providers add a service fee to the cost, while other charge you only the cost of the item. You must also be given any information from the funeral provider about refunds, discounts or rebates from the supplier.
  • You must be given by the funeral provider, in writing, information regarding your right to purchase and what is available to you - an unfinished wood box, a type of casket, or an alternative for direct cremation.
  • In getting the products and services that you do want, you are not obligated to buy unwanted goods or services or pay any additional fees. You only need to pay for the goods and services you selected or that the state law requires in addition to the fee for the services of the funeral director and staff.
  • You must be given an itemized list of the total cost of the funeral goods and services selected by you. It must inform you of any cemetery, legal, or crematory requirements that you must meet to buy any funeral goods or services.
  • You are not allowed to be told that a certain funeral item or service can preserve the deceased's body for an indefinite time in the grave or claim that funeral goods (caskets or vaults) will not allow dirt, water, or other gravesite substances to enter.

Contact your federal, state or local consumer protection agencies, the Conference of Funeral Examining Boards (www.theconferenceonline.org), or the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program (FSCAP) (www.funeralservicefoundation.org) if you are having a funeral problem that cannot be resolved with the funeral director.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

What can I do when my current or former spouse's bad credit affects me?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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It is possible to separate yourself from your spouse on your credit report, if the spouse's credit is hurting yours. If you can prove that he/she opened the shared accounts prior to marriage and that he/she pays the bills, you might succeed in convincing the creditor that the damaging information is relevant to your spouse and not you.

It may take persistence to demonstrate that the credit history in question doesn't reflect your own.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What can I do to reduce the cost of my mortgage?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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The options that follow will help in reducing the cost of your mortgage:

  • Think about paying down your mortgage. This is an effective way for saving and raising net worth for many people. Make a decision to pay a specific amount more than the mortgage principal and faithfully stick to it.
  • Think about refinancing your mortgage. Determine if refinancing your mortgage will save you money. Calculate to see if the costs for refinancing are worth a reduction in your monthly payments. If you intend to remain in the house for at least five years, the common guideline is that at least two points reduction will make it worthwhile to refinance.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How does the division of property in a divorce work?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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Each state has their own laws regarding the division of property between ex-spouses. When it comes to applying those laws, matrimonial judges have a great amount of flexibility.

Whether or not an attorney represents you, you should make sure to have done the following:

  • Learn how the laws of your state function with respect to property division.
  • Make sure to have the papers to confirm that property owned separately during the marriage has been kept separate.
  • Be prepared to report any non-financial contributions to the marriage that you have made - such as any non-financial contributions to his/her financial success or spousal support while he/she went to school.
  • Be willing to report any need for alimony or child support.

Consider having the divorce agreement supply you with funds if you have not worked outside of the home during the marriage.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-With a divorce, what are the tax implications?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 02 2019

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Upon completion of a divorce, individual tax returns will be filed. There are a few areas that may result in tax consequences. The following are the most common:

  • Child Support
    It is not taxable to the recipient and is not deductible by the payer. If it is specially designated as child support in a divorce agreement or lessened by the occurrence of a contingency relative to the child, meaning a child reaches a specified age, it is considered as a payment.
  • Alimony
    It is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payers. It is known as a payment in accordance with a divorce agreement other than child support or when allocated in the decree as something other than alimony. In a separation agreement, similar treatment is in accordance with separate maintenance payments. Payments may not end upon death of the recipient and may not be front-loaded.
  • Property Settlements
    When in accordance with the divorce or separation, they are not taxable. In the event of transfers of assets amongst spouses, they do not become taxable income, gains, loses, or deductions. The recipient spouse gets the cost basis of the property. Your spouse may provide you with an equal share of the property based on a fair market value, but be careful with the lower basis. In the end, it can produce a taxable gain at the asset's sale.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-After marriage, what are the tax implications?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 01 2019

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You are entitled to file a joint income tax return upon marriage. Although this simplifies the filing process, you will more than likely discover that your tax bill is either higher or lower than when you were single. It's higher when you file together, as more of your income is taxed in the higher tax brackets. This is commonly known as the marriage tax penalty. In 2003, a tax law that intended to reduce the marriage penalty went into effect, but this law didn't get rid of the penalty for higher bracket taxpayers.

Once married, you may not file separately in an attempt to avoid the marriage penalty. Actually, filing as married filing separately can raise your taxes. For the optimal filing status for your situation you should speak with your tax advisor.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-When retirement plans or IRAs are divided in a divorce, what happens?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 01 2019

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If in accordance with the qualified domestic relations order or other order of the court in the case of an IRA, these plans are separated as non-taxable. However, this is the case only if the assets stay in the retirement account or IRA. Once the funds are allocated, they will be taxed to the recipient. The payer does not get the benefit of a deduction and the recipient does not have taxable income when divided.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How much will I be charged at the end of an auto lease?

Posted by Admin Posted on May 01 2019

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At the end of the lease period, the federal Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) puts a limit on how much the dealer can collect. The dealer cannot collect more than three times the average monthly payment.

For the following reasons, a dealer may collect a higher amount:

  • The miles are higher than stated in the lease or the vehicle has unreasonable wear and tear.
  • There was an agreement to pay an amount greater than what is stated in the original contract.
  • The Lessor wins a lawsuit for a higher amount.

At the end of the term of the lease, the dealer may opt to sell the car. If the car is sold for less than the residual value specified in the leasing contract, you may be obligated to pay as much as three monthly payments to make up the difference.

You may want to negotiate to have the right to approve the final sales price as part of the lease agreement, so the dealer does not sell the leased car for less than the residual value just to get the car off the lot.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • You do not get a refund if you stay under the mileage limit.
  • You probably won't have to pay for excess mileage if you purchase the car at the end of a closed-end lease and you exceed the mileage allowance.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-During a divorce, what are the legal issues that must be handled?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Make an agreement with your spouse to plan for the legal issues that will be dealt with in the future, such as division of property, alimony or support payments and child custody. The amount of time and money that will be spent trying to reach a legal solution will be lessened dramatically if this can be done, either with the help of lawyers or court.

The following are general tips to face the legal aspects of divorce:

  • If there are important issues with regards to child custody, alimony or assets, find your own attorney.
  • Use referrals from other professionals, trusted friends or the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (www.aaml.org) to find a good matrimonial lawyer.
  • Verify that the agreement of divorce approaches all topics such as insurance coverage, life health and auto.
  • On IRA accounts, life insurance policies, pension plans, 401(k) plans, and other retirement accounts make sure to modify the beneficiaries.
  • Update your will.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Are surviving family members entitled to Social Security benefits?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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If the deceased has paid Social Security for a minimum of ten years, he/she is covered. Contact your local Social Security office or call 800-772-1213 to find out if the deceased was eligible. There are two types of available benefits, if eligible:

One-time death benefit - A death benefit is paid by Social Security towards burial expenses. To apply the payment to your funeral bill, simply complete the form necessary at your local Social Security office or ask the funeral director to complete the application. This is only available to eligible spouses or a child that is entitled to the benefits of the survivor.

Benefits of a survivor for a spouse or children - The spouse will be eligible for benefits if he/she is 60 years old or older. The benefit amount collected before the age of 65 will be less than that due at the age of 65 or older. Widows who are disabled are eligible for benefits at age 50. If the deceased's spouse cares for dependent children under the age of 16 or for disabled children, they may qualify for benefits before age 60. The deceased's children who are disabled or younger than 18 may also qualify for the benefits.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What will I need if a member of the family dies?-

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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The following is a list of papers that will be necessary:

Copies of all insurance policies.

Marriage Certificate (if the deceased's spouse will be requesting benefits). You may obtain copies at the Office of the County Clerk where the marriage license was issued.

Certified copies of the death certificate (a minimum of 10). These can be bought from the funeral director or from the Health Department in your county.

Birth Certificates of dependent children. These may be obtained at either the County or State Public Health offices where the child was born.

Social Security numbers of the spouse, deceased and any dependent children.

Military discharge, if the deceased was a veteran. Write to The Department of Defense if you are unable to find copies.

A complete list of all property, including stocks, savings accounts, real estate, and personal property of the deceased.

Will, which will more than likely be with the lawyer of the deceased.                                                                                                

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How should credit card accounts be dealt with during a divorce?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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As soon as you know you are going to be getting a divorce, immediately cancel all joint accounts.

Regardless of who accumulated the bill, creditors can legally try to collect payment from either party on the joint credit card or other credit account. You will be responsible for payment as long as your name appears on the joint accounts.

The agreement that is reached during the divorce may state who must pay the bills. From the creditor's point of view, both your spouse and you are responsible as long as the joint account stays open. The creditor will attempt to receive payment from who they think are most likely to pay while reporting late payments to the credit bureaus in both names. Due to the irresponsibility of the co-signer, your credit history could be harmed.

You may be required to pay the remaining balance in full upon closure of the account. If this is the case, ask the creditor to distribute the outstanding balance to separate accounts.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Is it possible to financially prepare for divorce?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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A plan for the termination of the financial partnership of the marriage is crucial if you are thinking of divorce. All financial assets and liabilities that have been acquired during the years of marriage will need to be divided. If children play a role, the support that will be paid to the custodial parent in the future should be taken into account.

The time put into organizing this will be worth it in the long run. The following are a few steps to consider:

  • Prepare an inventory of your financial situation that will help you in two ways:

1.   It will aid in determining how debts accumulated during the marriage will be paid off. (It is best to try and get all the joint debt (credit card debt) paid off before the divorce. To come to an agreement as to the method for paying them off, it is smart to make a list of the debts. )

2.   It will give you an introductory look at the information needed to divide the property.

  • Prepare a list of all assets, whether joint or separate, that includes:

1.   Your residence(s)

2.   The value of any brokerage accounts

3.   Your valuable antiques, jewelry, luxury items, collections, and furnishings

4.   The current balance in all bank accounts

5.   Your autos

6.   The value of investments, including any IRAs

  • Locate copies of the last two or three years' tax returns. These will be beneficial later.
  • Know the exact quantity of salary and miscellaneous income brought home by your spouse and you.
  • Obtain all papers regarding insurance, life, health, pension, and other retirement benefits.
  • Make a list of debts that are owed both separately and jointly, including mortgage, credit card debt, auto loans and other liabilities.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How can I negotiate for a new car?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Keep in mind that you are not just looking for a car. You also have to select a dealer with whom you will continue a long-term relationship with, as you usually have to service your car at the dealership. If you aren't comfortable with the dealership, go somewhere else.

A good time to try for a good bargain on a car is the last Saturday of September, October, or December.

Before you start looking for a car, learn about the financing options. You can be prepared when the dealer starts to discuss financing if you are aware of what the banks are charging.

Some points you will want to highlight during the negotiations are:

  • You are aware of the exact model and options you want
  • You are shopping around and will get quotes from other dealerships
  • You will not be talking about financing or trade-ins until the dealer has given an offer and make sure not to mention a trade-in until the price has been negotiated
  • You are fully aware of the invoice cost of the car

Lastly, go to other dealerships even if you think you have a great price.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

- What is included in the initial costs of leasing a car?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Learn what the total initial costs will be when determining if you want to lease or buy. You will use this total amount to compare to the cost of buying.

Initial costs are the amount you will need to come up with for the down payment when you lease a car. The security deposit, the first and last lease payments, the "capitalized cost reductions," the sales taxes, title fees, license fees, and insurance are included. Usually the initial costs amount to less than the down payment that is necessary to purchase a car. During the bargaining with the dealer, all initial costs are open for negotiation.

The Lessor must disclose all up-front, continuing, and ending costs in a standard, understandable format according to the Federal Consumer Leasing Act.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Is more insurance necessary for married couples?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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In the case of death, life insurance will provide a form of income for your dependents, children or whoever is your beneficiary. Because of this, married couples usually require more life insurance than singles.

Having someone dependent on your income will determine if you need to have life insurance. If someone such as a child, parent, spouse or other individual is dependent on your income, you should have life insurance. The following are situations where life insurance is necessary:

  • Single parents or families with young children or other dependents. The younger your children, the more insurance is necessary. Insurance should be in proportion to the amount earned. If both spouses are working, they should both be insured. If both earners cannot afford to be insured, the primary wage earner should be the first to be insured and the secondary will follow. To fill the insurance gap, a less expensive term policy may be used. Insurance should be bought to cover the absence of services such as childcare, bookkeeping, housekeeping, which are provided by the spouse that works within the home. The insurance that covers the non-wage earner is secondary to the insurance that covers the wage earner's life, if funds are scarce.
  • Adults that have no children or other dependents. You will need less insurance than people in the previous situation if your spouse can live comfortably without income. However, some form of life insurance is still necessary. You will want at least enough to cover burial expenses, to pay off any debts you may have acquired, and to provide an easy transition for the surviving spouse. You may want to buy more insurance if you think your spouse would go through financial hardship without your income or if your savings aren't adequate. This depends on your salary level as well as the amount of your spouse's, the amount of savings you have and the amount of debt incurred.
  • Single adults without dependents. Unless you would like to use insurance for the purposes of estate planning, you will only need insurance to cover expenses for burial and debts.
  • Children. Typically, children only need life insurance to cover burial expenses and medical debts. An insurance policy could also be used as a long-term savings instrument, in some instances.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What should I be on the lookout for when I am purchasing life insurance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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First of all, beware that many insurance salespeople work on a commission basis, and may want to persuade you to purchase the policy that brings them the largest commission, rather than getting you the policy that makes the most sense for you.

Most of all, be sure that the company you are buying from will be in existence when you need them. Make sure that you check the insurer's rating before you consider doing business with them.

Always review the costs of any recommended policy. The commissions will be stated, and you can see exactly where the money that you contribute will go.

Ask the insurance agent to explain the different policies and why the one you agree on is the best for you considering your circumstances.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Fuente: Thomson Reuters

-How does an auto lease function?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Lease arrangements come in two different types: open-end or "finance" and closed-end or "walk-away." This is how they work:

Open-End: The Risk of Depreciated Value Falls on You
At the end of the lease, the customer accepts the risk that the car will have a particular value or "estimate residual value" at the end of the lease. Due to this, the monthly payment is lower.

At the end of the lease and your return of the car, it will be appraised. If the appraised value of the car is equal to at least the estimated residual value stated in the agreement, it will not be necessary to pay anything. With certain contracts, it is possible to receive a refund if the appraised value is lower than the residual value, although, you might have to pay part or all of the difference.

Closed-End: The Risk of Depreciated Value Falls onto the Dealer
At the end of the closed-end lease, the car is returned to the dealership and you simply walk away. It must be returned with only normal wear and tear, and with less than the mileage limit that is stated in the lease. The monthly payment is higher than an open-end lease because the dealer bears the risk that the car's value will decrease by the end of the lease.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

 

-Do I negotiate on a car lease the same as I could on a car purchase?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Like a loan, the monthly lease payment is reliant on the term of the lease, the implied interest rate and the initial "purchase price" of the car. The "lease-end" or "residual" value varies from a loan, but is still important. This is the value that is expected at the end of the lease term.

You are paying the difference between the initial purchase price and the residual value in a lease. The lowest purchase price should be negotiated, which will lower the cost of leasing. If you don't intend to buy the car at the end of the lease term and it is closed-end, you might want to negotiate a higher residual value. Make sure that your expected mileage during the lease aligns with the allowed mileage in the agreement. If it doesn't, you may pay significant penalties when you turn the vehicle back in to the dealer.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What should I ask about the car lease?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 29 2019

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Here are a few questions that should be answered before you sign a car lease:

  • What types of leases are obtainable and what are their differences? (Two were explained previously, but dealers may have variations.)
  • What will the initial costs of leasing be?
  • What will the continuing costs of leasing be?
  • Will my initial cost or continuing costs decrease due to a trade-in?
  • Can I exceed the specific mileage in my lease?
  • If I take an early termination or a purchase option, how will my mileage allowance be enforced?
  • If I fall behind in my payments or want to stop leasing, can I sublease?
  • If I want to terminate my lease before the agreement is up, what happens?
  • Do I have options at the end of my lease?
  • What can I expect to pay at the end of the lease?

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Who needs to be notified if a spouse changes their name after marriage?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 24 2019

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All organizations that you had correspondence with while using your unmarried name should be notified. You can begin with the following list:

  • The Social Security Administration
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Post Office
  • Investment and bank accounts
  • Employer
  • Voter's registration office
  • School alumni offices
  • Credit cards and loans
  • Club memberships
  • Retirement accounts
  • Subscriptions
  • Passport office
  • Insurance agents

 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How should unmarried couples protect their estate and financial holdings?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 24 2019

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Here are some important steps to take for couples that are unmarried:

  • Draft wills. The chances of the intentions being followed through with after a death are greater if both partners make wills. Without wills, the probability of the unmarried surviving partner having no rights is more likely.
  • Think about owning property together. This is a way to guarantee that property will pass to the other joint owner at the time of the other's death due to the right of survivorship.
  • Make a durable power of attorney. This will permit the partner to sign papers and checks and take care of other financial issues on his/her behalf should one become incapacitated.
  • Make a health care proxy. Also known as a medical power of attorney, this permits the partner to talk on your behalf to make medical decisions, should you become injured.
  • Have a living will. This lets your wishes regarding artificial feeding and other measures to prolong your life be known.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What is probate?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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It is the legal process of allocating the estate to the lawful heirs as well as paying the debts of the deceased. The process typically includes:

  • An individual being appointed by the court to function as the personal representative or executor of the estate. The person is usually mentioned in the will. The court will appoint a personal representative, typically the spouse, if there is no will.
  • Validating the will.
  • Letting all heirs, beneficiaries and creditors know that the will has been probated.
  • In accordance with the will or state law, organizing the estate by the personal representative.

A petition must be filed by the spouse or the selected personal representative with the court following the death. A fee for the process of probate will be charged.

Probation of a will might require legal assistance, depending on the size and complexity of the assets to probate.

If the deceased and someone else jointly owned assets, they are not subject to probate. The proceeds of a life insurance policy or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) will be paid to the beneficiary and are not subject to probate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-If my spouse died without a will, how will his/her assets be distributed?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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The law will pass on the jointly held assets with right of survivorship on to the joint holder. The designated beneficiary of the insurance policies and retirement accounts will be awarded to said individuals. The assets owned only by the decedent will be dealt with according to state law, known as intestacy. Generally, the preference is given to the spouse or children, but the laws differ from state to state.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What can I do to resolve a consumer complaint?

Posted by Admin Posted on Apr 09 2019

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You should first approach the seller of the item. Then, get in touch with the relevant consumer agency. If neither of the previous provides adequate results, a lawsuit can be filed or you may use arbitration.

Approach the Seller

  1. Compile all necessary evidence such as canceled checks, receipt, photographs showing the issue, a warranty, bill of sale or contract.
  2. Determine your goal. Would you like the product replaced? Would you like a refund? Are you just looking for an apology?
  3. Schedule a meeting with the manager, customer service representative or other appropriate person by calling the store or service provider. In this meeting with the individual, describe as clearly as possible the nature of the issue and what your goal is. If you can only speak by phone, write a letter as follow-up and keep detailed notes of the dates and with whom you spoke with. It is important to note that if there is a valid warranty for the product, it is best to follow-up with the manufacturer and not the merchant.
  4. Take the issue to a higher level, if this doesn't find a solution. This could be the corporate president or supervisor. At this point, you should put your complaint in writing if you have yet to do so. This letter should detail your name, phone numbers, address, and account number (if applicable). Include the date and place of purchase as well as the model and serial number if a product is involved. Concisely describe the issue at hand and the process you have gone through so far to reach a solution. Lastly, you should include what outcome you want and state a deadline for this outcome. Keep a copy of the letter for yourself and include relevant copies of documents. Make sure you keep the originals and retain copies of any correspondence you receive from the company.

Get in touch with an agency

If your desired goal has yet to be reached, you will want to look in the phone book or online for a consumer complaint agency, such as the county, city or state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau.

Another option is to go with the trade association method. There are industry trade associations that will offer to aid in mediating issues with regards to their members.

You may want to get in touch with the appropriate state-banking regulator if your issue deals with a bank. If an insurer is involved, you will want to get in touch with the state insurance regulator, for a securities problem contact the securities regulator or for utilities problems contact the public utilities commission.

Call the state-licensing department if you the issue deals with a state-licensed trade, such as a plumber.

Research the lemon laws of your state, unless you reside in Arkansas or South Dakota, by getting in touch with your state consumer protections agency in the event that you purchased a bad used car.

Get in contact with your area postal inspector, whose information can be located in the U.S. government section of the telephone book, for issues that pertain to mail order or mail fraud.

Look into finding a local television news program hotline for resolving consumer complaints.

Filing a lawsuit

When there are no more options, you will want to file a court case in either small claims court, if the amount is small (usually less than $5000) or if not, a regular lawsuit.

More than likely speaking with an attorney and having them draft a letter to the merchant or service provider giving the details about the lawsuit will resolve the issue.

You probably won't need to hire a lawyer if a small claims case is involved. If the case is bigger than small claims, you will want to hire a lawyer.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters 

-What level of home insurance should I buy?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Make sure that you are insured against whatever natural disasters are common in your area, because insurance against these differs. If you don't specifically ask, you may not be covered.

Be sure to insure for 100% of rebuilding costs. The price of rebuilding your home could differ greatly from the amount that your home is valued at today.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What will worker's compensation cover if I ever need it?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Worker's compensation will only cover you for injuries that occur on the job site. The compensation varies from state to state, but most states will pay throughout the lifetime of the worker, in the case of a permanent disability.

You can get all of the information that you need regarding individual state's worker's compensation benefits by contacting your state's Department of Labor.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What exactly is long-term care insurance and how does it work?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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With long-term care insurance (LTCI), you are guaranteed to be paid a certain amount of money towards care for a specified length of time.

As the age of the covered individual increases, so does the premium, so in order to get a better rate, this is something that you may want to purchase earlier in life while the premiums are still low.

Indemnity-type insurance actually distributes the money to the caregivers, and pays the daily benefit directly to the insured party; this type can be easier because there is much less paperwork and more flexibility about how the money can be spent.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-Does my car affect my insurance rate?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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It is a good idea to check the insurance rates that are given to certain cars before you buy them. Usually as the cost of the car rises, so does the insurance premium. The insurance rates on used cars are generally substantially lower than those of new cars.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How can I easily compare prices between insurance companies?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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In most states there will be a set of rules laid down by a group of insurance regulators. Agents may be required to calculate two different types of indexes to aid in price shopping.

  • Net payment index
  • Surrender cost index

The net payment index calculates the cost of carrying the policy for ten to twenty years. This can be judged easily by remembering that the lower this number is, the more inexpensive the policy is. This is most helpful if you are more concerned with the death payout than the investment.

On the other hand, the surrender cost index is more useful to those who are concerned with the cash value of the investment. The lower this number is, the better.

The cash surrender value is what you will receive in return if you were to surrender the policy, which is different than the cash accumulation value. If you are checking the prices of universal life policies, if the policies have different premiums and death benefits, the policy with the higher cash surrender value would be the better investment.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:Thomson Reuters

What can I do to get a good price on my homeowner's insurance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Clearly you should always perform a good amount of due diligence when searching for any policy. Be sure to compare the differences in services offered and prices quoted. There are many discounts available for different things, don't forget to ask if you qualify for any of them.

Remember that the deductible will largely affect the price of the premium. It is a good idea to keep the deductible as high as you feel comfortable with to keep the premium down.

You can generally get a better deal when you purchase your auto and house policies from the same company and you can also get a better rate by not insuring the land.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What should I consider when choosing a long-term insurance provider?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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It is important to look at the stability of the company that you are looking into, because they need to be there when you are in your time of need. Companies who sell long-term insurance may not be as closely regulated as other insurance companies. You can find the ratings of these companies from Standard & Poor's.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How significantly does my address affect my insurance?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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There is a big difference in the premiums that people pay in the suburbs where there is much less traffic congestion as opposed to people that live in big cities with many accidents per capita. Usually this is judged by the zip code of which you register as your home.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-How are people classified for rate purposes?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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To ensure that you receive the best rate possible it is useful to understand how these premiums are calculated by insurers. Firstly insurers will place people into four main categories:

  • Preferred
  • Standard
  • Substandard
  • Uninsurable

Someone who has a semi-serious illness such as diabetes or heart disease can be insured but will pay a higher premium. People with a chronic illness will be placed in the substandard category. Someone with a terminal illness will be rendered uninsurable.

People with high risk jobs or hobbies will be considered substandard as well.

The premiums that you are charged will correlate with the category that you are placed in. Since the categorizing is not an exact science, one company may place you in a different category than another, thus drastically changing the prices of your premiums.

Once you are approved for coverage from a company, they cannot deny you coverage for any reason unless you cease payment.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What can I do to ensure that I am insured adequately?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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Make a list of your possessions in your household. The better documented this is the more likely you will be to be able to replace them.

Make sure that you inform your agents of any changes that you make to the home so that if anything happens to the structure, the recent changes will be reflected in the payout.

Check to see if there are any specific limits to what is insured by your company. Sometimes a person may think they are covered for certain things, but the limits negate that.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters  

-What amount of life insurance should I have?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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In order to figure out how much insurance you need, you will need to explore your current household expenses, debts, assets, and streams of income. If you need assistance in this, consult either your accountant or financial advisor.

The amount of money that you want to leave behind for your dependents should allow them to use some of the money to maintain their current standard of living, then reinvest another lump sum to ensure that they will be well off in the future.

When attempting to calculate the amount of money that you need to leave behind, be extremely meticulous. If you err low, your family may not receive the help that they need from the insurance company, and if you err the other way, you will be spending more than necessary in insurance premiums.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

 Source: Thomson Reuters

-Why should I have life insurance? Do I really need it?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 29 2019

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The main reason that people purchase life insurance is to know that in the event of their passing, their children and loved ones will be taken care of. Life insurance can also help with the distribution of your estate. Your payout could go to family, charity, or wherever you choose to distribute it.

The main reasons to buy life insurance would be because you have dependents that would be put in a tough position without you providing for them. For example, if you have a spouse, a child, or a parent who is dependent on your income, you should have life insurance.

If you have a spouse and young children, you will need more insurance than someone with older children, because they will be dependents for a longer amount of time than older children. If you are in a position where you and your spouse both earn for the family, then you should both be insured in proportion to the incomes that you garner.

If you have a spouse and older children or no children, you will still want to have life insurance, but you won't need the same level of insurance as in the first example, just enough to ensure that your spouse will be provided for, to cover your burial expenses, and to settle the debts that you have accumulated.

If you don't have children or a spouse, you will only need enough insurance to make sure that your burial expenses are covered, unless you would like to have an insurance policy in order to help in the distribution of your estate.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Foreign Income

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 15 2019

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With more and more United States citizens earning money from foreign sources, the IRS reminds people that they must report all such income on their tax return, unless it is exempt under federal law. U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income.

This applies whether a person lives inside or outside the United States. The foreign income rule also applies regardless of whether or not the person receives a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, or a Form 1099 (information return).

Foreign source income includes earned income, such as wages and tips, and unearned income, such as interest, dividends, capital gains, pensions, rents and royalties.

An important point to remember is that citizens living outside the U.S. may be able to exclude up to $102,100 for 2017 and $104,100 for 2018, of their foreign source income if they meet certain requirements. However, the exclusion does not apply to payments made by the U.S. government to its civilian or military employees living outside the U.S. Please contact us if you feel you may have earned foreign income to learn more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Refund, Where's My Refund?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 15 2019

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Are you expecting a tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year? If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return. If you file your return electronically, your refund should be issued in about half the time it would take if you filed a paper return — even faster when you choose direct deposit.

You can have a refund check mailed to you, buy up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds with your refund, or you may be able to have your refund electronically deposited directly into your bank account (either in one account, or in multiple accounts). Direct deposit into a bank account is more secure because there is no check to get lost. And it takes the U.S. Treasury less time than issuing a paper check. If you prepare a paper return, fill in the direct deposit information in the “Refund” section of the tax form, making sure that the routing and account numbers are accurate. Incorrect numbers can cause your refund to be misdirected or delayed. Direct deposit is also available if you electronically file your return.

A few words of caution — some financial institutions do not allow a joint refund to be deposited into an individual account. Check with your bank or other financial institution to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted.

You may not receive your refund as quickly as you expected. A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, a name and Social Security number listed on the tax return may not match the IRS records. You may have failed to sign the return or to include a necessary attachment, such as Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. Or you may have made math errors that require extra time for the IRS to correct.

To check the status of an expected refund, use "Check your Federal Refund" an interactive tool available on our Links page. Simple online instructions guide you through a process that checks the status of your refund after you provide identifying information from your tax return. Once the information is processed, results could be one of several responses.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

How much is it possible to save by comparison shopping?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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It is possible to save up to 50% by changing your companies.

There are many factors that are taken into account by the issuing company, such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Driving Record
  • State
  • Vehicle
  • Average Mileage Driven

Do not choose your insurer strictly on price, however. Quality and level of service should be a factor in your choice as well, and their ratings should be checked.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Should I keep collision coverage on my old car?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Collision coverage ensures the repair of your car whether you were at fault or not, even if your car is damaged by fire, flood, wind or hail. Depending on the value of your car, this coverage may not be cost effective.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-How can I keep my car insurance costs low?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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The first thing to do is bargain shop to make sure that the rates you are getting are reasonable in comparison to other companies. Within the policy that you have, these are a few tips that could save you a few bucks.

  • Buy a cheaper or a lower profile car
  • Take out a higher deductible
  • Look into different insurance costs in different communities
  • Pay annually
  • Drop collision damage coverage

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Car Donations

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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The IRS reminds taxpayers that specific rules apply for taking a tax deduction for donating cars to charities. If the claimed value of the donated motor vehicle, boat or plane exceeds $500, you can deduct the smaller of the vehicle's FMV on the date of the contribution or the gross proceeds received from the sale of the vehicle.

People who want to take a deduction for the donation of their vehicle on their tax return should take quite a few steps, but here is the most obvious:

Check that the Organization is Qualified.

Taxpayers must make certain that they contribute their car to an eligible organization; otherwise, their donation will not be tax deductible. Taxpayers can search Exempt Organizations Select Check online tool to check that an organization is qualified. In addition, taxpayers can call IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Service at 1-877-829-5500. Be sure to have the organization's correct name and its headquarters location, if possible. Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and governments are not required to apply for this exemption in order to be qualified.  Please contact us if you're considering a car donation for your tax return!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-ROTH IRA Contributions

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Confused about whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA? The IRS suggests checking these simple rules:

  1. Income To contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have compensation (e.g., wages, salary, tips, professional fees, bonuses). Your modified adjusted gross income must be less than:
    • $196,000 — Married Filing Jointly.
    • $10,000 — Married Filing Separately (and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year).
    • $133,000 — Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separately (and you did not live with your spouse during the year).
  2. Age There is no age limitation for Roth IRA contributions. Unlike traditional IRAs, you can be any age and still qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA.
  3. Contribution Limits In general, if your only IRA is a Roth IRA, the maximum current year contribution limit is the lesser of your taxable compensation or $5,500 ($6,500 for those age 50 or over). The maximum contribution limit phases out if your modified adjusted gross income is within these limits:
    • $186,000-$196,000 — Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying widow(er)
    • $0-$10,000 — Married Filing Separately (and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year)
    • $118,000-$133,000 — Single, Head of Household, or Married Filing Separately (and you did not live with your spouse)
  4. Contributions to Spousal Roth IRA You can make contributions to a Roth IRA for your spouse provided you meet the income requirements.

* Note - threshold amounts listed above are for tax year 2017.

 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Selling Your Home

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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If you sold your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly) from your federal tax return. This exclusion is allowed each time that you sell your main home, but generally no more frequently than once every two years.

To be eligible for this exclusion, your home must have been owned by you and used as your main home for a period of at least two out of the five years prior to its sale. You also must not have excluded gain on another home sold during the two years before the current sale.

If you and your spouse file a joint return for the year of the sale, you can exclude the gain if either of you qualify for the exclusion. But both of you would have to meet the use test to claim the $500,000 maximum amount.

To exclude gain, a taxpayer must both own and use the home as a principal residence for two of the five years before the sale. The two years may consist of 24 full months or 730 days. Short absences, such as for a summer vacation, count as periods of use. Longer breaks, such as a one-year sabbatical, do not.

If you do not meet the ownership and use tests, you may be allowed to exclude a reduced maximum amount of the gain realized on the sale of your home if you sold your home due to health, a change in place of employment, or certain unforeseen circumstances. Unforeseen circumstances include, for example, divorce or legal separation, natural or man-made disaster resulting in a casualty to your home, or an involuntary conversion of your home.  Send us a message for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

How do I file an auto insurance claim?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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A few tips to ensure that you claim correctly and receive your money as quickly as possible:

  • File the claim immediately; take note of hospital bills, police accident reports, and copies of claims that have been submitted.
  • Take notes of exactly what was said every time you speak with a company representative, make a note of the date and keep the information together in a file.
  • If you get the feeling that the company isn't being forthcoming with the results that you need, complain to the state insurance regulator.
  • If you still feel that your claim isn't getting the attention it deserves, call a lawyer.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Refinancing Your Home

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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Taxpayers who refinanced their homes may be eligible to deduct some costs associated with their loans.

Generally, for taxpayers who itemize, the “points” paid to obtain a home mortgage may be deductible as mortgage interest. Points paid to obtain an original home mortgage can be, depending on circumstances, fully deductible in the year paid. However, points paid solely to refinance a home mortgage usually must be deducted over the life of the loan.

For a refinanced mortgage, the interest deduction for points is determined by dividing the points paid by the number of payments to be made over the life of the loan. This information is usually available from lenders. Taxpayers may deduct points only for those payments made in the tax year. For example, a homeowner who paid $2,000 in points and who would make 360 payments on a 30-year mortgage could deduct $5.56 per monthly payment, or a total of $66.72 if he or she made 12 payments in one year.

However, if part of the refinanced mortgage money was used to finance improvements to the home and if the taxpayer meets certain other requirements, the points associated with the home improvements may be fully deductible in the year the points were paid. Also, if a homeowner is refinancing a mortgage for a second time, the balance of points paid for the first refinanced mortgage may be fully deductible at pay off.

Other closing costs — such as appraisal fees and other non-interest fees — generally are not deductible. Additionally, the amount of Adjusted Gross Income can affect the amount of deductions that can be taken.  Please contact us if you've recently refinanced, and we can be a big help!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What coverage is essential for my auto policy?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 12 2019

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You will need to have liability coverage, property damage, and bodily injury. This way you will be protected if you are at fault and cause damage to a person or their property. It is recommended to have $300,000 per accident to pay medical costs and other costs that may be affiliated. You should also have at least $50,000 in property damage.

You should have uninsured motorist coverage, which will protect you against financial damages caused by an uninsured motorist or a hit and run, should one occur.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

What are the advantages of prepaying a mortgage, and should I if I can?

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 11 2019

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It is highly recommended that you prepay as much of your mortgage as possible every month, which will drastically reduce the total amount that you pay.

However, there are times where this could be disadvantageous.

If you are in a situation where you don't have funds to cover three to six months of expenses, it is recommended that you save that amount before you pay additional amounts on your mortgage.

If you have a large amount of credit card debt, over the long run, you will save more money by knocking down those high interest loans first.

There also may be times where that money would be more wisely invested in the market, depending on the expected rate of return versus how much you would save in early payments.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRA Contributions

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 11 2019

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One popular tax savings outlet available to taxpayers today is the Individual Retirement Account, more commonly referred to as an IRA. There are several options you have when deciding which type of IRA account to enter into. You may be able to take a tax deduction for the contributions to a traditional IRA, depending on whether you or your spouse, if filing jointly, are covered by an employer's pension plan and how much total income you have. Conversely, you cannot deduct Roth IRA contributions, but the earnings on a Roth IRA may be tax-free if you meet the conditions for a qualified distribution.

Generally, you can contribute a percentage of your earnings for the current year or a larger, catch-up contribution if you are age 50 or older. You can fund a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA (if you qualify), or both, but your total contributions cannot be more than these annual amounts (currently $5,500, or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older).

You can file your tax return claiming a traditional IRA deduction before the contribution is actually made. However, the contribution must be made by the due date of your return, not including extensions. If you haven't contributed funds to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for last tax year, or if you've put in less than the maximum allowed, you still have time to do so. You can contribute to either a traditional or Roth IRA until the April 15 due date for filing your tax return for last year, not including extensions.

Be sure to tell the IRA trustee that the contribution is for last year. Otherwise, the trustee may report the contribution as being for this year, when they get your funds.

If you report a contribution to a traditional IRA on your return, but fail to contribute by the deadline, you must file an amended tax return by using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You must add the amount you deducted to your income on the amended return and pay the additional tax accordingly.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Credit for the Elderly or Disabled

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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You may be able to take the Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled if you were age 65 or older at the end of last year, or if you are retired on permanent and total disability, according to the IRS. Like any other tax credit, it's a dollar-for-dollar reduction of your tax bill. The maximum amount of this credit is constantly changing.

You can take the credit for the elderly or the disabled if:

  • You are a qualified individual,
  • Your nontaxable income from Social Security or other nontaxable pension is less than $3,750 to $7,500 (also depending on your filing status).

Generally, you are a qualified individual for this credit if you are a U.S. citizen or resident at the end of the tax year and you are age 65 or older, or you are under 65, retired on permanent and total disability, received taxable disability income, and did not reach mandatory retirement age before the beginning of the tax year.

If you are under age 65, you can qualify for the credit only if you are retired on permanent and total disability. This means that:

  • You were permanently and totally disabled when you retired, and
  • You retired on disability before the end of the tax year.

Even if you do not retire formally, you are considered retired on disability when you have stopped working because of your disability. If you feel you might be eligible for this credit, please contact us for assistance.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Electric Vehicles save you tax money

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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For vehicles acquired after December 31, 2009, the credit is equal to $2,500 plus, for a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a battery with at least 5 kilowatt hours of capacity, $417, plus an additional $417 for each kilowatt hour of battery capacity in excess of 5 kilowatt hours. The total amount of the credit allowed for a vehicle is limited to $7,500.

The credit is available only to the original purchaser of a new qualifying vehicle, and the vehicle must be placed in service in the same year the credit is being claimed on the return. If the qualifying vehicle is leased the credit is available only to the leasing company. Also, the vehicle must be used primarily in the United States.

Additional conditions regarding qualified manufacturers and phase out rules may also apply in determining credit eligibility. To find out whether your car qualifies for the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle tax credit, you can go to the IRS.gov website and search for "plug-in vehicles" or contact us for more information.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Deductible Home Offices

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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Whether you are self-employed or an employee, if you use a portion of your home exclusively and regularly for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction.

You can deduct certain expenses if your home office is the principal place where your trade or business is conducted or where you meet and deal with clients or patients in the course of your business. If you use a separate structure not attached to your home for an exclusive and regular part of your business, you can deduct expenses related to it.

Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if you use it exclusively and regularly for the administrative or management activities associated with your trade or business. There must be no other fixed place where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities. If you use both your home and other locations regularly in your business, you must determine which location is your principle place of business, based on the relative importance of the activities performed at each location. If the relative importance factor doesn't determine your principle place of business, you can also consider the time spent at each location.

If you are an employee, you have additional requirements to meet. You cannot take the home office deduction unless the business use of your home is for the convenience of your employer. Also, you cannot take deductions for space you are renting to your employer.

Generally, the amount you can deduct depends on the percentage of your home used for business. Your deduction will be limited if your gross income from your business is less than your total business expenses. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Gift Giving

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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If you gave any one person gifts valued at more than $15,000, it is necessary to report the total gift to the Internal Revenue Service. You may even have to pay tax on the gift.

The person who received your gift does not have to report the gift to the IRS or pay either gift or income tax on its value.

You make a gift when you give property, including money, or the use of or income from property, without expecting to receive something of equal value in return. If you sell something at less than its value or make an interest-free or reduced-interest loan, you may be making a gift.

There are some exceptions to the tax rules on gifts. The following gifts do not count against the annual limit:

  • Tuition or medical expenses that you pay directly to an educational or medical institution for someone's benefit
  • Gifts to your spouse
  • Gifts to a political organization for its use
  • Gifts to charities

If you are married, both you and your spouse can give separate gifts of up to the annual limit to the same person without making a taxable gift. Please contact us for more!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-What do I need to include in a good loan proposal?

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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The following main points should be contained in a good loan proposal:

GENERAL INFORMATION        

  • Reason for the loan: the exact purpose of the loan and why it is necessary.
  • Amount needed: the specific amount needed to reach your goal.
  • Business name and address, names of officers and their social security numbers.

DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS

  • Describe the type of business you have, its age, current business assets, and number of employees.
  • Structure of ownership: describe the legal structure of the company.

MANAGEMENT PROFILE

  • Prepare a short statement that is focused on each principal in your business; give details about education, background, accomplishments and skills.

MARKET INFORMATION

  • State clearly the products of your company as well as its markets. Name the competition and explain how you plan to compete in the market. Describe what the business will do to satisfy the needs of its customers.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

  • Submit your own personal financial statements as well as those of the principal business owners.
  • Financial statements: the income statements and balance sheets for the past three years. If you have a new business, provide the projected balance sheet and income statement.
  • Specify the collateral that you are able and willing to give as security for the loan.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-CHANGES IN TAX LAW AND EFFECTS ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 22 2019

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The new tax reform law, commonly called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA), signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, is the biggest federal tax law overhaul in 31 years, and it has both good and bad news for taxpayers.

Below are highlights of some of the most significant changes affecting individual and business taxpayers. Except where noted, these changes are effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Individuals

  • Drops of individual income tax rates ranging from 0 to 4 percentage points (depending on the bracket) to 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% — through 2025 (Please see the tax rate schedules at the bottom of the article, or visithttps://www.lbcpa.com/tax-rates  ).
  • Near doubling of the standard deduction to $24,000 (married couples filing jointly), $18,000 (heads of households), and $12,000 (singles and married couples filing separately) — through 2025
  • Elimination of personal exemptions — through 2025
  • Doubling of the child tax credit to $2,000 and other modifications intended to help more taxpayers benefit from the credit — through 2025
  • Elimination of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act requiring taxpayers not covered by a qualifying health plan to pay a penalty — effective for months beginning after December 31, 2018
  • Reduction of the adjusted gross income (AGI) threshold for the medical expense deduction to 7.5% for regular and AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax)  purposes — for 2017 and 2018
  • New $10,000 limit on the deduction for state and local taxes (on a combined basis for property and income taxes; $5,000 for separate filers) — through 2025
  • Reduction of the mortgage debt limit for the home mortgage interest deduction to $750,000 ($375,000 for separate filers), with certain exceptions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the deduction for interest on home equity debt — through 2025
  • Elimination of the personal casualty and theft loss deduction (with an exception for federally declared disasters) — through 2025
  • Elimination of miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor (such as certain investment expenses, professional fees and unreimbursed employee business expenses) — through 2025
  • Elimination of the AGI-based reduction of certain itemized deductions — through 2025
  • Elimination of the moving expense deduction (with an exception for members of the military in certain circumstances) — through 2025
  • Expansion of tax-free Section 529 plan distributions to include those used to pay qualifying elementary and secondary school expenses, up to $10,000 per student per tax year
  • AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) exemption increase, to $109,400 for joint filers, $70,300 for singles and heads of households, and $54,700 for separate filers — through 2025
  • Doubling of the gift and estate tax exemptions, to $10 million (expected to be $11.2 million for 2018 with inflation indexing) — through 2025

 

Businesses

  • Replacement of graduated corporate tax rates ranging from 15% to 35% with a flat corporate rate of 21%
  • Repeal of the 20% corporate AMT
  • New 20% qualified business income deduction for owners of flow-through entities (such as partnerships, limited liability companies and S corporations) and sole proprietorships — through 2025
  • Doubling of bonus depreciation to 100% and expansion of qualified assets to include used assets — effective for assets acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023
  • Doubling of the Section 179 expensing limit to $1 million and an increase of the expensing phaseout threshold to $2.5 million
  • Other enhancements to depreciation-related deductions
  • New disallowance of deductions for net interest expense in excess of 30% of the business’s adjusted taxable income (exceptions apply)
  • New limits on net operating loss (NOL) deductions
  • Elimination of the Section 199 deduction, also commonly referred to as the domestic production activities deduction or manufacturers’ deduction — effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, for noncorporate taxpayers and for tax years beginning after December 31, 2018, for C corporation taxpayers
  • New rule limiting like-kind exchanges to real property that is not held primarily for sale
  • New tax credit for employer-paid family and medical leave — through 2019
  • New limitations on excessive employee compensation
  • New limitations on deductions for employee fringe benefits, such as entertainment and, in certain circumstances, meals and transportation

More to consider

This is just a brief overview of some of the most significant TCJA provisions. There are additional rules and limits that apply, and the law includes many additional provisions.

If you have any questions please contact us at 305-274-5811 to review how these changes will affect you in 2018 and beyond.

 

2018 Tax Rates

2018 Tax Rates Schedule X - Single

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $500,000

no limit

$150,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-1 - Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$19,050

10% of the taxable amount

$19,050

$77,400

$1,905 plus 12% of the excess over $19,050

$77,400

$165,000

$8,907 plus 22% of the excess over $77,400

$165,000

$315,000

$28,179 plus 24% of the excess over $165,000

$315,000

$400,000

$64,179 plus 32% of the excess over $315,000

$400,000

$600,000

$91,379 plus 35% of the excess over $400,000

$600,000

no limit

$161,379 plus 37% of the excess over $600,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Y-2 - Married Filing Separately

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$9,525

10% of the taxable amount

$9,525

$38,700

$952.50 plus 12% of the excess over $9,525

$38,700

$82,500

$4,453.50 plus 22% of the excess over $38,700

$82,500

$157,500

$14,089.50 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$32,089.50 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$300,000

$45,689.50 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

Over $300,000

no limit

$80,689.50 plus 37% of the excess over $300,000

2018 Tax Rates Schedule Z - Head of Household

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$13,600

10% of the taxable amount

$13,600

$51,800

$1,360 plus 12% of the excess over $13,600

$51,800

$82,500

$5,944 plus 22% of the excess over $51,800

$82,500

$157,500

$12,698 plus 24% of the excess over $82,500

$157,500

$200,000

$30,698 plus 32% of the excess over $157,500

$200,000

$500,000

$44,298 plus 35% of the excess over $200,000

$500,000

no limit

$149,298 plus 37% of the excess over $500,000

2018 Tax Rates Estates & Trusts

IF TAXABLE INCOME IS OVER

BUT NOT OVER

THE TAX IS

$0

$2,550

10% of the taxable income

$2,550

$9,150

$255 plus 24% of the excess over $2,550

$9,150

$12,500

$1,839 plus 35% of the excess over $9,150

$12,500

no limit

$3,011.50 plus 37% of the excess over $12,500

Social Security 2018 Tax Rates

Base Salary

$128,400

Social Security Tax Rate

6.2%

Maximum Social Security Tax

$7,960.80

Medicare Base Salary

unlimited

Medicare Tax Rate

1.45%

Additional Medicare 2018 Tax Rates

Additional Medicare Tax

0.9%

Filing status

Compensation over

Married filing jointly

$250,000

Married filing separate

$125,000

Single

$200,000

Head of household (with qualifying person)

$200,000

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

$200,000

Education 2018 Credit and Deduction Limits

American Opportunity Tax Credit (Hope)

$2,500

Lifetime Learning Credit

$2,000

Student Loan Interest Deduction

$2,500

Coverdell Education Savings Contribution

$2,000

Miscellaneous 2018 Tax Rates

Standard Deduction:

 
  • Married filing jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)

$24,000

  • Head of household

$18,000

  • Sinlge or Married filling separately

$12,000

Business Equipment Expense Deduction

$1,000,000

Prior-year safe harbor for estimated taxes of higher-income

110% of your 2017 tax liability

Standard mileage rate for business driving

54.5 cents

Standard mileage rate for medical/moving driving

18 cents

Standard mileage rate for charitable driving

14 cents

Child Tax Credit

$2,000 per qualifying child

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain up to $77,200 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $51,700 for heads of household, $38,600 for single filers, $38,600 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $2,600 for estates and trusts

0%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over the amount subject to the 0% rate, and up to $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

15%

Maximum capital gains tax rate for taxpayers with adjusted net capital gain over $479,000 for joint filers and surviving spouses, $452,400 for heads of household, $425,800 for single filers, $239,500 for married taxpayers filing separately, and $12,700 for estates and trusts

20%

Capital gains tax rate for unrecaptured Sec. 1250 gains

25%

Capital gains tax rate on collectibles and qualified small business stock

28%

Maximum contribution for Traditional/Roth IRA

$5,500 if under age 50
$6,500 if 50 or older

Maximum employee contribution to SIMPLE IRA

$12,500 if under age 50
$15,500 if 50 or older

Maximum Contribution to SEP IRA

25% of compensation up to $55,000

401(k) maximum employee contribution limit

$18,500 if under age 50
$24,500 if 50 or older

Self-employed health insurance deduction

100%

Estate tax exemption

$11,180,000

Annual Exclusion for Gifts

$15,000

Foreign Earned Income Exclusion

$104,100

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Tips and Taxes

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 21 2019

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Do you work at a hair salon, barber shop, casino, golf course, hotel or restaurant or drive a taxicab? The tip income you receive as an employee from those services is taxable income, advises the IRS.

As taxable income, these tips are subject to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and may be subject to state income tax as well.

You must keep a running daily log of all your tip income and tips paid out. This includes cash that you receive directly from customers, tips from credit card charges from customers that your employer pays you, the value of any non-cash tips such as tickets or passes that you receive, and the amount of tips you paid out to other employees through tip pools or tip splitting and the names of those employees.

You can use IRS Publication 1244, Employee's Daily Record of Tips and Report of Tips to Employer, to record your tip income. For a free copy of Publication 1244, call the IRS toll free at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676).

If you receive $20 or more in tips in any one month, you should report all your tips to your employer. Your employer is required to withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes and to report the correct amount of your earnings to the Social Security Administration (which will affect your benefits when you retire or if you become disabled, or your family's benefits if you die).  Contact us so your wages are properly reported!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Coverdell Savings Accounts

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 21 2019

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A Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) is a savings account created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses.

The total contributions for the beneficiary (who is under age 18 or is a special needs beneficiary) of this account in any year cannot be more than $2,000, no matter how many accounts have been established. The beneficiary will not owe tax on the distributions if, for a year, the distributions from an account are not more than a beneficiary's qualified education expenses at an eligible education institution. This benefit applies to higher education expenses as well as to elementary and secondary education expenses.

Generally, any individual (including the beneficiary) can contribute to a Coverdell ESA if the individual's modified adjusted gross (MAGI) income is less than an annual, constantly changing maximum. Usually, MAGI for the purpose of determining your maximum contribution limit is the adjusted gross income (AGI) shown on your tax return increased by the following exclusion from your income: foreign earned income of U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, housing costs of U.S. citizens or residents living abroad, and income from sources within Puerto Rico or American Samoa. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA may be made until the due date of the contributor's return, without extensions.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, essential business accounting, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Where’s My Refund? tool lets taxpayers check status of their refund

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 14 2019

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The best way for taxpayers to check the status of their refund is to use the Where's My Refund? tool on IRS.gov. This tool gives taxpayers access to their tax return and refund status anytime. All they need is internet access and three pieces of information:

  • Their Social Security number
  • Theirfiling status
  • The exact whole dollar amount of their refund

Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Where’s My Refund? includes a tracker that displays progress through three stages: the IRS receives the tax return, then approves the refund, and sends the refund.

Where’s My Refund? Updates once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.

Taxpayers on the go can track their return and refund status on their mobile devices using the free IRS2Go app. Those who file an amended return should check out the Where’s My Amended Return? tool. 

Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, but some may take longer. IRS phone and walk-in representatives can research the status of refunds only if it's been 21 days or more since a taxpayer filed electronically, or more than six weeks since they mailed a paper return. Taxpayers can also contact the IRS if Where's My Refund? directs them to do so.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

Individuals can find answers to their questions about tax reform on IRS.gov

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 13 2019

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The December 2017 Tax reform legislation affects almost every taxpayer. The IRS is working closely with partners in the tax return preparation and tax software industries to prepare for tax reform affecting tax year 2018. This ongoing collaboration ensures that taxpayers can continue to rely on the IRS, tax professionals and tax software programs when it’s time to file their returns.

As people prepare to file their 2018 tax returns this year, they can visit IRS.gov for answers to their questions about tax reform. Here are several of the resources that will help taxpayers find out how this law affects them:

Tax reform provisions that affect individuals

This is the main tax reform page with information for individual taxpayers. It includes dozens of links to more information on topics from withholding and tax credits to deductions and savings plans.

Tax reform basics for individuals and families

This publication provides information to help individual taxpayers understand the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and how to comply with federal tax return filing requirements.

Tax reform resources

On this page, taxpayers can find helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles.

Steps to take now to get a jump on next year’s taxes

This page has dozens of resources and tools that people can visit now or any time before they file their 2018 tax returns.

Paycheck Checkup

This page has information for people doing a Paycheck Checkup to see if they’re withholding the right amount of tax from their paychecks. Taxpayers can perform a Paycheck Checkup at the beginning of 2019 to make sure their withholding is correct for the rest of the year.

IRS Withholding Calculator

One way taxpayers can do a Paycheck Checkup is to use the Withholding Calculator. Checking withholding can help taxpayers protect against having too little tax withheld and facing an unexpected tax bill or penalty at tax time.

Taxpayer Advocate

The Taxpayer Advocate Service’s Tax Reform Changes website, available in English and Spanish, explains what is changing and what is not this year for individuals. Its interactive information can be reviewed by tax topic or line by line using a Form 1040 example and is updated to show the new 2018 Form 1040 references.

Tax reform

The main tax reform webpage on IRS.gov features information for individuals, but also takes users directly to info for people who are self-employed. It is also a great resource for anyone who does taxes or accounting for a business or charity

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS: DON'T BE VICTIM TO A `GOSHT´ TAX RETURN PREPARER

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 11 2019

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Today, towards the end of the second full week of the 2019 tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers to avoid unethical tax return preparers, known as ghost preparers.

By law, anyone who is paid to prepare or assist in preparing federal tax returns must have a valid 2019 Preparer Tax Identification Number, or PTIN. Paid preparers must sign the return and include their PTIN.

But ‘ghost’ preparers do not sign the return. Instead, they print the return and tell the taxpayer to sign and mail it to the IRS. Or, for e-filed returns, they prepare but refuse to digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

According to the IRS, similar to other tax preparation schemes, dishonest and unscrupulous ghost tax return preparers look to make a fast buck by promising a big refund or charging fees based on a percentage of the refund. These scammers hurt honest taxpayers who are simply trying to do the right thing and file a legitimate tax return.

Ghost tax return preparers may also:

  • Require payment in cash only and not provide a receipt.
  • Invent income to erroneously qualify their clients for tax credits or claim fake deductions to boost their refunds.
  • Direct refunds into their own bank account rather than the taxpayer’s account.
  •  

The IRS urges taxpayers to review their tax return carefully before signing and ask questions if something is not clear. And for any direct deposit refund, taxpayers should make sure both the routing and bank account number on the completed tax return are correct.

The IRS offers tips to help taxpayers choose a tax return preparer wisely. The Choosing a Tax Professional page has information about tax preparer credentials and qualifications. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers by type of credential or qualification.

Taxpayers can report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If a taxpayer suspects a tax preparer filed or changed their tax return without their consent, they should file Form 14157-A, Tax Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

Find out how tax reform affects your business's bottom line at IRS.gov

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 11 2019

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Businesses may find they have questions about how 2017’s tax reform legislation affects their organization and their bottom line. IRS.gov is a great place to find answers. Here are several resources on the IRS website that address tax reform.

Tax reform provisions that affect businesses

This is the main page for businesses. Users can link from this page out to more resources with additional information, which is organized in sections by topic. These sections include a plain language description and links to news releases, notices and other technical guidance. Here are a few of the main tax topics on this page and the subtopics highlighted in each section:

  • Income: taxation of foreign income, carried interest, and like-kind exchanges
  • Deductions and depreciation: fringe benefits, moving expenses, standard mileage rates, deduction for passthrough businesses, and business interest expenses
  • Credits: employer credit for paid family and medical leave, and the rehabilitation tax credit
  • Taxes: blended federal income tax and withholding
  • Accountingmethodchanges
  • Opportunityzones

This page also includes information for specific industries, such as farming, insurance companies, and aircraft management services.

Tax Reform Small Business Initiative

This one-stop shop highlights important tax reform topics for small businesses. From this page, users can link to several additional resources.

Tax reform resources

From this page, people can link to helpful products including news releases, tax reform tax tips, revenue procedures, fact sheets, FAQs and drop-in articles. Organizations can share these materials including the drop-in articles with employees, customers and volunteers to help them better understand tax reform.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A comparison for businesses

This side-by-side comparison can help businesses understand the changes the new law made to previous law. It will help businesses then make decisions and plan accordingly. It covers changes to deductions, depreciation, expensing, tax credits, and other tax items that affect businesses.

Tax reform: What’s new for your business

This electronic publication covers many of the TCJA provisions that are important for small and medium-sized businesses, their owners, and tax professionals to understand. Thisconcisepublicationincludessectionsabout:

  • Qualifiedbusinessincomededuction
  • Depreciation: Section 168 and 179 modifications 
  • Business-related losses, exclusions and deductions
  • Business credits
  • Corporatetaxprovisions
  • S corporations
  • Farmprovisions

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

SourceIRS

401 (K) CONTRIBUTION LIMIT INCREASES TO $19.000 FOR 2019; IRA LIMIT INCREASES TO $6.000

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019.  The IRS today issued technical guidance detailing these items in Notice 2018-83.

Highlights of Changes for 2019

The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

The limit on annual contributions to an IRA, which last increased in 2013, is increased from $5,500 to $6,000. The additional catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2019.

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2019:

  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $64,000 to $74,000, up from $63,000 to $73,000.
     
  • For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $103,000 to $123,000, up from $101,000 to $121,000.
     
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $193,000 and $203,000, up from $189,000 and $199,000.
     
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $122,000 to $137,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $120,000 to $135,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $193,000 to $203,000, up from $189,000 to $199,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $64,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $63,000; $48,000 for heads of household, up from $47,250; and $32,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $31,500.

Highlights of Limitations that Remain Unchanged from 2018

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,000.

Detailed Description of Adjusted and Unchanged Limitations

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. Section 415(d) requires that the Secretary of the Treasury annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases. Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415. Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made following adjustment procedures similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $220,000 to $225,000. For a participant who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2019, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant's compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2018, by 1.0264.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased in 2019 from $55,000 to $56,000.

The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2019 are as follows:

  • The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.
     
  • The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $275,000 to $280,000.
     
  • The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $175,000 to $180,000.
     
  • The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a five year distribution period is increased from $1,105,000 to $1,130,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the five year distribution period is increased from $220,000 to $225,000.

The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) is increased from $120,000 to $125,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $6,000. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $3,000.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $405,000 to $415,000.

The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $600.
The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts is increased from $12,500 to $13,000.
The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

The limitation under Section 664(g)(7) concerning the qualified gratuitous transfer of qualified employer securities to an employee stock ownership plan remains unchanged at $50,000.

The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation remains unchanged at $110,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) is increased from $220,000 to $225,000.

The dollar limitation on premiums paid with respect to a qualifying longevity annuity contract under Section 1.401(a)(9)-6, A-17(b)(2)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations remains unchanged at $130,000.

The Code provides that the $1,000,000,000 threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systemically important plan under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment provided under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(bb). After taking the applicable rounding rule into account, the threshold used to determine whether a multiemployer plan is a systemically important plan under Section 432(e)(9)(H)(v)(III)(aa) is increased for 2019 from $1,087,000,000 to $1,097,000,000.

The Code also provides that several retirement-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2019 are as follows:

  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $38,000 to $38,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $41,000 to $41,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $63,000 to $64,000.
     
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $28,500 to $28,875; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $30,750 to $31,125; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $47,250 to $48,000.
     
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $19,000 to $19,250; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $20,500 to $20,750; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is increased from $31,500 to $32,000.
     
  • The deductible amount under Section 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions is increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) increased from $101,000 to $103,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers who are active participants (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) increased from $63,000 to $64,000. If an individual or the individual’s spouse is an active participant, the applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(iii) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $189,000 to $193,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $189,000 to $193,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $120,000 to $122,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 408A(c)(3)(B)(ii)(III) for a married individual filing a separate return is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

MULTISTATE RESIDENT? WATCH OUT FOR DOUBLE TAXATION

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution or federal law that prohibits multiple states from collecting tax on the same income. Although many states provide tax credits to prevent double taxation, those credits are sometimes unavailable. If you maintain residences in more than one state, here are some points to keep in mind.

Domicile vs. residence

Generally, if you’re “domiciled” in a state, you’re subject to that state’s income tax on your worldwide income. Your domicile isn’t necessarily where you spend most of your time. Rather, it’s the location of your “true, fixed, permanent home” or the place “to which you intend to return whenever absent.” Your domicile doesn’t change — even if you spend little or no time there — until you establish domicile elsewhere.

Residence, on the other hand, is based on the amount of time you spend in a state. You’re a resident if you have a “permanent place of abode” in a state and spend a minimum amount of time there — for example, at least 183 days per year. Many states impose their income taxes on residents’ worldwide income even if they’re domiciled in another state.

Potential solution

Suppose you live in State A and work in State B. Given the length of your commute, you keep an apartment in State B near your office and return to your home in State A only on weekends. State A taxes you as a domiciliary, while State B taxes you as a resident. Neither state offers a credit for taxes paid to another state, so your income is taxed twice.

One possible solution to such double taxation is to avoid maintaining a permanent place of abode in State B. However, State B may still have the power to tax your income from the job in State B because it’s derived from a source within the state. Yet State B wouldn’t be able to tax your income from other sources, such as investments you made in State A.

Minimize unnecessary taxes

This example illustrates just one way double taxation can arise when you divide your time between two or more states. Our firm can research applicable state law and identify ways to minimize exposure to unnecessary taxes.

Sidebar: How to establish domicile

Under the law of each state, tax credits are available only with respect to income taxes that are “properly due” to another state. But, when two states each claim you as a domiciliary, neither believes that taxes are properly due to the other. To avoid double taxation in this situation, you’ll need to demonstrate your intent to abandon your domicile in one state and establish it in the other.

There are various ways to do so. For example, you might obtain a driver’s license and register your car in the new state. You could also open bank accounts in the new state and use your new address for important financially related documents (such as insurance policies, tax returns, passports and wills). Other effective measures may include registering to vote in the new jurisdiction, subscribing to local newspapers and seeing local health care providers. Bear in mind, of course, that laws regarding domicile vary from state to state.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS ACTIVITIES FOLLOWING THE SHUTDOWN

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The IRS has reopened following the end of the government shutdown, and IRS employees are working hard to resume normal operations and help taxpayers as much as possible.

As the IRS resumes operations, there are some important pieces of information for taxpayers and tax professionals to keep in mind in several areas:

Audits. For taxpayers and tax professionals with questions about examinations affected by the shutdown, we have Frequently Asked Questions.

Collections. For taxpayers and tax professionals with a collection issue affected by the shutdown, visit the Frequently Asked Questions.  This section includes information related to liens, levies, notices of deficiency, penalties, passports and private debt collection.

Appeals. Important information for taxpayers and tax professionals with cases in Appeals affected by the shutdown.

Tax Filing for individuals. The IRS successfully opened the 2019 filing season for taxpayers on Jan. 28. The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth tax season and minimize the impact on taxpayers.

Tax Court. Important updated information  for taxpayers and tax professionals with Tax Court cases, including mail being returned and issues with court petitions not being processed.

Taxpayer Advocate Service. All TAS offices are now open. As always, the Taxpayer Advocate Service  is committed to helping taxpayers. All cases matter greatly to us and we need to make sure we are addressing the most serious cases first. Due to the prolonged government shutdown, we will need some time to sort through all of our cases, calls and faxes so that we can address the most critical emergencies first.

Please be aware that if you call our offices your call may go to voicemail. We encourage you to leave your name, phone number, case number (if applicable) and detailed information about your case. Your case is important to us and we will get back to you as soon as we are able to do so. While our response times will be longer than usual, we thank you for your patience.

TE/GE: Determination Letter and Voluntary Compliance Statement applications for retirement plans. The IRS has resumed processing these applications for retirement plans. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these applications due to the government shutdown. Please visit Tax Information for Retirement Plans for additional information. 

TE/GE: Determination Letter applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has resumed processing applications for tax-exempt status. We’re working to minimize the delays that organizations have experienced due to the government shutdown. Please see IRS processing of exemption applications for any actions that you may need to take while you wait for the IRS to issue a determination.

TE/GE: Credit Payments to Qualified Bonds Issuers. The IRS has resumed processing Forms 8038-CP, Return for Credit Payments to Issuers of Qualified Bonds, for refundable credit payments on direct pay bonds. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these forms due to the government shutdown

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

JAN 2019 LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR YOUR 2018 TAX RETURN & INSTALLMENT SALES: A VIABLE OPTION FOR TRANSFERRING ASSETS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

FEWER TAXPAYERS TO QUALIFY FOR HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 07 2019

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Working from home has become commonplace for people in many jobs. But just because you have a home office space doesn’t mean you can deduct expenses associated with it. Beginning with the 2018 tax year, fewer taxpayers will qualify for the home office deduction. Here’s why.

Changes under the TCJA

For employees, home office expenses used to be a miscellaneous itemized deduction. Way back in 2017, this meant one could enjoy a tax benefit only if these expenses plus other miscellaneous itemized expenses (such as unreimbursed work-related travel, certain professional fees and investment expenses) exceeded 2% of adjusted gross income.

Starting in 2018 and continuing through 2025, however, employees can’t deduct any home office expenses. Why? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) suspends miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor for this period.

Note: If you’re self-employed, you can still deduct eligible home office expenses against your self-employment income during the 2018 through 2025 period.

Other eligibility requirements

If you’re self-employed, generally your home office must be your principal place of business, though there are exceptions.

Whether you’re an employee or self-employed, the space must be used regularly (not just occasionally) and exclusively for business purposes. If, for example, your home office is also a guest bedroom, or your children do their homework there, you can’t deduct the expenses associated with that space.

Deduction options

If eligible, you have two options for claiming the home office deduction. First, you can deduct a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities and certain other expenses, as well as the depreciation allocable to the office space. This requires calculating, allocating and substantiating actual expenses.

A second approach is to use the simplified option. Here, only one simple calculation is necessary: $5 multiplied by the number of square feet of the office space. The simplified deduction is capped at $1,500 per year, based on a maximum of 300 square feet.

More rules and limits

Be aware that we’ve covered only a few of the rules and limits here. If you think you may qualify for the home office deduction on your 2018 return or would like to know if there’s anything additional you need to do to become eligible, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

YOUR APPEAL RIGHTS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 04 2019

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Are you in the middle of a disagreement with the IRS? One of the guaranteed rights for all taxpayers is the right to appeal. If you disagree with the IRS about the amount of your tax liability or about proposed collection actions, you have the right to ask the IRS Appeals Office to review your case.

IRS Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, explains some of your most important taxpayer rights. During their contact with taxpayers, IRS employees are required to explain and protect these taxpayer rights, including the right to appeal.

The IRS appeals system is for people who do not agree with the results of an examination of their tax returns or other adjustments to their tax liability. In addition to examinations, you can appeal many other things, including:

  • Collection actions such as liens, levies, seizures, installment agreement terminations and rejected offers-in-compromise.
  • Penalties and interest
  • Employment tax adjustments and the trust fund recovery penalty

Appeals conference are informal meetings. The local Appeals Office, which s independent of the IRS office that proposed the disputed action, can sometimes resolve an appeal by telephone or through correspondence.

The IRS also offers an option called Fast Track Mediation, during which an appeals or settlement officer attempts to help you and the IRS reach a mutually satisfactory solution. Most cases not docketed in court qualify for Fast Track Mediation. You may request Fast Track Mediation at the conclusion of an audit or collection determination, but prior to your request for a normal appeals hearing. Fast Track Mediation is meant to promote the early resolution of a dispute. It doesn't eliminate or replace existing dispute resolution options, including your opportunity to request a conference with a manager or a hearing before Appeals. You may withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

When attending an informal meeting or pursuing mediation, you may represent yourself or you can be represented by an attorney, certified public accountant or individual enrolled to practice before the IRS.

If you and the IRS appeals officer cannot reach agreement, or if you prefer not to appeal within the IRS, in most cases you may take your disagreement to federal court. But taxpayers can settle most differences without expensive and time-consuming court trials.

For more information on the appeals process, please contact us!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

IRS ISSUES STANDARD MILEAGE RATES FOR 2019

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 04 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58 cents per mile driven for business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
     
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
     
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate increased 3.5 cents for business travel driven and 2 cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2018. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Notice-2019-02.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. These and other limitations are described in section 4.05 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2019-02, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2019

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  • Your ITIN may expire before you file a tax return in 2019. All ITINs not used on a federal tax return at least once in the last three years will expire on December 31, 2018. Additionally, all ITINs issued before 2013 with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, or 82 (Example: (9XX-73-XXXX) will also expire at the end of the year.
  • If you need to file a tax return in 2019, IRS recommends you submit a Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or Form W-7(SP), Solicitud de Número del Identificación Personal del Contribuyente del Servicio de Impuestos Internos, now to renew your ITIN. As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72, 78, 79 or 80 that expired in 2016 & 2017 can also be renewed.
  • See the ITIN Fact Sheet for more information
  • Along with your Form W-7, you will need to: 
    • attach your original identification documents or certified copies by the issuing agency and any other required attachments. 
    • select the reason for needing the ITIN as outlined in the Form W-7 and W-7(SP) instructions. 

      Note: A tax return is not required with a renewal application.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

IRS KICKS OFF 2019 TAX-FILING SEASON AS TAX AGENCY REOPENS; USE IRS.GOV TO AVOID PHONE DELAYS

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2019

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IR-2019-07, January 28, 2019

WASHINGTON ― The Internal Revenue Service successfully opened the 2019 tax-filing season today as the agency started accepting and processing federal tax returns for tax year 2018. Despite the major tax law changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS was able to open this year’s tax-filing season one day earlier than the 2018 tax-filing season.

More than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2018 tax year are expected to be filed, with the vast majority of those coming before the April tax deadline. Through mid-day Monday, the IRS had already received several million tax returns during the busy opening hours.

"I am extremely proud of the entire IRS workforce. The dedicated IRS employees have worked tirelessly to successfully implement the biggest tax law changes in 30 years and launch tax season for the nation," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Although we face various near- and longer-term challenges, our employees are committed to doing everything we can to help taxpayers and get refunds out quickly."

Following the government shutdown, the IRS is working to promptly resume normal operations.

“The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth filing season,” Rettig said. “Taxpayers can minimize errors and speed refunds by using e-file and IRS Free File along with direct deposit.”

The IRS expects the first refunds to go out in the first week of February and many refunds to be paid by mid- to late February like previous years. The IRS reminds taxpayers to check “Where’s My Refund?" for updates. Demand on IRS phones during the early weeks of tax season is traditionally heavy, so taxpayers are encouraged to use IRS.gov to find answers before they call.

April deadline; help for taxpayers through e-file

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their returns.
With major changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the IRS encouraged taxpayers seeking more information on tax reform to consult two online resources: Publication 5307, Tax Reform: Basics for Individuals and Families, and Publication 5318; Tax Reform What’s New for Your Business. For other tips and resources, visit IRS.gov/taxreform or check out the Get Ready page on IRS.gov.

The IRS expects about 90 percent of returns to be filed electronically. Choosing e-file and direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

Most refunds sent in less than 21 days; EITC/ACTC refunds starting Feb. 27

The IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a tax return may require additional review and take longer. “Where’s My Refund?” has the most up to date information available about refunds. The tool is updated only once a day, so taxpayers don’t need to check more often.
The IRS also notes that refunds, by law, cannot be issued before Feb. 15 for tax returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. This applies to the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. While the IRS will process the EITC and ACTC returns when received, these refunds cannot be issued before Feb. 15. Similar to last year, the IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to actually be available in taxpayer bank accounts or on debit cards starting on Feb. 27, 2019, if they chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with the tax return.

“Where’s My Refund?” ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app remain the best way to check the status of a refund. “Where’s My Refund?” will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC and ACTC refund filers on Feb. 23, so those filers will not see a refund date on “Where's My Refund?” ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so these filers should not contact or call about refunds before the end of February.

This law was changed to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud. Even with the EITC and ACTC refunds and the additional security safeguards, the IRS still expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a particular tax return may require additional review and a refund could take longer. Even so, taxpayers and tax return preparers should file when they’re ready. For those who usually file early in the year and are ready to file a complete and accurate return, there is no need to wait to file.

New Form 1040

Form 1040 has been redesigned for tax year 2018. The revised form consolidates Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040-EZ into one form that all individual taxpayers will use to file their 2018 federal income tax return.

The new form uses a “building block” approach that can be supplemented with additional schedules as needed. Taxpayers with straightforward tax situations will only need to file the Form 1040 with no additional schedules. People who use tax software will still follow the steps they’re familiar with from previous years. Since nearly 90 percent of taxpayers now use tax software, the IRS expects the change to Form 1040 and its schedules to be seamless for those who e-file.

Filing assistance

No matter who prepares a federal tax return, by signing the return, the taxpayer becomes legally responsible for the accuracy of all information included. IRS.gov offers a number of tips about selecting a preparer and information about national tax professional groups.

The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing. This includes Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return.

Online tools

The IRS reminds taxpayers they have a variety of options to get help filing and preparing their tax returns on IRS.gov, the official IRS website. Taxpayers can find answers to their tax questions and resolve tax issues online. The Let Us Help You page helps answer most tax questions, and the IRS Services Guide links to these and other IRS services.

Taxpayers can go to View Your Account Information to securely access information about their federal tax account. They can view the amount they owe, pay online or set up an online payment agreement; access their tax records online; review the past 18 months of payment history; and view key tax return information for the current year as filed. Visit IRS.gov/secureaccess to review the required identity authentication process.

The IRS urges taxpayers to take advantage of the many tools and other resources available on IRS.gov.

The IRS continues to work with state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry to address tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit effort, stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation’s tax system are in effect for the 2019 tax filing season.

The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to taxpayers but will help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide additional protections, and tighter security requirements will better protect tax software accounts and personal information.

Renew ITIN to avoid refund delays

Many Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) expired on Dec. 31, 2018. This includes any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years. Also, any ITIN with middle digits of 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81 and 82 (Example: 9NN-73-NNNN) is now expired. ITINs that have middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 expired Dec. 31, 2017, but taxpayers can still renew them. Affected taxpayers should act soon to avoid refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some key tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. tax law but is not eligible for a Social Security number.

It can take up to 11 weeks to process a complete and accurate ITIN renewal application. For that reason, the IRS urges anyone with an expired ITIN needing to file a tax return this tax season to submit their ITIN renewal application soon.

Sign and validate electronically filed tax returns

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Some taxpayers using a tax filing software product for the first time may need their adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity.

Taxpayers using the same tax software they used last year will not need to enter their prior year information to electronically sign their 2017 tax return. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-Laying the Groundwork for Your 2018 Tax Return & Installment Sales: A Viable Option for Transferring Assets

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 24 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRS waives penalty for many whose tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short in 2018

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 23 2019

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The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it is waiving the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose 2018 federal income tax withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year.

The IRS is generally waiving the penalty for any taxpayer who paid at least 85 percent of their total tax liability during the year through federal income tax withholding, quarterly estimated tax payments or a combination of the two. The usual percentage threshold is 90 percent to avoid a penalty.

The waiver computation announced today will be integrated into commercially-available tax software and reflected in the forthcoming revision of Form 2210 and instructions.

This relief is designed to help taxpayers who were unable to properly adjust their withholding and estimated tax payments to reflect an array of changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the far-reaching tax reform law enacted in December 2017. 

“We realize there were many changes that affected people last year, and this penalty waiver will help taxpayers who inadvertently didn’t have enough tax withheld,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We urge people to check their withholding again this year to make sure they are having the right amount of tax withheld for 2019.”

The updated federal tax withholding tables, released in early 2018, largely reflected the lower tax rates and the increased standard deduction brought about by the new law. This generally meant taxpayers had less tax withheld in 2018 and saw more in their paychecks. 

However, the withholding tables couldn’t fully factor in other changes, such as the suspension of dependency exemptions and reduced itemized deductions. As a result, some taxpayers could have paid too little tax during the year, if they did not submit a properly-revised W-4 withholding form to their employer or increase their estimated tax payments. The IRS and partner groups conducted an extensive outreach and education campaign throughout 2018 to encourage taxpayers to do a “Paycheck Checkup” to avoid a situation where they had too much or too little tax withheld when they file their tax returns. 

Although most 2018 tax filers are still expected to get refunds, some taxpayers will unexpectedly owe additional tax when they file their returns.

Additional Information

Because the U.S. tax system is pay-as-you-go, taxpayers are required, by law, to pay most of their tax obligation during the year, rather than at the end of the year. This can be done by either having tax withheld from paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments.

Usually, a penalty applies at tax filing if too little is paid during the year. Normally, the penalty would not apply for 2018 if tax payments during the year met one of the following tests: 

  • The person’s tax payments were at least 90 percent of the tax liability for 2018 or
  • The person’s tax payments were at least 100 percent of the prior year’s tax liability, in this case from 2017. However, the 100 percent threshold is increased to 110 percent if a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income is more than $150,000, or $75,000 if married and filing a separate return. 

For waiver purposes only, today’s relief lowers the 90 percent threshold to 85 percent. This means that a taxpayer will not owe a penalty if they paid at least 85 percent of their total 2018 tax liability. If the taxpayer paid less than 85 percent, then they are not eligible for the waiver and the penalty will be calculated as it normally would be, using the 90 percent threshold. For further details, see Notice 2019-11, posted today on IRS.gov.

Like last year, the IRS urges everyone to check their withholding for 2019. This is especially important for anyone now facing an unexpected tax bill when they file. This is also an important step for those who made withholding adjustments in 2018 or had a major life change to ensure the right tax is still being withheld. Those most at risk of having too little tax withheld from their pay include taxpayers who itemized in the past but now take the increased standard deduction, as well as two-wage-earner households, employees with nonwage sources of income and those with complex tax situations.

To help taxpayers get their withholding right in 2019, an updated version of the agency’s online Withholding Calculator is now available on IRS.gov.With tax season starting Jan. 28, the IRS reminds taxpayers it’s never too early to get ready for the tax-filing season ahead. While it’s a good idea any year, starting early in 2019 is particularly important as most tax filers adjust to the revised tax rates, deductions and credits. 

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-Treasury, IRS issue final regulations, other guidance on new qualified business income deduction; Safe harbor enables many rental real estate owners to claim deduction

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 22 2019

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Today the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations and three related pieces of guidance, implementing the new qualified business income (QBI) deduction (section 199A deduction).

The new QBI deduction, created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) allows many owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, or estates to deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified business income.  Eligible taxpayers can also deduct up to 20 percent of their qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends and publicly traded partnership income.  

The QBI deduction is available in tax years beginning after Dec. 31, 2017, meaning eligible taxpayers will be able to claim it for the first time on their 2018 Form 1040.

The guidance, released today includes:

  • A set of regulations, finalizing proposed regulations issued last summer, A new set of proposed regulations providing guidance on several aspects of the QBI deduction, including qualified REIT dividends received by regulated investment companies
  • revenue procedure providing guidance on determining W-2 wages for QBI deduction purposes,
  • notice on a proposed revenue procedure providing a safe harbor for certain real estate enterprises that may be treated as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction

The proposed revenue procedure, included in Notice 2019-07, allows individuals and entities who own rental real estate directly or through a disregarded entity to treat a rental real estate enterprise as a trade or business for purposes of the QBI deduction if certain requirements are met. Taxpayers can rely on this safe harbor until a final revenue procedure is issued. 

The QBI deduction is generally available to eligible taxpayers with 2018 taxable income at or below $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for other filers. Those with incomes above these levels, are still eligible for the deduction but are subject to limitations, such as the type of trade or business, the amount of W-2 wages paid in the trade or business and the unadjusted basis immediately after acquisition of qualified property. These limitations are fully described in the final regulations.

The QBI deduction is not available for wage income or for business income earned by a C corporation.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-IRS Operations During the Appropriations Lapse

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 21 2019

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Due to the lapse in appropriations, most IRS operations are closed during the shutdown. An IRS-wide furlough began on December 22, 2018, that affects many operations.

During this period, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the underlying tax laws remain in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do by law.

2019 Filing Season: Key Information for Taxpayers

The IRS has announced that the 2019 filing season will begin on Jan. 28, 2019, for individual taxpayers. The IRS began accepting business tax returns (non-1040 series) on Jan. 8.

Taxpayers should keep several things in mind during this challenging period:

  • File electronically. The IRS will accept paper and electronic tax returns, but taxpayers are urged to file electronically to speed processing and refunds.
  • Tax refunds. Refunds will be paid, but the IRS cautions that returns will continue to be subject to refund fraud, identity theft and other internal reviews as in prior years. Taxpayers should use e-file or Free File with direct deposit to help speed refunds.
  • Tax filing. Taxpayers can go ahead and start working on their returns in advance of the Jan. 28 opening. Both tax software and tax professionals will be available and working in advance of IRS systems opening. Software companies and tax professionals will then submit the returns when the IRS systems open. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

​Limited Operations During the Appropriations Lapse

Automated applicationsIRS.gov and many automated applications remain available, including such things as Where’s My Refund, the IRS2go phone app and online payment agreements.

Telephones. No live telephone customer service assistance is currently available, although the IRS will be adding staff to answer some of the telephone lines in the coming days. Due to the heavier call volume, taxpayers should be prepared for longer wait times. Most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain operational. The IRS encourages people to use IRS.govfor information.

In-person service. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers (TACs) are closed. That means those offices are unable to handle large cash payments or assist identity theft victims required to visit an IRS office to establish their identity. In-person assistance will not be available for taxpayers experiencing a hardship.

Taxpayer appointments. While the government is closed, people with appointments related to examinations (audits), collection, Appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. IRS personnel will reschedule those meetings at a later date, when the IRS reopens.

Taxpayer correspondence. While able to receive mail, the IRS will be responding to paper correspondence to only a very limited degree during this lapse period. Taxpayers who mail in correspondence to the IRS  during this period should expect a lengthy delay for a response after the IRS reopens due to a growing correspondence backlog.

Tax-exempt groups. The IRS will not be processing applications or determinations for tax-exempt status or pension plans.

Enforcement activity. During this period, the IRS will not be conducting audits, but automated initial contact letters will continue to be mailed. No collection activity will generally occur except for automated collection activity. For example, automated IRS collection notices will continue to be mailed. Criminal Investigation work, however, continues during this period.

Passports. The IRS will not be certifying for the State Department any individuals for passport eligibility.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: IRS

-MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Newlyweds and the recently divorced should make sure that names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mismatch between a name on the tax return and a Social Security number (SSN) could cause your tax return to be rejected by the IRS.

For newlyweds, the tax scenario can begin when the bride says "I do" and takes her husband's surname, but doesn't tell the SSA about the name change. If the couple files a joint tax return with her new name, the IRS computers will not be able to match the new name with the SSN.

Similarly, after a divorce, a woman who had taken her husband's name and had made that change known to the SSA should contact the SSA if she reassumes a previous name.

It's easy to inform the SSA of a name change by filing Form SS-5 at a local SSA office. It usually takes two weeks to have the change verified. The form is available on the agency's Web site, www.ssa.gov, by calling toll free 1-800-772-1213 and at local offices. The SSA Web site provides the addresses of local offices.  Alternatively, please contact us as we can be of even greater assistance with your spousal situation.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Ten Ways to Avoid Problems at Tax Time

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Looking for ways to avoid the last-minute rush for doing your taxes? The IRS offers these tips:

  1. Don't Procrastinate. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the last minute. Your haste to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook potential sources of tax savings and will likely increase your risk of making an error.
  2. Organize Your Tax Records. Tax preparation time can be significantly reduced if you develop a system for organizing your records and receipts. Start with the income, deduction or tax credit items that were on last year's return.
  3. Visit the IRS Online. Millions of taxpayers visited the IRS Web site last year, downloading nearly 600 million forms, publications and a variety of topic-oriented tax information. Anyone with Internet access can find tax law information and answers to frequently asked tax questions.
  4. Take Advantage of Free Assistance. The IRS offers about 150 tax topics through its website at www.irs.gov/taxtopics. It also offers federal tax forms and publications at 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Some libraries, post offices, and banks carry the most widely requested forms and instructions. Libraries may also have reference sets of IRS publications. The IRS also staffs a tax Help Line for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040. Help for small businesses, corporations, partnerships and trusts which need information or assistance preparing business returns is available at 1-800-829-4933. Both lines are staffed on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. your local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). Hearing-impaired individuals with access to TTY/TDD equipment may call 1-800-829-4059 to ask questions or to order forms and publications.
  5. Use IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers and Vounteer Programs. Free tax help is available at IRS offices nationwide. Also, check your newspaper or local IRS office to find locations for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites. To obtain the location, dates, and hours of the VITA or TCE volunteer site closest to you, call the IRS toll-free Tax Help Line for Individuals at 1-800-829-1040 or on the IRS website.
  6. Have your accountant Double-Check Your Math and Data Entries. Review your return for possible math errors and make sure you have provided the names and correct (and legibly written) Social Security or other identification numbers for yourself, your spouse and your dependents.
  7. Have Your Refund Deposited Directly to Your Bank Account. Another way to speed up your refund and reduce the chance of theft is to have the amount deposited directly to your bank account. Check the tax instructions for details on entering the routing and account numbers on your tax return. Make sure the numbers you enter are correct. Wrong numbers can cause your refund to be misdirected or delayed.
  8. Don't Panic if You Can't Pay. If you can't immediately pay the taxes you owe, consider some stress-reducing alternatives. You can apply for an IRS installment agreement, suggesting your own monthly payment amount and due date, and getting a reduced late payment penalty rate. You also have various options for charging your balance on a credit card, either as part of an electronic return or directly through a processing agent, either by phone or online. Electronic filers with a balance due can file early and authorize the government's financial agent to take the money directly from their checking or savings account on the April 15 due date, with no fee. Note that if you file your tax return or a request for a filing extension on time, even if you can't pay, you avoid potential late filing penalties.
  9. Have Your Accountant Request an Extension of Time to File — But Pay on Time. If the clock runs out, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file, to October 15. An extension of time to file does not give you an extension of time to pay, however. You can e-file a Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File, that is included in most tax preparation software, or send a paper Form 4868 to the IRS to request the extension. You will need the adjusted gross income and total tax amounts from last year's return if you request the extension by electronic filing. You may also get an extension by charging your expected balance on a credit card at Official Payments Corporation or Link2Gov Corporation. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, but the processors charge a convenience fee.
  10. Contact Us!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-THE TAX ADVOCATE SERVICE, PROVIDED BY THE IRS

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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Have you tried everything to resolve a tax problem with the IRS but are still experiencing delays? Are you facing what you consider to be an economic burden or hardship due to IRS collection or other actions? If so, you can seek the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

You may request the assistance of the Taxpayer Advocate if you find that you can no longer provide for basic necessities such as housing, transportation or food because of IRS actions. You can also seek help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service if you own a business and are unable to meet basic expenses such as payroll because of IRS actions. A delay of more than 30 days to resolve a tax related problem or no response by the date promised may also qualify you for assistance.

Qualified taxpayers will receive personalized service from a knowledgeable Taxpayer Advocate. The Advocate will listen to your situation, help you understand what needs to be done to resolve it, and stay with you every step of the way until your problem is resolved to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an independent organization within the IRS and can help clear up problems that resulted from previous contacts with the IRS. Taxpayer Advocates will ensure that your case is given a complete and impartial review. What's more, if your problem affects other taxpayers, the Taxpayer Advocate Service can work to change the system.

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-FILING AN EXTENSION

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 14 2019

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If you can't meet the April 15 deadline to file your tax return, you can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file from the IRS. The extension will give you extra time to get the paperwork into the IRS, but it does not extend the time you have to pay any tax due. You will owe interest on any amounts not paid by the April deadline, plus a late payment penalty if you have paid less than 90 percent of your total tax by that date.

You must make an accurate estimate of any tax due when you request an extension. You may also send a payment for the expected balance due, but this is not required to obtain the extension.

To get the automatic extension, file Form 4868, Application for Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, with the IRS by the April 15 deadline, or make an extension-related electronic payment. You can file your extension request by computer or mail the paper Form 4868 to the IRS.

The system will give you a confirmation number to verify that the extension request has been accepted. Put this confirmation number on your copy of Form 4868 and keep it for your records. Do not send the form to the IRS.  As this is the area of our expertise, please contact us for more detailed information on how to file an extension properly!

If you have any questions regarding accounting, domestic taxation, international taxation, IRS representation, U.S. tax implications of Real Estate transactions or financial statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-IRS Confirms Tax Filing Season to Begin January 28

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 09 2019

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Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
 
“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
 
Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.

The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days.
 
“IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” said Rettig.
 
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
 
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.
 
Software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source:  IRS

-LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR YOUR 2018 TAX RETURN

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) made many changes to tax breaks for individuals. Let’s look at some specific areas to review as you lay the groundwork for filing your 2018 return.

Personal exemptions

For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA suspends personal exemptions. This will substantially increase taxable income for large families. However, enhancements to the standard deduction and child credit, combined with lower tax rates, might mitigate this increase.

Standard deduction

Taxpayers can choose to itemize certain deductions on Schedule A or take the standard deduction based on their filing status instead. Itemizing deductions when the total will be larger than the standard deduction saves tax, but it makes filing more complicated.

The TCJA nearly doubles the standard deduction for 2018 to $12,000 for singles and separate filers, $18,000 for heads of households, and $24,000 for joint filers. (These amounts will be adjusted for inflation for 2019 through 2025.)

For some taxpayers, the increased standard deduction could compensate for the elimination of the exemptions, and perhaps even provide some additional tax savings. But for those with many dependents or who itemize deductions, these changes might result in a higher tax bill — depending in part on the extent to which they can benefit from enhancements to the child credit.

Child credit

Credits can be more powerful than exemptions and deductions because they reduce taxes dollar-for-dollar, rather than just reducing the amount of income subject to tax. For 2018 through 2025, the TCJA doubles the child credit to $2,000 per child under age 17.

The new law also makes the child credit available to more families than in the past. For 2018 through 2025, the credit doesn’t begin to phase out until adjusted gross income exceeds $400,000 for joint filers or $200,000 for all other filers, compared with the 2017 phaseout thresholds of $110,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for singles and heads of households, and $55,000 for marrieds filing separately. The TCJA also includes, for 2018 through 2025, a $500 tax credit for qualifying dependents other than qualifying children.

Assessing the impact

Many factors will influence the impact of the TCJA on your tax liability for 2018 and beyond. For help assessing the impact on your situation, contact us.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-TAX SAVING TECHNIQUE

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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Following are some generally recognized financial planning tools that may help you reduce your tax bill.

Charitable Giving - Instead of selling your appreciated long-term securities, donate the stock instead and avoid paying tax on the unrealized gain while still getting a charitable tax deduction for the full fair market value.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) - If you have a high deductible medical plan you can open an HSA and make tax deductible contributions to your account to pay for medical expenses. Unlike flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), the contributions can carry over for medical expenses in future years.

ROTH IRAs - Contributions to a ROTH IRA are not tax deductible but the qualified distributions, including earnings are tax-free.

Municipal Bonds - Interest earned on these types of investments is tax-exempt.

Own a home - most of the cost of this type of investment is financed and the interest (on mortgages up to $750,000) is tax deductible. When the property is sold, individuals may exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married jointly) of the gain.

Retirement Plans - Participate in your employer sponsored retirement plan, especially if there is a matching component. You will receive a current tax deduction and the tax-deferred compounding can add up to a large retirement savings.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-INSTALLMENT SALES: A VIABLE OPTION FOR TRANSFERRING ASSETS

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 03 2019

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Are you considering transferring real estate, a family business or other assets you expect to appreciate dramatically in the future? If so, an installment sale may be a viable option. Its benefits include the ability to freeze asset values for estate tax purposes and remove future appreciation from your taxable estate.

Giving away vs. selling

From an estate planning perspective, if you have a taxable estate it’s usually more advantageous to give property to your children than to sell it to them. By gifting the asset you’ll be depleting your estate and thereby reducing potential estate tax liability, whereas in a sale the proceeds generally will be included in your taxable estate.

But an installment sale may be desirable if you’ve already used up your $11.18 million (for 2018) lifetime gift tax exemption or if your cash flow needs preclude you from giving the property away outright. When you sell property at fair market value to your children or other loved ones rather than gifting it, you avoid gift taxes on the transfer and freeze the property’s value for estate tax purposes as of the sale date. All future appreciation benefits the buyer and won’t be included in your taxable estate.

Because the transaction is structured as a sale rather than a gift, your buyer must have the financial resources to buy the property. But by using an installment note, the buyer can make the payments over time. Ideally, the purchased property will generate enough income to fund these payments.

Advantages and disadvantages

An advantage of an installment sale is that it gives you the flexibility to design a payment schedule that corresponds with the property’s cash flow, as well as with your and your buyer’s financial needs. You can arrange for the payments to increase or decrease over time, or even provide for interest-only payments with an end-of-term balloon payment of the principal.

One disadvantage of an installment sale over strategies that involve gifted property is that you’ll be subject to tax on any capital gains you recognize from the sale. Fortunately, you can spread this tax liability over the term of the installment note. As of this writing, the long-term capital gains rates are 0%, 15% or 20%, depending on the amount of your net long-term capital gains plus your ordinary income.

Also, you’ll have to charge interest on the note and pay ordinary income tax on the interest payments. IRS guidelines provide for a minimum rate of interest that must be paid on the note. On the bright side, any capital gains and ordinary income tax you pay further reduces the size of your taxable estate.

Simple technique, big benefits

An installment sale is an approach worth exploring for business owners, real estate investors and others who have gathered high-value assets. It can help keep a family-owned business in the family or otherwise play an important role in your estate plan.

Bear in mind, however, that this simple technique isn’t right for everyone. Our firm can review your situation and help you determine whether an installment sale is a wise move for you.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Estate Transactions or Financial Statements, please give us a call at 305-274-5811.

Source: Thomson Reuters

-Organizational and Start Up Costs

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 02 2019

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Have you just started a new business? Did you know expenses incurred before a business begins operations are not allowed as current deductions? Generally, these start up costs must be amortized over a period of 180 months beginning in the month in which the business begins. However, based on the current tax provisions, you may elect to deduct up to $5,000 of business start-up and $5,000 of organizational costs paid or incurred. The $5,000 deduction is reduced by any start-up or organizational costs which exceed $50,000. If you want to deduct a larger portion of your start up cost in the first year, a new business will want to begin operations as early as possible and hold off incurring some of those expenses until after business begins. Contact us to help determine how you can maximize your deduction for start-up and/or organizational expenses. For additional information on what costs constitute start-up or organizational expenses, refer to IRS publication 535, Business Expenses.

If you have any questions regarding Essential Business Accounting, Domestic Taxation, International Taxation, IRS Representation, U.S. Tax Implications of Real Es