Financial Friday for June 27, 2014

Financial Friday for June 27, 2014FinancialFridays

Here are a few articles that may be of interest to you on this Financial Friday:

RETIREMENT:

The Most Valuable Assets to Leave for Your Heirs
http://online.wsj.com/articles/the-most-valuable-assets-to-leave-for-your-heirs-1401726302

LEADERSHIP:

The Science of Productivity in a short video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHfjvYzr-3g
or read the article here:  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234958

SMALL BUSINESS:

For Small Businesses, a Road Without a Map
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/business/yourtaxes/for-small-businesses-a-road-without-a-map.html?ref=smallbusiness&_r=0

Exiting your business can be taxing
http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20140203/PRINTEDITION/301309933

Why Smart Strategies Require Even Smarter Questions
http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/smart-strategies-require-smart-questions.html

LOCAL

Even Ole Miss wants it Built by Bama:
http://yellowhammernews.com/faithandculture/even-ole-miss-wants-built-bama/

8 Specific Things We Do To Help Small Business Startups

1)      Sit down with you and listen.

We want to hear your story, so tell us about your small business dream!open for business f

2)      Explain the tax consequences of your particular business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, Sub S, etc.).

Consulting with a CPA to help decide which business structure is best for you is one of your most important decisions

3)      Assist you in obtaining financing by constructing a financial statement.

We can help put together information to take to your loan institution for financing.

4)      Secure, on your behalf,  an FEIN:  

5)      Set up payroll for your employees.

We can make sure you are in compliance with all of the tax possibilities of having employees.  We can also make sure that you have a way to deliver the payroll accurately.

6)      Set up a system of reporting sales tax or other industry specific taxes.

We topen for business make care of registering you with appropriate agencies in order to report and deposit any applicable taxes and fees.

7)      Track your expenses and income.

We can help you design a system of accounting for all aspects of your small business, making sure to track income and expenses, categorizing them so that you have the most accurate look at your business and be ready for the end of year return.

8)      File your tax return.

I guess you could say this is our specialty.  Our team has been filing returns for over 40 years.  We look forward to putting our experience to work for you!

Give us a call today 256.332.2004 or email at info@joemtuckercpa.com

Financial Friday for June 13, 2014

#FinancialFridays 06.13.14FinancialFridays


Here’s a few articles that may be of interest to you on this Financial Friday (with a bonus category on leadership):

RETIREMENT:
How Much Money Is Enough?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2014/05/30/how-much-money-is-enough/?ss=personalfinance

LEADERSHIP:
Be a Better Leader
http://www.christianity.com/videos/video-features/dr-albert-mohler-on-the-conviction-to-lead-interview.html

SMALL BUSINESS:
Why the Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234407

LOCAL
‘Getting better all the time.’ Decatur ready to embark on Alabama downtown revitalization effort
http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2014/06/main_street_alabama_downtown_d.html#incart_river

Record Keeping for Stormy Seasons

Here’s a particularly helpful and timely tax tip from the IRS for our first #TaxTipTuesdays:

Keep Your Records Safe in Case Disaster Strikes

This article can be read in its entirety from this IRS URL.  You may also want to reference our earlier blog post “How long should you keep tax records“.

IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-15, from June 5, 2014TaxTopicTuesdays

Some natural disasters are more common in the summer. But major events like hurricanes, tornadoes and fires can strike any time. It’s a good idea to plan for what to do in case of a disaster. You can help make your recovery easier by keeping your tax and financial records safe. Here are some basic steps you can take now to prepare:

  1. Backup Records Electronically.  Many people receive bank statements by email. This is a good way to secure your records. You can also scan tax records and insurance policies onto an electronic format. You can use an external hard drive, CD or DVD to store important records. Be sure you back up your files and keep them in a safe place. If a disaster strikes your home, it may also affect a wide area. If that happens you may not be able to retrieve your records.
  2. Document Valuables.  Take photos or videos of the contents of your home or business. These visual records can help you prove the value of your lost items. They may help with insurance claims or casualty loss deductions on your tax return. You should store them with a friend or relative who lives out of the area.
  3. Update Emergency Plans.  Review your emergency plans every year. Update them when your situation changes. Make sure you have a way to get severe weather information. Have a plan for what to do if threatening weather approaches.
  4. Get Copies of Tax Returns or Transcripts.  Visit IRS.gov to get Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return, to replace lost or destroyed tax returns. If you just need information from your return, you can order a free transcript online or by calling 800-908-9946. You can also file Form4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript or Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.
  5. Count on the IRS.  If you fall victim to a disaster, know that the IRS stands ready to help. You can call the IRS disaster hotline at 866-562-5227 for special help with disaster-related tax issues.

Visit IRS.gov to get more about IRS disaster assistance. Click on the ‘Disaster Relief’ link in the lower left of the home page. You can also get forms and publications anytime on IRS.gov. To get them in the mail, call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Additional IRS Resources:

IRS YouTube Videos:

IRS Podcasts:

 

Financial Friday for June 6, 2014

#FinancialFridays 06.06.14FinancialFridays

Here are  a few articles that may be of interest to you on this Financial Friday:

RETIREMENT:

8 Roth IRA Mistakes To Avoid

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robrussell/2014/05/30/8-roth-ira-mistakes-to-avoid/?ss=personalfinance

SMALL BUSINESS:

13 Signs of a Disengaged Employee (Infographic)

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234436

LOCAL:

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle to announce ‘major’ regional retail center anchored by Cabela’s

http://www.al.com/business/index.ssf/2014/06/cabelas_huntsville_press_confe.html#incart_river

 

How Long Should You Keep Tax Records?

RecordkeepingIn general, we would tell our clients to keep records for 5 years, but really each situation is unique.  The following, taken from the IRS website here, give some of the specifics:

How long should I keep records?

The length of time you should keep a document depends on the action, expense, or event the document records. Generally, you must keep your records that support an item of income or deductions on a tax return until the period of limitations for that return runs out.

The period of limitations is the period of time in which you can amend your tax return to claim a credit or refund, or that the IRS can assess additional tax. The below information contains the periods of limitations that apply to income tax returns. Unless otherwise stated, the years refer to the period after the return was filed. Returns filed before the due date are treated as filed on the due date.

Note: Keep copies of your filed tax returns. They help in preparing future tax returns and making computations if you file an amended return.

  1. You owe additional tax and situations (2), (3), and (4), below, do not apply to you; keep records for 3 years.
  2. You do not report income that you should report, and it is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your return; keep records for 6 years.
  3. You file a fraudulent return; keep records indefinitely.
  4. You do not file a return; keep records indefinitely.
  5. You file a claim for credit or refund* after you file your return; keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  6. You file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction; keep records for 7 years.
  7. Keep all employment tax records for at least 4 years after the date that the tax becomes due or is paid, whichever is later.

The following questions should be applied to each record as you decide whether to keep a document or throw it away.

Are the records connected to assets?messy desk

Keep records relating to property until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the property in a taxable disposition.  You must keep these records to figure any depreciation, amortization, or depletion deduction and to figure the gain or loss when you sell or otherwise dispose of the property.

Generally, if you received property in a nontaxable exchange, your basis in that property is the same as the bases of the property you gave up, increased by any money you paid. You must keep the records on the old property, as well as on the new property, until the period of limitations expires for the year in which you dispose of the new property in a taxable disposition.

What should I do with my records for nontax purposes?

When your records are no longer needed for tax purposes, do not discard them until you check to see if you have to keep them longer for other purposes.  For example, your insurance company or creditors may require you to keep them longer than the IRS does.

The IRS urges you to choose a preparer wisely

Ten Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

IRS TAX TIP 2012-06, January 10, 2012

This entire article taken from the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Tips-to-Help-You-Choose-a-Tax-Preparer

Many people look for help from professionals when it’s time to file their tax return. If you use a paid tax preparer to file your return this year, the IRS urges you to choose that preparer wisely. Even if a return is prepared by someone else, the taxpayer is legally responsible for what’s on it. So, it’s very important to chooChoosese your tax preparer carefully.

This year, the IRS wants to remind taxpayers to use a preparer who will sign the returns they prepare and enter their required Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). 

Here are ten tips to keep in mind when choosing a tax return preparer:

  1. Check the preparer’s qualifications. New regulations require all paid tax return preparers to have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. In addition to making sure they have a PTIN, ask if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization and attends continuing education classes. The IRS is also phasing in a new test requirement to make sure those who are not an enrolled agent, CPA, or attorney have met minimal competency requirements. Those subject to the test will become a Registered Tax Return Preparer once they pass it.
  2. Check on the preparer’s history. Check to see if the preparer has a questionable history with the Better Business Bureau and check for any disciplinary actions and licensure status through the state boards of accountancy for certified public accountants; the state bar associations for attorneys; and the IRS Office of Enrollment for enrolled agents.
  3. Ask about their service fees. Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of your refund or those who claim tTax Timehey can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. Also, always make sure any refund due is sent to you or deposited into an account in your name. Under no circumstances should all or part of your refund be directly deposited into a preparer’s bank account.
  4. Ask if they offer electronic filing. Any paid preparer who prepares and files more than 10 returns for clients must file the returns electronically, unless the client opts to file a paper return.  More than 1 billion individual tax returns have been safely and securely processed since the debut of electronic filing in 1990.  Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file.
  5. Make sure the tax preparer is accessible.  Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after the April due date, in case questions arise.
  6. Provide all records and receipts needed to prepare your return. Reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts and will ask you multiple questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for expenses, deductions and other items. Do not use a preparer who is willing to electronically file your return before you receive your Form W-2 using your last pay stub. This is against IRS e-file rules.
  7. Never sign a blank return. Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
  8. Review the entire return before signing it.  Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
  9. Make sure the preparer signs the form and includes their PTIN.  A paid preparer must sign the return and include their PTIN as required by law. Although the preparer signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return.  The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
  10. Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. Download Form 14157 from www.irs.gov or order by mail at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).Print

If you are in need of a Proficient, Personal, and Professional Tax Preparer that meets the IRS suggested standards then give us a call today!

Phone:  256.332.2004