Posts Tagged ‘Tax preparation’

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Schedule “C” Updates…

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on September 11, 2016 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

Some Light Reading for the Weekend: Updated Schedule C Instructions

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think-about-1184858_640Folks, the 2015 Tax Extension deadline is upon us!!!!  October 15 is right around the corner!!! Yikes!!!  Let’s get that Schedule C finalize and send off to your CPA or the IRS and be done with year 2015!  Let’s review some of the changes for year 2015 before you hit that “SEND” button or lick that envelope and stamps to The IRS.surprised-1184889_640

easy-estimated-taxes-2013For many Americans, filing taxes is a quick and painless process. For sole proprietors and the self-employed, it’s never so easy. If you’re one of these folks, you have the privilege of struggling through Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, and its many accompanying forms. And just when you think you’ve mastered the twists and turns of those documents, the IRS changes the instructions so you have to figure them out all over again.

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The latest round of Schedule C instructions are available here. Small businesses that changed accounting methods to adopt repair regulations will want to check out the simplified reporting requirements. The instructions also cover deduction and capitalization of tangible property expenditures related to those repair regulations.

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For your reading pleasure, the IRS also released updated instructions for Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization. For tax years beginning in 2015, the maximum Section 179 expense deduction is $500,000 ($535,000 for enterprise zone property), with this limit reduced by the amount by which the cost of section 179 property placed in service during the tax year exceeds $2 million.

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house-valueAlso note that you can choose to claim a 50% special depreciation allowance for certain qualified property that you got after Dec. 31, 2007 and placed in service before Jan. 1, 2016. According to the instructions, the definition of qualified property differs for some qualified property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2015. And corporations should review the updated Form 4562 instructions, since there’s news on claiming certain unused minimum tax credits.

MH900334322So if you were looking for some easy reading material to keep you occupied this weekend, today’s your lucky day!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

 

 

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IRS Impersonation Scams

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on December 15, 2015 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , ,

IRS Impersonation Scams Running Rampant: Watch out for New Tricks from Con Artists

TaxScamScamming just isn’t what it used to be – it’s a whole lot worse. As technology has evolved, so has the way people use it to exploit other people, and a lot of the time, the victims are taxpayers. Since October 2013, at least 4,000 people have lost more than $20 million collectively from tax scams. As such, the IRS has issued another warning for taxpayers to keep their eyes and ears wide open for any suspicious phone calls, e-mails, or letters.

CardTrickTax scammers have some new tricks up their sleeves and everyone is their target. One ruse is to alter the number that appears on the taxpayer’s telephone caller ID so it looks they’re getting a bona fide call from the IRS or other agency. The scammers keep the act up by spewing fake names, titles, and badge numbers, all to make themselves sound legit.

ScamsSometimes, the scammers will be so kind as to give their victims step-by-step instructions on how they can make the “required” payment, e.g. by going to a nearby bank and getting a debit card. And recently, some scammers have been giving out actual IRS addresses where the victims can mail their payment receipt. Little do the taxpayers know that their money is going straight into the pockets of thieves!

Threatening2On the one hand, these scams work because the fake correspondence often looks and seems official to unsuspecting taxpayers – con artists will even send e-mails and letters using official IRS letterhead. The scams also succeed because taxpayers get scared – scammers rely heavily on fear tactics, such as threatening to call the police, to make people react immediately and shell out money without thinking twice.

The real IRS will NEVER call you about taxes owed without first mailing a Notice, then another Notice, then a bill, etc. etc.  The IRS will NEVER ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; and will NEVER demand taxes without giving the taxpayer the chance to question the amount owed. If you get a weird call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, HANG UP and call the IRS back from your end at 1-800-829-1040. Also remember that the official IRS website is IRS.gov – if it doesn’t have .gov at the end, get out of there quick!

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

 

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Another One Bites the Dust:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on December 3, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , ,

taxesNo More Walk-In Free Tax Prep at IRS Field Offices

Help is no longer around the corner. The IRS is shutting the door on walk-in tax preparation assistance at its field offices in 2014. With only 60,000 returns prepared last year, and the budget not lookin’ too good, the IRS decided the free help would have to go.

MH900056119Unfortunately that means the elderly, disabled, and low-income taxpayers who the assistance was available to now also have to go spend money on tax preparation. IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson called out the IRS on this change. “I seem to think that preparing taxes for our citizens is a core tax administration duty, and I don’t know of any [developed] country that is not doing it except the Internal Revenue Service of the United States.”


irs-tax-preparersThat’s a good point. But on the other hand, the U.S. has a voluntary compliance system, whereas in some countries, the government prepares the return and it’s nearly impossible to contest. And those affected by the service shut-down do still have a resource for free tax preparation: their local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs run by the IRS. While TIGTA reports that VITA-prepared tax returns are often chock-full of errors, at least this option is available if needed.

TaxBlocksCalculator_43_0Of course the best solution is to have a paid tax preparer complete the return. That’s their job, after all, and they’ll make sure things go off without a hitch. Tax preparation is going to be a little rougher this time around for elderly, disabled, and low-income taxpayers, but it won’t be impossible. If you know somebody in need who also needs help filing their taxes, take a few minutes to give them the rundown on the cut walk-in service and their current tax preparation options.

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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The Good Side of Taxes:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on September 11, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

MH900407228Become a Tax Volunteer for VITA and TCE

Got some free time on your hands? Turn it into time well spent by becoming a tax volunteer for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE). These community-based programs provide free tax return preparation for people who need tax help but can’t afford it, such as seniors and people with disabilities.

No experience in preparing taxes – no problem. As a volunteer, you’ll get special training and can choose to work in a variety of roles. For example, if you’re bilingual (or beyond!) you could be a big help to people who don’t speak English.

MH900295311If you’re a veteran – and even if you’re not a veteran – being a VITA or TCE volunteer is one way you can help out military personnel and their families. They’re already occupied with risking their lives for the country, so let’s give them a hand with their tax preparation, okay?

In other words, it’s basically a win-win situation all around. Not only will you assist others, you’ll also learn a thing or two about taxes in the process. Yup, this is your chance to learn all the insider tips about deductions and credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly. How could you say no?

MH900200391Here’s another reason why you shouldn’t decline. Volunteer hours are flexible and minimal – about three to five hours per week. That’s like only thirty minutes a day! If only work could be so short and sweet…

Volunteering doesn’t sound too bad, does it? And getting there should be a breeze. Volunteer sites are located in neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations all over the U.S. Think about it: you could take a nice walk to the site, help out some folks with their taxes for an hour, and then head home for dinner glowing from knowing you did your good deed for the day.

And you’ll be making history. As a VITA or TCE volunteer, you’ll become part of a program that’s helped people file tax returns at no charge for more than forty years. “It’s people helping people.”

MH900056116Ready to sign-up? Volunteer programs are open from mid-January through the tax filing deadline (April 15, 2014). Right now you should head over to IRS.gov and type “tax volunteer” in the search box for more info. The final step is to submit Form 14310, VITA/TCE Volunteer Sign Up, by email through the IRS website. Then you’ll be on your way to making the world a better place.

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

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Taxes are Due Monday April 15:

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on April 11, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

169849_taxYour Guide to Hassle-Free Filing

There’s less than a week to go before your taxes are due to Uncle Sam. If you haven’t submitted your return, you can start panicking right about now OR you can follow these easy steps to ensure submitting your return is as painless as possible. And if you’ve already submitted, it doesn’t hurt to keep these strategies in mind for next tax season.

MH900334322First, get together any documents you might need to file your taxes BEFORE you sit down to fill out your return. You don’t want to be running around like a headless chicken looking for this or that piece of paper. Instead, find receipts, cancelled checks, W-2 Forms, Wage and Tax Statements, and 1099 income statements, and place them all in one convenient location for easy reference.

Now that that’s done, figure out how you want to file. If your income was $57,000 or less, take advantage of the Free File service: Free File Tax Software will do all the tax preparation work for you online, and it doesn’t cost a cent. If you’re more of the DIY type, you can also e-file by using Free File Fillable Forms, which are an electronic version of IRS paper forms. In fact, regardless of income, anybody can use these Fillable Forms to file Form 1040 series tax returns for free.

internet-32340_640If you don’t use the Free File service, you can still e-file by buying commercial tax software, or through a paid tax preparer. Many tax preparers are now required by law to use e-file because it gets you your refund in half the time and it offers more payment options when you owe money. Even the IRS claims that “IRS e-file is the best way to file an accurate tax return.” And most people seem to agree, with more than 80% of taxpayers using IRS e-file last year. Of course, if you want to make things difficult, you can still file on paper…

However you decide to file, direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to get your refund. And combining it with e-file will get your money even faster. That being said, faster is not necessarily better when you’re actually filling out your return. Don’t rush and be sure to double-check everything before you submit: a mistake on something as simple as your social security number could get complicated when processing your return.

black-29972_640If you have any questions, the IRS has all the answers. Visit IRS.gov to browse its resources, such as the Interactive Tax Assistant tool, or check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

By the way, just in case you are NOT going to make the April tax deadline… Make sure you file a tax extension by April 15!!!!

Sufen Wang, M.S. Accountantcy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA  (562) 856-0793

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Tested or Not?! Calling all Registered Tax Return Preparers!

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Education,Family,Taxes on February 21, 2013 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

ExamRTRP Program Up in the Air: Testing and Continuing Education are Voluntary


Calling all Registered Tax Return Preparers! You know how the IRS now requires every paid tax return preparer to pass a competency test and meet continuing education requirements in order to be called an RTRP? Not anymore. On January 18, a federal judge ruled that the mandatory RTRP regulatory system is invalid because the IRS had to stretch a law to make it apply to preparers in the first place. Prepare to be very, very confused.


In short, the ruling means the IRS does not have the authority to license tax preparers. Which means that as of right now, according to the IRS, “tax return preparers covered by this program are not currently required to register with the IRS, to complete competency testing or secure continuing education.” The regulatory practice requirements for CPA’s, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, or enrolled actuaries are unaffected by the ruling.


MH900054685Required is the key word in all of this. The IRS filed a motion to suspend the injunction, which was denied on Feb.1 by the same judge. However, he did clarify that the IRS can allow preparers to “voluntarily obtain credentials that might distinguish them from other preparers.” Thus, the IRS’ testing and continuing-education centers will remain open. Indeed, it might be a good idea to complete the RTRP requirements anyways: the IRS can appeal the judge’s full ruling and his decision could eventually be reversed.

The judge also clarified that the injunction does not affect PTINs, which means that those requirements and fees are still active. The IRS has reopened the online PTIN system, but it’s being updated to reflect current requirements. All of this confusion comes at a bad time with tax filing season just ahead. Tax return preparers need answers from the IRS and they need them fast.

Man pointing chartAnd what does all this mean for us, the tax payers?  Always check your tax preparer‘s background, credentials and ask for references!  “Google” the tax preparer’s name and check out his/her background as much as you are able before you make the hiring.  Just because it is NOT required to be licensed, does not mean that anyone off the street can and should prepare your tax returns!  Hire a reputable tax preparer will paid off in the long run!


On the Money, Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions

M.S.Accountancy, Long Beach, CA 562-856-0793

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Free Tax Support for Our Troops….

In Accounting & Finances,Business,Taxes on March 23, 2012 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Military personnel tax themselves to help their country, so their country is helping them with free tax return preparation assistance. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides low-to-moderate-income soldiers and their spouses with free tax advice, tax preparation, and return filing. And our troops don’t have to travel far for this help: VITA sites are located everywhere, from libraries to shopping malls. This means less time fighting numbers and traffic, and more precious time with their families. 
 
The Armed Forces Tax Council is the name to know for military-related tax problems. It doesn’t matter if you’re a soldier on land, sea, or in the sky: the AFTC directs military tax programs worldwide and has program coordinators for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard. With VITA, they provide volunteers who are ready to help you solve common tax issues and also answer any military-specific tax questions you may have. These are the people to ask about combat zone tax benefits or Earned Income Tax Credit guidelines. Just head to a military-based VITA site with all of your relevant identification and financial information
  
Things can get a little hectic while protecting the country and filing taxes might be the last thing on your mind. There are filing extensions that the military personnel need to be aware of and take an advantage of.  Check out the Extension of Deadlines section of the Armed Forces Tax Guide, Publication 3, along with the extension Form 4868; these documents will provide some breathing room for our military families. The IRS is doing what it can to make taxes as painless as possible for our troops. 
 
On the Money,
Sufen Wang
Wang Solutions