Tag Archives: Tax deduction

Filing Confusion Faced By U.S. Citizens Living Abroad, June Deadline

Expats wondering about filing and health care requirements, have the opportunity of taking advantage of the expert advice and assistance offered to them by H&R Block, who estimate 1 in 3 expats haven’t filed a 2013 return. They are facing a filing deadline of June 16th this year.

To be of the greatest help to these taxpayers, H&R Block last season launched a remote filing service, and for this tax season, expanding it even more.

Roland Sabates, who is the director of the expat filing services offered by H&R Block has said “U.S. expats may miss many things, but the tax deadline should not be one of them”.

To understand their U.S. tax obligations, there are three questions that expats should be answering:

Are they required to file?
Which foreign assets must they report and how does money in foreign accounts get reported?
What is their responsibility to maintain health insurance, which is new this year?
Know the filing requirements

Regardless of wherever they may be living, for 2013, the minimum income requirements for filing are $10,000 for single filers, and $20,000 for married filers. Some taxpayers possibly can exclude all or some of the income earned abroad, which might offset taxes owed the United States.

Those working abroad unable to file by June 16th can file an extension moving their deadline to October 15th. They should know that on any balance from the filing deadline April 15th, interest will accrue.

Know the rules and regulations regarding the reporting of money in foreign accounts and assets

If at any time during the year an account owned or controlled by a U.S. citizen has a combined value exceeding $10,000, they must file an FBAR which is a foreign bank account reporting form. They must by June 30th submit this form to the Department of Treasury, and also include this info with the next tax return which will be due on June 16th, filing on Form 8938.

Also, by June 16th, taxpayers have to report data regarding ownership interests in foreign businesses and any securities not in any account.

Sabates has said that “it is important all the tax deductions and credits qualified for are claimed by these taxpayers”.

Understand health insurance obligations

For the most part, in 2014, the majority of U.S. citizens will be required to have health insurance. All should carefully check whether or not this applies to them.

Unless an exemption applies, the taxpayer will have to get themselves health insurance.

H&R Block stands ready with offices in over 14 US countries and territories to offer their experienced and excellent services.

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Tax Tips: I Do Declare

Did you know that there are hundreds of little things that you should be declaring on your tax returns? Here are some of the most important items that must be declared on your federal and state tax return.

All Sources of Income
The tax code of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that all income earned or received must be reported on your income tax returns. The categories of income recognized by the IRS include the following:

•    Wages, salaries and tips
•    Interest on bank accounts, certificates of deposit, bonds and other investments
•    Capital gains
•    Business income
•    Alimony
•    Income from bartering
•    Dividends
•    Annuities, pensions and lump-sum distributions
•    Rental revenues
•    Gambling income
•    Earnings from agriculture and fishing
•    401(k)
•    Unemployment benefits

Each of these types of income must be declared on your income tax return. In some cases, losses in a particular category can be used to offset income earned in that category.

Certain Gifts

Depending on the amount of the gift and the identity of the recipient, you may need to report gifts to others on your income tax return and may be required to pay taxes on these transactions. Unlike donations to charitable organizations, which are generally tax-exempt, gifts directly to someone else are subject to an annual gift limit. The limit is currently set at $13,000. Couples can make gifts of up to $26,000 without incurring tax liabilities for these gifts. Certain types of gifts are not subject to the gift limit; these include the following:

•    Payments directly to universities for college tuition
•    Direct payments to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities for medical procedures
•    Gifts to one’s spouse
•    Political contributions

Individuals and couples can choose to exclude additional amounts from the gift tax requirements by taking advantage of the Unified Credit. Currently capped at $1,772,800, the Unified Credit allows a greater degree of flexibility when giving gifts to your network of friends and family.

Itemizing Deductions

If you are required to declare gifts on your federal tax return, you must typically itemize your deductions as well. Itemized deduction categories include the following:

•    Mortgage points and interest
•    Medical and dental fees
•    Interest expenses
•    Contributions to charities
•    Business and education expenses
•    Depreciation of cars, trucks and other vehicles used in the course of business
•    Losses due to accidents, disasters, thefts and other critical events

The standard deduction amount may actually provide greater tax savings for your particular situation. Nonetheless, if you are declaring gifts on your tax return, you should usually itemize your deductions as well. This process can be challenging and typically requires the help of a skilled and knowledgeable tax preparer for optimal results. Some studies suggest that itemizing deductions can also increase the chances of an audit. Your tax preparer can assist in your defense if an audit does occur.

Declaring all sources of income and all sizable gifts is required by the tax code. Maintaining compliance with these legal requirements is your best defense against audits, penalties and other consequences that may arise from failure to incorporate these items into your tax return.

 

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Tax Accountant Vs Tax Software

Tax Software

You are one of 50,000,000 Americans who must fill out an income tax return by March 15th … file yours early. (Photo credit: Keijo Knutas)

Why choose a tax accountant over tax software?

Preparing and filing taxes are rarely activities most people look forward to. Whether you need to prepare an individual or business tax return, you may be looking for an easier way to simplify this process. While one option available is for you to prepare your tax return on your own, the fact is that many people will find the process easier to complete when they use either tax software or the services of an accountant. While both options are preferred by many over completing a tax return on your own, there are clear benefits associated with using the services of a tax accountant.

Finding All Deductions
For most individuals and businesses, it is not enough to simply prepare and file a return. The goal also is to minimise the amount of taxes owed and even to maximize a refund. Tax software is designed to help taxpayers identify common tax deductions, but the fact is that you may qualify for additional deductions that are less common. In some cases, you may not be clear about if you qualify for certain deductions or not. Tax software may help you to identify some of these deductions, but you simply cannot beat the benefit associating with having a live professional assist you with the identification of deductions.

Getting Questions Answered
Most tax software programs are designed to be user-friendly, and they have a helpful hints or frequently asked questions section that may assist you if you have questions. However, many questions that taxpayers have are unique. They may fall into what can be perceived as a gray area, or the situation may be unusual and may require expert assistance. The fact is that you need to file your return accurately to avoid penalties. Therefore, working with a live tax expert can be useful to you.

A Look Toward the Future
Furthermore, a tax accountant can help you to plan for the future. When a tax accountant reviews your finances now, he or she may be able to identify different steps that you can take to minimize your tax liability next year or for several years in the future. You may be planning to purchase a new home, to buy office equipment or to make some other change, and there may be tax consequences associated with this. By working with a tax accountant, you will be able to better plan for the future and avoid paying more than necessary on your tax return.

As tax day approaches, one of the best steps that you can take to ensure that your tax return is filed accurately and on time and to ensure that your tax liability is minimized is to work with a professional tax accountant. The best tax accountant to use is one who is experienced and knowledgeable and who has the desire to communicate openly with you about your taxes. Take time today to locate a tax accountant to work with, and you can rest easy knowing that your tax return will receive the personal attention it deserves.

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Experts Say Charitable Tax Deduction is Safe from Congress

According to experts from the nonprofit sector, charitable tax deduction laws will likely remain unscathed from Congress in the near future. However lawmakers are still dealing with several charitable tax break issues that expired in 2013 and there is uncertainty on whether such tax breaks for charities will continue to exist.

President Barack Obama has consistently tried to limit the amount of tax savings the rich get for itemized deductions and will likely mention this issue is his upcoming proposed budget. However individual adjustments in tax policy typically don’t stand a chance in getting passed unless they’re grouped together

Charitable Tax Deduction

Ron Wyden and Nancy Bass Wyden by David Shankbone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

with other tax items. Experts say creating such a large tax bill likely won’t happen before midterm election in November.

Adding to the difficulty of altering charitable tax deduction policy is the probable change in Congress. Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Max Baucus, is soon leaving Washington to become the ambassador to China and his likely replacement, Sen. Ron Wyden, is a strong supporter of charitable deduction. Baucus was expected to pass a broad tax overhaul before his retirement at the end of the year, but now people think it’s unlikely to happen because Wyden is expected to work at a slower pace.

According to Andrew Schulz, executive vice president of Foundation Source (a group that advises private foundations), “There’s zero percent chance any significant tax reform will happen this year.” Others who work with charities and nonprofits feel the same way.

Steve Tyler, senior vice president for public policy at United Way Worldwide, says 1,000 United Way leaders will be “vigilant” when talking with lawmakers if charitable tax deductions are discussed when they’re in Washington in May.

Documenting Donations for 2014

As long as proper documentation is provided, both individuals and businesses can deduct donations from taxable income. It is always best to check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you’re wondering what documentation is required. The IRS has strict guidelines for submitting charitable contributions as a write-off, which is an expense that gets deducted from your taxable income. You can learn more about tax smart contributions here.

If you want a donation to be seen by the IRS as a write-off, you’ll need proper documentation. This can be a cancelled check, credit card statement, bank records, or a receipt. The receipt must have the charity’s name on it as well as the amount you donated.

If you plan on donating to a charity and wish to submit it to the IRS as a tax write-off, you need to make sure the charity you’re supporting is approved by the IRS. Charities approved by the IRS are usually those that offer some kind of relief or are associated with religious and educational organizations. In a lot of cases local volunteer organizations such as animal rescue groups are approved by the IRS.

However don’t assume you’ll receive a tax break from the IRS without checking to see if the charity is approved. Just because the IRS’ list of approved charities is long doesn’t mean the organization you’re donating to will be on it.

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Tax Made Easy – 7 Usefull Tips For Business

For many businesses, especially small businesses, taxes can be quite a handful. Moreover, it’s not just paying taxes, it’s knowing what can be taxed and/or deducted. So, we made a list of things every business should know about taxes, along with various tips for your business tax. This will help make our tax life a lot easier.

Make sure you keep Track of Everything

While we realize this may seem like one of the most obvious tips for your business tax, many businesses forget to keep track of everything. Every expense, purchase, deduction, refund and even car mileage –  keep track of them all. This helps you file accurate taxes. Remember, an inaccurate tax filing can lead to legal problems.

Separate your Expenses

One of the most important tips for your business tax is to always set apart your business expenses from your personal ones. Your personal expenses are not tax deductible while your business expenses are. Therefore, always keep them separate so you know how much you can deduct from your taxes.

Be Generous

If you have unsellable software, goods or equipment just sitting idly in your office, donate them to another business or to individuals. This will enable you to be eligible for a number of tax deductions.

Provide Benefits rather than Raises

One of the most basic tips for your business tax is that many goods and services are tax deductible. For example, if you purchase a business car, it’s tax deductible. If you purchase health insurance for your employees, even that is tax deductible. Therefore, instead of giving salary raises at your next performance evaluation, provide benefits instead. Not only do you have happier employees, you save on your taxes.

Make your Car a Business Car

This has got to be one of the best tips for your business tax. Many of us require a car to commute to and from work. In fact, we need the car to travel around the city when we are working. If you require a car, purchase one for ‘business purposes’ and log its miles as a mileage deduction. Since the car is registered to your business, it becomes a business expense and hence, tax deductible.

Pay for your Benefits, Deduct them from your Business Tax

One of the best tips for your business tax may seem rather awkward at first. If you have your own business, one of the best things you can do is hire your spouse. Once you have hired your spouse, provide them health insurance. Inadvertently, you are providing yourself and your family health insurance. Best of all, this is tax deductible. This could just be the most affordable health insurance ever!

Save yourself from Bad Debt

There are many tips for your business tax that are not well known. For example, deducting bad debts. Many businesses provide loans and lines of credit to their customers. For example, clothes bought with a credit card. If you can prove that a customer bought goods and cannot pay it back, if it’s an noncollectable account expense, you can claim for a business tax deduction.

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