Tax Master DFW - Your local tax professionals
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Income Taxes, Tax Filing, Tax refunds in DFW
What to do if I am getting Audited?
Oh no! You need audit advice, call our firm. You just received in the mail a notification that you are going to be audited by the IRS. What now? How do you respond to this and should you be having a heart attack now? While many people lose it as soon as they realize that the IRS is going to be asking for their records and proof, the fact of the matter is that the best audit advice is to stay calm and gather the information that you need carefully, accurately and without worry.
Before you put it to the side and decide to deal with it later, (it won’t go away by the way) take the time to respond to it. Give the IRS a call and find out what is going on and when they want to come and see your paperwork. This simple phone call can help you find the right information before you react the wrong way. Remember, it is not the fault of the lady on the other side of the phone, that this is yours either. So, be nice, play fair and be honest. Please feel free to call our firm for Advice first.
Do you need some extra time to get your information in order? Need to dig out that box, organize it and hope that it's all there? Then make sure to ask for a postponement of the audit. This audit advice is very important: do not wait until the last minute to do it either! Call them up and ask for a small delay so that you can get things in order. Simple, done.
Lastly, it is important to realize that most audits are simply needed because of minor errors. You added or subtracted wrong. You entered the wrong information on the wrong line. That type of thing occurs everyday. This audit advice is to be honest about what is happening with you. So, you made a mistake. Fix it by providing a good attitude to the IRS auditor that comes to see you.
How and Why should I keep the IRS Happy?
The last thing most people think about when starting a business is doing taxes. But proper planning will make doing your taxes much easier - and keep the IRS happy!
Here are 3 simple tips for keeping proper records:
1. Whenever you buy anything for your business, keep the receipt!
Not only will this make record keeping a lot simpler, but if you are ever audited (having your tax return reviewed in detail by the IRS), you can prove your expenses, and save yourself money.
2. Write down all your expenses and income as they happen.
As your business grows, you'll have more and more activities to keep you busy. The last thing you'll want to do each April 15 is to organize your records for the year. So, it's a good idea to write down all your financial activities as they happen. You'll find preparing your taxes will take much less time if you are organized.
3. Learn how to save money on your taxes.
As you learn about taxes, you'll find that there are many deductions (expenses that reduce your income, and therefore your taxes) you can take that are not obvious. When using your home office, you may be able to deduct (at least partially) repairs you make around the house, utilities, your home's value at the time you start your business, and more.
The more you know about taxes, and the more organized you are in keeping records, the more time and money you'll save at the end of every year!
What happens if you don't keep proper records?
Individuals with small businesses are the most likely to have their tax returns audited by the IRS. If you don't have a receipt, you will likely lose the deduction and owe the IRS money.
And while an audit does not have to be feared, you should be prepared - the more organized your records, the easier it will be to prove your case.
If you don't have one, get a file box and some folders at your local office supply store (these supplies are deductible, so keep your receipts!) and create a filing system for your business. Put all your receipts in the proper folders, and put them in a safe place.
Another way to save yourself time is to record all of your business transactions - expenses and income - on a spreadsheet on your computer. Keep a column for income, advertising, supplies, etc. You don't need to be a computer expert. But keeping accurate, organized records will help you save time when you fill out your taxes at the end of the year.
And it can help you plan, by giving you a snapshot or your financial progress whenever you need it.
Which may come in handy when you need to place ads, borrow money - or take a much needed and well-deserved vacation!
What about Capital Gains?
Capital is a unique term when it comes to taxes. If it gains value, you pay a tax. If it loses it, you can write at least some of the loss off.
Capital Assets - Gains and Losses for Taxes
Practically everything you own is a capital asset. This is true whether you use it for business purposes or personal use. The internet revenue service is very interested in your capital assets. Why? The IRS likes to tax the full gains while only giving you a small break on any lost value. Specifically, you have to report and pay taxes on gains in value of your capital assets when you sell them. Unfortunately, you only get to claim a loss on capital assets if it is an investment property such as stocks. Does not seem fair, but that is how the cookie crumbles these days!
Here are some tax issue highlights on capital assets:
1. Generally, you report gains and losses on capital assets by subtracting the price you purchased it for from the price you sold it for. This calculation is reported to the IRS on Schedule D, which should be attached to your 1040 tax return. Lucky you!
2. Capital gains and losses are classified as long-term or short-term. The classification breaks down how long you have owned the capital asset in question before selling it to someone else. If it has been less than a year, it is a short-term gain or loss. Hold on to it for more than a year and you are looking at a long-term gain or loss when reporting taxes. Each classification requires different tax calculations and you will ultimately pay different amounts of tax.
3. In a bit of good news, you are generally going to pay less tax on a capital asset gain. For the 2005 tax year, the tax rates range from a miserly five percent to a more pain-full 28 percent.
4. While the IRS is happy to tax all of your capital gains, it has different views towards losses. You can deduct losses, but only up to $3,000 each year.
We all have capital assets, even if we do not realize it. Unfortunately, the IRS is aware of this, so make sure to report your gains and losses.
Does a Roth IRA create Tax Savings?
Parents must give serious thought to protecting their family through estate tax planning. While life insurance and trusts should be a part of every plan, Roth IRAs can be a simple tool for passing money to your child on a tax-free basis. If you need help with tax preparation, then call our firm.
First, we need a quick summary of the Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is an after-tax retirement vehicle that produces huge tax savings because all tax distributions are tax-free. That statement can a bit confusing, so lets break it down. The downside of a Roth IRA is the fact that contributions are not tax deductible as with traditional IRAs or 401(k)s. The upside of a Roth IRA, however, is that all distributions are tax-free once the person reaches the age of 59. So how can you use a Roth IRA to pass money to your child?
Opening A Roth IRA For Your Child
One of the biggest keys to retirement planning is ìtimeî. The more years you spend saving money for retirement, the more you should have when that blessed day arrives. Imagine if you had started saving for retirement when you were 16. How much bigger would your retirement nest egg be? What if you purchased Microsoft stock in 1990 and watched it split eight times? Okay, that was painful example if you missed that opportunity. Nonetheless, why not do for your child what you didnít do for yourself?
The fundamental goal of estate planning is to pass as much of your estate as possible to your family on a tax-free basis. You can transfer relatively small amounts of money to your child now. If you have a 16 year-old child with a Roth IRA, you can contribute $4,000 in 2005. That $4,000 is going to grow tax-free for 43 years and be worth quite a bit. A ten percent return would result in the account growing to roughly $200,000 and the full amount would be distributed tax-free. There are other practical advantages to opening a Roth IRA for your child.
As a parent, it is vital that you teach your child the value of money. Opening a Roth IRA gives you the opportunity to sit down and teach your child the value of saving and investing, instead of yelling at them to clean their room. While a parental lecture on the need to save money would typically meet with glassy eyes and yawns, your childís attitude will undoubtedly change when you are talking about their money.
Work and Maturity Issues
Before you rush out to open a Roth IRA for your child, you must determine if your child is eligible to open an account. To open an account, your son or daughter must be working at least part time for an employer that reports their wages to the IRS. Hiring your child to take out the trash each week is not going to cut it, nor will this strategy work for your 5 year-old. Many teenagers, however, have summer jobs that should suffice for IRS consideration. To avoid any trouble, you should consult with your tax advisor.
A more sublime issue concerns the maturity level of your child. Keep in mind that the Roth IRA will be opened in their name. Your son or daughter will have the legal right to do what they will with the account. It is strongly suggested that you clearly explain the consequences of taking money out of the account [taxes, penalties, being cut out of the will, forced to eat healthy food, grounded for life, etc.] but the decision lies with them. As difficult as it is, try to be objective in evaluating how you child will react to knowing the money is sitting in an account. If you have doubts, you should probably investigate other tax saving strategies.
Opening a Roth IRA for your child can be a very effective means of transferring wealth to your child and teaching important life lessons. If your child exercises restraint, your relatively small contribution to their Roth IRA can grow into a sizeable tax-free nest egg.
How do Mortgage Interest Tax Deductions Work ?
Please Consult one of our Tax Professionals before acting on any written FAQ's. Each Tax Case is specific and we will assist you in the best manner for your scenario.
Please Consult one our Tax Professionals before acting on any written FAQ's. Each Tax Case is specific and we will assist you in the best manner for your scenario.
Please Consult one our Tax Professionals before acting on any written FAQ's. Each Tax Case is specific and we will assist you in the best manner for your scenario.
Many people know that the interest paid on a mortgage is deductible on their income taxes. But they don't understand how it really works.
When you understand the way a tax deduction works, you should be able to estimate the amount of tax relief you would receive from owning your own home and paying a mortgage.
First, you need to know what is deductible. In many cases, homeowners are allowed to deduct the amount of mortgage interest paid from their income. They are also able to deduct the amount of real estate property taxes paid on the property.
For example, we have a homeowner and a renter who both make the same annual income of $60,000.
The renter pays $1,000 a month in rent and receives no tax benefits for renting a home.
The homeowner holds a $140,000 fixed rate mortgage with a 7% interest rate. His total mortgage payment is $1,100 a month. He pays $1,500 in real estate property taxes. His total mortgage interest paid for this tax year was $9,755.
Here's where the taxes make a difference. The owner is able to deduct $11,255 from his income before he calculates his tax liability. The renter has no deduction from his income and is taxed on $11,255 more than the owner.
Let's keep it simple and assume that both are in a 25% tax bracket. The renter will owe the IRS $15,000 in taxes on his income of $60,000. The owner's taxable income has been reduced to $48,745 after his deductions. He only owes $12,186 in income taxes. The owner saves $2,814 in taxes each year. That's a savings of $234 each month.
Basically, the homeowner's after-tax monthly payment is actually $866. The renter is still paying $1,000. The homeowner gets to keep his house in the end.
There are many variables that can affect the amount of mortgage interest you pay in any given year. But, you could often say that you can take 20% off of your mortgage payment to get a rough idea of the tax benefits of owning.
Ask your lender. A good loan officer should be able to give you a reasonable estimate of your mortgage interest and tax payments over a given period of time. Many lenders will give you a schedule when you close on your home.
When it comes to determining your tax bracket and deductions, ask one of our tax professionals for advice. Your loan officer can't really help you with tax details.
The bottom line is that owning your own home has many financial advantages. If you are tired of spending your paycheck on rent, but getting nowhere, home ownership may prove to be a more affordable solution for you.
Some income is exempt from income tax, which means that tax is never paid on this income. This income should therefore be put to one side before any tax calculation can be done. Examples of income which is exempt from tax include premium bond prizes, housing benefit, child benefit, and profit-related pay. It is therefore necessary to check whether any income is exempt from tax before doing a tax calculation. For more income tax help, call our bookkeeping experts. Also the IRS itself can give you income tax help and answer any tax questions you may have.
Over 50% of marriages end in divorce in the United States. Many divorce decrees include provisions for the payment of alimony. The IRS takes the position that such payments constitute a form of income and create an alimony tax deduction for the person making payments.
According to the IRS, alimony payments are taxable to the recipient in the year received. In turn, the person paying the alimony can claim a deduction for the payments if the following tests are met:
1. You and your spouse or former spouse do not file a joint return with each other,
2. You pay in cash (including checks or money orders),
3. The divorce or separation instrument does not say that the payment is not alimony,
4. If legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance, you and your former spouse are not members of the same household when you make the payment,
5. You have no liability to make any payment (in cash or property) after the death of your spouse or former spouse; and
6. Your payment is not treated as child support.
If you are receiving or paying alimony, you must use Form 1040 for your personal taxes. Regardless of income levels, deductions or miscellaneous tax issues, you cannot use Form 104A or Form 1040EZ.
In preparing your tax return, the person receiving alimony will report the information on line 11 of Form 1040. That person must also provide their social security number to their former spouse or face a fine of $50. The person paying the alimony can claim the deduction on line 34a of Form 1040.
What about Deducting Alimony Payments ?
Any points that you pay in the refinancing of your residence are tax deductible over the length of the loan in question. The deduction is allowable only if the residence is your primary home and the new mortgage replaces a previous one and/or is used to improve the residence. To the extent that money is taken out to pay off credit cards and non-residence costs, the points may not be used as a tax deduction.
Big Deductions By Refinancing Twice
If you refinanced your primary residence twice during 2004, you may be in for a very nice surprise. A significant tax deduction can be created when you refinance twice in one year. If you refinance a mortgage, you accelerate the deductible amount of points from the first mortgage and may claim the points from the first mortgage all at once.
As an example, assume that I refinanced my home in January 2004 and paid $3,000 in points. Interest rates continued to drop through 2004 and I then decided to refinance again in August. Because I paid off the original loan with the refinance, I am able to accelerate the value of the points of the January loan.
So, what tax deductions have I created for my 2004 filing period? Initially, I am going to deduct a percentage of the points off of my latest refinance. The deduction will amount to the total amount of points paid divided by the total months of the loan. This will not be a big deduction, but every little bit helps.
In addition to this amount, however, I will also deduct the full $3,000 in points that I paid on my January 2004 refinance! I am able to claim this deduction because I "accelerated" the deductibility of the points by paying of January mortgage with the August refinance.
By refinancing twice, I get a lower interest rate and a healthy tax deduction. Ah, the value of owning a home.
What about Deducting Points on a Home Refinance ?