Category Archives: Taxes

Fight the Temptation for Tax Procrastination

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While it might be easy to wait until April to file your taxes, fighting the temptation to procrastinate can have some serious advantages, and not just relief from the nagging feeling that you’re ignoring something important.

 

More Time to Prepare

 

Taxes can be complicated. What exactly can you deduct from your taxable income? Is it better to take the standard deduction, or itemize deductions? A tax professional or tax software can make these calculations much easier, but gathering the documentation you need — W-2s, 1099s and receipts — still takes time. If you wait until the last minute, you sacrifice valuable time that you could be using to talk to your tax professional about your best options or review your return for errors.

 

Finding errors after your return has been filed can be costly, in terms of both time spent filing an amended return and potential penalties if you owe more in taxes than you originally thought.

 

Get an Early Refund…Or More Time to Pay

 

Many Americans over pay their taxes every year and look forward to a refund at tax time. If you’re among them, the earlier your file your taxes, the earlier that refund makes it to your bank account to pay off bills, save for retirement, or buy something new.  Keep in mind that refund processing times tend to increases as April 15th draws closer, so filing early benefits your refund time double — the process starts earlier, and takes less time.

 

If, on the other hand, you end up owing extra come tax time, filing your return early is still beneficial. The difference between what you’ve already paid and what you owe is due on April 15th, and after that the IRS begins to assess penalties for late payment. Getting a head start on your return means that you’ll know what you owe before the deadline, and it gives you time to budget for the extra expense.

 

You can request an extension, but it only applies to filing your return: Any taxes you owe that aren’t paid by April 15th will still accrue interest and penalties.

 

Proof of Income

 

If you’re a student applying for financial aid or a home buyer, you’ll probably be required to provide your tax return as proof of income during the application process. Knocking your return out early in the season means you’ll have it handily available if you find yourself in those markets.

 

Reduce Identity Theft

 

The IRS has a page on its website devoted to tax-related identity theft. Anyone with your personal information can submit a tax return in your name, directing your refund to their account or saddling you with taxes you shouldn’t owe. Warning signs include notification that your social security number was used on more than one return or records that you received wages from an unknown employer.

 

Most tax-related identity theft occurs early in the tax season, which started even earlier this year, on January 20, 2015, and filing early reduces your risk.

 

Information is power. Taking care of your taxes early in the tax season reduces tax-related stress, helps prepare you for financial decision-making, and reduces your exposure to identity theft.

 

*Guest post courtesy of Checkworks.com, a leading supplier of personal and business checks.

5 Things to Know When Starting a Business

5 Things to Know When Starting a Business | Money Savvy Living

 

Being a business owner and working for yourself has many rewards… and many risks. While the thought of not having to punch a clock for someone else is exciting to you, competition in the marketplace and inconsistent income streams can be substantial challenges for any new business. If you have been thinking about starting your own business, there are five things that you should consider before taking the plunge.

 

1) Initial Investment—Do you have enough money set aside to live off of while you get your business up and running? Or will you be continuing to work your current job while starting a side business? Depending on the type of business that you choose, you could have little or no start-up costs. For instance, taking a hobby, such as photography, and turning it into a side business would not require a huge initial investment.

 

2) Business type—What service will your business provide? What product will you sell? Will your business primarily exist online, such as an e-commerce store, or will your business primarily operate through a brick-and-mortar storefront, such as a medical supply store or beauty salon?

Certified Public Accountant, former IRS agent, and author of Outsmarting the System: Lower Your Taxes, Control Your Future, and Reach Financial Freedom, Anthony Campidonica, offers the following advice to clients regarding the tax implications of starting a side business:

 

3) Tax Benefits—A side business can present you with favorable tax opportunities. Business owners are allowed to convert personal expenses into legal business deductions if those expenses are considered ordinary and necessary expenses related to the operation of the business activity. These expenses include, but are not limited to, cell phone bills, computer, and meals and entertainment.

 

4) Tax Obligations—As a self-employed individual, you are generally required to pay quarterly estimated taxes for your self-employment tax and income tax.

  • Self-Employment Tax – Self-employment tax (SE tax) consists of Social Security and Medicare tax. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most employees. You are generally liable for SE tax if you had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more. Self-employment tax is a percentage of your net earnings from self-employment. Net earnings are calculated as the gross income you derived from your business less ordinary and necessary business expenses.
  • Income Tax – You are required to pay income tax, which is in addition to the SE tax, on your net earnings from self-employment. This is a tax imposed on your income from your business, which is determined by applying a rate to the net earnings.
  • Quarterly Payments – Because you do not have an employer withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes, and income tax for you on your earnings, you make estimated payments to pay these taxes. Speak to a tax professional or use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to find out if you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments and if so, the amount of the taxes.

 

5) Recordkeeping—Typically, taxpayers who are the most organized with their records pay the least amount of taxes because they are able to fully and accurately account for their income and expenses. Learning how to properly substantiate your expenses can save you both time and money. There are many software programs that can help you maintain your records in an orderly and consistent manner.

 

*The advice shared in this article is for informational purposes only. Before starting a business, you should talk to a tax professional and fully research the tax implications and/or tax obligations that come with it for your specific situation.

 

 

 

Benefits and Tax Obligations of Starting a Side Business

Outsmarting the System
Guest post by Anthony C. Campidonica:

Starting a side business can help you reach financial freedom. The extra money you earn through your business can reduce debt or be invested.

Starting a Business. Starting a side business can be as simple as offering a service you already provide. For instance, if you are a bookkeeper as an employee, you may be able to do extra bookkeeping on the side for other companies. You can sell items you already have, such as kid’s clothing. Alternatively, you can resell items to which you already have access. For example, a client I work with is a cycling enthusiast. He was able to track down very hard to find bike parts, and now runs an online business reselling the parts to other cycling enthusiasts.

Tax Benefits. A side business can present you with favorable tax opportunities. Business owners are allowed to convert personal expenses into legal business deductions if those expenses are considered ordinary and necessary expenses related to the operation of the business activity. These expenses include, but are not limited to, cell phone bills, computer, and meals and entertainment.

Tax Obligations. As a self-employed individual, you are generally required to pay quarterly estimated taxes for your self-employment tax and income tax.

Self-Employment Tax – Self-employment tax (SE tax) consists of Social Security and Medicare tax. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most employees. You are generally liable for SE tax if you had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more. Self-employment tax is a percentage of your net earnings from self-employment. Net earnings are calculated as the gross income you derived from your business less ordinary and necessary business expenses.

Income Tax – You are required to pay income tax, which is in addition to the SE tax, on your net earnings from self-employment. This is a tax imposed on your income from your business, which is determined by applying a rate to the net earnings.

Quarterly Payments – Because you do not have an employer withholding Social Security and Medicare taxes, and income tax for you on your earnings, you make estimated payments to pay these taxes. Speak to a tax professional or use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals to find out if you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments and if so, the amount of the taxes.

Recordkeeping. Based on my experience, the taxpayers who were the most organized with their records paid the least amount of taxes because they were able to account for their income and expenses. Learning how to properly substantiate your expenses can save you both time and money. There are many software programs that can help you maintain your records in an orderly and consistent manner.

I strongly recommend you talk to a tax professional regarding the tax implications of starting a business and the tax obligations that come with it.

If you are interested in learning more ways to legally reduce the amount of taxes that you owe each year, Mr. Campidonica has offered my readers a discount when purchasing his book, Outsmarting the System. Use coupon code Gina5 and receive a 5% discount.

About the Author: Anthony C. Campidonica (Tony) spent over eight years as an Internal Revenue Agent (tax auditor) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This experience provided him with unique insight of tax laws and the opportunities provided to the rich. Tony recently wrote Outsmarting the System because he believes that everyone – not just the rich – need to be aware of the constraints of the system and the opportunities provided to them through the tax laws.

Tony is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California and an Enrolled Agent (EA). He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Accountancy (MSA).

Owe money to the IRS?

Tax day is upon us once again. You have probably already completed your taxes, but if you haven’t, you have until midnight tonight to file. With certain tax deductions being phased out, you may have ended up getting less back than you expected, or possibly even owing taxes. If you do owe taxes, there are five ways in which you can pay your tax bill. But what do you do when the tax bill is higher than expected? Well, if you don’t have the money in the bank to write out the check and send in today, you do have options. The Internal Revenue Service offers you a few choices when you are faced with a tax bill that you cannot pay up front:

Here is the link to read my entire article at Examiner.