Filing your taxes can be difficult the older you get, but thanks to a brand new form that has been created for taxpayers over the age of 65, this will no longer be a problem!
Money is a part of your whole life. From the first time you asked for an allowance to the first dollar of retirement that you spend. Taxes, too, are just as prevalent once we start earning money, and will follow us through until the end of our lifetime. We are a family company here at Hoods, and we want to help and care for all of our families in Goose Creek. We have made it and are now just a few weeks past 2020's new tax day of July 15th. We will be busy over the next few weeks helping all of our amazing clients get their tax paperwork finished and taken care of. As we finish up this year's tax season, we wanted to take some time to talk about our seniors and retire clients, and share some exciting news for their next tax season.
Doing taxes has now become easier than ever before thanks to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, according to CPA Practice Advisor. As part of this new act, the IRS has made special tax forms for senior taxpayers, the 1040-SR US Tax return forms. These forms come with larger fonts and better readability. With the fonts being larger, the forms will now be two pages instead of one. To help with readability, you will also see a change in the coloring of the forms. Any shading that had been previously used around text boxes has been removed. Even better, these forms are available to fill out both online or in their paper form that can be submitted through the mail. The IRS, since they released these new forms, have "wanted seniors to know about the availability of this new tax form" and we will gladly help them spread the word. The form, along with its new features will include a standard deduction chart, too.
We understand that the process of learning and growing through each wave of taxes in your life is hard. From learning how to do it for the first time, learning how to file for the first time as a married couple, and learning how to file once you retire and begin collecting from social security is all hard to keep up with. Thanks to the 1040-SR forms, the IRS is taking steps to ease at least one of these transitions while we are here to help with the rest.
You don't have to be retired to use these forms either. As long as you were born on Jan 2, 1955, and before, they are available to you. If you are still working, have multiple sources of income, are receiving social security, annuities, or more, these new forms allow you to report on all of it. Not only is the readability much better, it's aimed at cutting down on extra work and stress. The from even allows you to choose to take the standardized deduction or itemize your deductions. The chart that is provided on these new forms will make taking that standardized deduction much easier. If the taxpayer wants to itemize, they will just need to include the Schedule A itemized deduction paperwork with their 1040-SR return. Also, according to CPA Practice Advisor, these new forms make sure that seniors are "aware of the incredible standardized deductions for taxpayers 65 years and older."
What if your partner isn't 65 years or older but you are, and you plan to file together? That's ok! You will still be able to file together and you can use the new 1040-SR form to do so if you wish. According to CBS News, this will make filing taxes easier for at least 10% of over 150 million Americans who file their taxes. It will also, thanks to its new set up, allow seniors to use the form to see if they'll be getting a refund or not right away and to know what amount they will be receiving. It will give this generation of taxpayers the freedom to continue to handle their taxes and their finances, which we love to see. Seniors who have a dependent child or grandchild are still able to take a tax credit for them as well with these forms. Ironically, as much as we have been thanking the IRS for these new forms, it was thanks to a very long battle fought and won by congress that made the 1040-SR forms a reality.
Now that this tax season has come to a close with the passing of July 15th, please keep these new forms in mind for preparing and filing your 2020 taxes next year. We could still see more financial changes in what remains of 2020, so filing may be even more unique next year than we can guess. We will be here to help you through these changes if they appear. But, if you haven't been aware of these new forms, we hope that they will help you in the future. We are here to support you and our amazing community of Goose Creek! If you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Preparing for what will happen after you pass is a process. But, is a will really important for you and your family to have?
Wanting to protect your family, even after you're gone, is a goal many of us have throughout our adulthood. Leaving behind money, property, and assets to your loved ones can leave you at peace knowing they will be cared for, even if just for a little while. When it comes to leaving things behind to your loved ones, do you need a will? Do you have to write it down and make it official? Is this whole process actually important? That is what we will be discussing today!
When money and possessions come into the picture after a family member has passed away, it can show the ugly side of people, even if they are your relatives. Even if you map out exactly what you want done with your finances and your possessions after you're gone, how do you really know if your good intentions and plans will be followed through with? That is where a will steps in to help. A will legally lays out your wishes with how you want your possessions and finances cared for after you pass, along with naming someone who is responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out. It also comes with the legal power to make sure this all happens. Wills can also make sure that any children left behind will be guaranteed to be left in the care of the guardians of your choice, help with forgiving your debts, and much more. A will guarantees that you decide what happens with your property when you pass, not the state. The state would take your property and distribute it much differently than you probably would. A will makes sure they stay out and away from your personal business and belongings.
As we mentioned before, when money and possessions come into the picture, family and loved ones can get a little, if not very, nasty. A will can give you peace of mind that what you wish to happen will be carried out, and no speculations happen. It also prevents the state from making those decisions for you, which for a big family or a family that has divorce and remarriage in it, can make it very awkward and uncomfortable. Emotions run extremely high after a loss, and people become extremely vulnerable. Families can get hurt even more when fights and disagreements are caused due to possessions and responsibilities left behind. Take that pressure off your loved ones by making any and all decisions ahead of time.
You must follow state law and regulation with your will. Regardless of having one or not, all of your property must go through the process of probate. Thankfully having a will speeds up this process, so your family can take care of the business you left behind faster and receive anything they are due to inherit much quicker. A will also lower your estate taxes. The value of the items you give away will reduce the value of your estate once it comes time to pay taxes on it. A will helps you avoid legal challenges, and allows you to disinherit anyone you wish not to inherit once you pass away.
A will can even help ease the burden of unanswered questions for your loved ones. You figure that those who have walked through life with you know everything there is to know. Sometimes, the most precious memories and explanations can slip away with time. When planning for the end of your life, you can leave behind special memories and reasons why you did what you did. You can write this all down in a letter or small memoir that can be shared and cherished with your loved ones, thanks to the protection and delivery of a will.
What happens without a will? Decisions are made without your consent and quite possibly handled exactly opposite of what you actually would want. Keep in mind that passing without a will is different for every state, and each state decides if a person's belongings go to a sibling, parent, child, or spouse after a person passes away. Not having a will can lead to a very time-consuming process, while the state decides what to do. This includes what to do with your money, too. If you have minor children when you pass and don't have a will, their care and decisions are also taken care of by the state. As hard as a court might try to find the perfect fit for a child, they won't understand family dynamics and could place your children in the care of someone you wouldn't want them to be with. If you are not married to your partner when you pass without a will, they could receive nothing and have everything taken away from them and given to an estranged or distant family member, leaving them in a very difficult position.
Your will is your voice, your power, your decisions, and well wishes. It is something that can be a little time consuming and a difficult process to begin, but it can be the last gift and moment of ease you leave to your loved ones. If you don't already have a will, consider this blog. Consider those you are leaving behind, and consider what responsibilities you'll leave them with. If you have any questions about your finances during this time, need help with your tax payments or tax money for 2019 or 2020, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you and our amazing community of Goose Creek! if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
The CARES Act has provided relief across the board. For those of us who have student loan debt, the CARES Act has come in with a plan to help manage those payments for the time being. But, is everyone covered?
There is no question about it. Student loans are a big deal. The education that came along with accruing the debt is priceless, but when that bill comes every month it can be hard to remember that. Although we have had some positive steps forward in our economy since the pandemic hit earlier this year, many of us are still dealing with financial strain. When money gets tight, the first things that come to mind are taking care of the essentials; a place to live, food, transportation, and your bills. For a lot of Americans, this has been hard to take care of. Student loans put pressure on many, regardless of what was going on in the country. Thankfully, when the CARES Act was signed, relief was finally here. Those with student loans were going to get a little break. But, did that mean everyone with student loan debt was going to feel this relief? Sadly, no.
The United States has seen relief and support in more ways than one through the ongoing pandemic of COVID 19. The CARES Act has been one such support system. It has provided small business loans, helped with those planning for retirement, given us our stimulus payments, and it also ushered in relief for the payment on student loans. According to Dave Ramsey and AmericanProgress.org around 43 MILLION adults in America have student loan debt. The CARES Act gave many Americans one less thing to worry about. It has allowed thousands of Americans to allocate these funds to keep food on the table and the lights on. While many of us waited for our stimulus checks to appear, this was cause for celebration. But, it didn't mean a celebration for every student loan holder. While this aid did help those 43 million Americans, it didn't help them all.
In any situation before the pandemic, to stop or pause your loan payments you would have to prove that you were financially unable to pay your loan. When you proved this, you would then qualify for a forbearance or deferment. These are the technical terms for putting your loan on hold. While your payments are paused, your loan continues to accrue interest while it's in forbearance. With the CARES Act, every federal student loan was automatically put in forbearance, your loan payments were paused, and no interest will accrue until its end date, according to Forbes and Dave Ramsey. You do have the option to continue your loan payments if you wish, and it is recommended you do so if you can afford it.
Did you notice the specific loans that are being taken care of by the CARES Act? Only federal student loans. These loans are personally owned by the United States Department of Education. Any other private student loans that are not federally owned will not be covered under the CARES Act. To give you a better idea, here is a list of federal and private student loans that are and are not covered:
As of now, according to Dave Ramsey, the loan forbearance and the 0% interest will last until September 30th. This could be extended, but only time will tell. Please note that this is not the government forgiving all of your federal student loan debt, nor are they paying your loan for you. Once the CARES Act ends, you will need to pick up where you left off. If the focus of your money needs to be survival, then take advantage of this opportunity. If you can keep paying your student loan, continue to do so. Regardless of your decision, take this time to save up as much as you can. If these last three months have taught us anything, being prepared is a must.
If you do have a private student loan, there are some companies out there that are offering some relief during this time, according to Forbes. This is not true of every company and they are not legally mandated to do so. If you are having issues paying your private student loans, call your loan company immediately and see if there is something you can do. If you are going to put your loan on forbearance, make sure to ask about the interest that will be built up.
This Act has done a lot of great things, but there is a darker side to it. According to Forbes, there was more damage done than relief. There have been reports that one, if not more, of the U.S. Department of Education loan services, reported borrowers loan status to credit bureaus. This very improper move lead to serious credit damage. Some have even had their tax refunds seized, illegally, by the Department of Education. The Department of Education claims that all tax funds have been repaid, but some citizens are still waiting. Lawsuits have even been filed, says Forbes.
As much as the CARES Act has helped, was it worth it? Will it be able to sustain the country in the months to come? As much as it has seemed to help a good number of people, it has also seemed to fail many others. If you have any questions about your finances during this time, need help with your tax payments or tax money for 2019 or 2020, please never hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you and our amazing community of Goose Creek! if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Are you utilizing your time properly and working as much as you need to be? Thanks to some easy to use tools and apps, you can monitor this with ease!
As we get back into a normal routine, returning to business and productivity as normal can be a little daunting. With so much happening in our community while we are adapting to many new changes, we wanted to share some of the best tips and tools on how to keep your small business productive.
Make sure you know exactly how much time you and your employees are spending on each client and project. There are multiple ways to track this progress with apps, a dial-in program on your work phone database, computer programs, and more. Make sure to review this time with your employees, and see if they are working wisely. Discuss with them if time needs to be added or if they're spending too much time on certain things. If they are spending too much time on certain projects or tasks, offer suggestions on how to use their time better. If their time is exactly what is needed to get every task and project done properly, make sure your clients are paying the correct amount for the hours you're working for them. Tracking hours like this can help you adjust your fees accordingly and to guarantee you and your employees are getting compensated properly. Toggl, Tsheets, and ResueTime are great examples of tools that can help you with this.
TO DO LIST
Managing your time is very important and so is managing your projects and everyday tasks. Being proficient in this will help keep your current clients very happy, help with getting the word out about how professional your company is, and be a huge draw to new potential clients. Being able to give very accurate timelines and project estimates is essential, and following through with them as promised will guarantee a happy client. Knowing what projects and tasks you have on your plate, knowing what order they need to be finished in, what their completion dates are, and which ones must be done right away are important to keep your sanity and productivity intact. Efficiency is a key proponent to the growth in any small business. Don't worry, there are many different kinds of task management software out there for you to use. You just need to find the right one for your companies particular workflow. When you're in the market for this kind of software, try out a few versions for free before committing to anything. This can save you a lot of time and hassle. Make sure you pick software that allows your whole company to use it and communicate in, and one that allows a calendar to be uploaded into it so deadlines can be set. Pick one that has an operating system that is flexible to your personal needs, and doesn't take a long time to learn. Pick one that can sync with your current applications, software, and with your website and social media platforms if needed. Trello, Basecamp, and Asama are three great examples to start with.
Make sure that once your small business is up and running that you have a solid program manager that allows you to control your website domain, emails, Eblasts, documents, and more. This will allow you to be in control of your domain and be able to manage your website without stress. It will allow you to send out eblasts, gather and store clients' emails for easy use and promotional purposes, and to keep all of your online documents organized and accessible. Squarespace, GoDaddy, MailChimp, and WordPress are great examples to start with. Also, use Google to your advantage. Their business tools are outstanding, easy to use, easy to access, and free!
DAY TO DAY
Social media management is a key player in your advertisement world. This can become very time consuming having to not only create all of your content, but also needing to remember to post at the correct times every day. Thankfully, there are plenty of programs available to you that allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time once they're created. You can also choose what platforms your content is being posted to, what times, how often, and more. Buffer, HootSuite, Agoraplaus, and Facebook Creator Studio are good choices to look into. Make sure when choosing the correct platform, that it allows you to post on all the social media sites you use. Some don't allow posts to Instagram, while others only allow you to post on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to read the fine print, try it out for free if you can, and only invest in a plan that you need. Your plan level will depend on how many accounts you're running, what platforms you're posting to, and how many posts you'll be posting every month.
Everyones ability to remember their ideas, tasks, projects and activities vary from person to person. You might believe that you can remember everything without writing it down. When working for or owning a small business, that's a difficult place to put yourself into. Avoid putting yourself into these situations and skip the possibility of forgetting something. Even if you're not someone who likes writing a list or keeping a handwritten planner, tons of wonderful apps can help you with this. Your smartphone is a great place to start, as it might already have a built-in calendar and note-keeping app. Google is also a great place to begin. They have a fantastic interface for both your computer and your smartphone. Other great apps to keep your to-do lists and notes organized are Evernote, Wunderlist, and Todoist.
Staying organized, communicating, and using your time wisely are three of the most important things to keep your small business productive. We hope these tips and suggestions help your company grow. If you have any questions or comments, never hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help our Goose Creek family and stand with you during these difficult times. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
The pandemic has affected us in many ways. Sometimes, it's difficult to keep up. For those who receive supplementary security income, receiving financial support has been an interesting battle.
Hello Goose Creek! We hope this finds you healthy and well. Times are still unsure, but there is a ray of hope in how our beautiful state is starting to open up bit by bit. The waves of financial help have been an interesting experience, and each of us has been affected in different ways. For those of you who receive supplementary security income or SSI, it has been a difficult and interesting experience to go through. But, there has been an update to your economic impact payment. In this blog, we will be discussing what this update is, how to apply for as much financial help as you can, and what this will look like for you over the next few years. These specific benefits for SSI recipients were created to help you as much as possible and to help care for and supplement your children.
For those new to the term, SSI pays benefits to adults with disabilities and also helps pay for children who have limited income and resources. It also financially helps those who are 65 years and older who don't have disabilities but who meet the financial limit and need assistance.
For those of you who collect SSI, you had until May 5th of this year to go to the IRS website and fill out the IRS non-filer tool to list and receive $500 for each of your qualifying children. A qualifying child is one that is 17 years old or younger who is under your care and your responsibility. If you did not make this May 5th deadline, you will have to wait until tax time of next year to apply and receive this financial help. Even if you did miss the deadline you will be able to (if you haven't already) receive your $1200 stimulus check. You will receive them either in paper form or through direct deposit. Please note that the IRS will be sending you these checks, not the Social Security Administration. If you have any questions about filing or any questions about a qualifying child, contact the IRS offices. Not the SSA.
Be aware, as we have mentioned in some of our recent blogs, there are a lot of scams out there targeting SSI beneficiaries directly. There is no fee or anything you have to give to receive your stimulus check or your impact payment for your qualifying children. The only thing you were required to do was to fill out the non-filer tax form on the IRS website. If you have already missed this cutoff, make sure to still apply and fill out this form. Even if you don't receive this money until next year, you are entitled to it. The information that the SSA gives to the IRS every year doesn't provide them with any information about your dependents (your qualifying children). Not filing at all will prevent them from knowing that you have dependents that qualify for this $500. If you did file on time, you should have started to see your money mid-May. You will receive the money just like you would with your normal SSI benefits. When you do begin this process and use the non-filer form, be prepared to create an account. You will need to provide information for each of your qualifying children. You will need to provide contact information, social security numbers, your address, email account, and phone number. Be prepared and have this information ready for when you do file.
Do NOT apply for this or through the non-filer form if you did end up filing your 2019 tax return. If you are required to file, this tool will not speed up the process of getting your payment, it will slow it down. If you are someone over 65 and you're caring for a child 17 years or younger, please know that you are also eligible for these benefits. If you missed the cutoff date, make sure to file for these benefits so you can receive them in 2020.
For everyone who receives SSI benefits and those who are eligible for this economic impact payment, we hope this helped. Don't forget, we are always here for a consultation if you need help! Never hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about your taxes, filing for taxes, and so on. We are here to help our Goose Creek family and stand with you during these difficult times. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
You can follow the Social Security Administrations Offices on Facebook, twitter, and their blog by following the links below:
For Updated information about the current pandemic and how it will affect you financially, visit the IRS website!
With the recent announcement that the unemployment rate is at its highest since the great depression, more and more people have needed to apply for unemployment. With the high volume of people calling and applying every day, it's become a challenge to get any kind of relief money. During these difficult times, we wanted to share some tips and suggestions on how to make the process of applying for unemployment a little less painful and to help get the money you need now!
Hello Goose Creek! We hope during these unknown times you continue to remain healthy and safe. We have been watching the news as closely as many of you have, and we are anxious to see what things will be like as everything is slowly allowed to open up. We are still diligently working for all of our clients, and we are here for all of your tax preparation needs as we get closer to the new tax date of July 15th.
Many of us are still waiting for our stimulus checks, our tax returns, and our small business loans to be approved or to show up. With the delays being connected to many different and unique factors, it's still hard to know exactly when our personal financial relief will finally appear. With the unemployment rate continuing to skyrocket, more and more people need and have been applying for unemployment. Many of the people who are applying are doing so for the very first time. Over 33 million people, it has been estimated, have applied for unemployment over the past two months. This number is expected to rise as businesses remain closed. With this incredibly high demand, it has brought an extreme amount of frustration to those who have been attempting to apply with no success. People are spending countless hours trying to get ahold of anyone to help them with their application process with no success, and heaps of frustration. With this headache adding to the stress we're already carrying, we wanted to share some tips on how to make the process of applying for unemployment during this pandemic a little less painful.
The new stimulus relief bill that the president signed in March for $2.2 trillion in relief money has changed who is now qualified for unemployment. Before the pandemic hit, those who worked part-time or who were self-employed and lost work or clients were unable to apply for unemployment. Now, that has all changed. Thanks to the new stimulus package full time, part-time, self-employed, those who collect veteran or social security benefits, those whose businesses have closed due to the pandemic, those who were unable to start a new job, or those who now have to care for children or family members whose care facility was closed due to the pandemic, are now all eligible to apply for unemployment. The new stimulus package will be giving its recipients an additional $600 a week on top of their state's weekly benefit that they have been deemed eligible for. It is also providing an addition 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who are eligible. You will not be eligible for unemployment benefits if you're able to work from home. You are also not eligible if you've quit your job out of fear of getting COVID-19. On the other hand, you are eligible if you have had to leave your job and self-quarantine due to possible exposure.
Each state is unique in how they handle their unemployment claims, and how and when you can apply. Who is and who is not eligible is still a little hazy, so you need to pay attention to the small print. That is where a lot of the frustration can come from and why so many people are calling unemployment instead of just filing right away online. The fine print is peppered across all the documents you need to fill out to apply and they can be very confusing, leading to those high call volumes. There are some things you can be doing that can make the process a little less painful, though.
These are unknown times, and losing your job or getting your hours cut can add on extra worry and stress. There is nothing wrong with applying for unemployment or asking for help on how to apply. It was created to help during times of crisis, and the money it can give you and your family can help you survive. Take the opportunity to apply for it if you need it. Never hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about your taxes, filing for taxes, and so on. We are here to help our Goose Creek family and stand with you during these difficult times. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
It's tempting to use your tax return to buy something fun and exciting. It's also such a relief when those funds show up in your bank account. But, in a world that is very unsure and uneasy, it might be time to think practically when it comes to your tax return this year!
Hello Goose Creek! How are you? We hope you and your family are doing well, and we hope you know we miss you! Know that through everything we are here for you, and if there is anything we can do to help you, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! It was a much different April than any of us expected or could have imagined. Tax day came and went without much attention. For the first time since 1955, when April 15th officially became tax day, we didn't have to pay our taxes on that day. It was also the first time since 1955 that tax day was moved, this time to July 15th. It was very strange for us, of course. But, we know that for many families in Goose Creek, this might have been a huge relief! Did this help you and your family? If you still haven't paid your taxes, you do have time to do so. But, we do recommend that you do so as quickly as you can. This way you can receive your tax return quicker and possibly your stimulus check too if you haven't already!
Regardless, for every accounting service in Goose Creek and tax preparation in Goose Creek, this was a very strange April. Thankfully there are still plenty of great things to look forward to on the horizon. One of those great things being the appearance of our tax returns in our bank accounts or mailboxes. For many families, the appearance of this money comes with a lot of relief, bills being paid, and sometimes something very fun for the whole family. But, as we mentioned before, this April and the whole of 2020 has created quite a different dynamic for our everyday lives. As much as we love surprising the family with a new TV, A new car, or a family vacation, now might be the time to look at your tax return in ways you never have before. Being the best tax preparation service in Goose Creek, we wanted to share some of the best and worst ways you can spend your tax return. By doing so, we hope to help bring awareness to what is important right now, and what isn't. Please note, we are a family company. We love our town and want each of you to rise to the best of your abilities. We respect the freedom of your decisions but want to help you through these difficult times as best we can.
WHAT NOT TO SPEND YOUR RETURN ON!
WHAT TO SPEND YOUR RETURN ON!
Money can be a difficult and tricky topic, but it doesn't have to be. We hope these tips help you and your family through this difficult time. Remember if you are looking for the best accounting services in Goose Creek, the best tax preparation in Goose Creek, business consulting in Goose Creek, bookkeeping in Goose Creek, or payroll services in Goose Creek, we are here for you! Our phone lines and inboxes are waiting for you. Don't hesitate! Please stay safe, everyone. We will see you soon!
Money for many of us is tighter in new ways than we could ever have imagined. How can you make life a little easier while you adapt to the changing world around you?
It seems strange that while the world is turned on its head and we are living differently than we ever have before, there are still bills to pay, groceries and important items to buy, and other possible expenses heading our way. Before your tax return shows up and the stimulus check appears in your bank account, money might be very tight at the moment. For those of you who have been put on furlough or have been laid off from your job and you're now depending on an unemployment check or your savings, these times are even scarier. For those who don't have unemployment or savings, these times could be very dire. We understand, and we sympathize with you. With these changing times, we wanted to share a few tips and pieces of advice to help manage your money while the world is on hold. We hope these tips and suggestions help while you wait on your tax return, your stimulus checks, and to head back to work.
At the end of the day, the biggest thing you need to focus on is to not panic and to make wise decisions. Panicking can lead to some very drastic decisions, especially when it comes to your money. Please remember we are all going through this together. We are here to answer any questions you might have or to advise you during this difficult time. We are still here to offer everyone in Goose Creek the best tax services too. Please don't be a stranger. Give us a call or email us, we will figure out your next best step, together!
The face of tax day has been changed by the state of the world. But what does this all mean for us as individuals? How is this going to affect how each of us is expected to pay our taxes?
Tax day truly means something very different than it has in all of its history now than ever before. This year, as of recent legislation, tax day has been moved from April 15th to July 15th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even in very normal situations, this is a very stressful time for everyone. During this unknown and uncharted time, it has become very stressful at a whole new level for businesses, closed businesses, employees who have been temporarily laid off, and for everyone not knowing what to do next. The government and the IRS hoped that this 90-day extension would ease the stress of not having funds on hand to pay for your taxes by their original due date, due to the loss of your job or paycheck, all in hopes that by July 15th everything will have returned to normal. It's is a very optimistic hope and wish that it is, and all of us are hoping that by July all of this will have blow over, but who knows what could happen.
If you have already filed your taxes, we hope that your tax return is safely in your hands and has helped you through this difficult time. If you're planning to file and pay your taxes before the new July 15th deadline, the IRS is still processing paperwork and is ready to get your tax return back to you. But, if you still need more time, then you're in luck. Unlike a traditional extension, this is allowing filing and payment to be both sent in by July 15th. But, the IRS understands that you might be needing your return more than ever this year. This new deferment is just giving you a chance to take more time to file if you need it. All of us here at Hoods are ready to support our Goose Creek family through these new changes and to help guild, instruct and file for you. But, with all of the changes, do you know what this deferment means and who it applies to? Is this going to help you individually or not?
As of March 20th, the IRS made the official statement that federal income tax filing was moved to its new date of July 15th. Taxpayers are also able to defer federal income tax payments without any penalties and interest, no matter how much is owed. Thankfully this new deferment applies to all taxpayers. This means individuals, those who pay self-employment taxes, corporations, businesses, and trusts and estates. Everyone can benefit from these changes without any penalty. There is also limited paperwork that comes with this change. Unlike a traditional deferment, you do not need to let the IRS know that you're filing later. If you haven't filed by April 15th, the assumption will be made that you are going to be using the new due date as your official tax day. If you do decide to follow the new deferment, and July 15th is still not enough time, you can still ask for an additional extension. This is where the new paperwork comes in. If you need more time as an individual, you will need to file Form 4868, and businesses will need to file Form 7004. Outside of that, no new paperwork is needed!
Even with this extra relief, the IRS still recommends that you file as soon as possible, as the future is still very unknown. To help your financial situation and to get your return back to you as quickly as possible, they are taking no longer than 21 days to get your paperwork filed and refund to you. As we mentioned in past blogs, filing closer to the due date can cause your return to take up to 30 days if not longer to get back to you. This is no longer the case. The IRS is working harder and faster to help out where ever they can.
With the daily changes happening in our country, and the IRS being a vital key to keeping our government afloat in the days ahead, there could be a few bumps along the way with your taxes. Please be patient with them. We also recommend filing online if you were planning to do otherwise. All IRS workers have moved to remote work, and will no longer be accepting appointments in person. Hoods is still here to help you, but we suggest for all business to be done over the phone, through email, and other digital forms of communication for safety sake.
Tax time has never been more unique or shrouded with so many unknowns. During this time, if you have any questions or concerns, we continue to be your tax specialist in Goose Creek. We will get through this together, successfully get your taxes filed, and happily get your tax return back to you and your family. Continue to stay safe and stay at home!
Tax season is stressful for a multitude of reasons. One stress, in particular, might be more dangerous than you might realize. Scammers and hackers take advantage of this busy and stressful time to attempt to steal and take your personal information by posing as IRS or other government employees. One of the biggest things they've been coming after recently? Your social security.
We are under a month now from Tax Day, and I know we are all feeling that reality. We know that this might have been a particularly stressful time of year for you, but you just have to wait it out a little bit longer. Your tax return will be in your bank account before you know it. But as we are speeding towards the official end of 2019's tax season, there might be more than getting your paperwork in on time that you need to be concerned with. Hackers and scammers use this time of the year to prey on thousands of people to steal their personal information and gain access to their social security. I'm sure many of our readers have been experiencing a huge rate of unknown phone calls recently. That's not just because it's election season. Scammers and hackers have become some of the most dangerous and frightening intelligent criminals out there.
Cybercrime that uses emails and phone calls to extract highly personal information has become one of the most expensive crimes in the world. It's costing companies billions of dollars in stolen information and damages. These criminals are becoming smarter and more in tune with how they can disguise themselves to make strangers believe that they are companies, business, and official governing bodies that you can trust. The most disturbing is that they prey on groups of individuals who are most likely to fall for these scams, individuals who rely on their social security to live on. They can, and they do, attack almost anyone they can, but they are starting to focus more and more on groups of individuals who are unaware of this type of crime and who are the most unfamiliar with technology.
One of the largest groups being attacked are the elderly and retired. Scammers go right to the source calling direct personal home or cell phone numbers. These criminals pretend to be IRS, other government, or bank employees and are looking to bait their callers into giving them what they want or backing them into a corner and threatening them until they do. So what do these scams look like? They usually come in the form of a phone call or an email. Usually, it is a pre-recorded message stating that your social security account has been compromised or frozen. They can also threaten that there has been an issue with your taxes and filing them. Which during this time of year, is very believable. They will say that you either have to pay a certain amount of money to unlock or save the account, pay to prevent legal action, or pay to prevent the police from showing up and arresting you.
If a scammer calls you in real-time, they make the same accusations. Sometimes they go as far as giving you a case number and know just enough information about you or the family member they are trying to scam, that their case seems very legitimate. They then might begin asking for very personal information, like the last digits of your social security number or the bank account number you use when filing your taxes. If you put up any kind of fight or question these claims or refuse to answer questions, that's when it could start getting ugly. Threats could be thrown out that legal action will be taken, that the police will show up, or other harm could come to you and your family. That's when the baiting starts to happen. Once they begin to make threats, they will say the only way to protect your social security account or to fix these issues is to pay them in cash, to wire cash to them, pay them in gift cards, digital currency like bitcoin, or other strange ways.
When it comes to emails, the scammers can create emails that look official. They will create logos to place within the email, write a very convincing message that looks very professional, and create an email address that looks legitimate. The message will be very similar to that of the above-mentioned phone calls, and the only way to protect or stop these actions is to pay them in similarly strange ways and provide them with very personal information. If you receive any kind of phone call or email like this, hang up immediately and pay no mind to the email. Know right now, that if the IRS or the Government needed to get in touch with you, this is not how the process would go at ALL. You can now report these phone calls and emails online to the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. The administration is cracking down on these kinds of daily attacks, and are working hard to eliminate this threat.
All of that being said, know that your social security number cannot be suspended, revoked, blocked, or frozen. Personal information should, and would be, in front of or available to an actual government official if they needed it. They don't need it from you. If the social security offices do call or email you, you have the option of withholding answering anything until you physically call the office back and make sure that it is the social security office that you're dealing with and that there is a real issue. Call them at 800-772-1213 and go from there. Please make note that phone numbers can be spoofed to look as convincing as possible, so don't fall for any phone number. No actual government employee would ever ask you to wire money, send or pay in cash, or to buy them a gift card as a form of payment EVER. If you are ever threatened with arrest or legal action, this is not the government you are talking to, this is a scammer.
These phone calls and emails can be very scary and very convincing. Because these criminals are getting smarter by the day, they know exactly how to get just enough information and say all the right things to scare whoever they're talking to. If it does happen that you do become victim to a situation like this, do not be embarrassed and try to handle it yourself. Report it right away. Visit the website for the Office of the Inspector General (below), the IRS website, or your local police. Your local police will be able to direct you to the proper authorities to deal with these situations. Also, help your loved ones in these situations. Tell them about the possibilities of getting these types of calls and attacks. Prepare them for the situation, and walk them through how to handle it best. Keep them aware of these kinds of situations. Keep communication open about this situation, and keep your loved ones safe.
Tax season is already a stressful time. Add on some very convincing criminals, and some real damage could be done. Stay alert, stay aware, and protect yourself. We have included the website to report any phone calls or emails at the bottom of this blog. You can help stop these criminals and keep yourself safe. While tax season is coming to an end, remember that we are your premier service in Goose Creek to help you prepare and get through every tax season. You don't have anything to fear this season if you work with us. You're going to be in good hands.
Report any kind of abuse or potential scam to this website IMMEDIATELY!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.