Even though the school year has started, it's never too early to start saving for college! With how strange this year has been, give yourself and your fiances something to look forward to!
Hello, Goose Creek! We hope you're doing well. From our family to yours, we continue to be so thankful for your love and support during this crazy year, after tax time, and while the world is still a little strange. We are always here to help you and your family prepare financially for whatever goals or challenges you might be wanting to reach or overcome. 2020 has taught us to prepare for the unexpected, and we are here to continue facing this year head-on with you. It's not over yet, so who knows what it could bring!
In our last two blogs, we talked about saving money when it comes to buying school supplies and other necessary things for the school year. Saving as much as you can right now, we understand, is very important to all of our Goose Creek friends and families. While finances might be a little more secure than they were six or seven months ago, we are all aware that this could change in an instant. We hope our last two blogs helped calm you a little and prepare you for this current school year, or even the next. In this two-part blog, we are going to go a step beyond. For many parents and students, our last blog might have been outdated because many of them are planning on heading to college next year. Some of our adult readers might be thinking about going back to college or have the time time to finally go to college, too. While everything is so unknown, education is still an important expense and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. So, we wanted to dedicate this blog to all of our readers and their family members who are thinking about college or are finally taking the steps to go back to college! These are some of the top tips and suggestions on how to save money to pay for your college tuition.
There is so much that goes into applying and getting into college that can make the process very overwhelming and daunting. We don't want money to be one of them. We at least want to take that heavy burden off of you as best we can. You or your children have worked hard to get to the day where you submit your applications, and you deserve the best ways to make your dreams possible, not be prevented due to financial burden. Think about it, according to Forbes, the average cost per year for tuition ranges between $10,000 to $22,000 for public state schools, while private universities can range between $36,000 to $55,000 and more every year. Add on all of your textbooks, living expenses, and possible travel expenses, and this can become quite a hefty bill. For our parents, you need to make sure that your financial standings and responsibilities are in place before turning your attention to a college savings fund. This can help you get the loans you need and be financially prepared while still being able to care for and provide for your family. If you are paying for school on your own, this all still rings true.
TIP ONE: Start Saving!
You can begin saving for your child's higher education from the moment they're born or from the moment you decide it's time to go back to college. According to the New York Times, one of the best savings accounts to use is a 529. It's a simple plan to use and to understand. You take the simple steps of opening one up and then you decide how your money is going to be invested. You can contribute as much taxed income as you'd like to this account over as many years as you'd like. What is really appealing is that your investment will grow tax-free and can be withdrawn without capital gain, as long as the money is used to pay for higher education. Also, a 529 can give you a state tax benefit on all the contributions you make to the plan in 34 states, according to the New York Times. You can begin automated payments to the account once it's open, you can ask friends and family members to contribute, you can ask your employers to match your contributions as part of your contract, and you can even earn cash for your plan by spending money. Certain credit card companies will pay into your 529 when you spend certain amounts on their card or reward you with cashback options into your 529! Starting to save is always a great starting place, and there are many ways to do so. You just have to find the plan that works best for you.
TIP TWO: Scholarships & Grants
The burden of saving for college doesn't have to be on your shoulders alone as a part or as an individual. You support and push your child to succeed in school, have them participate in after school activities, and have them give back to the community. All of these attributes can pay them back in the form of scholarships and grants. Also, have them take AP or International Baccalaureate classes to help them get larger scholarships and grants based on their GPAs, college credits so you have less time at school to pay for, and the opportunity to go to a better school more affordably. You can also do the research together and see what scholarships and grants are available to your child. There might be more out there than you think. You can even go outside the box of the internet and talk to your child's guidance counselor. They are more than happy to add their help to the mix. If you're an adult heading back to school or going to college for the first time, don't think you are excluded from these options. Do your research, you will be surprised at the number of potential scholarships and grants that are just out there waiting to give you money. You just have to put the effort into looking for them.
According to Capital One Bank, more than 80% of students who go to college receive some kind of grant, aid, or scholarship. This can help the money you've saved stretch even further. Plus, leaving your child with as little debt or loans to pay back after they graduate allows them to have a healthy and successful opportunity to grow and build their finances as an adult.
TIP THREE: Reasonable Challenge
No matter when you start saving for college, you honestly don't know how much you'll end up owing until you have to sign on the dotted line. When sitting down with your budget and savings plan, make an honest and reasonable goal for how much you and your family can save and how much you want to save by the time you or your child is ready to go to school. You will still need to pay for everything in between now and then, and it's important to make the most of your life before, during, and after you or your child goes to college. Don't beat yourself up if you need to slow down your contributions for an emergency or two. You can pick up from where you left off. Just don't give up on saving once you've hit a bump or challenge.
How is your saving process going so far? Have you started to consider saving or having you already been saving? Are these new ideas to you or are they going to help the road you're already on? We'd love to hear from you about that in the comments below. If you have any questions or comments about saving for college between now and the second part of this blog, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you and your family be as financially prepared as possible. 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!
We are back with our second installment of how best to budget for your school year. If you're still paying for 2020 or wanting to better prepared for 2021, we have more tips and suggestions to make the school year's expenses a little easier on your wallet.
Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog. We are going to be continuing with part two of our tips and suggestions series on how to budget and save money when shopping for the school year. We know that many of these suggestions might be better suited for the second semester of the year of 2021, but we hope that if we share them with you now, that you can plan more efficiently for the years to come. Have you used any of our suggestions from the first part of this blog? Have you come across even more money-saving tips that you want to share? Please don't hesitate to comment and share them with us after reading this blog, we would love to hear from you!
3. Plan It (Part 2)
When you're planning on heading out to the store or committing to some serious online shopping, don't forget to research your apps! There are tons of money-saving apps that you can use to get cashback on your purchases. Some apps can alert you if you're getting a good deal or if the item is priced better somewhere else. You can also get alerts when your favorite stores are having good deals and sales too. The school year can also be an exciting task for you, our coupon superheroes! Put your skills to work. You've found incredible deals for your family by using your coupons, use them for the school year too. Don't forget to visit your local dollar stores and clearance stores. They will surprise you with what products they offer. Don't exclude thrift stores or thrifting apps like Poshmark or ThreadUp. While these might not be ideal for electronics, you'll be able to find some incredible deals on school clothes, supplies, and more. For students who are going back to school in person and who wear uniforms, use Facebook Marketplace to good use! Buy gently used uniform items that other students have grown out of and fit your children perfectly!
Also, don't forget to buy clothes off-season. While you might be needing some new fall clothing to make it through the cooler months, there is nothing wrong with picking up a new outfits at the end of summertime or wintertime for the following season. You can get some incredible deals and a good amount of clothes for your children, including school uniforms, when the seasons are changing. When you're shopping at your favorite stores, don't forget to spend some time on the sales rack. They might be a little terrifying to dive into, but it can help your purse strings. Also, remember to buy a size or two up for children still going through puberty so these clothes will fit them once the appropriate season comes around again!
Make sure to take a look around the house before you go shopping. Due to the changes this school year has brought, you might already have to reorganize some of your living areas to accommodate room for e-learning, why not take this as an opportunity to do a little fall cleaning? Does everyone in your home think they need new school supplies? Gather up all the pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, and rulers in the house to see what you already have. Go through them and throw out what can't be used, and keep the good supplies. Have 10 bottles of open glue? Pour them into one another to have full bottles and get rid of the empty ones. Have a bunch of worn down crayons? Melt them down and create new ones! This can be a fun family project and can be a huge money saver. They may not be brand new, but you might already have all the school supplies you need in your home, waiting to be used.
This can also be applied to electronics. Do you have old computers, laptops, or tables that can be refurbished and passed down? How about old pairs of headphones? Can you turn an unused room in your home into a home classroom with pieces of furniture you or your family members already have? Also, there is nothing wrong with sharing. Yes, we know this can be a huge challenge with multiple children. This will have to be a planned effort by the whole family, but you can do it!
5. Make The Most Of It
As we've mentioned in previous blogs, going out to eat can add up very quickly, as can getting delivery. The same goes for school lunches. If your child is going back to school in person, do packed lunches and snacks, and eat breakfast at home. These meals can be added to your monthly budget and can help you cut down on outside expenses. Also, look into buying in bulk. Costco and Sams Club do have excellent deals on electronics, but their initial fame came from their bulk-sized products. Buy in bulk, meal prep, and freeze! Getting a membership to these big stores might seem expensive, but you can get cash back and other perks to make it worth your while and benefit your budget.
Needing extra child care? Ask your tribe first. Can a family member or friend help out? Can you join a nanny pool with your friends and their children who you've already spent time with during quarantine? How about hiring a tutor or personal teacher for your safe bubble of friends and their children? This can cut down costs, give your children personalized attention in their lessons, and help them continue to socialize like they would in class!
When it comes to school activities, we know that you want your child to be involved with as much as possible. You want them to experience new things, spend time with friends and make new friends, add potential skills and experiences for their college applications, and find things that could help them in their future careers. With the pandemic of 2020, the opportunity to participate has been drastically reduced due to safety measures. Many artistic activities like theater, band, and choir have been canceled along with many indoor sports. Remember, when things get back to normal, your children don't have to do them all. Sports, dance, theater, and any after school program and activity can seriously begin to add up. Pay to play, costumes, equipment, private teachers and coaches, can all add to those expenses. Limit your child's activities to one or two, and let them truly invest their time and abilities to those chosen activities. This will also be a big money and time-saver for you and your whole family.
Always remember that even while you're making a budget for the school year, continue to make a budget for the whole year. Once the school year is over, that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep it as part of your year-round budget. This can help you save more money for the upcoming school year, and not feel pinched once you have to readjust to those expenses come September. It can help you keep on a consistent and steady track with your budget and your finances without giving you a heart attack at the end of every quarter or change of season. After all, that's a pretty fantastic goal to keep, right?
We hope that this blog series has helped you plan out your future or current school spending, and how you might look at the 2021 school year's spending as well. With the uncertainty that 2020 is still giving us, it doesn't look like 2021 will be much different. So, while you might have already purchased everything you need this year, or you're still currently in the middle of the process, you will have more time to choose how you plan out your budget from today forward. 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
Staying within your budget for 2020 has new meaning and power over your finances. With the school year in full bloom, it's time to stay smart when learning your p's and q's!
The school year is back, and even though it might look very different than last fall, we know this time of year still has the potential to be exciting and fun. There is nothing like the fresh smell of school supplies on the first day of September! Even with e-learning and distanced learning, and all the different kinds of learning that we are seeing here in Goose Creek, we hope all of our parents and students have a very special school year! While there are already so many things to be worried about this year, your finances might be the heaviest burden of them all. While your children are back to hitting the books, we wanted to offer some tips and suggestions on how to save as many nickles and dimes as possible this school year. There is no one fix it all solution for everyone when it comes to adjusting to this school year or how to make the most out of your finances as you do so. In this two-part blog, we are going to be offering you some suggestions and options that might make your budget work for you and how to remove some worry and stress from the rest of 2020!
1. Hitting the Harddrive
This year's school spending looks very different than your 2019 school budget. When you went shopping last year new clothes, pens, backpacks, and books might have been on the list. This year, things are looking a little more technical. With so many distance and e-learning classes on your child's schedule, you might be looking into buying new computers, tablets, and software. You might also be looking into paying for more childcare or private tutors to help make your professional schedule work around your family's schedule. In all honesty, it looks like your back to school budget might have to be a tad bigger than last year's. This might be a hard pill to swallow since due to shortened hours or continued furloughs, your family's income might be taking quite a hit.
According to Dave Ramsey, parents are spending an average of $70 more than they did last year on electronics. Add on headphones, traditional school supplies, hand sanitizer, masks, and new furniture, Ramsey goes on to explain that parents could be spending up to $790 for all necessary school supplies this year. With every challenge you and your family have already gone through this year, how is this even possible? What makes it even more difficult is that your children need these items now, and the best time to buy it all is as quickly as you can. Your children will need all of these resources to get the most out of their education, to stay on top of their lessons and homework, and to stay connected with their friends and teachers. Take a deep breath, and don't worry. We are here to help!
2. Plan It (Part 1)
Be reasonable about your budget and what your family is currently making. What are the bills you have to take care of, and how much does this leave you for school supplies? Sit down and make a plan. How much can you spend on each child? Figure out this number and stick to it while you're shopping. Remember, a lot of the electronic devices that you could be in the market for can be purchased refurbished or secondhand. They do not have to be brand new and straight out of the box. Many companies from Apple to Best Buy all offer some excellent refurbished and refinancing options. Also, remember to check out stores that you might not exactly expect to have great deals on electronics. Costco and Sams Club are already known for excellent deals on their products, and this does include electronics.
When you do plan your budget and start your research on where to shop, spend time on it. Do not rush. Also, it might be best to stick to the school list and what you absolutely have to buy and not to what your kids are asking for. We might also suggest that they stay at home when you make your school supplies shopping trip. It's easy to say yes to fun add ons that they slip into your cart while you're out and about. A lot of the time these fun items go unused and add up your bill very quickly! While during your research, make sure to learn what all of your needed products are worth. This will come in handy when sales do start to pop up, you'll be able to recognize what is actually a good deal and what just looks to be a good deal.
We know this has been a stressful time for all of our parents, teachers, and families. This is why we are here with this blog to offer you some tips and suggestions to make this year and maybe even some of the next a little less painful. Try and enjoy the school year, getting back into a schedule, and watching your children blossom in their studies. In our next blog, we will be continuing with more tips and suggestions, and we hope to calm your stress about staying within your means. 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!
Keeping a watchful eye on your finances is always important. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever.
Keeping a close watch on your purse strings is a necessity. With so much unknown about this year, knowing exactly where your finances stand and how to keep them stable has become a huge priority for most Americans. Since March of this year, over 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to Forbes. Juggling how this pandemic has affected your income and how it will affect your daily and monthly spending could become a huge focus for you and your family. While staying healthy and figuring out new school and work scheduled are our first priorities, it is easy to get overwhelmed with how to deal with these potentially drastic changes in your finances. How do you decide what to cut out? How can you change your spending? What are the necessities that can't be cut out, and how do you make these decisions with the best outcome for your family?
According to Forbes, an estimated 49% of the American population was living paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic hit. This left no room for extra savings or a nest egg to fall back on. Unemployment has helped, but even that has seen a drastic change since its first wave with the national stimulus checks. Many people have been left without enough to cover their basic needs. The first stimulus check and the additional $600 from the government added to unemployment checks were just short term solutions. What can we do now to help make our bills, keep a roof over our heads, and keep food on the table?
THE NEW BUDGET
You sit down every month and track what you're earning and what you're spending. You create a solid budget based on your calculations that takes care of your bills, your family's needs, and hopefully goes towards a little fun. If your paycheck has been hit or changed due to the pandemic, your budget will have to be retooled. Try and figure out how much of a cut your salary has gone through and try and cut that much out of your monthly spending. Please remember that while you're cutting your budget, your retirement planning and savings still needs your attention. If you can keep paying into those, that is ideal. If you are unable to do so, don't panic. Instead of adding to them, try not touching them unless you have to. Consider what you have in savings during this time, too. If it is needed, remember these funds have been put aside for an emergency.
While the stimulus check will not be part of your 2020 taxes and is being treated as forgiven money, the additional $600 and the now $300 added to your unemployment checks will be taxable income. If you've taken the highest amount in unemployment without choosing to take any taxes out, please prepare for what you will owe in your 2020 taxes. If you can, choose to take out some taxes to make your next tax season a little less painful. Also, try and avoid the temptation of online shopping and avoid making 'panic purchases". Instead of using your extra time to scroll through your favorite shopping sites, sit down and create a brand new long term financial strategy. We have no idea how long this might last, so planning ahead is going to be your best bet.
Everyone owes money every month, even those who collect it for a living. We all have bills to pay, there's no exception to that. If you can sit down and take the time to talk with your landlord, your credit card companies, your insurance company, and discuss your current circumstances it could be a huge relief to your bank account. Be honest and ask if they can give you some kind of break or pause in your payments, a break or pause in accruing interest, and if you can negotiate your interest rates. According to Business Insider Apple, Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One offered their clients emergency support during the first few months of the pandemic.
THE DINNER MENU
Part of your monthly budget includes your grocery bill and funds set aside for going out to eat. As much as we all want to support our favorite local restaurants, eating out adds up just as quickly as it did before the pandemic. Tack on delivery fees to this bill, and it can be even more expensive. The dangers of panic purchasing delivered meals three times a day is very easy thanks to our favorite food apps. Meal planning is going to be just as important as budget planning. You'll need to stick to both to feed your family and save as much money as possible. We understand a few delivered and take out meals, but try and avoid them as much as possible.
The pandemic has done a good job keeping us at home and helped us save money on group activities like going to concerts, going to the gym, and getting our hair and nails done. While things are getting back to normal and these services are slowly becoming available, that doesn't mean you need to jump back into using them again. It's best to wait and do so when your income is back to normal. You've survived without them up until now, and you can continue to do so a little while longer. If you have a lawn care service or a maid service that helps you care for your home, it might be beneficial to pause these services. As essential as they might be, they aren't as important as many other things in your budget. Making these decisions is difficult, but they are possible. You just have to keep going back to the drawing board when things get tough.
We know the last thing you want to hear right now is that you have to sacrifice more than you already have just to hang on. You've given up so much already, changed plans, and lost out on promised opportunities. The truth is, you can keep going. If you continue to make these hard decisions to save your finances and protect your family, the light at the end of the tunnel will become much brighter. 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!
Running a small business can be a dream come true and very daunting. If you use all of the correct tools to help you run your company efficiently, it will be the dream you've worked for.
Starting a small business in 2020 might sound crazy, but more have popped up nationally than you might think. So many people have lost their jobs, been put on furlough, or are unable to do their jobs virtually that they had to do something. With the unemployment rate at an incredible high, many Americans have been forced to creatively do the pandemic pivot. With so many of us at home with nowhere to go, the birth of honing new or rusty skills and crafting abilities had the opportunity to flourish. People started posting their goods and wares on social media and out of the blue, they have a whole new little business operation running out of their homes.
Some people were already deep in the process of building their small business when the pandemic hit, while others found solace in being hired by one after their corporate jobs were eliminated. Whatever the situation, small businesses have become quite the lifesavers of 2020. To keep that success and productivity as safe and possible, every small business needs the proper tools to stay productive, organized, and financially stable. What is the best tool out there for these situations? Quickbooks!
We use Quickbooks ourselves and we offer classes to help small business owners and anyone out there grow and manage their money. One of the biggest reasons small businesses fail, according to Forbes, is because there is no business plan. Poorly managed bookkeeping can sink a business before it even had the chance to grow. Admittedly, bookkeeping is difficult, time-consuming, and very meticulous work. This is why working with a company like ours and using Quickbooks is so imperative. We both make sure that every part of your bookkeeping is done in a properly organized manner, allowing you to get back to the business of your business.
Quickbooks pro was created specifically for small businesses, and it is very user friendly. It does so much of the work for you, that it's hard to get yourself overwhelmed. With a small-ish price tag of $300, it's a very small price to pay for the huge benefits it gives you. Tax season, after using Quickbooks, should no longer be something you dread or fear. Everything will already be taken care of. It even comes with tutorials to help you get started, and the Quickbooks team is also available to help you when you need it. There are so many benefits just waiting to be used.
Coming to the point where you can own your own business is a huge accompaniment and celebration. Let that celebration continue and use all the right tools to help you and your company grow and stay organized. 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!
Mornings, for many of us in 2020, look much different than many of us expected them to. We still have to be productive, so here are a few ways to stay energized and focused no matter what!
Hello friends! We are finally emerging from the other side of the 2019 tax season, and we are seeing a positive light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of what has kept us energized is the hopeful promise that our clients who did file on and around July 15th will be looking at a tax return very shortly. Something that, due to the next unknown aid situation coming from the government, will be a very welcomed financial relief. We know that by this point in the year, the late summer heat and constantly hearing about the pandemic for the last five months has us all bogged down. So, we wanted to change gears with this blog and focus on another aspect of working from home.
Many of us are still working from home either by choosing to, having to, or the fact that we already did. Finding a groove in working from home can be a daunting task. You have to shift your home around, make some necessary but inconvenient purchases, struggle with separating your space from your workspace, and possibly dealing with our children going back to school online again. On top of all of this, and being more tired than normal, we still need to stay productive, get our work done, and meet our deadlines. The best way to get ahead is to start with a jump start to your morning. So, we wanted to change up our blog content and give you some simple tips and inspiration to get a jumpstart in your day to keep you energized. Let's be honest, we could all use a little inspiration and jump-start to our days right now!
We know this is a strange time. Please know that you're not alone in feeling this way. Also, please know 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!
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!
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!
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