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!
When it comes to your retirement plan, taxes still need to be included in this plan. But with the constant shift in what's available to employees now, the change in how long employees are staying with one company, and what some companies are and are not offering, are you prepared for the end of your career and for a new way of paying taxes?
For some of our readers and clients, retirement may be many years away. For others, it might be right around the corner. Either way, it's always important to be informed and be prepared. Saving for your retirement is something you'll be doing for the entirety of your professional career, and isn't something you'll stop worrying about once that retirement fund is what you're living off of permanently. In our last blog, we talked about what a 401(k) is and how taxes may or may not affect it. In this blog, we will be discussing what a pension is and how they may or may not be affected by taxes. After reading both of these blogs, we would be interested in hearing what your preference is between the two if you have the option of choosing.
Today the 401(k) is much more common than the pension. For newer companies, a pension might never have been in their plan to offer to their employees to begin with. But, as you begin saving for retirement, or you are planning on retiring soon, it's good to know and understand what your options are and what you might be facing when tax season approaches during retirement. Sadly, you won't get to stop paying taxes. Retirement funds will provide you and your family many wonderful opportunities and a chance to live peacefully, but you'll still be dealing with the IRS. But what exactly will you be dealing with, and what do you need to be aware of before you get there?
Let's start at the very beginning. What is a pension? A pension is a type of retirement plan that pays and provides a monthly income to someone in retirement. As we have talked about previously, they're not as common as they used to be. Today, it is the most common to find pensions for those retiring from government or big company jobs. Through your time working for a company that does provide a pension plan as their form of retirement, the company is responsible for putting money into a pension plan throughout the time you work for them. Once you reach a certain age of retirement, the money that has been put into this account throughout the years of employment is given back to the employee in the form of a monthly check. This monthly check serves as income through the course of retirement. For many people today, even those who do come from a healthy pension, this is usually not their only form of income once they are retired. Social security and other forms of income combined with a pension are very common. The amount that you do receive in your pension checks depends on three different things. How long you worked for your employer, how much you were paid while you worked for them, and your age. The longer you work for the company paying into a pension, the more you will receive in your pension The amount every company has to put into a pension is decided upon, protected by, and guaranteed by the Department of Labor. They make sure you do receive all the benefits you're owed by the time you retire. You also have the option to put money into your pension as well from your paycheck or other outside sources of income, just like a 401(k).
But what about taxes once you do start taking this money? You've hit the age of retirement and the checks start coming. What now? Once you start taking this money, you will still have to continue to pay taxes. It is not a source of tax-free income once it starts arriving in the mail. There are some exceptions to this rule, and some parts of your pension could remain tax-free. If a pension is being paid based on health reasons or disability, then that could become tax-free. If after taxed money was added to your pension over time, that too could be considered tax free. But these examples and a few other examples are few and far between. You need to be aware of what you may or may not be taxed on. Once living on your retirement plan, how much you'll be expected to pay in taxes cannot be a guessing game. Your fun and exciting plans for retirement might not become a reality if you're not careful. You might end up spending more than you expected on taxes if you aren't careful, and not spending it on the things you want. The safest thing to do is to plan to save money from your pension to pay taxes on it. Pensions are usually funded with pre-taxed cash, making the whole amount taxable once you start receiving the funds. The good news is, that whatever money you contribute from after taxed money, you will not have to pay taxes on!
That being said - let's look at the pros and cons of a pension.
Paying for your retirement starts long before you get to enjoy it. Since you're going to have to pay taxes the whole of your life, what option sounds the best to you? A pension or a 401(k)? With the changes and needs in what people are wanting to do with their careers, their lives during their work years and retirement years, which plan sounds best to you? Now knowing all that you do in how they differ, does it make sense why a 401(k) is more common now than a pension?
We hope you enjoyed this series of blogs. Retirement is not something you should be putting off, start as soon as you can and plan for as long as possible. Be confident and knowledgeable about what taxes look like before and after retirement, and plan accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns about your retirement plan during this tax season or future seasons, we are here to help you in Goose Creek!
Tax season is here, and for many of our clients, as you grow professionally and through your financial years, you come to discover more and more things finding their way onto your tax documents that you have to pay for. One of the most expensive things that you will depend on later in life is your retirement fund. Are you prepared to retire and are you aware of what you may or may not have to pay taxes on once you do?
February is here, and we are one day closer into tax season here in Goose Creek. We are here to provide the best tax preparation services to all of our current and new clients, so please don't hesitate to contact us this tax season! We are in full swing, and are prepared for what is going to be a very busy but very exciting tax season! With that being said, we are here to offer our clients at many stages of their lives help with their taxes. For those filing for the first time, for those filing for the first time as a married couple, and those filing for the first time after retiring. Just as you change through the stages of your life, how you pay your taxes will also change along with you.
Planning for your retirement is one of the most important things you can start doing once you start working in the professional world. You'll be paying for your retirement your whole professional career, and it will most likely be one of the most expensive things you'll ever pay for. There are no loans, no short cuts, so you will have to save and work for it. As overwhelming and difficult as this can be at times, the sooner you can start, the better your years of retirement will be. In honor of that, we will be dedicating this two-part blog to the pros and cons of having a 401(k) versus a Pension, and what that will mean come tax season once you are thinking of retiring and once you do retire!
The days of working for a company for 40 plus years and retiring with an amazing pension, health benefits, and security are becoming things of the past. Today, the 401(k) is dominating the world of the retirement plan. A 401(k) is a plan that was specifically designed to help you save for retirement and was created almost by accident! The 401(k) that we know today started its journey in 1978 with the creation of the Revenue Act passed by Congress that year. This Act was added to the Internal Revenue Code, Section 401(k), and it allowed employees to avoid paying taxes on deferred compensation. in 1980, a gentleman by the name of Ted Benna, benefits consultant of the Johnson Companies, was trying to come up with a way to have a more tax-friendly option for companies to provide retirement programs based on this new 401(k) idea. He came up with the incredible idea that allowed employees to save pre-taxed money in a retirement plan that the employer would then match and put back into the plan as well. This was the birth of the modern-day 401(K) plan, and The Johnson Companies were one of the first to provide these new benefits to their employees.
In the very beginning, the original section of the 401(K) in the Internal Revenue Code, did not allow stand-alone accounts to be created and to be funded by salary reductions. Mr. Benna pushed the IRS to change this idea, and they followed through. Those employees who now decided to partake in a 401(k) could now use their deferred income to make investments and not be taxed on any gains. By 1982, 401(k)s were being offered by thousands of companies, and they are commonplace for most companies today.
There are many benefits 401(k) programs give to business owners and employers, and many of these benefits are why pensions are becoming an endangered species.
The benefits a 401(k) can offer to the employee are also very positive.
Right away in just these two short lists (they could be much longer, this is just an overview), you can see how a 401(k) can be such a relief on your taxes now, and it won't be an issue on your taxes or even something you have to worry about until you start pulling money out of it. But even though there are some wonderful benefits to a 401(k) there are still some cons.
Don't be overwhelmed with these cons. When deciding on your future, especially your financial future that could affect your taxes, you need to be aware of both sides of the coin. It is good to remember that what you pay into your 401(k) can help reduce the liability rate on your taxes every year and can help with tax withholding during every one of your pay periods.
You have a lot on your plate right now when it comes to tax season, so for those who aren't taking money out of their 401(k) this year, it's one less thing you have to worry about when filing. For those who are just starting to use their 401(k) plan as retirement or in a situation based on need, this tax season might be a little different for you. But don't worry, we are here to help. We hope this information has enlightened you a little more on 401(k) plans, and one of the many options available to you for retirement. In our next blog, we will be exploring pension's and what kind of taxes you may or may not be facing with those. Until then, we are Hood's Tax and Accounting Service, here to help you with all of your tax needs in Goose Creek, SC!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.