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!
The new year brings many new and exciting things, it is also the start of tax season. There have been many changes to business and federal taxes, but with all of these changes, personal taxes will also be seeing many changes for the 2019 and 2020 tax season. Are you familiar and up to date on these changes? If not, you've come to the right place!
2020 is officially here! Some people might be spending a little extra time at the gym and meal prepping, while all of us at Hood's are spending more time getting our clients and future client's in the Goose Creek area ready for April 15th with no surprises or stress. Every year, something changes with tax law. These changes might be small and easy to deal with, while other years prove to be rather difficult. It takes time and dedication to stay up to date on these changes, so why not take advantage of our services to make sure your taxes are prepared efficiently, on time, and with no worry about being charged any late fees?
While you are starting to gather your tax documents, there is quite a list of things you will need to keep in mind. Please take the time to read through every one of these changes before you start filling out any paperwork for 2019 and 2020. We talked a lot about changes for forms and filing in our last blog. In this blog, we will be discussing some of the benefits that will hopefully make paying your taxes a little easier.
Use these new changes in your personal taxes to prepare for this tax season and the next. They may not benefit or affect you this year, but they could have a significant effect on you in the years to come and for the better. Are you planning on retiring next year? How about getting married? Are you starting a new job that offers you a 401(k) for the very first time? Are you dealing with an HSA account for the first time or wanting to expand one? The changes we have mentioned above will help you decide and understand the best routs to take with these important decisions.
Please don't stress when it comes to taxes. Our professionals can help you with all of these changes, and answer any questions you might have. Please take into account that this list is just an overview of some of the changes happening, it doesn't cover all of the changes that could be affecting your personal taxes in the years to come. Come visit us and depend on Hood's to get everything taken care of, and to understand what changes are heading your way for this tax season and the many seasons to follow!
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