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 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!
What happens if you are unable to pay your taxes on time? Are there other options for you? Don't panic, that is what we will be discussing!
Tax Day will be here on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, if we are ready or not. You can file your taxes as soon as you get all of your W2s, 1099s, and other tax forms from your employers. One of the perks of filing early is getting that prized tax return early. You should receive it within three weeks of filing. If you file your taxes sooner than most, you won't be fighting against the crush of everyone else who waited until the last moment to get everything filed. But what happens if you've filled out all your tax paperwork and you can't pay what you owe the IRS? What happens if you don't fill out your paperwork and file on time? Take a breath and let's review some options out there for you.
Not being able to pay your taxes can cause huge amounts of stress and panic, but try and not let it. Just make sure you are using the options and resources available to you. You will make it through this tax season, and many more to come! For more information and help from the IRS follow the link below!
Has this been a financially difficult year for you and your family? Here are five unique ways to help your family save some money to make those difficult times a little easier.
Home and family expenses are something that will always be there. No matter where you are in your life, something usually always pops up that becomes an unexpected cost or something you just weren't financially prepared for. It's okay, it happens! Commonly, you are always looking for the next best way to save a few dollars every month or every week as you budget for your family or your life. Here are five different and unique ways to save a little extra money to help your family stay a little more financially comfortable no matter what happens.
2. Work From Home
Who wouldn't love the opportunity to go to work in your PJs, in a beautiful and comfortable space that you've created, with your favorite four-legged pet as your coworker? A lot of perks will come out of this choice faster than you could think. Right away, you'll be saving money on your commute. You might be walking a few feet to get to work, but you will no longer be driving miles to get to the office and back home again. This will cut down on gas cost and maintenance to your vehicle. This could also be a huge time saver for you. You can have the option to sleep in a little longer before you have to clock in. You can use this extra time to drop your kids off at school or pick them up. You can save money on babysitters, too! You'll be home if anything happens, you won't need a pickup service, and you no longer need to rely on anyone to be there when they get home.
You also won't need to go out for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or coffee. You can walk right into your kitchen for anything you might need. This could also turn into another monetary gain from your employer. It ultimately saves them money in operational cost if you're working from home using your own power, internet, and phone lines. So, they just might be willing to give you a raise for making this move home since you will be helping them save more money in the long run too.
3. Weekends and Vacations
How often do you take advantage of your town or city? How often have you treated yourself to a staycation? You don't have to spend tons of money or any money at all to create the best weekends, trips, or memories. Take advantage of the free parks and natural wonders around you. Take a packed lunch to the beach, a local pond, or park. Take advantage of free concerts, free admission days to art galleries and museums. Pay close attention to your town's local paper and read up on all the free activities offered throughout the year. Volunteer for local charities, go fishing, check out our local library, and go stargazing! The possibilities are endless!
Have you heard of a staycation? It is exactly what it sounds like. Get ready to spend the most relaxing weekend (or week!) in your favorite PJs, cooking your favorite meals, and finally renting or checking out that movie or book you've been dying to get your hands on. If you're taking a full week of vacation - enjoy the wonders of your city. You don't need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to travel somewhere. Stay in a local hotel and pretend you're a tourist. See the sights, finally try out that new restaurant, and find a new (to you) watering hole! Enjoy your whole vacation with the comfort of your own home or hometown in the background!
4. Programmable Thermostats and Solar Panels
It's easy when the depths of winter and the height of summer comes along that your electric bill skyrockets into some very scary high numbers. But think about it - you're keeping your home cozy or cool for a lot of time that you're not even home to enjoy it. And, it can be cumbersome to remember to change those thermostats before you walk out the door every day. Why not invest a little to gain back a lot? Programmable thermostats have become very affordable and most, if not all of them, can be controlled by your smart devices. So even if you forget to set them before you leave for the day, you can change your thermostats from anywhere!
On top of that, save even more money by taking advantage of the sun here in the Lowcountry! If it has to be so hot, why not take advantage of it? Installations of solar panels can be extremely affordable if you work out the proper contract and don't buy them. Once they're installed and up and running if you're not using all the power you're generating, a lot of the time this power can be carried over into the next month. And sometimes, your local power companies will buy this extra power from you - giving you a little more money in the bank or credit towards the months when the sun isn't out as much. And don't worry about those cloudy days or cooler weather. Solar panels store energy for days and months that are known for not soaking up the sun. This way your money-saving options can continue throughout the year!
5. Save Money when the Windfall Comes
Have you recently stumbled upon a very profitable time in your life? Have you recently inherited or won a good sum of money? Have you recently received a wonderful raise or bonus? Congratulations! The first thing a lot of us will do is throw this exciting chunk of change at a new car, a shopping spree, or a lavish vacation. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying these profitable times, but these windfalls won't always come around. Instead of spending all of this exciting capital on the fun stuff, put some of it in savings. Invest it for tougher and tighter times. Save it now for an even bigger and better dream or the opportunity to retire sooner. It might not be the most fun you could have at that moment, but you will appreciate it later down the line. Maybe when you least expect it!
Hard financial times happen for all of us. But if you think about money-saving tips in new and unique ways, these hard times may become fewer and farther between. Start now by implementing these 5 tips into your everyday life to make the rest of 2019, and into the beginning of 2020, a little easier for you and your bank account!
Our most recent blog was dedicated to all the known and unknown items you can look forward to writing off your personal taxes this year. But with new tax cuts and the Job Act of 2017 are you aware of everything you can no longer write off on your personal taxes this year?
It was a delight to share in our last blog all of the wonderful known, and possibly unknown items, that you can write off of your personal taxes come April 15th. These write-offs can be such a relief to any family and a surprise to your bank account when Uncle Sam comes knocking. But it's just as important to know what you cannot write off your family's taxes, so there are no unpleasant surprises. This year could be one of the most difficult years of write-offs thanks to Tax Cuts and the Job Act of 2017. Tax code has changed dramatically, and once you have filed your 1040 (your personal federal income return) this tax season - these write-offs will no longer be available to you.
Understandably, you may not know about these new laws. Tax law for your personal taxes are hard to keep up with or hard to follow - the documents are all available for research, but they can be difficult volumes to understand and interpenetrate. But these new changes are credited to be the largest tax overhaul in over 30 years. A lot of people won't even know about these changes until they go to file. Beat this statistic and read up now - this way you can prepare your finances to pay for items this tax season that you've never had to pay for before.
Businesses and Corporations aren't the only ones who can have write-offs and deductibles. As a tax-paying citizen, you can too! Do you know all of the common and most important write-offs for you and your family? Don't worry - this will explain them all!
You might think it crazy that some people look forward to doing their taxes every year. But really, they're letting you in on a really important secret. Taxes DON'T have to be as painful as they have been played off to be. What have taxes done to you? I mean - besides taking your hard earned money every April 15th. But maybe think about it from another angle - what can doing your taxes give back to you? Just two magic words: itemized deductions. That is the golden ticket. But are you keeping track of all of your expenses and are you writing off everything that you can? It's so easy to overlook some of the most common and lucrative tax deductions. So we are here to shine a light on all of them - so maybe next tax season, you can save a couple extra of those hard earned dollars.
Tax season is still nine months away, but we always recommend staying on top of your expenses, keeping track of all your important paperwork, and staying organized. There are TONS of amazing apps and programs that can help you do that. You just need to find the right one that works for you. It's so easy now to go paperless too - if you aren't totally paperless yet, maybe look into that. It'll cut down on the number of pieces of paper you have to keep your eyes on. And might open up a drawer or two in your desk. Always make the most out of any available tax deductions and exemptions. Each one that you claim gets subtracted from your gross income so your actual taxable income is automatically lowered.
First, I want to address those who work from home. This does span between the world of business tax and personal tax and can sometimes be a grey area. But be just as dedicated in keeping track of all of your work records and receipts as you would your own personal papers. You can write off your home workspace, no matter the size. Even if it's just a small corner of the kitchen or your den. But this dedicated space can ONLY ever be used for work purposes. The tip on knowing how much to write off is this: measure the workspace and divide it by the square footage of your home. The percentage you come up with is the amount of housing payment and utility that you can deduct every year. You can also write off other business expenses such as paper, pens, computers, and other commonly used goods and services. But again, similarly to your workspace, you can only use these dedicated items for your business. This also includes your phone lines. You can only write off the percentage of your cellphone bill of how much time you're using it for business. If you still have a landline (kudos to you!) you cannot write it off unless you have two landlines. The IRS doesn't recognize your first landline as a deductible, but it will recognize your second landline as a deductible. That way they know your first line is used for anything but business, while the other is used only for business.
If you don't own your own business and work from home - don't worry. There are still plenty of other write-offs for you and your family. Of course, tax law and tax code do change every year. So if you personally do your taxes yourself and use a program like Quickbooks or have your accountant do your taxes every year - always make sure you're up to date on any changes to any tax law. Most big changes will quickly be made into very public knowledge - what else do we love to talk about more than changes that will affect our income? But always double-check! Your next step is to decide how you're going to file. There are four common deduction categories, but there are more. Make sure you look into all of them before you file. But if you're filing as a single person the total number of deductions is $12,000. If you married and filing jointly or you're a qualified widow(er) with a dependent child the standard deduction is $24,000. If you're filing as the Head of Household, the standard deduction is $18,000.
To receive your deductions, itemizing all of them might help you save some more money. But you still might have to do a little extra math. So keep your calculator close. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction - you will end up saving money on your taxes by taking the extra steps to itemize your deductions!
COMMON ITEMIZED DEDUCTIONS! (Don't overlook these gems!)
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act, or FUTA as it’s commonly known for, helps fund state workforce agencies in the United States. In order to file this tax, employers will fill out Form 940 and sometimes pay the tax in installments during the year.
FUTA supports the government use of job programs and the insurance that unemployed citizens are deemed rightful to when without a job. Each state has a different tax percentage in which they pay in the Federal Unemployment Tax. South Carolina employers pay 0.3% in the Federal Unemployment Tax each year.
As a community, we want to ensure that every citizen has the means to employment, and with the money from this tax going into job growing and producing measures, it is achieving the purpose for employer and employee.
If you have any questions regarding taxes, please feel free to contact Hoods Tax and Accounting! We would love to speak with you!
As a college student, you are looking for ways to pinch your pennies. What if we at Hoods Tax and Accounting knew of a few ways to keep your money you earn in your pocket? Continue reading to learn how you can use tax breaks to your advantage!
For every eligible student, there is a tax credit up to $2.500 for education expenses like tuition. You must be pursuing a degree in order to receive this American Opportunity Tax Credit, and can only receive it for four years.
Similar to the AOTC, the Lifetime Learning Credit will give eligible students up to $2,000 for pursuing their education. This has no limit to how many years you can receive/file for this credit.
If you are a college student who qualified for student loans and now has to pay them off plus interest, listen to this. On your taxes, you can deduct up to $2,500 of the interest you paid over the past year!
You can even get your tuition and fees deducted up to $4,000! Make sure to remember that this is a deductions and you won’t get refunded any of that amount.
If you or someone you know is attending college, or have recently graduated, show them this information! While you do that, let them know about Hoods Tax and Accounting! If you have any further questions, do not be afraid to give us a call!
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