LET US HELP YOU LEVERAGE WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR TAX RETURN
What does your tax return say about your financial situation? The fact is, the paperwork you file each year offers excellent information about how you are managing your money—and about areas where it might be wise to make changes in your financial habits. If you have questions about your financial situation, remember that we can help. Our firm is made up of highly qualified and educated professionals who work with clients like you all year long, serving as trusted business advisors.
So whether you are concerned about budgeting; saving for college, retirement or another goal; understanding your investments; cutting your tax bite; starting a business; or managing your debt, you can turn to us for objective answers to all your tax and financial questions.
IS YOUR WILL UP TO DATE?
When was the last time you reviewed your will? People generally make wills to guarantee the proper disposition of their money and property, which is why it’s a good idea to consult your CPA when it’s time to create or update your will.
We recommend that you revisit your will every time you experience a major life event, such as marriage, the birth of a child, retirement or other significant milestones. Even if there is no meaningful change in your life, it’s smart to review the document every couple of years to ensure it still addresses all your estate concerns and reflects your wishes. Changes in the value of your investments—such as a stock portfolio or real estate—may also require adjustments in your estate plans.
Reviewing your will may raise questions about various areas of your financial life, including your retirement or estate planning, college savings or other financial concerns. Be sure to turn to us for the perspective and advice you need to make the best choices.
HOW DO NEW ESTATE TAX RULES AFFECT YOU?
You may have heard that there are new rules on estate taxes as a result of the new tax law enacted in early 2013. Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the top tax rate on estates rose to 40% from 35%, but no tax will be imposed on the first $5.25 million of an estate (adjusted for inflation to $5.34M million in 2014). While this sounds high, and you may think that the estate tax doesn’t affect you or your family, you may be surprised. Estate planning should definitely be a priority.
Contact us now to discuss all your questions about estate planning and the steps you can take to minimize the potential estate tax burden to your beneficiaries.
A SIMPLIFIED HOME OFFICE DEDUCTION
Do you work at home or have a home-based business? If so, you should be aware that the IRS has created a simpler option for calculating the deduction for the business use of your home. The new option makes recordkeeping easier because, instead of maintaining records of specific home office expenses, you can use a standard rate per square foot. The rate is $5 per square foot (up to a maximum of 300 sq. feet or $1,500) for qualifying business use space in place of taking a pro rata percentage of items such as mortgage interest, taxes and repairs.
Keep in mind there are good and bad aspects to this “simpler” method. The new method gives you back your full interest and tax deduction on schedule A, but you will lose your depreciation and loss carryover deductions. Of course, you must still use your home office regularly and exclusively for business. This may be a welcome relief for some taxpayers, but it might not be the best choice for others. Is it the right choice for you? Please contact us for answers to all your financial questions.
DON'T BE TAKEN IN BY PHONY IRS REQUESTS
The phone rings. The caller says they are from the Internal Revenue Service and they claim you owe taxes and must submit payment through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Or you receive an email supposedly from the IRS asking you to share your bank account, credit card or Social Security number. What should you do?
The sad truth is that many scammers pretend to be IRS agents as part of identity theft or other criminal activity. If you receive a surprising or suspicious communication purportedly from the IRS, we would urge you to call us immediately. We can help you identify a bogus request for information and work with you to respond to a legitimate IRS contact. You can also call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 to verify any communication you receive.