Charitable Summer Giving Equals Tax Deductions

During the leisure-driven summer season, people should still want to increase their charitable giving. Not only is this a noble enterprise, but it also benefits the taxpayer during tax season. There are many avenues of giving that can earn a tax deduction for the average person.

For instance, children’s summer camps provide fun and safe day care to many needy kids. They rely on donations to help parents with summer time care while parents are working and the kids are not in school. Another good avenue is finding a community fan and air conditioning drive which helps families and the elderly avoid heat-related illnesses during the sweltering summer months.

The national debt clock outside the IRS office...
The national debt clock outside the IRS office in NYC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or, finish your spring cleaning in the summer. Donate the clothing, household goods and other items no longer needed to not for profits who refurbish and resell them in their thrift stores.

Here is a caution, however. While charitable giving is important and worthwhile, be sure to check that the organization is legitimately not for profit. Check its references online. Ask friends and relatives what they know about it. Call the organization to inquire about its tax exempt status. Don’t donate unless you know all the proper paperwork is in the hands of the Internal Revenue Service.

To further credential your charitable giving this summer, be sure to save the receipts the not for profit provides with a donation. Use online tax software such as Turbo Tax to keep your donation records in good order. Turbo Tax Its Deductible records everything necessary to give correct documentation to the IRS come tax season.

Remember, no matter how you spend your leisurely summer days, plan to send some money, time and belongings to the charitable organization of your choice. Correctly recorded and documented, those donations will add up to nice tax deductions in April.

Tax Returns: Processing Begins On January 30th

Tax Return Processing

The Internal Revenue Service of the United States(IRS) made the announcement this past week that the season for filing taxes will not begin until January 30th. They are not going to start any processing of individual tax returns until that date.

The IRS had originally announced January 22nd as the date they would be opening tax filing. The reason for the bump back in the date is the changes in the tax law that congress passed on New Year’s Day. This all had to do with the “fiscal cliff” negotiations between house Republicans and the president.

Tax
Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

At the current time, the IRS is finishing their testing and programming of their processing systems while also updating their forms. These updates according to the IRS are going to allow the majority of the tax filers to be able to file their returns beginning January 30. Those who require any more obscure types of forms for issues such as general business credits, depreciation of property or energy credit claims to name a few will find that the updating of the processing systems and forms will probably allow them to file toward the end of February or the beginning of March.

Steven Miller who is currently serving as the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service has gone out of his way to reassure the public that all efforts are being made to get the process up to  full speed.

The IRS has also stated that before January 30th even paper returns will not be processed and advises the public that electronic returns do in fact speed the process and make for faster refunds to the public. They also point out that last year the percentage filing electronically surpassed 80%.

The bottom line as Mr. Miller reminds the public is that electronic filing is truly the best choice for the taxpayer to make in terms of getting things done efficiently and quickly.

Benefits Of Using Free Turbo Tax For Your Taxes

Free TurboTax

When you are going to file your taxes, you may find it is a bit more complex then what you were thinking it would be. This is when you should learn more about the benefits of using free turbo tax to file your 2012 taxes. Once you know about the benefits which are present here, you will not want to use anything else, but you will want to do all of your tax work from this type of location.

Price:

The first benefit you can find is the cost of getting your 2012 taxes done with the free turbo tax is generally a lot lower then what you would think it is. So you do not have to be concerned about paying a fortune for the service, even if you are not getting any money back.

Ease of Use:

Another benefit you can find is the ease of using these programs. Normally you can use some of the different tax companies to help you with this process. When you use them you will not have to be fighting with trying to figure out how you are going to get line twenty to match up with line three hundred in your papers. So this will make it easier for you to get all of your work completed and get the information filed quickly.

Quick Return:

Something else you will want to realize is when you use the free turbo tax for your 2012 taxes you generally get your return quicker. The reason you get your return quicker is you just have to input all of your information, then you just click the button to submit. Once it is submitted you do not have to pay any money out, but you will be able to get the money deposited into your account faster then if you were waiting on a service to do the work for you.

Being able to have your taxes done for you is a great thing to have. However, it can be a challenge at times if you are not sure about what you are doing and do not want to pay a service a ton of money to file for you. This is when you should know the benefits of using free turbo tax to get your 2012 taxes done. By knowing about these benefits you can easily see this is the best and fastest way to get your taxes done without costing you a fortune.

 

Hiring an Accountant: Questions You Need to Ask

When you’re running your own business, finding the right accountant is imperative. Many people think they can cut costs by managing their finances themselves but this can be risky, as any mistakes can severely affect your business. A proficient accountant doesn’t merely fill out your tax return; they should also offer you sound business advice. That’s why you need to ask the right questions at the very beginning of the hiring process. You need to find out if the CPA has your best interests at heart and if they will offer you more than just doing the paperwork. To help you determine if they’re right for you, here are four important questions to ask.

1. Do I trust them?

This is possibly the most important question because if you don’t, you should probably head for the door! You need to feel comfortable with your accountant, as they’ll be handling something very personal and absolutely vital: your finances. According to sme-blog.com, you should always trust your instincts. An accountant should be an advisor and any sign of being pushy should be a warning. If you have any doubts, you can always ask about their CPA credidentials and licenses, then double check online or with the relevant licencing authorities.

2. Will they show me how to make money?

This is the next most important question. According to BusinessSuccessforLife.com, an accountant should help you reduce expenses and minimise tax, but they should also be able to tell you how to maximise profits and personal wealth. When it comes to business planning, they should be able to think out of the box and offer ways for you to be financially efficient.

3. How much am I going to pay?

Accountants certainly don’t come cheap, but you can avoid a few nasty surprises on their invoice by seeking clarification upfront. According to btkcpa.com, some accountants charge by the hour, some want an overall total payment and others use a combination of both. You also need to find out if they charge for things like phone calls and sending faxes. The more unscrupulous kind will charge an hour’s fee for a five minute phone call. Accounting firm btkcpa.com suggests that in order to reduce fees, you should ask your CPA if you can prepare documents beforehand, as this will save time and money.

4. Will I be dealing with one person?

It’s good to build a solid, long-term relationship with your accountant, so you need to know if you’ll be dealing mainly with them or with multiple people. Larger firms tend to assign a number of people to fill out your tax returns, but btkcpa.com says that, ideally, you just want to deal with one person.

The two of you should work in tandem, with the accountant primarily assisting you to make the best financial decisions while building a good relationship along the way. When you’re hiring an accountant, you should keep these important questions in mind. Discussing them with a potential CPA can spare you many hassles further down the line.

Ang Lloyd writes on behalf of Now Learning, an online education portal that promotes a diverse range of study options in Australia, including business management and accounting courses.