Top 5 tax tips for Individuals

personal tax tips

None of us gets out of filing our taxes and dealing with the IRS – it’s one of life’s certainties. Taxes can be complicated and intimidating, so here are five expert personal tax tips to make them a little easier to manage.

1. Never ignore the IRS

People who ignore the IRS do so at their peril. If you don’t file or pay your taxes, or do either of these after the stipulated deadlines, you could face hefty penalties and the IRS can seize assets. If you receive any communication from the IRS, pointing out any errors or missed deadlines, respond immediately. The worst thing you can do is ignore it.

2. “Bunch” your deductions

To ensure you can take the maximum deductions applicable in a particular year, you can “bunch” them together. What this means is that you time your deductible expenses into the same calendar year. You can achieve this by moving forward certain deductions from the current year into the next, assuming that you meet the thresholds for the current year.

3. Max out your retirement plan contributions

Whatever you are paying into your 401k or other tax-deferred retirement scheme, do your best to increase your payments if you can. The money you pay into these accounts reduces your tax liability. You won’t have to pay taxes on it until you withdraw it. This excellent saving incentive is also a great way to lower your tax bill.

4. Be careful of tax scams

If you start getting phone calls or emails claiming to be from the IRS or the U.S. Treasury, do not respond to them. It is quite common for scammers to try these tactics as tax season approaches. Be careful not to fall into their trap. Don’t worry though; it’s pretty easy once you know that the two government institutions will never contact you in this way; they will only reach out to you by mail when necessary.

5. Get the help of a certified public accountant

Tax laws and procedures seem to get more complicated by the year. Even if you successfully manage to file your own taxes, you may very well not be getting the full benefits of the various deductions and tax breaks that might be available to you. Get the help of a professional when it comes to filing your taxes. It takes the burden off your shoulders, ensures that it gets done correctly, and may help you get more money back into your pocket.

Georgen Scarborough CPAs is based in Vienna, Virginia. Aside from offering expert personal tax tips, we can help you with your tax preparation and filing. Contact us today.

How using a CPA can save you money

CPA

Most businesses are happy to let their in-house accountants run their financial affairs alone. However, a CPA can help you optimize your business and tax matters with a level of professional service that your accountant may not necessarily be able to deliver. Most importantly, the services of a CPA could potentially save you a lot of money. 

One of the reasons why a business owner might avoid hiring a CPA is the cost involved with securing this service. The truth is that, while a CPA may increase your costs in upfront fees, they will also offset those fees to a large extent through the savings they are able to create for you. 

The cost-saving benefits of CPAs

Having a professional tax practitioner on your side will offer you several benefits, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • They can help reduce your tax liability. 
  • They can do your tax planning in an efficient and timely manner to avoid any surprises.
  • They help you set up deferred savings programs to enable your business to maximize tax advantages.
  • They can advise on changes and improvements to help you increase your business’s profitability.

The financial situation is constantly in flux, with both your business circumstances and the legal frameworks changing regularly. A simple mistake or failure to keep up with the changes can lead to problems with the IRS, possibly resulting in penalties, interest, even legal trouble. If you bring a certified public accountant onto your team, you can either avoid such issues or have the means to deal with them most efficiently and with the least possible damage when they do arise. 

Georgen Scarborough CPAs is based in Vienna, Virginia. Contact us for more information on how we can help you save money.

Top 5 small business tax tips

Every small business wants to find the best ways to reduce their tax liability and better conduct their affairs with the IRS. Also, in 2021, as many companies face reduced income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners will be looking for ways to cut costs wherever possible. Here are five key small business tax tips to help you do so.

1. See if your business is eligible for different tax treatment

Many small businesses can deduct 20% of their qualified income in calculating their taxes. This deduction generally applies to pass-throughs (companies where the owners pay the taxes themselves). The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 reduced C-corporations’ tax rate to a flat 21%. Your tax practitioner can advise you as to whether it is better to stay a pass-through business or make the transition to a C-corporation.

2. Increase your business savings plan – or get one started

Small businesses have the option of running a variety of retirement plans for their employees, such as 401k, Simple IRA and SEP IRA. The contributions the company makes to these funds are tax-deductible. If you already have one of these plans in place, it might pay off to increase your contributions. If you don’t have one, you should definitely get one going this year.

3. Invest in new equipment

If you buy new or used equipment and put it into service before the end of the tax year, you could be entitled to a federal tax deduction of up to $1.05 million. The cap on this expenditure is $2.62 million. If you spend on new equipment within those limits, you could claim back a considerable amount of money.

4. Contribute to charity

 Charity contributions are a well-known method of reducing tax liability. You can usually deduct the equivalent of the fair market value of the assets you donate. Consult your certified public accountant to find the best way to make this method work for you.

5. Make the most of your losses

If, like many business owners, you have seen a significant reduction in income during 2020, you can use the provisions of the CARES Act to apply a net operating loss to income from the past five years for a potential immediate refund. Speak to a tax practitioner to see if this applies to you and how to make the claim.

Georgen Scarborough CPAs is based in Vienna, Virginia. For more small business tax tips and professional help filing your taxes, contact us

Reasons you need a CPA to do your taxes

Filing your taxes can be stressful, especially if your tax return is any more complex than a standard individual W-2. Getting a CPA to do your taxes, rather than doing it yourself, can save you a lot of hassle and possibly some money. Here are five reasons why you may want to hire a certified public account to take your tax filing burden off your shoulders.

1. You have a small business or additional income streams

If you run a small business, you may not be aware of the numerous tax write-offs you can claim to save you money. If you have a side hustle or are working in the gig economy with several income streams, your return becomes a lot more complicated, but a professional can help you complete it without too much fuss.

2. The IRS asks for specific information

Many people find it very stressful if the IRS reaches out to them to ask for substantiation of income or expenses or other documentation. If you get a professional tax practitioner on your side, you can eliminate this stress. They will know how to deal with the IRS and help you comply.

3. You’re self-directing your retirement

If you have other investments to fund your retirement, aside from your 401k, that’s called self-directing. Filing for personal investments such as cryptocurrency or real estate can get a little tricky for the layperson. That’s why you may need a CPA to do the filing for you.

4. You have a rental property

If you are earning income by charging rent on one or more of your properties, you should seek the advice of a tax practitioner to see where you can make deductions.

5. You want to send your children to college

If you are planning on filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you would do well to seek out the help of a CPA. Unwanted assets or income in your child’s name could adversely affect the application, even if it works from a tax planning perspective. Let a professional help to make the right adjustments in this regard.

Georgen Scarborough CPAs is based in Vienna, Virginia. Contact us to find out how we can make your tax filing much easier.