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Henderson Tax CPA shares - Name Change and How It Impacts Taxes

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Feb 23 2017


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A name change can have an impact on taxes. All the names on a taxpayer’s tax return must match Social Security Administration records. A name mismatch can delay a tax refund. Here’s what taxpayers should know if they changed their name:
•    Reporting Name Changes. Got married and now using a new spouse’s last name or hyphenate a name? Divorced and now back to using a former last name? In either case, taxpayers should notify the SSA of a name change. That way the new name on IRS records will match the SSA records.
•    Making Dependent’s Name Change. Notify the SSA if a dependent had a name change. For example, if a taxpayer adopted a child and the child’s last name changed. If the child does not have a Social Security number, the taxpayer may use an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on their tax return. An ATIN is a temporary number. Apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. Visit IRS.gov to get the form.
•    Getting a New SS Card. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. The form is on SSA.gov or by calling 800-772-1213. The taxpayer’s new card will reflect the name change.
All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.
IRS YouTube Videos: 
•    Changed Your Name after Marriage or Divorce? – English| Spanish | ASL 
Share this tip on social media -- Name Change? How It Impacts Taxes.  http://go.usa.gov/x9uwU#IRS

Steve Giorgione CPA in Henderson shares IRS Mileage Update

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Dec 14 2016

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/Speedomiter_in_henderson_cpa_office.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
•    53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
•    17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
•    14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.   The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.
Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.
A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.
These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2016-79, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Learn How to Recognize Website Phishing Scams

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Dec 07 2016

https://secure.emochila.com/swserve/siteAssets/site9150/images/phishing_238x160.jpgSimply ask for it. That’s the easiest way for an identity thief to steal your personal information.
Each day, people fall victim to phishing scams through emails, texts or phone calls and mistakenly turn over important data. In turn, cybercriminals try to use that data to file fraudulent tax returns or commit other crimes.
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry -- all partners in the fight against identity theft -- urge you to learn to recognize and avoid phishing scams.
We need your help in the fight against identity theft. That’s why, as part of the Security Summit effort, we launched a public awareness campaign that we call Taxes. Security. Together. We’ve launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.
It’s called “phishing” because thieves attempt to lure you into the scam mainly through impersonations. The scam may claim to be from a friend, a company with whom you do business, a prize award – anything to get you to open the email or text.
A good general rule: Don’t give out personal information based on an unsolicited email request.
Here are a few basic tips to recognize and avoid a phishing email:
•    It contains a link. Scammers often pose as the IRS, financial institutions, credit card companies or even tax companies or software providers. They may claim they need you to update your account or ask you to change a password. The email offers a link to a spoofing site that may look similar to the legitimate official website. Do not click on the link. If in doubt, go directly to the legitimate website and access your account.
•    It contains an attachment. Another option for scammers is to include an attachment to the email. This attachment may be infected with malware that can download malicious software onto your computer without your knowledge. If it’s spyware, it can track your keystrokes to obtain information about your passwords, Social Security number, credit cards or other sensitive data. Do not open attachments from sources unknown to you.
•    It’s from a government agency. Scammers attempt to frighten people into opening email links by posing as government agencies. Thieves often try to imitate the IRS and other government agencies.
•    It’s an “off” email from a friend. Scammers also hack email accounts and try to leverage the stolen email addresses. You may receive an email from a “friend” that just doesn’t seem right. It may be missing a subject for the subject line or contain odd requests or language. If it seems off, avoid it and do not click on any links.
•    It has a lookalike URL. The questionable email may try to trick you with the URL. For example, instead of www.irs.gov, it may be a false lookalike such as www.irs.gov.maliciousname.com. You can place your cursor over the text to view a pop-up of the real URL.
•    Use security features. Your browser and email provider generally will have anti-spam and phishing features. Make sure you use all of your security software features.
Opening a phishing email and clicking on the link or attachment is one of the most common ways thieves are able not just steal your identity or personal information but also to enter into computer networks and create other mischief.
Learning to recognize and avoid phishing emails – and sharing that knowledge with your family members – is critical to combating identity theft and data loss. Businesses should educate employees about the dangers. 
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry joined as the Security Summit to enact a series of initiatives to help protect you from tax-related identity theft in 2017. You can help by taking these basic steps.
To learn additional steps you can take to protect your personal and financial data, visit the Taxes. Security. Together. page. Also read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.

 

CPA Henderson Says Newly Married Couples Should Report Marriage to Marketplace

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Oct 01 2016

Share of IRS Release.

If you’re recently married, you probably have a list of things to do.  There’s one other thing you should add to that list: a health insurance review. This is particularly important if you enrolled in coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace and you receive premium assistance in the form of advance payments of the premium tax credit.
When you apply for assistance to help pay the premiums for health coverage through the Marketplace, the Marketplace will estimate the amount of the premium tax credit that you may be able to claim for the tax year using information you provide. This information includes details about your family composition and your projected household income.
It is important for you to report life changes – known as changes in circumstances – to your Marketplace to get the proper type and amount of financial assistance and to avoid getting too much or too little in advance. Reporting changes in circumstances will allow the Marketplace to adjust your advance credit payments. This adjustment will help you avoid getting a smaller refund or owing money that you did not expect to owe on your federal tax return.
To report changes and to adjust the amount of your advance payments of the premium tax credit you must contact your Health Insurance Marketplace. Be sure to report all changes directly to that Marketplace because they can affect both your coverage and your final credit when you file your federal tax return.
Other changes you should report to the Marketplace include:
Birth or adoption 
Marriage or divorce 
Moving to a different address 
Increases or decreases in your household income 
These changes may also open the door for the Marketplace special enrollment period that permits health care plan changes. In most cases, the special enrollment period for Marketplace coverage is open for 60 days from the date of the life event.
The Premium Tax Credit Change Estimator can help you estimate how your premium tax credit will change if your income or family size changes during the year. This estimator tool does not report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace. Because these tools provide only an estimate, you should not rely upon them as an accurate calculation of the information you will report on your tax return. You should use these estimators only as a guide to assist you in making decisions regarding your tax situation.

 

CPA Steven Giorgione asks - YOUR MOVING EXPENSES ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

Posted by Henderson CPA Tips Posted on Sept 05 2016

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Steven Giorgione says Sadly, many people don’t know this and overlook this easy way to recoup some of their out-of-pocket expenses on moving. This is true even if you choose to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing. In other words, they lower your adjusted gross income (the amount your taxes are based upon) and save you money! So just what can you deduct, and what are the rules that apply? I’m going to give you a quick rundown to make sure you deduct all that is allowed!


Moving from Henderson or to Las Vegas the Henderson for work  the Henderson CPA notes: There are important criteria you must meet to be able to do this. These could be: Distance: This is one of the major tests you have to meet. Your new job must be 50 miles or more further from your old home than your old job was from that same home. So if you worked around the corner from your old job previously, your new job has to be at least fifty miles away from that; on the other hand, if you worked twenty miles from your old home, the new job must be at least seventy miles away. If you were unemployed, then the new job must be fifty miles away from your old house as well.                                 Time: Another important criterion is that you must work full-time for 39 weeks or more during the first twelve months after your move. Self-employed people must work at least 78 weeks during the 24 months following the move, including at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months. Of course, if you moved later in the year, you will not have met the entire time test; you are still allowed to take the deduction if you expect to meet it. However, you will have to amend your return or claim the deduction as “other income” on the following year’s taxes if you do not meet the time test.
There are also eligible expenses to deduct such as:
Costs for packing and transporting: This includes amounts you pay to people that pack your goods, or help you load them on the truck, professional movers, shipping fees or fees paid for renting a moving truck or transportation for your pets and your vehicles.
Personal transportation: If you drive your vehicle to your new home,
but your spouse and the children fly to the location, both sets of travel expenses are deductible. One day’s lodging is also deductible in case it is a long trip. (Meals are NOT deductible.)
Utility costs: Fees that you pay to connect or disconnect your utilities at either home are deductible.
Car expenses: You can deduct either the actual expenses you incurred for the use of your car during the move or take a deduction for the standard mileage rate of 24 cents per mile. In addition, parking fees and tolls can be deducted. 
Storage: If there is a gap between the time your belongings leave your old home, but before they are delivered to your new place, that storage cost is deductible, as is the cost of insuring them during this time. 
To qualify for a deduction, first and foremost your move must have taken place in the tax year for which you’re providing information to the IRS, and it must have taken place for either a job or a job location (i.e., you either relocated for work or your place of business moved far away, forcing you to move your residence to be closer to it.) Therefore, moving expenses can be deductible from your tax.

Henderson Accountant shares tips: Statement to claim Premium Tax Credit

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 05 2015
 Taxpayers Will Use New Information Statement to claim Premium Tax Credit
The Affordable Care Act is bringing several changes to the tax filing season this year, including a new form some taxpayers will receive. If you or anyone in your household enrolled in a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, you’ll get Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.
You will receive Form 1095-A from the Marketplace where you purchased your coverage, not the IRS. This form should arrive in the mail from your Marketplace by early February. You should wait to receive your Form 1095-A before filing your taxes.
Form 1095-A will tell you the dates of coverage, total amount of the monthly premiums for your insurance plan, information you may use to determine the amount of your premium tax credit, and any amounts of advance payments of the premium tax credit.
You will use the information to calculate the amount of your premium tax credit and reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit made on your behalf to your insurance provider with the premium tax credit you are claiming on your tax return.  To do this, you will use Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC), which you file with your tax return.
If you do not receive your Form 1095-A by early February, you should contact the state or federal Marketplace from which you received coverage. If you believe any information on your Form 1095-A is incorrect, you should contact the state or federal Marketplace from which you received coverage. The Marketplace may need to send you a corrected Form 1095-A.
You may receive more than one Form 1095-A if different members of your household had different health plans, you updated your coverage information during the year, or you switched plans during the year.

Henderson Accountant shares List of Tax Scams for 2015

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 01 2015
Fake Charities Among the IRS “Dirty Dozen” 
Henderson Las Vegas — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers about groups masquerading as a charitable organization to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors, one of the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2015 filing season.

"When making a donation, taxpayers should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities, IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations.

Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime, but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to prepare their taxes.
Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice to shut down scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.
The IRS offers these basic tips to taxpayers making charitable donations:
Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. Some phony charities use names or websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, which allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.
Don’t give out personal financial information, such as Social Security numbers or passwords to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money. People use credit card numbers to make legitimate donations but please be very careful when you are speaking with someone who called you.
Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.

Call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number (1-866-562-5227) if you are a disaster victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues.
Impersonation of Charitable Organizations
Another long-standing type of abuse or fraud involves scams that occur in the wake of significant natural disasters.
Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Scam artists can use a variety of tactics. Some scammers operating bogus charities may contact people by telephone or email to solicit money or financial information. They may even directly contact disaster victims and claim to be working for or on behalf of the IRS to help the victims file casualty loss claims and get tax refunds.
They may attempt to get personal financial information or Social Security numbers that can be used to steal the victims’ identities or financial resources. Bogus websites may solicit funds for disaster victims.

Henderson Accountant & CPA shares: The Health Care Law’s Effect on You

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 31 2015

Nearly everyone is affected by the Affordable Care Act and will need to do something new when filing their taxes this year. The following chart will help you better understand how the health care law affects you and everyone on your return. 

To help navigate these changes, taxpayers and their tax professionals should consider filing returns electronically.Using tax preparation software is the best and simplest way to file a complete and accurate tax return as it guides individuals and tax preparers through the process and does all the math. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including free volunteer assistance, IRS Free File for taxpayers who qualify, commercial software, and professional assistance. 

IF YOU… THEN YOU…

Are U.S. citizens or are non-U.S. citizens living in the United States Must have qualifying health care coverage, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make a payment when you file your tax return
Have health coverage through an employer or under a government program such as Medicare, Medicaid and coverage for veterans for the entire year Just have to check a box on your Form 1040 series return and do not read any further

Do not have coverage for any month of the year Should check the instructions to Form 8965 to see if you are eligible for an exemption

Are eligible for an exemption from coverage for a month Are not responsible for making an Individual Shared Responsibility payment for that month, and must claim the exemption or report an exemption already obtained from the Marketplace by completing Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions,and submitting it with your tax return
Do not have coverage and are not eligible for an exemption from coverage for any month of the year Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your return
Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment Will report it on your tax return and make the payment with your taxes
Received the benefit of more advance payments of the premium tax credit than the amount of credit for which you qualify Will repay the amount in excess of the credit you are allowed subject to a repayment cap
Need qualifying health care coverage for 2015 Can enroll in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) during the open enrollment period that runs through Feb. 15, 2015; once open enrollment ends, individuals can enroll only if they qualify under special enrollment provisions  
Enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace for yourself or someone else on your tax return Might be eligible for the premium tax credit

Did not enroll in health insurance from the Marketplace for yourself or anyone else on your tax return Cannot claim the premium tax credit

Or another person on your tax return who is enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace is not eligible for health care coverage through your employer or under a government program Might be eligible for the premium tax credit

Are eligible for the premium tax credit Can choose to get premium assistance now to lower your monthly payments or get all the benefit of the credit when you claim it  on your tax return
Choose to get premium assistance now Will have payments sent on your behalf to your insurance provider. These payments are called advance payments of the premium tax credit

Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit and experience a significant life change, such as a change in income or marital status Report these changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen

Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit Will report the payments on your tax return and reconcile the amount of the payments  with the amount of credit for which you are eligible

The Henderson Accounting firm of Steven T. Giorgione CPA is available for consulting call to day and schedule and appointment.