Are you still using the old school method of doing your taxes? Do you still mail paper forms to the IRS? If so, make this the year you switch to a much faster and safer way of filing your taxes. Join the nearly 126 million taxpayers who used IRS e-file to file their taxes last year. Here are the top five reasons why you should file electronically too:
While most people get a refund from the IRS when they file their taxes, some do not. If you owe federal taxes, the IRS has several ways for you to pay. Here are six tips for people who owe taxes:
1. Pay your tax bill. If you get a bill from the IRS, you’ll save money by paying it as soon as you can. If you can’t pay it in full, you should pay as much as you can. That will reduce the interest and penalties charged for late payment. You should think about using a credit card or getting a loan to pay the amount you owe.
2. Use IRS Direct Pay. The best way to pay your taxes is with the IRS Direct Pay tool. It’s the safe, easy and free way to pay from your checking or savings account. The tool walks you through five simple steps to pay your tax in one online session. Just click on the ‘Pay Your Tax Bill’ icon on the IRS home page.
3. Get a short-term extension to pay. You may qualify for extra time to pay your taxes if you can pay in full in 120 days or less. You can apply online at IRS.gov. If you received a bill from the IRS you can also call the phone number listed on it. If you don’t have a bill, call 800-829-1040 for help. There is usually no set-up fee for a short-term extension.
4. Apply for a monthly payment plan. If you owe $50,000 or less and need more time to pay, you can apply for an Online Payment Agreement on IRS.gov. A direct debit payment plan is your best option. This plan is the lower-cost, hassle-free way to pay. The set-up fee is less than other plans. There are no reminders, no missed payments and no checks to write and mail. You can also use Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, to apply. For more about payment plan options visit IRS.gov.
5. Consider an Offer in Compromise. An Offer in Compromise lets you settle your tax debt for less than the full amount that you owe. An OIC may be an option if you can’t pay your tax in full. It may also apply if full payment will cause a financial hardship. You can use the OIC Pre-Qualifier tool to see if you qualify. It will also tell you what a reasonable offer might be.
6. Change your withholding or estimated tax. You may be able to avoid owing the IRS in the future by having more taxes withheld from your pay. Do this by filing a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. The IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov can help you fill out a new W-4. If you have income that’s not subject to withholding you may need to make estimated tax payments. See Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals for more on this topic.
To find out more see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get this booklet on IRS.gov. You may also call 800-TAX-FORM to get it by mail.
We can Assist with IRS collections.
Call us today for help Steven T. Giorgione C.P.A serving Las Vegas Henderson Boulder City Nevada.
Millions of people enjoy hobbies that are also a source of income. Some examples include stamp and coin collecting, craft making, and horsemanship.
You must report on your tax return the income you earn from a hobby. The rules for how you report the income and expenses depend on whether the activity is a hobby or a business. There are special rules and limits for deductions you can claim for a hobby. Here are five tax tips you should know about hobbies:
1. Is it a Business or a Hobby? A key feature of a business is that you do it to make a profit. You often engage in a hobby for sport or recreation, not to make a profit. You should consider nine factors when you determine whether your activity is a hobby. Make sure to base your determination on all the facts and circumstances of your situation. For more about ‘not-for-profit’ rules see Publication 535, Business Expenses.
2. Allowable Hobby Deductions. Within certain limits, you can usually deduct ordinary and necessary hobby expenses. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted for the activity. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate for the activity.
3. Limits on Hobby Expenses. Generally, you can only deduct your hobby expenses up to the amount of hobby income. If your hobby expenses are more than your hobby income, you have a loss from the activity. You can’t deduct the loss from your other income.
4. How to Deduct Hobby Expenses. You must itemize deductions on your tax return in order to deduct hobby expenses. Your expenses may fall into three types of deductions, and special rules apply to each type. See of Publication 535 for the rules about how you claim them on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions.
5. Use IRS Free File. Hobby rules can be complex and IRS Free File can make filing your tax return easier. IRS Free File is available until Oct. 15. If you make $58,000 or less, you can use brand-name tax software. If you earn more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms, an electronic version of IRS paper forms. Free File is available only through the IRS.gov website.
For more on these rules see Publication 535. You can get it on IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Additional IRS Resources:
• Business or Hobby? Answer Has Implications for Deductions
• Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income
• Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions
• Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax
• IRC Section 183: Activities Not Engaged in For Profit (Audit Technique Guide) – details on the factors to determine ‘for profit’ or ‘not-for-profit’
How many frequent flyer or preferred hotel guest programs do you belong to? Did you know there's a risk in that?
While three-quarters (75 percent) of frequent travelers expect their loyalty program data to be secured to at least the same standard as a financial institution, only 33 percent feel their accounts are secure enough, according to a new Deloitte study, "Loyalty data security: Are hospitality and travel companies managing the risks of their rewards programs?"
Few frequent travelers appear fully aware of the wider risks involved when loyalty data — including travel schedules and other personal data — is lost or stolen. Roughly one in seven (15 percent) are simply concerned that a breach would result in a loss of loyalty points, while the majority of travelers (76 percent) worry about the loss of credit card numbers.
"Our study indicates a disconnect between travelers' expectations and perceptions about the security of their personal data," said Charles Carrington, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP in the Travel, Hospitality and Leisure practice and author of the study. "Travelers consider protection of their physical security a basic expectation when they're in a hotel or in the air. This responsibility now extends into the cyber world. Travel companies increasingly request that customers share a detailed level of personal information. These same companies need to roll up their sleeves and move beyond mere policy compliance to ensure that customer data is truly secure. Failure to do so could not only frustrate, even endanger, travelers, but also cause serious reputational damage and revenue loss."
Personal preferences: Drawing the line
While rewards programs are often a critical way for airlines and hotels to build customer loyalty, simply offering frequent traveler points is no longer enough. As a result, airlines and hotels are continuously looking for ways to personalize programs and tailor travel experiences. However, the study reveals the low level of trust in these companies' security standards is restricting the amount and type of information travelers are willing to share.
Most consumers (93 percent) are willing to share travel preferences such as seating choices and nearly three- quarters (74 percent) are comfortable sharing their food and drink preferences. However, many draw the line at sharing more personal information, such as hobbies (32 percent), geolocation (28 percent) and health and fitness records (7 percent).
Despite millennia's typically being more receptive to sharing personal data with companies, the study revealed only a slight increase in the level of trust with loyalty programs — 37 percent will share hobbies, little more than one-third (34 percent) will share geolocation and just 14 percent are comfortable sharing health and fitness records with loyalty programs. Overall, only 40 percent of Millennia's believe their personal information is secure.
This reluctance to provide more personal details could limit the degree to which airlines and hotels will be able to customize experiences to engage their most valuable patrons and drive repeat business.
A breach of data is a breach of brand loyalty and trust
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The study showed that any breach of loyalty data would have a significant impact on the brand
involved. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents said that should such a breach occur, they would be less likely to use the company responsible and 15 percent said they would be a lot less likely to do so.
"Frequent travelers are often the most valuable customer segment for hotels and airlines," continued Carrington. "Companies that can persuade these customers to share detailed information about their interests, hobbies and preferences will create a highly valuable and continuous cycle: the more information they gather, the more they will be able to personalize the travel experience and the tighter their bond with customers. But if they fail to live up to their custodial responsibility to secure customer information, that bond can be shattered in an instant."
Educating and engaging the customer
The study revealed that the lack of confidence consumers have in the security of their frequent traveler accounts is not leading them to be more vigilant in their security practices. Only 21 percent of survey respondents change their passwords at least once per quarter and more than half (53 percent) use the same password for other accounts.
Additionally, 41 percent of consumers indicated that they had little or no knowledge at all about travel companies' privacy and security policies of their frequent traveler programs.
These findings present an opportunity for travel companies to educate and engage their customers, communicating with them more openly, making them aware of enhancements to privacy and security measures and explaining how their data will be used and how it will benefit them. Ideas to improve traveler trust may include rewarding points to customers who regularly change their passwords, offering cyber security monitoring services, or offering reminders or links to change passwords .Read Complete Article http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12005881/how-safe-is-personal-data-in-frequent-flyer-and-guest-reward-programs
Tax season may be over, but scammers posing as IRS officials continue to call, saying people owe taxes and better pay up. They threaten to arrest or deport people, revoke a license, or even shut down a business. How do they do it? By rigging caller ID information to appear as if the IRS is calling, and sometimes even making a follow-up call claiming to be the police or the DMV.
We posted about this last month, and got a tremendous response from readers. Lots of people wrote to tell us about variations of the scam: robocalls from “Heather” from the IRS, or calls claiming to be from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and mentioning IRS codes. But the scam always ends the same way: a demand for money loaded on a prepaid debit card, sent through a wire transfer, or paid by credit card.
The Las Vegas CPA has Shared: Special tax benefits apply to members of the U. S. Armed Forces. For example, some types of pay are not taxable. And special rules may apply to some tax deductions, credits and deadlines. Here are ten of those benefits
Whether you like to play the ponies, roll the dice or pull the slots, your gambling winnings are taxable. You must report all your gambling income on your tax return. If you’re a casual gambler, odds are good that these basic tax tips can help you at tax time next year:
1. Gambling income. Gambling income includes winnings from lotteries, horse racing and casinos. It also includes cash prizes and the fair market value of prizes like cars and trips.
2. Payer tax form. If you win, you may get a Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings, from the payer. The IRS also gets a copy of the W-2G. The payer issues the form depending on the type of game you played, the amount of your winnings and other factors. You’ll also get the form if the payer withholds taxes from what you won.
3. How to report winnings. You must report all your gambling winnings as income. This is true even if you don’t receive a Form W-2G. You normally report your winnings for the year on your tax return as ‘other income.’
4. How to deduct losses. You can deduct your gambling losses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. The amount you can deduct is limited to the amount of the gambling income you report on your return.
5. Keep gambling receipts. You should keep track of your wins and losses. This includes keeping items such as a gambling log or diary, receipts, statements or tickets.
Additional IRS Resources:
- Tax Topic 419, Gambling Income and Expenses
IRS YouTube Videos: