Monday, February 2, 2015

We're Ready for 2015!

Happy New Year and Happy Tax Filing!

Hi! This is Sylvia Barata, your trusted Tax Angel, gearing up for the 2015 tax season.  This is a very stressful time of year for all of us - preparers and taxpayers alike. Being in the business for 30 years does not lessen the amount of anticipation that goes on in my office as we begin to open our doors for longer hours starting in February. We're checking and double-checking to make sure your experience this year with my firm will be a pleasant one. If you are in need of a tax preparer, please contact Deborah to schedule an appointment with me or Anne Arms.

I know some of you have seen and heard about the ACA, Affordable Care Act, and may be wondering how it will affect you when you file this year. There are some posts and links on my facebook page which can explain some of the general changes.  Your specific circumstances can be discussed at your appointment with us, so be sure to bring proof of your health insurance for everyone in your household.

I and all of the staff here at ATS Tax and Financial Solutions look forward to seeing you soon!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Meet The Angels: Sylvia Barata

Sylvia Barata, Owner/President, Enrolled Agent
Sylvia started her tax career with the Internal Revenue Service. While there she answered tax questions, instructed IRS employees, monitored the toll-free line for accuracy, supervised, and made public appearances as the Media Relations tax expert. She was recognized for her expertise with many awards, including "Federal Employee of the Year." After 10 years, she decided to open her own company, Affordable Tax Service, and in 1985 became an Enrolled Agent. For nearly 38 years Sylvia has been preparing both individual and business tax returns. With her extensive knowledge, Sylvia often assists clients with personal finance planning customized to their needs. She is also trained in the special rules for clergy, people with disabilities, foreign tax issues, and small business needs. Sylvia is dedicated to bringing her clients the best service available. She and her staff of Tax Angels work diligently to help clients reach their goals.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tax Refunds: How Do They Work?

The best part about filing your taxes is getting the tax refund check! Chances are, you have been paying your taxes directly, or your employer has been withholding tax dollars from your paychecks. Many individuals overpay on their taxes, so they quickly file their taxes to get their tax refunds and soon as possible.
How do tax refunds work?
Your employer withholds some of money from your paycheck, based on a formula and the information you provided on your W4 when you got hired. This withheld amount is applied towards your tax payment to the IRS.
Because the formula is only based on the allowances you showed on your W4 and of your paycheck, it doesn't take other factors of your life into consideration. For example, hospital expenses, tuition payments, and childcare expenses aren't considered.
When you file your taxes, you have the opportunity to claim these expenses as deductions. A deduction reduces your overall income. Therefore, you owe less in taxes and are qualified for tax refunds.
Because you pay taxes to both the federal government and to the state, you might receive two tax refunds. The amount will depend on how much you have overpaid throughout the year. To make sure you receive both tax refunds, you will have to file your taxes with both the federal government and the state government.
How do I get my tax refunds?
To get your tax refunds, you have to file your tax returns. You can do this on your own or by hiring a tax accountant or specialist. You must also make the deadline, which is usually in April, or file for an extension. You can find more information on these topics at the IRS website.
Most individuals opt to file taxes on their own to save from having to pay professional fees to tax specialists. Thanks to the Internet, almost anyone can easily file their taxes online! There are many software and program choices available online.
You will need your W2's or 1099's, and other documents to file your taxes. Once you have these documents, you can use online tax filing programs to plug in your information. Tax filing programs are easy to use, with clear instructions and instant help. The program will guide you through each step, and will even help you find deductions to maximize your deductions and refund checks!
Where do I get my tax refunds?
You will usually receive your tax refund checks in the mail within three weeks. When you file your taxes online, you can also choose to have your tax refunds directly deposited into your bank account. All you need is your bank account and routing numbers, which you can easily locate at the bottom of your personal check. When you choose the direct deposit option, you'll receive your check in half the time.
The most important thing to remember about tax refunds is that you have to file to receive them. So save all your receipts and documents for deductions, and get your tax returns in by April - your money is waiting!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Must Keep Tax Documents For Small Businesses

For record keeping, If you want to keep folders with appropriate labels it's fine. Label them neatly in a chosen file storage. But if you want to save some trees and GO GREEN, I suggest purchasing a data storage device such as a USB drive, etc. and the best format to use is Adobe's PDF file format. Some new business owners cannot afford to hire a professional bookkeeper or have no time to take a bookkeeping course so they can do this themselves, either way it's a must. I also suggest reading IRS Publication 583, Starting a Business and Keeping Records. So here you go, the 10 Must Keep Documents for your Small Business - for Tax Purposes:
1. Keep copies of all forms of payments from your clients. Checks, money orders, cashier's checks, etc. including copies of the invoices you've sent out. Make sure you attach payments to all invoices, in case of an IRS audit, it might raise a question if they don't see a payment to an invoice. Also, keep the check payments separate from loan checks, because they are not actually income but a debt.
2. Keep all bank statements, including all pages. For personal, business and investments accounts.
3. Keep all receipts. Everything that you paid for by cash, check or credit card. For all bills paid including utilities, contractors, advertising, marketing, business gifts, inventory, maintenance, professional help, salaries, furniture, equipment, etc...
4. Keep all purchase contracts for major purchases like trucks, cars, machines and commercial real estate. To be safe, keep them for 10 years to calculate depreciation and in case of audit. The IRS may request for original documents and go back 2, 5, 7 or more years.
5. Loan contracts, promissory notes, etc... for all business debts including business loans and cash advances. It should show pertinent information such as loan term, interest rate, monthly payment, creditor and collateral if there's any.
6. Keep individual and business income tax returns including all schedules and amendments if applicable. ALL state and federal government records such as business license, city and county filings, state tax documents, etc. for 10 years or more, yes I said 10 yrs. Better be safe than sorry.
7. Keep all payroll records, time cards, direct deposits, employee cash rewards, employee expense reports, reimbursements, payments to independent contractors, etc.
8. If you use a cash register for your business, keep the cash register receipts. Most cash registers nowadays has the ability to give you daily, weekly or monthly totals, which is great for your books.
9. Any Financial statements such as Balance Sheets. Profit and Loss, General Ledger, Retirement Summary, and other investments.
10. Bankruptcy papers, if any.
I strongly suggest to keep all of the above items for 7-10 years. For one particular reason: Peace of mind.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Taxes, Our Share to Building a Better Nation

Taxes have been with us since the birth of civilization, taxes like, transport tax, tax relief, income tax and whatever word that may come before and after that one word which we call tax.
Indeed there is truth when we say that we are paying taxes since the very moment of our birth until such time that we leave this world, taxes obligates us to face it either which way but head on. That is the truth about it and nothing in this world could ever change that truth, because without it the civilized world as we know it would seize to exist and nobody would dare want for that to happen.
We often hear people complain of the taxes they pay, and some would even say that it is an unnecessary obligation that we should not respect to pay at all. Maybe they are just burdened with the obligation of taxes or they just need to realize the importance of taxes. Tax relief could very well help people like them and they can very well acquire such tax relief if only they know how and obligate themselves to learn the nook and cranny about taxes, its importance and its role in making our life better.
Why does the government collect taxes? Why do we obligate ourselves in paying taxes and what is in taxes that we need it to make our lives better? These are just a few questions that we asked ourselves when we face those documents on our mailboxes, billing us of our monthly, quarterly, and annual obligation to our governing institution. Are taxes really that essential to our daily living? The answer to that is a definite yes.
Taxes or tax money is the life source of this civilization we call government, without the financial aspect of taxes no government can sustain itself and therefore could not survive. Tax money funds the government's programs and activities which are needed to keep the wheel of the government rolling. Even taxes with tax relief paid diligently can really make a difference in changing and sustaining the lives of the people who are looking up to its governing body for protection, stability and survival. No civilization, government, city or municipality in the world exists today that does not collect taxes in one way or the other, either directly or not. Taxes are there for every commodity that we enjoy every day. Most of us do not even take time to learn about the taxes we pay every time we purchase something, yes we pay taxes every day of our lives and we often take it for granted.
When we pay taxes either with tax relief or not, the money goes to our government's treasury. There, it will be accumulated for some period until such time that it will be audited and presented unto our representatives, government officials, senators and budget officers. From there our elected representatives in the government will decide as to where to allocate this tax money or funds, Setting priorities and amount which are necessary to sustain a certain department or welfare, which the government is giving its constituents.
Social welfare, social security, public hospitals and all government entities that cater to the people are being funded by taxes. Taxes that the common people pay from purchasing basic commodities, through income taxes, tax relief and all the other taxes that we heard or read and pay for and even for some time complained about.
Some people do complain, while others are just content on keeping silent when it comes to the topic of taxes. While there may be a significant number of people who obligate themselves in paying taxes there are still a handful or even numerous sector who would rather prefer not to pay it if given the chance. For yes indeed not all are fortunate when we speak of financial status, and in this financially trying times most of us would likely prefer a tax relief if not a tax exemption if possible.
Tax exemption is really a catchy idea, and what person in his or her right mind would not accept such an invitation or notion. Indeed there are activities, events and endeavors which the internal revenue department would give you tax relief or much better yet tax exemption, but not without certain guidelines imposed and followed to the letter of course.
To learn more of how to you can file for tax exemption or tax relief you will have to visit the nearest internal revenue office near you.
The next best thing which you can have besides tax exemption is tax relief, which the government is giving to taxpayers who deserves such privilege. You do not have to be someone especial instead you only have to meet certain criteria to be able to acquire the privilege of tax relief.
There are many types of tax relief available and used by the internal revenue, and they are intended for specific criteria and target taxpayers. One type of tax relief may be available for a certain class of taxpayer while rendering it inapplicable to another. This way the taxes we pay are balanced and equally implemented to its rightful taxpayer.
These are only a few of the taxes that are being implemented to taxpayers, and each and every one of these taxes have been carefully researched, developed and made into law and implemented as to make it feasible and helpful towards the betterment of the government and the life of the taxpayer.
Indeed there are times when we the taxpayer would want to somehow ease our lives from taxes even for just some limited time or for certain percentage of what we are presently contributing. There is a solution indeed to it and taxpayers only need to understand how taxes, its collection, rules and regulations work in order to qualify for certain privileges which would greatly help in alleviating a taxpayer's obligation. One way is finding out how to acquire or pass for a tax relief. It really isn't hard, you just need to ask for help from the nearest internal revenue office near you.

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