Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tips to Reduce Property Tax - Tax Reassessment

When paying the tax on your property, you may not consider taking a look at whether or not you are paying the "right" amount. Inaccurate assessment of the property tax is very possible. If you have a genuine case of inaccurate property value assessment, you can appeal to the tax assessor to reduce property tax.
As a tax payer, you are entitled to challenge the market value attached to your property by the tax assessor. And, you must seriously consider finding out whether or not you need to make this appeal, because the system in place to assign values to properties is a mass algorithm that many times takes into account thousands of properties.
The need for such a system is obvious. In most cases, it is not possible for the assessor to take one property at a time and calculate its market value due to lack of resources. The result of this restriction is inaccurate property value assessment. To make sure that you are not being affected by this limitation of the system, you should assess the current market value of your property yourself and notify the authorities if there is a difference between the present value of your property in the market and the assessed value.
The authorities may not have the resources to examine one house at a time, but there are property value assessment services that can not only assess the value but also provide you with information about comparable real estate in your locality - information that will come in handy when you file your claim.
With your application to reduce property tax, you should provide the tax assessor with the current market value and "evidence" to support your claim. The biggest proof you can provide to support your case is the details, including sale price, of like properties present in your neighborhood.
A good value assessment and comparison service will provide you with the market value of your house and data on other comparable houses sold in your neighborhood. The report containing information on comparable sales may cost you some bucks, but it will immensely strengthen your case and you may end up saving on property tax.
Tax reassessment is something you should definitely consider, because there are clear flaws in the tax assessment system. When making your appeal, make sure that you have solid evidence to persuade the tax assessor to rule in your favor.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7186944

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Who Do You Have To Issue 1099-MISC Tax Forms To?

January starts off with a blissful anticipation of a glorious new year. It quickly turns into a panic as you try to get your finances in order so you can issue 1099-MISC tax forms. Ah, but who do you have issue them to?
The 1099-MISC tax form is an informational tax return of sorts. It tells the IRS who you paid certain monies to during the year. Ostensibly, this information is used to see if the people you report on are reporting the correct amounts of money paid to them. In reality, this process results in tens of millions of 1099-MISC being filed and they are really only looked at if a party is audited. Still, you have to issue them.
Since we are talking about a tax issue, you know it isn't going to be simple and straightforward and it is not. The rules for who you report on break down along the lines of what profession they are in, how much you paid them and just a few bizarre requirements. Let's take a look.
1. In general, you must report on any independent contractor you paid $600 or more during the year for services rendered. This is the most common category that people run into. If you paid someone $600 to create a brochure for your business, you file a 1099-MISC.
2. On the weird end of the scale, we have the fish issue. For some reason that I am sure makes sense if you drink enough vodka, you must report anyone to whom you paid more than $600 to during the year for fish. Yes. As in fish you eat. No, you don't have to report your sushi chef. It is only for monies you pay directly to the person who caught the fish. And the government wonders why people hate dealing with taxes!
3. Another fascinating oddity is the sale of consumer products to a buyer by you. If you sell more than $5,000 worth of consumer product to a buyer who is reselling them, then you have to report him or her. Ah, but there is more. This only has to be done if the buyer does not have a permanent retail establishment. Confused yet?
4. Attorneys take it in the kisser when it comes to 1099-MISC filings. You must report any gross proceeds you paid to an attorney during the year. There is no $600 minimum.
5. The Secret Spy Reporting Requirement. You have to love the IRS. Why? Well, you are also required to file a 1099-MISC for any payments you make to an INFORMANT(!). If you are doing it as a government employee, you do not have to file the 1099-MISC.
Most people think of the 1099-MISC tax form as a simple required document if you made payments to independent contractors. As you can see, it is much more. The above represent only a small sampling of when you must file the form. There are also requirements if you received a prize, award, certain scholarships and so on. Make sure to speak with a CPA in your area if you are concerned.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/936022

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Duplicate W2 - Common Sense Policy For People Who, "Need Another W-2"

It is time to send out your W-2, W-3 forms to your employees and the Social Security Administration for the end of the year. These are also known as Employee Withholding Forms to record Employee Withholding Taxes. It never fails that just when you thought all your employee information was updated there will be one or two people who tell you, "I need a duplicate W2 form, because you sent the original one to my old address." You will make corrections on ALL your records and files for these changes!
And, for employees - it is not the job of the business owner or your boss to babysit you. Take responsibility for your own business. If you move and change your address, tell the human resources department - in writing - as soon as possible - even if it is only one person in charge. if you ever need a reference you will be glad you behaved so responsibly!
To help business owners decrease phone call requests for duplicate W-2's and to avoid sending a duplicate W2 to the wrong person (an ex-spouse for example), you'll want to develop a policy and procedure that uses these points:
1. Take requests for duplicate W-2's - only - in writing!
2. When issuing a duplicate W-2:
o Type or write (Do they even sell typewriters anymore?) "REISSUED STATEMENT" in the upper right-hand corner on all copies of the W-2. you may use a copy of the employer's copy - This is accepted procedure.
o If you are mailing a W-2 to former employees, make a copy of the envelope showing the address that you used and put the date you mailed the duplicate on the photocopy - with a notation clearly stating it is the date and address of the original W-2 mailing.
o If a W-2 is returned, keep it in the envelope. If you hear from the employee, put this envelope in another envelope and mail it to the corrected address. If you do not hear from the employee, keep the returned W-2 for at least 4 years as proof that it was mailed by the correct deadline.
Best policy: Create a "W-2 Request Form."
1. What employee data should go on the form?
2. Is there any company data you should include?
3. How can you make sure this form will provide proof that you met your legal obligations for the IRS?
The answers to those questions are in this Duplicate W-2 Request Form Example:
Please complete and submit the following request to order a copy of your W-2 Form, or to ask "Your Business Name" a question about W-2 related matters.
* Name: _____________________________
* Address: _____________________________
* City: _________________ * State: ___________________ * Zip: ______________
* If this is a new address, please check here_____ (Authorizes payroll to update address record)
* Daytime Phone: ________________
* Employee #: _________________
* I would like to request a copy of my W-2 Form __________ (check here)
* The year for which I need form W-2 is: _________ (Please use 4 digit year numbers - 2009, for example)
Have a question about your W-2 Form? Please use the space below to clearly state your question.
Be sure to provide as much detail as possible, as this will help expedite a resolution. Thank you!
CYA has never been so easy. Just make sure you do! Find your W-2 forms free at IRS.gov, where they also have online W-2 instructions, W-2 Forms Online, and W-2 deadline information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3681263

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Basic Tax Deductions for Small Businesses

For all the hard work that goes into running a small business, there are some distinct rewards that come from it as well. Not only is the work rewarding but small businesses owners can also take advantage of tax deductions not available to individuals. Let's look at some of the most common tax deductions available for small businesses.
Virtual Assistant
Your virtual assistant is completely tax deductible as a business expense - and the best part is that you don't have the hassle of handling payroll and figuring out with holdings and benefits - your virtual assistant takes care of all of that.
Home Office
The home office deduction is the most basic deduction that small businesses may claim. This deduction is to be used when there is an area in the home that is used ONLY as a business office. If the area is used for any other purpose in addition to an office, you cannot claim the deduction. The home office deduction has been controversial lately because it has earned the reputation for triggering IRS audits. However, this rumor is completely unfounded and any small business with an office in the home should claim this deduction without the fear of an audit. Since the amount of the deduction is based on the percentage of the home used for the home office, you need to know the entire square footage of the home as well as the square footage of the room used for the office.
Supplies and Equipment
All of the office supplies and equipment that are purchased for the business are also tax deductible. Who knew paperclips could be so valuable? Each time you go out for more printer paper, sticky notes, pens, etc., you should save your receipts because these expenditures offset the taxable income of your business.
Office equipment may also be deducted. Computers, printers, fax machines, even your cell phone or PDA are deductible if used for business. Equipment deductions can be claimed at 100 percent all in one year or may be depreciated over a period of five years.
Any office or business needs furniture. Luckily when you buy that computer desk or office chair, you can deduct it from your taxes. Furniture is also deductible at 100 percent in one year or it can be depreciated over 7 years. To deduct it all at once, a special form (Section 179) must be used. Depreciation is a little more involved because each individual piece of furniture has a different depreciation schedule. For example, the file cabinet has a different depreciation value for the year than the conference table. The conference table value is different from the lobby chairs and so on.
A Virtual Assistant can help you sort through receipts, categorize expenses and enter data in to an accounting program or spreadsheet to make your tax preparation easier. Consider a virtual assistant throughout the year to avoid long hours during crunch time.
It will probably pay off to consult with a tax professional to make sure that your small business receives every deduction to which it is entitled

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7455103

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tackle Your Back Tax Problem Before Tax Season Comes Around Again

Keeping your finances in order is tricky even for the most capable among us. Mistakes happen, and sometimes those mistakes end up manifesting as tax problems. Tax problems are not issues that will go away on their own. When you owe the IRS money, that debt will simply keep growing until you deal with it. The good news is, there are tax resolution professionals who specialize in helping you get your IRS situation straightened out, and they are available to help you year-round. Don't wait until next spring to think about your tax issues. Call your local tax resolution firm today to find out how you can square up with the IRS in a way that works for you.
Tax debt is serious business. If you owe the IRS back taxes, you are automatically charged interest on the amount you owe. This quickly increases your debt and can change a small financial issue into a big one in a short amount of time. Depending on your situation, you may also be assessed tax penalties as well. Eventually, if you fail to pay the money you owe to the IRS, they have the authority to take it from you.
The IRS can garnish your wages in order to satisfy your tax debt. They can also enact tax liens and levies, meaning that they can seize your assets in order to claim the money that you owe them. This means that if you fail to settle your tax debt, you run the risk of losing your property, including real estate, vehicles, and even bank accounts. This is why it is vital to resolve back tax issues as soon as you can. You may only have to file taxes once a year, but, if you owe back taxes, you will face mounting penalties and interest all year long until you settle your debt.
If you owe back taxes and you are ready to get your situation resolved, a tax settlement professional can help. These tax experts have the knowledge and the experience to help you navigate your tax situation so that you can get your financial future back on track. Most importantly, your tax resolution pro can help you negotiate with the IRS so that you can repay your tax debt in a way that works for you. If you owe more than you are able to pay, you may be eligible for an offer in compromise, which is an agreement between you and the IRS to settle up for less than the total amount that you owe based on your specific financial situation. If you are facing mounting tax penalties but have a legitimate reason for filing late, you may qualify for penalty abatement. And, if you have incurred unfair tax debt through tax information that your spouse filed, you may be eligible for innocent spouse relief. A tax resolution professional can help you determine if any of these, or other, tax relief options are right for you, and can help you pursue them. Don't get saddled with tax debt or tax liens unnecessarily. Get tax help now so that you can start next year with a clean slate.
If you owe back tax debts to the IRS, don't ignore them. Call your local tax resolution professional today to get tax relief that you can count on.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7243254

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Appealing a Tax Dispute

Have a tax dispute with the IRS? Learn what the IRS Office of Appeals can do for you.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is the Mortgage Housing Deduction Going Away in 2013?

The national housing market is still healing from the last major recession that the U.S. had and political debates are going on in the nation's capital about limits and deductions for taxpayers. One of these topics is the mortgage interest deduction or the MID which is a tax break that realtors say helps mold the dynamics for an improving American housing market and a stronger economy. The MID makes it easier for carrying the costs of owning a home. The middle and lower income families are the ones that benefit the most from the mortgage housing deduction.
Congress is trying to find any means that are available to find extra sources of revenue to help void the imminent "fiscal cliff". The mortgage housing deduction has come up for specific legislation capping or voiding the MID all together. (Sixty-five percent of families that claim the MID make less than $100,000 a year) Federal taxes are primarily paid by homeowners and this number would rise if the MID is reduced or cut out altogether. All of these talks on Capitol Hill have many people wondering if the Mortgage Housing Interest Deduction is going away in 2013?
The American dream is an old school ideology that is still very much alive today. Home values and sales will decrease without the MID. Some economists predict that the values could drop in the double digits in some circumstances. Changes in the MID which is an important home ownership benefit that many people have come to rely on would destroy the wealth buildup of millions of diligent middle-class families along with devastating their dreams of sending their kids to college, retirement or even perhaps starting a small business. The MID allows homeowners to deduct interest paid on a mortgage which in turn helps families save a significant amount of money they would have paid in taxes.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the biggest advocate for saving the MID and has thus far been the biggest crusader against any legislation that would tamper with the program. Realtor's have empathized over and over again to politicians how important the mortgage interest deduction is for both the economy and the housing market alike. All Realtor's have been long standing supporters of the MID and will continue to do so until congress introduces specific legislation. The crusade for real estate professionals will continue as they oppose any future plan that would amend the MID in any shape or form.
The mortgage interest deduction still applies for homeowners but it will continue to be a debate as all of the challenges of the 2013 move in, the fiscal cliff is really just the tip of the ice berg, with the debt ceiling debate coming next.
Advocates will continue to support the MID as a benchmark for the American Dream and a valuable platform for the middle-class as opponents wage a war against capping or eliminating the MID altogether.
No one can predict what shape the tax reforms of 2013 will bring but it is predictable that the housing market will have a negative effect on pricing if the Mortgage Housing Interest Deduction disappears in 2013. All eyes will be on Capitol Hill as this debate continues to spark between the Congress and the White House.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7430953

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Don't Let the Looming Tax Increases Push Your Business Over the Cliff

Be Prepared for the Fiscal Cliff So Your Business Will Survive the Fall
2012 was like no other year in recent history. We had the Japanese Tsunami, the Middle-East uprising, Super Storm Sandy, the tornadoes and floods, Hurricane Irene and the cataclysmic Mayan apocalypse we all wait for on December 21st. In 2013, we have another storm coming, the economic Fiscal Cliff. If you don't plan accordingly - before the end of the year - the increase in taxes can cripple your business' growth. But you can ensure your business is ready to compete, while getting tax write-offs for 2012, minimizing your liability in 2013.
What's Coming?
While contrary to popular belief, the Bush era tax extensions are not the only taxes that will affect the average business owner's liability. Just to name a few, they include:
  • The Exemption Phase Out
  • Itemized-Deduction Phase Out
  • Payroll Tax Increase of 2%
  • Long-Term Capital Gains Increase
  • Regular Rate Increase
  • The AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax) Increase
  • The Hospital Insurance increase (not to be confused with the Affordable Care Act)
  • The Affordable Care Act tax and fines
And the list is longer. For a complete list and explanation of what each is, read Tax Increases Looming in 2013. You can find the link at the end of the article. Regardless of whether a deal is reached, taxes will still go up; the question is by how much.
Take Advantage of Tax Write-Offs Still Currently Available
While you're not in control of what will happen in Washington DC, you are for what happens in your business. So what are several things you can do to ensure you're prepared for maximum impact? Let's take a look.
Business-Startup Costs Write Off: If you are a new business (author with a first book, a consultant who transitioned during the economy from employee to self-employed freelancer for example) you are allowed to write off your qualified business startup costs up to $5,000 in the year you launched. So if you started conducting business in 2012 (not still in the setup phase) you can write off those costs. Typical costs include hardware (computers and smartphones), marketing material (brochures, business cards and website), signage, legal and professional consulting fees, and any other qualifying startup expense.
If you have not exceeded the limit of $5,000, then you might consider investing in that computer you needed, getting a collateral marketing piece or a mobile ready website. Make sure you are set to compete and attract your customer in 2013.
Marketing Infrastructure for Existing Businesses: Marketing is crucial during downturns in the economy and is a legitimate tax-write off. So if you purchase that public relations campaign, social media package or anything else you may need for your 2013 marketing campaign by December 31st, instead of giving Uncle Sam your hard-earned money, you can strengthen your business for growth and sales. Plus, you will not only get your investment back in January as a tax write-off - but also in ongoing future sales.
With the advent of the Smartphone and tablets, more and more people are shopping on their mobile browser. Read Why You May Be Losing a Boatload of Sales and Not Even Know It. If your website is outdated and not mobile ready (responsive), studies show when a mobile surfer arrives at your site and finds it incompatible with their phone or tablet, they will move on to another and never return. So make sure that doesn't happen to your business, because Microsoft projects that mobile Internet usage will outpace PC desktop usage by 2014. You can't wait until then to get ready.
While death and taxes are unavoidable, you can postpone death with smart health decisions, and you can minimize your tax burden and increase your sales with smart business-investment decisions. And by doing so, hopefully you will gain a whirlwind of sales that not only will pay your taxes for you, but give you a good problem to have - how to minimize your tax burden for 2014!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7427581