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text 2014-02-16 07:08
Hass Associates Accounting: 10 Money-Saving Tax Tips

NEW YORK (The Street) -- In the middle of January, it's too cold to have much fun across most of the U.S., so you may as well shrug your shoulders and dig into your 2013 tax returns.

 

This year that means knowing some key changes in the Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Straight from the IRS, here are some of the most important changes for Main Street Americans this tax season:

 

Tax brackets: The so-called "Bush tax cuts" are off the board, and taxpayers are looking at seven new tax brackets -- at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.

 

Standard deductions: Standard filing deductions rose to $12,200 for taxpayers married filing jointly; $8,950 for taxpayers filing as head of household; and $6,100 for single taxpayers.

 

New exemption levels: Congress has hiked the personal exemption amount to $3,900. 


 

Estate taxes: There's now an estate tax rate at 40%, along with an estate tax exemption of $5.25 million. 


 

Contributions to 401(k) plans: Workers can contribute up to $17,500 to their 401(k) plans. 


 

IRA plans: Americans saving for retirement can contribute $5,500 to their individual retirement plans, or $6,500 for Americans age 50 and over.

 

Mileage deductions: According to the IRS, mileage rates for business and medical rose to $0.565 and $0.24 respectively. Note the mileage rate for charity mileage still stands at $0.14.

 

While it's important to know and leverage these changes to the tax code, your tax planning shouldn't end there. There are many moves you can make to lower your tax burden; keeping more money in your pocket and giving less to Uncle Sam come April 15.

 

The California Society of CPAs offers help via another list, this one detailing some common-sense but oft-overlooked tax savings tips. Here's a glimpse of what the society is calling your "new year financial checklist."

 

Check This Out: Accounting Tips by Hass Associates Individual and Business Tax Preparation

 

Weigh the possibility of any alternative minimum tax. The society advises Americans to calculate any potential AMT tax burden.

 

"The AMT parallels the regular income tax," says the association. "However, different rates apply, as do different definitions, deductions, exemptions and credits." The IRS offers a Web page devoted to calculating your AMT obligations, if any.

 

Boost your 401(k) payments. As noted above, Americans can contribute more to their 401(k) plans this year, and that means opportunity for retirement savers.

 

The society says that even contributing an extra $200 per month for 25 years can boost your account by $190,000, assuming your investments return 8% per year. "You'll only see $150 less in each paycheck if you're in the 25% bracket," the society says. "Plus, you could get free money if your employer matches your contributions. For example, a 50-cent-per-dollar match is like getting an extra 50% return on your money."

 

Get your tax records organized now. The society says January is the best month to organize your financial documents, especially now that the final bills for 2013 have rolled in. That saves time when you need it most. "You wouldn't want to miss out on valuable deductions because you're scrambling around at the last minute," the group says.

 

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Source: www.jeteye.com/jetpak/955a7230-9be6-4fac-a7c1-27b80a4f4bee
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text 2014-02-15 08:19
Hass Associates Accounting: 10 Money-Saving Tax Tips

10 Money-Saving Tax Tips to Tackle Right Now

 

NEW YORK (The Street) -- In the middle of January, it's too cold to have much fun across most of the U.S., so you may as well shrug your shoulders and dig into your 2013 tax returns.

 

This year that means knowing some key changes in the Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Straight from the IRS, here are some of the most important changes for Main Street Americans this tax season:

 

Tax brackets: The so-called "Bush tax cuts" are off the board, and taxpayers are looking at seven new tax brackets -- at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.

 

Standard deductions: Standard filing deductions rose to $12,200 for taxpayers married filing jointly; $8,950 for taxpayers filing as head of household; and $6,100 for single taxpayers.

 

New exemption levels: Congress has hiked the personal exemption amount to $3,900. 


 

Estate taxes: There's now an estate tax rate at 40%, along with an estate tax exemption of $5.25 million. 


 

Contributions to 401(k) plans: Workers can contribute up to $17,500 to their 401(k) plans. 


 

IRA plans: Americans saving for retirement can contribute $5,500 to their individual retirement plans, or $6,500 for Americans age 50 and over.

 

Mileage deductions: According to the IRS, mileage rates for business and medical rose to $0.565 and $0.24 respectively. Note the mileage rate for charity mileage still stands at $0.14.

 

While it's important to know and leverage these changes to the tax code, your tax planning shouldn't end there. There are many moves you can make to lower your tax burden; keeping more money in your pocket and giving less to Uncle Sam come April 15.

 

The California Society of CPAs offers help via another list, this one detailing some common-sense but oft-overlooked tax savings tips. Here's a glimpse of what the society is calling your "new year financial checklist."

 

Weigh the possibility of any alternative minimum tax. The society advises Americans to calculate any potential AMT tax burden.

 

"The AMT parallels the regular income tax," says the association. "However, different rates apply, as do different definitions, deductions, exemptions and credits." The IRS offers a Web page devoted to calculating your AMT obligations, if any.

 

Boost your 401(k) payments. As noted above, Americans can contribute more to their 401(k) plans this year, and that means opportunity for retirement savers.

 

The society says that even contributing an extra $200 per month for 25 years can boost your account by $190,000, assuming your investments return 8% per year. "You'll only see $150 less in each paycheck if you're in the 25% bracket," the society says. "Plus, you could get free money if your employer matches your contributions. For example, a 50-cent-per-dollar match is like getting an extra 50% return on your money."

 

Get your tax records organized now. The society says January is the best month to organize your financial documents, especially now that the final bills for 2013 have rolled in. That saves time when you need it most. "You wouldn't want to miss out on valuable deductions because you're scrambling around at the last minute," the group says.

 

Accounting Tips by Hass Associates Individual and Business Tax Preparation

Source: www.thestreet.com/story/12238614/1/10-money-saving-tax-tips-to-tackle-right-now.html
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text 2014-02-14 11:13
Hass Associates Accounting: 9 Tax Tips that will save you Money

Offering tax tips is a bit of a growth industry these days, and we here at CBCNews.ca aren't about to fight the trend. So, we've gathered a few general tax-wise suggestions and sprinkled in some specific tips to produce the following list of actionable ideas that could pay big dividends.     

 

1. Consider making a $2,000 over-contribution to your RRSP.

 

Tax rules allow you to contribute up to $2,000 more than what you're eligible to contribute to your RRSP without attracting the usual excess contribution penalty, which is one per cent of the excess amount for every month of the contribution year that it stays in the RRSP.

 

Why might you want to do this?

 

Even though you can't deduct the $2,000 over-contribution, it could be residing inside your RRSP for many years, continuing to grow on a tax-deferred basis as long as it's in the plan. That $2,000 excess contribution can be deducted in a future year when your actual RRSP contribution is less than the maximum you're allowed to put in.

 

"Consider using your $2,000 over-contribution when you quit working," accounting firm Grant Thornton suggests in its tax planning guide. "The earned income you have in your final year of employment will entitle you to an RRSP deduction in the following year."

 

2. Proceed cautiously if a CRA auditor asks you to sign a waiver.

 

Under normal circumstances — in other words, no suggestion of outright fraud — the tax department has three years to carry out a reassessment of your tax return.

 

Sometimes, if the clock is ticking down on that 36-month deadline, a CRA auditor will ask you to sign a waiver to allow the agency to conduct its reassessment after the three years are up.

 

KPMG advises you to consider the request "carefully" and get professional advice. "You are under no obligation to file a waiver simply to make the auditor's life easier," it points out in its 2014 tax planning guide. "If the three-year reassessment period is about to expire, and the auditor does not have enough information to justify a reassessment, it may be to your advantage not to sign a waiver."

 

And if a waiver is signed? KPMG says a revocation (which would cancel the waiver in six months' time) should be filed at the same time the waiver is signed.  

 

3. Be sure to take advantage of all income-splitting and pension-sharing opportunities.

 

Taxpayers can apply to share their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) retirement income with their partners if both are 60 or over. While pension sharing is not considered to be the same as pension income splitting, CPP pension sharing accomplishes much the same thing — putting more income into the hands of the lower-income partner. You can find out more about CPP retirement pension sharing here [Follow Us]. The post-retirement CPP benefit, which was introduced in the 2012 tax year, is not eligible for pension sharing.

 

Those 65 and over can split several kinds of pension income, such as life annuity payments from a company pension plan, RRIF payments and annuity payments from an RRSP or deferred profit sharing plan. This is also possible for those under 65, when the spouse has died.

 

Income splitting can save thousands of dollars in tax as income is shifted from someone in a higher tax bracket to someone in a lower bracket. Sometimes, splitting can succeed in reducing or eliminating the claw back on Old Age Security payments or the age credit for the higher-income spouse.

 

Pension income splitting can also allow both partners to claim the $2,000 pension income tax credit. Tax software programs can be especially useful in suggesting income splitting scenarios.

 

Read here the rest 6 Tax Tips that will save you Money

Source: www.cbc.ca/news/business/taxes/9-tax-tips-that-will-save-you-money-1.1285452
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text 2014-02-12 07:34
Hass Associates Accounting Tips for Preparing Taxes Online

 

 

National News: Tax Tip: Tips for Preparing to File Your Taxes Online

 

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Market wired - Feb. 10, 2014) - Did you know?

Filing your taxes online is increasing in popularity as Canadians discover how fast, easy, and secure filing online really is. Last year, over 74% of Canadians filed their income tax and benefit return electronically. Are you ready to join them?

 

Get ready: following these steps will make filing your taxes easy!

  • Go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready to find out about non-refundable credits you might be eligible for to reduce your taxes this year.

 

  • Gather all your information slips and receipts (T4s, T5s, etc.), as well as a copy of last year's return to use as a reference for this year. No need to send your receipts in with your return! If we need to see them, we will let you know.

 

  • Have your social insurance number and date of birth on hand.

 

  • Sign up for direct deposit to receive your refund faster and any benefit or credit payments owed to you, deposited directly into your bank account. Go to www.cra.gc.ca/directdeposit to learn how to sign up for direct deposit.

 

  • Make sure the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has your updated address and direct deposit information before you file. The fastest way to update both is by using My Account. To register for My Account, go to www.cra.gc.ca/myaccount. You can also use this service later to view your tax slip information, look up your RRSP deduction limit, and check the status of your refund or your Canada child tax benefit or GST/HST credit payments.

 

  • To file online, you need to complete your return using certified software or a certified web application. This may even help you identify benefits and credits that you may have missed if you filed on paper! The CRA has a list of software options-some that you have to buy and some that you can use for free-at www.netfile.gc.ca/software.

 

Accounting Tips by Hass Associates Individual and Business Tax Preparation

Source: www.northumberlandview.ca/index.php?module=news&type=user&func=display&sid=26865#.Uvq6b2KSy7p
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text 2014-02-11 07:23
Hass Associates Accounting Tax Tips

Accounting Tips by Hass Associates Individual and Business Tax Preparation

 

Tax season is officially underway (Jan. 31 - April 15) and while it may be a painful process for some, delaying it can only bring a bigger headache.

 

John Ams, executive vice president for the National Society of Accountants (NSA) says whether you owe money or anticipate a refund, getting it done early can prove beneficial. If you are owed money, your chances of getting it faster are better when you file early. If you owe money, you will at least know how much you owe and can begin saving to pay for it, says Ams.

 

Anyone who hopes to file an extension should remember, it is only an extension of time to file your return, not an extension of time to pay. "You have to file the extension and the money you think you are going to owe. If you substantially underpay, you get a substantial underpayment penalty," Ams says. Taxes are due on April 15, period. And yes, the IRS does charge interest.

 

Here are seven reasons why you may want to file early:

 

1.    If you think you have a refund coming, filing early often makes your refund show up faster. In recent years, early filers have received refunds in 21 days. Taxpayers filing nearer the deadline day waited an average of 31 days.

 

2.    If you think you’ll owe taxes, you find out sooner how much you’ll owe. This gives you more time to save up money before the balance comes due. You may also file early and not pay the tax bill until the April 15 deadline – and you have until that date to arrange a payment schedule with the IRS.

 

3.    Your tax preparer has a lot more time – and energy – early in the tax-filing season to talk to you. If preparing your taxes is going to mean several meetings with your preparer and questions for them to answer or research, start ASAP. You also gain more time to correct any errors that crop up during preparation.

 

4.    Filing early forces you to organize such tax documents as your wage and earning statements (forms W-2, K-1, 1099-MISC and 1099-R) and your receipts for deductions and credits. The more time you have to put these documents in order the better you’ll feel about justifying deductions that the IRS often scrutinizes, such as those for home office space or charitable contributions.

 

5.    The last minute is no time to discover a wrinkle that complicatesyour tax situation. Nor is the last minute the time to make a hurried and careless mistake in your return – a mistake that could trigger an audit.

 

6.    About three out of 10 taxpayers still mail paper returns. Filing early spares you from the early-April crowds at the post office.

 

7.    Filing early reduces the risk of some identity thief filing in your name later in the season to steal a refund. Identity thieves can use yoru name and social security number to file a falsified return in your name and claim whatever credits they want to get a refund, says Ams. They may then have it sent to a P.O. Box and by the time you find out, they have disappeared.

 

If your return is not fairly simply, you may want to consult a tax professional for help. You can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels on complex issues, Ams says. If you need tax-preparation help this coming season, you can find a qualified tax preparer in your area, on the NSA website at www.nsacct.org. Click on “Find a Professional” or call 800-966-6679. [Discover More]

 

You can also ask friends or relatives for recommendations, but be sure to find someone with expertise that matches your own financial situation, Ams says. Any tax preparer you use should have a professional tax identification number which he or she uses upon signing your return. You may also qualify for free tax preparation assistance. Click to read

Source: www.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-bargain-hunter/2014/feb/03/tax-tips-7-reasons-file-early
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