Category Archives: Financial Planning

Homeowner Records: What to Keep and How Long

homeowner recordsKeeping full and accurate homeowner records is not only vital for claiming deductions on your tax return, but also for determining the basis or adjusted basis of your home. These records include your purchase contract and settlement papers if you bought the property, or other objective evidence if you acquired it by gift, inheritance, or similar means. You should also keep any receipts, canceled checks, and similar evidence for improvements or other additions to the basis. Continue reading

Settling Tax Debt With an IRS Offer in Compromise

offer in compromiseAn offer in compromise (OIC) is an agreement between a taxpayer and the Internal Revenue Service that settles a taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. That’s the good news. The bad news is that not everyone is eligible to use this option to settle tax debt. In fact, nearly 60 percent of taxpayer requested offers in compromise were rejected by the IRS. If you owe money to the IRS and are wondering if an IRS offer in compromise is the answer, here’s what you need to know. Continue reading

Tax Deductions for Teachers and Educators

Help for educatorsEducators can take advantage of tax deductions for qualified out-of-pocket expenses related to their profession such as classroom supplies, training, and travel. As such, as the new school year begins, teachers, administrators, and aides should remember to keep track of education-related expenses that could help reduce the amount of tax owed next spring. Continue reading

Credit Reports: What You Should Know

reading your credit reportCreditors keep their evaluation standards secret, making it difficult to know just how to improve your credit rating. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand the factors that determine creditworthiness. Periodically reviewing your credit report can also help you protect your credit rating from fraud–and you from identity theft. Continue reading

Your Canceled Debt Could Be Taxable

canceled debtGenerally, debt that is forgiven or canceled by a lender is considered taxable income by the IRS and must be included as income on your tax return. When that debt is forgiven, negotiated down (when you pay less than you owe), or canceled you will receive a Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, from your financial institution or credit union. Form 1099-C shows the amount of canceled or forgiven debt that was reported to the IRS. Creditors who forgive $600 or more of debt are required to issue this form. Continue reading

What to Do If You Receive and IRS CP2000 Notice

form from IRSAn IRS CP2000 notice is mailed to a taxpayer when income reported from third-party sources such as an employer, bank, or mortgage company does not match the income reported on the tax return. Continue reading

Recordkeeping Tips for Small Business Owners

recordkeepingThe key to avoiding headaches at tax time is keeping track of your receipts and other records throughout the year. Whether you use an excel spreadsheet, an app, an online system or keep your receipts organized in a folding file organized by month, good record-keeping will help you remember the various transactions you made during the year. Continue reading

Choosing a Legal Entity for Your Business

starting a new businessIf you’ve decided to start a business, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is choosing a legal entity. It’s a decision that impacts many things–from the amount of taxes you pay to how much paperwork you have to deal with and what type of personal liability you could face. Even if you’ve been in business for a number of years, it’s a good idea to periodically reevaluate your business structure because, as we all know, tax laws can change and that business entity you chose when you first started out may not be the best option ten years later. For example, if you operate your business as a sole proprietor, you must pay a self-employment tax rate of 15% in addition to your individual tax rate; however, if you were to revise your business structure to become a corporation and elect S-Corporation status you could take advantage of a lower tax rate thanks to tax reform. Continue reading