Tax Tips
Potentially Deductible Employment Costs
  • Depreciation on a computer or cellular telephone required to do your job.
  • Dues to chambers of commerce, professional societies and unions.
  • Education that is employment-related.
  • Home office or part of your home used regularly and exclusively in your work.
  • Job-search expenses in your present occupation.
  • Legal fees related to doing or keeping your job.
  • Licenses and regulatory fees as well as occupational taxes.
  • Malpractice insurance premiums.
  • Medical examinations required by an employer.
  • Passport for a business trip.
  • Subscriptions to professional journals and trade magazines related to your work.
  • Tools and supplies used in your work.
  • Travel, transportation, entertainment and gift expenses related to your work.
  • Work clothes and uniforms, and their upkeep costs.

Meeting IRS work-related guidelines

Of course, the IRS has some ground rules when it comes to determining precisely whether these unreimbursed costs can be counted.

Your expenses must have been required for you to carry out the job for which you were hired and must be what the IRS calls "ordinary and necessary." This means the item or service is common and accepted in your line of work and is appropriate and helpful to your job.



 
Appointment Edicate - Please come prepared

Before showing up to your appointment, faxing, emailing or overnighting your documents, please make sure you have all of your paperwork together. This will minimize the amount of time it takes to complete your taxes and receiving your refunds.

Do you have all your W-2's, 1099-R's, Day Care Information - including the name, address and Tax Identification number, Dependant Information - including social security cards and dates of birth?

Do you have your interest income statements, mortgage interest or dividend statements?

Want direct deposit? Do you have your account number and routing number?

Filing business taxes? Do you know what your income and expenses are?

Did you or a dependant attend college or take any type of educational courses in 2015?

We want to make your appointment as smooth as possible, but you have to be completely prepared to complete your taxes in one appointment. Below is a list that will help you prepare for this years tax season!

 

Tax Preparation for Personal Information
The IRS needs to know who is filing the tax return, as well as how many people are covered on it. To make this easy, they require:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your spouse’s Social Security number (if married)
  • Social Security numbers for any dependents

Tax Preparation for Income Information
The following documents will help you prepare all the income information that you need to file a federal tax return:

  • W-2 Forms from all employers you (and your spouse, if filing a joint return) worked for during the past tax year.
  • 1099 Forms if you (or your spouse) completed contract work and earned more than $600.
  • Investment income information (including: interest income, dividend income, proceeds from the sale of bonds or stocks, and income from foreign investments).
  • Income from local and state tax refunds from the prior year.
  • Business income (accounting records for any business that you own)
  • Unemployment income
  • Rental property income
  • Social Security benefits
  • Miscellaneous income (including: jury duty, lottery and gambling winnings, Form 1099-MISC for prizes and awards, and Form 1099-MSA for distributions from medical savings accounts)

Tax Preparation for Income Adjustments
The following adjustments can help reduce how much you owe in taxes, and in turn, increase your chance of receiving a tax refund:

  • Homebuyer tax credit
  • Green energy credits
  • IRA contributions
  • Mortgage interest
  • Student loan interest
  • Medical Savings Account (MSA) contributions
  • Self-employed health insurance
  • Moving expenses

Tax Preparation for Credits and Deductions
There are many tax credits and tax deductions for various expenses, which are designed to help lower the amount of tax that an individual has to pay:

  • Education costs
  • Childcare costs
  • Adoption costs
  • Charitable contributions/donations
  • Casualty and theft losses
  • Qualified business expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Job and moving expenses

Tax Preparation for Direct Deposit
Are you interested in having your tax refund directly deposited into your bank account? If so, you will need to provide two things:

  • Your bank account number
  • The bank’s routing number

This tax forms / preparation checklist should help you get organized before filing your next income tax return.

 

 
Owe Taxes?

Before showing up to your next appointment knowing you have an outstanding debt with the IRS and/or State, consider making your payment now. Debts only slow down the processing time of receiving your refund. However, having a debt should not prevent you from filing your taxes on time. If the IRS or State confiscates your tax return, so be it. That will be one less debt to worry about.

You can pay your federal tax debt by using your credit or debit card. Please click on this link to get started and following the instructions.
http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=97400,00.html

or you can pay your NY taxes at this link: http://www.tax.ny.gov/pay/ind/pay_your_income_tax.htm

NJ taxes at this link: http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/payelect.shtml

All other states please visit our resources page and click on your state.

 

 
Understanding your IRS Notice or Letter

About Your Notice

If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS, it will explain the reason for the correspondence and provide instructions. Many of these letters and notices can be dealt with simply, without having to call or visit an IRS office.

The notice you receive covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return. Generally, the IRS will send a notice if it believes you owe additional tax, or are due a larger refund. If there is a question about your tax return or if there's a need for additional information, you can give the IRS a call at 1-800-829-1040 or you can give give us a call for guidance.

For additional help, please click on the following link: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96199,00.html

 
9 Overlooked Tax Breaks

1. Additional charitable gifts:

Everyone remembers to count the monetary gifts they make to their favorite charities. But expenses incurred while doing charitable work often aren't counted on tax returns.

So can the use of your vehicle for charitable purposes, such as delivering meals to the homebound in your community or taking the Scout troop on an outing. The IRS will let you deduct that travel at 14 cents per mile.


2. Moving expenses

Most taxpayers know they can write off many moving expenses when they relocate to take another job. But what about your first job? Yes, the IRS allows this write-off then, too. A recent college graduate who gets a first job at a distance from where he or she has been living is eligible for this tax break.


3. Job hunting costs

While college students can't deduct the costs of hunting for that new job across the country, already-employed workers can. Costs associated with looking for a new job in your present occupation, including fees for resume preparation and employment of outplacement agencies, are deductible as long as you itemize.


4. Military reservists' travel expenses

Members of the military reserve forces and National Guard who travel more than 100 miles and stay overnight for the training exercises can deduct related expenses. This includes the cost of lodging and half the cost of meals. If you drive to the training, be sure to track your miles. You can deduct them on your 2010 return at 50 cents per mile, along with any parking or toll fees for driving your own car. You get this deduction whether or not you itemize, but you will have to fill out Form 2106.


5. Child, and more, care credit

Millions of parents claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit each year to help cover the costs of after-school day care while mom and dad work. But some parents overlook claiming the tax credit for child care costs during the summer. This tax break also applies to summer day camp costs. The key here is that the camp is a day-only getaway that supervises the child while the parents work. You can't claim overnight camp costs.

Remember, too, the dual nature of the credit's name: child and dependent. If you have an adult dependent who needs care so that you can work, those expenses can be claimed under this tax credit.

6. Mortgage refi points

When you buy a house, you get to deduct the points paid on the loan on your tax return for that year of purchase. But if you refinance your home loan, you might be able to deduct those points, too, as long as you use refinanced mortgage proceeds to improve your principal residence.

7. Many medical costs

Taxpayers who itemize deductions know how difficult it often is to reach the 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income threshold required before you can claim any medical expenses. It might be easier to clear that earnings hurdle if you look at miscellaneous medical costs. Some of these include travel expenses to and from medical treatments, insurance premiums you pay for from already-taxed income and even alcohol- or drug-abuse treatments.

Self-employed taxpayers who are not covered by any other employer-paid plan, for example, one carried by a spouse, can deduct 100 percent of health insurance premiums as an adjustment to income in the section at the bottom of Page 1 of Form 1040.


8. Retirement tax savings

The Retirement Savings Contribution Credit was created to give moderate- and low-income taxpayers an incentive to save. When you contribute to a retirement account, either an IRA (traditional or Roth) or a workplace plan, you can get a tax savings for up to 50 percent of the first $2,000 you put into such accounts. This means you get a $1,000 tax credit, which is a tax break that directly reduces dollar for dollar any tax you owe.

9. Educational expenses

The Internal Revenue Code offers many tax-saving options for individuals who want to further their educations. The tuition and fees deduction can help you take up to $4,000 off your taxable income and is available without having to itemize.

The Lifetime Learning Credit could provide some students (or their parents) up to a $2,000 credit.

Don't forget the American Opportunity tax credit, which offers a dollar-for-dollar tax break of up to $2,500. This new education tax break was created as part of the 2009 stimulus package as a short-term replacement for the Hope tax credit and subsequently was extended through tax year 2012.

**Some of these tax breaks can save some filers a nice chunk of tax money. With others, the savings might be relatively small. But when it comes to taxes, every bit of savings helps. So make sure you don't overlook any of these possible tax breaks as you finish up your 2011 return.



 

 
Retirement savings credit doubles payoff

Contributors to retirement plans already know the long-term tax advantages of an IRA or 401(k). Taxes are deferred, and in some cases never collected, on money put away for the golden years.


Now a tax credit will let some savers reap the rewards of their retirement thrift early.

The retirement savings contributions credit, also called the saver's credit, appears on Form 1040 and Form 1040A tax returns as a way to reward lower-wage earners who sock away retirement money.

Because the tax break is a credit instead of a deduction, it's a better deal. Tax deductions reduce taxable income, but credits come into play after you calculate how much tax you owe and they reduce your Internal Revenue Service bill dollar for dollar. For example, if you owe $500 and you are eligible for a $250 credit, the check you have to write to Uncle Sam is cut in half.