Tax time is tough, there’s no question about it, but it’s even more challenging when you’re self-employed and trying to deal with the sometimes confusing rules and recordkeeping that can go hand in hand with running your own show. The Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) answers some of the most frequent questions about taxes and self-employment and offers tips that can help you lower your tax bill.
Will your tax bill this year include taxes on your Social Security benefits? About 55 million people receive monthly Social Security payments and some of them pay taxes on up to 85 percent of those benefits, depending on their financial situation. Will you have to ante up to Uncle Sam when you begin to collect Social Security? If you’re not certain - or if you’re currently being taxed on your benefits - the Minnesota Society of CPAs (MNCPA) offers advice on ways to minimize your outlay.
What do you want to do now, or next year, or five or 10 years down the road? This is the time of year when people step back and consider where they stand and how close they are to achieving long-held goals. No matter what your objectives, there’s no doubt that a sound financial plan will put you in a better position to achieve them, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Every year taxpayers make mistakes on their tax returns that range from silly to serious. What kinds of errors should you keep in mind as you get ready to file this year’s return? The Minnesota Society of CPAs highlights three common missteps to avoid.
With significant changes made to the federal and Minnesota tax rules in 2013, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants would like to remind taxpayers of the importance of tax planning and understanding how the new rules affect their respective tax situations.
Taxpayer identify theft continues to increase in the U.S. In 2012, there were 1.8 million incidents of identity theft and fraudulent tax refunds, creating a $5 billion problem, according to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In the first half of 2013, the number of tax-related identity thefts had already surpassed the 2012 number.
Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone intentionally uses the personal information of another person to file a false tax return with the intention of obtaining an unauthorized refund, according to the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants. Victims are left dealing with the aftermath, which can be emotionally draining as they work for years to untangle the financial nightmare. Taxpayers should know how to protect themselves and what to do if they become victims.
You can’t put it off any longer: Effective Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Actt requires all Americans to maintain a minimum level of health coverage or face a tax penalty. While some people are flocking to www.healthcare.gov to research and purchase their insurance, others are unsure how to proceed.
Now is the time for individuals to educate themselves about their options for purchasing insurance and the steps needed to take to make sure they’re complying with the law, according to the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
What are your holiday shopping plans this year? American retail holiday spending totaled about $580 billion in 2012, according to the National Retail Foundation, up 3 percent from the previous year. This is clearly a time of year when people dig deep into their pockets to pay for holiday gifts and celebrations, but that doesn’t have to put a dent in your budget. The Minnesota Society of CPAs offers advice on how to make smart spending plans.
If you’re thinking of replacing your car, you may also be wondering if you should lease or buy the replacement vehicle. Leasing a vehicle used to be commonplace only for businesses because of the tax write-off. But now with deals like zero money down, low monthly payments or zero-percent interest, leasing has become a popular option for the general public.