Month: April 2019

Got Tax Refund Blues in 2019? 4 Tips to Make 2020 Better

Surprised by a Small or Non-Existent 2019 Tax Refund? You’re Not Alone

When tax season rolls around, the news media goes into overdrive: sharing everything from restaurants that offer Tax Day deals to last minute tax-saving tips.

This year? The headlines have taxpayers feeling nervous: “If your tax refund is smaller or you owe taxes, CPAs explain why,” reads a NOLA.com article with many comments. “Seven reasons why your 2019 tax refund is so small,” makes the front page of the Sonoma Valley Sun.

So, what changed in 2018 to generate this taxpayer alarm over 2019 tax refunds?

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Reporting Foreign Income for US Tax Payers

Reporting Foreign Income for U.S. Taxpayers

If you are living or working outside the United States, you generally must file and pay your tax in the same way as people living in the U.S. This includes people with dual citizenship.

In addition, U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts exceeding certain thresholds may be required to file Form FinCen114, known as the “FBAR” as well as Form 8938, also referred to as “FATCA.”

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Fringe Benefit Deductions Change and Affect Business

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included a number of tax law changes that affect small businesses such as deductions for fringe benefit, which can affect both a business’s bottom line and its employees’ deductions. Here’s a summary of what these are:

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Refundable vs. Non-Refundable Tax Credits

Tax credits can reduce your tax bill or give you a bigger refund, but not all tax credits are created equal. While most tax credits are refundable, some credits are nonrefundable, but before we take a look at the difference between refundable and nonrefundable tax credits, it’s important to understand the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction.

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The Qualified Small Business Stock Exclusion

As the driving force in today’s economy, small businesses benefit from numerous tax breaks in the tax code. One of these, the Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS), was made permanent by the PATH Act (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015). If you’re a small business investor, here’s what you need to know about this often-overlooked tax break.

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Don’t Delay: Late Tax Filing and Late Payment Penalties

April 15 (April 17 if you live in Maine or Massachusetts) is the deadline for most people to file their federal income tax return and pay any taxes they owe. The bad news is that if you miss the deadline (for whatever reason), you may be assessed penalties for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline. The good news is that there is no penalty if you file a late tax return but are due a refund.

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Six Tips for Last-Minute Tax Filers

Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes but many people find preparing their tax return to be stressful and frustrating and wait until the last minute. Complicating matters this year is tax reform and the newly redesigned Form 1040. If you’ve been procrastinating on filing your tax return this year, here are six tips that might help.

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Scam Alert: Fake Calls from Taxpayer Advocate Service

Like clockwork, every year, there’s a new twist on old scams. This year, it is the IRS impersonation phone scam whereby criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. The TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that help protect your taxpayer rights. TAS can help if you need assistance resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. Typically, a taxpayer would contact TAS for help first, and only then would TAS reach out to the taxpayer. TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers out of the blue.

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