Tax Organizers and Checklists Sent Out

The 2016 tax year business checklists, personal tax organizers, and engagement letters have been emailed or mailed out.

These tools are meant to help you collect the information we need to prepare your 2016 tax returns. Organizing your information in a clear and complete way helps us prepare your tax return as efficiently as possible, saving you time and money.

We encourage you to send us your information via your client portal. Your portal can be used to securely transfer files to our office and/or access your past returns.

If you have any questions, or you did not receive any of this information and need it, please contact us.

We look forward to working with you this tax season!

Five Reasons to Choose Direct Deposit

Easy, safe and fast – that’s direct deposit. It’s the best way to get a tax refund. Eighty percent of taxpayers choose it every year.

IRS Direct Deposit:

  1. Is Fast. The quickest way for taxpayers to get their refund is to electronically file their federal tax return and use direct deposit. Use direct deposit for paper tax returns, too.
  2. Is Secure. Since refunds go right into a bank account, there’s no risk of having a paper check stolen or lost in the mail. This is the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98 percent of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.
  3. Is Convenient.There’s no need to wait for a refund check to come in the mail.
  4. Is Easy.Choosing direct deposit is easy. With e-file, just follow the instructions in the tax software. For paper returns, the tax form instructions serve as a guide. Make sure to enter the correct bank account and routing number.
  5. Has Options. Taxpayers can split a refund into several financial accounts. These include checking, savings, health, education and certain retirement accounts. The U.S. Treasury Department offers a retirement account. It’s called a MyRA account. Designate all or a part of a refund to a new MyRA account. Simply mark the “savings” box in the refund section of the return. Use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (including Savings Bond Purchases), to deposit a refund in up to three accounts. Do not use Form 8888 to designate part of a refund to pay tax preparers.

Taxpayers should deposit refunds into accounts in their own name, their spouse’s name, or both. Avoid making a deposit into accounts owned by others. Some banks require both spouses’ names on the account to deposit a tax refund from a joint return. Taxpayers should check with their bank for direct deposit rules.

There is a limit of three electronic direct deposit refunds made into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card. The IRS will send a notice and a refund check in the mail to taxpayers who exceed the limit. Find tips about direct deposit and the split refund option in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax. View, download and print tax products anytime at IRS.gov/forms.

All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

Source: IRS Tax Tip 2017-03

Know the New Tax Filing Deadlines to Avoid Penalties

There are few things in life as universally applicable as the phrase “timing is everything.” When it comes to your taxes, timing is critical.

With so much focus placed on information that belongs in your tax return – which deductions are allowable and which tax credits are available – it is easy to overlook the new filing deadlines for 2016 tax returns.

Most notable are new due dates for partnership and corporate tax returns and reporting of foreign information. Hefty penalties apply, so knowing the due dates are important.

Read the full article to find out more about the new deadlines.

Source: Chris Thornburgh, bakersfield.com

IRS Sets 2017 Mileage Rates

The Internal Revenue Service issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

As of Jan. 1, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016.
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Source: Hutchinson Leader