FAQs on the Early Release of the 2020 Form W-4

The following article was published by the IRS.

soap-bubble-63982_1280 (1)1. Why redesign Form W-4?
The new design reduces the form’s complexity and increases the transparency and accuracy of the withholding system. While it uses the same underlying information as the old design, it replaces complicated worksheets with more straightforward questions that make accurate withholding easier for employees.

2. What happened to withholding allowances?
Allowances are no longer used for the redesigned Form W-4 to increase transparency, simplicity, and accuracy. In the past, the value of a withholding allowance was tied to the amount of the personal exemption. Due to changes in law, currently you cannot claim personal exemptions or dependency exemptions. Continue reading

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Sudden Money: Managing a Windfall

Striking it big with the lottery is a dream for many, but a reality for few. But the fact is, you are far more likely to receive a sudden windfall of money from another source than the lottery. Whether it be an inheritance, a bonus at work, or a tax refund, it is important to know what to do when you become the fortunate beneficiary of a large sum of money.

The rules of how to handle a windfall are the same whether it be $3,000,000 or $3,000:

  • Rule 1: Do Nothing. No exotic trips, no loans to family. Take at least a month to plot your course, more if the sum is substantial.
  • Rule 2: Pay Off Debt. When you start spending the money, the first thing you should do is pay off creditors.
  • Rule 3: Have Fun. That is, after all, one of the main things in life. Buy something you’ve always wanted, or take a trip somewhere you’ve never been.
  • Rule 4: Invest. If you don’t know how, learn. If you don’t know what to do, find an expert who does. No matter what, get a fee-based financial planner, not one who works off commissions.

Bottom line: when money falls in your lap unexpectedly, take your time, get out of debt, have fun, and invest for your future.

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Taxpayers Should Be on the Lookout for New Versions of These Two Scams

The following article was published by the IRS.

binary-1327493_1280With scam artists hard at work all year, taxpayers should be on the lookout for a surge of evolving phishing emails and telephone scams.

Taxpayers should watch for new versions of two tax-related scams. One involves Social Security numbers related to tax issues. The other threatens taxpayers with a tax bill from a fictional government agency. Here are some details about these scams to help taxpayers recognize them: Continue reading

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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

The following video was published by the IRS

The Individual Taxpayer Identification Program (or ITIN for short) is for people who must file or pay U.S. taxes but who are not eligible for a SSN. A change in the law required ITINs issued before 2013 to expire, and the IRS is renewing them over several years based on their middle digits.

If your ITIN is or has been up for renewal and you will have a filing requirement, you should submit a W-7 ITIN Renewal Application. Those ITINs with middle digits 83, 84, 85, 86, and 87 will expire at the end of this year. They can be renewed now along with any ITINs that expired in earlier years. Continue reading

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Business Taxpayers Should Take Another Look at Their Estimated Tax Payments

The following article was published by the IRS.

american-3385073_1280Taxpayers who pay quarterly estimated tax payments may want to revisit the amount they pay.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed the way most taxpayers calculate their tax. These taxpayers include those with substantial income not subject to withholding, such as small business owners and self-employed individuals.

The tax reform changes include:

  • Revised tax rates and brackets
  • New and revised business deductions
  • Limiting or discontinuing deductions
  • Increasing the standard deduction
  • Removing personal exemptions
  • Increasing the child tax credit

As a result of these changes, many taxpayers may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they pay each quarter through estimated taxes. Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Taxes, IRS, Personal Taxes, Planning Strategies, Self-Employed, Small Business, Tax Law Changes, Tax Payments, Tax Relief, Tax Tips, Taxes | Tagged , , , , , ,

How to Refinance Your Home Loan

If you are a homeowner, you probably have a mortgage. Mortgages are typically the largest loan a person has, or ever will have. This means that the rate you pay on your loan matters. While mortgage rates have risen slightly, they are still historically low. So should you refinance to lock in a lower rate? Here are the steps to find out:

  1. Find out how much you will spend. Add up all the fees associated with a potential refinance, including both government and lender fees.
  2. Find out how much a lower rate will save you.
  3. Divide the cost by the monthly savings to determine how many months it will take to break even. For example, if your total fees are $2000, and you save $100/month, it will take you 20 months to break even.

It’s typically rather simple to find out how much you will save, thanks to an abundance of online calculators. The tricky part is determining the cost. It’s important to talk to several lenders and even a title company to make sure you understand all the fees that will be associated with your refinance.

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Here’s How a Name Change Affects a Tax Return

The following article was published by the IRS.

people-2595862_1280When someone legally changes their name, there are tax consequences they need to know about, especially at tax time. People change their names for several reasons:

  • Taking their spouse’s last name after a marriage
  • Hyphenating their last name with their spouse’s after getting married
  • Going back to their former name after a divorce
  • Giving an adopted child the last name of their new family

The IRS wants people experiencing a name change to remember these important things: Continue reading

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