Employers that hire Holiday Help: Understand the Health Care Laws Rules Around Seasonal Workers

The following article was published by the IRS.

baubleAs an employer, your size for purposes of the Affordable Care Act is determined by the number of your employees. If you hire seasonal or holiday workers, you should know how these employees are counted under the health care law.

Employer benefits, opportunities and requirements are dependent upon your organizations size and the applicable rules. If you have at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during the prior year, you are an ALE for the current calendar year. However, there is an exception for seasonal workers. Continue reading

Posted in Corporate Taxes, Health Care, Planning Strategies, Self-Employed, Worker Classification | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Protect Your Credit Card on Cyber Monday

The following YouTube video is from CNET.

Black Friday is behind us, but the holiday shopping deals have just begun. Today, commonly known as Cyber Monday, is a chance for consumers to purchase goods from online retailers at significant markdowns.

But those increased savings often come with some added risk. For one, this weekend is a “superbowl” of sorts for credit card fraudsters, as the uptick in online transactions brings with it greater opportunities to take advantage of vulnerable customers.

While that may be the bad news, the good news is that there are some practical steps you can make to significantly lower this risk: Continue reading

Posted in Credit, Data Security, Identity Theft, Personal Finance, Technology, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Help for Self-Employed and Sharing Economy

The following article was published by the IRS.

calculatorAs tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers who are self-employed or involved in the sharing economy to know about free resources that are available to help them with their taxes.

Sole proprietors and independent contractors can get helpful information from the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. This resource includes online tools such as the Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed, which has key tax dates and necessary actions for each month of the year. Continue reading

Posted in Accounting, Bookkeeping, Personal Finance, Planning Strategies, Self-Employed, Tax Tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

There was once a time, not so long ago, where Black Friday was the only designated “deep discount” shopping day during the busy holiday shopping season.  Now, there are more options, including Cyber Monday and other pre-Black Friday sales.  In fact, Black Friday itself now starts on Thursday!

Confused yet? Well don’t be. While there is some overlap between both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are some key differences as well.  For one, Black Friday is traditionally geared towards brick and mortar stores (with a growing online presence every year), while Cyber Monday is almost exclusively online. Continue reading

Posted in Personal Finance, Planning Strategies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Preparedness Series: Special Tax Breaks for U. S. Armed Forces

The following article was published by the IRS.

SoldierAs tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service wants members of the military and their families to know about the special tax benefits available to them.

IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, is a free booklet packed with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all tax benefits allowed by law. Here are some of those tax benefits.

  • Combat pay is partially or fully tax-free. Service members serving in support of a combat zone may also qualify for this exclusion.
  • Reservists whose reserve-related duties take them more than 100 miles from home can deduct their unreimbursed travel expenses, even if they dont itemize their deductions.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit may be worth up to $6,269 for low-and moderate-income service members. A special computation method is available for those who receive nontaxable combat pay. Choosing to include it in taxable income may boost the EITC, meaning owing less tax or getting a larger refund.
  • An IRA or 401(k)-type plan might mean saving for retirement and cutting taxes too. Service members who contribute to a plan, such as the Thrift Savings Plan, may also be able to claim the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit.
  • An automatic extension to file a federal income tax return is available to U.S. service members stationed abroad. Also, those serving in a combat zone typically have until 180 days after they leave the combat zone to file and to pay any tax due. For more information see Miscellaneous Provisions Combat Zone Service.
  • Most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the April deadline.
  • Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return, but if one spouse is absent due to certain military duty or conditions, the other spouse may be able to sign for him or her. A power of attorney is required in other instances. A military installations legal office may be able to help.
  • Those leaving the military and looking for work may be able to deduct some job search expenses, such as the costs of travel, preparing a resume and job placement agency fees. Moving expenses may also qualify for a tax deduction.
Posted in EITC, Tax Extensions, Tax Tips, Veterans | Tagged , , , ,

How to Budget When You’re Broke

To some, budgets are boring or seemingly pointless. But, in reality they are critical to making progress with your financial goals, such as buying a house, traveling, or getting out of debt.

For those who consider themselves broke, budgeting may seem nothing short of impossible. After all, how do you properly allocate a resource you don’t have much of in the first place? While this may seem like a catch-22, there is never a more important time to create a road map for your money than when you have very little.

There are several steps you must take in order to make budgeting a success.  Here are the most important:

  1. Assess your situation. Include everything that comes in and everything that goes out.  Keep an eye out for irregular expenses as well, making sure to plan for those over time.  Failure to do so is one of the major reasons why budgets fail.
  2. Cut, cut cut.
    • Make a list of your problem spending areas and focus your attention there.
    • Find ways to cut back on your recurring bills.
    • Embrace frugality.
  3. Prioritize your money goals.
    • Have an emergency fund.
    • Pay down your debt.
    • Break your financial goals into smaller ones that are more manageable and attainable.
  4. Look for opportunities to increase your income. Your paycheck doesn’t have to be your only way to earn. Search the Internet for ideas related to side jobs and other creative ways to boost your income.  Doing so will give breathing room to your budget, allowing it to gradually grow with your changing lifestyle.
Posted in Accounting, Bookkeeping, Personal Finance, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New Law Sets Jan. 31 W-2 Filing Deadline; Some Refunds Delayed Until Feb. 15

The following article was published by the IRS.

calendarA new federal law moves up the W-2 filing deadline for employers and small businesses to Jan. 31. The new law makes it easier for the IRS to find and stop refund fraud. It also delays some taxpayer refunds. Those taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit wont see refunds until Feb.15, at the earliest.

Here are some key points to keep in mind: Continue reading

Posted in Child Tax Credit, IRS, Planning Strategies, Self-Employed | Tagged , , , ,