Four Things to Consider Now for the Upcoming Tax Season

It’s November already. How can that be possible? The more important question is what are you going to do about it? Although it seems like the last tax season just ended a few months ago, the next tax season is just a few weeks away. That means you should already be preparing for your inevitable tax return. So what can you do to start getting ready?

There are many different things to start thinking about if you’re looking to get started on tax preparation right now. One of those things is to consider a Roth IRA. It might be a good idea for some taxpayers to convert their traditional Roth IRA, which is filled with pre-tax money into an after-tax Roth IRA, because those profits can be withdrawn tax-free.

Another thing that could come into play a lot this year is how taxes will affect those in same-sex marriages. Anyone who has filed previous tax returns as a single because their relationship was not recognized in their state can now go back and file amended returns. If you fall into this category then start looking into those past returns now. 

Last, but not least, another important item to consider is penalties from Obamacare. For those who did not have health insurance this year the fine has gone up considerably from last year. While it is too late to sign up for insurance for the last 10 months, you can file for a hardship exemption.

The bottom line is it’s time to get ready for taxes. Contact GROCO now for more help with your taxes for the upcoming season. We will get you ready. Click here or call 1-877-CPA-2006.

 

Tagged with: ,

IRS Wants A Lot More Than a Coke and a Smile From Coca-Cola, Co.

The Coca-Cola, Co. wants everyone to share a Coke and a smile but the IRS just wants the soft drink company to share it’s profits with the government, in the form of it’s tax bill. The IRS claims that the company has skipped out on more than $3 billion in taxes and interest due from money it earned in foreign countries. According to reports, the IRS audited Coca-Cola for the tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The IRS claims that the results of that audit show that the soft drink maker owes $3.3 billion in missed taxes.

So far, the IRS has not threatened Cola-Cola with any penalties. However, the agency has reportedly informed the company that it has recommended to its top lawyer that the case be litigated. For its part, Coke says that the agency’s claims have no merit. Coke is not the first American company to face these kinds of charges from the IRS, as the agency continues to fight large U.S. corporations over tax dollars for profits earned overseas. Microsoft and Amazon are also facing similar claims form the IRS.

 

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said that the company plans to fight the allegations and do whatever it takes legally to resolve this matter with the IRS. U.S. Corporations must pay the IRS as much as 35 percent of their total profits from around the world in taxes. However, they do not have to pay the tax on foreign profits until they move the money to the U.S. But, because the U.S. charges so much in corporate taxes, many companies simply choose to leave their foreign profits in the countries where they were earned.

Common Trust Fund Questions for Beginners

Are you considering a trust fund? Trust funds are a very useful tool for saving and investing money, but a lot of people aren’t totally sure how to use a trust or even how they work. Trust funds essentially hold assets, like property, a business or money, for the benefit of another person, a group of people or even an organization. There are several common questions regarding trusts, so let’s take a look at some of them.

  • How are trust funds structured – a trust fund is a specially created entity that is held in the state where it was formed. In some states you can create perpetual trust funds, which never end, while other states only allow trusts with a termination date.
  • What are the reasons to use a trust fund – there are many reasons to set up a trust, but one of the best reasons is that they can protect your assets from creditors. Another reason to use a trust is to protect your assets from untrustworthy family members. You can use a trust to save thousands or even millions of dollars from taxes by donating the trust assets to a charity.
  • When is the right time to form a trust – this is a wide-open question because every situation is unique. It depends on your reason for setting up the trust, how much you will be putting into the trust and who will be the beneficiary. It’s best to speak with a professional to determine when the right time is for you.

If you think you are ready to create a trust then come talk with us at GROCO for more ideas and information. One of the biggest factors to consider is how your trust will affect your taxes. We will help you look at all your options and make sure that your trust is set up to be as tax-friendly as possible. Just give us a call at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here to learn more.

Tagged with:

Be Careful of Scams When Donating to Charities

The world is full of good Samaritans, those people who see other people suffering, and want to help or who get involved in a good cause. Donating time, talent and money to charities and other good causes is a noble endeavor. However, as with most things in life, there are always those on the other side of the equation that are looking to take advantage of any situation, even of those who want to help the less fortunate.

Recently, the IRS warned Americans about one such catastrophic event that could lead to scammers trying to take advantage of would-be good Samaritans. South Carolina is still reeling from the horrible and widespread damage from the massive flooding the state sustained from the record-setting rain that recently blasted the area. In the midst of all the terrible destruction, many people were already reaching out to donate money for relief efforts. The bad news, scammers are out in full-force as well.

That led the IRS to issue a warning against these scammers who are standing by to take advantage of the good-hearted people who donate. The IRS says that these kinds of events often bring out many people who are looking to profit from others’ misfortune. To that end, the IRS recommends checking the IRS website to make sure that your donation is actually going to a qualified charitable organization and not into a scam artist’s pocket.

Also, remember to avoid giving out personal information, only use legitimate websites and be sure to get receipts for tax deduction purposes. Do not send or give cash and be careful of any unsolicited emails or phone calls. As always, trust your gut and use your best judgment in order to avoid being scammed.

 

Tagged with: ,

FATCA Is Officially Underway

We’ve been talking about it for months and according to the IRS, FATCA is now officially underway. The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act is live and the IRS is actively exchanging information with several other countries that have signed on. So what does that mean for you and your information if you have funds in a foreign bank account? Is your information now subject to the IRS?

According to the nation’s top tax agency, at this time it is only sharing information in reciprocal exchanges that meet the agency’s strict requirements and security standards. FATCA was first passed in 2010, but most of the law didn’t take effect until this year. Any foreign institution that doesn’t comply stands to be frozen out of the all-important U.S. markets. In other words, compliance really isn’t an option.

The IRS is now offering a searchable financial institution list, as well as a downloadable tool, plus a user guide. All foreign financial institutions that have signed up with FATCA have to disclose names, addresses, account numbers and information and U.S. ID numbers. Taxpayers also need to be aware that reporting their foreign account information with FATCA is not enough. They must still file their FBARs, and a Form 8938 might also be necessary.

Make sure you don’t overlook these forms or you will wind up paying penalties: civil and possibly criminal. Sometimes the civil penalties, or the financial fines, could actually exceed the amount in your foreign account. While FATCA is really just getting started, you better not wait to get in compliance. GROCO can help you prepare for FATCA, as well as with your FBARs and your Form 8938. Click here to contact us or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

 

Tagged with:

Which Tax Law Is Really Hurting Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is known for a lot of things. Some of the world’s greatest technological advances and ideas have come from companies located in the Silicon Valley. Likewise, some of the world’s most innovative and largest companies were born in Silicon Valley and still call it home today. Many people have found great success and riches in Silicon Valley, including many employees who helped build companies from the ground up.

There is a big problem, though, for many of these kinds of employees. There is a tax provision that is really hurting people who have worked for many years for start-ups or newer companies and have helped them become successful and valuable companies. However, when it coms time for many of these employees to leave their job or simply to cash out their stock options, they can’t really afford to pay the required cash outlay.

This problem should have been fixed when companies were allowed to give employees incentive stock options. However, in 1982, Congress changed that rule when it turned exercising an incentive stock option into a tax preference as part of the AMT. That meant any gain on the exercise of incentive stock was now taxed. This is very problematic for any employee in this boat, which is having a hard time exercising his or her options. In some cases, even if they can’t sell the stock, some employees end up owing tax on phantom income but they have no money to pay for it.

This tax provision is clearly causing problem for many people who have helped make Silicon Valley what it is today. And it’s a problem that the government should fix.

Tagged with: ,

Things to Consider for Your 2015 Capital Gains Tax

There are all kinds of investors in the world. Some are looking to make a quick buck by buying and then quickly selling stocks as soon as they increase in value. Other investors buy stocks with an eye toward the future, which means they are in it for the long haul.

In any case, anyone who invests wants to be successful at it. It’s a great feeling to buy stock in a company and see that stock increase in value. However, at some point if you plan on selling that stock and cashing in or your gains, you will have to give a portion of those gains to the taxman. What percentage you will owe will depend on the size of your gain and how long you have owned the stock.

The government wants investors to hold onto their stocks longer. To encourage this they have a lower tax percentage on stocks held longer than a year. Whether you’re a quick turnaround trader or a long-term investor here’s what you should be aware of in 2015 for your capital gains taxes.

First, generally all you need to know to determine your capital gains is the difference between what you paid for the stock and how much you sold it for. When you know that amount then you can calculate the tax. Your tax rate will depend on which bracket you’re in. There are three that apply:

  • If your ordinary income puts you in the 10-15 percent tax bracket, then your long-term capital gains rate is 0 percent.
  • If your ordinary income falls in one of the 25, 28, 33, or 35 percent tax brackets then your long-term capital gains rate is 15 percent.
  • If your ordinary income is in the 39.6% tax bracket, then your long-term capital gains rate is 20%.

There are a few other caveats to remember. For high-income earners, there is an additional 3.8 percent surtax on net investment income. Also, you only pay taxes on the net of your capital gains, which can make a big difference if you sell more than one stock in a year. If you want to learn more about capital gains taxes then please contact GROCO for more answers. Click here or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

Tagged with: ,

What’s the Hold Up On A $5.22 Million Tax Refund?

What would you do if you filed your tax return and it showed that you were owed a refund of $5.22 million dollars? However, despite the fact that your return was legitimate the IRS still hadn’t paid up. It’s not a very common scenario, but nevertheless that is exactly what is happening to one man from Ireland who won more than $17 million while gambling in the U.S.

One of the richest men in Ireland, John P. McManus, earned $17.4 million in gambling winnings in the United States way back in 2012. He sent $5.22 million to the IRS, however, that was a mistake. Mr. McManus filed a non-resident U.S. federal income tax return describing his winnings and the amount withheld. He also explained why he should be able to get the money back because of an international tax treaty.

His return was then selected for an audit in 2014. However, the IRS approved his return a few months later. End of story, right? Not exactly. The claim was then sent to another department for further review. So what happened next? By all accounts, nothing has happened since and the IRS has failed to take any further action on the claim. Mr. McManus has decided to file a lawsuit against the U.S. to get his money back. According to his lawyer, the IRS is well aware of the law and they simply need to return his client’s money.

Tagged with: ,

Do You Know How to Stay Wealthy?

Most wealthy people work tirelessly to obtain their wealth and then continue to practice the same principles to maintain that wealth. However, achieving wealth and maintaining wealth over the long haul are two entirely different things. Therefore, it’s important to have the right advance plan in place if you wish to hold onto the wealth that you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

So what kinds of measures should you take to keep your wealth? The simple answer is that it takes some careful planning ahead. Advance planning often takes the skilled help of an experienced accounting and wealth management firm. That’s because in order to effectively hold onto your wealth you need to utilize every necessary and legal measure it takes, including tax planning and financial planning.

There are three major components to effectively protecting your wealth. They include asset protection planning, wealth enhancement and estate planning. All three of these factors are important elements to advance planning and protecting your wealth. Asset protection planning means you take the necessary steps and planning to protect your wealth from being taken. Wealth enhancement consists of effectively planning and strategizing in order to keep your taxes to a minimum, and thus keeping more of your wealth to yourself.

Finally, estate planning is using legal measures to ensure that your assets and your loved ones are taken care of after you die. At GROCO, we can assist you with all of these kinds of advance planning tactics. Click here to learn more or give us a call at 1-877-CPA-2006.

Tagged with:

More Proof the Wealthy Are Paying More Taxes

Depending on whom you ask, the wealthiest Americans either don’t pay enough in taxes and should be forced to pay more, or they pay way too much already and should be given a break. As with most cases, there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.

According to the Tax Foundation, there is a lot of evidence that the wealthy are indeed already paying a lot more in taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, 2013 was a big year for tax hikes aimed at the wealthy. Not only was a new 39.6 percent tax bracket created but also the top rate on capital gains was raised to 20 percent. It didn’t stop there, either. The Affordable Care Act’s new 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax also went into affect.

So just how big of an impact have all these changes had on high-income earners in the country. For starters, those with yearly incomes of more than $500,000 saw their effective income tax rates soar from one year to the next. Those making between $1 and $2 million jumped from 24.2 percent to 28.6 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Meanwhile, for those who made more than $10 million experienced a jump from 19.8 percent to 26.1 percent. That equals a tax hike of more than 1.5 million. The numbers don’t lie and these numbers show that high-income earners have definitely experienced an increase in taxes recently. If you want to keep your taxes down, then contact GROCO to find out how. Click here or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

Tagged with: ,
Top