Are You Looking To Invest for Growth?

What kind of investor are you? There are many types of investment strategies and each person will follow the strategy that best fits his or her plan. At GROCO, we can help all kinds of investors, including those who are investing for growth. When it comes to long-term growth, the total return on your investment is what matters most.

Long-term investing is not for everyone. As the name implies long-term investing means you will need to practice patience. That means if you expect to get a valuable return then you have to be in it for the long haul. So given that you are looking for long-term investment growth, what factors do you need to keep in mind?

First, you need to determine when is the best time to purchase stocks. Many investors try to pick the perfect time according to market fluctuations, however, in actuality, the best time to get involved in investing is whenever you have the money available to invest.

You will also need to properly allocate your assets, with the right amount going into stocks and the right amount going into bonds. According to one tax expert, over the long haul, bonds have shown to have more risk than stocks when investors have held them for longer periods of time, including for more than 10 years.

To some, investing is a crapshoot, while to others it is an art form. Either way, if you have more questions regarding long-term investment growth then give GROCO a call today at 1-877-CPA-2006. You can also click here click here to learn more.

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Will Your Tax Refund Be Delayed?

It’s only January, but because the calendar has turned to 2015, that means the tax season is officially here. While most people don’t file their taxes in January, there are a few early birds who go after the first worms of the year, so-to-speak. Although it’s often a good idea to make sure the IRS, and your tax preparer, has all the new tax laws in place before you file your taxes, it sounds like filing early this year could be a good idea.

That’s because for those who want to get their refund back quickly the longer they wait to file could mean the longer they wait to get that refund. Of course, in any year most people who wait to file will have to wait longer to get their refund. The more returns the IRS has to check the longer it’s going to take, so naturally if you wait to file, chances are you’ll wait longer to see the money in your account.

However, it appears that this year the wait could be even longer than normal, that’s because according to recent reports, budget cuts at the IRS could really slow things down. While IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen assures the country that everyone’s return will indeed get processed, he also says that with the agencies limited resources this year, including employees, that the IRS will most likely not be able to provide filers with refunds as quickly as they have in the past.

However, the commissioner did not give an estimated timetable for how long people might have to wait to see their refunds, only that it could take longer. The IRS is feeling the pinch in resources after Congress cut its budget by $346 million for the coming year, which ends in September.

Whatever the case, you can contact GROCO anytime you are ready to start preparing your tax return this season. Just call us today at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here to get in touch with us online.

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With Gas Prices Down, Could Gas Taxes Be Going Up?

Rich or poor, young or old, no one likes high gas prices – with the possible exception of oil and gas companies. In any case, the recent drop in gas prices around the country has no doubt brought some relief to just about everyone in America, including big corporations that own large fleets of vehicles.

However, just when everyone was starting to get excited by the continuing decline in the prices at the pump, some lawmakers think that now might be the perfect time to add a little more tax to price of gas. The federal gas tax currently sits at 18.4 cents a gallon and it hasn’t increased since 1993. In addition to the federal gas tax, most states also charge additional gas taxes, with the average rate per state being 23.5 cents a gallon.

Despite the fact motorists hate any type of increase in gas prices, lawmakers have seen the real value of the gas tax diminish thanks to inflation since 1993. In fact, the gas tax only generates about two-thirds the amount of real dollars it did 21 years ago. Because the real buying power of that gas tax revenue has declined that means there is now less money to repair bridges and roads.

Because America’s roads, both locally and nationally, are reportedly in such bad condition and the federal Highway Trust Fund is essentially broke, lawmakers are seriously considering raising gas prices.

However, that being said, the conversation about raising gas taxes has yet to reach the forefront of hot topics in Washington, as the government still has many other issues to settle that are more pressing.

Meantime, if you need help saving a little more on your next return or planning for this coming year’s taxes, then contact GROCO today by clicking here.

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Not Living on the Earth? You Still Have to Pay Your Taxes on Time

You gotta hand it to the IRS for being thorough. They’ll leave no stone unturned in an effort to make sure that every taxpayer files their return. That’s even true of very big stones, otherwise known as asteroids. In other words, even if an astronaut wanted to hide behind an asteroid or a moon rock, he or she would still have to file a tax return on time.

That’s right, when it comes to filing taxes, unless you go through the proper channels and file for an extension, then you must pay your taxes on time, even if you’re an astronaut in the middle of space from January 1 to April 15. So what is a space traveler to do if he or she ends up in orbit when taxes are due?

Well, like any other traveler back here on the ground can do, they need to contact a good accountant. Although this situation may not apply to a lot of people right now, as more and more people and businesses in the private sector delve into space travel it could definitely come into play more often and for more people, including the ultra-wealthy who are behind these new space travel endeavors.

Meantime, there are many other world travelers that spend many months at a time abroad. Just like astronauts, they too need to make sure they file their taxes on time. If you count yourself among the many who spend a lot of time away from home, including some of the very wealthy, then make sure you don’t overlook your tax planning and preparing duties. Contact GROCO and you can have peace of mind that your taxes will be taken care of, whether you’re in Europe, Asia, and Australia or even in space.

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Hello? Is This Really the IRS, or Just a Scam?

No one enjoys getting a call from the IRS, but getting a call from someone who claims to be from the IRS, but who is really just a scammer, is even worse. However, according to the country’s top tax agency, that is exactly the kind of sophisticated and elaborate scam that has been going on lately.

The IRS says that the scam has occurred all over the country and has even taken aim at recent immigrants. According to the IRS, the scammers use fake names and IRS ID numbers. The scammers also apparently already have detailed information about the people they call and they are also able to alter their caller ID number so it appears to be coming from the tax agency.

The con artists then claim that the taxpayer owes money to the IRS and demand prompt payment for the debt. They also threaten jail time, license suspension or even deportation in some cases. The IRS absolutely does not use these kinds of tactics.

According to the IRS website it will never do the following things when it calls:

  • Demand immediate payment. In fact, the IRS won’t even call you about taxes owed until mailing you first.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without letting you question or appeal the amount you reportedly owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method, like a prepaid debit card, for your taxes.
  • Ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to have you arrested by any law-enforcement groups for not paying your debt.

You can learn more about this and other tax-related scams by visiting the IRS consumer alerts page. You can also contact us at GROCO by clicking here.

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IRS Overpaid by $6 Billion in Child Tax Credits in 2013

Although no one will probably ever shed a tear to hear that the IRS paid taxpayers too much money, this latest report does nothing to breed confidence in how things are run in the nation’s tax collecting agency.

According to reports, the IRS paid about $6 billion in child tax credits last year to people who shouldn’t have received them. The payments were made to people from all kinds of circumstances, including those who accidently claimed the wrong amount, those who shouldn’t have claimed the credit at all, and to others who simply committed tax fraud. The numbers come from an audit performed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax administration.

This credit has been a huge benefit to those families with children who do not make enough to pay federal income tax, as well as to other low-income families. The government has for years claimed that there is not a lot of risk involved with the child tax credit and improper payments. However, the results of this new audit would strongly suggest otherwise.

Even though the Inspector General made several suggestions, the IRS did not agree with many of them. However, in a statement, the nations’ federal tax agency did admit that new processes are needed in order to reduce the number of incorrect payments. A total of $57 billion in child tax credits were paid to more than 36 million families in 2013, with between $5.9 billion and $7.1 billion being improper payments.

 

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United States and Singapore Buddy Up on Tax Evasion

For those who are still not convinced that the United States is serious about tracking down tax dodgers who are trying to hide money in offshore accounts, here’s one more piece of evidence that might change your mind. In a deal announced last week, the country of Singapore says it has come to terms with the U.S. on an agreement to share information regarding overseas account holders.

Under the new deal, financial institutions in Singapore will now be able to report any information it has regarding U.S. account holders in the country. Those financial institutions will share the information with local tax authorities in Singapore, who will then turn that information over to the IRS. That means those institutions can avoid dealing directly with the IRS,

This deal is another move by U.S. tax authorities to crack down on anyone trying to avoid their tax bill. Banks and other institutions in Singapore, as well as many other countries in Asia and across the globe, are coming to terms with the IRS and agreeing to turn over financial records of U.S. account holders as part of the U.S.’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

If these firms choose to ignore FATCA, the consequences can be costly. According to the terms of FATCA, any institution that does not comply could be stuck with a withholding fee of 30 percent on their U.S. investment income. They could also essentially be locked out of U.S. capital markets.

If you are still noncompliant then now may be the time to get some help. Call us today at GROCO at 1-877-CPA-2006, or contact us online.

 

Small Business Stock Gain Exclusion Receives 2014 Extension

It’s not like the government to bring everyone some well-needed Christmas cheer, but the new tax bill that lawmakers were finally able to pass brought some good news for many investors before the year ends. It’s unfortunate that it took the entire year to get it done, but at least the tax provisions that did get extended will be good for the entire tax year of 2014.

One important extension affected the small business stock gain exclusion. The new act signed this last week extended the 100% exclusion for small business stock acquired in 2014. That means if the individual shareholder holds the qualified small business stock for five years, they can exclude up to the first $10 million of capital gain for Federal purposes, instead of having to hold it for 10 years before doing so. The exclusion even applies for both regular tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM).

It’s important to note that for now this extension is only good for the year 2014 and does not apply to next year’s taxes, however, Congress could vote to extend it again next year, as well. If you would like to learn about the Sec. 1202 Small Business Stock Gain, and how it works, then just click here for a detailed explanation. And feel free to contact us at GROCO with any of your tax questions by clicking here.

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Deutsche Being Bank Accused of Tax Fraud By Federal Prosecutors

The U.S. has been increasingly going after foreign financial institutions that try to skimp on taxes. The latest move from the IRS is an aggressive lawsuit against Deutsche Bank, which the federal tax agency claims owes the U.S. somewhere in the neighborhood of $190 million in overdue taxes, penalties and interest.

 However, if you ask Deutsche Bank, they settled this dispute five years ago. According to reports, the large German bank claims that it reached a settlement with the IRS back in 2009 and it is not sure why the U.S. is coming after again regarding the same taxes.

 The issue revolves around a deal that began back in 200 when Deutsche Bank acquired a company that owned three million shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb. When those shares jumped in value, the U.S. claims that Deutsch Bank skipped out on tens of millions of dollars in taxes from capital gains, when the bank eventually sold the shares.

 According to the lawsuit the U.S. claims that the bank set up several so-called “shell companies” in order to absorb the tax blow from the profits made when they sold the shares. The IRS claims, however, that those shell companies did not have enough money to pay the taxes the federal government was owed. The lead prosecutor in the case claims that Deutsche Bank was involved in “nothing more than a shell game.”

 

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Like it or Not, Now Is the Time to Think About Taxes

There are still several days before we officially celebrate Christmas, which means people still have plenty to do, including finding those important last-minute gifts. However, if you are done with your shopping, maybe you can put Christmas aside for a moment and focus on taxes. Taxes are probably the last thing you want to think about right now, but if you wait too long the chance to save some money could melt away as fast as spring snow.

Even though you don’t have to turn your taxes in until April, the choices you make now can make a huge difference. With so many tax considerations still up in the air, along with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are lots of things to think about, and plan for.

For starters, you can get a better idea of how the ACA will affect you by using the Tax Policy Center ACA Calculator found here. This will give you a better idea of how the ACA and all its intricacies will affect your 2014 tax return. Another possible trouble spot for taxpayers is the continued uncertainty in Washington regarding several tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. Stay tuned.

Of course, there are some measures you can take no matter what lawmakers decide to do. For example, when you have stocks that do well it can help to sell other less-successful stocks. Doing so can help offset your capital gains. Another way to save is to contribute as much as possible to you retirement account. Using up flexible spending accounts before the year is over is also usually a smart move, as is making charitable donations. All of these steps can make for a happier tax return.

If you would like other tax saving tips to help you plan for your return, then contact us online today at GROCO, or call us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

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