Congress Not Looking to Pass Internet Sales Tax Anytime Soon

Ever since the Internet became a worldwide sensation, there have been those who think it should be taxed, especially Internet sales from state to state. Taxing the Internet would be a huge source of extra revenue for the government, but for those who use the Internet to shop (which is just about everyone these days), those taxes would be a real headache.

However, the latest attempt at taxing the Internet may not be going anywhere. That’s because the Main Street Fairness Act, a bill that would allow state and local governments to charge and collect taxes on Internet sales from companies that are located in another state, has run into a brick wall in Congress. The bill already passed the Senate in May of 2013, but so far Congress has not jumped on board.

Even though the bill will not be moving forward this year, according to Speaker of the House John Boehner, proponents of the bill could always bring it up again next year, but it would have to start over fresh in Congress.

Those who oppose the bill claim that it will be another tax on consumers who use the Internet to shop. Plus, for those companies who sell online, the price to set the system up to collect those taxes would be costly.

For now, though, taxing the Internet is still just an idea and not a reality. The debate will assuredly rage on in Congress, but whether or not it ever becomes a reality is still to be determined. Meanwhile, you can contact GROCO at any time for all of your tax planning needs by clicking here.

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IRS Is Carefully Watching Bitcoin and Other Cyber Currency

Big Brother is watching. Always watching. In this case, Big Brother is the IRS and you might be surprised what they’re looking into now. Although, when it comes to the IRS, nothing should surprise us.

Have you ever heard of Bitcoin? It’s one of a handful of virtual currencies that making buying and selling things in the digital age much easier. Essentially, virtual currencies are exactly that: virtual. They are not tangible, their value can fluctuate constantly and they only exist in cyberspace. But that’s not stopping the IRS from taking a closer look at how it can regulate them.

That’s because it appears that virtual currencies could be a new way for tax evaders to hide money “overseas.” Simply put, virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, offer secrecy with no trail to follow. That’s why the IRS has created a team of special agents to focus on tracking these virtual currencies. So if you’re trying to hide money through Bitcoin, beware.

To use Bitcoin you have to have a virtual wallet, as well as public addresses and private keys. What many people who use Bitcoin don’t know is that every transaction they make with Bitcoin is added to a record book known as a block chain. That means to review these transactions the IRS only has to access the block chain. It then follows that chain back to the public address that was used for the original Bitcoin transaction. The IRS then uses whatever measures it takes to link the address to the identity of the user.

That means using these virtual currencies may not actually be as secretive as users thought they were. So if you’re using one or more of these types of currencies, then as always beware of the taxman.

 

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Successful Investing With Taxes in Mind

There are many ways to earn money, but no matter how you get your income the IRS wants its piece of the pie. That includes any gains you make from your investments when you sell them. Although everyone does have to pay tax on their gains, you shouldn’t give the IRS any more than what you’re legally obligated to pay 

With that in mind there are some strategies you can implement to be a tax-conscious investor. Contributing to a tax-differed retirement plan is a great way to save money. Although you will eventually have to pay tax on the income, you can accumulate a significant amount.

Another option is to consider tax-exempts. These are not for everyone, but if done right these investments can in some cases provide an investor with more gains than the after-tax return from a taxable investment would.

Mutual funds are another type of investment that can pay big dividends, but they must pay out their gains every year. That means unless you have losses from other stocks to offset those gains, you will need to pay taxes on them.

Anyone can invest, but not everyone knows how to invest wisely when it comes to taxes. If you would like to learn more about how to become a tax-conscious investor, then click here, or contact us at GROCO today. We can help you make wise investing decisions when it comes to your taxes. Call 1-877-CPA-2006 or click here to contact us online.

 

Helpful Deduction Tips for Collectors

Are you a collector? Have you ever wondered if you could donate the items you collect to a charity auction for tax break purposes? If you are considering this scenario, there are some things you should know.

The first thing you need to make sure of is that the charity you are considering is actually a qualified charity. Not all organizations qualify with the IRS for a charitable deduction. Make sure you check the list before you make your donation.

Another important step is to get your collectibles appraised before you make the donation. This can help you get the true value for your donation, which can mean a bigger tax break.

Next, you need to find out if your donation will actually produce any tax benefits for you. Charitable deductions are limited to 30 percent of your AGI, if they are capital gain property and you donate them to a publicly supported charity. On the other hand, if you donate to a private organization, the deduction amount drops to only 20 percent.

 Donating collectibles, like artwork for example can be a good way to get a few more deductions and save yourself a little more money on your tax bill. If you have any questions or need more clarification, then you can learn more by clicking here. You can also contact us at 1-877-CPA-2006.

 

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Which Tax Breaks Will Be Restored for 2014?

It seems like every year at this time the conversations start to creep up in the media regarding which tax breaks will be renewed and which breaks will get the permanent axe. This year is no different as Congress already let more than 50 such tax breaks expire at the end of 2013. Now the fate of those tax breaks is in the hands of lawmakers yet again and the fate of your tax return could be hanging in the balance. Among those 50+ breaks are several individual breaks that help a lot of taxpayers. Whether or not they are renewed could have a significant affect on your return for 2014. Some of the tax breaks include:

  • State and local sales tax deductions
  • Tax-free distributions from an IRA for charitable purposes for taxpayers over 70 1/2-years-old.
  • Mortgage insurance premiums deduction
  • Enhanced rules for donating real property for conservation

These are just some of the many breaks that are sitting in limbo. Meanwhile, many businesses are already loathing the uncertain status of other tax breaks such as the research and development tax credit and bonus depreciation.   Even if Congress does get its act together and renews most or all of these tax breaks the delay in doing so could also delay the beginning of the 2015 tax-filing season. That can be a pain for everyone. Most insiders believe that it’s just a matter of time before Congress gets it done, but when that will happen is still anyone’s guess.   I any case, you can start preparing for your taxes by contacting GROCO now. Call 1-877-CPA-2006 or click here to set up an appointment online.

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Make Sure You Report All of Your 1099 Income

With the job market continually fluctuating, it seems that more and more people are creating their own jobs. Whether it’s starting your own company, doing some extra business on the side, or working as a freelance private contractor, a growing number of individuals are earning self-employment income.

 The extra income is surely nice, whether it’s to help make ends meet or to add a little more cash to your savings. However, with all that extra income, you have to be sure you are reporting it. Failing to do so can cost you with the IRS.

 Even though you won’t get a W2 for this kind of income, you still need to report it. You should receive a Form 1099-MISC from anyone with whom you do $600 or more of business in a given year. Even if a company doesn’t send you a Form 1099 you are still responsible to report that additional income. Likewise, if you earn less than $600 that doesn’t mean you don’t have to report that income; it just means you won’t get a 1099 for it.

If you are self-employed then you will need to use a Schedule C with your Form 1040 when you file your taxes. You are also responsible for the 15.3 percent self-employment tax. There are a lot of questions and concerns when it comes to self-employment and the forms that go with it. We can help you with all your tax planning and tax filing needs, so give us a call today at 1-877-CPA-2006, or click here.

 

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Another Senator Says It’s Time to Go After the Wealthy

We all know that death and taxes are two certainties in life. However it seems that we should probably add the argument that the wealthy should pay more taxes to that list of certainties. According to reports, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont recently shared his views on a progressive tax for billionaires and multi-millionaires.

According to Mr. Sanders, the current U.S. tax system is not doing enough to tax the wealthy. In a recent speech at an AFL-CIO convention Sanders reportedly said that the country’s billionaires should be paying their fair share of taxes. Mr. Sanders also expressed the need for the country’s tax system to correct the wealth inequality in America.

 So how does Mr. Sanders think that these issues should be resolved? He is taking aim at the extremely wealthy. According to Mr. Sanders, taxing the top .25 percent of the richest Americans is the best and fairest way to minimize wealth inequality. He also believes that by going after the country’s wealthiest individuals, the United States would be able to pay for investments in education and infrastructure, as well as reduce the nation’s $17 trillion debt.

 However, despite his arguments, other research shows that Mr. Sanders might be completely wrong. According to a recent study by the American Enterprise Institute, making the extremely rich pay more taxes is not nearly as effective as cutting spending when it comes to reducing the national debt.

 

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Ask Yourself These Key Questions When Planning Your Estate

Almost no one can choose when he or she will die, but everyone can choose how his or her assets will be handled when that time comes. It’s really just a matter of having a current and effective estate plan in place before you go.

Estate planning is a wide subject with many aspects; and its so much more than just have a will in place. While having a will is certainly a smart move, there are many other things people should consider as part of their estate plan. Let’s take a look at some of the important questions you should be asking yourself in regards to your estate plan.

  • Is your planning up to date?
  • Do you currently have a will?
  • Have you planned your entire estate?
  • Do you have the right trustee and executor in place?
  • Is it time to consider a living trust?
  • Do you already have a buy-sell agreement in place for your business?

These are obviously some very important aspects to consider for your estate plan. You can click here to learn more about these questions and others, as well as more about the experience and expertise we can provide.

If you need help planning for your estate, then contact us at GROCO. We have the knowledge and awareness to help you prepare for your loved ones’ future without you. Just call us today at 1-877-CPA-2006 or click here to get in touch with us online.

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Five Tips to help You Save On Your 2014 Income Tax Bill

Although there are still more than two months to go before we turn the page on the year 2014, the end of the tax year is still fast approaching. While it’s true that April 15 may seem like a long ways off, the fact is you only have those precious two months left to still do some tax saving on this year’s bill.

 So whether you’re an early filer or you prefer to procrastinate until the deadline, now is the time to really start thinking about your 2014 taxes. To that end, here are a few suggestions to help you get prepared. First, contribute a little more to your retirement plan. By adding a few extra dollars to your retirement savings, you not only increase your overall amount, but you also decrease your taxable income at the same time.

 Another helpful tip is to reposition your portfolio, which can help reduce your tax bill. You can do this by selling your poor performing stocks, which can offset the gains you make from your better performing stocks. Another way to reduce your tax bill is by giving more. Instead of giving more money to the IRS, reduce your taxable income by donating more to charity. It’s a win-win as you help those in need, and yourself, at the same time.

Meantime, make sure you don’t overlook possible tax credits, including the earned income credit, the child and dependent care credit, and the residential energy credit. Lastly, consider setting up a health savings account. These are great for helping you cover medical expenses now and for saving up money for the future.

Of course, you can also contact the professionals at GROCO for more tax savings ideas. Just call 1-877-CPA-2006 or click here to contact us online.

 

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IRS’s Direct Pay Service Is Gaining Popularity

Everyone seems to love things that are automatic. In fact, when it comes to financial transactions, cash is hardly ever involved anymore, these days, as everything happens with either swipes or pushing buttons. The same is true with taxes, including the popular e-file option for millions of taxpayers every year.

It turns out getting your refund isn’t the only way to do things electronically with the IRS. The federal tax agency is also very glad to take your money through electronic means. In fact, according to the IRS, it has now processed more than one million electronic tax payments through its Direct Pay option, for a grand total of more than $1.7 billion.

The IRS’s Direct Pay system allows people to pay their tax bills or estimated tax payments online. It is a free service and payments go directly from your bank account to the IRS. The system is not just for tax season, either. With the tax correspondence season now hitting full steam, additional tax assessments and bills for unpaid taxes will soon be arriving in taxpayers’ mailboxes.

With Direct Pay people can make those payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the IRS hopes many people will use this service. If you should mess up you also have the option to fix your mistake so long as the payment hasn’t already been processed. Of course, if you do use Direct Pay, make sure you have money in your account to cover the bill.

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