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I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why You Shouldn’t Go Cheap When Filing Your Taxes



Feb. 23 Why You Shouldn’t Go Cheap When Filing Your Taxes: I know tax season is coming, and I don’t find taxes very interesting.  I do find saving money interesting so read on.   This will help you save money.  Ginny Grimsley sent me this article.

Financial Expert Explains Why You Should Hire A Good CPA & Not Part-time Help; Offers Tips

It’s that time of year for part-time help at the local tax-preparation location, when drivers can see seasonal staff standing at busy intersections wearing costumes of the Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam. But they’re not the only ones who are hired part time, says professional advisor to Certified Public Accountants Gary Marriage, Jr.

“I sometimes ask people, ‘Do you want a guy in a costume to handle your taxes?’ Of course, the guy actually doing the paperwork probably won’t be the guy standing near the traffic, but he’s also not the person you want dealing with your bottom line,” says Marriage, CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors (www.naturecoastfinancial.com).

“I know millionaires who go to these pop-up tax firms; they’d rather spend a few hundred dollars on their return than a grand or two with a skilled CPA. But this apparent savings comes at a cost, because a good accountant is likely to find many thousands of dollars in savings in a single tax return, and they are far less liable to make a mistake.”

Marriage offers additional tips for consideration this tax season.

•  Have your records handy, and consider a long-term relationship. Not only is it advantageous to file taxes through a CPA, it’s also smart to have all relevant records readily available at your disposal – no matter who is helping you with your return.

“Not only do I strongly advise you to use a reputable CPA that you can trust, I also think you should try to establish a long-term relationship with him or her,” Marriage says. “Think of a financial professional as similar to a doctor or lawyer – the better they know you, the better off you’ll be. High-net-worth individuals have the most incentive for professional financial services, even if they’ve made a hobby of saving money by doing things their own way.”

•  High-income earners pay the vast majority of income taxes – don’t volunteer more.  Taxpayers with incomes exceeding $100,000 earn 60 percent of the country’s income, yet contribute 95.2 percent of the income taxes, according to recent estimates from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation. Additionally, those earning more than $100,000 – a bit more than 20 percent of taxpayers – pay for 75.7 percent of total federal taxes, excluding the burden on corporate and investment taxes.

“There are many high-income earners who are passionate about their careers and love what they do; they care more about their work than their income,” he says. “These tend to be the folks who need reminders that there are legal avenues available for protecting their hard-earned money.”   

•  High-net-worth individuals should consider CRAT. Many people, financial professionals with years of experience, do not know about Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts, a form of financial protection that Marriage often teaches to CPAs. CRATs are a flexible and effective instrument used in financial and estate planning. A CRAT provides a significant tax shelter for any assets and property placed within it. That allows any assets in a charitable remainder annuity trust to increase in value without being taxed on the increase. A well-constructed CRAT can provide financial security for the annuitants.
 
“CRATs are surprisingly underutilized, but many CPAs I run into simply don’t know about it,” Marriage says. “It’s worth asking your financial advisor about, and if your advisor is unfamiliar with the structure, encourage him or her to look into it.”

About Gary Marriage

Gary Marriage Jr. is the founder and CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors (www.naturecoastfinancial.com), which educates retirees on how to protect their assets, increase their income and reduce their taxes. Marriage is a national speaker, delivering solutions for pre-retirees, business owners and seniors on the areas affecting their retirement and estates. He is an approved member of the National Ethics Bureau, and has been featured in “America’s Top Hometown Financial Advisors 2011” and most recently selected to co-author a book with Steve Forbes titled, “SuccessOnomics: Power Principles.” Marriage is also the founder of Operation Veteran Aid, an advocate for war-time veterans and their families.

5 Tax-Saving Strategies To Help Your Family This Tax Season: Ginny Grimsley also sent me this article:

Overlooked Deductions May Cost You Thousands

Millions of Americans face a challenge in meeting their budgets every month – not just financially, but also in their time budgets, says investment advisor Reid Abedeen.

“Knowledge is power and time is often money, but what if you don’t have the time to empower yourself with knowledge? For many households, that often means losing out on thousands of dollars through tax deductions,” says Abedeen, a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group, LLC (www.safeguardinvestment.com).

“As a family man myself, I understand what it means to work hard to provide the best possible for my wife and children. Had I not worked in the financial sector for almost two decades, I might not have understood how to best troubleshoot my tax return, I sympathize.”

Abedeen offers the following strategies that may be relevant for your family this tax season.

•  Take tax deductions for capital loss. If your capital losses exceed your capital gains, the excess can be deducted on your tax return and used to reduce other income, such as wages, up to an annual limit of $3,000, or $1,500 if you are married filing separately. However, you may deduct capital losses only on investment property, not on property held for personal use.

•  Fund your retirement to the max. You can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in tax-year 2014, or $6,500 if you are age 50 or older. Workers in the 25 percent tax bracket who contributed $5,500 to an IRA would save $1,375 on their 2014 tax bills. You’ll want to check your eligibility and understand the deadline for the 2014 deduction. If you make a deposit between Jan. 1 and April 15, you need to tell the financial institution which year the contribution is for.

•  Advisory fees are tax-deductible.  Don’t feel like spending money to save and make money? There’s a workaround. Before closing the door on the possibility, inquire with a financial expert. Most are happy to give a free initial consultation, and you don’t have to be a millionaire to make it worth your while. 

•  Gift assets to children. You don’t even have to file a gift tax return on an asset that’s valued less than $12,000, which is not taxable. If the fair market value of the gifted asset is more than $12,000 per person per year, but less than $1 million, there is the requirement of filing a gift tax return, but you won’t be taxed. The gift still is not income taxable to the recipient.  

•  Deduct a home-based office when used for your employer. If space in your home is used exclusively and regularly for a trade, you can count that as a deductible. Calculate the square footage of your home office and divide the area of your office by the area of your house. If the percentage is 14 percent, for example, that represents the percentage of your total home expenses that can be allocated toward the home office deduction. For further questions, consult a professional.

“You’ll want to be very vigilant regarding these details of these deductions,” Abedeen says. “For any questions, I seriously recommend consulting a professional.”

About Reid Abedeen

Reid Abedeen is a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group, LLC (www.safeguardinvestment.com). As an investment advisor, Abedeen has helped retirees for nearly two decades with issues such as insurance, long-term care planning, financial services, asset protection and many other areas. He holds California Life-Only and Accident and Health licenses (#0C78700), and holds a Series 65 license, and is registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Abedeen is a family man who owes much of his fulfillment in life to his wife, Smyrna, and his three children, Yusef, Leena and Adam.

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