Thursday, December 22, 2016

What to Know About Health Coverage Information Statements You May Receive in 2017

Many individuals will receive ACA information statements from their employer or coverage provider by early March in 2017 about their 2016 health insurance coverage:
Here is information about these forms:
1095-B
Sent toIndividuals who had health coverage for themselves or their family members that is not reported on Form 1095-A or Form 1095-C.
Sent by
Health Coverage Providers –
  • Insurance companies outside the Marketplace
  • Government agencies such as Medicare or CHIP
  • Employers who provide certain kinds of health coverage, which is sometimes referred to as “self-insured coverage,” but are not required to send Form 1095-C.
Other coverage providers
What to do with this Form

This form provides information about your 2016 health coverage.
Use Form 1095-B for information on whether you and your family members had health coverage that satisfies the individual shared responsibility provision.
  • If Form 1095-B shows coverage for you and everyone in your family for the entire year, check the full-year coverage box on your tax return.
  • If there are months when you or your family members did not have coverage, determine if you qualify for an exemption or must make an individual shared responsibility payment.
You don’t need to wait for your Form 1095- B to file your tax return. Do not attach Form 1095-B to your tax return - keep it with your tax records. Contact the issuer if you have questions about your Form 1095-B.

1095-C
Sent toCertain employees of applicable large employers
Sent byApplicable large employers – generally those with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees
What to do with this Form

Form 1095-C provides information about the health coverage offered by your employer in 2016 and, in some cases, about whether you enrolled in this coverage.
Use Form 1095-C to help determine your eligibility for the premium tax credit.
  • If you enrolled in a health plan in the Marketplace, you may need the information in Part II of Form 1095-C to help determine your eligibility for the premium tax credit.
  •  If you did not enroll in a health plan in the Marketplace, the information in Part II of your Form 1095-C is not relevant to you.
Use Form 1095-C for information on whether you or any family members enrolled in certain kinds of coverage offered by your employer – sometimes referred to as “self-insured coverage”.
  • If Form 1095-C shows coverage for you and everyone in your family for the entire year, check the full-year coverage box on your tax return. 
  • If there are months when you or your family members did not have coverage, determine if you qualify for an exemption or must make an individual shared responsibility payment.
You don’t need to wait for your Form 1095- C to file your tax return. Do not attach Form 1095-C to your tax return - keep it with your tax records. Contact the issuer if you have questions about your Form 1095-B.
If you enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace, you will receive a Form Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement. For more information about this form, see the Health Care Information Forms for Individuals questions and answers on IRS.gov/aca.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Looking for Work May Impact Your Taxes

If you are looking for a job in the same line of work, you may be able to deduct some of your job search costs. Here are some key tax facts you should know about when searching for a new job:
  • Same Occupation.  Your expenses must be for a job search in your current line of work. You can’t deduct expenses for a job search in a new occupation.
  • Résumé Costs.  You can deduct the cost of preparing and mailing your résumé.
  • Travel Expenses.  If you travel to look for a new job, you may be able to deduct the cost of the trip. To deduct the cost of the travel to and from the area, the trip must be mainly to look for a new job. You may still be able to deduct some costs if looking for a job is not the main purpose of the trip.
  • Placement Agency. You can deduct some job placement agency fees you pay to look for a job.
  • First Job.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if you’re looking for a job for the first time.
  • Time Between Jobs.  You can’t deduct job search expenses if there was a long break between the end of your last job and the time you began looking for a new one.
  • Reimbursed Costs.  Reimbursed expenses are not deductible.
  • Schedule A.  You normally deduct your job search expenses on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Claim them as a miscellaneous deduction. You can deduct the total miscellaneous deductions that are more than two percent of your adjusted gross income.
  • Premium Tax Credit.  If you receive advance payments of the premium tax credit, it is important that you report changes in circumstances – such as changes in your income, a change in eligibility for other coverage, or a change of address – to your Health Insurance Marketplace.  Advance payments are paid directly to your insurance company and lower the out-of-pocket cost for your health insurance premiums.  Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
For more on job hunting refer to Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions. You can get IRS tax forms and publications on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Home Energy Tax Credits

With the year coming to an end soon, don't forget about these nice tax credits...

Non-Business Energy Property Credit 
  • Part of this credit is worth 10 percent of the cost of certain qualified energy-saving items you added to your main home last year. This may include items such as insulation, windows, doors and roofs.
  • The other part of the credit is not a percentage of the cost. This part of the credit is for the actual cost of certain property. This may include items such as water heaters and heating and air conditioning systems. The credit amount for each type of property has a different dollar limit.
  • This credit has a maximum lifetime limit of $500. You may only use $200 of this limit for windows.
  • Your main home must be located in the U.S. to qualify for the credit.
  • Be sure you have the written certification from the manufacturer that their product qualifies for this tax credit. They usually post it on their website or include it with the product’s packaging. You can rely on it to claim the credit, but do not attach it to your return. Keep it with your tax records.
  • You must place qualifying improvements in service in your principal residence by Dec. 31, 2016.
Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit
  • This tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of alternative energy equipment installed on or in your home.
  • Qualified equipment includes solar hot water heaters, solar electric equipment, wind turbines and fuel cell property.
  • Qualified wind turbine and fuel cell property must be placed into service by Dec. 31, 2016. Hot water heaters and solar electric equipment must be placed in to service by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • The tax credit for qualified fuel cell property is limited to $500 for each one-half kilowatt of capacity. The amount for other qualified expenditures does not have a limit. If your credit is more than the tax you owe, you can carry forward the unused portion of this credit to next year’s tax return. • The home must be in the U.S. It does not have to be your main home, unless the alternative energy equipment is qualified fuel cell property.
Use Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits, to claim these credits. For more on this topic refer to the form’s instructions. You can get IRS forms onIRS.gov/forms anytime.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tips for Students Working with Summer Jobs

IRS Special Edition Tax Tip 2016-11, June 28, 2016
Many students get summer jobs. It’s a great way to earn extra spending money or to save for later. Here are some tips for students with summer jobs:
  1. Withholding and Estimated Tax. If you are an employee, your employer normally withholds taxfrom your paychecks. If you are self-employed, you may be responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. One way to do that is by making estimated tax payments on set dates during the year. This is essentially how our pay-as-you-go tax system works.
  2. New Employees. When you get a new job, you need to fill out a Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. Employers use this form to calculate how much federal income tax to withhold from your pay. The IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov can help you fill out the form.
  3. Self-Employment. Money you earn working for others is taxable. Some work you do may count as self-employment. These can be jobs like baby-sitting or lawn care. Keep good records of your income and expenses related to your work. You may be able to deduct those costs. A tax deduction generally reduces the taxes you pay.
  4. Tip Income. All tip income is taxable. Keep a daily log to report your tips. You must report $20 or more in cash tips received in any single month to your employer. And you must report all of your yearly tips on your tax return.
  5. Payroll Taxes. You may earn too little from your summer job to owe income tax. But your employer usually must withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes from your pay. If you’re self-employed, you may have to pay them yourself. They count for your coverage under the Social Security system.
  6. Newspaper Carriers. Special rules apply to a newspaper carrier or distributor. If you meet certain conditions, you are self-employed. If you do not meet those conditions, and are under age 18, you may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  7. ROTC Pay. If you’re in ROTC, active duty pay, such as pay you get for summer advanced camp, is taxable. Other allowances you may receive may not be taxable, see Publication 3 for details.
  8. Use IRS Free File. You can prepare and e-file your tax return for free using IRS Free File, available only on IRS.gov. You may not earn enough money to be required to file a federal tax return. Even if that is true, you may still want to file. For example, if your employer withheld income tax from your pay, you will have to file a return to get a tax refund.
Visit IRS.gov for more about the tax rules for students.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

5 Tips to Keep On Top of Cashflow

As they say cash is king! The best thing a small business can do is cash tracking. Here are some great tips for flourishing your small business.

http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12211131/5-tips-to-keep-on-top-of-cashflow?utm_source=CPA+Accounting+%26+Audit+Advisor&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CCSN160520002

I can help too! If you need bookkeeping or other services, contact me to find out how.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Get a Smart Start on Your Future

This is the time of year for graduations and weddings, both big shifts in anyone’s life. If you (or someone close to you) are experiencing either of these milestones, it’s the perfect point to step back and get a perspective on how this landmark can change your financial life. What’s some of the best advice for anyone at this juncture? We recommend setting short- and long-term goals and plotting out the steps that will help you reach them. Don’t make big decisions before ensuring you can afford them and consider how they fit into longer-term goals. And if you develop a habit of making budgets now, you’ll have a better chance of living within your means and staying out of debt.

Everyone’s situation is unique, of course, which is why it’s a good idea to contact our office for expert advice tailored to meet your specific needs or those of your loved ones. Call us today for answers to all your financial questions.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Factors to Consider when Filing your 2015 Tax Return

Most people file a tax return because they have to, but even if you don't, here are six tips to help you determine if you should consider filing to claim a refund.

1. General Filing Rules. There are several factors used to determine whether you are required to file a tax return. See the factors here. IRS.gov/filing

2. Premium Tax Credit. If you enrolled in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may need to file a return to claim this credit if eligible.

3. Tax Withheld or Paid. If you had tax withheld but are not required to file a tax return, you will need to file a return to get it back.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit. If you are eligible for this credit, you need to file a return to claim a refund.

5. Additional Child Tax Credit. If you have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit, you qualify for additional credit if the full Child Tax Credit is not available.

6.American Opportunity Tax Credit. Even if you don't owe any taxes, you may still qualify for the AOTC if you, your spouse, or your dependent was enrolled for post secondary education at least half time for at least one academic period. You must file a tax return to claim the credit along with the required form.

This information is provided by the IRS, click this link for more information. https://www.irs.gov/uac/Six-Tips-on-Whether-to-File-a-2015-Tax-Return2