No annoying tax professional lingo. Just straight, authoritative and friendly expert advice. At Ludington & Lawson, PLLC specializes in all aspects, we are here to provide accounting services, and value added business advise, that can help you succeed in all facets of your small business.
[11/18/15] When I first started preparing taxes, I remember the thing that confirmed my decision on this career path was each time I received that "thank you" from a relieved client in a tough situation. Or saw a worried client's shoulders relax when I told them I could help them. When I take time to reflect on it still today (and put business matters like bills, deadlines and tax code changes temporarily aside), it's always the people I come back to and remember why I'm doing what I'm doing. Thanks to all of you. :)
Many of you know that the U.S. recently began going after hidden off-shore taxable accounts more intensely this year, but our government is actually a bit behind the game internationally when it comes to tax evasion. Spain, for one, is pursuing charges against members of its own royal family. Yikes!
bankrate.com Tax evasion is a global problem, but some countries are doing a better job than others in going after tax cheats.
With minimal inflation this year, the changes to the 2016 tax brackets are very small, though you will be able to earn a little more before jumping up to the next tax bracket.
bankrate.com It's that time of year again, when the IRS adjusts tax provisions for inflation. Here are some changes that will affect your 2016 tax returns.
"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - J.R.R. Tolkien
[You might not expect a quote like this from a financial professional, but I've seen too many folks let money become a preoccupation and even an obsession. Pay attention to your numbers--that's what we're all about helping you do--but don't forget about finding enjoyment in the simplicity of your daily life. As Tolkein might put it, enjoy a "merry" weekend!]
The wonders of technology...Have you tried this yet?
bankrate.com Mobile check deposit, or "remote deposit capture" as it's known to banks, lets you deposit a check into your bank account by taking a picture of it with your smartphone or tablet.
[11/10/15] Tax Deadline Alert: if you earned $20 or more in tips during October, make sure to declare them to your employer by today (November 10th).
For my clients and contacts, you can rest assured that we are paying attention to the many drawn-out tax changes ... and that we will be on top of even the woefully-procrastinating legislators. We'll do all that is ethically possible to make sure you don't make moves that you'll regret after the fact.
And the best way to help us help YOU, is by giving us a call to talk things through NOW, while we can still make a difference with 2015 returns.
Delays in tax changes (like the ones going on again in Congress right now) -- or the decision to make some laws retroactive months later (extenders, estate tax, etc.) -- totally screw up basic tax planning, sometimes negating options that could have been used to legally lower a tax bill.
Aren't you glad you have someone on your side who is paying attention to what's happening in the legislation NOW, during the offseason? (We do this so you don't have to.) :)
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” - Ronald Reagan
When we focus on building into others, our impact grows exponentially.
Managing your financial life is so much about discipline. This fellow has a unique perspective on starting your day with discipline, and I think he's right on the money.
read.bi Jocko Willink has been out of active duty for awhile, but he still places prime importance on getting up at 4:30 each morning.
There's 3 big reasons why preparing taxes is much harder than "filling in the boxes":
1) The tax code is incredibly long. (74,608 pages long to be exact)
2) The code also happens to be pretty complicated and laden with contradictory incentives. (Take this credit, and watch that other credit go bye-bye.)
3) Staying up-to-date with how the law is constantly changing is no cupcake of a task.
Which is why it's so critical to meet with someone before the end of the year to make sure that you're set up to hold a tax position which represents the real picture of where you really want to be going.
[10/30/15] Be sure to take advantage of the "Parent Tax" tomorrow and claim a percentage of your kids' Halloween candy! ;)
[10/29/15] Q&A Thursday: What tax questions do you have for me today? This is a great time to think about your taxes for next year.
This is a problem that an increasing number of American parents are facing: what if my adult child wants to move back home? If you say yes, these are some really practical tips to help keep their stay a temporary one.
entm.ag When your grown son or daughter lives with you, make sure that money management lessons are included.
[10/27/15] As I run my business day-to-day, I often think about how grateful I am to my clients for putting your trust and faith in me. I've really enjoyed working with every one of you, and I look forward to doing so for a long time.
Open Enrollment for ACA starts November 1st (this Sunday)! Share this reminder!
Remember that your healthcare coverage will be reported (or lack thereof penalized) on your taxes.
I've sat down with hundreds of entrepreneurs. Some very successful and some not-so-successful. I was thinking about the not-so-successful ones, and I realized most could be divided into two groups: those with the Big Idea Myth and those with Analysis Paralysis. You see, the big idea isn't the "holy grail". No, the main ingredient of success is the execution.
Here's a video that gets at this idea real well (fair warning: he can be pretty foul-mouthed)...
Gary Vaynerchuk is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling author, self-taught wine expert, and innovative entrepreneur.
With inflation stabilizing for the present (good news), retirees will not see a cost-of-living increase in their Social Security payments next year (not-so-good news).
aol.it There will be no benefit increase in 2016 for millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees, the government said Thursday.
[10/20/15] Tax planning is one of the few ways you can actually be PROactive about your finances rather than REactive. You can save hundreds (even thousands) with the right tax plan, so don't underestimate its value! Give us a call!
[10/19/15] Stay-at-home parents should make sure they are well on their way to funding their own retirement before paying for a child's college education. The best thing you can do for your kids is to take care of yourself first. If your children have to take out student loans, despite all the bad publicity, they do have 40 years to pay those loans back -- and at favorable interest rates, at that.
[10/16/15] Have a great weekend, everyone! [We definitely will, now that the extended tax deadline has passed. Now for some sleep...] :)
"Procrastination is like a credit card: it's a lot of fun until you get the bill." - Christopher Parker
Tax preparers often have the privilege of feeling the crunch because of others' procrastination. But today truly is the last "crunch" day of the year. Almost there!
Couples should buy life insurance on both partners, not just on the working spouse. If the stay-at-home parent dies, the surviving spouse can use the benefits to pay for outside child care, live-in nannies, housekeepers and other functions that had formerly been handled by the stay-at-home parent.
I see clients using this advice, and then dropping the insurance as their youngest was heading to college -- and that's smart.
Watch out! There are possible fake charity scams emerging due to the recent severe flooding in South Carolina and neighboring states. Following major disasters, it is common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations. Some tips in giving:
- Donate to recognized charities only. Beware of similar sounding names.
- Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution from you.
- Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
[10/12/15] South Carolina flood victims, including individuals and businesses that previously received a tax-filing extension to Oct. 15, will have until Feb. 16, 2016, to file their returns and pay any taxes due. All workers assisting the relief activities who are affiliated with a recognized government or philanthropic organization also qualify for relief. The IRS automatically provides this relief to any taxpayer with an IRS address of record located in the disaster area. You don't need to contact the IRS to get this extension.
[10/09/15] One of the best times to save money is before having children. But with marriage happening later and later in our culture (and the transition into parenthood for those marriages therefore happening perhaps a bit more quickly than it otherwise might), this important savings period has been crunched. So here's some quick advice for those who are single: realize that you are saving now for your future family's financial life.
[10/08/15] Extended tax filers: There is one week left before your 2014 tax return is due. This is your final reminder to turn in your missing documents.
Now here's some financial news all Americans can be happy about.
aol.it Heating bills should drop this winter for most U.S. households, thanks to a combination of lower energy prices and warmer weather across much of the nation.
A tax return is a report, NOT a strategy. Yes, we're pretty good at coming behind with our magic brushes and cleaning up messes, but there is a much better way to fly. It's called tax planning, and it's essentially comprised of three parts:
1) Strategic review.
3) Proper compliance.
Call us to give it a try.
[10/05/15] Our condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow Americans in Oregon and South Carolina who are struggling through these horrible calamities.
[10/02/15] We'll probably be busy this weekend preparing for the extended tax deadline hitting in a couple of weeks. What will your weekends be looking like now that we're officially in the Fall months?
How do I invest in the future when I have very little--if any--extra money? It's a good question, and one I hear often. You can never go wrong with the tried-and-true method in option #1. :)
moneyunder30.com Investing even very small amounts can reap big rewards. Here are 5 ways you can start investing with little money today.
[10/01/15] Open enrollment for 2016 health coverage through healthcare.gov begins in one month on November 1. The amount of the premium tax credit you can earn is calculated via an income-based sliding scale, with greater credit amounts available to those with lower incomes. Note: If you received an advance payment of the premium tax credit in 2014 and don't file your 2014 taxes, you won't be eligible for the credit in 2016.
We've had many clients over the years turn their passion for a cause into an organized entity that helps a lot of people. But it took a lot to get there. If you're tossing around the possibility of starting a nonprofit, take a look at what it will take so you know what to expect.
on.wsj.com Starting a charity or nonprofit? Tips on how to avoid some of the most common mistakes.
[09/29/15] A recent study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that people have an attention span of 8 seconds, which is 1 second less than that of a--oh darn, I lost you...
[09/25/15] The final deadline for self-employed persons or small business employers to establish a SIMPLE-IRA for 2015 is one week away (October 1st)! Let us know if you’re interested. Much lower fees than a 401(k) and can provide many of the same benefits.
We all get tired of our day jobs periodically. A common-sense approach to address impending burnout is needed...and usually effective. It's not rocket science; we just have to take the time to do it.
entm.ag Many ambitious people don't understand that exhaustion is a big career setback.
[09/22/15] If you filed for an extension this year, your final filing deadline is approaching (Oct. 15). Call today for your appointment, if you haven't already.
[09/18/15] I'm looking for an end-of-the week laugh... What's the funniest thing you've seen lately?
[09/16/15] Whew! We nailed our big tax deadline yesterday! A big thanks to our team as we check that big to-do off our list and prepare for the next biggie on October 15th: 2014 individual return extensions. Here's your first Facebook reminder to submit your missing docs ASAP!
Well, my friends — it *might* be time to adjust your withholding.
onforb.es Owe $100 million or more to the Internal Revenue Service? Better write that check now.
Just saw an alert come through that there has been a major spike in tax scammers using “spoofed” phone numbers (not just email addresses) to lure people to answer the phone and become victims. Crooks call taxpayers, telling them they owe back taxes and demanding that the victim pay the money immediately with a preloaded debit card or wire transfer.
If the taxpayers don't do as instructed, the criminal caller threatens the victims with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. They are even providing fake IRS badge numbers and sending follow-up bogus emails to reinforce the call.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A CALL FROM “THE IRS":
1) Simply hang up.
2) Contact *us* -- we’ll help you sort it out. Message our page, or give us a call.
3) If you are confident it’s a scammer, use this website to report it:
www.treasury.gov TIGTA: promoting integrity in the administration of internal revenue laws. The United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was established in January 1999 in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) to provide independent…
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