Wilkinson & Bidinger, P.C.

Wilkinson & Bidinger is primarily a tax firm where we assist all types of clients form large companies to individuals. We always welcome new clients and projects.

I am an attorney and CPA with more than 10 years experience.

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Get DESIGNING! — Coming Soon

Maybe you're designing a new home but chances are it's something smaller. You might be picking a new light to replace the one in the bedroom that you've quietly hated for three years. So look around a lot but don't limit yourself to store sites or just lights. You may find your future light by looking in a whole new way. [ 113 more words ]

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Helpful tip from the IRS today: "Avoid Errors: File an Accurate Return"
the article just gets worse from there!


Don't: Forget About Extra Sources of Income

Uncle Sam wants an accurate picture of how much money you have coming in. At this point, handing in your W-2 form is probably second nature. Aside from that, you'll need to be ready to report all of the earnings that aren't coming from your day job, such as your capital gains or other miscellaneous income.


Don't: Wait Until the Last Minute

April 15th is the filing deadline, so you don't want to start working on your tax return on, say, April 10th. You might be the kind of person who works well under pressure. By procrastinating, however, you're more likely to make mistakes and forget something important, like your tax credits.


What End of Bush Tax Cuts Would Mean for You

Higher Tax Rates for All
You may think only individuals in the top two brackets will face higher federal income taxes if the Bush cuts go bye-bye as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2013. Not true. Unless Congress takes action and the president goes along (whoever that is), rates will go up for everyone -- not just "the rich." Specifically, the existing 10% bracket will go away, and the lowest "new" bracket will be 15%. The existing 25% bracket will be replaced by the "new" 28% bracket; the existing 28% bracket will be replaced by the new 31% bracket; the existing 33% bracket will be replaced by the 36% bracket; and the existing 35% bracket will be replaced by the 39.6% bracket.
Bottom line: We'll all see higher taxes.

Harsher Marriage Penalty
The Bush tax cuts included several provisions to ease the so-called marriage penalty. The penalty can cause a married couple to pay more in taxes than when they were single, which is nuts.

Right now, the bottom two tax brackets for married joint-filing couples are exactly twice as wide as for singles. This helps keep the marriage penalty from biting lower and middle-income couples. Starting next year, the joint-filer tax brackets will contract, causing higher tax bills for many folks.

Currently, the standard deduction for married joint-filing couples is double the amount for singles. Starting next year, the joint-filer standard deduction will fall back to about 167% of the amount for singles.

Bottom line: lots of lower and middle-income income couples will face higher tax bills due to a harsher marriage penalty.

Return of Phase-Out Rule for Itemized Deductions
Before the Bush tax cuts, a nasty phase-out rule could eliminate up to 80% of a higher-income individual's itemized deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable donations. The rule was gradually eased and finally eliminated in 2010. Next year, however, the phase-out will be back in full force...


What ObamaCare Means for Your Taxes

Medicare Tax
Right now, the Medicare tax on salary and/or self-employment (SE) income is 2.9%. If you're an employee, 1.45% is withheld from your paychecks, and the other 1.45% is paid by your employer. If you're self-employed, you pay the whole 2.9% yourself.
Starting in 2013, an extra 0.9% Medicare tax will be charged on: (1) salary and/or SE income above $200,000 for an unmarried individual, (2) combined salary and/or SE income above $250,000 for a married joint-filing couple, and (3) salary and/or SE income above $125,000 for those who use married filing separate status. For self-employed individuals, the additional 0.9% Medicare tax hit will come in the form of a higher SE bill.

Medicare Tax on Investment Income
Right now, the maximum federal income tax rate on long-term capital gains and dividends is only 15%. Starting in 2013, the maximum rate on long-term gains is scheduled to go up to 20% and the maximum rate on dividends is scheduled to increase to 39.6% as the so-called Bush tax cuts expire.

But that's not all. Also starting in 2013, all or part of the net investment income, including long-term capital gains and dividends, collected by higher-income folks can get socked with an additional 3.8% "Medicare contribution tax." Therefore, the maximum federal rate on long-term gains for 2013 and beyond will actually be 23.8% (versus the current 15%) and the maximum rate on dividends will be a maximum rate on dividends will be a whopping 43.4% (versus the current 15%).

The additional 3.8% Medicare tax will not apply unless your adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds: (1) $200,000 if you're unmarried, (2) $250,000 if you're a married joint-filer, or (3) $125,000 if you use married filing separate status.

The additional 3.8% Medicare tax will apply to the lesser of your net investment income or the amount of AGI in excess of the applicable threshold. Net investment income includes interest, dividends, royalties,...


4 signs of a lousy tax preparer

Your preparer promises a big refund
Any tax preparer who flat-out guarantees a big tax refund may be leading you on -- especially if he or she hasn't seen your financial documents. One potential tactic that results from a preparer's promise of a big refund is to juggle the numbers on your tax return to generate the big payout, but that risks an IRS review and bigger problems down the road.

Your preparer doesn't have proper credentials
You can avoid potentially serious issues by checking if your tax preparer has the correct identification. The IRS recently began assigning Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs), and if your tax specialist can't provide one, you may be courting trouble by using an unlicensed preparer.

Your refund is not deposited into your bank account
If a tax preparer insists that any refund check be made out to his or her company, or deposited directly into a bank account without your name on it, that's a huge red flag that your refund may not find you when all is said and done.

The preparer's fee is based on a percentage of your refund
Reputable tax-prep firms charge a flat fee for their services, based on the size and scope of your tax return. If a preparer bases your fee on a percentage of your tax refund, that should be an immediate deal-breaker. That gives the preparer incentive to pump up your refund by any means possible, which can invite some mishandling of your financial information.


This Could Be Your Last Shot to Grab Investing Gains Totally Tax-Free

No one wants to pay more in taxes than they should. In order to keep your tax bill as low as you can, it pays to stay on the lookout for opportunities to keep your tax rates as low as possible.

For years, some investors have been able to earn certain types of investment income without paying any taxes at all. But with the coming fiscal cliff looming, a valuable tax break could disappear entirely.

How Low Can You Go? All the Way to Zero
For about a decade, all investors have enjoyed lower rates on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains -- the profit you make when you sell an investment for more than you paid for it. When lawmakers passed the Bush tax cuts in 2003, they set the dividend rate and the long-term capital gains rate at the same level: 15%. The move was an especially huge cut for dividends.

But what many people don't realize is that an even lower rate applies for people who are in the lowest two tax brackets. Under current law, joint filers with taxable income up to $70,700 and single filers with income up to $35,350 pay nothing in taxes on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains.

A Limited Tax Break
If you're in those income brackets, though, you can't get infinite tax-free gains. The 0% rate applies only up to the top end of the 15% tax bracket. Beyond that, you'll pay the standard maximum rate of 15%.

But for many taxpayers, that leaves a lot of room to pull in tax-free gains. If you file jointly and have taxable income of $60,000, for instance, you could take up to $10,700 in additional capital gains without paying a cent of tax. That can add up to huge tax savings; if you chose to take those gains in a year when the 0% rate doesn't apply, those gains could cost you more than $1,600 in taxes -- or more, if scheduled tax increases take effect.

Unfortunately, 2012 may be the last year that the 0% tax rate will exist. Unless lawmakers make changes, both capital...


4 tax myths that can cost you money

Myth 1: Students are exempt
Lots of people believe there's an exemption for students that excludes them from income tax. There's no special tax status afforded to students. They are subject to tax on all their income, regardless of how many credits they're taking or whether or not they're fully matriculated.

Myth 2: My child is working, so I can't claim him as my dependent
Again, pure myth. As long as you provide more than half that child's support (and meet other qualifications such as citizenship and relationship), the child qualifies as your dependent, and you can deduct, for example, all the medical cost.

Myth 3: I'm over age 55, so I can sell my house tax-free
Wrong again. You're thinking old law. It used to be that if you were older than 55, you could exclude as much as $125,000 in gains from taxes, but only once. Now the rules are even better.

Under current law, age no longer matters. If the property sold was your principal residence for at least two out of the last five years, you can exclude from tax as much as $250,000 in gain (and $500,000 in gain on a joint return).

Myth 4: I'm married, so I have to file a joint return
Again, not true. If you're married, you can always file "married filing separately." That normally results in you having to pay more in taxes. But in some situations, it can be to your advantage.

For example, if one spouse has substantial medical or miscellaneous deductions, those deductions are subject to the 7.5% and 2% floors, respectively. That is, only medical expenses above 7.5% of adjusted gross income and miscellaneous deductions of more than 2% of adjusted gross income are deductible. If you had $10,000 in income and your spouse had $90,000 in income, and you filed jointly, the first $7,500 in medical expenses and the first $2,000 in miscellaneous expenses aren't allowed.

But if you as "married filing separately," the disallowance would apply only to the first $750 in medical...


IRS Internet Scams: If the Tax Man Emails You Out of the Blue, It’s Fraud. Always.

As buddy-buddy as you might be with the IRS, do not expect to get an email from the government’s tax agency any time soon. And if you do you can rest assured that it is a scam.


Parent PLUS loans pose hazards

If you want your kids to attend college, be aware of a hazardous type of loan that could prevent your retirement and leave you strapped to a lifetime of debt.

We're talking about parent PLUS loans. These fixed-rate loans are offered through the federal government to parents of dependent undergraduates. But if you can't pay back what you owe, your tax refunds could be seized and your wages garnisheed. You could even lose a chunk of your Social Security checks, however meager they might be.

Unlike federal student loans for undergraduates, there is no preset limit on parent PLUS loans. You can borrow up to the full cost of your child's education. (If your kid gets financial aid, the maximum is the full cost minus that aid.) You don't need pristine credit or any proof that you can pay the money back, which is part of the problem.

The nominal interest rate of 7.9%, while relatively low for a loan that's not secured by property, is high enough that the amount owed can double within a decade if no payments are made. (There's also a 4% "loan origination fee" that's deducted from each loan disbursement.)

The government has powers that other debt collectors envy, such as the ability to:
• Seize tax refunds.
• Garnishee wages without a court order.
• Grab a portion of Social Security benefits, which are usually off-limits to collection agencies.
• Pursue the debt indefinitely, since there is no statute of limitations on student loan collection, as there is with most other debt.

You also could lose the professional or vocational license that allows you to work, since several states allow licensing boards to deny, suspend or revoke such credentials for people who default on student loans.


Year-End Tax Planning Ideas for U.S. Individual Taxpayers

Make Charitable Gifts of Appreciated Stock. If a taxpayer has appreciated stock or mutual fund shares that have been held more than a year and the individual plans to make significant charitable contributions before year-end, he or she should consider keeping the cash and donating the stock (or mutual fund shares) instead. The individual will avoid paying tax on the appreciation, but will still be able to deduct the donated property's full value.
However, if the stock is now worth less than when it was acquired, you may sell the stock, take the loss, and give the cash to a charity. If giving the stock to a charity, the charitable deduction will equal the stock's current depressed value and no capital loss will be available. If you sell the stock at a loss, you have to wait 31 days to buy it back to avoid the wash sale rules, which means your loss won't be deductible, but instead will be added to the basis in the new shares.

Don't Lose a Charitable Deduction for Lack of Paperwork. Charitable contributions are only deductible if you have proper documentation. For cash contributions of less than $250, this means you must obtain either a bank record that supports the donation (such as a cancelled check or credit card receipt) or a written statement from the charity that meets tax-law requirements.

Leverage Standard Deduction by Bunching Deductible Expenditures. For instance, consider moving charitable donations that would normally be made in early 2013 to the end of 2012. If temporarily short on cash, charge the contribution to a credit card-it is deductible in the year charged, not when payment is made on the card. Accelerate payments of real estate taxes or state income taxes otherwise due in early 2013. But, watch out for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), as these taxes are not deductible for AMT purposes.

Take Another Look at the Medical Expense Deduction. This year, unreimbursed medical expenses are...


Top 5 Reasons to Adjust Your W-4 Withholding

What's a W-4 and Why Should I Pay Attention to It?

Every time you earn income, you’ll most likely owe taxes. How much you pay is determined by your Form W-4. Your employer deducts taxes based on the number of allowances you claim on your W-4. This system works well if you’re a “standard” taxpayer who files single, has one job, and claims a standard deduction. But if you don’t fit into this category — and many of us don’t — it’s likely that you have too much or too little tax withheld. The key to paying the right amount of tax is to update your W-4 regularly. Do this whenever you have a major personal life change. The goal is to reduce the potential for both a tax bill and a tax refund to zero, or close to it. But if you count on a big tax refund every year, you should also pay attention to your withholding, because how much you have withheld directly impacts your refund.

Five Life Changes that Should Make You Revisit Your W-4 Withholding

You get a second job -Any time your income goes up, your tax liability will likely go up too, requiring a new W-4.

Your spouse gets a job or changes jobs - Any change of household income, whether up or down, could put joint filers in a different tax bracket and require both of you to modify your allowances.

You’re unemployed part of the year - If you get laid off from your job and stay unemployed the rest of the year, you likely had too much tax withheld. But if you get re-hired in the same year, you’ll need to adjust for the downtime.

You get married…or divorced -Tying or untying the knot will surely change your tax rate, especially if both spouses work. Married persons filing jointly qualify for a lower tax rate and other deductions. Getting a divorce will take you back to single status and reverse many tax benefits.

You have a baby…or adopt one - You can claim an additional allowance for a dependent and may qualify for the Child Tax Credit, Child Care Tax Credit...


Tax preparation and consulting; bookkeeping; Business consulting;



2330 Timber Shadows Dr, Ste 108
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