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A total of 32 students have earned scholarships from the National Society of Accountants (NSA) Scholarship Foundation. Together, they will receive $35,300 in scholarship awards. The Foundation has provided more than $1 million since 1969 to deserving undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to pursuing a career in accounting, helping to develop more qualified young accountants. The scholarships range from $500 - $2,050. Recipients were selected on the basis of an overall outstanding academic record, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, stated goals and aspirations, and financial...
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When Brian L. Thompson, CPA, a partner with Bailey & Thompson Tax & Accounting, P.A., in Arkansas, was forced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct a tax return audit for a client with an IRS representative on April 15, 2015, he was surprised and disappointed that this awkward timing could not be adjusted to a date other than the IRS tax filing deadline. So imagine his shock when a similar situation happened again this year. Tax returns for two individual clients and their three related business were audited, this time in January. The IRS auditor finished the field work in February, and audit reports were due by mid-March. But...
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Over the past few months, lawmakers have continued to press for the Small Business Health Care Relief Act (HR 5447) to move forward. The bipartisan initiative is meant to help restore the traditional use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) by small business employers to help defray the costs of health insurance premium costs and healthcare expenses without the threat of penalty. On June 15, 2016, the House Ways and Means Committee held a markup of the bill, which passed by voice vote. The bill heads to the House floor, where it is expected to face little opposition in passage. If the bill is not implemented by July 1, 2016, small business employers...
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The IRS normally sends correspondence in the mail. We mail millions of letters to taxpayers every year. Keep these important points in mind if you get a letter or notice: Don’t Ignore It. You can respond to most IRS notices quickly and easily. Follow Instructions. Read the notice carefully. It will tell you if you need to take any action. Be sure to follow the instructions. The letter will also have contact information if you have questions. Focus on the Issue. IRS notices usually deal with a specific issue about your tax return or tax account. Your notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give you instructions...
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The IRS Security Summit, consisting of the IRS, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry, has released a warning to tax preparers that they increasingly are targets of cybercriminals and should take appropriate steps to protect clients from data theft. IRS also posted Fact Sheet 2016-23 to help tax professionals get started with safeguards to protect clients’ data. It’s the first in a series of fact sheets and tips on security, scams and identity theft prevention measures aimed at tax professionals. The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign is intended to raise awareness among tax professionals on their responsibilities and the...
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You may discover you made a mistake on your tax return. You can file an amended return if you need to fix an error. You can also amend your tax return to claim a tax credit or deduction. Here are 10 tips from the IRS on amending your return: When to amend. You should amend your tax return if you need to correct filing status, the number of dependents or total income. You should also amend your return to claim tax deductions or tax credits that you did not claim when you filed your original return. The instructions for Form 1040X , Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, list more reasons to amend a return. When NOT to amend. In some...
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Four Levers that are Key to Growth: 1. Transitioning in and out of tax season 2. Increasing year-round revenue 3. Optimizing pricing 4. Changing client relationships. When I started in this business (some 34 years ago) I was lucky enough to have great mentors. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say that some of the experienced tax pros I worked with had some very sage advice and observations. One of the best was that “things are only hard if you don’t understand them.” As insultingly simple a statement as it is deceptively obvious. Growing your tax and accounting firm isn’t difficult – if you understand your tax and accounting firm. And...
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It’s difficult to claim you prepare a better tax return than someone down the street. However, you can claim an area of expertise your competition doesn’t have. A Narrow Focus Will Help You Spur Growth As a small business owner, the concept of saying “no” to a prospect seems ridiculous. However, you will actually experience more growth and greater profitability while doing more rewarding work if you narrow your focus to a sub-segment of the buying population you can help best. Implementing a niche strategy is one way professionals can differentiate themselves from their competition. It’s quite difficult to claim that you prepare a better tax return...
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Tax scammers work year-round; they don’t take the summer off. The IRS urges you to stay vigilant against calls from scammers impersonating the IRS . Here are several tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim: Scams use scare tactics. These aggressive and sophisticated scammers try to scare people into making an immediate payment. They make threats, often threaten arrest or deportation, or they say they’ll take away your driver’s or professional license if you don’t pay. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls.” Emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for...
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Most tax professionals know by now that under The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, the rules for eligibility as Qualified Leasehold Improvements (QLI), Qualified Restaurant Property, and Qualified Retail Property with a 15 year recovery period are now permanent. Additionally, the PATH Act has extended, modified, and will eventually phase out bonus depreciation. However, one of the least discussed provisions that will have a broad impact on all real estate owners is a brand new category of building improvements that significantly increases the likelihood real property capital expenditures are eligible for bonus depreciation. Qualified...
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NSA Member Shirley Buchanan, ATP, RTRP , is representing NSA and participating in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Summit today and tomorrow hosted by IRS Commissioner Koskinen. The objective is to have a discussion among informed people about three main topics - EITC over claims, participation, and program administration – that will improve compliance but not discourage claims by eligible taxpayers. There will be three sessions, each lasting four hours: Session 1 – June 29 – morning . We will focus on ways to maximize participation among taxpayers while minimizing errors by taxpayers and tax preparers in ascertaining EITC eligibility, especially...
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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 tax from 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...
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NSA Executive Vice President and Member of the IRS Advisory Council, John Ams participated in today’s IRS Security Summit to review 2016 accomplishments and announce initiatives for 2017. Fewer people became victims of tax-related identity theft during the 2016 filing season. Summit partners reported a 40% decrease in taxpayers who said their identity was stolen and a 60% decrease in the number of suspicious returns. Looking to the next filing season, the summit voiced concern with the security of tax preparers, who are the next logical target for identity theft. The IRS announced a new outreach “Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself” as an upcoming...
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The now ex-wife of my good “friend” (me) tried to give him (me) the boot from their house on April 9th about ten years ago. I’m pretty certain you suspect there was motive to the timing – tax season of course. People try to do all sorts of bad things to us during tax season, reasoning that we’re too tired and busy to fight back. This “friend’s” (my) ex-wife also liked to buy things during tax season – like cars and jewelry. She even shopped for a new house during tax season. My friend (me) thanks God that she couldn’t qualify for a mortgage on her own. If you’re all alone as a sole proprietor, how do you survive a personal crisis during tax season?...
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24 Tips for Passing the EA Exam the First Time – Part Two: When Exam Day Arrives To read Part One: Before the Exam, click here. 13. It is All Relative, So Go Ahead and Anoint Yourself Master of the Universe. We all have feelings of anxiety and inadequacy as a big day in our lives approaches, and the SEE is no different. However, try not to forget that the exam is in many respects graded on a curve, and many others taking the exam are a lot less prepared than you are. So if you have put the time in and believe you are ready, approach the exam with an air of confidence and defy them to ask any question that you can’t answer. For test days,...
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A complicated tax code is hurting the U.S. economy, according to a Tax Foundation report. Americans will spend more than 8.9 billion hours filing taxes in 2016—an "eye-popping amount of time" that costs the economy $409 billion in lost productivity, according to the report, released June 15. "Individuals and business need to devote resources to complying with the tax code instead of doing other productive activities," the report by the independent tax research organization said. "Time is precious, and Americans should not be forced to waste it complying with IRS tax forms." The time spent complying with Internal Revenue Service...
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The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer alert about possible fake charity scams emerging due to last weekend’s mass-shooting in Orlando, Fla., and encourages taxpayers to seek out recognized charitable groups. When making donations to assist victims of last weekend’s terrible tragedy, there are simple steps taxpayers can take to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to quickly and easily check out the status of charitable organizations. While there has been an enormous wave of support across the country for the victims and families of Orlando, it is common for scam artists to take...
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The Internal Revenue Service just announced that the publicly available data on electronically filed Forms 990 will now be available for the first time in a machine-readable format through Amazon Web Services (AWS) . The publicly available data does not include donor information or other personally identifiable information. The launch of this effort marks an important step forward in access to this important public data. Previously, this Form 990 data was only available in image files. This data, which includes filings from 2011 to the present, will now be available as an XML file that is downloadable from the web via AWS. “The publicly available information...
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If you filed for an extension of time to file your 2015 federal tax return – and you benefit from advance payments of the premium tax credit being made to your coverage provider – it’s important you file your return sooner rather than later. You must file your 2015 tax return and reconcile your advance payments to ensure you can continue having advance credit payments paid on your behalf in future years. Advance payments of the premium tax credit are reviewed in the fall by the Health Insurance Marketplace for the next calendar year as part of their annual re-enrollment and income verification process. If you do not file and reconcile, you will not...
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Studying for and passing the exam can be a daunting task, but it need not be an impossible one. Approach it in an organized and focused manner. Introduction An enrolled agent is an individual who is licensed to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS. This privilege is reserved only for attorneys, CPAs, certain former IRS employees, and any other individual who passes the Special Enrollment Examination (SEE). Passing this exam is a significant step on the ladder to success and is an invaluable boost to one’s career and self-esteem. However, studying for and passing the exam can be a daunting task, but it need not be...
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