How to Determine Fair Market Value for Non-Cash Charitable Donations

If you intend to claim donations the next time you file your taxes, you will probably need to determine the Fair Market Value (FMV) of your items.

Donation Value Guides

Helpful Documents

 Also See

Check the Status of Your Income Tax Refund Online

Once your Federal and/or State return has been accepted you will be able to check your status with the IRS or State once they have processed your return. You may also call 1-800-829-4477 to check on the status of your federal income tax refund.

Simply visit http://www.irs.gov/Refunds and Where’s My Refund?.

Phishing Scam: Fake calls threatening IRS lawsuits for non-payment

Many people are falling victim to phishing calls where they are threatened with a lawsuit if they don’t pay their IRS debt immediately. The callers claim to be from the IRS which scares people this time of year. One sure way to know it is a scam is they insist you pay via prepaid debit card or cash transfer.

Here is what you should do…

  1. DO NOT PAY THE CALLER!
  2. Ask for a callback number and their employee badge number.
  3. If you believe you owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
  4. If you don’t believe you owe taxes, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax administration at 800-366-4484.
  5. Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission by using their FTC Complaint Assistant.

If you are left a message claiming you owe the IRS and will be sued for non-payment, do not return the call! You should instead proceed with above steps three through five.

Tracking the Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

You can track the status of a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return online!

Go to irs.gov and click on Where’s My Amended Return?. The “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool provides the amended return status for up to four years. Processing an amended return generally takes up to 12 weeks from the date received. It takes about 3 weeks from the date mailed for it to show up in the IRS’ system.

Checking online requires the following information: 

  1. Taxpayer Identification Number (social security number for most taxpayers)
  2. Date of birth
  3. ZIP code

You can also check via phone by calling 1-866-464-2050.

How IRS Budget Cuts Are Affecting The Tax Filing Season

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday began accepting tax returns electronically, and paper returns will begin to be processed at the same time. In a statement, the IRS reminded taxpayers that filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return and the fastest way to get a refund.

As Americans start looking at their tax forms, they may not want to bother trying to get prompt assistance with questions from the IRS. The agency’s commissioner warns that congressionally mandated budget cuts are hurting the agency’s ability to…

Read the full article at http://www.npr.org/2015/01/20/378525613/irs-budget-cuts-may-make-for-an-unpleasant-tax-filing-season

PAYING FOR CARE FOR YOUR CHILD OR DISABLED LOVED ONE SO THAT YOU CAN WORK? UNCLE SAM WANTS TO HELP…

 

Paying for care for your child or disable loved on so that you can work?  Uncle Sam wants to help…

If you’ve been paying for someone to take care of your child or a disabled loved one while you work, you might qualify for a federal tax credit.  The Federal Tax Credit for Child and Dependent Care Expenses is designed to help people like you cover the costs of outside care for children and certain dependent adults.

To qualify, the person must have lived with you for more than half of 2011, be a child age 12 or younger, or, be an adult who is physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.  In addition, you – or your spouse if filing jointly – must have earned income during the year and/or been a full-time student, and the care must have been provided by someone who is not your spouse or a dependent.

If your child or loved one qualifies for the credit, you could claim up to $3,000 of expenses paid for one person or up to $6,000 for two or more individuals.

With the cost of care what it is today, a credit like this can go a long way towards easing the financial burden.  If you think you might qualify, give us a call we’ll see what we can help you save!

 

 

 

IRS PROVIDES A BETTER WAY TO CHECK IF YOUR DONATIONS ARE QUALIFIED!

IRS Provides A Better Way to Check if Your Donations are Qualified!

The IRS has recently added a new online search tool so people can better check if the tax-exempt organizations they donate to are really eligible to receive charitable donations.

It used to be that finding out whether a tax-exempt organization was in good standing was a bit of a crapshoot, as the relevant information can be easily implied by the organization to entice donations that aren’t qualified as taxable deductions.  The danger of this state of affairs, of course, was that your donations to the no-longer-tax-exempt organization in question could not be used as a deduction to offset your income!  Talk about a bad surprise come tax (or audit) day!

But now, with the IRS’s EO Select Tool, uncertainty or assumptions are a thing of the past.  With EO Select, individuals and organizations can check to see if an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations (and you are able to properly deduct them) along with a whole host of other info about the organization’s standing as far as the government is concerned.

So rest your uncertainty, grab your mouse, head to http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ and get those donation checks ready!

 

Tax Time Approaches!!! Need Help?

 

Tax Time Approaches!!!  Need Help?

It is getting to be that time of year (yippee).  Are you prepared?  We have the tools to accurately and timely prepare all business and personal tax returns.  With most all business returns due March 15, businesses everywhere are crunching numbers and preparing all of the year-end filings from W-2s and 1099s to annual and quarterly payroll reports.   Let us know if you need any help!

Also, for Sterling clients who don’t use accounting software such as QuickBooks, we have a personalized and formulized spreadsheet for all of your business income and expenses.  All you have to do is enter the individual amounts and it will summarize everything by category and put it into a profit and loss format for analysis and tax return preparation.  It sure beats burning out that calculator!

On the individual side, once you receive all of your year-end tax forms and get your information organized, stop on by or let us know – the earlier the better, because April 17th (Yes, it is the 17th this year) will come sooner than you think!  We will be glad to answer any questions you might have before, during, and after the preparation.  Additionally, if you need help getting organized, you can download a blank tax organizer from our website.  If you are a current client, we can also resend you an electronic or paper organizer with prior year amounts and items in it for comparison and to make sure you didn’t leave anything out!  If you are not a current client, come on in for a free consultation.

See or talk to you soon!  Is anyone getting excited like we are?