Category Archives: tax preparation

2021 Child Tax Credit and Advanced Child Tax Credits

As the season’s change, so do the tax laws. Congress and the Internal Revenue Service make adjustments yearly though they usually give taxpayers a year to get ready for the changes. Most of them are minor, however, there are a few laws, especially following the COVID-19 crisis, that affect millions of Americans.  

The pandemic spurred lawmakers to sign into law the American Rescue Plan. It includes an important change to the Child Tax Credit (CTC)***, which will become effective July 15, 2021. The changes to the CTC include:

  • amount increased for many taxpayers
  • fully refundable
  • includes children who turn 17 in 2021
  • monthly advance payments of half the estimated annual CTC from July through December

Here are some details about the CTC:

  1.  Your child must be under eighteen (18) years of age
  1.  For tax year 2021, the Child Tax Credit is increased from $2,000 per qualifying child to:
    1. $3,600 for children ages 5 and under at the end of 2021; and
    2. $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021. 
  2. Depending on your tax bracket and filing status, you may be phased out from receiving the refundable credit:
    1. A single filer with children under 17 making up to $75,000 will receive the full payment for each child, while those earning up to $90,000 will get a reduced amount. 
    2. Joint filers with children who make up to $150,000 will get the full credit, while those earning up to $170,000 will receive a smaller amount.
  1. Unlike the economic impact payments which did not need to be paid back if they were issued in error, the CTC must be paid back if issued to an ineligible recipient. To unenroll in the advance CTC payments go to: www.irs.gov/childtaxcredit2021 .

If you have any questions about child tax credits, consult your income tax advisor or accountant. A.K. Burton, PC, can do all your income tax preparation. We have experienced staff who can prepare and file your federal and state tax return and represent you before the IRS. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open. At this time we are not providing in-person services because of the pandemic. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, MD area.

***Find out more about the Child Care Tax Credit from the IRS website.  

Business Tax Preparation Tips: Why You Should Do Estimated Tax Payments Now!

By the time you read this, Tax Day 2021 is over. Millions of Americans have filed their tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service and to the state or to the District where they live. 

For many people, Tax Day meant they wrote large checks or filed extensions so they could pay off the 2020 tax bill. It was a very difficult and stressful day for millions of filers. 

You can save yourself a lot of pain, stress and fees by doing one thing differently: Make estimated tax payments as soon as possible! 

Estimated Tax Payments *** are for those whose federal and/or state withholding is under withheld during the year. Estimated tax payments are used to fill in the gap in withholding and proactively pay your predicted tax liability for the current year as you earn the money. Paying quarterly estimated payments is a strategy to avoid having to pay a huge bill on tax day along with penalty and interest that may be charged by the IRS or the state. Payments are made incrementally, on the following quarterly tax dates:

Payment Period                         Due Date 

January 1 to March 31 April 15
 April 1 to May 31  June 15
 June 1 to Aug. 31  Sept. 15
September 1 to December 31  Jan. 15 of the following year
2021 Estimated Tax Payments Schedule

Traditionally estimated payments are made quarterly. Had a big tax bill this year and want to avoid it next year with similar earnings predicted for this year? Have your accountant or bookkeeper calculate estimated payments. At A.K. Burton PC, we calculate estimated payments for our clients regularly. Has your income changed significantly this year? Contact your accountant and have them recalculate your estimates.

How do you pay your estimated payments? Methods of payment include scheduling an online payment or by check. If you’re interested in paying your estimated payments online: find the correct links by going to your state’s department of taxation’s website or to the IRS website and have them withdraw the funds.  Don’t have the full amount to send in that your accountant recommended? Send in the amount you can. 

A.K. Burton, PC, can do all your income tax preparation. We have experienced staff who can prepare and file your tax return and represent you before the IRS. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open. At this time we are not providing in-person services because of the pandemic. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, MD area.

*** You can find out more about Estimated Tax Payments at the IRS website.   

Income Tax Preparation: How You Can Get Your Tax Refund ASAP

The good news is that the IRS gave us an extra month to file our tax returns for 2020. It is May 17, 2021, and not April 15, 2021. ***

The bad news is that it may take a while to receive your tax refund.

It is frustrating, especially if you need the refund to catch up on bills you may have accumulated during the COVID crisis. Here are several ways you can get your tax refund quicker:

  1. E-File: Submit your tax returns electronically versus mailing your tax return in.
  2. Confirm that you have all your income documents before you file. You should have all of your 2020 income documents by now, but if you don’t, get them before you file. If you don’t have them and file your return, then you might have to amend your return(s). 
  3. Double-check your mailing address. This one is crucial! The IRS contacts you by mail for required updates on your tax return. Make sure your mailing address is correct so that you will receive all correspondence, (including a refund check), from the IRS. 
  4. Double-check your bank information on your return. If you choose direct deposit to speed up receiving your refund but fail to provide the correct bank account information, then you won’t receive your refund by direct deposit. 
  5. Check all your ID numbers. IRS has every citizen’s name and address on file. Each name has a unique ID number that is tied to the name, birthdate, income amount, and social security number. 
  6. Confirm that you are the only one claiming your dependent(s). If you know someone who could also claim your dependent on their tax return, then verify who will be claiming the dependent(s). If a dependent is claimed by more than one person, then the second tax return to claim them will be rejected by the IRS. 

Have a Certified Public Accountant file your tax returns for you. Tax laws are notoriously complicated and change year to year. So, save yourself the stress and fees by hiring a CPA to file your taxes for you. They can file them and represent you before the IRS. What’s not to like?!

As of this blog posting, there are still a few weeks left before the May 17, 2021 posting. Have you done all of the above?

A.K. Burton, PC, can do all your income tax preparation. We have experienced staff who can prepare and file your tax return and represent you before the IRS. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open. At this time we are not providing in-person services because of the pandemic. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, MD area.

*** See the IRS website for updates on the new tax return due date for 2021.

Tax Season 2021: Get Your Tax Returns Done on Time!

The good news is that Congress moved the date your tax returns are due to May 17, 2021! ***

The bad news is that you are still sorting out your tax return documents and haven’t filed yet or even sent the documents to your accountant! 

2020 was a year. You may be wondering, are there any special documents and information that I need to provide to my accountant to prepare my taxes? Here are a few reminders of documents and information you need to gather for your accountant:

  1. Home office deduction: Did you change jobs during the pandemic? Are you now a self-employed or an independent contractor working from home? If so, while gathering your tax preparation documents, include your expenses for your business use of home as well as any improvements made to your home.
  2. Estimated Payments:. If your income did not include federal and state withholding, you may have scheduled monthly or quarterly estimated tax payments. When submitting documents to your accountant, make sure to include the jurisdiction, amount, and date the estimated payment was made.
  3. Interest Income: 2019 tax filers who had a refund on their tax returns may have also received interest income from the IRS. (Due to delaying Tax Day from April 15 to July 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Interest payments are taxable and interest must be reported on the 2020 federal income tax return. (Minimum $10.)
  4. Charitable donation deduction:. The CARES Act allows taxpayers who file using the standard deduction to claim a limited deduction for cash contributions to qualifying organizations. The deduction cannot exceed $300. (Donated property cannot be deducted.)
  5. Economic impact payment(s): Include the amount of economic impact payment (EIP) provided by the COVID-related tax relief act of 2020 in your tax preparation documents. 
  6. Paycheck Protection Program loans (PPPL): Make sure to let your accountant know if you received a first and if applicable second round PPPL.

2020 was an extraordinary, and confusing, year for American taxpayers. We recommend that individuals and business owners consult an accountant for their tax preparation so they get all they deserve for the year most of us want to forget.

A.K. Burton, PC, can do all your individual and business tax preparation. We have experienced accountants who can prepare and file your tax return and represent you before the IRS.   Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open. At this time we are not providing in-person services because of the pandemic. We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, MD area.    

*** See the IRS website for updates on the new tax return due date for 2021.

Five Tax-Planning Strategies to Try Before 12/31/2020

It’s November. What comes to mind when you hear November? Holidays and turkey time? At my work, we are thinking about something a little different…tax planning! The tax year 2020 is drawing to a close. That means there’s still a good month left for tax planning. If you own a business, you still have time to make some crucial, time-saving, and money-saving tax planning decisions. The tax year 2020 has held some significant challenges navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Tax planning is important; especially if your business has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. Contact your tax preparer to discuss some tax planning strategies. Next thing you know, the first quarter 2021 will be happening and it will be time to put that planning to good use.

Take the time to meet with your CPA and go over your books. Here are some tax-planning ideas to get the ball rolling:

  1. Claim quick disaster loss refunds. Businesses can claim specific losses attributable to a disaster on a prior-year tax return. This is meant to provide quicker refunds. The Trump COVID-19 disaster declaration designated all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories as disaster areas. Almost every U.S. business is in the covered disaster area thus making it eligible for refunds, depending on the losses. A business may claim a COVID-19 related disaster loss occurring in 2020 on a 2019 amended return for a quicker refund. It may affect losses coming from many different circumstances, such as loss of inventory or supplies or office, plant, or store closures. The loss must actually be attributable to or caused by COVID-19.
  2. Payroll tax deductions. The CARES Act lets employers defer paying their 6.2% share of Social Security taxes for the rest of 2020. Half of it is due by Dec. 31, 2021. The second half is due by Dec. 31, 2022. Payroll taxes cannot be deducted until their share is paid. Some taxpayers may pay the taxes as late as 8½ months into 2021 but still, claim a deduction for 2020.
  3. Use above-the-line charitable deduction. In the past, there was no tax benefit for giving to charity unless you itemized deductions. The CARES Act, however, created an above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions from taxpayers who don’t itemize. In order to take advantage of this provision, donate by 12/31/2020. 
  4. Make up a tax shortfall with increased withholding. COVID-19 caused cash-flow issues for many businesses this year. Your withholding and estimated taxes should align with what you actually expect to pay while you correct the cash flow issue. If you are in danger of being penalized for underpaying taxes, make it up through increased withholding on your salary or bonuses.
  5. Use low-interest rates and generous exemptions. Interest rates this year are historically low. Plus, lifetime gift and estate tax exemptions can still be utilized. COVID-19 is depressing many asset values but you can still use estate-planning strategies. The present gift and estate tax exemptions are scheduled to expire in a few years. 
  6. Claim AMT refunds. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT). Now, corporations may claim all their unused AMT credits in the tax years beginning in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows corporations to claim credits in either 2018 or 2019. Companies have several options to file for quick refunds. They can file a tentative refund claim on Form 1139. It must be filed on 12/31/2020 to claim an AMT credit.

There are a number of tax planning strategies that may be in the best interest of your business. In order to customize your tax planning strategy, we need to meet with you, analyze the data, and discuss. The tax planning process takes some time, so don’t wait until the last minute. Contact us today and consult one of our experienced tax advisors. 

A.K. Burton, PC, can assist small business clients with their taxes. We are familiar with the CARES Act and TCJA and can advise our clients on being proactive in their tax planning by the end of the year. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.

*** You can find more information about TCJA at the IRS website

Small Business Tax Preparation: The Five Biggest Mistakes People Make

We have finally reached the fourth quarter of 2020.

2020 has been a year like no other, especially for small businesses. Tax deadline changes, COVID restrictions, added tax laws…it’s hard to keep up with it all.

AK Burton, PC specializes in helping our small business clients keep up with their taxes. Is October the time to think about taxes? Yes. Now is the time to get in touch with your CPA if you have had an abnormal business year and plan how to close out 2020.

As you and your accountant begin the tax taking a look at your small business taxes, keep in mind these five biggest mistakes people make in small business tax preparation:

  1. Misclassifying employees and independent contractors: Misidentifying a person as a contractor and not as an employee will lead to penalties and interest for non-payment of the employer share of employment taxes. The business must give every employee a W-2, and every contractor that was paid more than $600 gets a Form 1099-Misc.  
  1. Failure to pay “reasonable wages” to shareholders of an S-Corporation: The IRS states that for the 1120S income tax return that “Distributions and other payments by an S corporation to a corporate officer must be treated as wages to the extent the amounts are reasonable compensation for services rendered to the corporation.” The shareholder plays an active, day-to-day role in the business, so, they are an employee and have to be paid a market-based salary for that position.
  1. Missing valid deductions or overstating business expenses: If your business expenses exceed its income, you may get the unwanted attention of the IRS. All of your business expenses need to be considered. IRS rules are quite strict on home office expenses as whatever is used for business should not be used for any other purposes than business. The IRS is “generous” when it comes to some Schedule C expenses. Be sure to use the depreciation schedule that the IRS has for deducting business equipment, business vehicles, and buildings. ***
  1. Improperly mixing business and personal expenses: This is one of the most common business tax filing mistakes of all. Many business clients co-mingle their personal and business banking accounts. “Co-mingling” your personal and business checking accounts makes it hard to distinguish which expenses are tax-deductible. Please keep personal income and expenses out of business bank accounts.
  1. Failure to plan: Tax laws can be complex. Most business owners are too busy running their company to understand all of the tax law nuances. A CPA or tax attorney is experienced in these matters and can help the business properly manage their accounting and business processes. Tax advice can help businesses take advantage of their resources and avoid unwanted consequences that may unknowingly occur due to the complexity of the tax laws. If you are about to incur an unusual financial transaction such as a large asset purchase or sale that is not an ordinary part of your business activity, contact your CPA to discuss the tax implications of the transaction. There may be unforeseen and unexpected tax consequences.  

At A.K. Burton, PC, our specialty is assisting small business clients with their taxes. We are familiar with the tax laws and can advise our clients on being proactive in their tax planning for now and the future. Call us at (301) 365-1974 for a consultation. Our office is open! We serve Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County. MD area.

*** You can find the IRS Depreciation Form 4562 here.