Tag Archives: tax preparation Bethesda

Tax Season 2021: Get your tax returns done on time!

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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.

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.

Tax Preparation Time: Getting Ready to File Your 2019 Tax Returns

We are only a few weeks into 2020. You haven’t even had time to pack away the Christmas tree, yet. 

January seems too early to be thinking about anything other than just trying to get into the routine of work again. 

However, now is the time to get ready to file your 2019 tax returns. As those tax documents start showing up, pop them into your 2019 tax return file to send to your preparer. You haven’t seen anything yet, and still thinking it’s too soon? Well, the IRS has announced that they are going to open filing for individual 2019 tax returns on January 27, 2020!***  

Here are some ways you can prepare to file your 2019 tax returns now:

  1. Electric Organizers: Instead of filling out your organizer by hand, your tax preparer has probably sent you an electronic organizer. Do your best to fill it in. The organizer will give you a good idea of what documents you need to send to your tax preparer. Still not sure what to do? Use the notes space in the organizer to alert your tax preparer to any questions or concerns you have. If there’s not enough space, send a quick email or call your preparer to get your questions answered. 
  2. EDocuments: Remember the old days of bringing all your tax documents to your accountant in a thick Manila folder? Those went out with floppy discs and ripped-knee jeans. Now, you can scan all your documents then upload them using a secure link that your accountant has sent you. Make sure to keep a copy of your scanned documents for your file. It will save you time and make filing easier. Not sure which documents to send? Send your W2,1099, and 1098 forms to start. 
  3. Remember to send form 1095 – showing 2019 health insurance coverage: This tax form declares the type of health insurance coverage that you have, the period covered and the number of dependents that are covered. (If it is a health plan paid by your employer, it would have the company name and name of the employee.)
  4. Mileage expenses: If you used your vehicle for business and have recorded the miles used for work, submit the total mileage and your business mileage for the year. 
  5. Business use of the home: If you have a home office, with square footage exclusively used for your business, disclose the total amount of square feet in your home and the square footage of your home office. Be sure to disclose to your preparer expenses used to run your home such as utilities, insurance, security, and/or repairs and maintenance items. 
  6. Charitable contributions: Include an itemized schedule of all your donations to deductible charitable organizations. Any donation of $250+ must have a receipt from the receiving charity to be deductible. 
  7. Your 2018 Tax Return: If this is the first time you have worked with this tax preparer, bring or electronically send last year’s tax return. Your tax preparer will use it when completing this year’s tax return. 

Now is the time to prepare for your 2019 taxes. As you receive your tax documents, put them aside. Fill in your electronic organizer. When you’re ready, send your completed organizer and scanned documents to your tax preparer. Please remember to keep copies of your 2019 documents for your records.

A.K. Burton, PC, has experienced tax preparers who prepare and file personal and business tax returns. Our friendly and efficient tax preparation staff can file your taxes and represent you to the IRS, District or state. Call (301) 365-1974 for an appointment. ***See the IRS 2019 Tax Filing information here.

It’s Tax Day Already?: Income Tax Preparation for Procrastinators

So, it’s “Tax Day” and you are still rifling through your tax documents form last year. The baby is crying. Your spouse is irritated that the papers are still strewn all over the kitchen table. They haven’t been able to eat at that table for weeks since you last poured all your papers out on it. Still nothing has been done.

Oh, did we say that it’s “Tax Day” today?

You are really, really late. In fact, your accountant hasn’t even heard from or seen you since last year.

You are hours away from missing the deadline to send your tax return to the IRS. Your family is sick of seeing a pile of unorganized receipts and statements gathering dust on the kitchen table. And, finally, your accountant is looking up your name in the local paper obits to see if you’re still around.

You’re late to file. All seems lost. Will you ever recover from this incredible example of “Tax Filing Procrastination”?

Actually, all is not lost and, yes, you can recover. However, you need to act now. Here are Five Ways to Do Your Tax Preparation and Filing after you have passed the Tax Day deadline:

  1. Don’t panic: Losing your cool and bashing your head against the wall only compounds the mistake. Admit to yourself and everyone in your household that you are late this year filing your/their tax returns. There may have been circumstances that caused it (i.e. illness, surgery, family tragedy, etc.) or you may have just been flat-out neglectful. Whatever the cause, admit to it and then calmly get your tax filing plans in place.
  2. Organize your documents: You cannot file accurately if you don’t have all of your previous tax year papers organized. Now is the time to staple them all together or photograph them and store them on a flash drive. Clear the kitchen table and place all these documents in a hard file folder and/or electronic file.
  3. Contact the IRS: This is the scariest step to do, we know. However, the Internal Revenue Service has customer service people on call 24/7/365 to assist you with your questions to help you with your income tax preparation. Give them your contact information so they can note that you will be filing late.
  4. Request a Tax File Extension: Filing an extension pushes the due date for your tax returns up giving you time to get it completed. Just keep in mind that and extension for you to complete your income tax preparation protects you from likely possible late-filing penalties. Those penalties can be five percent (5%) of the amount due with your return for each month that you’re late.
  5. Consult with your licensed bookkeeper/accountant: Your accountant can be your best friend during these high-stress times. You may believe you’re the only client who has ever done this, but we can assure you, we have seen it all! So, get your documents in order and bring or send them to us. We recommend that you set up an appointment with your trusted accountant to help you with tax preparation,tax filing and, most importantly, communications with the IRS. You need to make sure all of your communications with the IRS are documented and your accountant will do that for you. We are your advocate.

So, as you can see, procrastination in filing your tax returns is not the end of life as we know it. You do have a “second chance.” Just get moving now and try not to let it happen in the future. (While this blog may be helpful, we also advise that you read the IRS specific instructions if you are filing late.)

If you need help with late tax preparation and tax filing, contact our A.K. Burton, PC offices in Bethesda, Maryland. Our experienced and licensed tax lawyers and accountants can answer all your questions and also assist you with your communications with the IRS. We serve clients in the Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Maryland and Northern Virginia region.