You may benefit from two filing extensions

The IRS has extended the time to meet two filing requirements that may benefit you.

  • Asset basis consistency statement. Executors of estates who are required to report the value of assets to beneficiaries now have until June 30, 2016, to file statements with the IRS and the beneficiaries.
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Employers who hired qualified workers in 2015 have until May 31, 2016, to file the paperwork to claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit.

Please contact us at 201-947-8081 for details about these new deadlines.

Last chance to claim a 2012 refund

According to the IRS, nearly one million taxpayers who failed to file a return for 2012 are in danger of losing refunds. Tax law provides a three-year period to claim a refund when no return is filed. That means you’ll have to file a tax return for 2012 no later than this year’s April tax deadline – or the chance to claim the refund is gone for good.

New tax benefits available when claiming the research and development credit

If you conduct qualified research activities, you may be eligible to claim a federal income tax credit known as the “research and development” credit. This credit is now permanent and may benefit you when you design, develop, and improve business products or processes. Beginning in 2016, the research and development credit can be applied against your alternative minimum tax liability. In some cases, the credit may also be applied against up to $250,000 of payroll taxes.  You may call 201-947-8081 for more info.

Count the ways you can fund your myRA

A myRA (“my Retirement Account”) is a simplified Roth IRA that belongs entirely to you. Roth annual contribution limits apply to these retirement accounts and your funds are invested in government-guaranteed Treasury securities. You can choose to contribute to your account from your paycheck by completing a direct deposit authorization form and giving it to your employer. In addition, the Department of Treasury recently added new ways to fund myRAs. Now you also have the option of making direct deposits from a checking or savings account or from your federal income tax refund. To learn more about myRAs, please contact us at 201-947-8081 for more info.

Get credit for retirement contributions

Did you make contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA, a myRA, or a SEP or SIMPLE plan in 2015? You may qualify for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, more popularly known as the “saver’s” credit. If you’re eligible, you can apply this federal income tax credit against the tax you owe on your 2015 return. The credit is available even if you take a tax deduction for a traditional IRA contribution, as well as for IRA contributions for last year that you make before the April due date of your return. You may contact us at 201-947-8081 for more information on this matter.

One more extension for estate executors

A law passed last summer added a new task for estate executors and others who file estate tax returns after July 31, 2015: providing a statement of the value of estate assets to beneficiaries and the IRS. The statement is designed to ensure consistency between the value of the property for estate tax purposes and the basis a beneficiary reports for income taxes. The information is filed on Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property From a Decedent. If you’re required to complete Form 8971 before March 31, 2016, you do not need to do so until March 31, 2016. (The original due date was February 29, 2016.)  Please call us at 201-947-8081 for more info.

Will this IRS due date extension hold up your tax return?

In December, the IRS extended the time to file for employers who were required to provide health care information forms such as Form 1095-C to employees. Because the new due date is March 31, you may be ready to file your federal income tax return before you receive Form 1095-C. The IRS says that for 2015, you do not need to wait to receive the form. Instead, you can rely on other information to complete and file your return. Contact us if you have questions about tax forms you may be receiving regarding your health insurance coverage. Please call us at 201-947-8081 for more info.

Do younger workers value your company’s benefits?

You may consider the fringe benefits your company provides to employees to be a valuable recruiting and retention tool. But recent studies indicate that younger workers – those born after 1980 – may not agree. The studies show that these workers prefer paid time off or cash to more traditional benefits. In addition, they may not be as aware of the benefits your company offers if you’re not communicating in ways they’re familiar with, such as text or instant messages. Please call us at 201-947-8081 for more info.

Three Positive Steps to Financial Well-Being

Financial Well Being

While you’re gathering information to prepare your 2015 tax return, set aside time for a financial review. Here are steps to get started.

  • Compile a year-end list of your assets and debts and compare the list to last year. Are you gaining or losing ground? What actions can you take to improve your financial situation in 2016?
  • Review your insurance. Do you have disability insurance to replace take-home pay if you become incapacitated? What about life insurance – will the benefit provide enough cash to pay your family’s expenses in the event something happens to you or your spouse? Is your home protected with replacement value property insurance? What about insurance for automobile accidents or lawsuits?
  • Update your will and estate plan. What changed during 2015? Did you marry? Divorce? Have a child? Move to a new state? Receive an inheritance? All of these events can affect your planning. This year, you can leave up to $5,450,000 to your heirs with no federal estate tax liability. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore estate planning, which includes expressing your wishes for who will make decisions for you in times of emergencies as well as who will receive your assets.

For more suggestions, call us. We’re here to help. Please contact our office at 201-947-8081.

Do you know who you’re giving to?

Many charities use your donations wisely. Unfortunately, others spend too much of your contribution on fundraising and administrative expenses. Some even misrepresent themselves and solicit your money for phony causes. In today’s world, investigating a charity before you make a donation is wise. Here’s a checklist of precautions.

● Request written documentation about the charity’s mission and how your contribution will be spent. Ask for proof that your donation is tax deductible. If a charity is reluctant to provide information, think twice about making a gift.

● When you receive a phone solicitation, the caller must provide his or her name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity can be contacted. If a caller refuses to give you this information, hang up. Report the call to local authorities to help protect others.

● Be wary about giving your credit card number over the phone. Instead, consider mailing your contribution once you’ve verified that the charity is legitimate and that it represents a cause you’d like to support.

● Just because an organization gives you a receipt for your records doesn’t mean the organization is tax-exempt or that your contribution is tax-deductible. To find out if an organization is exempt from federal income tax and how much of your contributions to it are tax deductible, visit the IRS website at https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos.

Asking the right questions and obtaining information from and about a charity is the only way you can be sure your contribution will be used to benefit the causes and people you want to support. If we can help you sort the legitimate from the fake, give us a call 201-947-8081.