Self Employed? – Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Need An Accountant

For the self-employed, tax time can be an entirely different experience than for those who are either employed by another company or own their own business. Being self-employed means that you are technically both an employer and an employee, and are at times responsible for paying taxes on issues that affect both.

Taxes are already complex enough for the average individual, but that situation is exacerbated by your current status. As a result, it may be wise to talk to an accountant, as they can not only find special deductions and benefits, but save you the time and anxiety of having to figure out your tax status.

1. Special Rules

In the United States, every working individual is responsible for paying tax for Social Security and Medicare. However, the amount of tax paid is typically split between the employer and employee, whereas with a self-employed person they are responsible for both. This is just one of a number of different rules and forms that change as a result being self-employed. Having a certified accountant will help you sort through the brambles and not have to worry about an audit.

2. Loopholes and Tricks

Regardless of what type of situation you are in, it’s never a bad idea to consult an accountant as they are far more educated on how to maximize your tax return. Every year the government passes legislation or makes changes to the tax code that affects businesses of all types. Special credits and other tax friendly programs may also be introduced but not publicized to the general public.

Accountants are paid to keep abreast of such situations and how they apply to their various clients. In fact, many of the special tax benefits and tricks apply specifically to those who own a business, and having an accountant experienced with the self-employed may end up saving you far more than the cost of the hiring one.

3. Time

Even if you are willing to sift through the morass of new forms, rules and special deductions and exemptions, the one thing you will inevitably lose is time. Paying an accountant to do your taxes will save you time to concentrate on running your business. Depending on how much income you can generate with that time, it may be that it’s more cost effective to earn money to pay for an accountant than do your taxes for free.

4. Advice and Audits

Accountants can also be relied upon for advice as to how to avoid certain tax penalties or qualify for specific deductions or exemptions. For example, as you can deduct equipment purchases over a single year or over a extended period of time, you can consult them on which deduction works best for your business. If you are by chance audited, a qualified professional can assist you with the process.

5. Online Alternatives

For some self-employed individuals, it can be very difficult to pay for an accountant given their limited financial resources. Relying on an accountant, however, doesn’t necessarily mean relying on a living person. Accounting software can be just as adept at finding the best deductions provided you give it the information they require.

As a result online software is best reserved for those that have relatively simple situations, especially self-employed individuals who will likely be using the standard deduction for much of their taxes.

John Hill writes on behalf of Public Liability Insurance dot org an online resource for business insurance including childrens liability insurance.

Improve Your Home; Replace Windows to Reap Tax Benefits

Glimmering new windows for your home are not the only reason seeking information about vinyl replacement windows is beneficial. In fact, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 offer homeowners who replace their old windows with new, energy efficient versions serious tax credits. With increased importance of energy conservation, incentives like these can help make new windows more affordable and beneficial. While new windows can be an exciting addition to your home, offering beauty and acting as an investment in your residence, they also offer tax credits that can help you save money.

Lower energy bills and a more comfortable home are just some of the reasons new replacement windows are drawing attention. The replacement of old windows with new energy efficient ones can actually save you on your monthly energy bills and boost the resale value of your home, making them a smart investment. A home’s appearance can benefit from the aesthetic appeal of replacement windows while you have less maintenance and effort accompanying.

Though purchased windows must meet criteria established by the Act, those bought during 2009 and 2010 can help you earn a tax credit of up to $1500. The tax credit received is usually 30 percent of the purchase price, up to the cap fore-mentioned.

Eligible windows must have a U factor, the amount of heat transferred through the window, of .30 or below. The lower the U factor is, the slower it takes heat to transfer through the window, making it more efficient. In addition the windows you purchased must have a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of .30 in order to earn you a tax credit. The SHCG measures the heat absorbed from both heat and sunlight. The less heat absorbed, the more energy efficient the window and the lower the number corresponding. Call the manufacturer of your windows for both the U factor and SHCG statistics for the windows you purchased.

In addition to the U and SHCG factors of the window, there are other requirements to consider for eligibility:

-Installation costs, sales tax, assembly and other fees are not eligible for the tax credit. Instead, only the actual cost of the windows is eligible for the tax credit.

-Only vinyl windows purchased during the eligible period can help you earn a tax credit. Windows purchased outside of the taxable year cannot be included.

-Vinyl replacement windows that meet the requirements during the specific period can be considered for tax credits.

-Receipts, statements, labels and any other information regarding your windows and the cost and factors should be saved when filing for the corresponding tax credits.

Looking for a local contractor to purchase and install your windows should involve detailed research regarding the company, work and windows used. You should look for a contractor who:

-Uses a window manufacturer with a good reputation, including extensive experience with quality products.

-Offers warranties that are backed by the contractor and manufacturer.

-Offers low maintenance products that will add appeal and value to your home.

-Installs a product that is manufactured by a reputable company, highlighted by awards, approval and the use by other contractors and companies around the nation and locally.

 

Kathy and her husband own a company that sells and installs replacement windows in Houston. She enjoys writing about energy efficient products that can help home owners save more and spend less. For more energy saving tips visit http://www.superiorwindowcompany.com.

Inheritance tax planning

People who wish to minimize estate taxes and keep their personal and financial details private should consider inheritance tax planning using legal devices such as living trusts and Texas wills. One of the main differences between these stratagems is that wills, being subject to the probate process, are required to be filed and records relating to wills are available for public access, whereas living trusts are treated privately by the courts and their details are not available to the public.

Estate taxes have been eliminated in Texas, so that in that state property may be inherited without payment of any state tax and in the case of modest estates the process of obtaining probate is streamlined and inexpensive. Federal inheritance tax is levied on larger estates, however, and it is in these cases that people can benefit from inheritance planning to reduce the level of federal inheritance tax payable on their estates. The levels of federal inheritance taxes are quite punitive, as high as one third of the estate value, and are payable in cash. Often heirs are forced to liquidate the property they have inherited – real estate, businesses, jewelry or valuable collections – at a loss so that they can fulfill their federal tax obligations. To be sure that assets are passed on to the inheritors, and do not need to be sold on order to pay federal inheritance taxes, estate planning attorneys will help with making Texas wills and setting up living trusts.

If you have worked hard to accumulate assets during your lifetime, and wish your heirs to gain the most benefit from your estate after your death, consider consulting an estate planning attorney. A professional inheritance tax planner will be able to explain the best legal devices for your particular circumstances so that you can decide whether a Texas will or living trust is a way of ensuring that your belongings are dispersed in the manner that you wish.