Qualities of a Successful Accountant

Successful Accountant Qualities Tax Hire

Qualities of Successful Accountants

If you be a business owner of any kind, you have probably found yourself wondering at some point or another if, in fact, you should hire an accountant. While deciding to hire an accountant in most cases should be a no-brainer – especially if you don’t know what you’re doing in terms of business accounting – some people seem to have a problem justifying any of the business decisions they make.

Sadly, this often means if business owners can’t justify a business decision, they just don’t make it. If you’re not one of those people trying to talk yourself out of hiring an accountant then you’re someone who sees the value of one, which is great.

Now you’re probably wondering what qualities a successful accountant should have. Here are just a few traits:

Knowledgeable

Knowledge truly is powerful, especially when one is knowledgeable about the industry they work in. In order to work with a successful accountant, they don’t necessarily need to know everything there is to know about accounting; however, it is important that they have enough knowledge to be able to help you guide your business to success.

Timely

Time is money, especially if you are hiring an accountant by the hour. One of the greatest things you can do for your accountant is make sure you have your documentation prepared and organized before you ask them to step in. The more you do on your own, the more you can maximize your time with your accountant.

Attentive

Being attentive is another great quality of an accountant. This comes in handy during audits. You want to make sure your accountant has a keen eye for mistakes and be trained to point them out, not overlook them. Overlooking mistakes could be one mistake that costs you not only in your finances but could land you in jail.

Image credit: perzonseo.com

Four Ways Your Accountant Can Help You Maximize Your Tax Refund

Maximize Tax Refund Accountant Business

Maximizing Your Refund

It’s tax season, and believe it or not you may not know everything that’s necessary to be able to maximize your tax refund. Hiring a capable accountant could be the first step toward maximizing your tax refund for this present tax season.

Here are four specific ways how an accountant can help you maximize your refund:

Accountants Know Your Deductions & Tax Exemptions

An exemption is referred to as money you earned but aren’t required to pay taxes on; a deduction, however, lowers your taxable income. Both of these things have the potential to reduce the amount of money you owe each year. Knowing your deductions and tax exemptions when you meet with your accountant will let them know exactly how they can best assist you.

Accountants Can Help You Write Off Business Expenses

If you are a business owner, you have probably heard time and time again that you have the opportunity to write off your business expenses. You may not know everything about writing off expenses during tax season, and your accountant can help you get familiarized with the process. Do you go out to business lunches? Do you have a home office? These are potential business write offs your accountant can help you obtain.

Accountants Can Help You Deduct Medical Costs

Not sure how you can deduct medical costs on your own? Your accountant can work with you to help you get a tax deduction for your medical bills in the last year. These bills could include health insurance premiums, dental and eye care, mental health, driving to the doctor, counseling and other medical appointments.

Accountants Can Help You Write Off Charitable Donations

Have you ever cleaned out your closets and donated to the local Goodwill? Donated your used car to an auction? Making these charitable donations can help trim your tax liability with the help of your accountant.

There are several ways your accountant can help you maximize your tax refund but you have to be willing to be open and honest about your financial transactions from the beginning with your accountant. Transparency is how you can best help your accountant maximize your tax refund for your business.

Image credit: Pictures of Money

Why Filing Early Can Be the Best Tax Decision You Make

Filing Taxes Early Deadline Money

Filing Early

It’s that time of year again: it’s time to file your annual taxes, and depending on your particular situation, this could either be the most exciting time of the year (because you know you’ll receive a tax refund) or the most dreary time of the year. Whatever the case may be, accounting professionals all agree on one basic piece of advice: file early.

Filing early is not only important if you want to get it out the way, it is also important for several other reasons. Here are a few of these reasons:

Filing Early Can Help Stop Identity Fraud

One common identity theft crime which often happens during tax season is the wrongful use of the personal information of an individual to file a fraudulent tax form. This is often done early during tax season, and when the actual taxpayer files they’re notified that there is already a duplicate form on file.

Filing Early Can Eliminate Stress

Yes, filing early can eliminate stress, especially if you are someone who usually waits until the last minute of the tax deadline to file their taxes. The earlier you file, the less worry you will have.

You’ll Get Your Refund Faster

If you are one of those people who are fortunate to receive a refund you should be exceptionally motivated and inspired to file your taxes early. This is because filing early guarantees you’ll get your refund that much faster.

You Might Be Eligible For Special Discounts

Several tax softwares offer a special discount if you choose to file early. There are even some restaurants who offer special discounts if you can prove that you filed your taxes early.

Image credit: Tax Credits

Three Ways to Avoid Having Your Tax Refund Delayed

Tax refunds can be delayed for dozens of reasons. The most common reason is incorrect information, requiring the IRS to reject a return and request changes to be made. The upcoming tax season may pose an issue for those claiming the Child Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, which is discussed below.taxrefundcheckaheadsign

Ensure Accuracy

The smallest type of inaccuracy, such as transposing two numbers or forgetting to sign your return, may cause it to be rejected, which will delay your refund. It is important to make sure that your numbers are transferred correctly. When transferring numbers to tax documents, use a pencil to mark the numbers you’ve inputted to keep your place in long number sequences.

Select Direct Deposit

Direct deposit often gets you your refund within about 21 days of your return being accepted. If you choose to have a check mailed, you could wait up to two months, or more if the refund happens to be lost in the mail. To ensure delivery of your mailed refund check, make sure your correct address is on your tax paperwork.

View Child Tax Credit Delays

Those claiming the Child Tax Credit resulting in an Additional Child Tax Credit may have their refunds delayed until February 15, 2017. This is because the IRS has to verify every piece of information of your return and verify 100 percent that you are eligible for the Additional Child Tax Credit that may result in a refund.

Closing Thoughts

To avoid delays, file early and triple check your information to make sure it is correct. It does help to have someone other than yourself check over your figures to help catch mistakes. Even returns completed by licensed tax preparers should be reviewed for mistakes before submittal.

Image credit: sherrymacy

Factors Which Impact When Your Tax Refund Arrives

You may not experience the same quickness in receiving your tax refund in 2017 as you did in previous years. There are several factors, one of which is beyond your control, which can affect when your refund arrives. Much of the determination of when you will get your refund is how you file.cashclock

2017 EITC & Related Delays

If you are taking the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or Additional Child Tax Credit this year and file early, you may be delayed in receiving your refund. All credits must be verified and held until at least February 15, 2017 before they can be distributed.

When & How You File

Filing via paper and receiving a paper check could extend the process of filing your taxes and receiving a refund by a matter of months. Filing electronically and selecting direct deposit of your refund is will enable the entire process to be finished in just a few weeks.

Method of Refund Delivery

If you choose to receive a paper check, you could be waiting for up to six weeks after your return is filed to receive your refund. U.S. mail service is slower than electronic deposits. Paper checks also leave you more vulnerable to refund theft or lost refunds. Electronic direct deposits are often issued within 10 days of your return being approved.

Closing Thoughts

The average tax return processing time is 21 days. This does not mean that your refund is processed within that same period. The IRS provides a chart of expected tax refund mailing dates, which can change. You should keep an eye on the delivery table so that you do not end up disappointed it your refund arrives later.

Image credit: determined_lai

How Long Should You Keep Your Tax Records after Filing Taxes?

There are specific amounts of time in which you should keep tax records after filing. Each period of time is for your own protection. It does vary by situation. For personal tax purposes, with no amendments or discrepancies, after 3 years it is safe to dispose of tax records.OldPaperwork

3 years

In most situations, 3 years is long enough to keep your tax records. An audit is typically not going to be requested for years before that time frame. If you have filed a credit or claimed a refund, keep your records for 3 years.

6 years

In the event that you have consistently not claimed all of your income, your records should be kept for 6 years. This also comes into play of the unclaimed income is 25-percent or more of your gross income. The gross income amount is the amount shown on your tax return.

7 years

Anytime that you have claimed a loss due to worthless securities or a bad debt deduction, keep those records for 7 years. Keep these files separated and labeled with a safe date for disposal.

Forever

If you have ever filed a fraudulent tax return, you should never throw away any tax documentation. This includes employment records. If you have consistently not filed a tax return, retain your records forever.

Final Thoughts

Employment records should always be kept for a period of 4 years after the tax owed on income has been paid or a refund is processed. There are special situations that may require keeping records for longer periods of time. It is always best to consult with a tax professional when you doubt tossing your tax records into the shredder.

Image credit: Heather

How to Get the Maximum Tax Refund Possible

Most citizens are interested in figuring out how to get the most out of tax season. Though every working member of society must pay taxes, it is also possible to get a refund for taxes if you have overpaid. If you are looking for a way to maximize your refund, here are some tips.TaxRefundCheck

Claim Yourself and Any Dependents on Your Return

If you are responsible for yourself, you have at least one dependent that you can claim on your tax return. If you provide 50% or more care for a minor, you may claim them on your taxes. Be sure to claim each person you provide the majority of care for to get the maximum refund.

Write Off Business Expenses

Everything down to white paper and printer ink can be written off as a business expense. If you use your desk area for nothing but work, you may write it off for your taxes. Keep a receipt for every penny that you have used for business expenses, including gas, business dinners, and business travels. Add these on your business expenses to see your liability decrease dramatically.

Make the Maximum Retirement Contribution

If you are under the age of retirement, you can contribute five thousand dollars per year to your retirement account and receive a tax benefit for the amount. If you owe several hundred and you contribute the maximum allowed, this will actually reduce your taxable income for the year. This may decrease the amount owed, or even getting a refund through federal or state taxes.

Image credit: frankieleon

Why is it Taking So Long to Get My Tax Refund?

If you expect a tax refund this year, you may be wondering why it’s taking so long. It’s a stressful time and you may be tempted to panic and wonder where things could have gone wrong. The truth is nothing is wrong at all and it simply hasn’t arrived yet.TaxRefundDictionary

Here’s what you can do about it.

Use the Official Website

The IRS’s “Where’s My Refund” website is the site setup to help you find out where your refund is. It is updated daily and will reveal at what stage of the process your tax return has reached. This will allow you to keep track of your refund at all times.

Is there an Error?

Sometimes information is being double-checked. The IRS is notorious when it comes to checking the accuracy of names and dates and various other pieces of information. Go over your tax return again and see if you have made any errors. Even a single wrong number or letter can cause you significant problems.

Look Online

Sometimes there are delays in delivering tax refunds simply because major changes have been made. When Obamacare first came in there were significant delays in processing refunds. The IRS is new at this as well and so they are getting used to changes in the tax system.

Also, many people make mistakes when the rules change. This means the whole process is gradually slowed down and delayed.

Look online and see what people are saying. If there are lots of people in the same boat, it’s likely just a general delay.

As you can see, all delays have a reasonable explanation. There’s no need to panic and certainly no need to badger the IRS lines all day.

Image credit: eFile989

Three Important Tax Dates to Keep in Mind

Tax is important. Meeting the deadline is even more important as failing to do so can lead to penalty fines or, worse, an audit. Some tax dates are more important than others. Using the calendar year, as opposed to the fiscal year, we’re going to give you three key dates for both individuals and businesses.IncomeTaxPic

Form 1040 – April 15th

This is the key tax form for individuals. It’s the one we all hate to prepare for because it takes the most effort. For most taxpayers, this is the only form they have to file each year. If you think you are going to miss your individual tax deadline, submit Form 4868 to request an extension.

Form 1065 – April 15th

To make things easy, partnerships also have the same tax deadline as individuals. Each partner must submit this form by this date. If you think you are going to be late, submit Form 7004 to request a six-month extension, which is automatic.

Form 1120 – March 15th

Finally, if you are a corporation, this is the time to file your taxes. We can also lump Form 1120 S into this category. Depending on the type of corporation you are running, these forms must be filed by this date; otherwise, you should submit, again, Form 7004 for an automatic six-month extension.

Get into the habit of noting down the dates relevant to you at the start of the calendar or financial year. There are so many different deadlines for various scenarios, so don’t assume you already know them. Preparedness will reduce the chances of making mistakes.

Image credit: Got Credit

Reasons to File an Amended Tax Return

An amended tax return gives you three years in which to rectify any mistakes. This could give you a tax refund. If you are unsure about whether you really want to file an amended tax return, we’re going to go through some of the advantages.1040TaxTime

You Filed Early

You were smart in getting your tax return out of the way. Nevertheless, when all those forms came back you discovered your investments and income were wildly off. You now need to file an amended tax return in case you are audited and the IRS discovers the irregularities later.

Natural Disasters

When a natural disaster strikes, it can have a big impact on your tax situation. Your profits may sag, which naturally means you pay less in capital gains. You can even take advantage of big tax breaks, especially if your insurance company comes with a big deductible on your policy.

Filing Protectively

Let’s say you’re going through a divorce. Filing protectively to show a snapshot of your financial standing is perfect for showing you don’t owe any tax. That way outstanding debt won’t come into divorce proceedings. Divorce could change your tax situation, so filing now could prevent you from having to pay much more later on.

Losses from Theft

Theft is the one scenario where you can file an amended tax return up to seven years after the incident took place. Losses from theft can be taken off your taxable income as a loss, along with capital gains. Filing an amended tax return means you don’t lose out because you can get that money back in the form of a tax break.

These are just some of the reasons to think about filing an amended tax return. After processing this information you should consult with a tax professional to determine whether you should file an amended return.

Image credit: frankieleon

  • Huddleston Tax Accountants / Huddleston Tax CPAs – Redmond, WA
    Certified Public Accountants Focused on Small Business
    8201 164th Ave NE Suite 200 / Redmond WA 98052
    425-483-6600

    Huddleston Tax CPAs & accountants provide tax preparation, tax planning, business coaching,
    QuickBooks consulting, bookkeeping, payroll, offer in compromise debt relief, and business valuation services for small business.

    We serve Tukwila, Auburn, Federal Way. We have a few meeting locations. If you are looking for a Redmond CPA firm, get in touch with us! Call to meet John C. Huddleston, J.D., LL.M., CPA, Lance Hulbert, CPA, Grace Lee-Choi, CPA, Jennifer Zhou, CPA, or Jessica Chisholm, CPA. Member WSCPA.