A Simplified Home Office Deduction

Do you work at home or have a home-based business? If so, you should be aware that the IRS has created a simpler option for calculating the deduction for the business use of your home. The new option makes recordkeeping easier because, instead of maintaining records of specific home office expenses, you can use a standard rate per square foot for qualifying business use space (in place of taking a pro rata percentage of items such as mortgage interest, taxes and repairs).

Keep in mind there are good and bad aspects to this “simpler” method. The new method gives you back your full interest and tax deduction on schedule A, but you will lose your depreciation and loss carryover deductions. Of course, you must still use your home office regularly and exclusively for business. This may be a welcome relief for some taxpayers, but it might not be the best choice for others. Is it the right choice for you? Please contact us for answers to all your financial questions.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Smart Disaster Planning Steps

Too often natural disasters strike and serve as reminders that it’s important for both individuals and businesses to protect themselves against the potential financial consequences of such events. A few smart steps we recommend include making electronic backups of important records, including your insurance policies, tax returns, bank and credit card account information, and vital records. It is critical that you store this backup in a separate location that will be easy to access if your area suffers damage. You should also take the time to take pictures or videos of your home or business and store them separately in case you need to make an insurance claim.

If you run a business, you must consider how you will get up and running again after a disaster. It’s a good idea to develop contingency plans that will enable employees to work from home or elsewhere if your location is damaged or inaccessible. Both businesses and families should consider using phone trees or other methods to maintain contact in an emergency. Review your contact and contingency plans every year to be sure they are up to date.

Want further advice on protecting your family’s or business’s financial well-being in case of a disaster? We can help. Contact us today with all your financial questions.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

Have Questions? We’re Here All Year!

Many clients see their CPAs at tax time, when the main focus is on completing and filing their tax return. As a result, they may not take the opportunity to ask questions about long-term tax planning or about other important financial concerns. The good news is that we are available to you all year! We have a full- time, year-round staff of experts with extensive expertise in a broad range of financial areas:

Individual Taxation
Retirement Planning
Small Business Tax & Accounting
QuickBooks Training
Auditing
Nonprofit Organizations
Common Interest Realty Associations
IRS Representation
Employee Benefit Plans

We’re ready when you are to take some time reviewing your financial situation, helping you understand your options and make the best decisions. We’re also here in an emergency to help address unexpected financial concerns. So, give us a call to discuss your important financial issues whenever they arise.

Email: info@mccpas.com     Phone: (913)239-9130     Fax: (913)239-0520

KS Dept of Labor Launches Updated Website for New Hire Reporting

Updated Website on New Hire Reporting
TOPEKA, Kan. – Federal and State law requires employers to report newly hired and re-hired employees in Kansas to the New Hire Directory within 20 days of the hire. The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) has launched a new website to provide employers with detailed information about reporting new hires, including how to report online and other reporting options.

The new website, at http://www.dol.ks.gov/UI/newhires_BUS.aspx, includes information about the law and when and how to report every business’ new employee in Kansas. The website provides the required information about who must report, how it should be reported and how to get additional assistance when reporting.

Under the law, new hire reporting speeds up the child support income withholding order process, expedites collection of child support from parents who change jobs frequently and helps locate non-custodial parents to help in establishing paternity and child support orders. New hire reporting helps children receive the support they deserve. Employers serve as key partners in ensuring financial stability for many children and families. Information collected through the new hire directory is provided to the Kansas Department of Children and Families Child Support Services.

New hire reporting also allows states to reduce unemployment benefit and worker’s compensation overpayments and fraud.

*This post is provided by The Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Inc.

What You Should Know if You Changed Your Name

Did you change your name last year? If you did, it can affect your taxes. All the names on your tax return must match Social Security Administration records. A name mismatch can delay your refund. Here’s what you should know if you changed your name:

  • Report Name Changes. Did you get married and are now using your new spouse’s last name or hyphenated your last name? Did you divorce and go back to using your former last name? In either case, you should notify the SSA of your name change. That way, your new name on your IRS records will match up with your SSA records.
  • Dependent Name Change. Notify the SSA if your dependent had a name change. For example, this could apply if you adopted a child and the child’s last name changed.

If you adopted a child who does not have a SSN, you may use an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number on your tax return. An ATIN is a temporary number. You can apply for an ATIN by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions, with the IRS. You can visit IRS.gov to view, download, print or order the form at any time.

  • Get a New Card.  File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, to notify SSA of your name change. You can get the form on SSA.gov or call 800-772-1213 to order it. Your new card will show your new name with the same SSN you had before.
  • Report Changes in Circumstances in 2015. If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace you may get advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2015. If you do, be sure to report changes in circumstances, such as a name change, a new address and a change in your income or family size to your Marketplace throughout the year. Reporting changes will help make sure that you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance and will help you avoid getting too much or too little in advance.

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list. For more information on federal taxes please visit IRS.gov.

What You Should Know if You Get Tipped at Work

If you get tips on the job, you should know some things about tips and taxes. Here are a few tips from the IRS to help you file and report your tip income correctly:

  • Show all tips on your return.  You must report all tips you receive on your federal tax return. This includes the value of tips that are not in cash. Examples include items such as tickets, passes or other items.
  • All tips are taxable.  You must pay tax on all tips you received during the year. This includes tips directly from customers and tips added to credit cards. It also includes your share of tips received under a tip-splitting agreement with other employees.
  • Report tips to your employer.  If you receive $20 or more in tips in any one month, you must report your tips for that month to your employer. You should only include cash, check and credit card tips you received. Do not report the value of any noncash tips on this report. Your employer must withhold federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes on the reported tips.
  • Keep a daily log of tips.  Use Publication 1244, Employee’s Daily Record of Tips and Report to Employer, to record your tips. This will help you report the correct amount of tips on your tax return.

For more on this topic, see Publication 531, Reporting Tip Income. You can get it on IRS.gov.

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list.

Stay Vigilant Against Bogus IRS Phone Calls and Emails

Tax scams take many different forms. Recently, the most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too. Here are several tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim of these tax scams:

The real IRS will not:

  • Initiate contact with you by phone, email, text or social media to ask for your personal or financial information.
  • Call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, telling you to pay with a prepaid debit card.

Be wary if you get a phone call from someone who claims to be from the IRS and demands that you pay immediately. Here are some steps you can take to avoid and stop these scams.

If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
  • You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.

If you think you may owe taxes:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.

In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. They often use fake refunds, phony tax bills, or threats of an audit. Some emails link to sham websites that look real.  The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they get what they’re after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.

If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.

*This message was distributed automatically from the IRS Tax Tips mailing list.

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