Money Matters

Accounting, taxes, and more. Your financial questions answered.

When and How to Incorporate Your Business

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When is it time to convert to a corporation? What are the benefits of incorporating, and what are the steps involved? If you are an entrepreneur or sole proprietor, or you're planning to launch a new business, you may have some of these questions. Setting up a corporation has many benefits, but there are also costs involved—a cost-benefit analysis ...
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Why Your Business Needs a Bookkeeper

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If you're a business owner, you understand firsthand the challenges of providing excellent services and products while running a business. You also understand that you only have so many hours in a week to meet deadlines and accomplish your goals, and this time crunch can lead to stress. You may feel stress because you don't have time to do your own...
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When is Mileage Deductible?

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Mileage is a popular business deduction, but is your mileage actually deductible? There is a great deal of misunderstanding about mileage deductions, and in recent years the IRS has become increasingly picky about evidence. Your daily commute to your permanent work location is not deductible, even if your workplace is far away or you are hauling to...
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Your Guide to Taxpayer Identity Theft

Your Guide to Taxpayer Identity Theft
Every year, an overwhelming number of taxpayers become victims of tax identity theft. Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a cash refund. You may not know that you are a victim until you e-file your return and discover that a return has already been filed using your pe...
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Married Filing: Joint vs Separate

Married Filing: Joint vs Separate
Married couples can file their federal income taxes jointly or separately. When you file a joint tax return, both you and your spouse report your income, deductions, credits, and exemptions on the same tax return. This also means that you are both responsible for each other's tax liability. Even if you reported no income on the return, you will be ...
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Donations and Your Taxes

Donations and Your Taxes
If you made a tax-deductible donation of $250 or more to a charity last year, you'll also need an acknowledgment letter from the charity before you can claim the charitable contribution on your federal income tax return. The IRS requires all tax-exempt organizations to send a written acknowledgment letter for any donation of $250 or more. The lette...
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Sharing Economy and Your Taxes

Sharing Economy and Your Taxes
Sharing economy (also known as the on-demand or access economy) is a fast-growing business model that allows providers to use online platforms and smart phones to easily connect with customers and rent a spare room, provide car rides, or provide other personal services. If you've ever rented out a room or vacation home on Airbnb, or provided rides ...
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Volunteer Work & Your Taxes

Volunteer Work & Your Taxes
As a volunteer of a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, you can take advantage of tax breaks to save on your tax bill. While you can't deduct the value of your time or services (such as legal or medical services, that you would normally bill for) or the value of income lost while you work as an unpaid volunteer, you can deduct unreimbursed out-of-po...
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Changes to Mortgage Interest Deductions

Changes to Mortgage Interest Deductions
Home ownership comes with a variety of tax breaks, and the largest involves deducting your qualified home mortgage interest on your federal income tax return, provided you meet all criteria. As a homeowner, a portion of your monthly mortgage payment is allocated towards interest. You should have received Form 1098 from your mortgage company or lend...
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New Requirements for Child Refundable Tax Credits

New Requirements for Child Refundable Tax Credits
Taking advantage of child refundable tax credits can help you cut your tax bill, but before you claim a credit, you need to determine your eligibility. In addition, new requirements effective for 2016 are designed to help the IRS clamp down on fraudulent claims. All three credits are partially or totally refundable, meaning that they can reduce a t...
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Special Tax Deductions for Childcare Providers

Special Tax Deductions for Childcare Providers
As a childcare provider, you're entitled to special tax breaks. Some of the deductions you can take are common to small businesses; other deductions are specific to the child care industry. To save money come tax time, be sure to document all of your expenses and keep dated receipts on file (you'll also need proof of your expenses in case of an aud...
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Is Your Dependent Really Your Dependent?

Is Your Dependent Really Your Dependent?
You help your son pay for his college tuition, but is he really your dependent? The IRS defines a dependent as a qualifying child or qualifying relative for whom you can claim a tax exemption. If you financially support a child or a relative, you may be able to claim them as a dependent on your tax return, provided that they meet all requirements b...
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1099 Rules for Landlords

1099 Rules for Landlords
What are 1099s? As a landlord, do you need to issue any? Are you confused about current tax rules for landlords? As we head into another tax season, these are all important questions to address. 1099s are information documents, similar to W-2s, and are used to report payments of $600 or more to the IRS. Landlords must send 1099s to all vendors who ...
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New 1099 Filing Deadline for 2017

New 1099 Filing Deadline for 2017
In case you missed it, the IRS has moved up the filing date for 1099s that report non-employee compensation in Box 7, such as payments to independent contractors. The reporting date to the IRS is now January 31, the same date that 1099s must be issued to all recipients. This deadline applies whether the forms are filed electronically, or on paper. ...
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IRS Mileage Crackdown: No Log, No Deduction

IRS Mileage Crackdown: No Log, No Deduction

Mileage is a popular business deduction, but taking advantage of it has gotten more complicated as the IRS cracks down on mileage deductions by not allowing estimates to be used in an audit. In fact, unless you provide complete and accurate records, your entire mileage deduction can be rejected, even if you can prove that you drove for business during the year.

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Enrolled Agents: America’s Tax Experts

Enrolled Agents: America’s Tax Experts

When it comes to taxes, enrolled agents are the experts. Enrolled agents are the only federally licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and also have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. The enrolled agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after receiving questionable claims for Civil War losses, Congress enacted regulations for people who represented citizens before the US Treasury Department.

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Three, Two, One, Presto: AMEX Becomes VISA at Costco

Three, Two, One, Presto: AMEX Becomes VISA at Costco

Costco is changing its credit card partner from American Express to VISA effective June 20 and cardholders will benefit from the new card’s reward program.

The Citigroup Visa increases most of the reward tiers from the American Express program by one percentage point each. VISA cardholders will earn four percent cash back on fuel purchases instead of three percent up to $7,000 in eligible gasoline purchases per year and one percent on eligible gasoline purchases thereafter.

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Home Mortgage Interest Deductions: Are You Deducting More than You Should?

Home Mortgage Interest Deductions: Are You Deducting More than You Should?

If you think all of the interest you’ve paid on your home mortgage is deductible on your income tax return, think again.

For many taxpayers, the interest home mortgage lenders report on Form 1098 is not deductible. The IRS has imposed new reporting requirements for lenders that will enable the IRS to identify taxpayers who are deducting more than they should.

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The #StocktonGivesBack Campaign

The #StocktonGivesBack Campaign

All About Numbers wants to make Stockton an even better place by encouraging charity donations and matching them. Are the other businesses of Stockton ready to step up and meet the challenge to do the same?

Beginning with the 2016 tax season, All About Numbers invited our clients to join us in supporting the community. Our firm had chosen four non-profit organizations that make a positive impact in the area, each in a different way. We are asking our clients to round up their tax preparation fees to add a few dollars and All About Numbers will then allocate the extra tax deductible dollars to one or more of the following charities. 

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What to Bring to your Tax Appointment

What to Bring to your Tax Appointment

A new year means New Year’s resolutions, cold weather, and tax returns! It’s a good idea to check this item off your to do list as early as possible, so make your appointment with your tax advisor today. Here's a handy checklist of the documents you’ll want to bring to your appointment.

Copies of Prior Year Returns

If you are a new client, please bring copies of your federal and state income tax returns for the last three years.

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Tax Preparers in California: Know the Difference!

As reported on Business Wire: :.--(BUSINESS WIRE)---"California is one of the few states that require paid tax preparers to be licensed or registered. Each professional has varying levels of skills and not all of them necessarily deal with preparing tax returns."

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2016 IRS Mileage Rates Down from 2015

2016 IRS Mileage Rates Down from 2015

New mileage rates went into effect Jan. 1 and they are lower than the 2015 rates. The Internal Revenue Service's "optional standard mileage rates"are used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

The 2016 standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel trucks are:

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50 Tax Benefits Await Their Fate

50 Tax Benefits Await Their Fate

More than 50 tax provisions, covering areas including mortgages, tuition and transportation, expired Jan. 1. Congress routinely extends these tax credits, deductions and other tax saving laws every year. Unfortunately, Congress also has been routinely waiting until later and later in the year to retroactively extend the tax breaks, known as “extenders.” This means tax planning is on hold while taxpayers wait to hear whether or not they can depend on the tax incentives.

Extenders impacting individual filers range from tax savings of a few hundred dollars for teachers and students to thousands that homeowners otherwise might face in taxes if mortgage debt is written off by loan holders.

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When can senior care be a tax deduction

When can senior care be a tax deduction

In many households, some become the care provider of their elderly parents, spouses, and others who become incapable of caring for themselves. Whether you are the sole caregiver or you hire outside help, many of the expenses associated with this care can be deducted from your taxes. 

In most households, the elderly individual is moved into a senior home out of medical necessity or when they are unable to safely live on their own. In these cases the costs of the facility, meals, and medical care are tax-deductible. In other cases the individual will choose to move into a senior home in order to simplify their living arrangements, access activities, or for financial reasons. In these situations, only necessary medical care would be deductible - the costs of the living arrangements fall into the same category as if they were still living at home and are not deductible.

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Five Ways to Catch an IRS Phone Scam

Five Ways to Catch an IRS Phone Scam

Are you receiving suspicious phone calls? People claiming they are they are the IRS and demanding money? 

The IRS has listed phone scams as one of the most prevalent tax scams underway today. Taxpayers are receiving aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. The callers may demand money or even promise a refund to trick you into sharing private and personal information. During filing season, there is an uptick of complaints reporting phone scammers who are threatening arrest, deportation, license revocation, and other things. 

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Tips for Filing an Amended Return

Tips for Filing an Amended Return

It's a scenario that keeps people up at night: you've discovered that you made a mistake on your taxes. Will the IRS come knocking on your door? Will federal agents sweep into your home and arrest you in the middle of the night?

Fortunately, neither of those scenarios is likely. Every year, thousands of taxpayers make honest mistakes on their forms and file Amended Returns using Form 1040X. Amended returns aren't just limited to mistakes that will cost you money. Often a correction involves claiming deductions that you missed, or additional tax credits, which can mean a larger refund for you.

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Top 10 Things to Know About Identity Theft

Top 10 Things to Know About Identity Theft

According to the Federal Trade Commision, there are over 9 million victims of Identity Theft in the US every year. It becomes a stressful challenge for businesses, organizations and government agencies, including the IRS.

In most cases of Identity theft, you may not be aware that someone has stolen your identity. Identity theft happens when someone uses your stolen Social Security Number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Luckily, the IRS is the first to detect the the fraud after you try to file your taxes.

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How to pay if you owe money to the IRS

How to pay if you owe money to the IRS

It's tax time, and while some people are getting refunds this time of year, others find they owe a balance to the IRS. If you do need to make a payment, you have several options available.

IRS Direct Pay allows you to schedule a payment to be deducted directly from your checking or savings account. There is no registration required, no fees, and you can do it all from the IRS website. Direct pay also gives you instant confirmation after your payment has been made. You can also schedule a payment to be made anytime up until your tax is due.

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Tips for claiming the Home Office Deduction

Tips for claiming the Home Office Deduction

If you conduct business either partially or in whole at home, you may be entitled to a home office deduction on your taxes. Here are a few things you should know about the home office deduction.

First, the portion of your home you are claiming the deduction must be used regularly and exclusively for business purposes. This area of your home must also be your principal place of business, or a place where you meet clients or customers in the normal course of business. It also applies if the space is a separate structure not attached to your home, like a garage or studio.

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Track the status of your refund online

If you already filed your taxes and have a refund coming your way, the IRS has an online tool that allows you to check the status of your refund at any time. Where's My Refund? is available on the IRS website and eliminates the need to call the IRS to check on your refund status.

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Behind the Numbers: Meet Juelie Sugidono

Behind the Numbers: Meet Juelie Sugidono

Want to learn more about the people "Behind the Numbers"? Today we'd like to introduce you to Juelie, from our Customer Service team.

Juelie claims that she "fell" into accounting after graduating as an English major. Beginning her career as an office manager, she learned more skills along the way and began to gravitate toward the financial field. She joined All About Numbers in 2008, and manages our customer service efforts. Her job involves everything from scheduling appointments with clients, to reviewing tax returns, to following up with our preparers to ensure that client's needs are being met. Juelie says she enjoys the fact that her days are "varied and never dull."

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Behind the Numbers: Meet Ryan Benton

Behind the Numbers: Meet Ryan Benton

Want to learn more about the people "behind the numbers"? Today we'd like to introduce you to Ryan Benton, one of our accountants and tax preparers.

A 14-year veteran of the City of Stockton Police Department, Ryan suffered an on the job injury and was forced to retire. Having some background in accounting and previous knowledge of All About Numbers, he joined our team full-time in early 2014.

Ryan says that as a police officer, one of the things he liked most about the job was when he was able to help people, and that has followed into his accounting career as well. Rather than being involved in a crisis in their lives, he's now able to assist with some of the happier events, such as getting a tax refund.

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Behind the Numbers: Meet Bryan Strombom

Behind the Numbers: Meet Bryan Strombom

Want to learn more about the people “Behind the Numbers”? Today we’d like to introduce you to Bryan, one of our accountants who manages tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll processing for many of our clients. 

With a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from CSU, Fresno, Bryan has been at All About Numbers since 2002 and just happens to be married to our owner Laura.

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How to Value Donated Goods

Hi there!

Thanks for coming by! Welcome to the first of what will hopefully become many instructional blogs and corresponding video tutorials (please click the link at the bottom to watch the video tutorial). This blog is about how to earn somewhere around $125.00 per hour tax free! Or, more appropriately titled, how to properly value donated goods, aka, anything that you give to charity and want to claim on your tax return.

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Employing Family Members

If you have a family-owned business, chances are you have likely hired (or are planning to hire) an easily accessible hiring pool: members of your own family. Doing so has its pros and cons; only you know if employing those closest to you will be advantageous to your business. While we cannot tell you whether you should hire your family, we can advise you on how you need to treat them with respect to wages and specifically payroll taxes.

One of the advantages of hiring family members is the exclusion of some payroll taxes on their wages. Depending on what type of business you have (corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship) and depending on which family member you employ (child, parent, or spouse), you may not need to pay:

Federal Unemployment taxes (FUTA)Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA)State Unemployment Insurance (UI), Employment Training Tax (ETT), and State Disability Insurance (SDI)

The rules for each of these taxes varies, so we advise you to contact your tax preparer to ensure you are paying your family employees correctly and to ensure you are reporting wages and taxes correctly. You can then make a well thought-out decision as to whether these tax breaks will be worthwhile to you and to your family./p>

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How to Protect Yourself from Tax-Related Identity Theft

Sadly, we have become all too familiar with identity theft: someone else using your personal information without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. While most of us are familiar with “traditional” identity theft, such as someone stealing from your bank account or taking out a loan in your name, not many of us consider tax-related identity theft.

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Trusts, Taxes, and You

Many of my clients ask me about trusts and whether they should have one. Yes, you should! A trust protects your estate for your beneficiaries, reduces or eliminates taxes, provides for managing your estate should you be become incapable of doing so, avoids probate, avoids your will being contested, and protects the privacy of your estate (wills and probate are public proceedings.)

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Is Your Child Really Your Dependent?

It seems pretty simple: Junior lives under your roof, eats your groceries, drives your car, uses your health insurance, etc. He is your dependent...or is he?

In order to qualify as a qualifying child, Junior must either be under the age of 19 on December 31 and NOT provide over half of his own support, or be under 24 at the end of the year and a ful- time student for any part of 5 calendar months during the year or be any age and totally and permanently disabled.

If Junior fails to be a dependant as a qualifying child, he may still be a qualifying relative. The biggest catch here is that Junior has to have Gross Income of less than $3800 for 2012. That equates to 462 hours at minimum wage, which is not a lot of time spent working during the year.

There are several additional tests to be passed before Junior qualifies as your dependent. The law is also clear that if you can claim Junior, Junior cannot claim himself, even if you chose not to claim him.

Please bring in the W2’s of your possible dependents with you. We will prepare their returns for free if they qualify as your dependent and for a reduced rate if they do not. Every year we amend dozens of returns because parents and kids did not get this right!

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Last Minute Tax Strategies

This is a challenge, as something as big as your taxes should not be left for last minute for planning. My take on the end of the year is that you should be planning now for how you can do better next year and putting the actions into place to achieve better results. However, there are some things to be aware of as the year comes to a close that will impact the current year’s taxes. The key concept to each of these ideas is timing. Timing really is everything!

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A Tale of Two Businesses

Business One: “Fred” is a skilled electrician. He worked 20 years for the same company, and one day realized that he was getting paid $20 per hour but was billing $80 an hour for his time. “This is unfair!” he thought, so he decided to sit for the contractor’s license exam and open his own business. He had $10,000 saved up, and he knew that he would be able to get clients the same way his boss did very easily.

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Top 10 List for New Businesses

  • Create a Business Plan! Have something in writing detailing your business plan. Establish goals, procedures and policies; set deadlines for reevaluating your business, etc. Meet with your financial and business advisors to make sure you’re on the right track. Ensure that you have a budget and projection, at least for your first year in business, preferably for the first two years, and consult with professionals to compare.
  • Determine your business structure. What type of organization will you create? Will you operate as a sole proprietor or as a business entity (corporation, partnership, etc.). If you have set up an LLC – elect the tax reporting entity.
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