Posts Tagged "refund"

Are you able to benefit from an ABLE account?

Posted on Apr 21, 2015

The “tax extenders” legislation that became law in December included the “Achieving a Better Life Experience Act” (also called the ABLE Act). This law provides for tax-exempt accounts that can help you or a family member with disabilities pay for qualified expenses related to the disability. These “ABLE accounts” are exempt from income tax although contributions to an account are not deductible on your federal income tax return. ABLE accounts are generally not means tested and some can provide limited bankruptcy protection. You or a family member are eligible to open an ABLE account if: You’re entitled to social security disability benefits due to blindness or other disability, and that blindness or disability occurred before age 26; or You file a disability certification with the IRS for the tax year. Annual contributions to an ABLE account are limited to the amount of the annual gift tax exclusion ($14,000 for 2015). Distributions are tax-free as long as they are less than your qualified disability expenses for the year. The list of qualified disability expenses includes housing, education, employment training/support, health prevention/wellness services, financial management, legal fees, and funeral expenses. Other expenses are also approved under the regulations. Distributions exceeding qualified disability expenses are included in taxable income and are generally subject to a 10% penalty tax. Distributions can be rolled over to another ABLE account for another qualified beneficiary and beneficiaries can be changed between family members. Funds in the account can earn interest or dividends and are not subject to federal income tax as long as distributions are used for qualified disability expenses. ABLE accounts do not have a “use it or lose it” feature and funds can carry over to future years. The balance remaining in the account after the beneficiary passes away can be used to reimburse state Medicaid payments made on behalf of the beneficiary after the account was established. The remainder goes to the deceased’s estate or to another qualified designated beneficiary. After-death distributions that are not used for qualified disability purposes are subject to income taxes, but not the 10% penalty. If you are thinking many of these rules sound familiar, you’re correct. ABLE accounts are modeled on 529 college savings accounts and can be as powerful and beneficial. Give us a call so we can help you make the most of this new opportunity. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and...

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Inflated Refund Claims Remain on the IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season

Posted on Feb 3, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers pushing inflated tax refund claims. This scam remains on the annual list of tax scams known as the “Dirty Dozen” for the 2015 filing season. “Every filing season, scam artists lure victims in by promising outlandish refunds,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should be wary of anyone who asks them to sign a blank return, promise a big refund before looking at their records, or charge fees based on a percentage of the refund.” Compiled annually, the “Dirty Dozen” lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter any time but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them. Don’t Fall Victim to Promises of Outlandish Refunds Scam artists routinely pose as tax preparers during tax time, luring victims in by promising large federal tax refunds or refunds that people never dreamed they were due in the first place. Scam artists use flyers, advertisements, phony store fronts and even word of mouth to throw out a wide net for victims. They may even spread the word through community groups or churches where trust is high. Scammers prey on people who do not have a filing requirement, such as low-income individuals or the elderly. They also prey on non-English speakers, who may or may not have a filing requirement. Scammers build false hope by duping people into making claims for fictitious rebates, benefits or tax credits. They charge good money for very bad advice. Or worse, they file a false return in a person’s name and that person never knows that a refund was paid. Scam artists also victimize people with a filing requirement and due a refund by promising inflated refunds based on fictitious Social Security benefits and false claims for education credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or the American Opportunity Tax Credit, among others. The IRS sometimes hears about scams from victims complaining about losing their federal benefits, such as Social Security benefits, certain veteran’s benefits or low-income housing benefits. The loss of benefits was the result of false claims being filed with the IRS that provided false income amounts. While honest tax preparers provide their customers a copy of the tax return they’ve prepared, victims of scam frequently are not given a copy of what was filed. Victims also report that the fraudulent refund is deposited into the scammer’s bank account. The scammers deduct a large “fee” before paying victims, a practice not used by legitimate tax preparers. The IRS reminds all taxpayers that they are legally responsible for what’s on their returns even if it was prepared by someone else. Taxpayers who buy into such schemes can end up being penalized for filing false claims or receiving fraudulent refunds. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter....

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Have you checked your withholding lately?

Posted on May 14, 2014

Did you receive a large tax refund or owe a large balance due on your 2013 income tax filing? If so, it may be time for you to check your withholding. Changing your withholding is as simple as filing a new Form W-4 with your employer. The smart taxpayer will calculate withholding to be as close to the actual amount 2014 tax liability will end up being. That will prevent you from being penalized for underpayment and from giving the IRS interest-free use of your money for a year. Keep these general rules in mind. You won’t face an underpayment penalty if you pay for 2014, through withholding or quarterly estimated payments, at least 100% of your 2013 tax liability (110% if your adjusted gross income for 2013 is over $150,000), or if you pay at least 90% of what you’ll owe for 2014. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+ <https://plus.google.com/108764776146415485651/posts> , LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/gillilandcpa> , Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/gillilandcpa> , and Twitter...

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Your tax refund could be offset by debts

Posted on May 13, 2014

If you have unpaid obligations, such as overdue child support, state income tax, or student loans, part or all of your 2013 income tax refund may be redirected to pay the debt. The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Fiscal Service runs the offset program, and it is this agency that will send you a notice if an offset occurs. The notice will list the original refund and offset amounts, plus the name and contact information of the agency that received the payment. For more details or assistance, contact our office. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+ <https://plus.google.com/108764776146415485651/posts> , LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/gillilandcpa> , Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/gillilandcpa> , and Twitter...

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IRS suggests using tax refund for bonds

Posted on May 6, 2014

If you’re receiving a tax refund this year, the IRS reminds you that you can use it to buy U.S. savings bonds directly from the IRS. Here are the details. * You may purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I savings bonds. * The total amount of bonds you purchase must be a multiple of $50. Any refund over the specified bond purchase amount can be deposited in your bank savings account, or you can request a check by mail. * Bonds will be issued in your name. If you’re married and file a joint return, the bonds will be issued in the names of both spouses. * The bonds will be sent to you by mail. * You select this option when filing your 2013 return by using Form 8888, “Direct Deposit of Refund to More Than One Account.” * Form 8888 gives instructions on selecting this option and specifying the amount of refund you want to use to buy savings bonds. For additional information about Series I savings bonds, go to www.treasurydirect.gov. Gilliland & Associates, PC is a full-service CPA firm specializing in tax planning for individuals and businesses in the Northern Virginia area. We are based in Falls Church, VA and also service clients in the McLean and Tysons Corner, VA. Gilliland & Associates specializes known for our superior knowledge and aggressive interpretation and application of tax laws, we help you keep more of your earnings by finding you the lowest possible tax on your business or personal tax return. You can connect with us on Google+ <https://plus.google.com/108764776146415485651/posts> , LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/in/gillilandcpa> , Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/gillilandcpa> , and Twitter...

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