MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC

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Tag: taxes

Tax Deductions for Working at Home

The global pandemic of 2020 pushed many businesses to allow their employees to work from home. Many companies look for postponements, cancellations, potentially staff illness, and lockdowns during these difficult times. Many people are looking for tax deductions for working at home. However, getting the tax break is not as simple as it may seem. Here’s some information to consider before trying to get a tax deduction for working at home.

Self-Employed Taxpayers and Independent Contractors

            According to Barbara Weltman, the owner of Big Ideas for Small Business, she states, “If you’re an employee filing taxes between 2018 and 2025, you cannot claim the deduction.” The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act says that an employee cannot include unreimbursed business expenses if they worked from home at their employee’s convenience. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims that self-employed taxpayers and independent contractors are entitled to the deduction. Additionally, individuals earning money in a gig economy can potentially claim the credit, such as a person who is an employee and a gig worker on the side. Many states such as Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania will let employees take deductions on home office expenses.

Eligible Individuals

            As explained by the IRS, individuals who are exclusively and regularly using their home as a place of business can receive the tax deduction. Unfortunately, a spare bedroom or detached garage used only a few times throughout the year may not fit in exclusive and regular quota. It is important to understand that an audit’s stresses do not compare to the benefits of a deduction. The best thing to do is take a picture of the workspace to present evidence to the IRS.

Two Types of Deduction

            There are two types of tax deductions that an individual may receive depending upon a few elements. Firstly, there is a simplified method that offers a deduction of $1,500 to taxpayers. It requires filling out a Schedule C document, which asks the total square footage of a home and the space being used as a business inside the house.  The IRS will conduct an equation of $5 per square foot, making a home office space of 300 square feet have a tax break. Schedule C’s benefit is that a tax filer does not have to keep evidence of home office expenses.

The other tax deduction can be a tremendous tax saver for people who have been working from home for a long time. IRS Form 8829 is where you show your math in claiming the deduction by adding business expenses like rent, utilities, renters’ insurance, and improvements to space. Some self-employed taxpayers may be losing money by choosing the simplified method.

Conclusion

            Receiving a tax deduction is always a great way to save money. However, there are some specific requirements that people working from home need to meet. Also, taxpayers who are patient can find themselves with more money in their pockets. For more useful information, you can contact MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC. We specialize in all helping individuals and businesses financially thrive. For many years we have offered various services, including forensic accounting, tax services, financial consulting, bookkeeping, and much more. Our many years of experience ensure that you’re in good hands. Visit our website to contact us today!

Common Itemized Deductions

When you are preparing to file your taxes, don’t forget about itemized deductions. These are individual tax deductions you can take in lieu of the standard deduction. Making the decision to itemize could potentially save you more money on taxes. To learn more about the types of deductions you can itemize, continue reading our blog.

Charitable Deductions

Did you contribute to a charity in the past year? If you made donations to a qualifying organization, you can itemize and therefore, lower your tax bill. It’s important to keep a record of donations, which can include everything from bank records to receipts. Make sure that you have the name of the organization, the amount donated, and the date. The more information you have, the more accurate your tax form will be.

Medical and Dental Expenses

Medical expenses are deductible as itemized deductions, but in a very limited way. You can only deduct the amount of medical expenses that exceed 10% of your AGI or 7.5% if you’re over 65. You and your family members that have qualifying medical expenses can take advantage of these deductions. Examples include: doctor’s fees, co-pays, prescriptions, transportation to a medical facility, and more.

Work-Related Education Expenses

If you choose to itemize work-related education expenses, you may be able to deduct these expenses from your taxes. To claim this deduction, costs must be related to maintaining or improving job skills and required by your employer. These costs include tuition, books, lab fees, travel, etc. It’s also important to note that you can only deduct these expenses if they exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.

Conclusion

If you have questions about itemized deductions for your 2020 taxes, then call MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLC. We have the tax solutions you need to get more out of your tax return. From income tax preparation to strategic tax planning, contact our advisors for more details on how you can save money!

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What You Need to Know for the 2021 Tax Season

Many will agree that 2020 has been a year of unique challenges but 2021 is just right around the corner! With that being said, below we discuss some things to keep in mind as we approach 2021 and the upcoming tax season.

Tax Day is Thursday April 15th, 2021

This is the date you must file you taxes before! Most can take the standard deduction which has increased from this year to $12,400 for single filers and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly. You may also itemize your deductions which is a little bit more painstaking, however is worth it if your itemized deductions exceed your standard deduction.

Stimulus Checks Aren’t Taxable

The CARES Act was instituted near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and gave many citizens a onetime payment of $1200. These payments will not count as taxable income in the upcoming year which is great news for most tax payers! You can think of it as a kind of advanced refund you would have received as part of your 2021 tax refund.

Unemployment Income is Taxable

The pandemic has caused much of the country to shut down for extended periods of time, leaving many Americans jobless through no fault of their own. If you were one of the millions of Americans who received unemployment benefits in 2020, you have to pay taxes on that income. If you opted to defer taxes on your unemployment payments before you received them then you will need to save for the taxes that will be due when you file, or pay estimated quarterly taxes to stay ahead.

Final Thoughts

As always, consult your tax professional to get the most out of your taxes in 2021 and speak with someone who can help you in your specific financial situation. Mariela Ruiz, CPA, PLLC is here to help individuals and business owners in the Mission, TX community with their taxes and wishes you all a prosperous 2021!

Ways Small Business Owners Can Prepare For Tax Season

Just the thought of tax season approaching can cause people of all kinds to stress. Whether you are self-employed or own a small business, taxes are confusing and overwhelming. If you are a small business owner, we’re here for you! Follow along with these tips to see how you can best prepare for filing!

Here are some tips: 

One of the first ways you can feel prepared is by consistently keep your personal tax information separate from your business’s tax information. It is important to remember you will have to file each separately, so keeping them from getting mixed together is a great way to avoid stress later on down the line. 

Another great way to prepare is by keeping track of all your business records. Ensuring your payroll and other lists detailing your expenses are all in order is a great way to feel less lost. When you can easily lay everything out, there will be less confusion! If you are struggling with understanding the types of documents needing to be saved, hiring a professional bookkeeper is the best way to ensure your confidence. 

Finally, seek help with payroll! While it may seem easy enough, hiring a professional who can keep track of all your payroll expenses and documents is a great investment. Not only can you cross the worry of weekly payroll duty off your list, but also come tax season you are going to have a perfectly laid out file. You and your tax professional will be much happier with perfectly kept records from an experienced bookkeeper!

Conclusion

Tax season is unavoidable, so instead of stressing and putting off the inevitable, feel prepared! Hire a bookkeeping expert to help you year-round. Visit MARIELA RUIZ, CPA, PLLCto get started today.

How to Minimize Your Chance of an Audit

Tax season is upon us. Whether you intend on getting money back from the government or paying in, every citizen is at risk of being audited if the IRS is tipped off by discrepancies or other suspect information on your tax return. Read the following tips to learn how to avoid an audit this tax season.

Inaccurate Donated Amounts

The IRS encourages individuals to donate clothes, food and even used cars to charities. It does this by offering a deduction in return for a donation. The problem is that it is up to the individual owner to determine the value of the item. As a general rule, the IRS likes to see individuals value the items they donate anywhere between 1% and 30% of the original price. Unfortunately, many taxpayers ignore this guideline or simply aren’t aware of it.

There are several other ways that the taxpayer can ensure that they are valuing donated goods at an equitable price.  One of the ways is hiring an appraiser to write a letter, naming their opinion on the worth of the item.

Simple and Avoidable Math Errors

Many returns are selected for audit due to basic mathematical mistakes. When filling out your tax return (or double-checking your accountant’s work) make sure that the numbers add up. Also, make sure that the total dollar value of and/or losses are properly calculated. Even the smallest errors can alarm the IRS.

Failure to Sign

A surprisingly large number of people simply forget to sign their tax returns. Don’t be a part of this group. Failure to sign the return will almost guarantee additional examination because the IRS will wonder what else you might have forgotten to include in your records.

Under-Reported Income

It is vitally important that you report all income that you received throughout the year from work and/or from the sale of an asset. If you fail to report income and get caught, you will be forced to pay back-taxes plus penalties. While it may be tempting to not report some income, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Home Office Deductions

Be careful with home office deductions. Deductions that are too large in proportion to your income can raise a huge red flag. For example, if you earned money as an accountant working from home, extravagant home-office related deductions will raise the ire of the IRS.  Deduct only items that were used in the course of your business.

Conclusion

When it’s time to file your annual taxes, make sure you cover all your bases to avoid scrutiny from the government. While there is less than a 1% chance you will be chosen for an audit, there’s no reason to not take every precaution just to be safe. For exemplary accounting services and tax services you can trust, contact the experts at Mariela Ruiz, CPA, PLLC.

Why You Need a Bookkeeper

Running your own business can be a tricky and stressful job. Taking charge and managing everything from stock and employees, to sales are all important tasks you must take care of when you are a business owner. While some of these tasks can only be handled by the owner, there are other tasks that can be overseen by a professional who is willing to help. A bookkeeper is one of the best resources you can have as a business owner. Follow along with this blog to find out why you should hire a bookkeeper.

Personal Escape

One of the most difficult aspects of running your own business is finding balance. Outside of your business, you also have a personal life. It can be all too easy to get caught up in everything that needs to be done at work. While it’s great to be focused on your work life, having some personal time to spend with your family and friends is equally as important. Hiring a bookkeeper to manage all your business finances can help you find time to spend outside of the office. You can leave work knowing that someone is going to help balance and take care of your expenses, transactions, and income.

Second Opinion

Staying sharp and up-to-date on all current business owner education and information is important. However, some aspects of running your own business can be opinion based; that is why having a bookkeeper who sees all your finances and income can help you view things through a different perspective. If you are considering making a few changes within your business, your bookkeeper should be your go-to person for a second opinion.

Scheduling

Being a business owner can be very demanding. There are multiple places where you need to be, differing situations you must take care of, plus attempting to balance family time. All of these things must be handled while also keeping track of when bills are due. Hiring a bookkeeper can make a huge difference in your ability to balance all these tasks and deadlines. Your bookkeeper will be able to take care of the books and pay all your bills on time so that you can keep up with your travel and family obligations. Bill deadlines are just another thing you can cross off your to-do list when you hire a bookkeeper.

Conclusion

Running your own business is a very demanding job. Having as much help as possible is very important. Hiring a bookkeeper to help you keep track of all your financial moves can make all the difference in your ability to balance work and personal life. Knowing that your books are being taken care of and your bills are getting paid even while you’re away can give you peace of mind. If you’ve been convinced, head on over to our website to get started with your bookkeeping process.