My CPA Tips


ANOTHER SNOW DAY

Winter parkIf you live in North Carolina, today is probably another snow day. While you are at home, this might be a good time to collect your paperwork for your taxes between sledding, taking pictures of the wonderland and shoveling your driveway. You will want to come in from the cold and take breaks to warm up with hot chocolate or a steaming cup of coffee. Tax season officially begins on January 29 so it is not too early to get ready. Consult with your CPA to schedule a time to have your taxes done since you can be filing soon. Did you know that there is an app to monitor your refund? Check out Where’s My Refund at https://www.irs.gov/refunds to track the timing on receiving your money. According to the IRS if you e-file and do direct deposit you will receive your refund earlier and refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit will not be issued before mid-February. CPA Les Merritt can help you prepare both business and personal taxes. Les has been helping people get all that is allowed in their refunds for years and stays up to date with the latest changes in tax laws. The recent tax changes will not affect your 2017 taxes but will have an impact next tax year so be sure you get the most from your deductions this year while you can. After the thaw and we all return to work, remember to call Les Merritt at (919) 269-8553 to set up your appointment. Stay safe today and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

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GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR

No New Year ResolutionsNew Year resolutions rarely work, but that does not mean you should not set goals for the new year.  If you have not done so yet, it’s not too late. Among those goals you might want to set financial objectives. Consider how much income you want to make and whether your current employment will satisfy your desire. If not, have you considered a supplementary opportunity to increase what you want or need? You might also want to create a personal savings goal. Whether you achieve that by withdrawals from your paycheck or put that money aside on your own or both, set a target and make an effort to hit it. You might be saving for a family vacation, for education for yourself and/or your children, for retirement or for an item you have been eying for some time. In any case, make a plan. If you already set goals and have not been successful in achieving them to this point, don’t give up like many do with New Year resolutions.  Get back on track and find or develop the resources you need to fulfill your economic dream. Abandoning your objectives is not the answer; you may need to re-evaluate what you need or how you can get what you desire. Often having someone to work with you like a CPA can help you figure out how to meet your income and savings objectives. Your CPA may be able to help you see how to do what you aspire to do by viewing it from the outside. You might want to contact Les Merritt, CPA, at (919) 269-8553 and set an appointment.  Les also offers additional financial services which might help you with your planning. Check with him to talk about how you meet your savings and earning aims.

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END OF THE YEAR: TO ITEMIZE OR NOT

Countdown to New Year, abstract holidays backgrounds for your deWill you do better with the standard deduction or if you itemize your deductions? By doing a little assessment before the end of the year you may find deductions you want to take advantage of to reduce your tax liability. Talk with a CPA or tax preparer to see if itemizing your deductions can save you money. Charitable deductions, the topic of the last blog, have to be taken by the end of the year as well as medical expenses, your HSA expenses and some other items. It is important to know where you stand before the year-end cut-off if you are close in some of the categories. Some of the itemized deductions that could help you include:

  • Charitable donations.
  • Medical expenses (in excess of 10% of your adjusted gross income)
  • Mortgage interest.
  • Property tax
  • Educational expenses
There are many more and that’s why you want to work with a CPA to reap the benefit. Les Merritt, CPA, keeps up with the latest changes in deductions and is dedicated to finding all the legitimate means to keep your tax bill low. He has worked with businesses and families for 35 years. He understands the importance of reducing tax liability and you can rely on his experience to help you make the best decisions. Call Les today at (919) 269-8553 and figure out the best options for before the end of the year. Use those deductions before it’s too late.  

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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING

charityHow many people have had a less fortunate year than you have? With storms, floods and fires this year, many have suffered and need your help. Others are struggling to put food on their tables or finding housing. As you are purchasing gifts for those you know, you might want to also help others in need. Now might be a good time to make charitable contributions and get deductions on your taxes this year. These donations must be made by the end of the year, so this is an appropriate time to remember to make those contributions. You can reap tax benefits while doing good for a charity, school or other qualifying organization. Included in this list are the funds set up for victims of hurricanes and other disasters, as long as they are registered as charities. Your donation must be made to a qualifying organization, often a 501(c) (3). You can determine whether the organization you want to contribute to is qualified by going to the website, IRS.gov and clicking  on “Tools” and then on “Exempt Organizations Select Check” 561 Schedule A (Form 1040) 8283 IRS.gov/eoselectcheck. Maintain a record of your contributions in the form of either  bank records (such as a cancelled check) or a written communications from the charity (such as a receipt or a letter) showing the name of the charity, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. With a competent accountant like Les Merritt, CPA, you can be assured that your credit for your generosity is included in your tax return for 2017. Les has helped businesses and individuals with their tax preparation throughout Wake County and beyond and can handle your returns as well. Give Les a call today at (919) 269-8553 and see what you can do before the end of the year. He and his qualified staff can help save you money while you assist others in this season for giving.

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