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13 Tips for Getting on Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

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13 Tips for Getting Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

Here are some of those pointers to keep in mind.

1. Decide whether you need help.

For many people, completing one’s taxes may seem pretty straightforward. For others, it may look like a daunting process. If an individual has an incorporated business, such as an S corporation or partnership, and multiple qualified deductions on their return, then a professional’s help is probably best.

2. Don’t forget to fund your retirement fund.

There are multiple financial vehicles available to save for retirement, whether it is a Traditional IRA, SEP-IRA, or Keogh Plan, to name a few. In most instances, money contributed towards retirement is a legitimate way to reduce one’s taxable income on paper.

3. Stay organized.

If you have deductions to keep track of, or if your income is cash, you should stay on top of it. This is possible to do manually, and if your situation is more complicated, you can sign up for programs to help you automate it.

4. Keep in mind the tax deadline.

Tax season typically begins on January 15th, with the IRS beginning to accept personal returns through April 15th. Business returns, particularly with S corporation and partnership returns, are due on March 15th. It’s important to file on time to avoid late penalties and fees.

5. Decide whether you want to itemize or take the standard deduction.

An individual is eligible to take a $12,400 standard deduction off their taxes. However, itemizing expenses, which entail taking deductions for qualified personal expenses, such as mortgage interest and charitable deductions, may yield greater tax savings.

Keep in mind the tax deadline

6. Consider the home office deduction.

Those who have a dedicated office area in their home for work might be worth considering the operating expense of that area for a tax deduction.

7. Remember to include any dependents on your tax return.

If one has any children or adult dependents, it’s important to remember to note this on one’s tax return. Doing so allows for certain tax credits to reduce one’s taxable income.

8. Consider setting up a taxpayer account and filing online.

If one uses self-help tax software, such as TurboTax or TaxAct, tax filing, payment, or refunds are automated online. If one is employing a professional to complete their return, then electronic filing may be set up by that professional on one’s behalf. Otherwise, one can create an account online directly with the IRS for quicker and more efficient filing.

9. Make sure you are filing all the appropriate forms.

If one uses self-help software to file a personal return, all the necessary documents should be included as part of the paid package. If one is filing directly with the IRS, with no middle party to help facilitate the process, it’s important to be careful to point the proper forms and double-check that all necessary documents are filed. For business returns and more complicated personal returns, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure that all the appropriate paperwork is filed.

10. Consider hiring your children (and paying them).

If one has a business, no matter how formal or informal it is, hiring a family is advantageous for both you and them. Any salaries paid to the family are tax-deductible. Retirement contributions and health benefits are also tax-deductible expenses for the family that is the employer.

11. Keep healthy.

If you are self-employed, the entirety of your health insurance is tax-deductible, as is even your dental insurance. If you are employed and purchase health insurance with a high deductible, opening a health savings account or a flexible savings account and using it can help you offset some of the monies spent on taxes.

12. Buy supplies for work.

If you are employed and purchase supplies relevant to your work, this may be deductible. If you are self-employed and make large purchases pertinent to your work, the cost may be deductible in full.

13. Make timely payments, if needs be.

Though many individuals may expect a tax refund from the IRS, some may wish to pay additional monies with their tax filing. Whether it be via an unincorporated status as a 1099 contractor, an LLC, or a corporation, those who are self–employed are expected to make quarterly payments throughout the year by the IRS. Suppose you are wondering when LLC Taxes are due in 2020. In that case, the IRS enables one to register on their website for quarterly estimated tax payments: January 15th, April 15th, June 17th, and September 16th.

Conclusion

Taxes are an unpleasant obligation for all of us who live in the United States. Even those of us who live outside of the United States and are citizens of the United States, staying abreast of tax filing with the IRS is an indisputable legal obligation. To make this obligation run smoother, there are a few pointers to consider. Though it’s not exhaustive, the above list is pretty thorough and a good start.

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Business

How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

If you’re a business owner and have been using cloud computing, this article will discuss several methods that will help you maximize cloud computing for your business:

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How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

As time passes by, technology advances to advance. With everything going digital now, the traditional use of portable hard drives is slowly disappearing. The best example is how businesses continue to take advantage of cloud-based services for convenience and mainly to increase their productivity. If you’re not familiar with cloud computing, it pertains to the delivery of services that stores and access data via the internet. It commonly includes servers, cloud storage services, online databases, and many others.

Most companies turn to cloud computing for security, data synchronization, and convenience. Flexibility and collaboration are also common factors. One advantage of using cloud computing services is that it reduces operating costs. Though it’s not often mentioned, sustainability is another reason why companies switch to cloud computing. Moving to the cloud lessens the usage of physical data centers, thus saving energy and reducing the impact on the environment.

There are many ways of improving your business with cloud computing. However, there are still companies that are yet to discover the full capabilities of cloud computing. If you’re a business owner and have been using cloud computing, this article will discuss several methods that will help you maximize cloud computing for your business:

1. Improve Security

Your chosen cloud provider comes with a security system. Because of this, your files are most likely safer in the cloud. However, essential cloud services only offer basic security, so you still have to be careful. Security breaches can badly affect your business. Hackers make these attacks, but sometimes they could also be caused by an employee.

How To Maximize Cloud Computing For Your Business

One way of improving cloud security is to employ features that help monitor end-user activities. By spotting suspicious usage patterns and activities, you could prevent a security breach. Training your employees and equipping them with security tools is the best way to prevent such attacks. This could be further enhanced by setting up additional security protocols and educating them on cybersecurity. Another way is to restrict access to important files. You can do this by setting passwords on such files.

2. Utilize File Syncing and Organization

The right cloud infrastructure solution for your business will provide your team access to the newest files anywhere. Instant file synchronization is another benefit of using the cloud. The cloud is a virtual location where you and your team can conveniently share files. This is very useful for businesses that allow employees to work remotely. With a stable internet connection, your staff can work from anywhere in the world and access files on any device, allowing flexibility.

Also, cloud data storage has a similar structure to a filing cabinet, where files are stored in folders within the storage (filing cabinet). It’s essential to construct a storage layout and establish a standard labeling system if you’re sharing access with your team. Organize your files from the beginning and as you go. This will make it easy to find and identify files whenever they’re needed.

3. Back-Up Data

Backing up data is another crucial security consideration in businesses. Similar to file syncing, you can update your backup data as you work with the cloud. The cloud can duplicate the data you input into another site (off-site) where they’re secure from threats. This will also enable you to access the backup data when an error occurs conveniently. More importantly, it guarantees business continuity and reliable data recovery.

4. Optimize Communication

Use cloud computing services that offer more features that optimize communication, like calendars and emails. This will help you arrange meetings more efficiently. You can even facilitate more extensive collaborations and set synchronized deadlines for projects.

Cloud computing data center. Storage cloud on computer data center background. 3d illustration

5. Monitor Data Analytics

Look for cloud providers that offer big data analytics. This will enable your cloud service to collect data about your business’ buyers, trends, performance, etc. Then, these data can be calculated to identify growth opportunities. Other data analytic services collect information that may help create solutions to your business’s workflow problems.

6. Stay Up-To-Date

System updates are a must in cloud services to patch up bugs, address technical issues, and adapt to the changing consumer needs. So, when there are system updates, make sure to implement them once you’ve verified compatibility where applicable.

7. Use Social Media

Social media is possibly the most successful platform in digital marketing. However, it is often overlooked as an application of cloud computing. Social networking sites will help you find your customers and easily share data with them through page posts.

Final Thoughts

Although there are numerous ways to maximize cloud computing for businesses, these are the most helpful. With the increased use of cloud computing, companies can quickly improve and boost their productivity and efficiency when these services are maximized to their full potential.

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