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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

Navigating the Process of Selling Deceased Estate Shares

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to selling shares from a deceased estate. Process of Selling Deceased Estate Shares.

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Navigating the Process of Selling Deceased Estate Shares

1. Understanding the Basics of Selling Deceased Estate Shares

Dealing with a deceased estate can be a challenging and emotional process, especially when it comes to handling financial assets like shares. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to selling shares from a deceased estate.

2. What are Deceased Estate Shares?

Deceased estate shares refer to the stocks and shares that were owned by an individual who has passed away. These shares become part of the deceased’s estate and are subject to the terms of their will or estate plan.

3. The Importance of Valuing the Shares

The first step in selling deceased estate shares is to obtain a current valuation. This valuation is crucial for several reasons: it helps in distributing the estate among beneficiaries, it may be necessary for tax purposes, and it gives an idea of the market value of the shares.

4. Legal Requirements and Executor Responsibilities

The executor of the estate plays a pivotal role in the management and distribution of the deceased’s assets. This section will cover the legal responsibilities and steps the executor needs to take to lawfully sell the shares.

5. Obtaining Probate

Before any action can be taken with the shares, it’s often necessary to obtain probate. Probate is a legal process that confirms the executor’s authority to deal with the deceased’s assets.

Transferring Shares into the Executor’s Name

Once probate is granted, shares may need to be transferred into the name of the executor. This process varies depending on the company and the type of shares.

6. The Process of Selling Shares

After completing legal formalities, the executor can proceed with selling the shares. This section will outline the steps involved in this process, including choosing a brokerage or financial service, understanding market conditions, and making informed decisions.

Deciding on the Right Time to Sell

Timing can significantly impact the returns from selling shares. Executors need to consider market conditions and financial advice to determine the best time to sell.

Completing the Sale

This subsection will detail the actual process of selling shares, including placing orders, handling transaction fees, and ensuring all regulatory requirements are met.

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7. Navigating Tax Implications and Reporting

Managing tax obligations is a critical aspect of selling deceased estate shares. This section will explain the potential tax implications and the importance of accurate reporting for both capital gains tax and inheritance tax considerations.

Understanding Capital Gains Tax Responsibilities

When shares are sold, any profit made from the time of the deceased’s passing to the sale date may be subject to capital gains tax. Executors need to be aware of these implications and plan accordingly.

Inheritance Tax Considerations

In some jurisdictions, the value of the deceased estate’s shares might impact inheritance tax calculations. It’s essential for executors to understand these aspects in order to ensure compliance with tax laws.

8. Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Selling deceased estate shares can present unique challenges. This section will discuss common issues such as disputed wills, fragmented information about the shares, and market volatility.

Dealing with Disputed Wills and Beneficiary Disagreements

Disputes over the will or disagreements among beneficiaries can complicate the process. Executors must handle these situations delicately and legally.

Managing Market Volatility

Shares can be subject to market fluctuations. Executors should be prepared for this volatility and may need to consult financial advisors to navigate these waters effectively.

9. Tips for Executors Handling Deceased Estate Shares

This section will provide practical advice for executors, including the importance of seeking professional advice, keeping thorough records, and communicating clearly with beneficiaries.

Seeking Professional Financial and Legal Advice

The complexity of selling shares from a deceased estate often necessitates professional advice. This can range from legal counsel to financial advisory services.

Record Keeping and Communication with Beneficiaries

Maintaining transparent and thorough records is crucial. Executors should also prioritize clear and consistent communication with all beneficiaries to avoid misunderstandings.

Conclusion

Selling shares from a deceased estate is a responsibility that requires careful attention to legal, financial, and interpersonal dynamics. By understanding the process, staying informed about tax obligations, and tackling challenges head-on, executors can fulfill their duties effectively and respectfully.

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