Accounting & Tax News

 

Publication 17
Tax-filing information and tips on what income to report and how to report it, figuring capital gains and losses, claiming dependents, choosing the standard deduction versus itemizing deductions and using IRAs to save for retirement


Why Hire a CPA Firm?

We always appreciate the opportunity to explain why you should engage a CPA firm like ours, as compared with hiring a bookkeeping or a tax preparation only service, especially since our fees can be higher on average, relative to those other types of services. Probably the most significant benefit of engaging a CPA firm like ours is the education and experience levels that we can offer you and your company, inherent in the services we provide. Whereas anyone can put out their “shingle”, advertising bookkeeping, and/or income tax preparation services, CPA firms are held to a much higher standard of education, knowledge and ethics. For example as a CPA, I am required to not only have a college degree in accounting, I’m also required to have a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education on an annual basis, in the fields of accounting, tax law, business finance, personal financial planning, and other related studies. Unfortunately the nationally syndicated companies who advertise their income tax preparation services by “professionals” are prepared by individuals with minimal training and experience, in a mass production type of atmosphere, without requiring these same standards or ethics.  Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how we can assist you, and/or your company with its accounting, business start-up, income or business tax preparation, or any of the other types of services that we provide. Mike and Staff

Posted July 24, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com

If You Get An IRS Notice, Here’s What To Do

Each year the IRS mails millions of notices and letters to taxpayers. If you receive a notice from the IRS, here is what you should do:

  • Don’t Ignore It.  You can respond to most IRS notices quickly and easily. It is important that you reply right away. 
  • Focus on the Issue.  IRS notices usually deal with a specific issue about your tax return or tax account. Understanding the reason for your notice is important before you can comply.
  • Follow Instructions.  Read the notice carefully. It will tell you if you need to take any action to resolve the matter. You should follow the instructions.
  • Correction Notice.  If it says that the IRS corrected your tax return, you should review the information provided and compare it to your tax return.

    If you agree, you don’t need to reply unless a payment is due.

    If you don’t agree, it’s important that you respond to the IRS. Write a letter that explains why you don’t agree. Make sure to include information and any documents you want the IRS to consider. Include the bottom tear-off portion of the notice with your letter. Mail your reply to the IRS at the address shown in the lower left part of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response from the IRS.
  • Premium Tax Credit.  The IRS may send you a letter asking you to clarify or verify your premium tax credit information. The letter may ask for a copy of your Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.  You should follow the instructions on the letter that you receive. This will help the IRS verify information and issue the appropriate refund.
  • No Need to Visit IRS.  You can handle most notices without calling or visiting the IRS. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right corner of the notice. You should have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call.
  • Keep the Notice.  Keep a copy of the notice you get from the IRS with your tax records.

Watch Out for Scams.  Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS first contacts people about unpaid taxes by mail – not by phone. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media.

 July 22, 2015/IRS.gov

Residential Renewal Energy – Federal Tax Credit

If you are considering making a solar, wind or other similar renewable energy improvement to your home, don’t forget to figure in the 30% Federal tax credit into your calculation of the overall net cost of the project.  The tax code still allows for this significant tax credit for the installation of solar electric, solar water heating, small wind, geothermal heat pumps and fuel cell improvements to your primary residence, at least through 12/31/16.  This Federal tax credit applies to the overall installed cost of the equipment, including the cost for new wiring, piping, etc., in the year the improvement is made.  Also, if you aren’t eligible for the full credit in the tax year that the improvement is made the credit balance can be carried ahead and applied to a subsequent year’s tax return filing.  There are some additional requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the credit, so please refer to this Department of Energy newsletter for these additional specifications.  Please contact us, if we can assist you in determining whether making a renewable energy upgrade to your home would make sense for you!

 Posted June 26, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com

Wittenberg CPA’s 20th Anniversary!

This year marks our 20th year in business serving our clients in Mason and Thurston Counties. We have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to as we move ahead, so stay tuned for news of future plans.  In the meantime we wanted to summarize our services, so you will keep us in mind as your and your company’s needs change.  As a CPA firm we offer everything from one time consulting engagements to full charge accounting services, where we maintain your company’s accounting, prepare payroll, as well as all of the required excise and payroll tax reports. But why hire a CPA firm like ours? It’s because our firm can give you as the owner confidence that the accounting and compliance aspects of your company are in good order, allowing you as the owner to focus on the business operations of the company, instead of worrying about whether the company is in compliance with the myriad of reporting responsibilities, which can bog a company down, or worse, if not done properly. Additionally, when we review a company’s accounting, we make sure that the company’s accounting system is adjusted properly, so it reflects the company’s current financial position and operations. With access to the company’s fully adjusted and current financial information, the owner can adequately evaluate the company’s performance, and it can also be accessed by a potential third party user, such as a bank, for loan qualification. Please refer to our client’s testimonials to review what some of our business clients are saying about us, and please contact us to discuss how we can help you and your business succeed. Thank you clients and friends for 20 wonderful years! Mike and Staff

Posted June 10, 2015/wittenbergcpa.com