Refund Status and Tax Withholding Tools

07-23-2020Tax Information

The original tax filing deadline has passed.  Here are a couple of resources available for individual tax payers to get quick answers for yourself for free.

Refund Status
You can check on your refund using the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool. It is available on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go app.   If you do not have access to a computer can call 800-829-1954.  The tool updates once daily, so there’s no need to check more often.  You will need:

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My dead relative received a stimulus check. What do I do?

05-10-2020Tax Information

On May 6, 2020, the IRS came out with the following guidance for Economic Stimulus checks sent to dead people.  The whole answer is at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center#more (See question 41)

In summary,

A Payment made to someone who died before receipt of the Payment should be returned to the IRS in full.  For payments made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the Payment, you only need to return the portion of the Payment made on account of the decedent. This amount will be $1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000.

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IRS Economic impact payments: What you need to know

03-31-2020Tax Information

The Treasury Department is working on a web-based portal (www.irs.gov) that will allow individuals to submit direct deposit details in order to “receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.”  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that people can expect to receive their checks in three weeks – April 17 is when the direct deposits will go into people’s accounts.  A check in the mail could take longer.

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IRS Economic impact payments: What you need to know

03-31-2020Tax Information

The Treasury Department is working on a web-based portal (www.irs.gov) that will allow individuals to submit direct deposit details in order to “receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.”  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that people can expect to receive their checks in three weeks – April 17 is when the direct deposits will go into people’s accounts.  A check in the mail could take longer.

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Charitable Donations

02-20-2020Tax Information

When it comes to tax planning, there are few more emotionally charged decisions than those around charitable giving. People tend to have deep, personal attachments to the causes they support and may have been donating to their chosen charity for years or even decades. They see their donations as a vital way to give back to society and to feel connected to a broader community, whether it be on a local, national or even spiritual level.

Any good financial adviser understands that it’s hard for clients to make a pragmatic cost-benefit analysis around such personal decisions. However, it’s our responsibility to make sure that clients understand how to optimize their charitable donations and ensure that they’re getting the most bang for their buck, both for their charitable causes and their own personal tax benefit. And there’s no better time to do that than at the beginning of the year, after the mad scramble around the holidays has died down.

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The need to properly document travel deductions for tax purposes

02-06-2020Tax Information

You are generally entitled to deduct the cost of your travel expenses, within certain limits. But the tax law imposes strict substantiation requirements. Recently, the Tax Court denied a deduction because the taxpayer didn’t establish the requisite relationship between his business and the travel expenses. (Near, TC Memo 2020-10, 1/14/20)

Most self-employed individuals can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses incurred when traveling on business. This includes transportation costs back and forth from your business destination, as well as any business-related expenses at your business destination, such as lodging. The full amount is deductible if the trip is completely business-related.

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Key Changes to 2019 Arizona Income Tax Returns

01-30-2020Tax Information

The individual income tax filing season for state and federal returns opened this week. Here are some key changes when filing for 2019 tax year.

  • Matches the federal standard deduction amount
    • $12,200 single/married filing separate
    • $18,350 head of household
    • $24,400 married filing joint
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2019 Arizona Individual Income Tax Changes

12-18-2019Tax Information

Are Arizona itemized deductions the same as the federal itemized deductions?

Arizona itemized deductions are the same as the federal itemized deductions except:

  • All qualified medical expenses are allowed.
  • Any charitable donations claimed on the federal return for which an Arizona credit is claimed, must be removed from the Arizona itemized deductions.
  • Arizona will allow a deduction for mortgage interest not allowed on the federal return due to claiming a federal mortgage credit.
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How to benefit from a Home Office Deduction

11-06-2019Tax Information

A home office deduction can be taken when a taxpayer uses a portion of their home exclusively, and on a regular basis, for any of the following:

  • As the taxpayer’s main place of business.
  • As a place of business where the taxpayer meets patients, clients or customers. The taxpayer must meet these people in the normal course of business.
  • If it is a separate structure that is not attached to the taxpayer’s home. The taxpayer must use this structure in connection with their business
  • A place where the taxpayer stores inventory or samples. This place must be the sole, fixed location of their business.
  • Under certain circumstances, the structure where the taxpayer provides day care services.
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Employee vs Independent Contractor

10-30-2019Tax Information

Employers, please be aware that just because you think someone is an Independent Contractor, the IRS and Tax Court might not agree.

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