Kids and Taxes

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Lots of the tax code centers on tax deductions and credits for families with children. For example, if your child attended a summer day camp (not summer school or an overnight camp) the cost of that camp may qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Credit. While this is often referred to as the “day care credit,” some summer camps also qualify. Keep good records and bring them to your tax appointment in the spring.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) is a great way to offset the costs of higher education. To qualify for the AOTC, you must meet all three of the following criteria:

1. You, your dependent or a third party pays qualified education expenses for higher education.
2. An eligible student must be enrolled at an eligible educational institution.
3. The eligible student is yourself, your spouse or a dependent you list on your tax return.

The AOTC can offset 100% of the first $2,000 and 25% of the second $2,000 of qualified education expenses paid. There is a phase out for higher income taxpayers and a refundable portion for lower income taxpayers so each situation is unique.

Be careful with number 3! If a student claims himself as a dependent, he claims the education credit as well. However, students often qualify as dependents on their parents’ return, and the parents often recognize a greater tax benefit when claiming the credit. Make sure your student knows to talk to you before asserting his independence and filing his own return.

In addition to the AOTC, higher education costs can be offset by the Lifetime Learning Credit, the Tuition and Fees Deduction and the Student Loan Interest Deduction. While education tax benefits are plentiful, they are also complicated. For more information, refer to IRS Publication 970 or give us a call.

As for football, many colleges and universities charge a booster fee for the right to purchase season tickets for football and other sports. While the cost of the tickets themselves is usually not deductible, the booster fee may be. If the fee is paid to the school or for the benefit of the school and gives you the right to purchase tickets, the cost of the booster fee may be 80% deductible as an itemized deduction on Form 1040, Schedule A.

Children aren’t the only tax considerations, however. Has your income changed since you filed your last return? Have you started school or started a business? Married or divorced? Retired? Had a baby? Purchased a house? Incurred serious medical expenses? Changed your health insurance? These and many other life experiences can affect your tax return so planning for those events now can save you money later. Enrolled agents are America’s Tax Experts® and we pay attention to all this stuff so you don’t have to.

Let the Buck Stop Here – Tax Reform Starts Today

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There’s a lot of anger around here. As evidence, this election season has been like no other in generations. The seething discontent is no longer bubbling under the surface waiting to explode. It has detonated. The resulting mushroom cloud has only started. The reasons are wide: a lazy economy, chaos all over the globe, and apathetic, self-serving representation in Washington are but a few. Big issues that require big answers. One issue that has surfaced regularly in the accounting world is tax reform and the lack thereof. For thirty years, taxpayers have suffered the slings and arrows of an outrageous tax code. No longer can mere mortals prepare a moderately simple income tax return and submit it. It takes an army of seasoned professionals to interpret and apply the mountain of tax law that our lawmakers have created. Tax reform is promised every election cycle but relief remains elusive.
On the other side of the battle, however, is an army of unseasoned tax preparers that use this gluttonous tax code to fleece America. Unsuspecting taxpayers, trying to do the right thing, are victimized by unscrupulous tax preparation scammers that siphon off unconscionable and exorbitant fees from hyper-inflated refunds. When the IRS shows up a year or two later, the con men have slipped into the ether and the unsuspecting taxpayer is left holding the proverbial bag. The victims are usually low income and minority families that have no means to repay the bill and are then further victimized by the IRS without assistance from competent representation.
Valid reasons to be angry? You bet. Answers? Plenty out there, but not a hero in sight to champion them. Politicians wave their tax plans like a steak in front of the starving masses but nothing is done. So let the buck stop here. Together, let’s tackle the tax issues that piss you off, find solutions, and get them done. We can take back our country, one step at a time, starting today.

To get access to America’s Tax Experts, contact the NAEA.

Accounting Automation – Your New Best Friend – QuickBooks Online

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The horror of manual accounting before QuickBooks Online

Before QuickBooks Online

In the beginning…

Rewind 50 years and imagine a shriveled little man, sitting in shabby, windowless office, wearing a visor, and punching away at a clunky, loud adding machine. Accounting wasn’t sexy and has suffered the reputation ever since. The times, however, are changing! As the world moves towards technology nirvana, accounting tiptoes quietly behind. Gone are the days of ledger paper, red pencils, and diminishing eyesight. Instead, there is now QuickBooks Online to save the day.

QuickBooks, of course, has been the bookkeeping industry standard for over 20 years. It has now entered this century by providing online collaborative access to accountants, bookkeepers, and business owners. Although introduced several years ago, it has finally come into its own. It now provides powerful capabilities that can truly offer valuable tools and insight to businesses. With an ocean of applications that work together, QuickBooks Online provides a customized ecosystem of tools to automate almost any administrative task.

Although QuickBooks Online is available to anyone, the power in it lies in the ability for an accountant to provide the supportive services that make it really useful. Many try to go it alone, but the really bang comes in working with a knowledgeable accounting professional. Research has shown that 40% of small business owners rate accounting as the worst part of owning a business. Small business owners lose countless valuable hours sweating over bookkeeping, payroll, and tax returns – countless hours that could be used to increase profitability. Some business owners fear the expense, but with automation, the cost of professional accounting help continues to decrease.

QuickBooks Online subscriptions tarting at $29 per month for supported self-service and $49 per month for full service, Management Accounting and Payroll Solutions has the solution for you. Your time is valuable, let us help you get more of it. Contact us today – we’ll make you all kinds of sexy!

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Florida Businessperson Alice Guy Azzaro, EA, MST, MBA Meets with Congressman Patrick Murphy and Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to Discuss Tax Reform and the IRS

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Wellington, FL Businessperson Alice Guy Azzaro, EA, MST, MBA Meets with Congressman Patrick Murphy and Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio

WASHINGTON, DC, (May 18, 2016)— Alice Guy Azzaro, EA, of Management Accounting and Payroll Solutions LLC, met with the DC office of Florida Congressman Patrick Murphy and Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio on May 4th to discuss important issues affecting taxpayers as part of the annual National Association of Enrolled Agents’ (NAEA) “Fly-in Day” to engage with lawmakers about critical issues with the IRS and tax reform.

Nearly 100 enrolled agents (EAs) from across the country came to Capitol Hill to speak with their elected representatives about vital issues for enrolled agents: tax reform, IRS’ proposed ninefold increase to the fee charged for the Special Enrollment Exam (SEE), a three part test required to earn the enrolled agent credential; minimum standards for all tax return preparers; and IRS’ Future State vision, a new taxpayer-centered portal that will hinder the ability of tax professionals to provide the best possible representation to their clients. They started their day of meetings on Capitol Hill, and ended the day with a celebratory reception at which Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) spoke.

Alice Guy Azzaro holds the enrolled agent (EA) credential issued by the U.S. Treasury Department, as well as a Masters in Taxation and an MBA in Accounting. Enrolled agents are the only federally-licensed tax practitioners who specialize in taxation and have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Enrolled agents specialize exclusively in taxes – that’s why they’re known as America’s tax experts. She is currently pursuing the Doctorate of Business Administration in Accounting and the CPA designation.

“I was greatly encouraged by my visits, Alice Guy Azzaro, said, “An increase from $11 per part to $99 per part would nearly double the cost of each section of the SEE, and could prevent some tax professionals from pursuing the EA credential. I was also glad for the chance to focus attention on tax return preparer oversight. The IRS voluntary program does little to ensure that taxpayers are not taken advantage of by incompetent or unscrupulous preparers. Many in our larger community, mostly low income and minority taxpayers, are victimized by unscrupulous preparers. Oversight can help to provide better tax preparation and representation in all communities.”

The third issue NAEA members are addressing is the new portal for online accounts IRS has created that will provide taxpayers with easy pay options, direct communication with IRS personnel, and online installment agreements. Unfortunately, IRS sees a multiyear gap for practitioner access to similar accounts. This delay will infringe upon taxpayers’ right to representation and, we fear, lead taxpayers to settle with IRS when they shouldn’t.

As part of her research, Ms. Azzaro also discussed tax reform with each office. Issues ranged from income redistribution strategies to education credits and beyond. Each representative has since provided information on their tax reform policy that will be analyzed and incorporated in the research.

By personally meeting with the Washington offices of each representative, Alice Guy Azzaro participated in a true grassroots effort to promote the tax preparer profession and protect the American taxpayer. Participants educate legislators about issues affecting tax return preparers and obstacles preventing the tax code from being fairly applied and reasonably enforced.

Five Apps to Calm Year-End Craziness

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At the end of the year, businesses focus on two major concerns: making purchase decisions that maximize tax savings and bringing order into the chaos that is documentation, inventory, budgeting, and so on. Unfortunately, we are generally too busy the rest of the year to systematize processes in order to improve their efficiency. As such, the end of the year is more chaotic than it has to be!

In order to help with this, apps that work with QuickBooks Online can be utilized to avoid errors and unnecessary work and to improve customer experience. Here is a list of five areas that need support and the app that can help streamline the process.

  • Document Management – HubDoc

Sorting documents is one of the most tedious tasks that business owners must contemplate. HubDoc, a web-based, document storage application, makes it easier. HubDoc can be linked to financial institutions, and documents can be downloaded and sorted automatically, saving time and frustration.

  • Inventory Management – SOS Inventory

Physical inventory is a time-consuming task that can be expensive and frustrating. Instead, rely on SOS Inventory, an app that keeps track inventory, sales order management, manufacturing/assemblies, lot numbers, and more. A must have for QuickBooks Online users that manage inventory.

  • Budget Management – LivePlan

LivePlan can provide budget planning tools in QuickBooks but is so much more! It walks through the entire business plan process to help businesses find the focus they require or lack. It compares to other businesses in the industry and keeps a running scorecard of results.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Method:CRM

Year-end is also the perfect time to evaluate CRM by using Method:CRM. It not only maintains a separate database from QuickBooks Online but also tracks details of customer interactions, the “next steps” in the sales process, and promotional campaigns. An affordable CRM product is invaluable.

  • Electronic Payment Management – Sync with PayPal

Instead of manually recording PayPal transactions in QuickBook, Sync with PayPal will automatically download transactions into QuickBooks Online to streamline the entry process. Payments, fees, discounts, and taxes all flow seamlessly into the accounting software and eliminates the time consuming task of manual input.

Year-end is the perfect time of the year to evaluate your business and where it is headed. Using the right apps eliminates hours of work and gives you more time to concentrate on improving your business. A good accountant will help you create the QuickBooks ecosystem that is right for you!


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Why you should be using QuickBooks Online!

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It doesn’t matter what type of business you are running, keeping an accurate set of books is always essential. Disorganized accounting records can also prevent the filing of an accurate tax return, causing unwanted problems with the IRS. Simply put, properly maintained business records are the cornerstone of successful business management. Your best friend in this process may be QuickBooks Online! Here are some of the benefits:

  • User friendly interface

Using an accounting program can be like learning a new language! Not so with QuickBooks Online. The developers use every day language to replace accountant-speak so that regular folks can navigate and interact easily.

  • Quick integration

QuickBooks Online can be integrated with other software programs with little effort and hair-pulling and allows management of all income and expenses with ease. The end result can then be exported to a favorite tax filling program to lessen the pain of return preparation. QuickBooks Online also easily integrates with Excel.

  • Custom Arrangement

An array of templates is available with QuickBooks Online that can be used to instantly create customized invoices and other standard business forms. The look and feel of the software can be quickly adapted according to personal tastes and preferences.

  • Ecosystems

Intuit, the developer of QuickBooks Online, has partnered with other companies to create add-on programs that integrate seamlessly and provide a universe of capability that can expand the abilities of the program beyond the user’s wildest dreams! There is a tool for almost any business need. Additionally, QuickBooks Online is available on tablets and phones, giving small businesses the ability to access information on the go.


How to acquire the best quickbooks online solution?

Let’s face it, most business owners don’t want to be accountants. QuickBooks Online, however, allows them to maintain sensible business records easily and quickly so that there’s more time for doing what they do. QuickBooks Online doesn’t replace the guidance of a good accountant, but it is a step towards facilitating better collaboration.

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