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Ways You Can Give Back During the Holiday Season

Ways You Can Give Back During the Holiday Season

There are so many different ways you can give back during the holiday and contribute to the betterment of the world. You don’t just have to make a cash donation to charity, especially if you’d rather donate items or your time to an organization instead.

Here are some ideas for giving back this season so that you can ensure everybody has an enjoyable holiday.

1. Volunteer at a local food bank
You can volunteer at a food bank in your neighborhood that’s local to your community or see if you have a Feeding America food bank near you.

2. Donate your canned goods
Do you have canned goods in your pantry that you aren’t going to use? Or do you have time to go to the store to pick up some canned goods? Look around for charities that are accepting canned goods so that nobody goes hungry this holiday season.

3. Run a race
There are races during the season you can partake in that allow you to raise money for charity. You may be able to dress up like an elf or Santa Claus to make the race even more fun.

4. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity
Shelter is an essential human right, but not everybody has it. You can volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and build houses for people in need.

5. Visit the elderly
As long as it’s COVID-safe, you can ask your local nursing homes if you can visit the elderly to bring them some holiday cheer. Perhaps you have a talent you can offer, like teaching the seniors how to sing or giving them salsa lessons to brighten their day.

6. Donate your airline miles
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes to sick children. However, the organization doesn’t have all the airline miles it needs to cover the expenses to send every child and his or her family on the trip of a lifetime. You can donate your airline miles so that they can travel to the destination of their choice and have a magical experience.

7. Volunteer at an animal shelter
Local animal shelters always need volunteers who are looking to walk dogs and clean the cages. You can also play with the dogs and cats there and make them feel less lonely throughout the season.

8. Give to a women’s shelter
There are women and children in shelters who are victims of domestic violence, and they may not have everything they need for the holidays. Inquire about donating your time or items to the women’s shelter so that these women and their families can have a great holiday as well.

9. Fundraise for your favorite charity
You can ask your loved ones for donations or run a fundraiser campaign on Facebook to give back to your favorite charity this year.

10. Provide meals to first responders
Throughout the pandemic and in general, first responders have sacrificed their time in order to help others. Ask your local hospital, fire station, and police station if you can provide food to these heroes during the holidays.

 

Helpful hints to keep in mind for your taxes
To write off donations on your taxes, make sure you give to nonprofits that are registered as tax exempt. You can find out an organization’s tax-exempt status through the IRS’ Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool.

The bottom line
This holiday season, there so many avenues for giving back. Choose the one that resonates the most with you, and then take advantage at tax time, if possible.

 

430,000 people to receive tax refund from IRS

430,000 people to receive tax refund from IRS

The IRS has started issuing refunds to 430,000 more taxpayers who received unemployment compensations last year, the federal agency announced Monday.

It’s the latest batch of corrected refunds for millions of people who paid taxes on the benefits, which were excluded from income last year under the American Rescue Plan, according to an IRS news release.

Under the legislation, the first $10,200 of unemployment compensation received in 2020 would not be taxed for individuals and married couples who earned less than $150,000.

To date, the IRS says it has identified at least 16 million taxpayers who received unemployment and may be eligible for an adjustment.

So far, the agency has sent out 11.7 million tax refunds valuing about $14.4 billion to recipients of the federal benefit.

Efforts are ongoing to correct overpayments so that taxpayers impacted by the law won’t have to file an amended return.

“The review of returns and processing corrections is nearly complete as the IRS already reviewed the simplest returns and is now concentrating on more complex returns,” the release stated.

Most people won’t need to take any further action to get the money.

For more information, go to the IRS’s “2020 Unemployment Compensation Exclusion FAQs” page.

3 Reasons To Hire a Bookkeeper

3 Reasons To Hire a Bookkeeper

Perhaps you’re just starting out in business and looking to make the most of your limited funds; perhaps you’ve been operating for a lengthy period of time already, and have undertaken bookkeeping duties yourself. If you’re wondering what the reasons are for hiring a bookkeeper, chances are you definitely need one.

A bookkeeper can help make the process of documenting and reporting financial activity go smoother than you ever thought possible. Hire great local bookkeeping services and hand your finances off to a professional, secure in the knowledge that you’ve made the right choice for your business.

Keep your focus where it matters

Bookkeeping is one of the most vital roles in any company, but focusing on this often takes personnel away from other important work. Hiring a dedicated bookkeeper allows you to keep your focus where it should be. Hiring personnel for their highly specialised skills in marketing, development, or strategy, and then also making them responsible for the task of bookkeeping, is madness!

Even very small companies could benefit from bookkeeping services, whether that’s a part-time position or a specialist coming in a few days a month. The key thing is to allow yourself to focus on what you do best.

By delegating this task, business owners and employees at small to medium-sized firms are able to spend their days working on giving their customers excellent services or improving their products.

Handing over the reins to a professional bookkeeper will also help most small business owners to get their work-life balance right. Instead of spending nights poring over the books, you can kick back over a family meal.

Keep financial information correct

A bookkeeper’s job is to take information from source documents — and that could be anything, from receipts to company credit card statements to invoices and credit notes — and record it in the appropriate place.

Bookkeeping is all about recording and creating these documents that show what a business’s financial year looks like. They are important for tax and legal purposes, but they are also vital as tools to show you in real-time where you could be making improvements or what you’re doing well.

To make sure that you have an accurate idea of what money is coming into and going out of your business, financial reporting is non-negotiable. How it is presented is, by and large, up to your own preference.

Many bookkeepers still use sturdy classics, like Excel. In fact, some still use ledger books and handwritten records! This is less advisable in the twenty-first century, though, when fast, efficient, safe software such as Quickbooks is available. Your bookkeeping service may have a preferred software, or they may work with you on whichever one you choose. Make sure to enquire when discussing your needs.

Source documents and reports should also be stored in a way that they can be accessed if and when they’re needed. There are all sorts of situations in which you may need to pull up an invoice from four months ago, and knowing how to locate it and which filing system is in place is invaluable.

Even a sporadic bookkeeping service will be able to put a system in place that makes sense to you and your business, and to the way you want to work.

Get another perspective

It can be extremely beneficial to have an outsider’s point of view when it comes to analysing your business activity. This is doubly true if the person in question has an accurate understanding of your financial health.

Bookkeepers differ from accountants in that they are not expected to have an in-depth understanding of financial legalities and forecasting, but they still work with numbers all day every day. They can be excellent resources when it comes to checking the financial reality of your company.

Your bookkeeping service will be able to tell if you have priced your services or goods at the rate of their worth, and if you are paying too much for overheads. They might be able to make sensible recommendations for ways to increase your business’s profit margins, or ways to build towards a more profitable future.

Another benefit is that a bookkeeper may be able to weigh in on any disputes between business partners or management. Sometimes, having an outside eye really is the best way to handle a potential conflict.

Conclusion

Businesses aren’t legally required to have a bookkeeper on staff, but it’s a smart choice anyway. Taking on a professional and giving them the responsibility of managing your financial records and reporting frees up time for more important things. They can be a voice of reason, giving you another perspective on your company’s activities, and they are responsible for keeping source documents organised, too.

Hire a bookkeeping service in your area, hand over the financial reporting, and spend more time on the things you love.

Thinking of renting out your room for extra income?

Thinking of renting out your room for extra income?

Lots of people are trying to earn a few extra bucks by renting out a room in their homes. As far as taxes go, this comes with bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the rent you receive is taxable income that you must report to the IRS.

The good news is that your taxable rental income can be wholly or partly offset by the tax deductions you’ll be entitled to.

So, if you are one of the many people renting out rooms in your home to vacationers and tenants, remember this is considered taxable income. It must be included on your form 1040.

What is Bookkeeping? And how it can help your business.

What is Bookkeeping? And how it can help your business.

Does your business need help staying organized, but you don’t know where to start? Bookkeeping is an essential component of any successful business. But what is bookkeeping exactly? It may seem like a broad term, but we’ve put together a helpful list to outline some of the basic elements of bookkeeping.

Debits and Credits

 

One of the backbones of bookkeeping is debits and credits. Bookkeepers record what your business spends (debits) and what your company earns (credits) to help you keep track of your finances and cash flow.

Accounts Receivable

While not the most glamorous of tasks, invoicing is crucial to getting paid. Suppose you fail to collect fees owed to you due to oversights in invoice collecting and tracking. In that case, you will be handing out products and services for free and losing money in the process. When you dreamed of opening a business, you probably didn’t picture yourself tracking down invoice payments from clients. This is why hiring a specialized bookkeeper may be an excellent option for you. Not only do professional bookkeepers make invoices are sent and tracked, but we have experience handling the collection of late payments and working with clients.

Accounts Payable

The other end of the spectrum from accounts receivable is accounts payable—keeping track of the money you owe to others. Your business’s reputation depends on financial stability. Part of that is making sure you reliably make payments on time to local vendors, businesses, and contractors. Build trust in your company, which will keep your credit high and make others want to continue working with you.

Payroll

Employees are the most valuable asset of any business. Whatever product or service you offer is no good without the people behind them. Not only do your employees interact with customers, but they keep things running smoothly. Once you find suitable employees, you will want to do everything you can to keep them. Turnover and staff training can be expensive and eat up valuable time. Paying employees correctly and on time each pay period is a great way to make sure they are happy. Whether it’s full-time employees or part-time employees, bookkeepers can make sure that all of your staff’s paperwork is in order. They will also organize and collect timesheets, process payments, and file the appropriate tax information.

Bank Reconciliation

Bookkeepers work hard to cross every “t” and dot every “i.” In any business, there is a lot of paperwork to keep track of. Your bookkeeper will make sure that your bank statements regularly match up with your bank accounts.  Having a bookkeeper will help you avoid mistakes, missed deposits, or incorrect funds.

Tax Preparation 

Taxes can be a stressful ordeal for most businesses. First, there’s the question of whether or not you filed everything correctly. Secondly, there’s the matter of avoiding unnecessary fees and ensuring you get all the credits of which your business is eligible. Your bookkeeper will keep your tax-related documents organized throughout the year, prepare your files, help you plan, and represent you in front of the IRS.

All in all, bookkeeping encompasses all the nuts and bolts that keep your company running smoothly. Paperwork and accounting are not areas where you want to cut corners. By hiring professionals, you can take a great deal of stress off your plate and give your customers, business partners, and staff complete confidence. Consider booking an appointment to learn about ways in which we might be able to help you and your business by calling 714.400.9201, emailing us at tony@alvareztaxinc.com.

2021 is shaping up to be another challenging tax year, here’s what you can do to stay prepared

2021 is shaping up to be another challenging tax year, here’s what you can do to stay prepared

The 2020 tax season may only be a few months in the rear-view mirror, but it’s not too soon to start looking forward to next year’s return. With the ripple effects of Covid still impacting the economy in the form of tax credits, remote work and more, 2021 is shaping up to be another tricky tax year.

A number of factors will make 2021 tax returns more complicated than average, including the third stimulus payment that started going out in March. Though the stimulus payments aren’t considered taxable income, if taxpayers include them as income they will end up paying more in taxes and will ultimately need to request a refund.

The advance child tax credits will also be something that tens of millions of families will need to be aware of when filing, as it could impact their final return.

Here are two key things you can start doing now so that you are ready when tax day rolls around in 2022.

1. Do a mid-year tax checkup

Do a mid-year tax checkup so that they know how the year is shaking out for you.

Do a projection of what your tax return is going to look like knowing what the rules that changed are, knowing what might apply to you, knowing what’s different from last year,” “A mid-year checkup will help you identify some problem areas or reinforce some comfort.

Regardless of whether you enlist the services of a tax professional or file your taxes on your own. Doing your own research is important because it may result in you finding additional tax credits that you didn’t know you were eligible for.

The IRS isn’t in the business of making sure you’ve got all your credits and all your benefits, They’re in the business of making sure they get all their money.

2. Stay on top of your important documents and information

One of the biggest favors a taxpayer can do themselves is to be diligent about keeping track of all the information they will need for their tax returns, Getting your stimulus numbers, child tax credit information and unemployment benefits together in one place now will streamline your tax process down the line.

People who waited until the last minute the past couple of years really found themselves in an information crunch, It’s only going to be bigger this year because more people are impacted.

Keep track of everything that happened to you this year — whether it be living through a natural disaster or going back to school or starting a new business — so you won’t forget anything come tax season.

Start your list of things that might change your tax return and either learn about them on your own at tax time or tell your tax pro, You cannot give enough attention to the things that happened to you during the pandemic years.

Tax Day is April 15, 2022.

Interesting Facts About Taxes

Interesting Facts About Taxes

Can tax trivia be fun?  Here are some of the most amazing tax facts and tax trivia on the net.

The word “tax” is from the Latin taxo, meaning “I estimate.

In Texas, cowboy boots are exempt from sales tax. Hiking books are not.

There is no known civilization that did not tax. Even the very first known civilization, the Sumerians, recorded their tax history on clay cones.

Alabama is the only state in the United States to impose a 10¢ playing card tax for decks of cards purchased in the state. In contrast, Nevada issues free decks of card with every tax return filed.

In 1787, U.S. citizens were eligible to vote only if they were taxpayers.

The Rosetta stone, the most significant relic of Egyptian history, is a tax-oriented document. It was inscribed around 200 B.C. during the reign of the boy-king Ptolemy V. It was so important that it was written in three languages. In fact, a large percentage of all ancient documents are tax records of one kind or another.

Russian Emperor Peter the Great placed a tax on beards in 1705. He hoped that the tax would encourage men to have a clean-shaven look that was popular in Western Europe.

Excise taxes are also called “sin taxes.” They are taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling.

 

 

5 Bookkeeping Tips for the Self-Employed

5 Bookkeeping Tips for the Self-Employed

Save all documents

Now here’s something so many small business owners and freelancers don’t actually do: keep hold of anything related to your finances.

I’m talking about receipts (even those that seem absolutely unnecessary), email and other types of online or written correspondation, and anything you can think of that has something to do with the business.

Keep track of everything going on with your money

Some get scared when they hear about budgeting. But that’s where all the control over your money and managing them well begins. By knowing what’s coming in and where it’s going.

Make saving a habit

Habits are important. So we must develop the right ones about every area of life we want to improve.

One such habit when it comes to your finances as a self-employed person is to always be saving no matter what.

Have a separate account for that and set aside something weekly or monthly.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You don’t need to do it all on your own.

Speaking to professionals and asking for advice is always a good investment of your time and resources. It will pay off in the long-run too.

Using the services of an invoice factoring company, for example, can turn your whole financial situation around and guarantee you a more secure future.

Their experts offer friendly, fast and reliable services.

Learn more about all the things you can deduct.

So many people pay more taxes in the end of the year than they actually need to.

As a self-employed individual, you’ve got more deductions than you probably know.

Let’s begin with office space and supplies, and anything directly related to the business. If you’re working at home, that can be half of the rent in some countries, or percentage of the house used for office space.

Then comes travel. Your next trip can be considered business costs if you find a way. So keep track of all transactions related to it.
As for mileage, you can calculate what you use from when you’re leaving the office (or your home if these are one) to the moment you come back.

Using your phone too much? International calls, 2 lines, or else? Well, deduct phone bills then.

Some meals and/or drinks can also go without tax considering they go together with meeting a client or potential partner. Need more info? Ask a professional for help or setup an appointment with Alvareztaxinc.

IRS: Online Child Tax Credit eligibility tool now available in Spanish

IRS: Online Child Tax Credit eligibility tool now available in Spanish

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new Spanish-language version of its online tool, Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant, designed to help families determine whether they qualify for the Child Tax Credit and the special monthly advance payments of the credit, due to begin on July 15.

Available exclusively on IRS.gov, the new Spanish version of the tool, like its English-language counterpart, is interactive and easy to use. By answering a series of questions about themselves and their family members, a parent or other family member can quickly determine whether they qualify for the credit.

Though anyone can use this tool, it may be particularly useful to families who don’t normally file a federal tax return and have not yet filed either a 2019 or 2020 return. Often, these are people who receive little or no income, including those experiencing homelessness, low income households, and other underserved groups. Using this tool can help them decide whether they should take the next step and either register for the Child Tax Credit payments using another IRS tool, the Non-filer Sign-up Tool, or file a regular tax return using the IRS Free File system.

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