Category Archives: Tax and Insurance

How To Audit-proof Charitable Donations For Income Tax Season

The IRS means business when it comes to properly documenting donations given to charity. Because of a change in the tax law you must now obtain written documentation for ALL cash donations. Prior to the tax law change if your cash donation was less than $250, you weren’t required to have it substantiated with a receipt from the charity. But now you do. This means all tithes to your church too, that’s if of course, you’re going to claim it as an itemized deduction.

Here’s a suggestion to ensure all of your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted in case of an audit. Always maintain good records and do it now instead of procrastinating till the tax deadline is staring you in the face. When you give to your local charity make sure you get a receipt. It must show the charity’s name, the date you contributed and the amount you donated.

Here’s something else you might not be aware of, if you use a credit card to make your charitable donation in 2008, you can claim a deduction even if you don’t pay it off until 2009. Sweet huh?

What if your donation is of the non-cash variety? Well, if you claim a deduction and it’s less than $250 you must get a receipt from the charity. Again, the receipt must show who, when and the amount you donated. If your contribution is over $250 but less than $500 don’t walk away without a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity. In other words, GET A DETAILED RECEIPT!! For taxpayers who can give more than $500 but not more than $5000 you must follow the same rules, but you must file Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions.

And for you blessed taxpayers who give more than $5000 the same rule applies but you must obtain a qualified appraisal. Contributions larger than $500,000 require you to attach a copy of an appraisal to your return.

If you’ll follow the practice of obtaining detailed receipts and keep good records every time you give to a charity, you’ll be able to calmly stand up to any inquiry by the Internal Revenue Service.

Precautions To Take Before Bidding On Tax Foreclosure Properties

As you may already know, tax foreclosure properties are those that have been reclaimed by the local government for failure to pay taxes. The properties are then sold through auctions. While you can find some great deals by opting to purchase these homes, make sure to take a few precautions before you begin bidding.

Check Out the Property

If possible, you should try to see the property before you place a bid on it. As with other types of foreclosed homes, tax foreclosure properties are often not left in great shape by the past owners. To some extent, you can understand the bitterness and anger involved in having your home taken away but when youre the one purchasing the property and having to sink a lot of money into the home to repair ridiculous and deliberate damage it can also be frustrating.

By looking at the property before bidding, you can more accurately determine a maximum threshold for bidding. For example, if $20,000 in repairs are going to be needed, you may want to lower that upper bid level by about that much.

Check for IRS Liens

While local tax liens take precedence over mortgages and other types of liens that might tangle up the title to the property, claims on the property placed by the Internal Revenue Service cannot be so easily dismissed. Before bidding, you may want to do a check on the title of the property to make sure no IRS liens are present. Otherwise, you could find yourself owing someone elses tax bills and having to take the old owners to court to recoup your losses.

When youre purchasing tax foreclosure properties, you want to get the best deal possible so take the precautions listed above to make sure your purchase doesnt end up costing you more in the long run.

Tax Credits For Truck Drivers

Truck drivers, whether they are owner-operators or drive professionally for an organization, can deduct a number of on-the-road expenses on their federal income taxes. Special rules apply to truck drivers; The IRS recognizes the importance of trucking in the national economy and acknowledges there are many expenses incurred in the profession. Owner-operators are afforded a few more deductions to subsidize the expense of owning and operating their semitrucks.

Equipment and Related Expenses
Owner-operators garner the largest deductions in the equipment and equipment-related expenses category. According to the federal tax code’s Section 179 Deductions for Tangible Property, a truck owner does not have to depreciate his truck over the long term, but may instead be able to make a large one-time deduction. The maximum Section 179 expense deduction for qualified real property is $250,000. Repairs and maintenance to the truck may also be deducted. Truckers are allowed a deduction for gas expenses and the purchase of products related to the operation of the truck as well.

Communication Expenses
Because truckers are on the road for the majority of their work time, they often spend a great deal on communication expenses. Expenses such as cellphones, cellphone service, CB radios, satellite networks for computers, computer software and laptops may all be included as business-related expenses and are deductible at a percentage of their original cost. If you use your cellphone for personal use as well, you may only deduct business-related usage.

Personal Expenses
Personal expenses for truck drivers differ from those for businesspeople who are traveling. Truckers often sleep in their trucks instead of paying for a hotel. If you purchase a sleeping bag, bunk, blankets, hot pot or truck stop showers, you can deduct all of these as business- related expenses. Trucking companies will sometimes pay drivers a per diem for food. In these circumstances, the driver cannot deduct the amount of the per diem, but may be able to deduct meals that exceed the per diem up to the IRS limit. Owner-operators who do not receive a company per diem to cover food may use the special deduction for employees involved in transportation. As a truck driver as of 2010, you can claim a standard meal allowance of $59 a day ($65 for travel outside the continental United States). Truckers should verify these deductions annually as they are often modified by the IRS.

Considerations
Throughout the year, as you conduct your duties as a company truck driver or an owner-operator, you will encounter expenses. To get the most out of your tax deductions, you need to keep and organize all receipts that are business related. Purchasing an expandable file folder and files is an easy way to organize your receipts. Label files according to the nature of the receipts; truck repairs and maintenance, food, lodging, communication and perhaps miscellaneous. If you don’t have an official receipt, include a handwritten receipt with the amount of purchase, date and what it was for.

Steps To Get Your Nova Scotia Auto Insurance

You have always thought that getting an insurance policy is an elaborate, cumbersome and tricky issue. If that is what you thought, then here is a piece of good news for you. With the advancement of technology even complicated procedure of getting a Nova Scotia car insurance seems like a cakewalk. You need not even be a computer wizard to use the online applications on the portals of the insurance companies. What you need is to first assess your insurance requirement and then follow the simple steps that the portal guides you to take!

As simple as that, Scotia auto insurance

You need to key in your basic details in the application for online quotation. You may also call to have a talk with the courteous insurance expert for assistance. You will typically be provided with quotation from the leading insurance providers. You will also be receiving guidance to choose the one that offers the cheapest rates.

Make sure that you deal with an online Nova Scotia Auto insurance service provider company whose process of comparing the insurance quotes is really fast, besides being customer-friendly. Only fast and customer focused companies will be able to provide you with efficient and effective customer service in the long run.

Remember that only an expert insurance company with several years of hands on experience in serving clients with dedicated and effective insurance solution and service will be able to put you in an advantageous position. Otherwise, dealing with the fly by night companies or the new, inexperienced companies without adequate insurance expertise may prove to be extremely grave in the long run.

When you choose your Scotia auto insurance provider, you may have talks with the insurance experts several times unless you are absolute sure that the one you get is the one you want.

The companies that have been long in operation, has established their credibility regarding claim settlement. Claim settlement record of a company is of utmost importance to any insurance seeker.

Conclusion

You have a clear road map as to what your short term and long term financial goals are. You also have worked towards ensuring that those are met in proper time. Now take some time to check out the insurance companies, the services they provide, the rates, the coverage and the claim settlement record; and get the adequate insurance for you. So that in case of exigencies there is no crisis. If your car is your prized possession, get the Nova Scotia car insurance for it.

for the Scotia Auto Insurance deal with an online Nova Scotia Auto insurance service provider company. ..

Tax Issues The IRS Problems of Pastors

Pastors can have tax problems just like everyone else. A high moral character and desire to comply with the tax code embodied by the Internal Revenue Service is no guarantee that you wont run afoul of the IRS, though. Its entirely possible to knowingly violate tax laws and be considered a criminal. There is also a distinct possibility of unwittingly violating tax codes and ending up being considered a criminal as well.

The types of problems pastors typically experience with the IRS are of the second variety. Without intending to violate the law, pastors occasionally find themselves in trouble.

Pastors are under a special set of IRS regulations that allow for specified deductions. The tax code changes regularly, and the amount and types of deductions allowed one year can be different the following year. Pastors without experience in personally handling their own tax filing responsibilities should consult professional tax accountants to make sure theyre following the rules.

Occasionally pastors fall into the trap of avoiding taxes due to a process commonly known to the public as shortcutting. A pastor with a low income qualifies for all sorts of tax privileges, but detailed and correct tax filing must be made in order to take advantage of them. Its tempting to shortcut the process by skipping the filing requirements if the benefits seemingly arent worth the headaches to receive them. Failing to file a return or otherwise violating the filing requirements results in a black eye for clergymen and possible penalties as well.

Another common IRS problem experienced by pastors is the dreaded audit. Those giving a substantial amount of their income to qualified charities or other recipients are often red flagged by the IRS in a legitimate attempt to discover tax dodgers trying to reduce taxable income through giving. Pastors that are notified of an audit would do well to have a professional tax accountant go into the audit with them. Even pastors arent immune to IRS problems. Obtaining the services of tax professionals may be expensive, but its worth the cost if it helps avoid run-ins with the Internal Revenue Service.

Things to Check before Hiring a Tax Attorney

Finding the right tax attorney in Maryland can be a daunting task especially because very few people are dedicated to tax law. It becomes even more difficult when you are already frustrated with tax problems. Choose the perfect one and your problems will be vanished. Choose the wrong person and you are never going to come out of the impending doom. Therefore it is crucial to select your tax attorney wisely.

Though it may take a little time and effort to find the right person it is always better to count on a professional than handling such complicated issues yourself. Whether it is a certified tax resolution specialist or a certified public accountant or a tax attorney, selecting the ideal representative is key to your success.

One can have various kinds of tax problems such as audit issues, back taxes, tax returns, payroll taxes or other tax collection. If you encounter any similar problem the first thing you will think of doing is going through Google or the Yellow Page to find out a who will be aware of the local law.

So you have managed to get the contact details of a few Maryland tax attorneys. What next? How do you know whom to hire and whom to avoid? Go through the checklist below to get some handy tips on how to find out the right attorney.

Questions to Ask a Tax Attorney

The first thing to ask is what kind of cases does he handle? Is it personal income tax issue or charity tax issue? Is it business tax problem or estate tax concern? If you are having problem with personal income person choose the one who deals with this issue. Try to see whether the attorney deals with federal law only or he handles state taxes as well? Does he have the experience of dealing with tax problems in multiple jurisdictions? How long the attorney has been in this business and how long is he solving IRS problems? What is his success rate with the tax cases he has handled? Focus on the success rate instead of number of cases because dealing with the IRS is quite difficult. Does he offers any guarantee when you handover your case? Check your lawyer with the Better Business Bureau. If he has more than 20 complaints it is better to stay away from him. Ask about his previous clients and see whether he allows you to talk to them. If he hesitates it is probably better to move on. Make sure that there is no hidden cost and the attorney gives you a clear estimate right at the beginning.

Keep these few points in mind while interviewing a prospective attorney and you are likely to find out the right person. Go through and choose the right one, here you will find many qualified lawyer profile to opt for.

Benefits Of Jewellery Insurance

Every household family in India carries gold and diamonds in form of jewellery or as a solid brick to make an investment. Probably apart from house, this is the second most precious thing in a family. Hence, to safeguard requires is Jewellery Insurance. Many people may take it as vague idea, but yes it not only gives safety but also helps in covering loss in event of any unfortunate circumstance. Jewellery insurance is not been covered by all insurance companies but a select few with the fine terms which needs to be read before declaring value and making jewellery insured.

The first and foremost benefit is of course the safety part. If a household carries jewellery worth Rs. 5 Lakh and a special occasion like marriage is due in family, its advisable to protect one from unforeseen circumstance by going in for jewellery insurance.

The process of obtaining insurance on jewellery starts with furnishing of invoice of the jewellery to the insurance company. The Insurance company then carries on valuation of jewellery by the empanelled jewellers. Once formalities done, the insurance company determine the Insured declared value. Next, comes reading and signing the declaration. Its vital to read the terms carefully as historically over 25% of the claims gets rejected in India due to faulty insurance policy or unawareness by signing on the consent form without reading the terms and conditions. It leads to not only loss in premium but also give one hassles and mental agony at the claim process. Its also advisable to take couple of snaps of the jewellery for your own record too while making them insured.

Do not follow with that insurance company which offers only the lowest premium but check the past track record in terms of claims and the service levels. Never get carried away with the low premium, there could be wide differences in the premium and claim service levels. Always, have a comparative view in respect to the multiple insurance companies and choose one which you feel is the best in service levels and claim track record.

Also, one may too get a valuation done of the jewellery through his own jeweller before going in for the insurance. As these jewellers are in this business, its best to take there advise and gives it weight for choosing insurance on the gold ornaments. Remember, insurance could act as slight expense in the beginning but it prevents one from a casualty. Take a positive side and have a peace of mind.

A Small Business Tax Return Service Online Saves You Money And Time

They say the only things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. Well, we are going to tell you a secret, we are going to help you all but avoid the stress and pain involved with one of these! No, sorry we are not going to tell you how you can cheat death! But we are going to tell you how you can minimise the pain of having to do your tax return. You can now do your return online! Yes, what used to take hours or days can be done in no time. You can find a great small business tax return service who can do your return for you right now!

These total tax return preparation services are the best way to do your tax, full stop! There is no more messing around, all you need to do is spend around 10 minutes online, and most returns will be processed within 10 days. Yes, you can get your taxes done professionally, have the peace of mind that they have been thoroughly reviewed by a tax professional, and you will receive your refund (if they are due a refund) within 10 days.

You are probably waiting for some catch, some drawback, but there is none. Promise. Not even the price. You will be blown away by the service and the price. The best online services can be done for the extremely low cost of just $49. No that is not a typo, you will get change from a $50! You can get your tax done for virtually nothing, so what are you waiting for? Just make sure you use a service that offers free online help so that if you have any questions you can simply message them through their online message system and you will receive an instant response. That way if you need to know anything you can just ask as you are doing your tax return online. It pays to use a service that has free tax estimate tools on the website. All you should need to do to use these is register with the website, fill out some preliminary information, and you will receive a free estimate of your tax refund. Thanks to the internet you can do your taxes in no time and you can save money. In the past taxes have been a dreaded thing but now with the web you can do them easily and simply, so why would you do them any other way? It really is the best so get online to find the right site for you and make the transition to 21st century tax filing. Want a fast tax return? Do it online.

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Forthepast3yearsIhavebeenwritinginformativeandhigh quality articlesontopicsuchas Small , Tax return online, andmanymore.

Points To Remember While Buying Health Insurance

General insurance are those which cover aspects of our lives that are not covered by life insurance. There are many insurance policies that come under the gamut of general insurance. Among these is health insurance or commonly known as mediclaim. Health insurance is the ideal add-on to your life insurance policy as it takes care of your well-being while you are ill or hospitalized. The difference between health insurance and life insurance can be summed as follows.

Health insurance provides benefits while you are alive.
Life insurance provides benefits after your demise.

Thus, one must be able to gauge from this the importance of health insurance. Therefore, it is imperative on everybody to have an effective mediclaim policy, moreover a policy that suits the need in the most appropriate manner. Health insurance provides a wide range of services under its aegis. For instance, it covers the expenses of hospitalization as well as pre-hospitalization, an ideal way to safeguard the health of your family during a medical exigency. Once you have bought a mediclaim policy it will get you benefits ranging from medical test to prescription drugs and everything in between including treatment services. The insurance provider will provide these multitudes of benefits in lieu of the premium that we ought to pay regularly in order to keep the policy running. Any lapse in the premium payment will make the policy worthless leaving you exposed to uncertainties. Thus we must make sure to pay our health insurance premiums on time in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones secured.

Before you buy a mediclaim plan, you must take in to cognizance some of the important points discussed below, as they will help you in selecting a health insurance plan that is best for you.

Not everybody can purchase a mediclaim policy. Different insurance providers have different age criteria for allowing individual to buy and get benefit of their health insurance. Therefore, this is the first thing that needs to be checked- eligibility.
Study the policy carefully and ascertain the coverage of the policy and then analyze its utility. Ideally health insurance policy must give cover to the policyholder along with the immediate family members that include dependent parents, children and spouse. This has to be in addition with the affordability of the health plan.
Individuals can also get cover from their employers in what is known as group insurance plan. One must check the nitty gritty of the health insurance plan to check whether their family members are covered by it or not. If not then he ought to purchase policy for the dependents.

These are some of the important points that need to be remembered while searching and applying for a mediclaim policy. Ignorance of the above mentioned point can keep you and your family members under-insured and many a times lead to paying out more for a given service. To avoid exposing yourself to dangers of financial stress one must make informed decision.

Items That A Home Based Life Coach Can Deduct At Tax Time

Below are 19 common deductions for someone working from home (as over 90% of coaches do).

Working from home has many advantages. For one you are able to organizing and arrange your time based on what works best for you and your family. If you work best in the morning then you are able to schedule your most important calls and computer work then, observing a more relaxed schedule in the afternoons.

Have fun and enjoy spending your income on deductible related expenses. I like to spend my money on coaching and life improvement or success books, and on coach training materials or programs.

Keep track of your receipts and easily enter the numbers into your accounting books. After you have entered it in, mark the receipt as “entered” and store it in an appropriately labeled envelope. (“June Outgoing” for example.)

As a coach working from home, what can I deduct?

1. A portion of air conditioning, electricity, heat, and water.
2. A portion of your house insurance or renters insurance.
3. A portion of your rent or mortgage can be deductible if you have a space that is dedicated to the use of your home office.
4. Bank account, check cashing and check replacement fees.
5. Books related to coaching, life change, marketing, business, taxes, bookkeeping, success, self help, weight loss, health, psychology.
6. Cleaning supplies. This includes waste baskets, cloths, and floor cleaners etc.
7. Computer parts/ supplies.
8. Salaries: general employees, assistants, secretaries, receptionists, accountants, bookkeepers.
9. Interest on any business related borrowing you did, though for a home coaching business it is rarely necessary to borrow to start your business. This would include credit card interest as well.
10. Internet.
11. Mail related items: stamps, envelopes, gas used to mail the letter.
12. Maintenance and repairs including waste and snow removal.
13. Office furniture.
14. Office supplies.
15. Phone.
16. Printer parts/ supplies.
17. Security system.
18. Software.
19. Training. (Coaching or business related.)