Don’t like unpleasant surprises? Do this now!

The new tax laws may affect your taxes drastically. If you are like us and don’t like the kind of surprises that involve having to pay out money, make sure your withholding is sufficient to cover your taxes.

The IRS Withholding Calculator is the best tool for this. It is surprisingly easy to use, as well. You will need information from your previous year’s tax return, along with your most current pay stub.

You can do a checkup at any time, and the calculator will advise you on what to withhold in order to get caught up by the end of the year. This is very useful in case your situation changes.

You can find the calculator at https://www.irs.gov/W4App. You can also find this link on our Resources page, along with a Form W-4 that you can download and fill out.

IRS offers advice on how to protect yourself from scammers

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to avoiding tax scams. Here’s what taxpayers need to know to determine whether an encounter — in person, over the phone or by email — is an impostor or an actual IRS employee:

The IRS Does Not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Demand taxpayers pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have someone arrested for not paying.
  • Threaten to revoke someone’s driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status.

The IRS Does:

  • In general, first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Normally initiate contact with taxpayers through mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
  • Present official identification when visiting a taxpayer. Taxpayers have the right to see these credentials, and – if they would like – the representative will provide them with a dedicated IRS phone number for verifying the information and confirming their identity.
  • Call or visit a home or business under certain circumstances. This includes when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or criminal investigation. Even then, taxpayers will generally receive several letters from the IRS in the mail first.
  • Assign certain cases to private debt collectors, but only after written notice is given to the taxpayer and their appointed representative.
  • Offer several payment options. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not a private collection agency.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov/newsroom/heres-how-taxpayers-can-protect-themselves-from-scammers.

Closer than Ever

The Long Beach Landmark Theatre Company’s latest production is coming next month.
 
Closer than Ever is a nonstop musical exploration of everyday struggles in the modern world. Topics ranging from unrequited adoration to aging, heartbreak, and even Muzak are tackled with resounding sincerity and precisely-placed hilarity. Each song is a unique story told by a new character, taking audiences into the minds and hearts of contemporary people facing everyday, completely relatable challenges.
 
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit lblandmark.org.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Heather and Tracy will be performing in The Long Beach Landmark Theatre Company’s new production at First Congregational Church of Long Beach in October. Melody and Mike will be cheering them on from the parapet.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame transports you to Paris circa 1482, where we meet and follow the tale of Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Marrying the epic Victor Hugo novel with the soaring score from the beloved Disney film, this tragic tale of temptation, love and acceptance comes to life within the historic sanctuary of the First Congregational Church in Long Beach with a stellar cast, full choir and 14-piece live orchestra.

For more information and to buy tickets visit www.lblandmark.org.

We did it!

Made it through another tax season. Returns are all picked up, and extensions are all filed. We’re taking Wednesday off and will resume our normal hours on Thursday.

Titanic, the Musical

 

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Heather, Melody, and Tracy will be performing in FCCLB’s production of the Tony Award winning musical Titanic in November.

This epic production in the historic sanctuary of First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach features a talented cast of forty accompanied by a live orchestra and supported by a full pit chorus.

For more information and a link to buy reserved seats visit www.firstchurchlb.org/titanic.

Now is a Good Time to Plan for Next Year’s Taxes

IRS Tax Tip 2016-67

Now is a Good Time to Plan for Next Year’s Taxes

You may be tempted to forget about your taxes once you’ve filed but some tax planning done now may benefit you later. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are some IRS tips to give you a leg up on next year’s taxes:

Take action when life changes occur. Some life events can change the amount of tax you owe. Examples include a change in marital status or the birth of a child. When these happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form.

Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you enroll in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016 coverage, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Report events such as changes in your income or family size. Doing so will help you avoid getting too much or too little financial assistance.

Keep records safe. Print and keep a copy of your 2015 tax return and supporting records together in a safe place. This includes W-2 Forms, Forms 1099, bank records and records of your family’s health care insurance coverage. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easier for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid for college. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do your taxes next year.

Stay organized. Make tax time easier. Have your family put tax records in the same place during the year. That way you won’t have to search for misplaced records when you file next year.

Shop for a tax preparer. If you want to hire a tax preparer to help you with tax planning, start your search now. Choose your tax preparer wisely. Use the Directory of Tax Return Preparers tool on IRS.gov to find tax preparers in your area with the credentials and qualifications that you prefer.

Think about itemizing. You may be able to lower your taxes if you itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Owning a home, paying medical expenses and qualified donations to charity could mean more tax savings. See the instructions for Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, for a list of deductions.

Stay informed. Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips to get emails about tax law changes, how to save money and much more. You can also get Tax Tips on IRS.gov or IRS2Go, the IRS mobile app. You’ll receive Tips each weekday in the tax filing season and three days a week in summer. You will also get Special Edition Tax Tips at other times during the year.

Visit the IRS Small Business Tax Center for All Your Tax Needs

You don’t need to be a tax expert to run a business, but knowing the basics about taxes can help you run it better. You’ll find the basics and much more on the IRS.gov Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. You can apply for an Employer Identification Number, download a form or learn about employment taxes.

The Tax Center also includes the following resources:

IRS Video Portal. Watch helpful videos and webinars on many tax topics. Find out about filing and paying business taxes. Check out how an IRS audit works. Look for the “Small Biz Workshop” under the “Businesses” tab to learn the basics about small business taxes.

Online Tools and Educational Products. The list of small business products includes the Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed. You can view key tax dates and actions for each month with this tool. Install the IRS Calendar Connector tool on your computer to get important tax dates and tips, even when you’re offline.

Small Business Events. The IRS holds small business workshops, meetings and seminars at many locations throughout the country. Find out what the IRS has planned in your state by clicking “Small Business Events.”

Tax Information Brochures

New on our Resources page are several brochures to help you with your taxes. Some will help you get your information together for 2015, others will help you going forward into 2016. We hope you find them useful.

Business Expense Worksheet
Business Mileage and Expense Log
Business Use of Vehicles
Business Use of Home
Charitable Contributions Guide
Cash Donation Tracker
Noncash Donation Tracker
Recordkeeping for Tax Purposes
Rental Income and Expenses
Rental Income and Expense Worksheet

www.heatherchamberscpa.com/resources/

A Professional Accountancy Corporation