5 Reasons to File a Tax Extension
If you need more time to file your taxes this year, the IRS allows you to file an extension. That gives you an extra six months to complete your return. And while filing an extension doesn’t prevent you from having to pay your tax bill by the deadline, there are a few reasons why it may be the right choice for you.
1. You don’t have all your tax and financial information yet.If you have a small business, for example, you may still be working on the books. Or you could be waiting for a letter confirming a charitable contribution. You may even still need the basis of stock you sold or a specific document from a financial institution. If you’re waiting on information that’s critical to helping you file your return accurately, it’s likely best for you to wait until you have that information.
2. A partnership or other organization hasn’t sent out forms.If you are a partner in a business and are waiting to receive your Schedule K-1, it’s perfectly fine to file an extension and wait to receive that document.
3. You have an emergency that prevents you from completing your return.Unexpected hospitalization or long-term illness, a family emergency, or just crunch time at work can make it difficult to finish your return. No worries. Give yourself a little more time for this important financial task.
4. You need more time to make contributions or change a retirement plan.If you are considering funding a retirement plan or starting a new one for the 2017 tax year, you may want to file an extension so you have more time to complete that task. Contributions to an IRA are tax-deductible, which you can claim on your 2017 return to reduce your taxable income. Just remember, you must make that decision by the April 17 filing deadline.
5. You want to make elections on your return, but you won’t know which election is best until later.If you have losses that you can carry back to prior years, you may not know until later in the current year if that’s a good idea or if you should use the losses on a future tax return.
Mike McVay, Tax Accountant will file all client tax extensions at no charge. Call Mike McVay today to get the process started.
5336 N Blue Angel Pkwy Pensacola, FL 32526 * 850-725-5696
Mike@MikeMcVay.com * www.PensacolaFLTax.com
3 Ways for Nonprofits to Level up Their Finances. Nonprofit organizations all face a familiar crunch: how to do more with less. Their missions are noble. But there’s always a limited number of employees to get the job done.
Now, with the advancement of cloud-based technology, accounting automation, and mobile payments, nonprofits have the ideal opportunity to level up their finances and maximize their resources.
McVay Business Services is a Bill.com Specialist. Bill.com & QuickBooks Online subscription is included in all non-profit weekly or month CFO services - Mike McVay, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. QuickBooks Accountant & Bookkeeper * 850-725-5696
Nonprofit Champion #1: Accounting Automation
Accounting automation digitizes grunt work and runs those processes for you.
Let’s start with bill payment. If three people need to see an invoice to approve it for payment, there’s typically an owner of the process who is tracking people down, sending reminders, and continually checking where it is in the review process.
While this process is important (you have to pay the bills!), shouldn’t there be a way to make it easier?
With accounting automation for bill payment:
Nonprofit Champion #2: Mobile Payments and Mobility
Nonprofits—and their donors—are often spread across a country, continent, or beyond. Oftentimes, sitting at a desk every day isn’t an option for executives and employees. They visit donors, hold fundraisers, visit with volunteers, and more. If they can’t work on the go, they’re limiting their contributions to the organization.
Imagine if you had a dangerously close-to-overdue bill. All non-profits face tight budgets, and a late fee means an unnecessary and costly expense. The only person who can sign the paper check is traveling and won’t be in the office until next week.
What do you do?
Along with automating accounting, you must mobilize it. That includes the ability to pay from mobile devices. Adopt systems that are mobile-compatible, so that activities normally confined to paper or certain workstations don’t impair progress. In the example above, that executive could view the bill and any related documents or notes on a mobile app and simply swipe to authorize an ACH payment.
Time savings: Incalculable. Can we use that when talking about accounting?
Nonprofit Champion #3: Audit-ready tracking
Audits are a way of life for nonprofits. In order to retain their status, they often undergo them on an annual basis.
This process can be inefficient, devours valuable time, and typically looks like this:
Mike McVay is an experienced public accountant with affordable solutions for non-profit bill pay, non-profit payroll services and QuickBooks Accounting 850-725-5696
What if everything you needed for an audit could be handed over in just a few clicks?
With automation, every activity and workflow is tracked and archived—from the bill’s entry to the system, through each reviewer, all notes, approval, payment, and even check images. The nonprofit gives the auditor an audit-level access to the system. From there, the auditor can locate the information they need to complete their work—they don’t even have to be onsite. They can conduct the audit from any location in a fraction of the time it normally takes.
Math mistakes, hiding income, deduction overkill and round numbers can raise the red flag with the I.R.S
Why the IRS audits peopleThe IRS conducts audits to minimize the “tax gap,” or the difference between what the IRS is owed and what the IRS actually receives. Sometimes audits are random, but the IRS often selects taxpayers based on suspicious activity.
We’re against subterfuge. But we’re also against paying more than you owe. As you walk the line this tax season, here are seven of the biggest red flags likely to land you in the audit hot seat.
1. Making math errorsWhen the IRS starts investigating, “oops” isn’t going to cut it. Don’t make mistakes. This applies to everyone who must file taxes. Don’t accidentally write a 3 instead of an 8. Don’t get distracted and forget to include that final zero. Mistakes happen, but make sure you double- and triple-check your numbers if you’re doing your own taxes. You’ll be hit with fines regardless of whether your mistake was intentional. If your math is a little shaky, using good tax preparation software or a tax preparer near you can help you avoid unfortunate errors.
2. Failing to report some incomeEasy way to score an audit? Don’t report part of your income.
Let’s say you’re employed herding sheep for Farmer Joe and you pick up a little extra cash writing articles for a sheep-shearing publication on a freelance basis. You may be tempted to submit only the W-2 form from your herding job and keep the freelance writing income on your Form 1099 under wraps. (A 1099 reports nonwage income from things like freelancing, stock dividends and interest.)
Well, guess what? The IRS already knows about income listed on your 1099 because the publication sent it a copy, so it’s only a matter of time before it discovers your omission.
3. Claiming too many charitable donationsIf you made significant contributions to charity, you’re eligible for some well-deserved deductions. This bit of advice is common sense: Don’t report false donations. If you don’t have the proper documentation to prove the validity of your contribution, don’t claim it. Pretty simple. Claiming $10,000 in charitable deductions on your $40,000 salary is likely to raise some eyebrows.
4. Reporting too many losses on a Schedule CThis one is for the self-employed. If you are your own boss, you might be tempted to hide income by filing personal expenses as business expenses. But before you write off your new ski boots, consider the suspicion that too many reported losses can arouse. The IRS may begin to wonder how your business is staying afloat. IRS Publication 535 has details.
We’re against subterfuge. But we’re also against paying more than you owe.
5. Deducting too many work expensesAlong the same lines as reporting too many losses is reporting too many expenses. To be eligible for a deduction, purchases must be 1) ordinary and 2) necessary to your line of work. A professional artist could claim paint and paintbrushes because such items meet both requirements. A lawyer who paints for fun and doesn’t turn a profit on the works couldn’t claim art supplies as a deduction. The question to ask is: Was the purchase absolutely necessary to performing my work duties?
6. Claiming a home office deductionHome office deductions are rife with fraud. It may be tempting to give yourself undeserved deductions for expenses that don’t technically qualify. The IRS narrowly defines the home office deduction as reserved for people who use part of their home “exclusively and regularly for your trade or business.” That means a home office can qualify if you use it for work and work only. Occasionally answering emails on your laptop in front of your 72-inch flat screen TV doesn’t qualify your living room as a deductible office space. Claim a home office deduction only if you have set off a section of your home strictly for business purposes. Be honest when you report expenses and measurements.
7. Using nice, neat, round numbersIn all likelihood, the numbers on your 1040 form and supporting documents will not be in simple, clean intervals of $100. When making your calculations, be precise and avoid making estimations. Round to the nearest dollar, not the nearest hundred. Say you’re a photographer claiming a $495.25 lens as a business expense; round that to $495, not to $500. An even $500 is somewhat unlikely, and the IRS may ask for proof.
Mike McVay, QuickBooks Tax Expert
Mike McVay, Tax Accountant Blog
Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor & Licensed Tax Accountant Pensacola, FL
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