My CPA Tips


Fourth quarter TouchdownLike in a football game, the fourth quarter is critical. Finishing the game strong will prepare you to win and help you to get ready for next year. To succeed at the financial game you need to look over your investments and tax exposure. You are more likely to be victorious if you make adjustments now as the fourth quarter begins. We examine a few of the factors you might want to consider. First look at how successful you were in the third quarter. Did you meet your investment goals? Are you happy with your results and are you preparing for your next tax return? What tax free and tax deductible accounts are you contributing to? This could be a good time to maximize your contributions to those accounts for 2019.  Determine whether you want to put that money into traditional or Roth IRAs. It’s not too early to plan for and contribute to your favorite non-profits and charities. Don’t wait until the last minute and miss the deadline. Be sure you are supporting those organizations which are legitimate according to the tax code. If you own a small business, purchase equipment and other office necessities like software, office supplies, printers, new computers and similar items which are qualified expenses to deduct according to the IRS. Look at your tax withholding and make necessary adjustments. Many people were surprised when they did not evaluate this with the new tax code last year. Prepare this year. Have your circumstances changed and made an impact? These events include marriage and divorce, a new child in the family, changes to employment by the taxpayer or his or her spouse and unemployment during the year among other things. These factors are a partial list of what you will want to investigate to prepare for the fourth quarter effectively. This is a lot to think about. However, if you consult with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and a CPA, you can get the help you need to take the necessary steps to score and win. Les Merritt has unique qualifications to help you and your family. As a CFP and a CPA, he can review and make suggestions that will benefit you. Furthermore, his experience can positively impact not only your current investments, but also help prepare you for your tax liabilities for your next return. Call Les Merritt today at (919) 269-8553 to set an appointment. You will be ready for the fourth quarter and you can set a winning strategy for you and your family.

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Can You Wait?

He who hesitates is lost or so the adage goes. Can you wait another week? Probably not. In the case of filing your tax return you may lose time and money. Are you one of the unprepared Americans who has not yet done anything about your tax return? Some 29 million individuals filed returns just days before the deadline a few years ago in 2016. Some people delay because they don’t want to make a mistake, others think they like to work under pressure. Last year 11.6 million Americans filed for extensions and the IRS expects that number to grow this year. Filing an extension gives you an extra six months, and your tax forms and payment are not due until October 15, 2019. Be aware that your extension means that the IRS will charge interest on unpaid taxes. This creates another tax bill you will receive after you have filed late. If you are not one of those who adjusted withholding in 2018, you may find you need extra time to pay your tax bills. Les Merritt, CPA and CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is ready to lend assistance. He has been helping families and companies for over 30 years with tax preparation and planning. He can still file an extension, but you have to contact his immediately. When you need to file an extension, see Les Merritt. Filing an extension may still save you money in the end, but you will still have to pay the tax bill. Unfortunately, your tax return will not disappear just because you left it in the bottom of a drawer. You still need to file. If you haven’t gotten everything together so he can file by the April 15 deadline, Les can file an extension for you. Don’t put this off another day. Call Les Merritt at (919) 269-8553 to schedule your appointment; you can’t wait longer.

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April Fools DayHappy April Fool's Day! Don’t play the fool. It is already the first day of April. The day may be filled with jokes, but not filing your personal income taxes is not one of them. Many people have already filed their taxes. Others are having them prepared, but some have put off dealing with them. If you ignore them they will not go away. Now is the time to make plans to file an extension. An extension will give you more time to file, but you will also have to pay interest on the amount owed. Over 10 million people file extensions each year. However, that extension is  better than the alternative, not filing at all. Think the IRS won’t find you out? Not too likely. They collect massive amounts of information, including W2s for wages you received and 1099s sent in by those who have paid you. Like someone looking over your shoulder? If you haven’t filed, the IRS is likely to find you. The penalties and interest mount each month. They will most likely find you with all the data available today. Don’t try to hide, your digital trail is out there. File an extension if you worry that you cannot pay right now, . Your extension will give you additional time to get the funds together. Whether that is to take out a loan or to begin saving for your payment, figure out how you can take care of this obligation today. Les Merritt, CPA and CFP (Certified Financial Planner), has been helping individuals and families with personal taxes for three decades. Of course we all wish our accountants would pay our taxes, but April 1 or not, that’s not going to happen. The next best thing is for Les and his staff to file your extension and devise a plan for paying taxes. Contact Les today at (919) 269-8553 to make arrangements if you have not already filed. You can sit back once it’s done and know that you did not play the fool.

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Don't ProcrastinateFor those of you procrastinators who haven’t begun on your taxes, you will need to file an extension. Almost all of you will need to file a form (4868) to get additional time for your taxes. Your CPA or tax preparer can file that for you or you may be able to do so yourself. However, you must file by the April 15 deadline. Don’t get caught forgetting to do so. That could cost you 5% per month up to a maximum of 25%. Getting your extension has other consequences. You will have to pay interest on what you owe. You will pay at a rate of 0.5% per month for all full and partial months after the April 15 deadline. The exception is you may not have to pay the penalty if you pay 85% or more before the deadline and the rest when you file. What happens if you miss the extension deadline? Sixty days after it is due you will face further penalties. Many people file late for numerous reasons. Is it worth it to file late? Maybe if you need to find the funds to pay your taxes or if you are an investor still waiting for K-1 forms from your investments. There may be other reasons. Note that you still need to pay all tax that were due by April 15th even if you are filing an extension or the penalty for not paying accrues, but the extension knocks off the penalty for filing late. Can you still get your personal taxes prepared and ready by April 15? Depends on your accountant and his or her schedule. If you are late to the game give Les Merritt, CPA and CFP, a call to see if you can file or at least get your extension in on time. Les has been helping businesses, families and individuals with their taxes and investments for decades. Before it’s too late, give Les Merritt a call at (919) 269-8553 to schedule right away. Don’t be one of the procrastinators who pulls his head above sand on April 16 and says, “Oops, I forgot.” Stop putting if off and be sure you make arrangements today. Separate yourself from the rest of the procrastinators!

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