My CPA Tips


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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DON’T PLAY THE FOOL

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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PROCRASTINATORS, START YOUR ENGINES!

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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WHEN WILL I GET MY REFUND?

Refund ReceivedMany of you have already filed your tax return and may be wondering when you will get your refund. Although there is not an official calendar released by the IRS, you can estimate. Based on previous years, most citizens receive their refund within about 21 days. The soonest you will get a refund however will begin after the IRS opens the system. As of a new law last year, for those with Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) the clock did not start  until February 15, 2019. Also be aware if you mail your tax return, you need to add 6-8 weeks for processing at a minimum. The dates below are more aggressive but you may see your refund as soon as these indicate. Here is some information for those who plan to file soon. If you e-file on the following dates, the soonest to expect your refund based on the date your return is accepted is: Mar 17 - Mar 23, 2019        Apr 5, 2019 Mar 24 - Mar 30, 2019        Apr 12, 2019 Mar 31 - Apr 6, 2019           Apr 19, 2019 Apr 7 - Apr 13, 2019            April 26, 2019 Apr 14 - Apr 20, 2019          May 3, 2019 Apr 21 - Apr 27, 2019          May 10, 2019 Apr 28 - May 4, 2019           May 17, 2019   For those filing by mail, here are the dates based on accepted date: Mar 17 - Mar 23, 2019        Apr 12, 2019 Mar 24 - Mar 30, 2019        Apr 19, 2019 Mar 31 - Apr 6, 2019           April 26, 2019 Apr 7 - Apr 13, 2019            May 3, 2019 Apr 14 - Apr 20, 2019          May 10, 2019 Apr 21 - Apr 27, 2019          May 17, 2019 Apr 28 - May 4, 2019           May 24, 2019 You can check for the status of your refund a few days after you should have received your refund at https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp Haven’t filed yet and want help, contact Les Merritt. He may still be able to complete your personal return in time. If you also have a corporate return, he can help you file an extension. You can reach Les at (919) 269-8553 and get started right away.

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