My CPA Tips


We are now in the holiday rush time of the year. With just over two weeks until Christmas, many of us are scurrying around. We are getting gifts and planning parties with family and friends. December is also a favorable time to reflect back on the year. Now is a time to review what we have done well and what we can do better in the future. This is also a time to begin planning for taxes and make last minute adjustments. Some items you might want to consider before the end of the year are contributions to retirement accounts, your health insurance options, a Health Savings Account (HAS), gathering together your medical expenses, and savings for you children's education. For this year’s taxes, you are limited. You can only deduct non-reimbursed allowable medical expenses that are greater than 10%  of your adjusted gross income. Also review what charitable contributions are deductible. If you have retired, be sure you have met the minimal required withdrawal for the year. Also remember to review your life changes like marriage, home purchases and career changes. Figure how they might affect your tax situation. Contact Les Merritt to be sure you have the paperwork and have done the planning to take advantage of all your allowable deductions. Les and his staff help families and businesses with taxes and with investment strategies, so they can help you make the right investment decisions with knowledge of the tax implications. You can reach Les Merritt at  (919) 269-8553. As we get ready for the holiday rush, Les Merritt and his staff send early wishes for a wonderful end of the year and beginning of next year. Stay safe and enjoy this special time of the year.

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Set clocks backTime to set clocks back and get an extra hour of sleep this weekend. In two days, November 3rd,  remember that daylight savings time officially ends at 2:00 a.m.  Most people will set clocks back before turning in Saturday night. Many modern appliances have electronic clocks. Remember to reset your timers on appliances including ovens and microwaves. You may also have to change the time on some older electronic systems like DVD and Bluray players. Don't forget certain electric clocks and battery time pieces, as well as other equipment. The clock in your car may also have to be reset. It’s a good idea to keep the manuals for all of this equipment together since you only adjust them twice a year and may not recall the instructions about how to reset each of them. This preparation is a reminder that the holiday season is upon us and time to close out 2019 and get ready for 2020. Have you begun to collect what you need for tax preparation for your accountant? Have you assembled all your receipts and paperwork for expenses? As the cooler weather encourages us to do indoor tasks, why not get a start on year-end projects? Many may not want to think about taxes but wouldn’t it be handy to get a jump on your preparation and have one less chore to think about during the holidays? Les Merritt is a CPA and a CFP® professional, so he and his staff can help you make tax decisions which may reduce your tax burden by coordinating your investments and tax liabilities. He has been helping businesses and families for over 30 years with financial and tax planning. Call Les Merritt today at (919) 269-8553 to set an appointment. When you set your clocks back, consider contacting Les to begin working on your year-end plan.

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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™ professional 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® professional 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® professional 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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