My CPA Tips


A Few More Tax Law Changes for 2019

More Tax ChangesMore tax law changes were made for 2019. Changes for returns at the federal level include modifications on limits for retirement account and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). In 2019, the IRA allowed you to put away more money in various types of retirement accounts.  Contributions that you made last year for these accounts could be deductible on your next tax return. These accounts include traditional 401(k) plans and traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs). The IRS has altered 2019 contribution limits for people who are eligible for HSAs. Self-only coverage has increased to $3,500 (up from $3,450 for 2018).  Family coverage is up to $7,000 from $6,900 in the previous year. In North Carolina when you sign a D-400 and accompanying schedules you are certifying that you have examined the return and all accompanying paperwork, and that they are true, correct, and complete. The N.C. Standard deduction for each filing status increased for tax year 2019. Additionally, the law changed for taxpayers over the age of 70 ½. It now conforms to the federal law that allows an income tax exclusion for qualified charitable distributions from individual retirement plans. This change eliminates the corresponding N.C. adjustments to taxable income that the statutes previously required. The income tax rate for an individual's North Carolina taxable income for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019 is reduced from 5.499% to 5.25%. These and other changes may make it necessary for you to seek professional help to prepare your taxes. Les Merritt, a Certified Financial Planner and CPA, is a good choice. He and his staff have been helping families and businesses with tax preparation for more than three decades. With his expertise and combined knowledge about investing and taxes, Les and his staff are a special position to help you file a return that helps you save money with the new and changing rules. Contact Les at (919) 269-8553 to set up an appointment to take advantage of these and more tax law changes on your 2019 return.

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DON’T RUSH

RushingDon’t rush to meet your tax deadlines!  Begin preparing now. As we start the new year, the time for filing your personal taxes is four months away. You may also need to be ready if you own a business and if you need to file both returns. It is not too early to start working on the tasks involved. You can file your personal taxes at any time between now and April 15th. If you apply for an extension the due date for your return is October 15th. What that means is that it is time to begin preparing for filing your returns. You may want to work with your CPA to file. Gather your information about investments as well as other paperwork to start the process.  If you begin now, you will not have to rush to meet your tax deadlines If you own a business, here is a timetable for sending out information and filing:

  • Send out W2s by January 31st
  • 1099s (moneys received over $600 from someone not your employer) are due to be sent out by Feb 29 as hard copies or April 1 for electronic filing
  • Tax returns are due Mar 15th for S-Corps and partnerships
  • File other corporate tax returns by April 15th
  • Oct 15the is the extension filing deadline
Whatever tax filings you will need to do, Les Merritt, CPA and CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and his staff can help you today. Don’t procrastinate waiting until the last minute. If you do, you may have to run around getting your paperwork together for filing. Les and his staff have been helping individuals, families and businesses with their taxes for over three decades. They have been helping clients to take all allowable deductions and reduce their tax burdens during this time. Call the Les Merritt office at (919) 269-8553 to have your taxes prepared and to begin planning for 2020 so that your investments and tax liability are aligned. Using the same CPA and CFP has never been more important and you can begin or continue working with Les Merritt to get this professional advantage. Begin today so that you don’t rush to take care of your tax return.

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HOLIDAY RUSH

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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DAYLIGHT SAVINGS ENDS: SET CLOCKS BACK

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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