My CPA Tips


Tax MazeWe have now arrived in the tax maze and you may need help finding your way through it. Since we are halfway through the year, business owners should be planning for the changes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed last year, brought about many.  One of the changes to tax deductions in 2018 can benefit small business owners. Pass-through owners who qualify may be able to deduct up to 20% of their net business income from their income taxes. Businesses must meet a number of requirements to qualify for these deductions. The new regulation can be more complex for some businesses. Pass-through businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs). Your company could be taxed on only 80% of its income and that’s a savings worth knowing about. This is where a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can help you. Understanding these new rules and their implications on your business is what a good tax preparer studies and why his or her help has great value. This is just one of a multitude of changes in how taxes will be calculated for this year. To navigate through this new tax maze, consider hiring a CPA. Les Merritt is a CPA and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). His company has been helping clients take advantage of the latest tax deductions for decades. He and his knowledgeable staff are trusted throughout central North Carolina. Les Merritt is also a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider (ELP). The ELP designation is not easy to earn. Dave Ramsey only endorses the most skilled and caring professionals and then they are held to a higher standard of excellence. Contact Les Merritt today to prepare for the 2018 tax maze. Call (919) 269-8553 today to set an appointment.

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spaghetti carbonaraThe new tax reform bill passed and modified in 2018 has increased the complexity of tax preparation with numerous changes. Finding your way through might be a bit like untangling spaghetti noodles in an Italian dish. Among the items that have changed are many of the deductions that are allowed. Some of the rules will create tax advantages; others may increase your tax liabilities when you file next year. One of the most notable changes is alterations of the tax brackets and rates. The standard deduction is now $12,000 for an individual or a married person filing individually, $18,000 for a head of household and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. Another change affects Child Tax Credit. You will be allowed $2,000 per qualifying child refundable up to $1,400. The unless your medical and dental expenses are 7.5% or greater than Adjusted Gross Income(AGI) you will not be able to take this deduction. AGI is your total income minus allowable deductions. Other deductions that have been changed are:

  • Home Mortgage Interest
  • State and Local Tax deductions
  • Charitable donations.
  • Casualty and Theft Losses
  • Job Expenses and Miscellaneous Deductions
Some of the allowable deductions have very specific requirements and you must understand the tax code for these before using them. Now more than ever is the time to be sure you have a qualified CPA to work on your taxes and with all the changes, you need to begin planning today. Set up a meeting with your tax advisor so that you are ready when you file your next tax return. If your time and money are important to you, have a CPA like Les Merritt prepare your taxes. You can avoid the frustration and lost hours and feel confident that your returns are done correctly, especially in light of the new spaghetti regulations. Get smart and contact Les Merritt at (919) 269-8553 to set up an appointment take advantage of the new tax code.

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KnowledgeNow that you have filed your taxes, how did you do? Did you pay less than you thought you would? Did you get a bigger refund than you expected? If the answer to either of those questions is “No,” you might be an unrealistic optimist, or you might not have had the right person do your preparation. If you answered “Yes” you most likely had a professional help you find all the allowable deductions. The tax laws are changing dramatically in 2018 and now is the time to begin planning for those changes. With the passage of the Tax Reform Bill nationally and numerous state and local alterations to their tax codes, you need to know how you will be impacted. Did you know that the tax brackets and rates have changed?  Learning about those now and taking appropriate action could save you significantly when you file for 2018. Although few people will want to begin thinking about taxes after having just sent in your forms and writing out checks or awaiting refunds (or still working on your taxes if you filed an extension), meeting with your tax preparer early is a wise idea and can save you time later. Knowledge is power when it comes to planning for the new tax year. Les Merritt, CPA, can help you as he has for many North Carolina families and businesses for decades. He prides himself and his staff for keeping up with the latest changes in tax codes for the United States, North Carolina and local municipalities. He can help you as well. Contact him today at (919) 269-8553 to set up an appointment to be prepared for next year.

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Yellow PollenSpring is here for sure when the yellow pollen covers automobiles, mailboxes and other exposed surfaces and sneezing and stuffiness affects much of the population here in the South. As most of us have learned, it is not the visible pollen but the other pollen that cause the allergy problems. As the days go on without rain, the coating gets thicker and thicker, but there is precipitation due this weekend that will wash much of the dingy color away. This yellow dusting is another reminder that taxes are due. This year we get a few days of reprieve and the last day to file personal taxes without an extension is April 17. For those of you who have procrastinated, the time is here. There are less than two weeks before the deadline. Last minute self-prepared returns are dangerous because in the rush, money can be left on the table or non-legitimate deductions can create errors in your return. These can either make you pay more than you should or get your paperwork returned with a penalty for unpaid (those questionable deductions) amounts. If you have put off your taxes this long, contact a CPA to help you file that extension and begin preparing your tax return. Using a professional to do your preparation makes good sense. Les Merritt, CPA, has been helping families and businesses prepare their returns for decades in the Triangle and can help you file that extension and get your return ready so that you can minimize interest on the late filing. Contact Les Merritt at (919) 269-8553 to make an appointment and stop procrastinating. Once you have made plans, you can rest easily and wait for the rain to remove some of the pollen from our lives.

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