We did it!

Made it through another tax season. Returns are all picked up, and extensions are all filed. We’re taking Wednesday off and will resume our normal hours on Thursday.

Titanic, the Musical

 

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Heather, Melody, and Tracy will be performing in FCCLB’s production of the Tony Award winning musical Titanic in November.

This epic production in the historic sanctuary of First Congregational Church in downtown Long Beach features a talented cast of forty accompanied by a live orchestra and supported by a full pit chorus.

For more information and a link to buy reserved seats visit www.firstchurchlb.org/titanic.

Now is a Good Time to Plan for Next Year’s Taxes

IRS Tax Tip 2016-67

Now is a Good Time to Plan for Next Year’s Taxes

You may be tempted to forget about your taxes once you’ve filed but some tax planning done now may benefit you later. Now is a good time to set up a system so you can keep your tax records safe and easy to find. Here are some IRS tips to give you a leg up on next year’s taxes:

Take action when life changes occur. Some life events can change the amount of tax you owe. Examples include a change in marital status or the birth of a child. When these happen, you may need to change the amount of tax withheld from your pay. To do that, file a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, with your employer. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form.

Report changes in circumstances to the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you enroll in insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2016 coverage, you should report changes in circumstances to the Marketplace when they happen. Report events such as changes in your income or family size. Doing so will help you avoid getting too much or too little financial assistance.

Keep records safe. Print and keep a copy of your 2015 tax return and supporting records together in a safe place. This includes W-2 Forms, Forms 1099, bank records and records of your family’s health care insurance coverage. If you ever need your tax return or records, it will be easier for you to get them. For example, you may need a copy of your tax return if you apply for a home loan or financial aid for college. You should use your tax return as a guide when you do your taxes next year.

Stay organized. Make tax time easier. Have your family put tax records in the same place during the year. That way you won’t have to search for misplaced records when you file next year.

Shop for a tax preparer. If you want to hire a tax preparer to help you with tax planning, start your search now. Choose your tax preparer wisely. Use the Directory of Tax Return Preparers tool on IRS.gov to find tax preparers in your area with the credentials and qualifications that you prefer.

Think about itemizing. You may be able to lower your taxes if you itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Owning a home, paying medical expenses and qualified donations to charity could mean more tax savings. See the instructions for Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, for a list of deductions.

Stay informed. Subscribe to IRS Tax Tips to get emails about tax law changes, how to save money and much more. You can also get Tax Tips on IRS.gov or IRS2Go, the IRS mobile app. You’ll receive Tips each weekday in the tax filing season and three days a week in summer. You will also get Special Edition Tax Tips at other times during the year.

Visit the IRS Small Business Tax Center for All Your Tax Needs

You don’t need to be a tax expert to run a business, but knowing the basics about taxes can help you run it better. You’ll find the basics and much more on the IRS.gov Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. You can apply for an Employer Identification Number, download a form or learn about employment taxes.

The Tax Center also includes the following resources:

IRS Video Portal. Watch helpful videos and webinars on many tax topics. Find out about filing and paying business taxes. Check out how an IRS audit works. Look for the “Small Biz Workshop” under the “Businesses” tab to learn the basics about small business taxes.

Online Tools and Educational Products. The list of small business products includes the Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed. You can view key tax dates and actions for each month with this tool. Install the IRS Calendar Connector tool on your computer to get important tax dates and tips, even when you’re offline.

Small Business Events. The IRS holds small business workshops, meetings and seminars at many locations throughout the country. Find out what the IRS has planned in your state by clicking “Small Business Events.”

Tax Information Brochures

New on our Resources page are several brochures to help you with your taxes. Some will help you get your information together for 2015, others will help you going forward into 2016. We hope you find them useful.

Business Expense Worksheet
Business Mileage and Expense Log
Business Use of Vehicles
Business Use of Home
Charitable Contributions Guide
Cash Donation Tracker
Noncash Donation Tracker
Recordkeeping for Tax Purposes
Rental Income and Expenses
Rental Income and Expense Worksheet

www.heatherchamberscpa.com/resources/

The new MyFTB

The California Franchise Tax Board has completely revamped its MyFTB site, with an eye toward making it more useful as well as more secure. Here is a sampling of what you can do on the new site.

– View payment history.
– View a list and images of tax returns.
– View a list and images of notices and correspondence.
– View and update contact information.
– View a list of authorized representatives (tax preparer or a tax preparer with a power of attorney) and manage who can access your account.
– File a power of attorney (POA).
– Chat with an FTB representative about confidential matters.
– Send a secure message with attachments to FTB.

Even if you had an account before you will need to register for the new site. The registration process takes a while, since the FTB will be snail mailing a PIN number that is required to complete your registration, so best to do it now! Visit www.ftb.ca.gov/online/myacct/ for more information.

3 Folder System

W-2s and 1099s are coming soon! Whether you prepare your returns yourself or want us to prepare your taxes, here’s a simple way to keep track of your income, expenses, deductions, and investments.

This Lifehacker post explains the concept
http://twocents.lifehacker.com/make-tax-prep-easier-with-a-three-folder-system-1749550099

For more information, see the Motley Fool web page at
http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/get-organized-for-the-irs.aspx

New Year’s Message

Dear friends,

Our office will be closed Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1 as we greet the new year. (In case you’re wondering, we take a lot of holidays now because we don’t take any during tax season!)

For 2016, we wish everyone health, wealth, and love–along with the time to enjoy them!

From Heather, Melody, Tracy and Mike at Heather R. Chambers, CPA, Inc.

health wealth money time

Happy holidays!

Dear friends,

Our office will be closed Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 in observance of Christmas.

We wish our clients peace, joy, hope and love no matter what holidays they observe!

From all of us at Heather R. Chambers, CPA, Inc.

tape dispenser

Free credit reports

One good way to protect your personal information is to review your credit report regularly. By law you are allowed one free report each year from each of the big three reporting agencies. Here’s how you can use this to your best advantage.

First, go to annualcreditreport.com. There are many similarly named sites, but this one is the official site. Follow the instructions on how to request your free credit report, but rather than requesting one from each agency, pick one agency and request a report from them. Set yourself a recurring reminder to request another report from a different agency every four months. In the reminder, set up a schedule like this

December Transunion
April Equifax
August Experian
annualcreditreport.com

This way you will remember which ones you already ordered and which is the official site.

Review your report looking for credit inquiries you were not aware of, as well as any accounts you didn’t open.

Tips from the IRS on how help protect your personal data

The Internal Revenue Service, state revenue departments and the tax industry today released the first in a series of special tax tips designed to provide people critical information to help protect their tax and financial data.

The first of the Security Awareness Tax Tip series provides seven ways people can protect their computers, which takes on added importance as people prepare for the holidays and the 2016 tax season approaches. A new tip will be available each Monday through the start of the tax season in January.

Subscribe or find out more on the IRS web site at www.irs.gov/Individuals/Taxes-Security-Together.

The Licker

Here is proof that we have been into vintage way before it was fashionable! For as long as we can remember, we have been using our trusty Super Moistener whenever we have envelopes to seal. The Super Moistener, affectionately known around here as The Licker, was made by Better Packages, Inc. of Shelton, Connecticut, which, like us, is rooted in the past but still going strong in the 21st Century.

licker resized

Just so it doesn’t feel left out, The Stapler has been The Licker’s trusty sidekick for many years. it is an Aceliner Model 502 made by the Ace Fastener Co. of Chicago, Illinois. We have one in black as well as one in beige. They are still available, but only in walnut.

A Professional Accountancy Corporation