Tax Time

. January 4, 2016.
calculator-385506_1920

by William (Casey) Nowicki

Five things to keep in mind as tax season approaches

Be wary of tax scams. Scammers posing as IRS or US Treasury Department agents claim that you have a delinquent account, threatening that it needs to be settled immediately or you will be arrested.  The IRS does not make personal phone calls unless you have provided the Service with you phone number while dealing with them on another matter.  If you are uncertain whether you have an issue, contact your CPA, tax preparer, attorney or other representative and ask for help.

The Affordable Care Act has reporting requirements concerning health insurance coverages on your individual income tax returns.  Your insurer will be sending you form 1095 which documents the health insurance premiums paid and the months you were covered.  Provide form 1095 to your tax preparer for 2015 tax returns.

Be organized and prepared. Tax reporting documentation begins filtering in through the mail in early January.  W-2s, 1099s for interest, dividends, and capital gains, as well as, for pension and IRA distributions (as well as the new ACA form 1095, discussed above) are some of the more common forms you may receive.  Keep anything that comes in the mail that states “Important Tax Reporting Documentation.”  Set up a file and simply deposit these items in it as they arrive.

Make sure you take the time to itemize and add up your medical deductions and your non-cash charitable contributions, such as to Goodwill and Salvation Army.  These items often are larger amounts than you realize and could provide significant deductions to lower your tax obligation.

Don’t procrastinate.  Make an appointment with your tax preparer or set aside the time you need to prepare your returns early.  April 15 comes quickly.  Prepare your tax return and file it if you have a refund coming or be aware that a balance is due, allowing time to make provisions on when and how you will pay that balance.

Suggested resolutions for 2016

Take the time to understand your finances and your tax returns.  Talk with your CPA or tax preparer to make sure you know the components of your income and the deductions available to you, so that you aren’t paying more than your fair share.  Your employer may offer many tax advantaged benefits such as 401(k) plans, flexible spending accounts and even medical insurance premiums, that can be treated as pre-tax items, reducing your taxable income.  If you have not begun receiving Social Security benefits, take the time to research the available options to help you maximize your overall benefits.

Organize your financial affairs. Make sure you have your will, powers of attorney, trust agreements and beneficiary designations in order.  Things change and we often forget to update these documents to account for those changes.

Create a monthly budget to

monitor your success. Sometimes the process of working through the budget will open your eyes.

William (Casey) Nowicki, CPA is a principal at VZN Group, LLC Certified Public Accountants 5900 Renaissance Place, Toledo.

(419) 882-1886 | vzncpa.com

Trending

Parklike Perrysburg Retreat: Spacious With Classic Charm

Home feature of the month! Learn how you can feature your home and call 4199-244-9859.

Big City Taste: Manhattan’s Revitalizes Uptown Adams Street

Manhattan’s Pub and Cheer on Adams Street in Uptown opened in December, 2002 and recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Toledo native, Zach Lahey, the restaurant’s owner and general manager explains, “For almost ten years, it was a major struggle to keep the doors open, to really find our place in the micro-neighborhood (Uptown) that we’re in.”

Dear Mayo Clinic: Controlling Symptoms of GERD

DEAR MAYO CLINIC,
I’m 62 years old and am having difficulty keeping healthy weight on due to GERD and reflux. I am really confused about what foods and beverages I should avoid, and what foods will not make my reflux act up. What do you recommend mature adults who have this condition avoid, and what healthy food are best for my situation?

Legends of the Lake: Discovering Lake Erie’s Nautical History

A new Lake Erie shipwreck discovery in July, 2015, by the Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE) spurred Toledo’s National Museum of the Great Lakes to raise funding to excavate and investigate the unique find. The discovery attracted national news headlines because, let’s face it, a shipwreck is intriguing.