Providing Good Customer Service to our Clients

Working as an accountant for many years, I have seen so many questions come my way.  People come to me for advice on matters related to money, and they count on me to help them make decisions.  This means that I need to be educated on all sorts of topics, and it makes every day I come to work an interesting one.

During this time of year, I get a lot of questions about income taxes.  Many people are looking at ways to minimize their income tax bills and maximize their refunds.  At this time of year, there is still time left to put money in their IRAs, donate to charity, or take advantage of the many tax write-offs available to both personal and corporate tax clients.  I work together with my clients to save them the most money possible, and I think that they appreciate it.

This year, I have decided to take my customer service to the next level and I have been giving my clients dates as to when they will receive their refunds.  I am basing my advice on information found here:

This information has been invaluable to many of my customers, and those of them that base big purchases on their income tax refunds feel a lot better knowing when they will be receiving their money.  It is just one more thing that I can do to provide my customers with better customer service.

Save Money On TurboTax This Year

If you are like me, you do your own taxes using TurboTax.  It is an easy software to use that allows you to complete and file your taxes in a very short period of time.  It is more cost effective than paying an accountant, and many Americans count on this software each and every year to do their income taxes.

But the one catch is that you need to buy the software every year.  The reason is that there are always updates, and you need the latest version in order to file your taxes properly.  But I am on a  limited budget, and I always try to save money wherever I can.

I was very excited when I discovered a TurboTax discount coupon, that saved me $20 off my copy of the software.  It was easy to use, all I did was click and the discount was applied to my shopping cart.

It was that easy.

If you use TurboTax, you owe it to yourself to use this coupon to save money on your purchase of this software.  It is easy to apply to your purchase, and you get the same, fully-functional software, but without having to spend more money than you have to.

Use the Free 2017 Tax Calculator to Find Out Your Tax Refund This Year

With tax season and the end of the year right around the corner many people are hesitant on spending money on Christmas. It could be that they are anticipating a large tax bill coming their way or other maybe simply underestimating what they will get in terms of a tax refund. If this sounds like you then don’t fret.
You can get a quick estimate on your tax refund in just a few clicks of the mouse or taps on the screen for those on a mobile device. Check out the 2017 tax refund calculator and you’ll get a good idea of the amount you’ll get back or if you’ll be paying this year. Although the calculator is only a guide and knowing the exact amount would take longer you can really get an idea of how much your tax refund is going to be.


The best part is that using the tax calculator is absolutely free. Just visit the free tax calculator for 2017 and enter some rough estimates and you could be having a much better Christmas. It’s also a great way to plan for upcoming tax payments that you may be required to pay. It will allow you to know beforehand what sort of payment you’ll be required to pay. This can also be a huge benefit if you’re worried about paying your taxes since it gives you a bit of warning before you do your taxes. Check out the tax calculator and know where you stand for your 2015 taxes.

Finding the Best Tax Refund Just Got Easier

When it comes to filing your taxes there are many choices you’ll need to make. They include things like should you file married or separately. Simply choices like these can have a huge impact on how much of a tax return you can get. The problem most people face when doing their taxes is they don’t want to go through countless forms and stay up all night doing math problems just to figure out what they should choose to get the best tax refund. But that’s where technology comes in to help you out. And no I’m not just talking about a calculator.

If you use TurboTax to do your taxes each year you’re in luck because the system makes it super easy to find new ways to legally get more back on your tax refund. If you haven’t tried using TurboTax yet then this year is the year to start. Sign up with TurboTax and you’ll be quite amazed at how powerful it is. You can even find a discount code for TurboTax to save money on your filing.

Once you’ve signed up and entered your details you will see how much return or payment you are receiving at that point. Then by checking off some of the choices like “head of household” or “filing jointly” and see which has the better return. Sometimes it may be better to file jointly with your spouse and sometimes it could be filing separately. The best part is you don’t need to spend all night trying to figure it out on out dated tax forms. You just need a few clicks of the mouse. And those few clicks could be worth a lot of money!

Calculate Your Tax Refund

Having problems calculating your tax refunds? It’s only normal that you do – the process is complicated to make it difficult for people to accurately get it done properly. Luckily for you, there’s a way in which you can calculate your tax refund automatically, with little to no room for error. All you have to do is visit the link above and check out all the details you need to know in order to get started with a piece of software that can accurately calculate your tax refund.

The 2017 Tax Refund Calculator

The tax refund calculator featured on the aforementioned webpage is absolutely free to use, no strings attached and no hidden fees. You can use it even before tax season comes, so you’ll be able to determine just how much money you’ll be getting back. Working in the US means you pay taxes – but in most cases, you end up overpaying. Luckily, you can apply for a tax refund in order to get your money back, and using the tax refund calculator is the best way to determine the approximate amount you’ll be getting at the end of tax season.

So don’t waste time with complicated procedures and lengthy calculations – calculate your tax refund the simple, free and easy way today!

Why Use the EIC Calculator?

If you want a short, sure way of calculating your earned income credit, then you should try the EIC calculator. It’s a simple tool to use in order to get a close estimate for how much money you qualify to get back from the government. Depending on your social status, the number of kids you have and other factors, you can get a considerably amount of money back if you file the paperwork in due time and according to standards set in place. If you’re having problems with filing your EIC, then make sure you visit the website linked above to get options which can help you get set up quickly enough and at an affordable price.

The EIC Calculator is Simple to Use

With the holidays upon us, there are a lot of reasons why you should definitely take the time to make sure you finances are being dealt with. The EIC calculator is a simple, efficient and free method of determining how much you’re entitled to back from the taxes you’ve paid. It’s a financial boost which can definitely make a difference, so you should take the appropriate steps underlined on the website linked above in order to determine an estimate.

Easy Online Tax Filing With TurboTax

It will soon be time to file your income taxes and if you’re like most people you’re certainly dreading it. Sometimes it seems like there are so many forms and documents that need to be completed that it will take days to complete everything. However, I have recently tried the TurboTax online system and it is simply amazing! At first I had a few concerns because I’m certainly not a tax expert. Actually, I’m not a tax beginner either. I always had someone do my taxes for me mainly because I thought I might make a mistake. So I ended up trying the TurboTax system and all I can say is wow. It’s one of the easiest ways I have found to file your taxes.

Getting started in the TurboTax platform is super easy and it guides you every step of the way. What I really like about it is that it breaks down certain categories of your tax return. You’ll start by entering your main information then move onto income, then deductions. The entire process is streamlined to make it easy and understandable to file your taxes. It’s basically just a series of questions that you’ll need to answer. And the best part is they’re multiple choice. You can also see how things that you enter affect your return since it’s calculated ‘on the fly’ and presented through the entire process. If you’re looking for an easy online tax filing system then be sure to check out TurboTax to do your taxes this year.

Eight Tax Terms Students and New Filers Need to Be Familiar With

The American tax system works by voluntary compliance. This means that you are responsible Tax Advice Puzzle Showing Taxation Irs Helpfor reporting and paying your income tax. It is important that you use deductions and exemptions so you can make sure you are not overpaying on your taxes. In order to only pay the amount your legally owe it is important that you are familiar with the eight terms that we are about to discuss.

Adjusted Gross Income & Taxable Income

Adjusted Gross Income, AGI, is your total income modified that you received from your wages, salaries, capital gains, and dividends. In order to determine your Adjusted Gross Income you are going to have to subtract your deductions from your income total such as IRA contributions, moving costs, business expense, and alimony. The Adjusted Gross Income is very important because it determines how much you can claim on your itemized deductions. Furthermore, majority of the states calculate taxation amounts based on your Adjusted Gross Income.

Taxable income on the other hand is the most relevant number that is found on your tax return. This is because your taxable income determines the amount of taxes that you will have to pay the government. Furthermore, deductions, exemptions, and anything else that can lower your AGI goes to your taxable income. The results result in lower taxes and possibly a bigger refund.

Standard Deduction, Itemized Deduction & Exemptions

If you use your deductions and exemptions properly you will find you will be able to lower the amount that you owe in taxes. The two main deduction categories are itemized deductions and standard deductions. The standard deduction stays the same for everyone and is determined by the IRS.  The amount is going to vary based on the filing status you choose to go with and it also adjusted regularly for inflation. Standard deductions are subtracted from your AGI.

If you do not want to go with the standard deduction your alternative choice is itemized deductions. However, doing so you can expect to spend longer on your taxes yet in can result in you saving more especially if you have large deductions such as mortgage interest. So, when you compare your taxes using standard and itemized deduction if the itemized deductions are more than the standard deduction it is best to go with the itemized deductions.

Common Itemized Deductions

Mortgage Interest

Excess Medical Expenses

Charitable Contributions

Casualty Loss

Non-reimbursed Employee Expenses

State, Property, and Local Taxes

One you have subtracted your deductions from the AGI you will be able to lower your AGI even more by using exemptions. Exemptions work in the same manner as deductions but they symbolize a different expense. However, they differ from deductions because they are going to remain the same value despite the file status used. But, like deductions, exemption can change each year.


Credits can be more effective when it comes to lowering your taxes than deductions. This is because they provide you with a dollar for dollar offset rather than deduct the amount of taxable income. For example, if you owe $1000 to the IRS but get a $600 tax credit you would owe the IRS $400. If it was a $600 deduction you would save maybe $60 because it just reduces your taxable income. Also, some of the tax credits available, such as the Earned Income Credit, is refundable. This means that if you have a credit that is larger than the amount you owe the IRS they will send you a refund check.

Filing Status

The filing status is what determined your tax bracket. You can file as: single, head of household, married filing jointly, married filing separately or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.

When selecting your status you must go with the one that is applicable to you. Sometimes there may be more than one option. For example, married couples have two options yet in most cases it is better for married couples to file jointly.


Withholding is when you pay taxes directly to the IRS as your income is earned. Your employer would set up your paycheck so a certain amount of tax is withheld every period. This eliminates you having to make the payments yourself. If you do not make the payments the IRS will penalize you when you file your return since they like to use the pay-as-you-go method.

If you over pay on your withholding taxes you will get a refund back at the end of the year. Some people find it tempting to overpay so they can get a large refund at the end of the year but this is not always wise. All you are doing is giving the IRS an interest free loan. Here is a calculator you can use to see how much you should have withheld. The best thing to do is to put the money aside in an account and earn interest on it. Then, at the end of the year you could get the rush of having a large amount of money that has had interest added on to it.

Posted by Frank Ellis, Tax Preparation

Educational Tax Deductions and Credits

The cost of education is always rising. However, if you are someone who wants to grow your knowledge base you will be happy to know that education tax deductions and credits can help education tax deduction credityou with the costs of your education.

One of the tax credits is the American Opportunity Credit and another is the Lifetime Learning Credit. These credits allow you to reduce your tax dollars, dollar for dollar when you claim educational expenses on your federal tax refund.

American Opportunity Credit

This credit allows you to reduce your taxes up to a maximum of $2,500 per student for the educational expenses endured for the first four years. However, students have to attend at least part time and not have been convicted of a felony drug crime.

Various things qualify for this tax credit such as books, equipment, supplies, tuition, and other school related fees. In the event that your taxes are less than $2,500, the refund cut off amount is $1,000. However, those who make more than $80,000 or couples who make more than $160,000 will receive a low credit amount. The phase out limit for the credit is $90,000 in income or $180,000 for couples.

Lifetime Learning Credit

You do not have to be actively pursuing a degree in order to claim this credit. This credit is for anyone who is taking a course to further his or her education. It covers required tuition, equipment, and books. It allows you to claim a maximum amount of $2,000 on each tax return however; if the amount granted is more than your tax bill, you will not receive a credit in the form of a refund.

Additionally, the phase out limit is $63,000 or $127,000 for couples. Those who make more than $53,000 or couples who make more than $107,000 will receive a lower credit amount.

Educational Tax Deduction

Tuition and fees deduction, student loan interest, work related education, scholarships and fellowships can allow you to ease some of your educational financial strains too.

Tuition and Fees Deduction

If you are unable to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit because of the phase out limit, you can claim the Tuition and Fees Deduction of up to $4,000. This is true even for taxpayers who do not itemize their tax returns. As long as you do not make more than $80,000 or $160,000 for couples you are eligible. However, you are unable to claim both a credit and a deduction simultaneously.

Student Loan Interest

Even if you do not itemize your deductions, you can deduct your student loan interest on your taxes. This deduction does not phase out until $2,500 per tax return. However, you must not exceed $60,000 in income or $125,000 if you are married. Furthermore, if you have cash in a US savings bonds to pay for your education the interest is tax-free as long as the cash is used for your education.

Work Related Education

If you are going back to school due to your job, you may be eligible to claim this itemized tax deduction. However, you have to prove that the education was to maintain or improve your work skills or a requirement from your employer. However, this deduction is not for those who have to do it to land a new career.

Scholarships and Fellowships

If you receive a scholarship or a stipend for a fellowship, it is tax-free if you use the funds for tuition, supplies, or other school related expenses. You do have to be a degree candidate though.

Posted by Frank Ellis, Tax Preparation