Starting January 3, 2017 we will resume our January tax season office hours, Monday thru Friday 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Starting February 1, 2017 to April 15, 2017 someone will be in our office Monday thru Friday 9:00AM to 7:00PM. After April 15, 2017 to December 31, 2017 our office hours are Monday thru Thursday 9:00AM to 5:00PM. Our Tax Professionals are available by appointment only.
Advance notice – Denise has already scheduled two conferences in 2017 and will be out of the office May 22, 2017 to May 26, 2017 and August 6, 2017 to August 12, 2017.
From our official greeter “Boomer”
Boomer here! I hope you all had a great 2016. Mine … you guessed it … was great!! I just love my job here at Main Street. Where else can you work where you have three kind and awesome ladies, one being my Mom, as your co-workers? I get ice cubes and attention all day. Periodically someone always comes into the office and guess what I get … yep, a treat. What a cool job I have … pay is not good, the attention is awesome. There are times I feel a little guilty when everyone, except me, gets a little overwhelmed and stressed out. Part of my job is to un-stress everyone, and I think I do a pretty good job.
The gals here at Main Street have been preparing and training for the upcoming tax season. As always, Main Street’s mission is to give you the best professional service we can.
January is going to be a tough month. This year the deadline for W-2 forms and 1099 forms to the governments is January 31. Normally we had a few extra weeks to get the final copies to the government, the last day of February. Mom always likes to get everyone’s accounting records up to date by the end of January, so I think January will be a very busy and exciting month. I know all the team players at Main Street are ready to go.
For those of you who did your banking at National Penn Bank, you all know it is now BB&T. Don’t forget to change your account number and routing number for all of those businesses or government agencies with whom you receive direct deposit or have auto withdrawals. After my picture below you will find an awesome checklist, which Sarah put together, called “Did your Bank Change?” Sarah is hoping to save you some time and frustration. Please contact any of the team players at Main Street Tax for assistance.
Some of you may remember years ago, we had a community puzzle on the kitchen table for all to assemble. We are bringing the puzzle back, so feel free to stop in and put a piece or two together! This year’s puzzle glows in the dark. And if you don’t like puzzles, at least stop in and visit me.
Below you will find some really good stuff. Some are new changes which occurred after Barb sent you your tax letter.
This year there are so many issues related to identity theft Sarah thought it would be a good idea and easier on all of you to have one section of our web site for “security issues”. If you go to the main page of our web site, take your mouse over “What’s New”, you will find “Security Awareness” between “What’s New” and “Tax Facts”. You will definitely want to review this entire section of our web site. You can help fight identity theft by sharing this section of our web site with your family, friends, neighbors, etc.
Well I guess I better let you get to your reading. If you do have any questions on anything noted on our web site you can always ask me, but I think my Mom, Barb or Sarah might have a lot better answers for you. Feel free to call our office if you have any questions. Don’t forget to stop in and see me.
Best wishes in 2017! Looking forward to seeing you real soon!!
Hugs and Love, Boomer
DID YOUR BANK CHANGE?
Starting January 1, 2017, if you would like your income tax refunds directly deposited or your balance due automatically withdrawn from your bank accounts you will need to sign and date a Bank Account Verification Form. This is a mandate from the Internal Revenue Service. We will keep the signed verification form in your file which is in a secure locked cabinet. You can find a blank Bank Account Verification Form on our web site under “Worksheets & Forms.”
National Penn Bank is now BB&T. If you were a National Penn Bank patron you may need to update your account number and routing number with government agencies and or businesses:
- Direct Deposits – Social Security income, Retirement and Pension income, Employer income, Annuity income, etc.
- Auto withdrawals – utility company, credit card payments, estimated tax payments, etc.
- Order new checks
- Remind your tax professional of your new routing and account number
NEW DEADLINES FOR INDIVIDUALS
If you receive an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) when your return is filed for 2016 your refund will be delayed. All returns filed with an EITC credit will not be processed until February 15th. If your return has an EITC credit you most likely will not receive any refunds until the end of February/beginning of March.
The due date for 2016 individual income tax returns is April 18, 2017. Our office will be closing at 4:30 on April 18, 2017.
NEW DEADLINES FOR BUSINESSES
This filing season your W-2 forms and 1096/1099 forms will be due January 31. In prior years the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service required their copies by the end of February. Helpful hint related to the 1099 filing – Prior to anyone doing any work for your rental or your business you should request the supplier/vendor to complete a W-9 form. This would also include any supplier/vendor you rent equipment or property from. At the end of the year you can add up what you paid to those suppliers/vendors who you need to send a 1099 to and enter the amount on the top of the Form W-9. If we are completing your 1099 forms for you, feel free to forward the W-9 forms to our office, noting the amount you paid. This year we will need the information on or before January 13, 2017 so we can meet the new deadline. If you are audited, we have been told the Internal Revenue Service now wants to see both the 1099MISC form you filed to the supplier/vendor and the W-9 form they gave you so you can complete their 1099MISC form. The penalty for “Failure to File” the 1099 forms has increased to $260.00 for each 1099 missed. Please go to the “Worksheets & Forms” section of our website and read the 1099 Instruction Sheet, which will give you additional information on who you should be sending a 1099 to.
TUITION (FORM 1098-T) AND BILLING STATEMENTS
If you have a child attending college we will need the 1098T from the college (this will be in your child’s name). We will also need the tuition and fees billing statements from the college for the full calendar year. We want to be sure we are not missing any qualified expenses. You may have to go on the school’s website to retrieve the billing statements. The information will most likely be in the student’s name. The student most likely will have to access this information. This year all tax preparers are mandated by IRS to verify the numbers we enter on your return. The only way for us to verify this information is to review the billing account statement for the calendar and Form 1098T.
2017 PA TAX AMNESTY PROGRAM
Individuals and businesses with unpaid or underpaid PA taxes as of December 31, 2015 might be eligible for tax amnesty. The amnesty program will start April 21, 2017 and end June 19, 2017. If you qualify you might be able to waive all penalties and half of the interest.
PA AND NJ RECIPROCAL TAX AGREEMENT
The reciprocal tax agreement between PA and NJ remains the same. PA residents working in NJ will continue to pay state income taxes only in the state where they live. This is for employees only, not individuals who are self-employed.
INTEREST EARNED SHARED WITH OTHER COUNTRIES BY IRS
IRS now automatically exchanges tax information with many countries. Under this exchange, IRS shares information on the amount of deposit interest paid to nonresident aliens. This type of interest earned by nonresident aliens is not taxable to the United States, but it may be taxable to the alien’s home country. US banks have sued IRS to overturn the reporting requirements, but have been unsuccessful so far.
As part of this exchange program IRS receives information regarding interest income earned by US taxpayers. Naturally this information could be used by IRS to match with foreign bank account reporting (FBAR).
BEFORE BAD WEATHER AND DISASTER STRIKES – BE PREPARED!
Being prepared for the worst is always a good idea. Your plan shouldn’t only include bottled water, batteries and candles— but also your financial and family documents. While putting together your emergency kit, don’t neglect your financial kit:
- Store copies of important documents either in a safety deposit box at the bank or in a weather-proof box at home.
- Another option would be to put PDF copies on a password-protected USB drive or in cloud storage.
- Have accessible copies of insurance documents and contacts, bank statements, credit card bills, family records (birth, marriage, and death certificates), photocopies of credit and identification cards (e.g., passports, driver’s licenses), all tax records and any supporting documents.
- Take inventory of your home (and business) by photographing or videotaping all of the items inside and out. When taking inventory, also make it a habit to back up your computer, especially if you store important documents and pictures on it.
DONATING TO CHARITY
If you support certain causes throughout the year, your gift might be tax deductible and reduce any tax you owe. If you want to claim a tax deduction for your charitable donations, you must itemize your deductions. Also, the donations must meet certain requirements to qualify for a deduction.
- Qualified Charities: You can only deduct donations to qualified charities. Qualified charities meet exemption requirements under the IRS Tax Code 501(c)(3). The nonprofit organization is exempt from federal income tax if its activities have the following purposes: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering amateur sports competition or preventing cruelty to children or animals.
- Monetary Donations: Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return.
- Household Goods: Donated clothing and household items generally must be in at least good used condition to be claimed as a tax deduction. If you claim a deduction of over $500 for an item, it doesn’t have to meet this standard as long as you include a qualified appraisal of the item with your tax return. Be sure to list all of the items you are donating. Taking pictures of your items might be helpful.
- Records Required: You must get an additional acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. Additional rules apply to the statement for gifts of that amount. This statement is in addition to the records required for deducting cash gifts.