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Outsource Accounting In Yonkers: Is It Ideal?

Reasons To Outsource Your Accounting Operations

As a business, you are likely looking for different ways to grow your bottom-line. One of the best ways to do this is by outsourcing your accounting operations.

Tax Preparer Yonnkers1. Use Your Time More Efficiently

One of the reasons is to use your time much more efficiently. You will be able to free up a lot of valuable time that you can spend throughout other areas of your business. After all, spending all of the time it takes to look over your books and focus on back-end operations can end up robbing you of valuable time. By re-focusing this time on other areas of your business that drive growth, you should be able to maximize profit. Outsourcing your bookkeeping can keep your entire office focused on result producing activities in your business.

2. Reduce Costs

By outsourcing your accounting operations, you will be able to save money by minimizing the number of benefits you have to allocate to full-time or even part-time employees. By hiring an accounting company to handle it outside of your business, you will only have to pay for the accounting service. Thus, you will be able to save in not only productivity costs, but also in payroll expenses. The value you are getting by outsourcing your accounting requirements can end up saving up to 40 percent of your total expenses.

3. Minimize Fraud

Small and privately owned businesses are typically the most common victims of fraud. This is primarily because small companies don’t have access to hiring a CFO who is capable of looking at everything involving billing and accounting. Having proper accounting control and external audits can cut down on fraud. By outsourcing your accounting services, you will be able to have a controller who is capable of looking for signs of fraud within your company and they will be able to recommend and implement fraud protection controls within your business.

4. Experts

By hiring an accounting service, you will be able to leverage their knowledge and expertise. You will be able to hire a team of professionals that know the in’s and out’s of tax codes and tax laws. This will allow you to have a team of professionals working around the clock for your business which can provide you many better-experienced accountants at a much-reduced price point.

5. Collaborative Accounting

Having a team of accountants is going to be a much better option than hiring a singular accountant to maintain your books. That is exactly what you would get with an in-house option. Whether you are handling it on your own or you have an employee doing it for you, it is not going to get the attention it deserves within your business. There are all kinds of exemptions and loopholes and having a single person working on finding them is not going to be enough. By outsourcing your accounting operations, you will be able to have a team of experts working on your numbers for you. They will be bouncing ideas off one another and they will be double-checking your books.

6. Scalability

Having an outsourced accounting service working for you will allow you to properly scale your business, as needed. You will be able to expand and grow your business as intended. They will be able to help you continue to grow your profits no matter what your goals are.

Contact us or call us now for any help with accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, and income tax preparation!

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Small Businesses In Yonkers Face Serious Accounting Challenges

Specific Yonkers Accounting Issues You Need To Master

Small business owners have to deal with many challenges each and every day. Accounting is often one of the biggest of them. Read this content to find out how you can manage your finances if you’re an entrepreneur.

When you run any small business, you have to wear more than one hat. Your responsibilities will range from maintaining great relationships with your clients to hiring great employees to market your brand. On top of all that, you’ll need to track your business accounting and profits.

Accounting might not be your personal passion, but keeping organized books is critical for any small business. Accounting is a language of business, one that talks about financial growth. It can translate numbers into understandable statements about the profitability of a business.

Usually, accounting incorporates processes for the recording, summary, and analysis of the financial transactions of any business. That’s hard enough to do as it is. However, there are many other frequently experienced financial difficulties that small business owners have to get around. The following are some of the primary accounting challenges which entrepreneurs have to put up with, but also you can overcome them.

Here are the specific accounting issues you need to master:

1. Cash Flow

Managing the cash flow of any startup or small business isn’t an easy thing to do. Per a study from U.S. Bank, 8 in 10 businesses that wind up failing do it because of having cash flow issues. Owners of small businesses find it hard to earmark the funds they need to handle overhead and keep the lights on. To master cash flow, carefully look over your bills, and be firm when you chase customers for payments.

2. Unforeseen Costs

Consider the example of a restaurant netting $200,000 every year after its expenses. That looks like healthy circumstances, but not after someone burns themselves with a cup of coffee and files a lawsuit that wins them $2 million when the restaurant in question has no insurance coverage. Even much smaller expenses, like single-charge taxes on every business in a certain region, or just rising costs for goods, can wind up doing a lot of damage to a business’ bottom line. Optimizing your existing credit not only helps you manage short-term expenses but also helps you track your long-term profitability so that you can weather changes in costs without sacrificing liquidity.

3. Being Prepared For Disasters

Natural disasters are usually rather unpredictable, and they have substantial impacts on companies and citizens. However, they hit smaller firms really hard. You might have a few disaster recovery strategies planned out, but you still need enough cash on hand to make sure that you can revive your business following a catastrophe.

4. Taxation

Every company in the United States has to deal with paying taxes. However, taking advantage of the right deductions means that you can lower your final bill. If you have a home-based small business, then home office deductions are crucial to your profits. The National Federation of Independent Business claims that investing in your business lets you deduct investment costs immediately. As such, investment costs like these can get re-invested right back into your company.

5. Payroll Management

If you’re a small business owner, then serving as your company’s payroll or HR expert can be really hard. If you don’t know about HMRC’s RTI, then you don’t really know what tax code applies to bring new staff. How are you going to pay your employees along the way? These are all issues that can come up along the way, along with others. Recent research showed that half of all polled businesses claim they have no room for improvements in the payroll processes that they use right now. Other common issues include administrative burden, compliance issues, tracking absent employees, organization inconsistency, under- and over-due payments, and improper tax filings.

6. Staying On Track With Expenses

Maintaining good tracking of all receipts and your recurring expenses can get really hard to do. If you want to keep up with the market, much less get ahead of it, then you need to maintain great records. Luckily, times have moved on from stocking all paper receipts in storage. Many different accounting software options give you the option of going paperless. Every option is distinct, so you have to do your homework and due diligence in determining which one best suits the needs of your company.

7. Reconciling The Books

Closing your books is often annoying, particularly if there is no proper accounting system in place. Making a mistake in your books is quite easy, leading to potentially incorrect calculations, IRS audits, and misleading analysis of the data. You need to verify every single business transaction, perhaps monthly, weekly, or even daily. You need to get in the habit of going through your accounting books close to the end of every day when those transactions are still fresh inside your head.

8. Financial Analysis

Making solid financial decisions uses three steps, and they are interpretation, analysis, and advice. Regardless of what specific reports you choose to use, whipping up the numbers is only the first part. What do all those numbers really mean? More crucially, how can you make them better? You need to analyze and interpret the numbers so you can find the best possible advice and decisions. If you do this, then you make your financial position even better in your current market.

Prevent Accounting Errors

One hugely significant task for any small business is picking a great accountant. An experienced CPA or accountant can guide your business in preventing all the mistakes listed here. A great accountant can also advise you on every one of these issues, as well as others, so your business can grow, even in hectic markets.

Hiring an accountant can be expensive, but it’s still cheaper than many of these mistakes. It also frees you up to do what you do best, which is your business! Call us today or contact us via our website if you need any professional help with accounting and bookkeeping tasks.

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The Importance Of Professional Tax Services In Yonkers

Reasons Why You Need A Diligent Yonkers Tax Preparer

Whether you earn $50,000 a year or 50 million dollars, taxes are a big expense. This is one of the reasons why many individuals hire the services of a tax expert to help them prepare their returns. Furthermore, a tax professional can advise about the best way to structure certain financial transactions over the course of the year to help reduce your tax bill. This is what is known as tax planning. In the majority of cases, unless you happen to have a background in accounting, knowing the most effective methods for reducing taxes is very difficult.

CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) attend school and complete tough exams to ensure they know all there is to know about tax law. While it may take you several hours to identify one tax credit, a CPA is likely to already know about all the tax credits applicable to your situation. It is for this reason that more than 60% of taxpayers hire a professional when tax time approaches.

If you’re still not sure, read through the following 6 triggering events to discover more about why hiring a tax professional is likely to be in your best interests:

1. You’re Running Short On Time

The tax filing process should never be rushed. If you wait until the last minute to start completing your taxes, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself short of time. Tax season can be the busiest time of year for many businesses and rushing the tax filing process restricts your ability to avail of all possible tax deductions or tax credits.

Effective tax preparation requires a lot of research. If you are looking to pay the least possible amount (who isn’t?), you need to know your way around IRS forms and tax law. If you aren’t a CPA, it’s very unlikely that you will be acquainted with all the ways you can reduce your bill. The same rings true for those who own businesses. Time for business owners is particularly limited as the tax filing deadline approaches. From managing your customers, employees, and business operations, time is precious. While tax time happens at the same time each year, it always seems to be inconvenient.

2. You’re One Of The Millions Of 1099 Contractors

Do you get 1099-MISC forms from the IRS at the close of each tax year? Do you run your own business? If so, you require a tax preparation service. Compared to a typically W-2 employee, 1099 contractors have more going on. There are multiple expenses surrounding your business. And, if you don’t keep track of those expenses, you will miss out on thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in tax savings. Are some of your customers spending more than $600 with your business each year? Depending on the sector, all of your business’s customers could be paying you dramatically more than that. In many cases, those customers should be issuing 1099-MISCs to you at the start of each year.

The 1099-MISC form reports the total income they paid you during the previous tax year. 1099-MISC is required for all contractors to file taxes. The income on your tax return is calculated from the figures on all the 1099s you receive.

3. You Have Outstanding IRS Issues

The feared letter. Sent from the dreaded IRS. The IRS will never call you or email you demanding immediate payment. They will, however, send you a letter in the mail. Contained in the letter is typically a date, relevant tax years, reference number, your personal details, and all the penalties, taxes and interest fees you owe. No one wants to get such a letter, but things can happen. Often due to an omission, error, or suspected fraud on your previous year’s tax return. It doesn’t matter if you file your taxes through a tax firm, you are ultimately responsible for all information submitted on your return. However, a CPA or tax firm can represent your case to the IRS. For instance, you might not agree with the amount the IRS states that you owe. In such a case, a CPA can represent you as you face the IRS. A licensed CPA will build a case advocating in your favor that is most likely to be received in good faith by the IRS.

CPAs along with other tax services are there to help you avoid an IRS dispute going to court. CPAs know how to get penalties reduced or eliminated from your account. They often have decades of experience communicating with the IRS in a way that doesn’t incriminate their clients and helps them to get back on the good side of the IRS. The reality is that you can go to jail over IRS tax issues. Do you want to find yourself facing the IRS in court without legal representation? Of course not! It would be foolish to try to fight the IRS alone.

4. You Have Fallen Behind On Your Taxes

If you have fallen behind on your taxes and have not received a letter from the IRS, you should not assume the storm has passed. The IRS has up to 7 years to challenge you on your taxes for any specific year. And, if you haven’t yet received a letter from them, you better believe it will arrive soon, especially if you owe the IRS taxes. It will be much better for everyone if you file for any missed years instead of waiting for a dreaded IRS letter. To make sure everything is completed correctly, you should hire an accountant to file taxes from prior years on your behalf.

5. Big Life Changes

If you are experiencing a major life event, such as a death in the family, a divorce, a life-threatening medical diagnosis, etc., outsourcing your taxes is a good idea. Whether you’re getting divorced, buying a new home, having a child or getting married, the way your taxes are completed will change. If you got married, for example, during the year, there will now be more options open to you when it comes to tax credits and tax deductibles. You and your spouse could file jointly or separately. Each option offers different credit eligibility and deduction thresholds. In some situations, it can be more advantageous to file separately rather than jointly. An accountant can outline the differences for you and help you choose the best option.

6. Not Just A Tax Nerd

A CPA can help you with a lot more than just filing your taxes. Generally, a licensed accountant can act more like a financial strategist for you. That can provide you with expert financial advice regarding business expansion, retirements, or investments. Accountants have clients from all types of industries and their widespread knowledge can provide you with valuable insight beyond your tax return.

Give us a call or contact us today for professional help with your income tax preparation.

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What Is Accounting & Why It Is So Important For Any Business In Yonkers

The Important Role Of Yonkers Accounting In Any Business

If you’re running a business for a while now, chances are you’ve already encountered the term accounting.

Before taking a closer look at the role of accounting in business, let’s see what it is and what it implies.

Accounting is the process of recording all financial transactions of a business in a systematic and detailed manner. Depending on the type of business, there are multiple types of accounting: accounting for small businesses, accounting for corporations, accounting for government, forensic, or management.

What is the importance of accounting? Well, accounting is essential for any business because it reflects all financial transactions, thus helping you keep track of your income, expenditure and cash flow situation at any given time. It also provides the management, your business partners, and the government with quantitative financial data that serves to make healthy business decisions.

Your records serve to generate three key financial statements:

  • The income statement allows you to see your profit and loss situation
  • The balance sheet allows you to see the financial situation of your business on specific dates
  • The cash flow statement is the link between the income statement and the balance sheet and it provides information on the cash you earned and you spent over a specific period of time.

You should always keep your financial records error-free and up to date if you want a healthy and flourishing business. Here are a few good reasons why accounting is so important for your business, regardless of its size or area of activity.

It Provides You With Powerful Tools To Evaluate The Performance Of Your Business

Your financial records track your financial position and the results of your operations. This means they help you gain a better understanding of the financial health of your business. By keeping clean and up to date records, you’ll have an accurate tracking of your expenses, gross margin, cash flow situation, and possible debt. In addition, it will help you compare current data with historical accounting records and adjust your budgets and your business plans accordingly.

It Ensures Statutory Compliance

Even though laws and regulations may vary from one state to another, the basic accounting principles and processes are always the same. They will help you ensure the statutory compliance of your business.

Thanks to accounting, you’ll know for sure that the various liabilities such as sales tax, income tax, VAT, and pension funds among other things are properly calculated and paid.

It Helps To Develop Budgets & Make Forecasts

Budgeting and forecasting can make or break your business. Keeping an eye on financial records will help you make wise decisions in regard to the future development of your business.

Business projections and trends are based on historical data. You need this financial data from the past to be able to develop sound plans for the future.

It Allows Filling Financial Statements

The Registrar of Companies asks all businesses to file their financial documents for either direct or indirect tax filing purposes. Accounting helps you do just that.

Work with Pupilo Income Tax CPAs

If you want your business to thrive, hire a team of skilled specialists. Whether you need accounting, audits, or business consulting services, you can rely on us to bring your business to the next level. Contact us now to talk to one of our specialists.

Contact us or call us now for any help with the accounting task.

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Why Accounting & Bookkeeping Services Are Important In Yonkers?

Knowing The Importance Of A Yonkers Accounting & Bookkeeping Services

It doesn’t matter if you’re in charge of an established business or running a small startup, monitoring your financial accounts is vital for ensuring you make informed decisions about your business. That’s what professional accounting and bookkeeping services are for.

Accounting involves tracking all income and expenses. In addition to monitoring a business’s financial situation, accountants are also trained to offer strategic financial advice.

Bookkeeping involves keeping financial transaction records and preparing statements, including income statements and balance sheets. During day-to-day business operations, bookkeepers are responsible for handling payroll and ensuring employees fill out invoices and expenses accurately.

During this lesson, we’ll give a detailed overview of professional bookkeeping and accounting services, so you can make an informed decision about whether to outsource your business’s financial accounts.

Yonkers Tax PreparerProfessional Services

Bookkeepers are official financial transaction record-keepers for businesses. Meanwhile, an accountant is a financial strategist, responsible for helping with tax planning, preparing for audits and offering expert financial analysis.

In many cases, bookkeeping and accounting services are handled by the same individual, but before deciding which professional or professionals to hire, learn more about what each service involves.

Bookkeeping

Clear business records are essential. They help you to know exactly how much money you owe and how much is owed to you. They prevent you from making any costly – and potentially illegal – errors. Bookkeeping also helps your business to monitor and identify multiple income sources.

Here are some of the key records you need to keep up-to-date:

  • Payroll and employment taxes
  • Expenses
  • Sales and purchases
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Bank statements
  • Cash flow analysis

Two further important records to maintain are accounts payable and accounts receivable. Account receivables are claims from uncollected amounts, typically from a credit sale. For example, a sale agreed to by the buyer who has not yet handed over any cash.

Accounts payable are the amount owed to a lender or credit for completed service or goods transactions. For example, a business might take out short-term loans with a bank and the repayments would be classified as accounts payable.

You can learn more about recordkeeping on the IRS’s official website.

Tax Planning

Tax planning and filing your tax returns are never fun activities, but they are essential for ensuring everything is conducted legally. Besides preventing avoidable audits and reducing filing errors, a professional accountant can also save you money. This is because their job is to keep up to date with all regulations and tax codes and advise you as to how much your business should put aside to avoid any nasty surprises.

Audit

Before you start panicking – an audit is rarely as bad as you imagine! The almost universally dreaded “IRS audit” typically only occurs if a business is not accurately filing their taxes. That said, an audit is standard practice if a business is looking to obtain cash from banks or investors, as those entities need to know a business’s financial position to calculate the risk before investing any capital.

If you need to prepare for an audit, an accountant can become your best friend, as they can help you to save a lot of time.

Here are some key tips to help your business avoid getting audited:

  • File your taxes ahead of time.
  • Pay your taxes ahead of time.
  • Don’t inaccurately file business receipts and sales.
  • Maintain accurate business records.
  • Never record personal spending as business expenses.
  • Be in the know about tax reporting obligations specific to your business.

Hiring Vs DIY

After getting an overview of basic bookkeeping and accounting services, you might be considering whether you can handle the tasks yourself – or whether you need to hire a professional. When it comes to making the right decision, one of the things you need to think about is the frequency and volume of various financial tasks for your business. For example, do you need to prepare weekly, monthly, quarterly and/or yearly financial reports?

Another thing to take into consideration is your current financial knowledge. Do you already have an employee who is qualified in accounting and bookkeeping procedures? If not, hiring a professional accountant is likely to be the safest bet.

It is important to remember that you don’t have to hire an accountant on a full-time basis. Professional accountants are generally very flexible and can be hired by the hour. Furthermore, when you outsource your business’s accounting and bookkeeping services, you won’t have to worry about cover the cost of any employee benefits, such as medical insurance, sick pay, etc.

Here are some basic tips for hiring the best bookkeeper or accountant:

  • Check references.
  • Research their previous experience.
  • Ensure the professional has training in the latest accounting technology and software suites.
  • Ensure the professional is qualified in all accounting procedures and policies.
  • Check that the professional can communicate financial lingo clearly in a way that you understand.
  • Ensure the professional is sociable and not just a tax robot.

History Of Our Company

We started our journey locally in 1985 in Yonkers, NY. Over the years we gradually expanded digitally and across America, specializing in accounting and tax consulting.

We now offer complete business solutions, including audits, bookkeeping, debt settlements and consulting. We currently provide services to more than 700 companies from our headquarters in Yonkers and our branch office in the Dominican Republic.

Our primary focuses are audit assistance, tax consulting, income tax filing and corporate setups. Our network of expert staff located both aboard and in the USA provide a sophistication level much higher than our competitors.

Grow your business without stressing about your finances.

Call us today or contact us via our website if you require any professional help with accounting and bookkeeping tasks.

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Knowing How Important Are Tax Accountants In Yonkers

The Purpose Of Yonkers Tax Accountants

Laws surrounding taxes aren’t constant. These regulations can change over time and are often quite very complicated. Tax accountants specialize in these regulations. They can assist both individuals and companies with filing tax returns in a way that’s compliant with current tax law. In some cases, a tax accountant may also be able to provide advice that will help with tax planning and lead to savings. Jobs in this field can be difficult, but it can also be a satisfying career. In order to become a tax accountant, individuals will need the right education. Being aware of these requirements is essential.

Preparing Tax Returns

Tax accountants can be self-employed, or they may work with a firm. Either way, helping clients to prepare their tax returns is an important part of their job. Accountants will meet with clients on an ongoing basis so that they can get a better picture of their finances. During these meetings, accountants will collect important documents from their clients, including financial documents like pay stubs and records of investment income. Since tax laws can change, accountants must follow regulations and keep up with them over time. An accountant will typically look at potential tax credits and deductions so that they can reduce the amount their client owes.

Planning Taxes

Virtually every decision that a business makes can impact what they pay in taxes. These ramifications can be difficult to predict, particularly for people that aren’t familiar with current tax laws. Things can become even more complicated if a company is engaged in international business deals. Because of this, it’s all the more essential for businesses to work with tax accountants. Tax planning is the specialty of some accountants. The goal of tax planning is to look at a client’s finances and work to reduce the amount of income tax the client will pay. In the case of corporations, it’s common to have both internal and external accountants developing tax strategies on their behalf.

Educational Requirements

It’s standard for accountants to receive either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree with a specialty in accounting. After someone has graduated, they will typically seek work with a public accounting firm or look into internal tax accounting jobs. Taking the CPA, or certified public accountant, exam after graduating can make it easier to find work. While requirements for sitting the exam vary from one state to the next, most states require people to have a minimum of 150 college credits. It’s not unusual for a tax accountant to become either a partner or a director at the firm they work for.

The Positives & Negatives

If you like problem-solving, challenging work, and dealing with numbers, working as a tax accountant may appeal to you. It’s important to remember that tax preparation isn’t the only job that task accountants handle. Accountants also need to keep up with current tax regulations. If research is a passion for you, and you prefer to work at a faster pace, the tax accountant career field might be appealing to you. However, you should be aware that long hours are a common job requirement, particularly when tax season is ongoing. You may find the deadlines to be stressful. Entry-level positions for accounts can also be very challenging.

Accountant & Auditor Salary Report For 2016

According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for accounts in 2016 was $68,150. The salary in the 25th percentile was $53,240. The salary in the 75th percentile is $90,670. 25% of accountants earned even more in that year. There were 1,397,700 individuals in the United States employed in this field in 2016.

Contact us or call us now for any help with accounting, bookkeeping, auditing, and income tax preparation!

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10 Nontaxable sources of Income

The Internal Revenue Service defines income as any money, property or services that taxpayers receive. All types of income are taxable unless specifically excluded by law. There are a few exceptions, though, and they’re – needless to say – worth knowing about. This article will describe a few of the more common categories of nontaxable income.
Income That Isn’t Taxed

1. Disability Insurance Payments

Usually, disability benefits are taxable if they come from a policy with premiums that were paid by your employer. However, there are many other categories of disability benefits that are nontaxable.

  • If you purchase supplemental disability insurance through your employer with after-tax dollars, any benefits you receive from that plan are not taxable.
  • If you purchase a private disability insurance plan on your own with after-tax dollars, any benefits you receive from that plan are not taxable.
  • Workers’ compensation (the pay you receive when you are unable to work because of a work-related injury) is another type of disability benefit that is not taxable.
  • Compensatory (but not punitive) damages for physical injury or physical sickness, compensation for the permanent loss or loss of use of a part or function of your body, and compensation for your permanent disfigurement are not taxable.
  • Disability benefits from a public welfare fund are not taxable.
  • Disability benefits under a no-fault car insurance policy for loss of income or earning capacity as a result of injuries are also not taxable.

2. Employer-Provided Insurance

The IRS says that “generally, the value of accident or health plan coverage provided to you by your employer is not included in your income.” This could be health insurance provided through your employer by a third party (like Aetna or Blue Cross) or coverage and reimbursements for medical care provided through a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Furthermore, employer and employee contributions to a health savings account are not taxable. Employer-provided long-term care insurance and Archer MSA contributions (a type of medical savings account) are also not taxable.

3. Gift Giving of Up to $14,000 ($15,00 starting in 2018); Gift Receipt of Any Amount

Just as the IRS defines all income as taxable, except that which is specifically excluded by law, it defines all gifts as taxable, except those specifically excluded by law. Thankfully, there are many gifts that aren’t taxable, and any tax due is always paid by the gift-giver, not the recipient. (Note that a prize is not the same as a gift. Read Winning the Jackpot: Dream or Financial Nightmare? to learn more.)

Perhaps the most well-known exclusion is that individuals can gift up to a certain amount per recipient per year without the gift being taxable. For example, both spouses of a married couple could give each of their three children $14,000 in 2017 and $15,000 in 2018. The parents would gift a total of $87,000, and none of that gift would be taxable for either the parents or the children. Each child would receive $29,000 of nontaxable income.

The following types of income are also considered nontaxable gifts:

  • tuition or medical expenses paid on someone else’s behalf
  • political donations
  • gifts to charities (charitable donations) – in fact, these are tax-deductible, meaning that they reduce the giver’s taxable income by the amount of the donation if they itemize their deductions instead of taking the standard deduction (learn more in It Is Better to Give AND Receive)

An important exception to this rule is gifts from employers. These gifts are usually considered fringe benefits, not gifts, and are taxable income. A small gift worth less than $25, such as a holiday fruitcake, is an exception to the fringe benefit rule. (You might want to check out Top 7 Estate Planning Mistakes.)

To prevent tax evasion, the IRS also says that the gift tax applies “whether the donor intends the transfer to be a gift or not.” For example, if you sell something to someone at less than its market value, the IRS may consider it a gift. An accountant can provide you with tax-planning advice to help you avoid triggering the gift tax and let you know when you should file IRS Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.

4. Life Insurance Payouts

If a loved one dies and leaves you a large life insurance benefit, this income is generally not taxable. However, be aware that there are some exceptions to this rule in more complex situations. IRS publication 525: Taxable and Nontaxable Income, describes these exceptions.

5. Sale of Principal Residence

Individuals and married couples who meet the IRS’s ownership and use tests, meaning that they have owned their home for at least two of the last five years and have lived in it as a principal residence for at least two of the last five years, can exclude from their income up to $250,000 (for individuals) or $500,000 (for married couples filing jointly) of capital gains from the sale of the home. That policy was challenged but ultimately not changed under the final version of the new GOP tax bill.

6. Up to $3,000 of Income Offset by Capital Losses

If you sell investments at a loss, you can use your loss to reduce your taxable income by up to $3,000 a year. Capital losses can even be carried over from year to year until the entire loss has been offset. For example, if you sold investments at a loss of $4,500 in 2016, you could subtract $3,000 from your taxable income on your 2016 tax return and $1,500 from your income on your 2017 tax return.

7. Income Earned in Seven States

Under the U.S.’s federalist system, each state is able to make many of its own laws. So even though most income is taxable at the federal level, and most states also levy a state tax on income, seven states – Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming – have chosen to not levy a state income tax on their residents. (Not surprisingly, that makes some states popular with retirees – though other factors, such as whether pensions and Social Security payments are taxed and the cost of living are also factors. Read Finding a Retirement-Friendly State.)

8. Corporate Income Earned in Four States

Some states also encourage corporations to locate there by not taxing corporate income. There are no corporate taxes in Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Washington, according to the Tax Foundation. Instead, these states impose gross receipts taxes. The lowest rates are North Carolina (3%), North Dakota (4.31%) and Colorado (4.63%).This tax break can encourage corporations to locate in these states.

9. Inheritance

The estate tax exemption doubles as part of the new GOP tax bill. In 2018, that figure was supposed to rise to $5.6 million for individuals; double for couples. Now that individual exemption will be $11.2 million, with couples at $22.4 million – a break that will last until 2026.

While the estate tax technically falls on the estate, it really affects the estate’s beneficiaries. But if you are the beneficiary of an estate that falls into the exempt category, you’ll get all that income tax free. And if you inherit an estate worth more than the exemption, you’ll still get the exempt amount tax free.

10. Municipal Bond Interest

Most of the time, when you invest in bonds, you have to pay federal, state and/or local tax on the yield you earn. However, when you earn money from municipal bonds, the proceeds are usually tax-free at the federal level and also tax-free at the state level if you live in the same state in which the bonds were issued. This tax exemption applies whether you invest in individual municipal bonds or purchase them through a municipal bond fund.

Although municipal bonds generally offer a lower rate of return than other types of bonds, when you consider their after-tax return, you may end up ahead by investing in municipal bonds. Municipal bonds are generally recommended only for higher-income individuals and married couples who fall into the 28% to 39.6% federal income tax brackets. (Investing in these bonds may offer a tax-free income stream, but they are not without risks. See The Basics of Municipal Bonds.)

The Bottom Line

Why has the IRS chosen to exempt these and a few other sources of income when it generally tries to tax everything? The answer to this question varies, depending on your political views. Reasons include the belief that eliminating or dramatically reducing taxes in certain areas will encourage certain activities thought to benefit the country, such as home ownership and investment, and reduce the risks associated with these activities. (Learn the logic behind the belief that reducing government income benefits everyone in Do Tax Cuts Stimulate the Economy?) In addition, some exemptions are targeted to people in need, such as those receiving certain categories of disability payments.

 

Source: Investopedia.

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