Archive for Life

Be Positive in Any Situation

Thinkdobepsoitive

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative?
The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded. Eliminating negativity and being positive is a mindset that can be turned into a welcome lifestyle.

  • Shift Your Thoughts – Be aware of your thoughts; especially when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are spiraling into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – hit the brakes and shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and the negative dive downward. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.
  • Discover the Lesson – There is a valuable lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may seem, recognize the lessons waiting to be uncovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. So you’ve made a mistake, now you can accept it and move on, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.
  • Attitude of Gratitude – You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings in your life, once you start looking for them, you’ll find more. What’s not to be grateful for? You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.
  • Positive Affirmations & Visualization – Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples; Waiting for a friend, sitting on the train, riding an elevator.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self-image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be so hard on ourselves through social conditioning. but over time you’ll learn to recognize your gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.
  • Reservoir of Memories – Keep a reservoir of memories that will instantly make you smile. Those occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and loved; when you were at peace with yourself and those around you. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any nugget out of this reservoir and reminisce. Remembering those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.
  • Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. Don’t criticizing others and situations. You don’t know what their situation is. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation around you does not change. So, we might as well be positive. And as with any habit, the habit of remaining positive in situations takes practice and a commitment to yourself to take control. Start small, pay attention to your emotions. Keep it going, and you will steadily become a positive source of energy that others will want around them! Won’t that be empowering?

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What to Know about Late Filing and Late Paying Penalties

Issue Number:    IRS Tax Tip 2015-63


What to Know about Late Filing and Late Paying Penalties
April 15 was the tax day deadline for most people. If you are due a refund there is no penalty if you file a late tax return. But if you owe tax, and you failed to file and pay on time, you will usually owe interest and penalties on the tax you pay late. You should file your tax return and pay the tax as soon as possible to stop them. Here are eight facts that you should know about these penalties.

1.    Two penalties may apply.  If you file your federal tax return late and owe tax with the return, two penalties may apply. The first is a failure-to-file penalty for late filing. The second is a failure-to-pay penalty for paying late.

2.    Penalty for late filing.  The failure-to-file penalty is normally 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late. It will not exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

3.    Minimum late filing penalty.  If you file your return more than 60 days after the due date or extended due date, the minimum penalty for late filing is the smaller of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax.

4.    Penalty for late payment.  The failure-to-pay penalty is generally 0.5 percent per month of your unpaid taxes. It applies for each month or part of a month your taxes remain unpaid and starts accruing the day after taxes are due. It can build up to as much as 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.

5.    Combined penalty per month.  If the failure-to-file penalty and the failure-to-pay penalty both apply in any month, the maximum amount charged for those two penalties that month is 5 percent.

6.    File even if you can’t pay.  In most cases, the failure-to-file penalty is 10 times more than the failure-to-pay penalty. So if you can’t pay in full, you should file your tax return and pay as much as you can. Use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account. You should try other options to pay, such as getting a loan or paying by debit or credit card. The IRS will work with you to help you resolve your tax debt. Most people can set up an installment agreement with the IRS using the Online Payment Agreement tool on IRS.gov.

7.    Late payment penalty may not apply.  If you requested an extension of time to file your income tax return by the tax due date and paid at least 90 percent of the taxes you owe, you may not face a failure-to-pay penalty. However, you must pay the remaining balance by the extended due date. You will owe interest on any taxes you pay after the April 15 due date.

8.    No penalty if reasonable cause.  You will not have to pay a failure-to-file or failure-to-pay penalty if you can show reasonable cause for not filing or paying on time. There is also penalty relief available for repayment of excess advance payments of the premium tax credit for 2014.

If you found this Tax Tip helpful, please share it through your social media platforms. A great way to get tax information is to use IRS Social Media. You can also subscribe to IRS Tax Tips or any of our e-news subscriptions.

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IRS – Report Phishing and Online Scams

Report Phishing and Online Scams

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The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.

Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov. Recent scams have used the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) to attract potential victims.  Also, if you’ve experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.

NOTE: Please refer to Contact the IRS if you have a tax question not related to phishing or identity theft.


ALERT: IRS Repeats Warning about Phone Scam


What to do if you receive a suspicious IRS-related communication

 If

 Then

You receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, taxes associated with a large investment, inheritance or lottery.
  1. Don’t reply.
  2. Don’t open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Don’t click on any links. Visit our identity protection page if you clicked on links in a suspicious email or website and entered confidential information.
  4. Forward the email as-is to us atphishing@irs.gov. Don’t forward scanned images because this removes valuable information.
  5. Delete the original email.
You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee …
  1. Record the employee’s name, badge number, call back number and caller ID if available.
  2. Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
    • If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back.
    • If not, report the incident to TIGTA and to us at phishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘IRS Phone Scam’)
You receive a letter, notice or form via paper mail or fax from an individual claiming to be the IRS but you suspect they are not an IRS employee …

Go to the IRS home page and search on the letter, notice, or form number. Fraudsters often modify legitimate IRS letters. You can also find information at Understanding Your Notice or Letteror by searching Forms and Pubs.

  • If it is legitimate, you’ll find instructions on how to respond or complete the form.
  • If you don’t find information on our website or the instructions are different from what you were told to do in the letter, notice or form, call 1-800-829-1040 to determine if it’s legitimate.
  • If it’s not legitimate, report the incident toTIGTA and to us at phishing@irs.gov.
You receive an unsolicited fax, such as Form W8-BEN claiming to be from the IRS, requesting personal information …

Please send us the email or scanned fax via email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘FAX’).

Visit the FATCA home page and Form W8-BEN for more information.

You receive an unsolicited telephone call or email, involving a stock or share purchase, that involves suspicious IRS or Department of Treasury documents such as “advance fees” or “penalties” …

… and you are a U.S. citizen located in the United States or its territories or a U.S. citizen living abroad.

  1. Complete the appropriate complaint form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. Forward email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘Stock’).
  3. If you are a victim of monetary or identity theft, you may submit a complaint through theFTC Complaint Assistant.

… and you are not a U.S. citizen and reside outside the United States.

  1. Complete the appropriate complaint form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. Contact your securities regulator and file a complaint.
  3. Forward email to phishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘Stock’).
  4. If you are a victim of monetary or identity theft, you may report your complaint to econsumer.gov.
You discover a website on the Internet that claims to be the IRS but you suspect it is bogus …  send the URL of the suspicious site tophishing@irs.gov (Subject: ‘Suspicious Website’).
You receive a text message or Short Message Service (SMS) message claiming to be from the IRS …
  1. Don’t reply.
  2. Don’t open any attachments. They can contain malicious code that may infect your computer or mobile phone.
  3. Don’t click on any links. If you clicked on links in a suspicious SMS and entered confidential information, visit our identity protection page.
  4. Forward the text as-is, to us at 202-552-1226.Note: Standard text messaging rates apply.
  5. If possible, in a separate text, forward the originating number to us at 202-552-1226
  6. Delete the original text.

How to identify phishing email scams claiming to be from the IRS and bogus IRS websites


What to do if you receive a suspicious email message that doesn’t claim to be from the IRS

 If

 Then

You receive a suspicious phishing email not claiming to be from the IRS … Forward the email as-is to reportphishing@antiphishing.org.
You receive an email you suspect contains malicious code or a malicious attachment and you HAVE clicked on the link or downloaded the attachment … Visit OnGuardOnline.gov to learn what to do if you suspect you have malware on your computer.
You receive an email you suspect contains malicious code or a malicious attachment and you HAVE NOT clicked on the link or downloaded the attachment … Forward the email to your Internet Service Provider’s abuse department and/or to spam@uce.gov.

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Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

medicalcareStarting January 2014, The Individual Shared Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act takes effect. This means that each and every taxpayer (and family member) is now required to maintain basic health insurance, also known as “minimal essential coverage.” You must either have health insurance coverage throughout the year, qualify for an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 federal income tax return in 2015. Many people already have qualifying health insurance coverage and do not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage.  Plans that meet the minimal essential coverage requirement may be obtained through employer-sponsored coverage, government programs, or the Health Insurance Marketplace. Visit the IRS website for a chart of coverage types that qualify.

Health Coverage Exemptions

There are a limited number of exemptions from the individual shared responsibility provision. Types of exemptions include: members of certain religious sects, members of Federally-recognized Native American tribes, certain non-citizens, households with income below the return filing threshold, people for whom coverage is considered unaffordable, incarceration exemptions, and certain hardship exemptions.

Exemptions must be obtained through either the Marketplace or the IRS. Exemptions are reported on your income tax return, but you are automatically exempt if you aren’t required to file a return because of insufficient income.

Individual Shared Responsibility Payment

The 2014 tax return (IRS Form 1040) will ask whether you have health insurance coverage or if you qualify for an exemption. If you (or any member of your household) do not have the minimal essential coverage and do not meet the exemption criteria, you will need to make an Individual Shared Responsibility payment. For 2014, the individual shared responsibility payment is the greater of:

  • 1% of your household income above your tax filing threshold
  • The flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a family maximum of $285

Health Care Tax Tips

Here are some general tax tips for the Affordable Care Act:

  • Certain employers are required to report the cost of coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan. Consequently, your employer may report the value of the health insurance provided to you on your Form W-2 (in Box 12 with Code DD) — however, it is not taxable income. This amount is only provided for informational purposes and should not be reported as taxable earnings.
  • If you are self-employed, you can deduct the cost of health insurance premiums (within limits) on your Federal income tax return, as well as on your state tax return in many cases.
  • Individuals and families with low or moderate income, who purchased health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace (the “Exchange”), may be eligible for a Premium Tax Credit designed to help them afford insurance coverage. You can elect to have the tax credit paid in advance to your insurance company to lower your monthly premiums, or you can claim all of the credit when you file your Federal tax return for the year. If you choose to have the credit paid in advance, you will need to reconcile the amount paid in advance with the actual credit you calculate (based upon family size and income) when you file your tax return.
  • As part of the Affordable Care Act, an Additional Medicare Tax went into effect in 2013. This affects taxpayers at higher income levels (as measured by wages, compensation, and self-employment income). The rate of the Additional Medicare Tax is 0.9%. To find out if you are subject to this tax, you can view the income threshold chart on the IRS website.

Tax-Favored Health Plans

Some employers offer additional types of tax-favored health plans, including the following:

  • A health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) enables you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of money you contribute.
  • health savings account (HSA) allows your employer to put money aside for you, which is not taxable to you within certain limits. Money that you put into an HSA generally qualifies for a tax deduction and can reduce your income tax liability. Money that you withdraw from an HSA to use for qualified medical expenses is not considered taxable income. However, withdrawals for other (nonqualified) purposes are taxable and may even trigger an additional tax.
  • Money you receive from a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is usually not taxable.

Information for Employers

An employer’s tax responsibilities are based on how many employees they have and what type of health coverage they offer. The general rules are as follows:

  • Employers with less than 25 full-time employees may qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, which helps cover the cost of providing insurance coverage.
  • Employers with 50 employees or less are generally eligible to purchase coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
  • Employers with 50 or more employees must file an annual information return and report what type of health insurance they provide (if any). These employers are also subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Provisions under the Affordable Care Act.

For more information about how the health care law may affect you, please visit the IRS website: Affordable Care Act (ACA) Tax Provisions.

Still have questions? Consult with your local tax professional. You can email us at: info@laebusiness.com

 

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Parenting and Accounting

Parenting without a sense of humor

is like being an accountant who sucks at math.

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Be Positive in Any Situation

The power to remain positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a dismal mood? Being negative? The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious; not only does it affect the individual, but it spreads to anyone they interact with. When only the negative perspective is in focus, the resolution process is impeded. Eliminating negativity and being positive is a mindset that can be turned into a welcome lifestyle.

  • Shift Your Thoughts – Be aware of your thoughts; especially when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are spiraling into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – hit the brakes and shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity, mind-created stories, and the negative dive downward. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves.
  • Discover the Lesson – There is a valuable lesson to be learned from every situation. No matter how unfortunate the situation may seem, recognize the lessons waiting to be uncovered. Sometimes lessons are expensive, but every problem is a learning opportunity in disguise. So you’ve made a mistake, now you can accept it and move on, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience.
  • Attitude of Gratitude – You cannot be both angry and grateful at the same time. Start counting the blessings in your life, once you start looking for them, you’ll find more. What’s not to be grateful for? You are alive and breathing! Realize how lucky you are and all the abundance in your life.
  • Positive Affirmations & Visualization – Practice seeing yourself in a positive and confident light. Do this whenever you have a few minutes (examples; Waiting for a friend, sitting on the train, riding an elevator.) Self-affirmations (list of positive statements about yourself and your self-image) are another simple and powerful tool to train your subconscious to see yourself in a positive light. This is important, as many of us can be so hard on ourselves through social conditioning. but over time you’ll learn torecognize your gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.
  • Reservoir of Memories – Keep a reservoir of memories that will instantly make you smile. Those occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and loved; when you were at peace with yourself and those around you. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any nugget out of this reservoir and reminisce. Remembering those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.
  • Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. Don’t criticizing others and situations. You don’t know what their situation is. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation around you does not change. So, we might as well be positive. And as with any habit, the habit of remaining positive in situations takes practice and a commitment to yourself to take control. Start small, pay attention to your emotions. Keep it going, and you will steadily become a positive source of energy that others will want around them! Won’t that be empowering?

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