Tax preparation services in Houston? Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): Millions of lower-income people take this credit every year. However, 25% of taxpayers who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit fail to claim it, according to the IRS. Some people miss out on the credit because the rules can be complicated. Others simply aren’t aware that they qualify. The EITC is a refundable tax credit—not a deduction—ranging from $529 to $6,557 for 2019. The credit is designed to supplement wages for low-to-moderate income workers. But the credit doesn’t just apply to lower income people. Tens of millions of individuals and families previously classified as “middle class”—including many white-collar workers—are now considered “low income” because they: lost a job, took a pay cut, or worked fewer hours during the year. The exact refund you receive depends on your income, marital status and family size. To get a refund from the EITC you must file a tax return, even if you don’t owe any taxes. Moreover, if you were eligible to claim the credit in the past but didn’t, you can file any time during the year to claim an EITC refund for up to three previous tax years.
Make 401(k) and HSA Contributions: People can make tax deductible contributions to traditional IRAs up to April 15 of next year. However, the door closes on Dec. 31 for 401(k) and health savings account contributions. “It’s a hard stop,” says Wendy Barlin, a Los Angeles-based CPA and author of “That’s Deductible!: Simple Tips and Tricks to Find More Business Tax Deductions.” “Whatever opportunities you have at work (for retirement savings), make sure you maximize them before the end of the year,” she says. Taxpayers with a qualified high-deductible family health insurance plan can deduct up to $7,000 in contributions to a health savings account. Individuals with self-only coverage can deduct $3,500. Those age 55 or older are eligible for an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution. Tax deductible contributions to a traditional 401(k) are capped at $19,000 for 2019. Workers age 50 and older can make an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions.
For most garnishments including child support, creditor garnishments, and student loans, Title III of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) requires that the amount of pay garnished should be based on an employee’s “disposable earnings,” meaning the amount remaining after legally mandated deductions. Broadly speaking, disposable income is the employee’s total compensation, less mandatory deductions including federal, state, and local taxes; state unemployment insurance contributions; and Social Security taxes. This includes salaries, bonuses, and sales commissions, as well as earnings derived from retirement plans and pensions. Tips aren’t usually regarded as earnings for garnishment, but service charges are considered earnings. See extra info at Bookkeeping Services Houston Tx.
Fund IRAs and SEPs to Allowable Limits: If you participate in an employer-sponsored individual 401(k) plan, 403(b) retirement plan, or other qualified retirement plan, the deadline for contributions is Dec. 31. However, you can still fund an IRA until April 15. If you’re younger than 50 and contributed less than $6,000 for the 2019 tax year, or you’re older than 50 and have contributed less than $7,000, you have until April 15, 2020, to invest money on a tax-sheltered basis for 2020. If some or all of your income comes from self-employment, you can set up a simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA up until the due date of your tax return, including extensions, and contribute up to 25% of your self-employment income. If you have the opportunity to choose between paying income taxes or funding your retirement, it should be an easy decision. While Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, IRA and SEP contributions are fully deductible depending upon your income, filing status, and participation in an employer plan. Income within a retirement plan – whether IRA, SEP, or 401(k) – is not taxed until you withdraw it.
Set up your system: There’s more than one way to organize your tax records, but having some kind of filing system will help you keep everything in one place. Don’t wait until January to start organizing important documents. While many important tax documents will arrive in the beginning of the year, some — such as receipts for deductible expenses — will crop up throughout the year. Save documentation for deductible items: If you own a business or plan to itemize your deductions, you should hold onto your receipts and other documents for eligible expenses. You won’t need to submit your receipts with your tax return, but you may need to substantiate your expenses if the IRS audits your return. Do the same for home improvements, especially if you’re planning to sell your home. The amount you spent on home improvements increases your adjusted basis on your home, which is what the IRS uses to determine how much tax you owe when you sell it.
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