Category Archives: Information

Do You Need To File A Tax Return In 2016? – Forbes

Do you need to file a tax return in 2016? Here’s what you need to know.

Check it out at Do You Need To File A Tax Return In 2016? – Forbes

Can’t decide where to retire? This may help

Find the best states to retire in, based on categories such as health care, crime, cost of living, taxes and weather.

Source: Can’t decide where to retire? This may help

Figuring Out Your Form W-4: How Many Allowances Should You Claim? – Forbes

Confused about your form W-4? Not sure how many allowances to claim? Zero? One? The maximum? Here’s what you need to know.

Read More: Figuring Out Your Form W-4: How Many Allowances Should You Claim? – Forbes

55 Days Left to file Tax Returns

time-moneyMoore Bookkeeping is doing tax returns again this year, so if you’re looking for someone reasonably-priced and thorough to get your federal and state return completed, contact us today!

Ask The Taxgirl: The Child Tax Credit – Forbes

Taxpayer asks:If I’m a single stay at home mom with 2 kids but no income Am I eligible for a child credit refund?Taxgirl says:Unfortunately, no. If you don’t have any income, you won’t benefit from most federal income tax credits.When it comes to the Child Tax Credit, you can’t claim the credit if you don’t have income. This is because the credit is nonrefundable which means that if the available tax credit exceeds your tax liability, your tax bill is simply reduced to zero. So even if you were able claim both kids at $1,000 per child (the maximum available child tax credit for the 2015 tax year), if you don’t have any tax liability, you can’t benefit from the credit. The credit does not carry forward to any future years (or back to any past years): it simply disappears.Some taxpayers who don’t receive the full benefit from the Child Tax Credit may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. The Additional Child Tax Credit is refundable which means you can receive a refund even if you do not owe any tax. However, to qualify, you must have at least $3,000 of earned income or have at least three qualifying dependents (additional criteria applies).Other child-related credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. Like the Additional Child Tax Credit, the EITC is refundable which means that you can receive a refund even if you do not owe any tax. However, in order to qualify for the EITC, you must have income from working or running a business. Similarly, the Child and Dependent Care Credit is only available to those parents who work (or are looking for work) and who have earned income from wages, salaries, tips, other taxable employee compensation or net earnings from self-employment.

Source: Ask The Taxgirl: The Child Tax Credit – Forbes

The shock of soaring child care costs – CBS News

American families are having a tough time catching a break, thanks to stagnant wages and an uneven recovery. But a less-known issue may be playing an even bigger role: child care costs.

This expense is now a major stress on many American families, given that only a handful of cities meet the Department of Health and Human Services’ affordability threshold for the service — 10 percent of family income — and that child care costs more than college tuition in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

That’s according to a new report from The Economic Policy Institute. The issue increasingly isn’t a problem only for low-income families but also for middle-income and even upper-income Americans, given that the median household income peaked in 1999.

“In 500 out of 618 budget areas, child care actually exceeded the cost of rent. It was so shocking” given that rent is considered one of the major expenses in a family’s budget, said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the EPI who wrote the report with Tanyell Cooke.

While costs vary wildly based on location, the common theme is that most Americans are struggling to pay for quality child care. That’s why so many families create a network of friends and family to provide care, or sometimes cobble together staggered shifts so that one parent is at home with the kids.

Read more: The shock of soaring child care costs – CBS News

When Millennials Move Back Home – WSJ

More millennials are spending early adulthood in the same place where they spent their formative years: in their parents’ homes.It’s crucial that both parties understand the financial implications of this homecoming. For parents, a child’s return often means a greater financial burden, just as the parents may be struggling to meet their own savings and retirement goals. It also can make it more difficult for the millennials to acquire the financial skills they’ll need later in life.According to a recent study by PEW Research Center, the percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds living with their parents is higher today than it has been in decades. Currently, 26% are back in the nest, up from 22% in 2007. The rise has occurred among both high-school and college graduates, and has continued since the recession’s end, despite the fact that millennials are earning more and have a lower unemployment rate than they did a few years ago.

Read more: When Millennials Move Back Home – WSJ

Top 10 Tips for Starting a Small Business

1) Do what you love.

You’re going to devote a lot of time and energy to starting a business and building it into a successful enterprise, so it’s really important that you truly deeply enjoy what you do, whether it be running fishing charters, creating pottery or providing financial advice.

2) Start your business while you’re still employed.

How long can most people live without money? Not long. And it may be a long time before your new business actually makes any profits. Being employed while you’re starting a business means money in your pocket while you’re going through the starting a business process.

3) Don’t do it alone.

You need a support system while you’re starting a business (and afterwards). A family member or friend that you can bounce ideas off and who will listen sympathetically to the latest business start up crisis is invaluable. Even better, find a mentor or, if you qualify, apply for a business start up program such as The Self-Employment Program. When you’re starting a business experienced guidance is the best support system of all.

4) Get clients or customers first.

Don’t wait until you’ve officially started your business to line these up, because your business can’t survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can’t start marketing too soon. (See Attracting New Business on a Shoestring Budget and The 7 Best Places to Find Clients for tips.)

5) Write a business plan.

The main reason for doing a business plan first when you’re thinking of starting a business is that it can help you avoid sinking your time and money into starting a business that will not succeed. (See Why You Need a Business Plan for other good reasons.)

Remember, you don’t have to work through a full scale business plan for each new business idea you come up with; my Quick-Start Business Plan, for instance, will let you test the potential of your business idea much more quickly.

6) Do the research.

You’ll do a lot of research writing a business plan, but that’s just a start. When you’re starting a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, products and services if you’re not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea.

7) Get professional help.

On the other hand, just because you’re starting a business, doesn’t mean you have to be an expert on everything. If you’re not an accountant or bookkeeper, hire one (or both).(These Tips for Finding a Good Accountant may be useful.) If you need to write up a contract, and you’re not a lawyer, hire one. You will waste more time and possibly money in the long run trying to do things yourself that you are not qualified to do.

8) Get the money lined up.

Save up if you have to. Approach potential investors and lenders. Figure our your financial fall-back plan. Don’t expect to start a business and then walk into a bank and get money. Traditional lenders don’t like new ideas and don’t like businesses without proven track records.

9) Be professional from the get-go.

Everything about you and the way you do business needs to let people know that you are a professional running a serious business. That means getting all the accoutrements such as professional business cards, a business phone and a business email address, and treating people in a professional, courteous manner.

10) Get the legal and tax issues right the first time.

It’s much more difficult and expensive to unsnarl a mess afterwards. Does your business need to be registered? Will you have to charge GST or PST? Will you have to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance or deal with payroll taxes? How will the form of business you choose affect your income tax situation? Learn what your legal and tax responsibilities are before you start your business and operate accordingly.

Following the advice on starting a business above will make starting a business both a smoother, less stressful process and go a long way towards ensuring the business you start lasts and thrives.

via Top 10 Tips for Starting a Small Business.

Why people still feel the economy stinks – Oct. 22, 2014

U.S. unemployment is down. Consumer confidence is up. Inflation is low.

Things are improving, yet Americans are still worried. The economy is voters’ top concern ahead of the midterm elections next month, ranking ahead of national security, according to a recent Politico poll.

Only 42% of those surveyed by CNN late last month thought the economy was in good shape. While that’s the highest share since January 2008 and an improvement from the 29% who felt this way a year ago, it’s still weak overall.

Let’s take a look at what’s going right: The unemployment rate is below 6% for the first time since 2008. Job openings are back to 2001 levels. Consumer confidence is at its highest point since before the recession, and inflation remains a tame 1.7%.

Related: What do women want in a husband? A job!

Sounds great, but it’s taken the country a long time to get to this point, said Richard Curtin, chief economist of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers.

The recovery has also been stronger for some than others. Young adults are still having a tough time starting their careers, while older Americans are having difficulty shifting into retirement after their nest eggs were destroyed during the Great Recession.

“It’s taking so long to recover and it’s been so uneven,” he said. “It’s been more than five years since the end of the recession.”

Related: Obama’s midterm message: Believe me, we’re better off

Although the unemployment rate has fallen rapidly in the past two years, it remains at a relatively elevated level, said Justin Wolfers, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The average jobless rate in the decade before the Great Recession hit in December 2007 was 4.9%.

Americans also don’t feel any better off. While more people may have jobs, they aren’t bringing home fatter paychecks. Wages and income have remained stagnant for years, making it tough for folks even though inflation is low. Median household income, which stood at $51,939 last year, is back to 1995 levels.

Consumers expect a median income boost of 1.1% over the next year, Curtin said. But that won’t keep up with their inflation expectations of 2.8%.

“American households, on average, are still struggling with their living standards slowly eroding,” he said.

Not everyone, however, is suffering from flat-lining wages … and that’s also why the average American remains worried about the economy. The rich are seeing both their income and wealth rise. The wealthiest 5% of American households held 63% of all wealth in 2013, up from 54% in 1989, according to a recently released Federal Reserve survey.

“Rising inequality is why Main Street doesn’t feel like it’s benefiting from the full fruits of the recovery,” Wolfers said.

via Why people still feel the economy stinks – Oct. 22, 2014.

Asian stocks on edge as HK seethes, U.S. dollar shines | Reuters

The dollar index rose as high as 85.737, its highest since July 2010, in early trade after having posted an 11th straight week of gains last week, extending the longest winning streak since its 1971 uncoupling from gold.

The U.S. Commerce Department on Friday raised its estimate of gross domestic product growth to an annualised 4.6 percent, the fastest pace in 2-1/2 years, and accelerating from the 4.2 percent reported last month.

The data reinforced the perception that the United States is the brightest spot in the global economy, with the Federal Reserve on course to raise interest rates while other major central banks need to enact more stimulus to support growth.

Read more at Asian stocks on edge as HK seethes, U.S. dollar shines | Reuters.