Include Tax Paperwork In Your Spring Cleaning For Tax Preparation Albuquerque-Style

If tax paperwork is overwhelming, prioritizing records may help you minimize clutter. Here are recordkeeping guidelines that will help you do just that while retaining what’s important.

  • Income tax returns. Keep these at least seven years. Hang on to the back-up documents, such as Forms W-2, mortgage interest statements, year-end brokerage statements, and interest and dividend statements, for the same amount of time.
  • Supporting paperwork. Keep cancelled checks, receipts, and expense and travel diaries for a minimum of three years.
  • Stock, bond, or mutual fund purchase confirmations. Retain these while you own the investment. You can destroy them three years after you sell.
  • Real property escrow and title statements. Retain these documents as long as you own the property so you can prove your purchase price when you sell. They can be destroyed three years after the date of the sale.

As you purge your financial clutter, be sure to shred or otherwise destroy the discarded paperwork. These documents often reveal your social security number, bank and brokerage account activity, and other personal information that could lead to the theft of your identity.

Contact Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs Albuquerque for more recordkeeping tips. Call 505-897-7382 to schedule an appointment.

In our world, tax preparation Albuquerque-style includes the paperwork cleanup. We make it easy to understand. Call 505-897-7282, Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, for the level of service you need: our experts include experienced CPAs, tax experts, bookkeeping specialists and more. Put a trusted advisor on your team today.

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Proactive Customer Service Is Important

Providing excellent, proactive customer service is crucial for any business, but dealing with customer complaints over the internet can be challenging. When responding to customer complaints via email, chat rooms, or other online venues, keep these tips in mind.

  • Be honest. Online anonymity makes it easier for customers to dispense with social graces that would temper otherwise polite behavior. So be straightforward and transparent. If your company made a mistake, say so. If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, say you’ll research the issue and get back to them.
  • Ask questions. Gain a comprehensive understanding of a customer’s issue before responding. Identify the basic problem and provide an opportunity to vent. Showing that you’re actively listening can defuse emotions and help you get to the root of the problem.
  • Be polite. It’s easy for email responses to be misinterpreted, so take care with your words. Use the customer’s name and end messages on a positive note.
  • Follow through. Deliver what you promise. If the item was defective, make it right. If the customer wants a discount and it fits within your policy to provide it, don’t hesitate.

Online or off, proactive customer service keeps your customers happy – and your company in business.

For more ways to showcase your business with its customers, call Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs Albuquerque at 505-897-7382. Our team understands your world.

As a small business entity, we know firsthand the many contributions small business owners and their teams make to the community. We respect the number and variety of challenges involved, including the growing task of providing proactive customer service. We look forward to collaborating with you to polish systems and procedures to streamline your company growth. You’ll find us conveniently located in the greater Albuquerque area and ready to discuss your specific situation.

Albuquerque CPA Emphasizes W-4 Update To Adjust Withholding

Did you receive a big tax refund or owe the IRS a lot of money for 2015? Then it’s time to update the form that tells your employer how to calculate your federal income tax withholding. That’s Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and here’s what you need to know.

Filing a new Form W-4 with your employer allows you to adjust your income tax withholding to avoid overpaying or underpaying tax for 2016. The form comes with a worksheet to figure out how many allowances you should claim. These allowances are similar to dependency exemptions on your income tax return. However, the total allowances on your W-4 don’t have to agree with the exemptions you claim on your return. For example, say you’re single and you want to have the maximum amount withheld from your paycheck. You can claim zero allowances on Form W-4. You’ll still claim your personal exemption on the federal income tax return you file next April.

One Caution: You should not claim more exemptions than you’re entitled to on Form W-4.

Updating Form W-4 can help adjust your withholding to match the tax you expect to owe. If you need assistance completing a W-4 update, give us a call at 505-897-7382 and schedule an appointment.

In addition, Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs PC looks at your long term financial goals when our team reviews your status. For example, how close are you to retirement age? What type of savings have you accrued? It’s never too late to look more closely at your financials. Call us for expert advice for your specific situation.

Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs Albuquerque is located near Cottonwood Mall and is easily accessible. Our address is 2469 Corrales Road, Suite A-5 in Corrales Plaza, one-half mile north of the intersection of NM 528 and Corrales Road.

Should You Make Estimated Tax Payments?

If you’re required to make quarterly estimated tax payments this year, the first one is due on the same day as your federal income tax return. Failing to pay estimates, or not paying enough, may lead to penalties. Here’s what to consider.

Do you need to make estimates? If you operate your own business, or receive alimony, investment, or other income that’s not subject to withholding, you may have to pay the tax due in installments. Each estimated tax installment is a partial prepayment of the total amount you expect to owe for 2016. You make the payment yourself, typically four times a year.

How much do you need to pay? To avoid penalties, your estimated payments must equal 90% of your 2016 tax or 100% of the tax on your 2015 return (110% if your adjusted gross income was over $150,000).

There are exceptions to the general rule. For instance, say you anticipate the balance due on your 2016 federal individual income tax return will be less than $1,000 after subtracting withholding and credits. In this case, you can skip the estimated payments and remit the final balance with your return next April.

Contact Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs PC Albuquerque at 505-897-7382 for more information about estimated tax payments. Our firm provides bookkeeping services designed to let you concentrate on what you do best: run your business. Let us handle the numbers and deadlines for you.

Many individuals who need to make estimated tax payments (due to alimony, investments, or other income that’s not subject to withholding) take advantage of the convenience of our bookkeeping services. It’s easy, in part because our experts are trained to focus on the deadlines for estimated tax payments. It’s also faster because our team regularly logs into the necessary websites and completes the specified forms.

So, if you’d like to consider bookkeeping services from Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, call 505-897-7382 and schedule your initial no-charge consultation.

Teach Your Children The Vital Skill Of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is a vital skill in today’s world. Will your children be able to handle their finances when they became adults? Here are tips to help ensure the answer is yes.

Shave spending. Take the weekly allowance to the next level by helping your child develop a budget. Review the results to reinforce good habits.

Stress savings. Even young children can grasp the power of compound interest. A simple example is asking your child to put a dollar in a piggy bank. Offer to pay five percent interest if the money is still there in a week or a month. Make the same offer at the end of the first time period, and pay “interest on the interest” as well.

Introduce investments. Create a portfolio, either real or paper, consisting of shares of one or more stocks or mutual funds. Make a game of charting the investment’s progress on a regular basis.

Cover credit. Take on the role of lender and let your child request an advance on a weekly allowance. Charge interest.

Talk taxes. Use word search or crossword puzzles to teach tax terminology. Consider creating a “Family Economy” game using examples from your own budget.

Lessons in financial responsibility can benefit your children now and in the future. Get them started on the right path with the help of Albuquerque CPA firms that support our community. At Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, PC, our team believes in financial literacy.

Call us at 505-897-7382 to discuss financial literacy and your specific situation. Together we will grow our community.

Smart Review Tactics Frame Small Business Consulting Services

Small business consulting services in Albuquerque emphasize smart tactics. We understand as a business owner, monitoring operations and dealing with everyday problems no doubt takes up the bulk of your day. But carving out time for a comprehensive review can benefit your business. Here are key areas to consider.

Insurance coverage. Automatic renewal may appear to be a time-saver. But you might be missing out on necessary updates and the opportunity to revise your coverage. Sit down with your insurance agent and discuss your business operations, focusing on risks from new ventures or changes in laws. Make sure you have suitable liability coverage.

Tax strategy. A month after you file your tax return, make an appointment with your tax advisor. Go over your return together and identify opportunities for tax savings. Question everything, starting with whether you’re using the right form of business entity. Ask about recent changes in the tax code and how they might benefit your business. Make your advisor a partner in your business strategy.

Succession planning. Have a specific plan for each key managerial position, including yours. Will you promote from within or recruit externally in the case of an unexpected vacancy? Which managers can be cross-trained to keep your business operating during the short-term absence of another employee?

Banking relationships. Schedule a meeting with your controller or chief financial officer to go over your cash balances and banking relationships. Then both of you meet with your banker. Address service concerns or problems that arose during the year. Look for ways to reduce idle cash, boost interest earned, and improve cash flows.

Personal estate planning. Your company is likely a significant part of your estate. A good estate plan is essential if you hope to pass it on to your heirs. But your company, your personal circumstances, and the tax laws are continually changing. Make sure your plans are current.

Contact Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, PC at 505-897-7382 for small business consulting services in Albuquerque. We can assist you in securing your business’s long-term success. When you work with Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs Albuquerque you work with specialists who understand small business consulting and can discuss your specific situation with expertise.

Above The Line Deductions: Use Taxes To Reduce Your Tax

Are you planning to itemize on your 2015 federal income tax return? If so, you can claim a deduction for taxes paid. According to IRS statistics, taxes are the most frequently claimed itemized deduction, as well as the largest. But what kind of taxes can you deduct on your personal return?

State and local income taxes or general sales tax. You can choose whichever gives you the most benefit.

Real estate taxes. Deductions include taxes you pay on your home or other real property you own (including property owned in a foreign country). Remember to check closing statements when you buy or sell property. You can claim the portion of current real estate taxes you’re responsible for. However, if you agree to pay delinquent taxes the seller owed at the time of closing, that expense is considered part of your basis in the property.

Personal property taxes. These taxes are imposed annually on the value of property other than real estate. Certain motor vehicle registration fees fit this description.

Foreign income taxes. Caution: Instead of deducting these taxes, you have the option of taking a credit, which will reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar and may offer more benefit.

Federal estate tax. If you inherit certain assets and are required to report the income from those assets on your personal return, you may be able to deduct a portion of the federal estate tax paid.

Some taxes, such as self-employment taxes, are deductible elsewhere on your return. Other taxes are not deductible at all. Examples include marriage licenses, gift taxes, and Medicare taxes (including the 3.8% net investment income tax).

Feel free to contact us at 505-897-7382 if you have questions about the deductibility of a tax you paid during the year, or if you received a refund of a tax you deducted in a prior year. We’re here to help with tax preparation services. Our tax team understands above the line deductions and includes experts at a variety of levels. To schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call 505-897-7382.

Be Aware Of These Four IRA Rules At Tax Preparation Time

If you have an individual retirement account, you’re aware of how complicated the rules can get. Here are four to remember as you prepare your 2015 federal income tax return at tax preparation time.

  1. Are you searching for one more tax deduction? It’s not too late to contribute to your IRA and claim a deduction for 2015. Under current tax rules, you can establish and contribute to your IRA up until April 18, 2016 (April 19 if you live in Maine or Massachusetts). If the IRA is the traditional, tax-deductible kind, you can deduct that contribution on your 2015 federal income tax return. If you’re under age 50, the maximum contribution is $5,500. If you were 50 or older by December 31, 2015, you can contribute up to $6,500.
  2. You can make a contribution to a traditional IRA and convert it to a Roth later. Although a conversion now will generate taxable income that’s reportable on next year’s federal tax return, qualifying withdrawals from the Roth will be tax-free when you retire. If your circumstances change, you can choose to “recharacterize” your new Roth as a traditional IRA by moving the funds back within a specified period. You also have the opportunity to “reconvert” the funds to a Roth again after a recharacterization.
  3. If you turned 70½ in 2015, you’re now required to take an annual minimum distribution from your IRA (and, unless you’re still working, from other retirement plans also). If you chose to delay taking your first distribution last year, April 1, 2016, is an important deadline. That’s the last day you have to take your initial distribution or you’ll be subject to a 50% penalty on the amount you should have taken.
  4. The age of 70½ also lets you benefit from the now-permanent tax break for making charitable contributions from your IRAs. While it’s too late to make a contribution for 2015, you can exclude direct transfers of up to $100,000 from your gross income this year. The donation counts as part of your required minimum distribution.

For specific questions during tax preparation time, and for more tax breaks related to IRAs and other retirement plans, contact Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs Albuquerque at 505-897-7382 or log onto www.corralescpas.com.

Above the Line Deductions Without Itemizing

You may have additional above the line deductions, even if you claim a standard deduction.

Are you part of the approximately 68% of taxpayers who IRS statistics say claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing? If so, you can still deduct some expenses on your 2015 federal income tax return.

  • Individual retirement account (IRA) contributions – For 2015, you may qualify to deduct up to $5,500 in contributions to a traditional IRA. That increases to $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older. Income limitations may apply in some cases. The same limits apply to Roth IRA contributions, which are not deductible.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions – HSAs are IRA-like accounts set up in conjunction with a high-deductible health insurance policy. The annual contributions you make to your HSA are deductible. Contributions are invested and grow tax-free, and you withdraw the money tax-free to pay unreimbursed medical expenses. The HSA contribution limit for 2015 is $3,350 for individuals and $6,650 for families. You can contribute an additional $1,000 when you’re age 55 and older.
  • Student loan interest and tuition fees – Deduct up to $2,500 of interest on student loans for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents. For 2015, you can also deduct up to $4,000 of tuition and fees for qualified higher education courses. Income limitations apply, and you must coordinate these deductions with other education tax breaks.
  • Self-employment deductions – If you’re self-employed, you can generally deduct the cost of health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, and one-half of self-employment taxes.
  • Other deductions – Don’t overlook deductions for alimony you pay, certain moving expenses, and early savings withdrawal penalties. Educators can deduct up to $250 for classroom supplies purchased in 2015.

Contact Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs at 505-897-7382 for more information on these and other deductions you may be entitled to claim on your 2015 return.

Small Business Consulting Ignores Emotion of Sunk Costs

Uninvolved Experts Make Small Business Consulting Effective

Do you think pulling the plug on a failed contract would be “wasting all the money” your business has spent to date?

If so, you may be making the choice based on emotion and “sunk costs.” Sunk costs are past expenses that are irrelevant to current decisions – such as those spent on non-performing contracts. Why are they irrelevant? Because that money is already spent and generally cannot be recovered.

The small business consulting experts at Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, PC can help you review costs from a new perspective.

While admitting mistakes may be difficult and ego-bruising, staunching the flow of cash and changing course by abandoning a failed contract can be a wise decision. That’s because the only relevant costs are those that influence your company’s current and future operations.

For example, say your firm hires a new sales representative. You spend thousands of dollars sending the rep to training seminars. You assign mentors who take time from their busy schedules to provide on-the-job coaching and oversight. But despite your best efforts, the new hire isn’t working out. The rep doesn’t fit your firm’s culture, doesn’t grasp the company’s goals and procedures and doesn’t generate adequate revenues for the business.

As a manager, what should you do? At some point, you may need to terminate the employee and start over with someone else. But what about all that time and money you spent on training and mentoring? Those are sunk costs. Acknowledge that you can’t get them back, cut your losses, and start anew. Throwing good money after bad won’t salvage a poor business investment – or a poor business decision.

Discuss your business questions with a small business consultant at Urbielewicz Murphree CPAs, Albuquerque. The Urbielewicz Murphree team understands small business and can compare your numbers, in percentages, with those of others in your industry, thus giving you the advantage of geographical insight.

Call 505-897-7382 today for your small business consulting appointment.