• Tips to Get Your Finances in Tip-Top Shape
• Keys to Keeping Great Business Records
• Shrink Your Tax Bill in 2023
• 6 Ways to Cut Your Everyday Expenses
• 'Tis the Season for Gift Card Fraud
• Maximize Your College Financial Aid With These FAFSA Tips
• Planning for Future Care: A Financial Dilemma
• Student Loan Forgiveness Q&A
• Taming Monthly Bill Creep
• Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
• Debit Card Smarts
• The IRS Announces Tax Scams
• Watch for These Tax Surprises
• Six Simple Ideas to Help Your Small Business
• Money Management Tips for Couples
• Summer Jobs and Taxes
• Making Your Home Office a Tax Deduction
• The Benefits of Being a Sole Proprietor
• Debt: Gone But Not Forgotten by the IRS
• Review Financial Decisions When Interest Rates Change
• Cryptocurrency: The IRS is Watching You!
• Protecting Your Digital Footprint
• Small Business Tax Return To-Do-List
• Ideas to Improve Your Financial Health in 2022
• Five Great Money Tips
• Fake Products (and Money!) Are Big Business
• Year-End Tax Planning Ideas For Your Business
• Time to Schedule Your Tax Planning Session
• Protect Your Valuables BEFORE Thieves Arrive
• Make the Most of Your Vehicle Expense Deduction
• Help! I Just Got a Letter From the IRS
• Manage Your Business's Unemployment Taxes
• Common Tax Mistakes When Selling a Home
• The Hidden Tax Consequences of Cryptocurrency
• Building a Fortress Balance Sheet
• Taxes: These Basics are for Everyone
• Starting a Business Now Could Make a Lot of Sense
• What's New in 2021
• Organized Business Records Save Time and Money
• Your Identity is NOT Your Own!
• Seven Tips For Financial Wellness In 2021
• PPP Loan Expenses Are Now Tax Deductible
• Deductibility of Business Meals Provided by Restaurants in 2021 and 2022
• Ideas For Better Savings Rates
• Retirement Savings Tips for Small Business Owners
• Steer Clear of Money-Making Scams While You're Stuck at Home
• How to Build Your Emergency Fund - When You Have No Money
• Great Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
• What does the executive action deferring payroll taxes mean for employers and employees?
• Should You Incorporate Your Business?
• How to Eliminate a Tax Surprise
• How Stay-at-Home Orders Change Money Habits
• IRS guidance provides RMD rollover relief
• Financial Questions to Ask Mom and Dad
• The New Face of Banking
• PPP borrowers get concessions, additional guidance on forgiveness
• The IRS clarifies the deductibility of PPP-funded expenses
• SBA extends the PPP repayment deadline for self-certification
• Beware of Scams Tied to COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments
• Answers to Common COVID-19 Unemployment Questions
• CARES Act provides COVID-19 pandemic relief to businesses
• The IRS announces new COVID-19-related assistance for taxpayers
• 3 Major Charity Scam Red Flags
• 2020 Social Security Benefits
• Avoid These Common Tax Mistakes
• What Employers Need to Know About Assembly Bill 5
• Bill Collector Calling? Know Your Rights
• Tips to Protect Yourself From Tax Scams
• The IRS Is Not Always Right
• Select the Right Health Insurance for Your Business
• The IRS Loves Your Business...and That is NOT Good
• Help Older Adults Stand Up Against Scams
• Amazon and eBay Sales Tax ALERT!
• No Excuses. Time to Lower Your Tax Bill.
• How To Protect Your Social Security Number
• You Know You Need Tax Planning If...
• How to Correct Common Financial Mistakes
• Don't Leave Your Business Exposed
• Watch Out! 7 Vacation Costs That Sneak Up on You
• Major Life Changes Ahead? Read This!
• 7 Tax-Free Ideas to Bolster Your Business Benefits Package
• Stay prepared to sell your business
• Great uses for your tax refund
• How to File Nonprofit Taxes
• How to File Nonprofit Taxes
• 7 Common Missing Tax Return Items
• Is a Tax Surprise Waiting for You?
• School yourself on the student loan interest deduction
• The 6 Biggest Threats to Your Finances
• Last-Second Money-Saving Tax Moves
• Retirement Contributions Get a Boost in 2019
• 5 Estate Planning Myths
• Disaster Preparedness Tips for Taxpayers and Businesses
• Five Tax Breaks for New Parents
• Setting up Your Business Accounting System
• Ideas to Improve Your Financial Health
• It's tax-planning time
• Managing Money Tips for Couples
• 6 tax benefits of owning a home
• Five Great Finance Tips Everyone Should Know
• How to handle a gap in health care coverage
• Update on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
• When an extension makes sense
• Answers to commonly asked tax questions
• New FASB Standards for Nonprofit Accounting
• The best way to avoid an audit: Preparation
• Boost your retirement savings now
• IRS Urges Travelers Requiring Passports to Pay Their Back Taxes
• Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency
• How to Get a Green Light for Commuting Expense Deductions
• Federal requirements for substantiating charitable contributions
• How to cut taxes under the new tax act
• FBI Warns of Online Dating Scams
• IRS issues 2018 standard mileage rates
• Year-end tax checklist
• The Equifax breach and you: be proactive
• Beware of Bogus Charities
• Planning A Wedding Over The Holidays?
Plan For Taxes Too
• Don't Include The IRS On Your Gift List
• Ready To Start Year-End Planning?
Focus On The Big Picture.
• Know When To Sell
• Put Your Tax and Financial House
• Are You Prepared For These Common
• Scams Against the Elderly:
Know the Danger Signs
• Tax Benefits of Corporate Retirement
Retirement Plan Maze
• Documenting your Business Travel and
• Maximizing your Travel and
• Deducting Business Meals and
• Do Yourself a Favor by Filing
• Do I Need A CPA?
• How to Save Money on Your Tax
• What To Do If You Can't Pay
• What To Do If You Haven't Filed
Understanding how our tax system works can be tricky for anyone. Whether you're an adult who never paid much attention to the taxes being withheld from your paycheck or a kid who just got his or her first job, understanding the basics can help refine and define questions you may have.
Many schools don't teach these tax lessons. This results in many people entering life with a pretty incomplete picture of how taxes work, unless someone else takes the time to explain these tax concepts. Here are some pointers to help you or someone you know navigate our tax maze.
Taxes are mandatory!
While we can have a debate about how much each person should pay, there's no debating that local, state and federal governments need tax revenue to run the country. These funds are used to build roads, support education, help those who need financial assistance, pay interest on our national debt and defend the country.
There are many types of taxes
When you think of taxes, most think of the income tax, which is a tax on business and personal income you earn from performing a job. But there are also other types of taxes. Here are some of the most common.
• Payroll taxes. While income taxes can be used to pay for pretty much anything the government needs money for, payroll taxes are earmarked to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits.
• Property taxes. These are taxes levied on property you own. The most common example of this is the property tax on a home or vacation property.
• Sales tax. These are taxes placed on goods and services you purchase. While most of this tax is applied at the state and local levels, there are also federal sales taxes on items like gasoline.
• Capital gains taxes. If you sell an investment or an asset for a profit, you may owe capital gains taxes. The most common example of this is when you sell stock for a gain. Capital gains taxes could also come into play with other assets, such as a rental property you sell for a profit.
• Estate taxes. This tax is applied to assets in your estate after you pass away.
Not all income is subject to tax
Most, but not all, of your income is subject to tax.
• While your paycheck is subject to tax, interest earned from certain municipal bonds is not. And the government often excludes things like benefits from the tax man
• Capital gains taxes have exclusions for gains on the sale of your home and donated stock.
• Estate taxes have an exclusion, so only estates in excess of the exclusion are taxed.
This is why having someone in the know can be really helpful in navigating these rules.
The progressive nature of income tax
When it comes to income taxes, the government gets to take the first bite. The question is how BIG of a bite the government gets to take.
For example, if you only have one chocolate chip cookie, the government's bite is really, really small. If you have 1,000 chocolate chip cookies, the government takes a small bite from the first 100 cookies, a larger bite from the next 100 cookies, and an even larger bite from the remaining 800 cookies.
This is called a progressive tax rate system. For example, if you're considered single for tax purposes in 2021, the first $9,950 of taxable money you earn gets taxed at 10%. The next $30,575 you earn gets taxed at 12%. The next $45,850 gets taxed at 22%. Money you earn above this point will get taxed at either 24%, 32%, 35% or 37%. Understanding the progressive nature of our tax system is a key concept in managing the size of the bite the government takes. That is why tax planning is so important!
Deductions can decrease the government's tax bite
The progressive tax system is complex because it is manipulated in a big way by our elected officials. This is typically done through credits, deductions and phaseouts of tax benefits.
For example, there is a fairly complex deduction for families with children, and the earned income tax credit is an added tax cut for those in the lower end of the progressive income tax base. There are also credits and deductions for businesses, homeowners, education and many more types of taxpayers.
As you can imagine, the U.S. tax system is very complex with many nuances. Please seek help if you have further questions or are facing a complicated taxable transaction.