Six Credit Score Myths You Need to Know

If you’re like most people, you know the basics of what a credit score is for and how it works. Your score is a make-or-break determinant of whether you qualify for a loan and there are key things to know, and to avoid, concerning your score. Let’s debunk a few of the myths around credit scoring to put control in your hands, and avoid any potential harm to your score.

CREDIT MYTH #1: There’s only one credit score

There are actually thousands of formulas for calculating credit. Depending on what score your potential lender uses, your score could vary. However, FICO scores are most common, and widely available online.

CREDIT MYTH #2: Checking your credit score can lower your score

Only hard inquiries from lenders can lower your score. When you check your credit score, there is no impact on your credit. Hard inquiries, however, are flags on your account when a lender accesses your credit history, and can lower your score because it indicates you may be increasing the amount of your credit. Do this too often and you can be seen as a risk to financial institutions.

CREDIT MYTH #3: Lowering your debt will immediately raise your score

It depends on the type of debt you pay off, and your credit limits. Paying off debt is important, and often high debt can result in a lower score. Keeping your credit card balances low, for example, can help to keep your score high.

CREDIT MYTH #4: Your job impacts your score

The job you have and how much money you make a month has no direct impact on your credit score. However, the bank or loan company may want to see your proof of employment and a few paystubs to ensure that you have a steady source of income. This can help people who are building their credit score by proving they have the funds available to pay off the loan.

CREDIT MYTH #5: Closing your credit cards will raise your score

Potential lenders are more concerned with how much credit you are using rather than how much you could be using. Closing a credit card could actually lower your score because it decreases the amount of credit you have. Remember, your credit score is all about giving lenders a blueprint for how you manage your money. If you have nothing to show them, they can’t draw up a plan.

As a leading accounting services firm in Cincinnati, Donohoo Accounting Services strives to make our clients feel comfortable discussing their tax situation and finances. Still have questions about your credit score, and how you can improve it? Let’s get you on track! Contact us today or give us a call at 513-528-3982 to schedule a free consultation! For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

contact Donohoo Accounting

 

 

 

Mortgage Refinancing 101

Even before you’re ready to replace your current home loan with a new loan, you may be asking yourself, “Where do I start? Who should I talk to? What documents will I need?” In other words, the mortgage refinancing process may seem a bit overwhelming. The good news is there are steps to refinancing that are simple to follow. Take a look at the five steps below to begin your walk down the path to refinancing your home mortgage.

Set Your Re-fi Goals

Just like any other journey, the route to mortgage refinancing must have a destination. Some common refinancing goals include lowering your monthly payment, paying down the principal, withdrawing the equity in your home to pay off high-interest debt, and shortening the term of the loan. If you’re planning to move in five years or more, you may have other goals like re-investing the equity in smart improvements to increase your home’s resale value.

Know Your Credit Score

Having a great credit score usually translates into securing an excellent interest rate. That’s why knowing your credit score before you refinance is important. Does your credit score need some work? Take the time and effort to improve it. You may save yourself thousands of dollars over the term of your mortgage by earning a lower interest rate. A full credit report including your credit score is usually available free of charge from your bank and from many online resources.

Determine Your Home’s Equity

Before you refinance, call your lender to determine the payoff on your current mortgage. Then, have a trusted real estate agent show you a list of comparable properties (similar in size, age and updates in your neighborhood) that recently sold. Knowing the current market value of your home and subtracting what you owe on your current mortgage will help you determine the equity you have before you refinance.

Research Interest Rates

Knowing in advance the interest rates offered by various lenders will give you an advantage when you decide to refinance. Rates often differ by what seem like small amounts, but those fractions of percentage points add up over time. As well, depending on the type of loans you may qualify for, different home loan programs, such as VA, FHA, USDA and conventional offer different interest rates. Do your homework: research the best mortgage loans with the lowest rates that meet your needs.

Gather Your Money and Documents

Before applying to refinance your home mortgage, collect the necessary documents and data about your debt and assets, including income tax returns, W2s, bank statements, credit reports and personal identification. Also, be ready to pay closing costs by setting aside money in advance (about two to five percent of the appraised market value of your home).

With more than 20 years of experience helping individuals, small businesses and non-profit organizations with their finances, Donohoo Accounting Services is here to help you with your tax planning, tax filing and accounting needs. If you would like to set up a free consultation, contact us at 513-528-3982. For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

contact Donohoo Accounting

How Your Small Business Can Qualify For COVID-19 Relief

The United States Senate legislated the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), geared toward providing financial support to the American public and American businesses in light of the economic fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

A principal component of the CARES Act is the allowance of $349 billion for small businesses through federally supported loans under an amended and broadened Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan guaranty program known as the Paycheck Protection Program.

Below, the tax experts at Donohoo Accounting Services address some of the fundamental elements of the CARES Act.

Critical Aspects of the CARES Act

Eligible businesses comprise:

  • Businesses with as many as 500 employees or which meet the appropriate size standard for the industry as stipulated by SBA’s current requirements.
  • Businesses in the food services and accommodation industries that exceed one physical location but contain less than 500 employees at each location.
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Approved sole proprietors and independent contractors.
  • Loans will be accessible across SBA and Treasury accepted banks, credit unions, and select nonbank lenders.
  • Borrowers can withdraw loans 2.5 times their monthly payroll expenses, not to exceed $10 million.

Which businesses are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Based on the wording of the bill, typically, any business active on February 15, 2020, with less than or equal to 500 employees (or that meets the appropriate size benchmark for the industry as required by SBA’s existing regulations) qualifies.

What is the maximum loan value that a business can accept through the Paycheck Protection Program?

Each business can accept the lesser of $10 million or a total of 2.5 times the average total monthly payroll expenses for the previous year.

What can a business use loans for?

Businesses can leverage funds from the Program loans to meet costs involving:

  • Payroll costs, including remuneration to employees; disbursements for vacation, family, parental sick or medical leave; payments due to termination; payments necessary for group health care benefits, retirement benefits, and local and state employment taxes
  • Interest payments concerning any mortgage obligations or additional debt obligations sustained prior to February 15, 2020 (excluding any payments or prepayments of principal)
  • Rent
  • Utilities

How does a business apply for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program

Businesses can visit an authorized SBA 7(a) credit union, bank or lender, apply for a loan and be approved that very day. While there is no cost to apply for the loan, businesses will be charged a fixed interest rate.

What are the terms and conditions of Program loans?

The terms and conditions for a covered loan are identical to the relevant terms and conditions for conventional SBA 7(a) loans.

What documents must a lender require to provide a borrower loan forgiveness?

Documentation that confirms the number of full-time employees on payroll and pay rates for the periods designated under the reduction for loan forgiveness above. For example:

  • Payroll tax filings to the IRS, state payroll and SUTA filing
  • Financial statements corroborating payment on debt obligations sustained prior to the covered period
  • And, any additional documents the SBA may request

Ready to discover what tax credits you or your business qualify for? Call Donohoo Accounting Services today at 513-528-3982 for a FREE consultation! For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

contact Donohoo Accounting

3 Tips To Save For Vacation Without Touching Your Savings

With this weather, it’s normal to find yourself occasionally daydreaming of sandy beaches and drinks with little umbrellas. It’s time to start today to make that dream a reality, without digging in to your existing savings. Follow these tips below and soon you’ll be digging your toes in the sand relaxing your cares away.

Form a Budget

If you’ve already decided where you’d like to go on vacation, when you will go, and for how long, establishing a budget is easy. You can go about forming your budget in two ways: First, research via the internet to find the best flight fares, hotel packages, transportation, restaurants and other expenses. Then plug those numbers into a vacation budget planning form that will help organize and calculate your expenses. Second, form a budget by outlining your vacation destination, travel dates and the estimated amount you’ll have to spend. Then, have a travel agent find you the best deals based on the vacation packages they have available.

Look for Ways to Save

We’re all familiar with the traditional ways of saving money for vacation, such as having a change jar or piggy bank, or opening a savings account with a local bank. Those ideas still work and may be useful in helping you save for your vacation. But in today’s world there are even better means of helping you reach your savings goal. First among the modern savings tools you can use to help you are the many smartphone apps that automatically transfer a set dollar amount – at pre-determined times – from your checking account into an account for your vacation. In addition to saving money from your paycheck each month, you can create sources of additional income by selling household items and collectibles online on sites such as eBay or Etsy or Amazon.

Also, consider what you can give up to go toward the expenses. Making coffee at home can save $20-$50 per week. Packing lunch instead of eating out during the workday can save $50-$100 per week. It won’t be easy at first, but these funds can easily make up the difference between a basic vacation and a luxury vacation.

Make Your Goal Tangible

While your spring or summer vacation may only seem like a dream until you actually leave for the trip, there are things you can do to make it tangible now. Print off some color pictures of your vacation destination and hang them up where you’ll see them daily. Additionally, you may consider purchasing a few small items that you will need for your trip, such as sandals or a bathing suit. Put these items out where you’ll see them regularly to remind you of why you’re saving.

The professionals at Donohoo Accounting Services have even more ways to help you save. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation or call 513-528-3982. And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our latest updates!

contact Donohoo Accounting