It’s Not Too Late To Claim Your $1,200 Stimulus Payment

Earlier this year, the government issued roughly 160 million Economic Impact Payments — or stimulus checks — to eligible Americans. The problem is, some people have fallen through the cracks and are still awaiting the first much-needed COVID payment.

If you are in this category and have yet to receive your check, you can claim it on your 2020 taxes. Claiming the payment you were eligible for will lower your tax bill and may result in a cash refund. You will receive it in the form of a Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes.

Qualifications For A Recovery Rebate Credit

Individuals who are a U.S. or permanent citizen, have a social security number, make less than $99,000 a year and are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return in 2018 or 2019 likely qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit.

The exact amount depends on your adjusted gross income. If you are filing single with an average gross income of $75,000 or are a single parent with an adjusted gross income of $112,500, you are eligible for the full amount. Also entitled to the full amount are married couples with a combined adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less.

For every $100 more than the adjusted gross income, the payment is reduced by $5 until it reaches a threshold of $99,000 for single users, $136,000 for heads of household and $198,000 for married couples filing jointly.

So it’s possible that single filers would have been eligible for $1,200 plus $500 for each qualifying dependent; and married couples filing jointly could have been eligible for $2,400 plus $500 for each qualifying dependent.

How To Claim Your Money

According to the IRS, you can claim your Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. If you received a partial payment, you will need to reference the IRS’s calculated amount from the “Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment” letter when you file. You can also claim any missing payments for a dependent child.

Depending on the amount of stimulus money you’re eligible to receive, your money will either show up on the 2020 tax return as an additional refund, or the amount of tax you owe will be lowered.

We understand that most individuals find the details and nuances of tax season confusing, particularly during unprecedented years like 2020. When you are ready to file your 2020 tax return, reach out to Donohoo Accounting Services. Working with our tax professionals will save you time, frustration and headaches. We would be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation to help you get the cash relief you are entitled to. Give us a call today at 513-528-3982! For more tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!

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4 Personal Finance Tips To Start The New Year Right

2020 is quickly coming to a close, and many of us will be glad to see it go. Now is the time to get ahead of the game and get your money in order for 2021. Don’t know where to begin? No worries! Here are some helpful tips.

Get Organized

You can file taxes after the new year, so now’s a good time to get all your ducks in a row. In January and early February, you’ll be receiving important documents in the mail including your W2, mortgage interest statement (1098), or student loan interest statement (1098-E.) Most companies, by law, have until January 31 to mail statements, so keep an eye out.

Designate a single location where you’ll keep these documents so they are easily accessible when you’re ready to file taxes. You can use a folder, drawer, box or other container. Put a large “taxes” label on it and use the container for tax-related documents only, not other mail or bills. But you may want to keep it near where you sort mail, so you can immediately put the documents in their home.

Then start gathering other items you’ll need for filing taxes, including charitable contribution and expense receipts. Qualified expenses depend on your situation, but could include expenses related to childcare, medical, work (mileage, supplies, relocation) and education.

Donohoo Accounting Services can help you navigate the complicated tax structure. In addition to income tax preparation, we handle payroll tax prep, tax levies and liens, back taxes, end tax penalties, estate tax return preparation and more.

Make Year-End Charitable Contributions

Many charities do a final fundraising push at the end of the year, so you’ll probably receive solicitations asking for support. If you want to help non-profit organizations while also possibly reducing your taxable income, make your donations by December 31. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year will count in that year – even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until later. You’ll want to make sure the charity is eligible. Many times, the charity will note its “501c3” status, which is IRS speak for tax-exempt. You can also use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search. If you live in the Greater Cincinnati area, check out our blog for four great local non-profit organizations.

Take an Assessment of Where You Stand Financially

Now’s a good time to take a hard look at your income, debt, expenses, retirement funds, college and emergency savings. Are you on track to meet financial goals? If yes – great! If no – why are you falling short? To properly move forward into the next year, you need a realistic picture of where you are now. Put pen to paper and write down all the numbers. It helps to see everything in black and white.

Make a Financial New Year’s Resolution (Or Better Yet – Create A Plan You’ll Stick With All Year)

Once you know where you stand currently, you can create a plan for 2021. Perhaps you want an emergency savings fund. You never know when the furnace is going to go out, someone in your family has a medical issue or there’s a company layoff. Experts say you should have enough emergency savings to cover three to sixth months of expenses. Maybe you have all your financial bases covered but want to take an exotic vacation? Set the goal, create a plan and start saving for that overseas beach trip.

Although it’s a busy holiday season, set aside time to get your money in order for the new year. Once you’re ready to file taxes, turn to Donohoo Accounting Services, locally owned and operated by Cincinnati native, Duane Donohoo. Give us a call at 513-528-3982 to arrange your complimentary consultation to see how we can help find the most deductions possible for your personal taxes. And don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn for our latest updates!

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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!

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Personal Tax Prep Checklist

Getting ready to file your 2019 personal income taxes can be a daunting task of collecting information. But don’t worry, the pros at Donohoo Accounting Services are here to help! The information required to file your income taxes neatly falls into four categories: Your personal information, dependents’ information, income sources and deductions.

Your Personal Information

While most people may have this information ready-at-hand for other purposes, others may have to locate it. Either way, you will need it to file your federal, state and local income taxes. Be sure to have your Social Security number or tax ID number, as well as the full name and Social Security number or tax ID number for your spouse if you are married. If you have this information in written or printed form, be sure to shred the document after your tax preparation for security purposes. Professional accountants take very good care to do this.

Dependent Information

You will need the full names of your children or dependents along with their Social Security numbers or tax ID numbers. Having either their Social Security cards or their names and numbers in written or printed form may make filing easier for your tax preparer. However, as mentioned above, be sure to shred the document after your tax preparation for security purposes.

Income Sources
This is where collecting income tax information starts to get tricky, but you can do this!

W-2 Forms

If you and your spouse work a regular full-time or part-time job, your employer will issue a W-2 Form that shows your earnings and tax deductions for the year. Some employers mail W-2 Forms to their employees while others provide access to an electronic document online that you can download and print. Either way, secure a paper copy of your W-2 Forms for yourself and for your spouse.

1099 Forms

Companies issue this form to contracted workers who earn more than $600 within one tax year. Additionally, you may receive a 1099 Form if you received income from non-work sources such as investments, rental income, prior years’ state and local income tax refunds, lottery or gambling winnings, unemployment compensation or retirement benefits. In addition to the 1099 Form, you may be required to provide additional documentation for income earned outside of your primary job. Your tax professional can provide details.

Deductions

Although this area of tax filing seems complicated to most people, taking deductions can reduce your tax liability and may increase the likelihood of your getting an income tax refund. More than a dozen kinds of income tax deductions can be taken, but the most popular deductions are for qualified charitable contributions, home mortgage interest, educational expenses and medical expenses. While you may receive year-end statements from the institutions that received your contributions or payments, consult with your tax professional for details about the kinds of records you need to provide when claiming deductions.

To help you find the most deductions and keep your personal information secure, contact Donohoo Accounting Services at 513-528-3982 for a free consultation. We have served and earned the trust of individuals and small businesses throughout the Greater Cincinnati area for more than 20 years.

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