How People Living with Disabilities Can Save for Future Care

 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

 

These days, most of us either have or know someone with a disability. CBS News estimates 58 million Americans identify as disabled, making it “the largest single minority in the country.” You might be living with a disability yourself, or looking for resources to help a loved one.

 

Various federal, state and private benefit options assist those living with disabilities. But because benefits rarely cover all costs, especially as we age, it’s crucial to start saving early. That way, those with disabilities can afford safe, sufficient care throughout their lives.

 

Here are some ways to start saving for your future care:

 

Assisted Living

 

It’s never too early to start planning for your golden years. If you’re already within 10 to 20 years from retirement, it’s time to decide where you’ll live later in life. To maintain independence as you age, you might proactively look into local assisted living facilities.

 

Assisted living allows you to live in an apartment-like community for older adults while still getting some assistance with daily activities. In addition to the autonomy, professional care, and community setting, there are countless benefits to living in an assisted living setting.

For instance, these communities often provide prepared meals and activities, and some even have on-site services like barbers and beauticians. When you’re not relaxing in your apartment, you can make new friends while going on planned outings together.

 

Of course, every facility is different, so tour a few different ones to determine what activities and assistance they offer. Prices also vary, and you may want to ask about a pre-pay or deposit options.

 

Insurance

 

People living with disabilities, as well as anyone living with chronic health issues, should obtain disability insurance. Disability insurance is a smart money decision because it helps cover long-term living expenses in qualifying situations where you’re unable to work.

Because the minimum waiting period before your benefits kick in is 30 days, you’ll also require savings to cover a month’s living expenses or more. To determine how much you’ll need, US News recommends asking yourself, “If I stopped getting a paycheck tomorrow, what do I absolutely need to keep the lights on?”

 

It’s not easy to think about, but it’s never too early to start planning to protect your family’s finances. One option is purchasing life insurance which can make up for lost wages and help your family attain financial security should the unexpected happen. If life insurance is too expensive for your means, another option is final expense insurance. This type of insurance covers funeral costs and can help pay off other debts.

 

Personal Finances

 

It’s also beneficial to get your finances in order as soon as possible. Some of the same financial advice applies to all adults, regardless of ability. For instance, it’s a good idea to have a 401K, IRA, or other retirement fund. Use the AARP’s calculator to determine how much you’ll need to save. And if you’re a homeowner, use an online home-value estimator to get an approximate value of your home in case you ever need to sell it to fund future care.

 

To help cover your medical bills, you’ll also need health insurance. Depending upon your income level, you might even qualify for free or low-cost health insurance plans. To make the most of your money, consider getting the highest deductible and copayment plan you can afford. As an example, certain income levels can receive 100 percent free Anthem BCBS health insurance with a $6,500 deductible that charges $200 for emergency room visits.

 

Of course, health insurance doesn’t pay for everything. Healthcare can be expensive, so to help cover costs, it’s wise to save up a nest egg. These emergency savings funds cover expenses in situations like job loss or hospitalization. Financial experts recommend $1,000 to start. Eventually, Wells Fargo advises saving three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

Caring for Your Health
Last but not least, a crucial way to plan for your future is to take better care of your health and well-being. That includes avoiding drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, find ways to reduce stress, and attend regular doctor visits, including checkups and annual physicals.

 

People living with disabilities don’t need to feel overwhelmed about the future. You can greatly lessen the stress if you start with the financial planning early. By using the above resources, you can get the care you need to enhance your quality of life.

Written by Ed Carter

 

 

Dec. 31 deadline for most retirees to take required minimum distributions

IRS Article

IR-2019-203, December 10, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service reminds retirees born before July 1, 1949, that they usually must take distributions from their retirement plans by December 31.

The payments, called required minimum distributions (RMDs), are normally made by the end of the year. Those who turned 70½ in 2019 are allowed to wait until April 1, 2020, to take their first RMDs.

The special April 1 deadline only applies to the RMD for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by December 31. For example, a taxpayer who is 70½ in 2018 and receives the first RMD on April 1, 2019, must receive a second RMD by December 31, 2019.

The required distribution rules apply to:

  • Owners of traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
  • Owners of traditional Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs
  • Owners of Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs
  • Participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans

Roth IRAs don’t require distributions while the original owner is alive.

An IRA trustee, or plan administrator, must report the amount of the RMD to the IRA owner. Alternatively, an IRA trustee may offer to calculate the amount of the RMD for the owner.

An IRA owner, or trustee, must calculate the RMD separately for each IRA owned. However, they can choose to withdraw the total amount from one or more of the IRAs. In contrast, RMDs required from workplace retirement plans must be taken separately from each account.

The RMD is based on the taxpayer’s life expectancy and their account balance.

For most taxpayers, life expectancy used to calculate the RMD is based on Table III (Uniform Lifetime Table) in Publication 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). For example, it shows that for a taxpayer who turned 72 in 2019, the required distribution is based on a life expectancy of 25.6 years. Table II applies to a taxpayer whose spouse is more than 10 years younger and is the taxpayer’s only beneficiary.

The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner on Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information (Info Copy Only), in Box 5.

Individuals can use online worksheets on IRS.gov to figure the RMD. The worksheets can also be found in the Appendices to Publication 590-B.

Often, a trustee will use Form 5498, box 12b, to report the RMD to the recipicient. In that case, a recipient can find their 2019 RMD on the 2018 Form 5498. The 2018 Form 5498 is normally issued to the owner during January 2019.

RMD rules are mandatory for all owners of traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and participants in workplace retirement plans. However, some people in workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMDs. If their plan allows, current employees can wait until April 1 of the year following retirement to start taking RMDs, regardless of their age. However, there may be tax consequences to doing so. See Tax on Excess Accumulations in Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income.

Find more information on RMDs, including answers to frequently asked questions, on IRS.gov.

IRS: Recent legislation requires tax exempt organizations to e-file forms

IRS article

IR-2019-206, December 13, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service said today that the Taxpayer First Act, enacted July 1, requires tax exempt organizations to electronically file information returns and related forms. The new law affects tax exempt organizations in tax years beginning after July 1, 2019.

The following IRS forms are included in the mandate:

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.
  • Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Trust Treated as Private Foundation.
  • Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures.
  • Form 1065, U.S. Return of Partnership Income (if filed by a Section 501(d) apostolic organization).

Those who previously filed paper forms will receive a letter from the IRS informing them of the change. Filing deadlines vary by form type. The IRS will postpone the required e-filing of Form 990-EZ for one year, while optional e-filing continues to be available. Although Forms 990-T and 4720 will come under the e-filing requirement next year, the IRS will continue to accept these forms on paper pending conversion to electronic format.

Form 8872

The IRS will no longer accept paper Forms 8872 reporting on periods after 2019. Forms 8872 reporting information for periods starting on or after Jan. 2020, will be due electronically by Section 527 organizations. These include political parties, political action committees and campaign committees of candidates for federal, state or local office.

Among other requirements, most tax-exempt political organizations have a requirement to file semiannual, quarterly or monthly reports on Form 8872. To file electronically, the organization must have the username and password it received from the IRS after electronically filing its initial notice (Form 8871). To replace a username or password, please contact: IRS, Attn: Request for 8872 Password, Mail Stop 6273, Ogden UT 84201; Fax (855) 214-7520. Organizations can file electronically using the IRS website at IRS.gov/polorgs.

Form 990 and 990-PF e-filing

Under the legislation, most e-filings won’t be due before Dec. 15, 2020, from charities and other exempt organizations that generally file Form 990 or 990-PF by the 15th day of the fifth month after the tax year-end. In other words, Forms 990 and 990-PF with tax years ending July 31, 2020, and later MUST be filed electronically. Form 990 and 990-PF filings for tax years ending on or before June 30, 2020, may still be on paper. In the case of a short tax year or certain other circumstances detailed in the 990 or 990-PF Instructions, the IRS will continue to accept paper filing as its systems are yet unable to receive these forms electronically. More information on software providers is available at IRS.gov.

Form 990-EZ transition relief

For small exempt organizations, the legislation specifically allowed a postponement (“transitional relief”). For tax years ending on and before July 31, 2020, the IRS will accept either paper or electronic filing of Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. For tax years ending Aug. 31, 2020, and later, Forms 990-EZ must be filed electronically. Generally, Form 990-EZ is for organizations with annual gross receipts less than $200,000 and total assets at tax year-end less than $500,000.

Paper Forms 990-T and 4720

In 2020, the IRS will continue to accept paper forms that are pending conversion into electronic format. These include Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, and Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes Under Chapters 41 and 42 of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS plans to have these returns ready for e-filing in 2021 (reporting on tax year 2020).

The Taxpayer First Act aims to expand and strengthen taxpayer rights and to reform the IRS into a more taxpayer friendly agency. The legislation requires the agency to develop a comprehensive customer service strategy, modernize its technology and enhance its cyber security. More information on the Taxpayer First Act is available at IRS.gov.

New law says wage theft is a felony for Colorado employers

T-Sheets Article link

So I just got this article in my email and I thought of you!  Yes you.  Are your employees being paid for the correct hours?

If you are concerned about tracking time for your employees correctly T-Sheets is a great solution.  I use it to track my own billable hours for my clients so that I bill them correctly for work I complete.  This helps me and them.  I bill enough and don’t under estimate and I bill them correctly so I am not over billing them.

If you are intrested in T-sheets please let me know and I will be happy to help connect you to a representative that can set up the correct plan for you and your employees.

 

Go to T-Sheets

As the April tax deadline approaches, the IRS reminds members of the U. S. Armed Forces of special tax breaks, helpful resources

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/as-the-april-tax-deadline-approaches-the-irs-reminds-members-of-the-u-s-armed-forces-of-special-tax-breaks-helpful-resources

IR-2019-51, March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today encouraged members of the military and their families to learn more about the special tax benefits available to them as the April 15 tax filing season deadline approaches.

Most military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the April tax filing deadline. Service members who prepare their own return qualify to e-file their federal tax return for free using IRS Free File.

“The IRS appreciates the women and men who are serving in the United States military, both at home and abroad,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We encourage military families to review the resources available at IRS.gov since there are special circumstances that can affect tax payment and return filing deadlines for military personnel. Lastly, we extend our personal appreciation to each and every member of the military, their families and veterans for your service to our country. We are extremely proud of the many veterans now employed by the IRS, and all of our employees are pleased to serve the members of the military family.”

IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide (PDF), is a free booklet filled with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all the tax benefits allowed by law. Several key benefits are outlined below.

  • Combat pay is partially or fully tax-free. Service members serving in support of a combat zone or in a qualified hazardous duty area may also qualify for this exclusion. In addition, U.S. citizens or resident aliens, such as spouses, that worked as contractors or employees of contractors supporting the U.S. Armed Forces in designated combat zones, may now qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion.
     
  • Members of the military, such as those who serve in a combat zone or are serving in contingency operations outside the United States, can postpone most tax deadlines. Those who qualify can get automatic extensions of time to file and pay their taxes.
     
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit is worth up to $6,431. Low- and moderate-income service members who receive nontaxable combat pay can use a special computation method that may boost the EITC, meaning they may owe less tax or get a larger refund.
     
  • Those who served in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt may qualify for combat zone tax benefits retroactive to June 2015. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard who performed services in the Sinai Peninsula can now claim combat zone tax benefits.
     
  • Dependent care assistance programs for military personnel are excludable benefits and not included in the military member’s income.
     
  • The moving expenses deduction is suspended, except for certain Armed Forces members. Beginning in 2018, active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces who must move because of a military order to a permanent change of station can still claim this deduction. Also, allowances paid to move members of the U.S. Armed Forces for a permanent change of station are excluded from tax.

Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return, but if one spouse is absent due to certain military duty or conditions, the other spouse may be able to sign for him or her. A power of attorney is required in other instances. A military installation’s legal office may be able to help.

The IRS has a special page on IRS.gov with Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

With new SALT limit, IRS explains tax treatment of state and local tax refunds

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/with-new-salt-limit-irs-explains-tax-treatment-of-state-and-local-tax-refundsIR-2019-59, March 29, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today clarified the tax treatment of state and local tax refunds arising from any year in which the new limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction is in effect.

In Revenue Ruling 2019-11 (PDF), posted today on IRS.gov, the IRS provided four examples illustrating how the long-standing tax benefit rule interacts with the new SALT limit to determine the portion of any state or local tax refund that must be included on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. Today’s announcement does not affect state tax refunds received in 2018 for tax returns currently being filed.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), enacted in December 2017, limited the itemized deduction for state and local taxes to $5,000 for a married person filing a separate return and $10,000 for all other tax filers. The limit applies to tax years 2018 to 2025.

As in the past, state and local tax refunds are not subject to tax if a taxpayer chose the standard deduction for the year in which the tax was paid. But if a taxpayer itemized deductions for that year on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, part or all of the refund may be subject to tax, to the extent the taxpayer received a tax benefit from the deduction.

Taxpayers who are impacted by the SALT limit—those taxpayers who itemize deductions and who paid state and local taxes in excess of the SALT limit—may not be required to include the entire state or local tax refund in income in the following year. A key part of that calculation is determining the amount the taxpayer would have deducted had the taxpayer only paid the actual state and local tax liability—that is, no refund and no balance due.

In one example described in the ruling, a single taxpayer itemizes and claims deductions totaling $15,000 on the taxpayer’s 2018 federal income tax return. A total of $12,000 in state and local taxes is listed on the return, including state and local income taxes of $7,000. Because of the limit, however, the taxpayer’s SALT deduction is only $10,000. In 2019, the taxpayer receives a $750 refund of state income taxes paid in 2018, meaning the taxpayer’s actual 2018 state income tax liability was $6,250 ($7,000 paid minus $750 refund). Accordingly, the taxpayer’s 2018 SALT deduction would still have been $10,000, even if it had been figured based on the actual $6,250 state and local income tax liability for 2018. The taxpayer did not receive a tax benefit on the taxpayer’s 2018 federal income tax return from the taxpayer’s overpayment of state income tax in 2018. Thus, the taxpayer is not required to include the taxpayer’s 2019 state income tax refund on the taxpayer’s 2019 return.

See the ruling for details on all four examples.

Today’s ruling has no impact on state or local tax refunds received in 2018 and reportable on 2018 returns taxpayers are filing this season. For information, including worksheets for reporting these refunds, see the 2018 instructions (PDF) for Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income

For information about other TCJA provisions, visit IRS.gov/taxreform.

Tax Time Guide wrap-up: Tips on payment options, penalty waivers, refunds and more

IR-2019-60, April 2, 2019https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-time-guide-wrap-up-tips-on-payment-options-penalty-waivers-refunds-and-more

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers to file an accurate tax return on time, even if they owe but can’t pay in full. The IRS also recommends that taxpayers do a Paycheck Checkup early in 2019 to avoid having too much or too little tax withheld.

Most taxpayers are being affected by major tax law changes. While most will get a tax refund, others may find that they owe taxes. Those who owe may qualify for a waiver of the estimated tax penalty that normally applies. See Form 2210, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates and Trusts, and its instructions for details.

This news release is part of a series called the Tax Time Guide, a resource to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, and the tax reform information page.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their returns.

Checking on refunds

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. Using the “Where’s My Refund?” online tool, taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS receives an e-filed return or four weeks after the taxpayer mailed a paper return. The tool has a tracker that displays progress through three phases: (1) Return Received; (2) Refund Approved; and (3) Refund Sent.

All that is needed to use “Where’s My Refund?” is the taxpayer’s Social Security number, tax filing status (such as single, married, head of household) and exact amount of the tax refund claimed on the return.

“Where’s My Refund?” is updated no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight, so there’s no need to check the status more often.

Check withholding

The IRS encourages taxpayers to review their tax withholding using the IRS Withholding Calculator and make any needed adjustments early in 2019. Taxpayers should check their withholding each year and when life changes occur, such as marriage, childbirth, adoption or buying a home. Doing a Paycheck Checkup can help taxpayers avoid having too little or too much tax withheld from their paychecks. The IRS reminds taxpayers that they can generally control the size of their tax refund by adjusting their tax withholding.

For 2019, it’s important to review withholding and do a Paycheck Checkup. This is especially true for taxpayers who adjusted their withholding in 2018 – specifically in the middle or later parts of the year. And it’s also important for taxpayers who received a tax bill when they filed this year or want to adjust the size of their tax refund for next year.

How to make a tax payment

Taxpayers should visit the “Pay” tab on IRS.gov to see their payment options. Most tax software products give taxpayers various payment options, including the option to withdraw the funds from a bank account. These include:

  • IRS Direct Pay offers taxpayers a free, fast, secure and easy way to make an electronic payment from their bank account to the U.S. Treasury.
  • Use an approved payment processor to pay by credit or debit card for a fee.
  • Mail checks or money orders made out to the U.S. Treasury.
  • Make monthly or quarterly tax payments using IRS Direct Pay or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

Can’t pay a tax bill?

Everyone should file their 2018 tax return by the tax filing deadline regardless of whether they can pay in full. Taxpayers who can’t pay all their taxes have options including: 

  • Online Payment Agreement — Individuals who owe $50,000 or less in combined income tax, penalties and interest and businesses that owe $25,000 or less in payroll tax and have filed all tax returns may qualify for an Online Payment Agreement. Most taxpayers qualify for this option and an agreement can usually be set up on IRS.gov in a matter of minutes.
  • Installment Agreement — Installment agreements are paid by direct deposit from a bank account or a payroll deduction.
  • Delaying Collection — If the IRS determines a taxpayer is unable to pay, it may delay collection until the taxpayer’s financial condition improves.
  • Offer in Compromise (OIC) — Taxpayers who qualify enter into an agreement with the IRS that settles their tax liability for less than the full amount owed.

Taxpayers can find answers to questions, forms and instructions and easy-to-use tools online at IRS.gov. They can use these resources to get help when it’s needed at home, at work or on the go.

Crazy month

So I knew this would be a really nutty month in my accounting business. I also knew it is s good month to add clients. I have tackled some challenges this month personally and professionally and I have added a couple new clients along the way. I am not complaining… I actually am telling you this to tell you that I am very blessed. I don’t do taxes generally for people but I have done a handful for this year because of who the people were or the circumstances they have. Now you are wondering how I am blessed in a time of year where some accountants I am sure make the majority of the fees and also earn a new bald spot and a few gray hairs. (Thank you Brooke for taking care of my grays).

I am blessed because although this is not my favorite time of year or task to do have been blessed to have referrals coming in and people calling me (one thinking I was the IRS) that I would not normally have talked to. I have helped a gentleman know he does not need to file taxes and I have have helped a couple people answer questions that until I did the research I didn’t know the answers too. I am blessed to live in a beautiful state with beautiful people that don’t care if I have tattoos or earrings. I am blessed to have a husband who is supportive of my new life and job.

So no you have not gotten any great wisdom out of this post. That is okay. I want you to know I am blessed to have my clients and referrals. If you are one of those you are very special to me. So don’t be surprised if once tax season is over I don’t try to thank you someway. I promise to get back to bringing you the accounting news of old but I wanted. You to know I am still here. Not gray, thank you Brooke best hair dresser in the world, time should start to change so I can share regularly soon. I really do look forward to that day. Until then happy computing on your end. If you need a good QuickBooks online bookkeeping accountant give me a call. I look foreword to growing my business by helping grow yours.

Bring me your W2s

So I will be working diligently on taxes over the next few weeks. Nope I don’t have the get your money now plans but I do have the ability to do your taxes cheaper than chain services.

Reach out to me today so we can schedule your filing and get you in the cue for when the government starts working.

Kimlarockbookkeeping@gmail.com

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