Author Archives: Stephen J. Ganns

avatar

About Stephen J. Ganns

Stephen J. Ganns is a Certified Public Accountant & principal at his firm in White Plains, New York.

EMAIL: steve@gannscpa.com

BIO: About Steve

PHONE: 914-682-7007

SECURITY AND THE IRS
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
SECURITY AND THE IRS | Stephen J. Ganns

{2:48 minutes to read} Last year, taxpayers experienced more identity theft than ever when filing their tax returns. This may not be an IRS fault so much as taxpayers having had their information stolen some other way and, subsequently, that information being used to get phony refunds with the IRS. I do not pretend in any way to be a security expert and, of course, we cannot prevent all theft, but just as we don't walk down the street with $100 bills hanging out of our pockets, there are some things that you can do to help prevent cyber-robbery.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

 

PROTECTING AMERICANS FROM TAX HIKES
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
PROTECTING AMERICANS FROM TAX HIKES | Stephen J. Ganns

{2:30 minutes to read} On Friday, December 18, 2015, Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, which has some permanent effects for many taxpayers. Whether you are aware of it or not, for most of the last decade, a number of tax credits and deductions had to be reinstated every year. They were usually voted on in December, retroactive for that year, which sometimes made planning impossible. Congress has now made a lot of these credits and deductions permanent. Here is a list that applies to a large number of taxpayers:

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

IS YOUR RELATIVE A MEDICAL DEPENDENT?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
IS YOUR RELATIVE A MEDICAL DEPENDENT? | Stephen J. Ganns

{2:06 minutes to read} As taxpayers, most of us know all about dependents and what defines a dependent. Most of our dependents over the years have been our children, but they can be other family members such as parents, brothers, sisters, etc. Most of us are somewhat familiar with the rules about regular dependents: • You must provide half of their support; and • They must be children under 19 or full-time students (college or school) from 19–23.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SERVICE
avatar


Authored by , re: Miscellaneous, on .
THE TAXPAYER ADVOCATE SERVICE | Stephen J. Ganns

{1:42 minutes to read} Unbeknownst to many taxpayers, you actually have a friend in the IRS. However, let's be specific. This friend does not actually work for the IRS. They are an independent organization within the IRS called The Taxpayer Advocate Service. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is there to help resolve problems. In order for a taxpayer to avail themselves of this service, the following must have occurred: A. The problem is causing financial difficulty for you, your family, or your business;

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT SOCIAL SECURITY
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
A NEW WAY TO LOOK AT SOCIAL SECURITY | Stephen J. Ganns

{5:12 minutes to read} Anytime there's a presidential election, Social Security seems to come into focus in the news. People suggest a million ways to save Social Security: • Raise the retirement age. • Take the cap on income off and make EVERYONE pay on their whole salary. • Eliminate benefits to people with over a certain amount of assets. I, too, have a plan which I think is more fair than the current system, and would also help the economy.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article....

I’m a Service Company and Formed an LLC. Should I Make an S Corporation Election?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
I’m a Service Company and Formed an LLC. Should I Make an S Corporation Election? | Stephen J. Ganns

{2:42 minutes to read} Twenty years ago, your choices when forming a company were basically to incorporate or not. Now we have an entity called LLC. However, the IRS does not recognize LLCs as business entities.

  • A 1-person LLC files as if it were a sole proprietor.
  • A multiple person LLC (or LLP) files as a partnership.
LLCs  and LLPs can, however, elect to be taxed as a corporation, which then puts them into the situation where the owners must decide if they are going to be a regular C corporation or an S corporation.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article.

 

Which Business Entity Is Right for You?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
Which Business Entity Is Right for You? | Stephen J. Ganns

{3:42 minutes to read} Starting a business? What type of business entity should you be? For a small business person, there are various types of entities that can be the vehicle you need to run your business. Corporation There are 2 types of corporations: a C-Corporation (C-Corp) or an S-Corporation (S-Corp). Most small businesses will not use the C-Corp entity because it is simply much more than they need. This vehicle is used by larger businesses that need to retain money in the corporation or wish to issue separate classes of stock or have a large number of shareholders.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

Job Hunting and the IRS
avatar


Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
Job Hunting and the IRS | Stephen J. Ganns

{3:18 minutes to read} If you’re looking for a job, surprisingly, some of the expenses may be deductible. The IRS allows a deduction for searching for a new job, however, as always, there are some restrictions. Some of the costs or expenses you can deduct are:

  • Resume – all costs involved in preparing, printing and mailing resumes
  • Travel –  to look for jobs in another city; also includes local travel, subways or metros, taxis
  • Overnight stay expenses for interview purposes
  • Placement agency fees

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article....

3 Simple Tax Effects of Divorce and Separation
avatar


Authored by , re: Family & Divorce, on .
3 Simple Tax Effects of Divorce and Separation | Stephen J. Ganns

{3:00 minutes to read} We all know one of the most significant, life changing events many people go through is separation or divorce. At that time, income taxes may not be your number one priority, but here are some quick tips to remember as you navigate these waters. Child Support If you are paying child support, it is not deductible on your tax return. People often get confused by this, but if you think it through, it’s pretty simple. When a married couple buys clothing or school supplies for their children, they cannot deduct those purchases, so just because you give those funds to an ex-spouse doesn’t make them deductible.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

Is Your Family Living on a Budget or Practicing “Creative Finance?”
avatar


Authored by , re: Financial Planning & Insurance, on .
Is Your Family Living on a Budget or Practicing “Creative Finance?” | Stephen J. Ganns

{3:06 minutes to read} Throughout my career, I have seen many of my clients flourish and others, unfortunately, not. Whether a business or family flourishes has to do with a great many factors. However, one of the things I’ve noticed is that an abundance of the people who ended up struggling did so because they had very little idea of what it cost them to live on a day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year basis. It’s made me think that maybe I should talk more to my clients about the value of budgeting, so today we are going to focus on:

  • Personal budgeting
The most important thing I can say to you is that you cannot, I repeat, you cannot live on more than what you make. This is very important considering the number of people in the last few years that fell behind in mortgage payments and are far in debt to credit cards. I understand that an unexpected event (disability, sickness, losing a job, etc.) can cause a financial hardship even to the best of budgeters. But living within one’s means will make one better prepared for those life events we cannot control.

Click here to read Stephen J. Gann's full article...

Though Hard to Believe, Children CAN Sometimes Save You Money
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, on .
Though Hard to Believe, Children CAN Sometimes Save You Money | Stephen J. Ganns

{3:42 minutes to read} If you are a working parent or a parent looking for work, you will probably need to pay for childcare. These expenses could qualify for a tax credit that could reduce your federal and state income taxes. The credit is commonly referred to as the Child Dependant Care Credit, but like everything else in the tax code, it is subject to certain regulations.

Click here to read Stephen J. Gann's full article...

Small Business Record Keeping
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Small Business Record Keeping | Stephen Ganns

{3:48 minutes to read} We often get questions at our accounting firm from our clients, especially our small business clients, regarding what kind of records they should keep, how they should keep them, and so forth. Many times with a small business, either the owner keeps their own records, or their spouse/significant other keeps the records. These people may be trained in their own business, but not necessarily in record keeping.

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

Letter from the IRS? Don’t Panic!
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Letter from the IRS? Don’t Panic | Stephen Ganns

{3:48 minutes to read} The IRS mails many notices and letters to taxpayers each year. There are a variety of reasons why this might happen. Here are some things you should know in case you receive one. First, do not panic. You can often take care of any notice by simply responding to it. The IRS notice will usually be about a specific issue on your Federal tax return and/or tax account, such as:

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

If You Missed the Tax Deadline, Don’t Fret
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
If You Missed the Tax Deadline, Don’t Fret | Stephen Ganns

{2:42 minutes to read} For whatever reason, you did not file your taxes on time:

  • Maybe you forgot;
  • Maybe your accountant forgot;
  • Maybe you just don’t care.
Well, you should care, because it’s not best practices to fail to file a tax return if you are required to. If you forgot to file, here’s some advice: File as soon as you can! Especially if you’re getting a refund! Why let the IRS or any state agency hold your money? Let’s say you owe money!

Click here to read Stephen Ganns full article...

Sadly Tax Season Is Over. What to Do Now?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Sadly Tax Season Is Over What to Do Now | Stephen Ganns

{3:48 minutes to read} So you visited with your tax preparer and hopefully they gave you some good advice. Now it’s time to put some of that advice into action. When it’s not tax time, there are things that all taxpayers should do in order to alleviate their tax burden for the next year.

1. If you are an employee, and are either getting too large of a refund or having to paying taxes, you might want to check your withholding.

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article....

Does Net Investment Income Tax Apply to You?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Does Net Investment Income Tax Apply to You | Stephen Ganns

{2:12 minutes to read} As many of you know, in 2013 a new tax came into being. It is called the Net Investment Income Tax. This is a tax on investment income, at a rate of 3.8%, on the lesser of either your net investment income or the amount by which your modified adjusted gross income exceeds a threshold based on your filing status. The income thresholds are as follows:

  • Single or head of household – $200,000
  • Married, filing jointly, or qualifying widow(er) with a child – $250,000

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article....

A Refresher on Capital Gains and Losses
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
A Refresher on Capital Gains and Losses | Stephen Ganns

3:54 minutes to read} Most taxpayers are aware of capital gains and losses, because somewhere along the way they might have sold some stocks and/or bonds. Just to clarify a little more about what capital gains/losses are, and what is reportable and not, I offer the following: Capital Assets Capital assets include property such as:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Securities
  • Home
  • Car
  • Investment property (i.e. rental piece of real estate)
Another type of asset that a business will have is inventory. To clarify:

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

3 “Tips” on Tip and Gratuity Income
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
3 Tips on Tip and Gratuity Income | Stephen Ganns

{1:50 minutes to read} If you receive tips or gratuities at work, there are some things you should know about that type of income as it relates to taxes. To help, here are a few “Tips.” 1. All tips and gratuity income is taxable, whether in the form of cash or other items or gifts such as event tickets. 2. Restaurant workers, the largest group of employees in our country earning tips, must also include any tip splitting agreements they have with other employees.

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article....

Dependents and Exemptions – Get the Tax Facts!
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Dependents and Exemptions – Get the Tax Facts! | Stephen Ganns

{3:30 minutes to read} Basically, there are two types of exemptions:

  • Personal
  • Dependent
Usually, you can deduct $3,950 for each exemption you claim on your 2014 tax return. Most states also give a deduction for dependents. Most states also give a deduction for dependents. If you file a joint return, you will usually claim exemptions for yourself and your spouse. If you file a separate return, you can still claim exemptions for your spouse as long as they:

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article....

Your Rights as a TaxPayer
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Your Rights as a TaxPayer | Stephen Ganns

[Time to Read: 1.3 mins] Did you realize as a taxpayer you have rights? Well, actually, you do. As citizens of the United States of America, who are responsible to pay taxes in order to allow our government to continue to run, we do have some rights. The following are excerpts from an IRS publication, which delineates those rights:

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

Casualty, Disaster and Theft, Oh My!
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Casualty, Disaster and Theft, Oh My! | Stephen Ganns

[Time to Read: 3.0 mins] Many people are not aware, and thankfully so, that in some instances the IRS will give a tax deduction for casualty, theft, and disaster losses relating to a home, household items, vehicles, and other tangible personal property owned by individuals. Casualty and disaster deductions apply to losses from the long-term result of damage or destruction due to:

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

Are Roth IRA Conversions for You?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Are Roth IRA Conversions for You? | Stephen Ganns

A Roth IRA can be a very helpful part of a complete retirement income plan. The tax benefits are wonderful:

  • Tax-free income in retirement
  • Flexible withdrawal options
  • Prepaid income tax for beneficiaries
  • No required minimum distribution
However, until 2010, Roth IRA conversions were off-limits for high-income earners. Roth IRA “contributions” are still not allowed for those whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds $191,000 for married couples filing jointly, or $129,000 for single taxpayers in 2014.

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

Lower Your Taxes While Being a Good Person!
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Lower Your Taxes While Being a Good Person! | Stephens Ganns

[Time to Read: 3.6 mins] As the end of the year rolls around, it might be time for us to take one last look at those charities that keep sending us information throughout the year and actually make a donation or two. I know deep down in our hearts, we all want to do whatever we can to help organizations that do good works for people, but sometimes being barraged with so much information, we just toss the appeals to the side.

Click here to read Stephen Ganns' full article...

Personal Estimated Income Taxes – Have You Paid Yours?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .
Personal Estimated Income Taxes – Have You Paid Yours? | Stephen Ganns

Many taxpayers find that their tax preparers tell them they have to pay quarterly taxes. Why is this so? Well, here’s what the IRS has to say about paying your taxes:

  • We have to pay taxes based on the income we make.
  • We must pay our taxes evenly throughout the year or else the IRS will charge a penalty.
 

Click here to read Stephen Ganns full article...

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals and Families
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires each and every member of every family to have qualifying health insurance; sometimes referred to as Minimal Essential Coverage.  You can be exempted from this requirement (for religious or other reasons), or else make a shared responsibility payment when you file your federal tax return. If you get insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for a coverage premium tax credit.

If you are like most people, you probably already have qualifying health care coverage. But if you don’t or don’t maintain coverage, you will have to get an exemption or make a payment with your 2014 tax return which you will be preparing at the beginning of next year.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

Should I Buy or Should I Lease?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .

Whether it be personal or business, I guarantee that I get at least two dozen or more questions a year from clients as to whether or not they should buy or lease a car. Many of my clients think there is some secret tax advantage to one over the other. I am here to dispel that rumor. There is no overwhelming tax advantage to buying or leasing a car.

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...

Have You Started Your Year-End Tax Planning?
avatar


Authored by , re: Accounting & Bookkeeping, FINANCIAL ARTICLES, on .

Now is the time, before the year comes to an end, to plan ways to minimize your taxes. If you wait until February, March or April to see your tax preparer, there maybe very little you can do. There is not enough room here to include everything, but here are a few common tips that can help. (More to come in a following blog.)

Click here to read Stephen J. Ganns' full article...