Lisa Horst

 

As a tax professional, I have the opportunity to meet many interesting business people who are participating in very creative enterprises!  One such individual is Lisa Horst, Marketing Distributor for Send Out Cards.  Never heard of Send Out Cards?  Check out Lisa’s web page and take advantage of sending out your first card – for free!  It’s incredibly easy to use and is a great tool for business owners who want to thank clients or for individuals to stay in touch and show friends they are thinking of them!  

Send Out Cards (SOC) was started in 2003 in Salt Lake City, UT and Lisa has been a Marketing Distributor since 2009 in Lancaster, PA.  SOC allows you to create and send tangible greeting cards, inspiration keys, and gift baskets through online ordering.  The site allows you to customize your order and create unique gifts by uploading your own photos and text.  Stock pictures and designs are available as well and you can mix and match to create the perfect gift or card for your individual needs.  The most popular SOC gift is the delicious and decadent brownie 2 pack.  Who wouldn’t love to receive brownies in the mail?!  

You can even send a card or gift while waiting in line at the grocery store!  Just download the mobile app (sendoutcards) from your app store or by following this link, enter Lisa’s sponsor #86486, and begin sending happiness!  Send Out Cards are very affordable as well with standard 2-panel greeting cards ranging from just $1.17 to $1.98 plus a stamp.  If you’d like to see it in use, a short video shows the ease of utilizing the app.    

Customers, clients, friends, and family all love to hear from you and sometimes a text or email isn’t the most effective communication method.  SOC combines photos and your heartfelt message all in one greeting card that will help them remember you, without breaking the bank.  SOC is a GREAT follow-up business tool and personal stay in touch tool! Once you start spreading kindness around like confetti with SOC, you may become addicted!!   


Time to Apply!

If you or someone you know plans to start college in fall of 2018, Federal Student Aid registration for is opening soon.  For the 2018–19 school year, you can apply for aid between Oct. 1, 2017, and June 30, 2019.  The Federal Student Aid website recommends registering as early as possible because several of the aid funds have limited funds allocated.  The Federal Student Aid website is a great resource for anyone planning their college career.  Included is information on who should apply for financial aid (everyone!) and easy to use links to begin the registration process.  

The FAFSA facebook page is also an incredibly helpful tool as it shares details on which expenses aid can be used towards, how to find scholarships you may not have been aware of, and tips to consider while you are still in high school to help ease the transition to college.  Be sure to follow this facebook page if you don’t want to miss out on any current information regarding available aid.

If college is still many years away for you or your dependent, the sooner you start saving the better, as the price tag is expected to continue to rise over the next 20 years.  A 529 plan continues to be recommended as the most tax efficient savings plan for education.  


Hot Wheels, Big Savings!

If you find you’re in the market for a new car, tax savings might not be the first thing on your mind.  But did you know, the IRS offers credits between $2,500 and $7,500 when you purchase a plug-in electric drive vehicle?  Both 4-wheel and 2 or 3-wheel vehicles are eligible, with some stipulations, all of which can be found on the IRS website.  

One such stipulation states that, after 200,000 of a particular hybrid make and model are sold to consumers in the USA, the credit for that vehicle begins to phase out.  The U.S. Department of Energy  has a helpful chart of eligible cars and credit amounts, in addition to further information on the Phase Out plan by sales number.

By helping to save the environment with a fuel efficient vehicle, you may find you can also help save yourself some tax dollars!


Back to School

It’s a great time to get an education about the tax credits, deductions, and savings plans that are available to help you, your spouse, or dependent heading back to school this fall!  The IRS Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center can help determine which of these is the best choice for you:

  • Tax credits can reduce the amount owed on your tax return if you are paying for higher education at an eligible school
  • Tax deductions come in several varieties and allow you to deduct for certain educational expenses paid during the year
  • Qualified Tuition Plans allow you to save for education ahead of time without being taxed on distributions

 

Being a student can mean great things come tax time!  If you have questions on making the most of educational tax savings, please let me know.

 

 


Record Keeping for Small Business

In January I had the opportunity to present tips on record keeping, based on what I learned through a recent IRS audit.  Keeping good records is essential for small business but if you stay up to date throughout the year, it can be a lot less stressful!  My colleague, Matt Landis, wrote “Improving Business Recordkeeping” to share some of what he gained from attending my January 17th workshop.

If you’re interested in learning even more about how to make record keeping more manageable – such as recording mileage for business travel, maintaining calendars of annual deadlines, and managing receipt and expense management systems – please let me help!  An IRS audit and tax time in general are a lot less stressful when you have everything properly organized.


Success!

As we all know well, being a small-business owner is not an easy job!  In “Five Things That Successful Small-Business Owners Have in Common”, Elizabeth Hibbert explores several of the traits that I see in my own small-business owner clients.

  • Small-business owners are required to wear all the hats, while working their socks off.
  • You are passionate about what you do – and this shows through in the quality products and services that you produce.
  • Being willing to take risks is so important.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it!

 

I hope to relieve part of the pressure of “wearing all the hats” and at the same time alleviate some risks through knowledgeable tax assistance and guidance.  I am excited to be a part of your small business team – please feel free to contact me throughout the year with any questions on taxes and how they affect your business!  


Easy Street

Summer is a great time to relax and plan ahead for next years’ taxes.  “How To Minimize Taxes in Retirement” includes great tips on how to make the most of tax breaks for those of us over 50.  

  • Keeping retirement funds in Roth IRAs or 401Ks means paying less on withdraws.  It might be time to take a look at how you’ve allocated your savings.
  • Too much outside income during retirement means taxes on the Social Security benefits you receive.  It’s good to be knowledgeable about income levels and how they affect your tax bill.
  • Are you aware of all the tax breaks available to seniors?  Chances are there are other benefits you could be taking advantage of each year.

Retirement can be a drive down Easy Street, especially if you have a knowledgeable tax preparer to guide you!  My door is open for questions on how you can minimize taxes and maximize gains this tax season.

 


Let’s Get Organized!

As a freelancer you know the importance of staying organized in all aspects of your business, including taxes.  “Tax Organization Tips for Freelancers” has useful tips to help keep your tax documents organized throughout the year and alleviate stress come April.  

  • Having a separate bank account for your business is important and it’s not too late to set one up if you haven’t already done so.  
  • Are there additional deductions you could be claiming as a freelancer?  This article includes a great list of deductions you might not have considered.
  • Finally – how best should you file come tax time?  Whether you file as a sole-proprietor or a corporation is a question best answered by an accountant and that’s where I come in.  If you have questions about the documents your clients need to provide you, what deductions you can take, or how to file your taxes – let me help to reduce your stress as well!

Tax Transcripts With Ease

It’s hard to believe that Tax Day was more than 3 months ago!  At this point in the fiscal year, clients often find they need a copy of their tax transcripts to validate earnings.  Not to be confused with a copy of your tax returns, a tax transcript is required for validating income & tax filing status for a mortgage, a student or small business loan application, citizenship, or other personal reason.  

The IRS website “Get Transcript” link has all of the information needed to request a transcript online or by mail for the current tax year and up to 3 tax years prior.  Requests are completely secure, but to put your mind at ease, I’m here to help and answer questions if needed!  


Is Life Changing? Bookmark this IRS Tax Resource.

Life is full of changes. Some expected. Some not so much.

But no matter what life throws your way, chances are good it will impact your taxes. Continue reading…