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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Check Your Tax Withholding this Summer to Prevent a Tax-Time Surprise



Each year, many people get a larger refund than they expect. Some find they owe a lot more tax than they thought they would. If this has happened to you, review your situation to prevent a tax surprise. Did you marry? Have a child? Change in income? Life events can have a major impact on your taxes. Bring the taxes you pay closer to the amount you owe. Here are some tips to help you come up with a plan:

  • New Job. When you start a new job, you must fill out a Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, and give it to your employer. Your employer will use the form to figure the amount of federal income tax to withhold from your pay. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator on IRS.gov to help you fill out the form. This tool is easy to use and it’s available 24/7.
  • Estimated Tax. If you earn income that is not subject to withholding you may need to pay estimated tax. This may include income such as self-employment, interest, dividends or rent. If you expect to owe $1,000 or more in tax, and meet other conditions, you may need to pay this tax. You normally pay it four times a year. Use the worksheet in Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals, to figure the tax.
  • Life Events. Check to see if you need to change your Form W-4 or change the amount of estimated tax you pay when certain life events take place. A change in your marital status, the birth of a child or the purchase of a new home can change the amount of taxes you owe. In most cases, you can submit a new Form W–4 to your employer anytime. 
  • Changes in Circumstances. If you are receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit, it is important that you report changes in circumstances, such as changes in your income or family size, to your Health Insurance Marketplace. You should also notify the Marketplace when you move out of the area covered by your current Marketplace plan. Advance payments of the premium tax credit help you pay for the insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Reporting changes will help you get the proper type and amount of financial assistance so you can avoid getting too much or too little in advance.
For more see Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. You can get it on IRS.gov/forms at any time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Drought Declaration


Release No. 0033.16

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2016 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Custer County in Montana as a primary natural disaster area due to damages and losses caused by drought that occurred from March 1, 2015, and continues.

“Our hearts go out to those Montana farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Montana producers that USDA stands with you and your communities when severe weather and natural disasters threaten to disrupt your livelihood.”

Farmers and ranchers in Carter, Fallon, Garfield, Powder River, Prairie and Rosebud counties in Montana also qualify for natural disaster assistance because their counties are contiguous.

All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas on April 6, 2016, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.

Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program; Livestock Forage Disaster Program;Livestock Indemnity Program; Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program; and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

FSA news releases are available on FSA’s website at www.fsa.usda.gov via the “Newsroom” link.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Schedule of Record Retention

How long do I have to keep this?!  


We get that question all the time and we've collected a couple great links to help you de-clutter!  Unfortunately there's not an easy answer to the question, because it all depends on what kind of paperwork it is and retention periods can be anywhere from 1 year to indefinitely. 

The Montana Secretary of State can give you information related to business and tax forms submitted to the state.

The Internal Revenue Service offers information for small business and personal tax forms.

Bankrate has created a simple chart for all your personal finance documents.  

Don't forget that at Gardner & Billing CPAs we offer electronic storage solutions to help you go paperless!