Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Three Reasons to Prepare and File Your Taxes Electronically

I love filing my taxes electronically!  I can hit send and it is on it's way!  No stamps, no waiting in line at the Post Office.  WooHoo!

Three Reasons to Prepare and File Your Taxes Electronically

Last year, 2 out of 3 tax returns were filed electronically. Was yours? If not, here are three important reasons to e-file your return.
  • It’s fast Your tax return will get processed more quickly if you use e-file.  If there is an error on your return, it will typically be identified and can be corrected right away.  If you file electronically and choose to have your tax refund deposited directly into your bank account, you will have your money in as few as 10 days.
  • It’s safe The IRS is fully committed to protecting your tax information and e-filed returns are protected by the latest technology. In 20 years, nearly  800 million e-filed returns have been processed safely and securely by the IRS. 
  • It’s time Don’t miss out on the benefits of e-file, 2 out of 3 taxpayers, 95 million, already get the benefits of e-file.
E-file software reduces the chance of making errors when you prepare your return.   However, some people still print the computer generated return and mail it to the IRS instead of hitting the “Send” button.  By mailing the return, taxpayers miss out on some important benefits of IRS e-file.
  • With e-file, you get the peace of mind that comes with the electronic receipt you’ll receive notifying you that the IRS received your tax return. 
  • Virtually everyone can prepare a return and file it for free.  For the second year, the IRS and its partners are offering the option of Free File Fillable Forms. Another option is Traditional Free File.  About 98 million taxpayers – 70% of all taxpayers – are eligible for the IRS Traditional Free File.  Traditional Free File is a service offered by software companies and the IRS in partnership to provide free tax preparation software and free filing. 
  • E-file is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the convenience of your own home. 
  • If you owe money to the IRS, e-file also allows you to file your tax return early and delay payment up until the due date.
  • In 37 states and the District of Columbia, you can simultaneously e-file your federal and state tax returns.
Find out more about E-file at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Eight Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

More Tax Tips from the IRS.  This is a very good list of tips to help you choose a tax preparer.  I do prepare tax returns for clients, but I do more of the bookkeeping end of getting all of the receipts and necessary information into a form that is easy for the tax preparer to use.  I offer my bookkeeping services all year.  That helps you in the long run.  You are able to get your tax returns prepared quickly and easily.  You don't have to wait until the last minute or take boxes of receipts and statements into the accountant's office.

Eight Tips to Help You Choose a Tax Preparer

The IRS urges people to use care and caution when choosing a tax preparer.  Remember, you are legally responsible for what’s on your tax return even if it was prepared by an another individual or firm.
Most tax return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients. However, unscrupulous tax return preparers do exist and can cause considerable financial and legal problems for their clients.  Therefore, it’s important to find a qualified tax professional.
The following tips will help you choose a preparer who will offer the best service for your tax preparation needs.
  1. Check the person’s qualifications Ask if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.
  2. Check on the preparer’s history Check to see if the preparer has any questionable history with the Better Business Bureau, the state’s board of accountancy for CPAs or the state’s bar association for attorneys.
  3. Find out about their service fees Avoid preparers that base their fee on a percentage of the amount of your refund or those who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers.
  4. Make sure the tax preparer is accessible  Make sure you will be able to contact the tax preparer after the return has been filed, even after April 15, in case questions arise.
  5. Provide all records and receipts needed to prepare your return Most reputable preparers will request to see your records and receipts and will ask you multiple questions to determine your total income and your qualifications for expenses, deductions and other items.
  6. Never sign a blank return Avoid tax preparers that ask you to sign a blank tax form.
  7. Review the entire return before signing it  Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions. Make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.
  8. Make sure the preparer signs the form  A paid preparer must sign the return as required by law. Although the preparer signs the return, you are responsible for the accuracy of every item on your return.  The preparer must also give you a copy of the return.
You can report abusive tax preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS on Form 3949-A, Information Referral or by sending a letter to Internal Revenue Service, Fresno, CA 93888.  Download Form 3949-A from or order by mail at 800-829-3676.      

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tax Tip - Choose the Tax Form that Best Fits Your Needs

It seems like I have taxes on the brain!  LOL  I guess I do as I know I have 4 forms to file this year.  One is my Federal Income Tax, a State Income Tax, a Corporation, and an Estate Tax Return.  To keep with that theme, I decided to share the Tax Tip from the IRS on which tax form best suits your need.

To file your 2009 individual tax return, you’ll have to decide which form to use…unless you e-file. If you file electronically, the software automatically selects the simplest and best form for you. Whether you use e-file or prepare on paper, using the simplest form will help avoid costly errors or processing delays. And remember, if you file electronically, it speeds up the processing of your tax return and the delivery of your refund.
Here are things to consider when deciding which IRS form to file.
Use the 1040EZ if:
  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • Your filing status is Single or Married Filing Jointly
  • You and your spouse – if married -- are under age 65 and not blind
  • You are not claiming any dependents
  • Your interest income is$1,500 or less
  • You are not claiming the additional standard deduction for real estate taxes, taxes on the purchase of a new motor vehicle, or disaster losses
Use the 1040A if:
  • Your taxable income is below $100,000
  • You have capital gain distributions
  • You claim certain tax credits
  • You claim deductions for IRA contributions, student loan interest, educator expenses or higher education tuition and fees
If you cannot use the 1040EZ or the 1040A, you’ll probably need to file using the 1040. You must use the 1040 if:
  • Your taxable income is $100,000 or more
  • You claim itemized deductions
  • You are reporting self-employment income
  • You are reporting income from sale of property
All IRS forms, instructions and information about e-file can be found on

Christie Pegoda
SD Virtual Assistant
phone 501-205-4083
fax 888-243-0865

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I love my iPhone!

I am such a dork and a gadget geek! I had been wanting an iPhone forever! But, I couldn't rationalize the expense of the phone itself. They are expensive! However, it was time for me to renew my contract with my carrier and I was going to have to change my location (finally) from Arkansas to Arizona. I was looking at my account online and took a look at the upgrade options for an iPhone! WooHoo! I was able to get a refurbished one for $50.00! It really is a business expense as I will start working for a new client later this month that requires that I have a way to contact them if my computer crashes (preferably by email). So....I bit the bullet and got one!

I love my iPhone! I am having a ball looking at all of the free apps for it. I found one that is a bill minder - it keeps me up to date on when my bills are due. I found one that is an hour tracker. I got one for FaceBook, PayPal, and The Weather Channel. There an app for health records, a to do list, and a spanish tutor. I downloaded a couple of games and those kept my granddaughter occupied while we waited for her to get a shot on Thursday. I purchased one that is a grocery list.

The only problem I have had so far is that I couldn't download iTunes 9 to my work computer. The company I will be working for doesn't allow it as it doesn't play well with their system. But, I was able to talk to a very nice young man at Apple support and found out I could google for sites to download an earlier version. Since I did that, I am good to go! Now my calendar will stay synced and I will be able to keep track of when I work and where!

What's your favorite iPhone app?

Christie Pegoda
SD Virtual Assistant
phone 501-205-4083
fax 888-243-0865

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tax Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

Five Important Facts about Dependents and Exemptions

When you prepare to file your tax return, there are two things that will factor into your tax situation: dependents and exemptions. Here are five important facts the IRS wants you to know about dependents and exemptions before you file your 2009 tax return.

  1. If someone else claims you as a dependent, you may still be required to file your own tax return. Whether or not you must file a return depends on several factors, including the amount of your unearned, earned or gross income, your marital status, any special taxes you owe and, any advance Earned Income Tax Credit payments you received.
  2. Exemptions reduce your taxable income. There are two types of exemptions: personal exemptions and exemptions for dependents. For each exemption you can deduct $3,650 on your 2009 tax return. Exemption amounts are reduced for taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is above certain levels, depending on your filing status.
  3. If you are a dependent, you may not claim an exemption. If someone else – such as your parent – claims you as a dependent, you may not claim your personal exemption on your own tax return.
  4. Your spouse is never considered your dependent. On a joint return, you may claim one exemption for yourself and one for your spouse. If you’re filing a separate return, you may claim the exemption for your spouse only if they had no gross income, are not filing a joint return, and were not the dependent of another taxpayer.
  5. Some people cannot be claimed as your dependent. Generally, you may not claim a married person as a dependent if they file a joint return with their spouse. Also, to claim someone as a dependent, that person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. There is an exception to this rule for certain adopted children. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent.

For more information on exemptions, dependents and whether or not you or your dependent needs to file a tax return, see IRS Publication 501. The publication is available on or can be ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Tax Tips

Since we are in the new year and the tax day deadline will creep up on us sooner than we think, I will be posting tax tips that I get from the IRS.

Eight Facts About Filing Status

Everyone who files a federal tax return must determine which filing status applies to them. It’s important you choose your correct filing status as it determines your standard deduction, the amount of tax you owe and ultimately, any refund owed to you.

Here are eight facts about the five filing status options the IRS wants you to know in order to choose the correct filing status for your situation.

  1. Your marital status on the last day of the year determines your marital status for the entire year.
  2. If more than one filing status applies to you, choose the one that gives you the lowest tax obligation.
  3. Single filing status generally applies to anyone who is unmarried, divorced or legally separated according to state law.
  4. A married couple may file a joint return together. The couple’s filing status would be Married Filing Jointly.
  5. If your spouse died during the year and you did not remarry during 2009, you may still file a joint return with that spouse for the year of death, provided the joint return election is not revoked by a personal representative for the deceased spouse.
  6. A married couple may elect to file their returns separately. Each person’s filing status would generally be Married Filing Separately.
  7. Head of Household generally applies to taxpayers who are unmarried. You must also have paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for you and a qualifying person to qualify for this filing status.
  8. You may be able to choose Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child as your filing status if your spouse died during 2007 or 2008, you have a dependent child and you meet certain other conditions.

There’s much more information about determining your filing status in Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. Publication 501 is available on or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Christie Pegoda
SD Virtual Assistant
phone 501-205-4083
fax 888-243-0865

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

IRS Top Ten Tax Time Tips

IRS Presents: Top Ten Tax Time Tips

While the tax filing deadline is more than three months away, it always seems to be here before you know it. Here are the Internal Revenue Service’s top 10 tips that will help your tax filing process run smoother than ever this year.
  • Start gathering your records Round up any documents or forms you’ll need when filing your taxes: receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support an item of income or a deduction you’re taking on your return.
  • Be on the lookout W-2s and 1099s will be coming soon from your employer; you’ll need these to file your tax return.
  • Try e-file When you file electronically, the software will handle the math calculations for you. If you use direct deposit, you will get your refund in about half the time it takes when you file a paper return. E-file is now the way the majority of returns are filed. In fact, last year, 2 out of 3 taxpayers used e-file.
  • Check out Free File If your income is $57,000 or less you may be eligible for free tax preparation software and free electronic filing. The IRS partners with 20 tax software companies to create this free service. Free File is for the cost conscious taxpayer who wants reliable question-and-answer software to help them prepare a return. Visit to learn more.
  • Consider other filing options There are many different options for filing your tax return. You can prepare it yourself or go to a tax preparer. You may be eligible for free face-to-face help at an IRS office or volunteer site. Give yourself time to weigh all the different options and find the one that best suits your needs.
  • Consider Direct Deposit If you elect to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you’ll receive it faster than waiting for a paper check.
  • Visit again and again The official IRS Web site is a great place to find everything you’ll need to file your tax return: forms, tips, answers to frequently asked questions and updates on tax law changes.
  • Remember this number: 17 Check out Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax on It’s a comprehensive collection of information for taxpayers highlighting everything you’ll need to know when filing your return.
  • Review! Review! Review! Don’t rush. We all make mistakes when we rush. Mistakes will slow down the processing of your return. Be sure to double-check all the Social Security Numbers and math calculations on your return as these are the most common errors made by taxpayers.
  • Don’t panic! If you run into a problem, remember the IRS is here to help. Try or call our customer service number at 800-829-1040.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Holiday are over and it's almost Tax Time!

It's after the holidays! And, the dreaded Tax Season will soon be here! Are you ready? Are you panicked? Don't be! I have prepared a Tax Organizer that you can download FREE. It is found here and is a pdf file. If you need a copy in Word, please email me at and let me know. I will be glad to send you a copy.

I look forward to speaking with you. Your information will remain confidential. I value your privacy.

Christie Pegoda
SDVA, Inc.
phone 501-205-4083
fax 888-243-0865