Tax preparation tips and tricks
Tax preparation tips and tricks

Tips and Tricks for Tax Professionals

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Here are three quick tips and tricks to help tax professionals manage, enhance and expand their practice:

IRS Tax Tools

Reliable resources to answer common tax questions are worth their weight in gold. Two tools include the IRS Tax Map and the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant tool. The Tax Map provides tax law information integrated with related tax forms, instructions and publications. The Assistant Tool answers specific scenario questions, but does not have 2015 included at this time. While both are slow to the point of timing out, they are reliable resources and worthy of a spot in a tax professional’s toolbox.

AICPA Marginal Tax Rate Calculator

Helpful tools are available to enhance the work you already perform. The AICPA provides a Marginal Tax Rate Calculator to show clients and new staff members the effect of deductions and tax credits on the actual tax rate. Whether clients are in the 15 percent or 39.6 percent tax bracket, it helps to show them their effective tax rate of tax decisions, especially before year-end.

Savers Credit

The marginal calculator is especially useful for seeing the impact of tax credits over deductions, which brings me to a tip to help expand your practice:

You can offer to take a look at your clients’ parents and adult children’s returns to show them the tax saving potential of the Savers Credit. If the child is over 18 years old and five months out of college, this credit can work as an above-the-line deduction and a credit. Code Sec. 25B can potentially save a married couple filing a joint return up to $1,000, when applied to the limit of $2,000 of qualified retirement savings contributions. The 2015 limitations are 50 percent if the taxpayer’s AGI is below $36,500, 20 percent if the taxpayer’s AGI is between $36,500 and $39,500, and 10 percent if the taxpayer’s AGI is between $39,500 and $61,000 (Rev. Proc. 2014-70). Married couples with AGI exceeding $61,000 may not claim the credit. Take a look at form 8800 to determine the aggregate amount of retirement plan distributions that may reduce the credit.

T. Steel Rose, CPA, CPA Magazine

T. Steel Rose, CPA, is editor of CPA Magazine. More from T. Steel Rose, CPA, CPA Magazine

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