09Mar
Navigating Your 1095 A, B, and C Forms for 2015
Taxes

form 1095 screenshotAre you ready for the new 2015 tax forms? As a result of the Affordable Care Act, you’ll be receiving, or may have already received, some new forms for the tax year 2015 related to health care reform measures. If you open your mailbox and don’t recognize the form inside as a familiar one, not to worry!

There are three new tax forms that are used as a “proof of insurance,” according to Jeff Reeves in USA Today, that are essentially designed to help taxpayers avoid paying a penalty for failure to be covered. However, these forms are reported on your 1040 return, so it’s important to understand which one you receive and why.  

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07Mar
Internet Currency 101: Bitcoin – What It Is (and How It’s Taxed)
Technology

physical bitcoins on 2 five dollar bills“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

Those were the words of an unknown person who, under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto, in 2009 published a report called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” [PDF]. The premise was simple: Nakamoto, fed up with banks, wanted to create a currency that involved no third-parties and which could be spent and transferred anonymously.

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02Mar
Planning for Long-Term Care with the Nebraska LTC Savings Plan
Retirement Planning

walking on a beach in the sunsetAccording to the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, 60 percent of Nebraskans aged 65 and older will eventually have long-term care needs, and may require assistance. There are certainly factors that affect who will need this long-term care.

For example, between the ages of 40 and 50, eight percent of people have disabilities that require long-term care services, and 69 percent of people aged 90 or more have a disability. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, a family history of chronic conditions, or poor diet and exercise habits, it is important to plan for the range of services you may require to meet your personal care needs in the future. From bathing to dressing to using the toilet and even eating, long-term care is any support that helps you meet the needs of everyday life.

In an article about long-term care savings plans Shane Osborn, former Nebraska State Treasurer, shares several facts that are cause for thought about why long-term care should be top-of-mind, no matter your age:

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29Feb
Enable, Nebraska’s ABLE Program, to Be Operational By Summer 2016
News

enable nebraska logoThere’s big progress underway for certain eligible Nebraska residents: Enable, Nebraska’s ABLE program, is expected to be operational by the summer of 2016.

The Federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law in 2014. Its goal is simple: to allow states to establish their own programs for individuals to create tax-free savings accounts for qualified, disability-related expenses. Nebraska passed the Nebraska ABLE enabling act in May of 2015, and just recently signed a contract with First National Bank to be the Program Manager for Enable.

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25Feb
Tax Relief for Store Improvements
Taxes

store in the midst of a remodelHow much is a store remodel worth?

The answer varies depending on who you ask, but the general consensus is that remodeling your retail or restaurant space will have a positive impact on sales. In the supermarket space, consultant David J. Livingston says a remodel usually brings in a 5 to 10% increase in sales. And, a recent study by Monash University marketing researchers found that store remodeling increased sales anywhere from 7 to 43%; in that study, new customers had a significant impact on sales growth.

Yet despite these apparent clear benefits, many restaurant and store owners have delayed or altogether avoided remodels because of one obvious factor: cost. For these business owners, the up-front cost is too high to warrant remodels or renovation, even if it’s likely that they will see a positive return on their investment in the long run.

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24Feb
Letters from the Nebraska Department of Revenue Reveal Bogus Returns Are Being Filed
Security

sensitive documents in the recycling binWe have seen an increase in letters from the Nebraska Department of Revenue regarding bogus tax returns being filed in the names and Social Security Numbers of unsuspecting individuals. The Department states these letters are informational and no follow-up action is required. However, the 2015 Nebraska returns of these taxpayers will need to be paper filed.

The Department assumes the affected taxpayers will file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS which we recommend in these situations. The Department requests a copy of the form be attached to the Nebraska return along with the supporting proof of identity. If the form is not filed, any proof of identity such as a driver’s license or other proof of identity could be attached. The supporting proof of identity is not required, and returns will not be rejected without it. However, returns will likely be processed more quickly if it is provided.

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22Feb
5 2016 Security Precautions for Taxpayers
Security

padlock on a rusty lockIf you’ve read our previous blog posts on phishing scams, malware, and IRS fraud, you know the importance of financial security, particularly during the tax season. Without fail, scams spike during tax season as criminals invent new and ingenious ways to take advantage of the insecurity and stress that often accompany the months before April 15.

According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, tax scams ranked at the top nationally, accounting for more than 2,000 reports of the 10,000 total scams. Additionally, the IRS says that consumers have lost more than $23 million over the past three years to impostors posing as federal agents tricking victims into making false tax payments.

Don’t let this happen to you. Here are a few of the security precautions that taxpayers and tax preparers can take before the April 15, 2016 filing deadline. Whether it’s a blatant scam or a technological invasion, it’s worth taking a few minutes in advance to save yourself hours (and dollars) worth of future headaches.

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17Feb
How Does Use Tax Affect You?
Taxes

nail polish in a salonUse tax is an important complement to sales tax that can be significant for many business owners and consumers. In the state of Nebraska, use tax is sometimes referred to as consumer’s use tax, or a tax paid by the consumer. In other words, Nebraska law requires that if sales tax is not collected by the seller on any taxable sale, the purchaser must remit that tax directly to the state.

Take, for example, a beautician with products available to sell to her customers. Her shop is filled with rows of shampoo, conditioner, makeup, nail polish, and other beauty products. However, the beautician needs to use some of those shampoos when giving a haircut to Mrs. Nelson, and regularly uses other products that she sells on the racks in the course of providing her services, an important caveat.

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15Feb
What Is Nexus? Common Errors In Sales Tax Reporting
Taxes

old cash register buttonsAs a business owner, sales tax reporting can be tricky. There are constant changes to sales tax laws, the penalties for failing to collect and remit proper sales tax are steep, and consequences can add up quickly. Especially if you’ve been acting according to improper information or an outdated law, it can seem insurmountable to determine which direction to move in.

Here are a just a few of the common issues we see in sales tax reporting. Many of these derive from failing to stay up-to-date on how laws change from state to state or from year to year. The latest information is essential when acting according to the law.

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10Feb
How to Gather Your Documents for Tax Season
Taxes

8265067727_7eda0e7457_bThe 2015 tax season is upon us, and it’s time to begin preparing your returns!

Preparation

The real key to making your tax season go smoothly is preparation. Whether you’re working with a tax advisor or not, well-organized records are the key to success. Keeping your documentation organized will also reduce stress if your return is selected for an audit. Another aspect of preparedness is keeping an electronic set of records, because emergencies can happen any time, anywhere. Duplicate records kept in a different location from the other set, or scanning paper records into an electronic format will prevent the panic that could occur in the event of an emergency. You’ll know that your records are protected.

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Hancock & Dana, PC
Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants
12829 West Dodge Road, Suite 100
Omaha, NE 68154

Phone: 402.391.1065
Fax: 402.334.9498

Email: info@hancockdana.com