Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | January 23, 2017

The Best Tax Preparation Services: How to Prepare

Best Tax Preparation Tampa Garcia and Cuadra, P.A.Once the calendar rolls around to a new year, many things must be taken care of. One of the most important of these is filing your taxes come April. Many folks in Tampa choose to do it themselves, but those who want to be assured that they are getting the most bang for their buck consult with the best tax preparation services available. Garcia and Cuadra, your personal Enrolled Agents, are prepared to help you find hidden deductions to maximize your return.

Gather Personal Documents

The first thing you will need to bring with you to your consultation is a few personal documents. These help us fill out the basic information on the necessary forms and will allow us to better understand what forms you need to have filed. For the best tax preparation in Tampa, bring along:

  • Social Security cards and some indication of dates of birth for you, your spouse, and your dependents.
  • Bank account and routing number for a direct deposit refund.
  • A copy of last year’s return would be helpful but is not required if you are unable to locate it.

A pay stub or some form of connection to your Tampa employer and that of your spouse will also help us properly fill out forms. You want to be prepared to make the most of your time, so the best tax preparation is to be prepared for anything! It’s better to bring too much information than too little.

Gather Your Receipts

This is where clients become overwhelmed. Deductions can be found in many places, although many are hesitant because of the gray area they present. Is something considered a legit deduction? If you are audited, will it uphold? Fear not, because, with the best tax preparation in Tampa, you can rest assured knowing that we find and note only 100% legal, legitimate deductions. Deductions can be claimed for the following, so bring proof for your consultation:

  • Education (including student loan interest), child care, and adoption expenses
  • Charitable donations (cash or noncash contributions you make to a qualified nonprofit organization)
  • IRA and 401(k) contributions
  • Mortgage interest and property taxes
  • Health savings accounts and medical expenses

There are many more places where deductions can be found. The best way to find them is to consult with your preparer ahead of time so that you are prepared. You may need to schedule more than one in-person meeting; one where we go over all of your assets and possible deductions, and a second where we actually complete the forms together.

Relax with the Best Tax Preparation Specialists at Garcia and Cuadra

At Garcia and Cuadra, we take care of all of the hard work for you. Many Tampa clients come back to us, year after year, because they know we can find every deduction possible, getting them the biggest return. To prepare for the best tax preparation, follow the guidelines mentioned above, bring as much information as you can, and call Garcia and Cuadra at 813-415-2431.

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Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | December 20, 2016

5 Tax Preparation Tips to Start the Year off Right

Garcia & Cuadra Can Help With Tax Preparation!
As 2017 looms nearer, Tampa residents are charting out New Year’s resolutions by joining gyms and promising to eat healthier. Along with achieving goals and trying new things, independent accountants and financial advisors encourage individuals in Hillsborough County to make tax preparation a priority. Whether you aim to file yourself or want to hire professionals, here are some suggestions on how to prepare for the month of April.

1. Get Organized Early

By starting ahead of time, every process that follows will go more smoothly. From keeping track of payments to finding professionals in the area for assistance to managing deadlines, the earlier you begin the better. Not only will you keep stress levels low, but you will also have plenty of time to triple check your paperwork before submission.

2. Gather Financial Information Regularly

An essential component of getting a head start on tax preparation requires you to gather paperwork throughout the year in Tampa consistently. Whether you choose to make it a monthly event or a quarterly effort, keep track of:

  • Income from jobs
  • Investment income
  • Profit/loss statements
  • Escrow closing statement
  • Green energy credits
  • Alimony paid/received

These materials and more are necessary for smooth sailing, so create a folder to contain them. Instead of digging around frantically come April, opt for periodic organization. If management skills do not come easily to you, hire a financial advisor to get things in order.

3. Mark and Mind Deadlines

Instead of ignoring deadlines, use them as a guideline for when to kick off tax preparation. This might mean contacting your independent accountant or ensuring that your paperwork is in order. Whatever the case, work backward from the deadline to file.

4. Track Tax payments

To avoid overpaying, track any payments you submit. If you own a small business in Tampa or are an independent contractor, you will need to file multiple forms. Most individuals who deal with nontraditional documents (anything that is not a W-2 or W-4) choose to hire an independent accountant so that no stone is left unturned.

5. Enlist Professional Help

If you are hesitant or unsure about your capacity to get ready before April, you can enlist a tax preparation professional’s help. Financial advisors and independent accountants are the way to go because they are equipped to form, organize, and file your paperwork. If something is missing, they will let you know well ahead of time. Make sure to locate them before spring arrives in Tampa because the best in the area will be booked before you know it.

Garcia & Cuadra Can Help With Tax Preparation!

For tax preparation in Tampa, contact Garcia & Cuadra, P.A. Our financial advisors and independent accountants can also assist you with:

  • Retirement planning
  • Litigation support
  • Business entity selection
  • Incorporation services
  • Analysis and forecasts
  • And more!

Keep everything in Hillsborough County in order for the coming season. For feedback on your finances, call 813-415-2431.

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | November 30, 2016

3 Reasons to Invest in Financial Services

Financial Services in TampaSince the inception of the great recession, some people have been distrustful of those who work in financial services and opt to do it themselves.  However, this is shortsighted and to your detriment.  Professionals who work in taxes or investing all have gone through rigorous training and certification that you probably do not have.  It is time to trust again and go with the Tampa Bay pros who want you to succeed.

Financial Services Can Help You Navigate Tax Season

Whether you own a company or are an independent contractor, both have to dance with the IRS come April.  So why not trust a professional in financial services to handle it for you?  Sure, it might be cheaper with some ‘SuperTax’ program because those software packages do run about thirty bucks.  However, how accurate are those packages in getting you the greatest refund?  How much liability protection do they offer you from a random audit because you clicked the wrong box?  Do the smart thing and go with a local Tampa agent whose job it is to do taxes, and have your back if an audit comes up.

Book Keeping Can Restore Sanity to Your Small Business

Running a small business in Tampa is no small feat.  It requires early hours and long days, and an impressive attention to detail. So why would you bring more madness upon yourself by doing your own bookkeeping?  Granted, it is cheaper to use some ‘OfficeBoss’ package suite to keep track of accounts and payroll, but is that how you’d like to spend your time in Tampa?  While you are playing around with unfamiliar software, who is running your company?  And how many hours per week are you spending of your precious downtime doing logistics?  Restore your sanity, and bring in a bookkeeper for financial services once a week. It will save you time and patience.

Look to the Future with Proper Investing

The business owner and individual contractor both have one thing in common: they will grow old.  It is important to have a strategy for the future set up, with savings and investment.  Going with a financial services expert can help you with:

  • Staying on budget to meet your goals
  • Set up a savings plan (for kid’s college fund, retirement, etc.)
  • Navigate the treacherous waters of a 401K or equitable retirement plan
  • Planning your retirement (what age you want to retire at, quality of life)

These decisions should match your priorities. By teaming with a professional bookkeeper, you can direct your actions toward profits.

Garcia and Cuadra: Your Finance Experts

Garcia and Cuadra have many years of expertise in the wild world of investment and accounting.  Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a seasoned mogul, or just a regular blue collar joe they can help you with retirement and more.  For the best in financial services in Tampa, give our office a call at 813-415-2431 to set up your future, today!

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | October 10, 2016

4 Tips for Tax Preparation Success!

We know that Brandon residents like to make money, but thoughts of the IRS and 1040’s can make some people cringe. Tax preparation is essential, but it isn’t everyone’s strength. There are detailed documents, deadlines, and so many consequences if even one particular is out of line. This is stressful, so leave it to professional preparers. The experts at Garcia & Cuadra have some advice for folks filing in Hillsborough County.

1. Get a Head Start

Instead of waiting until January (or worse, April), make it a point to maintain your documentation all year long. That way, you’re not scrambling to locate paperwork or last year’s returns in the face of a looming deadline. If you plan to hire a tax preparation service, do so ahead of time, because prices will rise as the month of January approaches. Also, the more you procrastinate, the less likely you are to get the best in the business. Don’t delay! Start your search early.

2. Consider Filing Online

Even if you’ve never had a problem filing your paperwork in Brandon, you should consider online options. Gone are the days of stamping and sending your papers by post. Not only is it a growing trend, but it is also:

  • Convenient
  • Immediate
  • Organized
  • Environment-friendly

No more tracking down loose papers to misplaced W2s. Once you’ve entered your personal information, it is stored and saved until you’re ready to submit. Once you do, you have the knowledge that your input was immediately received. By mail, you cannot guarantee that your envelope will arrive on time or at all. Save the expense of a stamp and go paperless!

3. File for a Direct Deposit

People overlook return specifications when it comes to tax preparation, and some individuals in Brandon are attached to the idea of receiving a check in the mail. However, a direct deposit is far more efficient, and you’ll likely get it sooner than by mail. Who doesn’t want to get their return earlier? Release your past habits and embrace the forward movement of direct deposits!

4. Choose Garcia and Cuadra for Tax Preparation

Perhaps the most beneficial choice Hillsborough County residents can make would be hiring professional preparers to ease the load. Your life is full in Brandon, and the ins and outs of tax preparation are complicated. Don’t let stress mount as the due date looms nearer. If you miss one blank or write down the wrong amount, you could suffer the consequences under the sharp eye of the IRS. Instead, get ahead by calling 813-415-2431 to set up a consultation with Garcia & Cuadra. We will complete the paperwork correctly and do so well ahead of schedule!

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | September 15, 2016

Is a Bookkeeping Service Right For My Company?

Tampa Bookkeeping ServicesBefore the question of whether or not a booking service is best for your company can be answered, a few terms must be defined. An accountant is typically used primarily for tax time and for the long game; to plan the financial success of your business through smart analysis of data and cash flow. A bookkeeper handles the day to day expenditures of a business and can help manage accounts and make sure bills are paid on time and help keep accounts separate. In this article, the argument will be made for businesses, especially in the Brandon and Tampa bay area, to use a bookkeeping service and what benefits they may convey.

“I Like To Do My Own Bookkeeping Service”

It is true that in this digital age there are a lot of software programs out for small business owners to purchase to manage their own expenditures and even do their own taxes at the end of the year. Those software packages are being sold to small business owners as a cheaper alternative to a traditional bookkeeping service, or as some misguided sense of pride that they do not need to hire people to do something they can do themselves. Consider the following services provided by bookkeepers in the Brandon and greater Tampa area:

  • Manage the day-to-day expenditures of a business
  • Compile and organize a report of all expenses
  • Ensure bills are cataloged and paid on time
  • Set up new employees on payroll & payroll management

Outsourced Bookkeeping is Cost Effective

Small businesses have some of the highest failure rates, especially in the first three years, so it is imperative to manage their cash flow properly, and that means using a proper bookkeeping service locally available in Brandon and the greater Tampa area. Ah, but how much is the cost? Well it depends on the business; most small businesses use a contracted bookkeeper to come in once a week to manage the accounts for a few hours. The fee may come in hourly or a flat rate depending on the person. However it should also bear mentioning that if you do go with a bookkeeping service, and they are in the office more than once a week it may be more cost effective to just hire a bookkeeper in-house

If You Have A Large Staff Of Employees

One of the largest overheads of a business is labor, also known as paying your employees. True, there are software packages small businesses can use to keep track of payroll but does it account for taxes? Will it help new employees set up their deductibles for the year? In addition to managing expenses and paying bills, a bookkeeping service will help will adding new employees to the payroll as well as managing existing employees on the payroll as well as deal with any pay discrepancies that inevitably arise with things like overtime and if a business lacks a bookkeeper then it becomes the owners’ problem.

Garcia & Cuadra: Your Bookkeeping Experts

For the best bookkeeping services in Brandon or Tampa, along with accounting, why not consider Garcia & Cuadra and for a reasonable amount let the professionals deal with it and you focus on running your business?

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | August 16, 2016

Estate Planning Tips and Tricks

Estate Planning Tips and TricksWhen most people hear the words “estate planning” they either cringe, or try to change the subject. Sure, you may not think of it as the most thrilling of topics to discuss, but it is something that everyone needs to talk about at some point. Sooner is better than later because it is better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best than to pretend nothing bad can happen in Tampa. Read on to discover some tips and tricks for making this process easier.

1. Take Account of Your Estate

Though you may think an estate is a large, stately home in the countryside, it also means everything you own. Your assets do include any owned property, but they include other things, too, such as cars, boats, checking and savings accounts, investments, and personal possessions. Before you jump into the estate planning process, try to create a list of the financially valuable belongings in your name. Many Tampa residents forget to include things like life insurance, IRAs, and even jewelry. Consult with a professional to make sure you cover all of your bases.

2. Consider a Revocable Living Trust

A will provides instructions for dividing up your property once you are no longer alive or in a state to control it, and it does not necessarily preclude the probate process. For effective estate planning that avoids the probate process, consider a revocable living trust. This is “revocable” because you can change it during your lifetime if you change your mind about something or come into new circumstances. The document will need to be signed by the trust maker and a notary official, and you will need to name all of your property in Tampa and the trustee who will take care of it once you have passed.

3. Enlist the Help of an Estate Planning Professional

When you are not sure about what estate planning measures are best for you, calling in the assistance of a professional is the best move. The law is tricky, and you do not want to think you are set only to leave a complicated mess for your beneficiaries when the time comes. In Tampa, Garcia and Cuadra, P.A. is the independent accountant and tax advisor service you can rely on. We have helped Tampa residents with their estate planning preparation for many years and have caught many mistakes that have saved people a lot of stress. It is never too early– give us a call today to prepare at (813) 415-2431.

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | April 25, 2016

How To Prepare with Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning SolutionsLet’s face it—retirement planning can be overwhelming and difficult. However, if it’s done properly, carefully preparing in advance will be your key to a stress-free, enjoyable retirement in Tampa—exactly what you dreamt it could and should be.

When Should I Start Retirement Planning?

No time is too early when it comes to retirement planning in Tampa. Think about it this way—the sooner you start saving, the more money you will have in the long run (provided you can afford to save, that is). For example, if you start saving:

  • $20,000/year at the age of 30, you will have $700,000 saved by age 65.
  • $20,000/year at the age of 35, you will have $600,000 saved by age 65.

Similarly, for some, beginning to save later on in life, but saving more money per year, may be a more sensible option. For example, if you start saving:

  • $25,000/year at the age of 35, you will have $750,000 saved by age 65.
  • $25,000/year at the age of 40, you will have $625,000 saved by age 65.

How Much Money Is Enough?

The amount of money you will need for retirement in Tampa is entirely unique to you, your needs, and your lifestyle. However, most advisors suggest retirees replace around 80 to 85% of their income during the first year of retirement. For the sake of responsible retirement planning, is important to keep in mind, life can be expensive—not to mention the cost of additional assistance and care, if needed.

In Tampa, and in the entire state of Florida, there is no state income tax, no inheritance tax, and a number of other tax breaks, too, like real estate exemptions. For those reasons, Florida is often considered to be one of the best states in which to retire.

What Can I Expect from Social Security Benefits?

As of January 2016, the average Social Security benefit for a retired person was $1,341/month (or $16,092/year), according to GO Banking Rates.

When it comes to retirement planning, it’s crucial to know what you can expect, and what you can plan for. Current data from the National Academy of Social Insurance reveals early Social Security benefits are available starting at age 62, although they are reduced. Furthermore, the full benefit age is 66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1964, although for those born after 1960, the full benefit age will rise to 67.

Garcia and Cuadra: Your Retirement Planning Experts

At Garcia and Cuadra, we are dedicated to helping you make the most educated decisions, when it comes to your financial planning. If you are living in the Tampa area, and need help with retirement planning—from budgeting, to looking at investment options, to establishing a timeline—give us a call today at 813-415-2431.

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | March 11, 2016

The 3 Benefits of Tax Advisors

Tax Advisors TampaMany people are opting to hire professional tax advisors this year. Tampa residents tend feel hurried during the three and a half month period as they gather papers and file documents. Sure, there are useful software programs and numerous blog posts on the subject of return preparation, but these cannot promise to help you avoid mistakes while saving time and money.

Avoid Mistakes

Anxiety can mount at the mention of April 15th, but it doesn’t have to rule your thinking for the first quarter of the year— you have other responsibilities and values that deserve your energy. By hiring a tax advisor, you can help reduce your stress and avoid mistakes. They know what to look for, so oversights aren’t even an option. Too often, an individual in Tampa will file their paperwork after failing to note additional income or forget to sign the document. Mistakes like these can lead to headaches for you and unwanted attention from the IRS. Penalties are given for:

  • Filing after the deadline
  • Mathematical errors
  • Inapplicable charitable donations
  • Self-employment oversights

A single snafu can result in an audit, so triple-check your taxable contributions and consider hiring a pro to assist you with this tedious process.

Save Time and Money

Life is full in Tampa, and your time is valuable. Do you want to spend it filing federal and state documentation? While a handful of people may enjoy the challenge, most view it as an obligation or a necessary evil. With professional return preparation, you gain hours, and you increase the opportunity to discover potential deductions and credits. Detailed situations, like changes in marital status or trust fund transactions, are unfamiliar to most. Without the expertise of a seasoned tax advisor, you could miss out on potential profit and savings.

Garcia and Cuadra: Tax Advisors

With the help of trusted tax advisors, you minimize the opportunity for mistakes and anxiety. The team at Garcia and Cuadra will help you understand the filing process while taking on the full brunt of the responsibility. You can rest easy knowing your paperwork will be filed correctly in a timely fashion. In addition to return preparation, we offer services to individuals and commercial businesses in Tampa, like accounting and bookkeeping. Contact us by calling 813-415-2431 to learn more!

Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | February 19, 2016

Classification of Workers: Employee Vs. Independent Contractor (Part 2 of 2)

Employee Vs. Independent ContractorThere are avenues of relief when an employer has misclassified workers when doing the hiring and staffing in their business.   Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 provides safe harbors under which a business can take refuge when there is no statutory designation for the worker.  The requirements are:

  1. The employer must not have treated the worker, or any other individual holding a substantially similar position, as an employee for any period, and
  2. The employer filed all required federal tax returns, including information returns (Forms 1099MISC) for the worker for all periods after 1978 on a basis consistent with treating the worker as an independent contractor.

The safe harbor will not apply if the business or its predecessor has treated any other worker holding a substantial similar position as an employee for employment tax purposes for any period beginning after 1997.   A business must also have a reasonable basis for treating an individual as an independent contractor.  Under Section 530, “reasonable basis” exists if any one of the following items exists when characterizing a worker:

  1. Judicial precedent, published IRS rulings, technical advice with respect to the taxpayer, or a private IRS letter ruling to the taxpayer (the judicial precedent safe harbor).
  2. Long-standing, recognized practice of a significant segment of the industry in which the worker was engaged (industry practices safe harbor), or
  3. A past IRS audit of the business in which there was no assessment attributable to the treatment (for employment tax purposes) of the individual holding positions substantially similar to the position held by this individual (the prior audit safe harbor).

Another avenue of relief from paying back payroll taxes and penalties to the taxing authorities is available under the Voluntary Classification Settlement Program.  This is an optional program that provides taxpayers with an opportunity to reclassify their workers as employees for future tax periods for employment tax purposes with partial relief from federal employment taxes for those who agree to prospectively treat their workers (or a class or group of workers) as employees.  To participate in this new voluntary program, the taxpayer must meet certain eligibility requirement, apply to participate by filing IRS Form 8952, Application for Voluntary Classification Settlement Program, and enter into a closing agreement with the IRS.  The eligibility requirements include:

  1. The taxpayer must have consistently treated the workers as independent contractors.
  2. The taxpayer must have filed all required Form 1099MISC for the workers to be reclassified under the VSCP for the previous three years to participate.
  3. The taxpayer cannot currently be under employment tax audit by the IRS, the Department of Labor, or by a state government agency.
  4. The taxpayer participating in the VSCP must agree to prospectively treat the class of workers as employees for future periods.

In exchange for this relief (once all requirements are met to qualify under this program), the taxpayer will:

  • Pay only 10% of the employment tax liability that would have been due on compensation paid for the workers for the most recent tax years had the employer been audited on the subject by the IRS.
  • Not be liable for any interest and penalties on the amount; and
  • Not be subject to an employment tax audit with respect to the worker classification of the workers being reclassified under the VCSP for prior years.
Posted by: Garcia & Cuadra, PA | January 13, 2016

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