Hiring a Tax Preparer? Don’t Proceed Without Asking These 7 Questions First

Navigating the complex world of tax filing is a major challenge for small businesses. With so many obligations, many business owners choose to hire a tax preparer to file for them.

However, it is important you choose your tax preparer wisely. Your preparer will gain access to very sensitive information about your business and its finances. You need to make sure you are only working with highly-experienced and competent professionals.

These 7 questions will help you determine if your tax preparer is legitimate and effective and ensure you receive nothing but the highest level of service.

For more information on accounting and tax specialists visit: https://www.gudorftaxgroup.com/services/payroll-services/

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What is Your Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)?

The first question you need the answer to should be “is this person legitimate?” Well, asking for their PTIN number is doing just that.

Any professional who prepares tax returns should be accredited by the IRS. This means they will have a valid PTIN number. You can check the official IRS PTIN registry here and confirm your tax preparer has a valid PTIN number and is legally allowed to file someone else’s tax returns.

What Experience do You Have with Similar Tax Situations?

Your tax situation is unique to you. For someone that has not dealt with a similar situation before it could be a lot of work. Find out what similar tax cases your preparer has handled in the past and their previous tax-filing experience.

What Qualifications do you Have?

While formal training isn’t essential for becoming a tax preparer, the best ones have some qualifications and professional education. Look for those with a certified public accountant (CPA) qualification, a certified financial planner (CFP) qualification, or those who have completed the IRS’ Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP).

Do You Belong to a Professional Association?

Most professional associations require the preparer to behave in accordance with the group’s code of conduct and set of ethics. If they are linked to a professional association, it could be an indication that they work to the very best standards of practice.

What Records and Documents Will you Need from Me?

Any reputable tax preparer will ask you to provide documents which detail a thorough record of your income and expenses. They should also be able to effectively explain what special schedules and tax circumstances you could qualify for, as well as the requirements for those.

If your planner doesn’t mention any special circumstances or ask any questions regarding your current circumstances to determine what you may qualify for, it could be a red flag that they are not willing to do work required to secure you the best tax rate.

Can You File My Returns Electronically?

Not all preparers are authorized to file electronically. However, it is in your interests to find one that can. It saves time on acceptance and allows you to secure your refund (if you are deemed to deserve one) far faster than through paper returns. The IRS website has a database of all the preparers authorized to file electronically. You can check to see if your preparer is listed there.

How do You Determine Your Fees?

Before you can proceed, you need to know the fee structure. Most preparers charge by the hour but should be able to give a rough estimate of how much the total project will cost.

Grieving and Growing: Dealing With the Death of a Parent

You never imagined this day would come, when your parents left you behind to go to heaven. Dealing with grief at this point in your life was not something you were prepared for and you need a few moments to think about how to deal with it all. You have been so busy trying to raise your own family that you never prepared yourself for something like this. You want to teach your kids about life and death, but you’re not sure how to go about it. You understand how important it is to grieve the loss of a close family member and then move on with your life. The time has now come to start the process and come to terms with the devastation in your family at this time.

The Practicalities

Before you can start to grieve properly, there are so many practicalities to take care of. You will need to organise a funeral, take care of legal matters and even hire local undertakers. You can easily get swept up in all of the logistical steps that you forget how to be upset. You have to put on a brave face and get all of these jobs done, otherwise it simply won’t happen. It’s fine to be on a mission to get everything sorted, but then you need to take a step back and start the grieving process.

The Grieving Process

There is no right or wrong way to grieve the death of a parent or loss of a close family member; everybody deals with this in very different ways. Whether you spend a few days being upset or you throw yourself back into work and push it aside for a while, there will always be a way that works for you. What you mustn’t do is keep your feelings bottled up inside as you will inevitable explode at some point. Speak to somebody you trust or go to a therapist to talk about your feelings in a non judgmental environment. Once you have come to terms with all of your emotions you will gradually be able to move on and start living your life to the fullest again.

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The Conversations

Talking to your children about death can be incredibly difficult, but it has to be done no matter how old they are. Your little ones are going to have questions about where their grandparent has gone, so make sure you explain it in an age appropriate way for them to comprehend. There are many children’s books out there that help you to explain the process of life and death with your little ones, so this might help too.

The Normal Routine

At some point you will need to get back into the normal routine of life, without feeling guilty about smiling again. Once that day comes you will be able to look back on fond memories without feeling sad and upset about the passing of your parent.

Dealing with the death of a parent is incredibly difficult, but if you can learn to grieve and grow in the right way for you, you will soon be able to process it and move on.

Smart Parents Teach Their Kids These 6 Things About Money

One of our main jobs as a parent is to impart enough knowledge and wisdom to our children so they can not only survive in the world but thrive as well. Of course, in modern society, this means educating them on money and finances as well. A topic you can read more about below.

Spending more than you have is always a bad idea.

While our whole society seems to be built on the idea of borrowing money to pay for things that we could not afford to buy outright, educating your kids that spending more than you have on a consistent basis is a bad idea is crucial. This is because if you don’t, not only does it mean that they will get used to a lifestyle that is way beyond their means, but it also sets them on the slippery slope towards unmanageable debt.

Of course, this makes it an essential lesson that you kids need to learn about money. Luckily, it is possible to instill this wisdom in them from an early age by providing them with an allowance, and then encouraging them to save at least a portion of this each month.

Also, you may wish to encourage children to work and save for items they want, as opposed to buying everything for them. The reason being that this can also help them to get into the habit of raising the money before they spend it.  

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Installing a good work ethic in your kids early on can be a game changer.

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The is usually a way out of a financial jam no matter how tight it is.

Another valuable lesson that you need to impart to your kids is that there is nearly always a way out of a financial jam, no matter how serious it is. For example, there are many debt relief agencies out there that can help consolidate debts, something that means it’s much easier to pay them off at a reasonable price each month, which is knowledge that it is essential for your kids to know about, but not plan to rely on.  

Alternatively, there are also loans were someone else vouches for you and promises to cover the debt if you default. This can be hugely helpful if someone is in a financial fix, but their credit is poor. Of course, you will also need to remind your kids to shop around for the best apr guarantor loans and other financial products as well, as some will offer a lower interest rate and other benefits. Something that can make all the difference when it comes to being able to pay them back, and so could help your children have a better quality of life as well as get out of financial trouble if the need arises.

Saving is good, but investing is better.

Parents also need to emphasize the importance of not just saving money, but also investing it as well. In fact, it is hugely important to teach your kids about investing because no other action can allow them to increase their net worth in such a drastic way.

 

Sadly, even now the investment market has become much more accessible to the everyday person because of apps, and low management fees, few people realize the long-term benefits of this activity. Therefore It’s crucial to make your kids not only aware of all the investment options that are available to them including property, cryptocurrency, and futures but also educate them on how these platforms work.

Also don’t forget that as a rule investment is a cumulative process, and that means the sooner your children can begin on this path, the easier their financial future will be. Therefore be sure to explain and emphasizes the value of investing during their mid to late teens so they can get a jump on the competition.

Money doesn’t make you happy, but it can help.

It is also hugely important that as a parent you help your children to understand that money in and of itself isn’t what makes people happy. In fact, it’s the lifestyles, health care, and reduced stress that those with good finances enjoy that is the key.

What this means is that it’s crucial to delineated the quest for becoming rich and yet not spending any of this in ways that enrich life, and doing the opposite. Therefore, be sure to listen to your children’s opinion on what they want to do in their lives, in term of their career, and their goals, as well as who they want to be and adapt your financial education to this.

After all, just recommending that all you kids go into high paying finance positions is a one size fits all solution that is unlikely to work for most people. In fact, at worst it can land your kids in a career that is unfulfiling, even cause them to resent you for pushing them in that direction in the first place.

Monitoring spending is a task that needs to be done regularly.

It’s likely that as a patient you will make an effort to teach your kids that they need to wash up after they have cooked and eaten a meal and that the need to change their socks and underwear each day. However, it can be all too easy to forget to teach them that monitoring what has been spent each day should be a regular task as well.

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In fact, by establishing this as a part of their daily routine, you give your kids the tools to much better monitor what is happening with their finances. This can help them make improved buying decisions, avoiding impulse buys, and stay out of debt. All things that mean this small daily task can have a considerable effect on their financial well-being through the entirety of their life.

Finances don’t have to be confusing.

Lastly, it’s incredibly important that you teach your kids that correctly managing their money and budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. In fact, sometimes the simple systems can work much better not only because they are clearer to follow and stick to, but also because they make dealing with financial matters a lot less intimidating. Thus making this final lesson one that is also crucial to impart to your children.

 

Build Trust in Your Brand for Business Success

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It’s vital for any business to have the trust of their customers. If their audience doesn’t trust them, they’re not going to make any sales. Trust is a difficult thing to build, especially for new businesses that don’t yet have much of a reputation. You need to convince people that your brand is trustworthy through your brand image and through building a strong reputation. If you want to make sure your brand is trusted, you can do a number of things to gain the trust of new customers and make sure that existing customers continue to trust you.

Be There

Making your brand available to your customers is an excellent way to get them to trust you. They want to be able to get in touch with you to ask questions and perhaps even make a complaint. If they don’t have anyone to ask when they need to know something, they might just give up and decide that they would rather go to someone else. It’s important to be available to your customers in a variety of ways and in different places. For example, they might be able to contact you by phone or email, or perhaps get in touch with you via social media.

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Be Transparent

Being open and transparent about how you run your business should help with improving trust in your brand too. Customers are more likely to trust you if you’re willing to tell them how you do things, especially where their information is involved. The owner of Viderium.com points out the new regulation is going to continue to influence how businesses collect, send and store data. Consumers want to know what you’re doing with their data and why you need it. Taking an open approach can help your customers to feel more connected and more involved with your brand.

Be Reliable

Your customers also want to know that they can rely on you. Providing a reliable product that won’t let them down shows them that they can trust you. Showing is always better than telling, so make sure your product is as reliable as possible. Gathering feedback from your customers can be a good way to continually improve your product. They get to have their say and can see that they can trust you to listen to them and follow through on your word. When developing a product, it’s essential to make sure you know what your customers want before releasing it.

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Be Consistent

Delivering consistent quality and service to your customers is a vital part of building their trust. They should be able to expect the same (or better) quality each time they buy one of your products or services. You need to make sure you’re not constantly doing one thing one minute and then doing another thing the next. Consistency is key if you want to build trust from your customers and keep them coming back.

You can’t build a successful business if your customers don’t trust you. Create trust around your brand and you can grow your customer base.

How To Recover From An Accident

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We all often worry about what we’d do in other people’s situations when we see bad things happening. We put ourselves in their shoes and think about whether we’d do anything differently, while hoping that we never have to find out for real. But sometimes you may find yourself to be in an unfortunate scenario where you’re caught in the middle of an accident or end up injuring yourself. You may get off lightly and only have a bruised leg from a potential slip, or a little scratch on the bumper of your car, but sometimes you may not be so lucky meaning the outcome will change slightly, as you may have to undergo surgery or some form of rehabilitation to get you back to where you were before the incident. Whatever your circumstances may be, it’s crucial that you do all the necessary things to ensure that you have covered yourself, and got the care you need.

Here’s what you need to do to recover from an accident.

Get checked out

Even if you feel fine, you may actually just be in shock, and so you don’t feel any strong pain from where you’ve been hurt. When this happens, it’s easy to say you’re okay and just go home. But sometimes, you may wake up the next day in excruciating agony and then realise that something isn’t right, and this could now be even worse than it was because you carried on doing things as normal when really you should’ve been seen to by a doctor or a nurse. So always pay close attention to yourself, and see someone regardless of whether you think you’re okay or not.

Get some evidence of the accident

No matter what it is that’s happened, you should always try and get as much evidence of the incident so that you can back up what happened if ever it got taken into more serious matters. Nowadays with the help of technology being what it is, it’s easy to document everything by snapping photos on your phone. So photograph your injuries and how they may change as the time goes on, photograph the scene of the crime, and also anything else that may be of use to you, like a car registration number or the name of the area that you’re in.

Get the compensation you deserve

If you have been injured as a result, then you should always think about contacting companies like Smith Jones Solicitors that will work closely with you to get you the compensation that you deserve. Bear in mind that if you were in a car accident for example, and your vehicle got damaged, you may end up paying for more than you should. But with the help of a professional solicitor, they will be able to build up a solid case and ensure you’re looked after correctly, and aren’t overspending on something that wasn’t even your fault.

Now you know what to do to help best recover from an accident, remember this if ever you find yourself in one of these situations.