Are You an Employer? You Might be without even Realizing it.

Do you have someone come in to help around the house, such as a housekeeper, nanny, or gardener? If so, that person may qualify as a household employee, which makes you an employer. On the other hand, if the worker is an independent contractor, then you’re not an employer. It’s an important distinction because employers have obligations under the federal employment tax laws.

You May Be an Employer

 It all depends on who gives the orders. Independent contractors control how they do their work and usually use their own tools and provide services to the general public. However, if you control both the work and how it’s done, the worker is your employee.

And a Tax Collector

 You are responsible for withholding and paying FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes) for a household employee if the wages you pay the employee reach or go over an annual limit ($2,000 in 2016). FICA taxes generally are split down the middle, with the employer and employee paying equal shares. Alternatively, you can pay the whole amount from your own pocket.

You’re not obligated to withhold federal income tax, although you can — and your employee may request that you do. Federal unemployment tax (FUTA) may also apply, depending on how much you pay your household employees.

If household employment taxes apply, they’ll be added to your federal income-tax bill. So you might want to start making (or increasing) quarterly estimated tax payments or having more taxes withheld from your paycheck. Otherwise, you may get hit with an underpayment penalty.

Don’t deal with tax issues on your own. Call me right now to find out how I can provide you with the answers you need.


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Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?

It depends. If your income exceeds certain tax law thresholds, a portion of your Social Security retirement benefits will be subject to federal income taxes.

The Thresholds

The IRS uses your “provisional income” to determine the percentage of benefits subject to tax. Generally, provisional income includes your modified adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest and half of the Social Security benefits you received during the year.

Individuals with provisional income between $25,000 and $34,000 and married couples (filing jointly) with provisional income between $32,000 and $44,000 are taxed on up to 50% of their benefits. And up to 85% of benefits are taxable for individuals with provisional income over $34,000 and married couples with provisional income over $44,000.

Because these thresholds are not adjusted for inflation, more taxpayers tend to be affected as overall income levels increase. For example, according to the IRS, the number of taxpayers with taxable benefits in 2012 was about one million more than in 2011.

Minimizing the Tax Bite

If you are collecting Social Security, be aware that certain actions, such as taking a large retirement account distribution or recognizing capital gain from the sale of a second home, could push your provisional income past a threshold and/or increase your overall tax rate.

To help lessen the impact of taxes on your benefits, you might consider:

  • Structuring a vacation home sale or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) distribution so that income is received over more than one year
  • Liquidating assets in a taxable investment account rather than a retirement account if it will mean recognizing only a small capital gain or you have capital losses on other transactions that would offset the gain

Don’t deal with tax issues on your own. Call me right now to find out how I can provide you with the answers you need.

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A Smaller Tax Refund Means More Money in Your Pocket

Did you receive a big income-tax refund last? If so, there is still time in 2016 to adjust your federal income tax withholding to put more money in your pocket before your file your tax return. A smaller refund means you’ll have more money to put toward other priorities.

Use the extra cash to:

◆ Add to your emergency fund. Consider saving enough to cover a minimum of six months’ worth of living expenses.

◆ Increase your contributions to your employer’s retirement plan. Be sure to take advantage of any employer match.

◆ Save for a child’s college expenses.

◆ Pay cash for all of your Christmas gifts.

Your employer withholds income tax from your paycheck based on the number of allowances you claimed on your IRS Form W-4. The fewer allowances you claim, the more tax is withheld from your pay. You can change your withholding at any time by filling out a new Form W-4. Just make sure you have enough money withheld to avoid owing a large amount of additional tax or an underpayment penalty when you file your return.

For more help with individual or business taxes, connect with me today. I am able to help you with all your tax issues, large and small.


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NPO Hiring Executive Director

I serve on the Board of Directors of the East Nashville Cooperative Ministry. We are looking for an Executive Director. All of the information is below.


East Nashville Cooperative Ministry is currently seeking an Executive Director to run its day to day operations.

East Nashville Cooperative Ministry is a Second Harvest food distribution site and secondhand clothing store that serves the East Nashville and Inglewood communities of Nashville. Our goal is to encourage and empower our clients to thrive within their families and communities. We strive to do this by creating an atmosphere of Christian love and acceptance within our organization and operations.

The Executive Director is responsible for successful leadership of ENCM by assuring that the mission of ENCM is developed and achieved and the financial objectives and needs are met. Reporting and updates on these tasks are made directly to the Board of Directors. The Executive Director is required to supervise, manage and lead the following components of the organization:


All programs and operations of ENCM operate under the supervision of the Executive Director.

The Executive Director will oversee the finances of the organization, including management of monetary gifts and bookkeeping. This financial information should be conveyed accurately to the organization’s accountant for processing.


The Executive Director is responsible for the public relations efforts of ENCM, including but not limited to the agency partnership, corporate sponsorships, and media relations.

The Executive Director is responsible for managing the development of ENCM by implementing the operative annual strategy and budget. This includes cultivating a growing donor base, researching and applying for grant support, and annual fundraising campaigns.


The Executive Director needs to directly lead ENCM’s human resource efforts. This includes volunteer management, internships and field education placements from supporting universities, and staff development.

East Nashville Cooperative Ministry – “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” – 3115 Gallatin Road – Nashville, TN  37216

615-244-7312 –Juanita McCoy, Interim Executive Director

Direct leadership is required over our marketing efforts. These are: website maintenance, social media updating, and email marketing.

The Executive Director is the primary leader in developing and sustaining church partnerships, primarily through direct relationships with pastors and church leaders.

The Executive Director will be responsible for contributing to the development of the Board of Directors and will equip the Board members with the necessary resources to succeed in their leadership role.

Please answer the following questions and include with your resume:

  1. What is your philosophy regarding the poor/homeless?
  2. What are 3 leadership qualities that you would bring to this position?
  3. Why are you interested in this position?

Salary:  $30,000

Benefits:  $10,000 for health insurance

30 hour work week

Bonus incentives at the discretion of the Board based on fundraising

Please forward your resumes to Dustin Welch, President, ENCM Board of Directors, and/or Judy Wahlstrom, Secretary, ENCM Board of Directors,  Closing date to accept resumes is October 15, 2015





















East Nashville Cooperative Ministry – “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” – 3115 Gallatin Road – Nashville, TN  37216

615-244-7312 –Juanita McCoy, Interim Executive Director

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Documenting Your Charitable Donations

Many people make donations to charities whose work they support, but if you are planning to take a tax deduction for your gift, you must have the proper paperwork. Assembling the right documentation can also be tricky because the requirements vary based on whether the donation is cash and on the value of your gift. If you donate less than $250 in cash, for example, a canceled check, credit card statement or similar record may be sufficient, but if you give more, you will need a written acknowledgement from the charity. An additional tax form—and possibly an appraisal—may be needed for non-cash donations, depending on their value. Of course, the organization itself must also qualify as a charity under IRS rules.

We can offer advice that will make it possible for you to fund the causes you believe in and qualify for the deductions you deserve. We can also help you incorporate charitable giving into your long-term tax and estate planning. Be sure to contact us with all of your questions on charitable giving or any other financial concern.



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It’s Not Too Late to Make a Retirement Plan Contribution!

Small business owners usually have a long list of items on their to-do lists. If contributing to your retirement plan was on your agenda last year, there may still be time to add more to your nest egg and reap the rewards on your 2014 return. You’re allowed to make contributions to an established plan up until your tax filing deadline, or potentially as late as April 15 of this year (or later if you file an extension). You get two benefits: More money in the bank waiting for you when you retire and a tax deduction for 2014.

There are a number of tax-advantaged retirement plan options open to those who run their own shops, with different choices for those who have employees and those who don’t. If you are self-employed, for example, you may qualify for retirement plan options that include the SEP (Self-Employed Pension) IRA or the individual 401(k). If you’d like to learn more, or if you have any questions about your business, please contact our office.


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Stop Tax Identity Theft in Its Tracks

Imagine after sending in your annual tax return, you receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service saying that another return has already been filed using your name and Social Security number—and claiming a refund. Sound impossible? It can happen if you become one of a growing number of victims of tax return identity theft. According to one estimate, tax-related identity theft cases have soared more than 650% since 2008. At the least, this crime can lead to a delay in your refund, but the consequences may be much more serious. In addition, you may face a larger problem with identify theft if the scammer is also running up credit card debt or taking out loans in your name.

To avoid becoming a victim, we recommend steps such as safeguarding your Social Security number and other financial information, keeping an eye on changes to your credit ratings and taking precautions with electronic transfers of confidential information. Be sure to contact us if you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or would like advice on the best ways to secure your financial information.



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Do You Qualify for the Health Care Premium Tax Credit?

Individuals and families can buy private health insurance through affordable insurance exchanges, which are marketplaces where individuals can shop for private health insurance. If you purchase health insurance through an exchange, you may be eligible for a tax credit that will make your coverage more affordable.

The credit is aimed at middle-income individuals and families. A larger credit is available for older individuals whose coverage costs may be higher. The credit will be refundable, which means it can be used by people who pay little or no federal income tax. You can also arrange for the credit to be paid to your insurer in advance so that you have little or no out-of-pocket costs for your healthcare premiums. Are you eligible for the credit? We can help you find out and work with you to make the best use of your health insurance dollars. Call us today with all your questions about health care or any other tax or financial concerns.



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Your Tax Return and the Health Care Law

What will the Affordable Care Act mean to you at tax time? Individual taxpayers will notice they’re asked for some additional information on their tax returns this year because the law requires you to confirm that you have health insurance. You may also receive a new kind of tax document—Form 1095-A—if anyone in your family signed up for coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace. Another development to keep in mind: You may be able to claim a premium tax credit, depending on your income as well as a few other factors, which will either reduce the cost of your premiums or provide a reduction in tax. On the downside, you could owe a penalty if you don’t have qualified health insurance, although some penalty relief may be available.

If you’re not certain how the law’s tax opportunities and consequences apply to you, be sure to contact us. We can help you determine whether you’re in compliance and offer advice on your taxes, health insurance coverage or any other financial concern.



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Should You Report Changes to the Health Insurance Marketplace?

Do you receive your health insurance coverage through the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace? Many who do also qualify for a premium tax credit, which those with moderate incomes can use to help pay for coverage. You can choose to get the credit immediately or to receive it as a refund later when you file your tax return.

Taking the credit up front can help you defray the costs of coverage, but remember that the amount you’re eligible for may be affected by changes in your circumstances during the year. You may end up qualifying for a higher or lower credit depending on changes in your income or the size of your family, so it’s important to report those changes to the Marketplace when they occur. If you have questions about the tax consequences of your health insurance plan or any other tax-related issues, please contact our office today.



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