News Tax

Proper Substantiation for 2014 Charitable Donations

Proper Substantiation for 2014  Charitable Donations

If you don’t meet IRS substantiation requirements, your deductions for charitable donations could be denied. To comply, generally you must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity stating the amount of the donation, whether you received any goods or services in consideration for the donation, and the value of any such goods or services.

If you haven’t yet received substantiation for all of your 2014 donations, you may still have time to obtain it: “Contemporaneous” means the earlier of 1) the date you file your tax return, or 2) the extended due date of your return. So as long as you haven’t filed your 2014 return, you can contact the charity and request a written acknowledgement — you’ll just need to wait to file your return until you receive it. (But don’t miss your filing deadline; consider filing for an extension if needed.)

Be aware that certain types of donations are subject to additional substantiation requirements. To learn what requirements apply to your charitable donations, please contact us.

News Tax

Tax Tip: IRS Requires Accurate Records for Deductions

Tax Tip: IRS Requires Accurate Records for Deductions

Are you looking for ways to lower your tax bill? Itemizing your deductions can potentially reduce what you owe. Common deductions include medical expenses, charitable donations or unreimbursed job-related expenses. If you decide to claim deductions, it’s very important that you keep accurate records and receipts to meet IRS requirements.

What Are Accurate Records?

According to IRS Publication 463, any evidence you use to support a deduction must be “documentary” and “adequate”, meaning it must be written and show the date, place, amount and nature of the expense. Examples of the types of documentary evidence you can use to support your deduction include mileage logs, itemized credit card receipts, bank statements, taxi and toll receipts, receipts for gifts, and receipts from gas stations, hotels and restaurants. NOTE: Credit card statements without itemized, supporting receipts are NOT adequate.

If you’re self-employed, keep the receipts for any business-related expense you incur, no matter how small. If you plan to claim the home office deduction, you’ll also need to keep detailed records regarding your home, including any costs you pay for property tax, rent, mortgages, utilities and repairs. You should also maintain detailed records if you’re paying out-of-pocket costs for your health insurance or other medical expenses.

Additional Guidelines

As a general rule, the IRS advises taxpayers to maintain records for at least three years following their tax filing. If you file early, the three-year limitations period begins on the annual filing deadline. No records are necessary if you claim the standard deduction but you could end up owing more in taxes. Even if you don’t plan on itemizing, it’s still a good idea to keep a paper trail so you can compare your deductions before you file.

If you would like to discuss your specific situation, please contact us.

News Tax

Mileage Deduction: Are you deducting all of the mileage you’re entitled to?

Mileage Deduction: Are you deducting all of the mileage you’re entitled to?

You probably know that miles driven for business purposes can be deductible. But did you know that you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes? The rates vary depending on the purpose and the year:

  • Business: 56 cents (2014), 57.5 cents (2015)
  • Medical: 23.5 cents (2014), 23 cents (2015)
  • Moving: 23.5 cents (2014), 23 cents (2015)
  • Charitable: 14 cents (2014 and 2015)

The rules surrounding the various mileage deductions are complex, however. Some are subject to floors and some require you to meet specific tests in order to qualify. There are also substantiation requirements, which include tracking miles driven. And, in some cases, you might be better off deducting actual expenses rather than using the mileage rates.

So contact us to help ensure you deduct all the mileage you’re entitled to on your 2014 tax return — but not more. (You don’t want to risk back taxes and penalties later.) And if you drove potentially eligible miles in 2014 but can’t deduct them because you didn’t track them, then start tracking your miles now so you can potentially take advantage of the deduction when you file your 2015 return next year.

© 2015

News Press Releases

Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs Announces Team Achievements

Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs Announces Team Achievements

February 4, 2015

Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs is proud to announce its team members who have earned promotions and have passed the Uniform CPA Examination.

“ATA’s mission is to help our clients succeed. Our team members continually excel in the accounting industry and provide the highest quality accounting and auditing services to our clients,” said Al Creswell, CPA and Chief Manager, Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs. “It’s an honor to recognize these individuals for their determination and leadership within our firm.”

These individuals were recently promoted:
Barry Hamilton, CPA (Dyersburg, Tenn.) has been promoted to Senior Manager;
Bill Parnell, CPA (Milan, Tenn.) and Sandra Tharpe, EA (Dyersburg, Tenn.) have been promoted to Manager;
Nhung Nguyen, CPA (Jackson, Tenn.) and Ben Nanney, CPA (Nashville, Tenn.) have been promoted to Senior Accountant; and
Evan Johnsey (Jackson, Tenn.); Kevin Lewis (Jackson, Tenn.); Jenny West (Murray, Ky.); and Valery Lewis (Dyersburg, Tenn.) are now Senior Associates.

In addition to these promotions, Bill Parnell (Milan, Tenn.); Nhung Nguyen (Jackson, Tenn.); and Ben Nanney (Nashville, Tenn.) recently passed the Uniform CPA Examination.

The Uniform CPA Examination is one of the nation’s most comprehensive examinations. Sections covered in the test include auditing and attestation, financial accounting and reporting, regulation and business environment and concepts. To be eligible to sit for the exam, candidates must have completed a minimum of 150 semester hours, which include a baccalaureate or higher degree from an academic institution recognized by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy, with a minimum of 30 semester hours in accounting and 24 semester hours in general business subjects.

Alexander Thompson Arnold PLLC (ATA) is a regional accounting firm that offers a comprehensive array of tax, audit, accounting, and consulting services to businesses and individuals. Founded in 1946, the firm was named the ninth largest accounting firm in the State of Tennessee by American City Business Journals in 2015. ATA has 15 partners, approximately 140 team members, and 11 offices located in Dyersburg, Henderson, Jackson, Martin, McKenzie, Milan, Nashville, Paris, Trenton and Union City, Tennessee and Murray, Kentucky.

For more information about Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs, contact us.