As a PEO, we handle the complexities of HR for multiple companies, so that business owners can focus on their core competencies rather than HR issues and administration; by doing so our clients are able to concentrate on their passion. Human Resources can often times be challenging dealing with the many needs and issues of employees, so how can we, as a PEO, handle those needs without becoming overwhelmed ourselves? HR Strategies recently had the opportunity to write an article about this very topic in the recent issue of the PEO Insider, a national monthly publication by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations.
Choose the Right Filing Status
IRS Tax Tip 2015-08
It’s important that you use the correct filing status when you file your tax return. Your status can affect the amount of tax you owe for the year. It may even affect whether you must file a tax return. Keep in mind that your marital status on Dec. 31 is your status for the whole tax year. Sometimes more than one filing status may apply to you. If that happens, choose the one that allows you to pay the lowest tax.
IRS e-file is the easiest and most accurate way to file your tax return. The tax software you use to e-file helps you choose the right filing status. Remember, most people can use tax software and e-file for free with IRS Free File. The free service is only available through the IRS.gov website. Just click on “Free File” on the IRS.gov home page.
Here’s a list of the five filing statuses:
- This status normally applies if you aren’t married. It applies if you are divorced or legally separated under state law.
- Married Filing Jointly. If you’re married, you and your spouse can file a joint tax return together. If your spouse died in 2014, you often can file a joint return for that year.
- Married Filing Separately. A married couple can choose to file two separate tax returns. This may benefit you if it results in less tax than if you file a joint tax return. It’s a good idea for you to prepare your taxes both ways before you choose. You can also use it if you want to be responsible only for your own tax.
- Head of Household. In most cases, this status applies if you are not married, but there are some special rules. You also must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person. Don’t choose this status by mistake. Be sure to check all the rules before you file.
- Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. This status may apply to you if your spouse died during 2012 or 2013 and you have a dependent child. Certain other conditions also apply.
Note for same-sex married couples. In most cases, you and your spouse must use a married filing status on your federal tax return if you were legally married in a state or foreign country that recognizes same-sex marriage. That’s true even if you now live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage. Visit IRS.gov for more information.
Visit IRS.gov and click on the “Filing” tab for help with all your federal income tax filing needs. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to help you choose the right filing status. For more on this topic see Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. Go to IRS.gov/forms to view, download or print the tax products you need.
Let’s face it the workplace is changing. The way we communicate is becoming more virtual. For many of us even our workspaces are becoming virtual, or at the least remote accessible. As technology continues to escalate, broaden, and develop, so should our ways of working, and learning.
Two technology platforms that are in the works or possibilities in the future that have been of great interest lately, both in the way we work and learn, as well as in the way we live. These are the Microsoft HoloLens and the technology shown in the video “A Day Made of Glass … Made possible by Corning”. Every year there seems to be leaps and bounds in what the future of technology holds, and it is seems that the ideas shown by the above mentioned are not too far in the distance. But how will they affect the way we work?
Looking at both, the biggest thing may be creativity and collaboration. These two items used to rely heavily on in-person meetings (visualize the creative meetings held in the series “Mad Men”), but with a global workforce, or even a nationally spread out workforce, these can often be conquered by online meetings, and document sharing programs. The same can be found true in the realm of training. Using podcasts, webcasts, webinars, and much more. But the future seems to be extending way beyond that. The future seems to be taking what we are currently using and turning it 3 dimensional, thus creating an even more realistic view of projects and training simulations. It may even be 4D one day. Imagine a training simulation on driving safety during hazardous weather conditions like snow; where the simulation is 4D, as the trainee you become the simulation, driving in the snow and you feel the snow wet on your back and slip when exiting the vehicle (all while actually standing inside a dry room)! Yes, the future seems to be filled with endless possibilities to further collaborate and prepare our workforce. But what about privacy? As we well know, when technology grows so do our concerns about privacy and our threats against security. We can be sure that with the expanding technology, we will also see expanding laws governing such.
Click on the links to see the video and read more about the HoloLens!
As we enter the height of tax season, HR Strategies is pleased to once again bring you relevant information from the IRS on tips on Tuesdays for your tax preparations and planning.
Use the Tax Form That’s Right for You
IRS Tax Tip 2015-04
This tax filing season, get things off to a good start. Make it easy on yourself and let the software you use to e-file select the right form for you. Filing electronically is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate return. The software asks questions that guide you, minimizes errors and helps you get the tax credits and deductions that you are entitled to claim. Brand-name software’s also free when you use IRS Free File on IRS.gov.
If you do file a paper return, here are some tips to help you use the right forms.
- You can generally use the 1040EZ if:
- Your taxable income is below $100,000;
- Your filing status is single or married filing jointly;
- You don’t claim dependents; and
- Your interest income is $1,500 or less.
Note: You can’t use Form 1040EZ to claim the new Premium Tax Credit. You also can’t use this form if you received advance payments of this credit in 2014.
The 1040A may be best for you if:
- Your taxable income is below $100,000;
- You have capital gain distributions;
- You claim certain tax credits; and
- You claim adjustments to income for IRA contributions and student loan interest.
You must use the 1040 if:
- Your taxable income is $100,000 or more;
- You claim itemized deductions;
- You report self-employment income; or
- You report income from sale of a property.
Remember, if you e-file your tax return you don’t need any paper forms to mail to the IRS. Go to IRS.gov and click on the ‘IRS e-file’ icon to review your options. If you still need a paper form you can visit IRS.gov/Forms to view, download or print what you need right away.
“Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.” Via History.org
Employee Legal Awareness Day was established by an Australian lawyer, Paul Brennan. The day was created to emphasize the importance of legal education for workers and small businesses to reduce their risk of legal problems. However, Brennan also noted the importance of employees having access to and understanding their employer’s policies through an employee handbook. Though the holiday originated in Australia it is now celebrated throughout many countries. Today would be a great day for employers to review policies and procedures, and to make sure all employees are aware of their company’s policies and have a copy of their handbook.
Call HR Strategies today for assistance with your handbook and regulatory compliance.