Blog

7/27/2016

5 Online Tools for Nonprofit Donations

One of the more streamlined ways to bring in multitudes of charitable donations is through online fundraising. Each year, many nonprofits and charities utilize online methods to bring in funds; however, a pressing issue is finding the most compatible tool to use with your organization.

With the many choices available, it can be a daunting task to figure out which one is right for you. Fortunately, we can give a sense of where to start. Here is a list of five online donation tools deemed “favorites” throughout the Internet based on accessibility and affordability.

PayPal Donations
Paypal has a service that’s designed to assist nonprofits with donations received online. They offer a convenient donation button, which also allows you to obtain donor information through HTML - a feature many other service providers don’t have.

Contributors who already use PayPal will find this as an optimum, but for first-time users, there is an option to make one-time payments without creating an account. The standard charge is 2.2% of the donation along with $0.30 per donation.

Google Wallet
Google Wallet offers easy access to your organization’s online contributions and shop history. Once set, your contributors can repeat donations with simple clicks. There aren’t many options for personal customization, but the Google brand alone is unique. The standard fees are 2.9% with another $0.30 per donation.

Razoo Donation Widget
With Razoo, you can create fundraising pages or use their donation widget to accept donations from your organization's website easily. Like Paypal, Razoo also offers the option of one-time payments. Along with an easy setup, the service charges a 4.9% processing fee per donation.

DonateNow Lite
Network for Good’s service, DonateNow, is best described as an all-in-one virtual donation aid. They offer a variety of benefits such as donation pages, email service, and real customer service.
Users see DonateNow services as relatively expensive; however, they do offer an affordable option with DonateNow Lite. You’ll get your donations page, the ability for recurring contributions, and a transaction fee of 5% per donation.

FirstGiving
From the very start, FirstGiving is optimized for nonprofit organizations. You can combine their services with other tools like client relation management, social media, analytics, donor management, and email. The standard donation fee is 7.5%, but the majority of the fee goes to upkeep of services like managing direct donations, communications, and fundraising campaigns.

Remember: This by no means a definitive list - just a starting reference from what others have seen the majority of the nonprofit industry use. There are many others you can try out and decide which is best for your organization.

After choosing your service and stockpiling those online donations, you can quickly report them on your IRS Form 990/990-EZ with our affiliate site, ExpressTaxExempt.com. Our service guides you step-by-step e-filing the 990 series, and you can list all your contributions at once with our bulk upload feature.

E-filing assistance is only a phone call away - our live experts in Rock Hill, South Carolina, are waiting for you. Contact us at 704.839.2321, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also send us a message any time of the day with support@ExpressTaxExempt.com.


Read More »

7/25/2016

Tax Breaks for Single Parents

Raising children can yield a joyful and rewarding experience. It can be challenging, but it’s also one of the most enjoyable aspects of adulthood - what's even more difficult is raising a child or children as a single parent, which the responsibility of day-to-day child care falls on one person.

For those of you in need, there are assistance programs for single parents. One of these programs comes in the form of various tax credits that are available to claim. Here are five tax breaks eligible for single parents.

Head of Household Status
Typically, a single parent should file as head of household - not only will the status open up child-related tax deductions, but also lower your income tax bracket and increase the standard deduction amount.

If you’re a single parent due to death of a spouse, you can still file a joint tax return for the year your spouse passed, which still gives you the benefits of a married couple. Afterward, you could earn eligibility as a widower with a dependent child.

Dependent Claims

To claim your child as a dependent, the little one must meet the five dependent child test established by the IRS, which includes
  • Age
  • Support
  • Residency
  • Joint Return
  • Relationship
A dependent claim adds an exemption that slices your gross earnings into a lower level of taxable income.

Child Tax Credit
One of the easiest tax credits is this $1,000 deduction for any dependent child you have under the age of 17. With three or more kids, you might be able to reduce your entire tax bill and even claim a refund.

Flexible Spending Accounts
Both single and coupled parents can take advantage of flexible spending accounts, if available with their employer. With this account, you can save a pre-tax amount of $5,000 to cover child care expenses.You can also claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit, which deducts directly from your tax bill for paying someone to watch your child while you’re at work.

You can find more information in our informative blog: Summer Tax Tips for Child Care

Earned Income Tax Credit
This particular deduction can help with a great variety of child expenses. Back in 1975, it was made for low-income workers to compensate Social Security taxes taken from their paychecks. Because it directly subtracts from your tax bill, the more credit you receive - the more you can claim a possible refund.

Remember to discuss your unique tax situation with a tax professional before attempting these general deductions - everyone is different. And don’t forget to visit us here at ExpressExtension.com to e-file IRS Form 4868 and automatically get six extra months to file your personal tax return.

Your friendly, U.S. -based e-file experts are here in Rock Hill, South Carolina for any questions or assistance needed with the e-filing process. We’re excited to hear from you at 803.514.5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also reach us through “the Net” with support@ExpressExtension.com - our 24/7 email service.



Read More »

7/20/2016

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Homes

Summer is fun and everything, but depending on where you’re living, the heat is anything but pleasant. You want to stay cool during the summer months; however, you don’t want a high utility bill by having air conditioning on full blast.

A money-saving alternative is amending your home with energy-efficient appliances and upgrades. And thanks to the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit, you can receive tax breaks on these qualified home equipment:
  • fuel cell property
  • solar water heaters
  • solar electric systems
  • geothermal heat pumps
  • small wind energy property

Home Energy Deductions
This tax break also applies to relatively easy home energy improvements such as installing energy efficient exterior windows, adding insulation, or connecting heat and air conditioning units. Qualifying homeowners making energy changes to their primary residences are eligible for 10% credit with the following items:
  • Up to $200 for energy efficient windows
  • Up to $150 for an efficient furnace or boiler
  • Up to $50 for an advanced main circulating fan
  • Up to $300 for other improvements including insulation and heating and air conditioning systems

Residential Energy Efficient Credit Limits
As refreshing as these energy tax claims sound, there are some limitations to their availability. The total amount you can deduct is only $500 - and that’s a lifetime amount per taxpayer, which means once the limit is reached, you can never claim it again.

There’s a two-year window of time for you to claim these energy efficient credits. If the date of installation exceeds two years, you won’t be able to file for any deductions regarding the appliance.

Also, the availability of these credits lasts throughout this tax year; however, that doesn’t mean it will be available next year. This year may be your last chance to take advantage if you haven’t reached the lifetime limit or not outside the two-year threshold.

How To Claim
You can use IRS Form 5695 to claim your credits and consult with your local tax professional for assistance with completing the form. If you need more time to get your full personal tax return in order, visit us here at ExpressExtension.com. You can e-file IRS Form 4868 and automatically get approved for six extra months to file your return.

Our live, e-file professionals in Rock Hill, South Carolina, are here for you throughout the entire e-filing process. Give us a call with any questions at 803.514.5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also offer 24/7 email assistance with support@ExpressExtension.com.


Read More »

7/18/2016

Got an IRS Notice? Here’s What You Should Do

Nothing can dampen a cheerful, summertime mood quite like receiving an IRS notice in the mail. Naturally, you expect the worst, but a letter from the Internal Revenue Service contains a detailed explanation why you’re receiving the notice and instructions on fixing a problem.

The IRS stresses that you only need to contact them if you don’t agree with the information contained in the notice. If you find the letter correct about your tax situation, here are the next steps you should take to correct any issues.

Read
The first, most important step is to read the notice carefully from top to bottom - each piece of text contains valuable information. If you noticed a change in your tax return, compare the information in the letter with the information from your original return.

Respond
In some cases, the IRS will specifically ask you to respond within a predetermined deadline. A swift response can help minimize penalty charges, any interest fees, and protect your appeal rights if you disagree with the notice.

Pay
If the letter is requesting payment, you should pay as soon as possible. Even if you can’t pay the entire balance, submit what you can. The IRS has several options for online payments, and you can still mail in your tax bill if necessary. Check out another of our helpful blogs for various payment methods: Have Tax Liabilities? Pay Your Tax Bill Instantly!

Maintain Your Copy
As with anything related to taxes, you should keep a copy of the notice for your records. Anything can happen in the not-too-distant future in which you may need proof of documentation.

Contact the IRS
The IRS provides a contact number in the top-right corner of the letter. You’ll only need to contact them directly if you:
  • Have a balance due
  • Don’t agree with the notice
  • Need to provide additional information (only by IRS request)
There should also be an address printed where you can reply by mail. If you choose to write, the IRS asks for a minimum of 30 days to respond back to you.

Important: If you think the notice you receive is suspicious in any way, the IRS has a dedicated “Phishing” page to report such instances. You can also make a report by calling 800.829.1040 - the IRS never asks for your personal information via email or phone.

One of the ways to avoid an IRS notice is to file your return correctly before the tax deadline. But no need to go crazy to submit taxes on time - with ExpressExtension.com, e-file either a business, personal, or exempt organization tax extension to get up to six months of additional filing time.

Our tax forms are made easy and the entire process - including approval - is precisely done in minutes. Our live, e-filing professionals are on standby if you need more information about e-filing extensions. Call us at 803.514.5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. We also offer assistance any time of day with support@ExpressExtension.com.


Read More »

7/13/2016

Too Many Summer Expenses? Don’t Miss These Deductions!

Let’s be honest - with Summer here, neither of us wants to think about filing taxes. But being mindful of the upcoming tax season is beneficial in the long run.

You can take advantage of some tax deductions this Summer; all you need to know is where to look and how to claim. Here are a few business and personal tax write-offs you can utilize while enjoying fun in the sun.

Summer Vacations
Before you go planning a “vacation to end all summer vacations” to deduct costs, you must understand there are specific rules that go along with a tax claim like this - it’s best to view it more as a business trip than a full-fledged vacation.
  • Any huge, unreasonable, or personal expenses are not deductible
  • Travel costs are eligible as long as the primary reason for the trip is business related
  • You can only deduct expenses directly linked to the business portion of the trip - family expenses can not qualify
A local tax professional or CPA can assist with finding the typical and necessary expenses eligible to claim from business trips.

Daycare
While kids spend the entire Summer without having to be anywhere, you - on the other hand - still have to work and may need someone to watch your children while away. You can write off the costs of daycare services by meeting these conditions:
  • Paid care for your child cannot come from a spouse or a dependent
  • The child cared for is a dependent and has lived with you for at least six months
  • Even if the child sitter isn’t a dependent, they must be at least 19 years of age to be paid for child care services
  • Your use of daycare services are so you can work or search for work - any other reason is invalid for tax deductions
Check out our informative, easy read blog for more details about child care tax credits:
Tax Tips for Child Care this Summer

Energy Efficient Appliances
On the Energy Star website, there is a list of appliances that are eligible for tax credits that range from roofs to central air conditioning to windows, doors, and skylights. This deduction serves as a significant plus for those of you who initially planned to install an energy-saving appliance regardless of knowledge about any tax credits. You can find out more about the Residential Energy Efficient Property Deduction from the IRS website.

Business Entertainment
Summer is the perfect time to host company events like barbecues, retreats, and parties. And each has the potential of writing off the entire cost! Be sure to maintain detailed records that prove the event was work-related. Expenses should be ordinary and necessary - not extravagant. Be prepared to report the business purpose, date/place of entertainment, amount of each payment, and business relationship of attendees.

You can find more information with another of our blogs: Holiday Party Tax Write-Off

Seasonal Employees
By hiring summertime workers, you can slash your tax bill as a business owner. Based on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, you could qualify for a deduction of 40%, or up to $6,000, of first-year wages from employees federally recognized as one of nine target groups that face significant difficulties in securing employment.

If the employee has enrolled in long-term family assistance, the credit can increase up to $10,000 of first and second-year wages. Also, with any 16 or 17-year-olds you hire living in an “empowerment zone, enterprise community, or renewal community,” you can claim up to $40 of the first $3,000 of wages paid.

Each person tax situations are different - we can’t stress enough to seek a tax professional and find out exactly how these tax credits apply to you. And if you think you’ve waited too late to report all your deductions, ExpressExtension.com has you covered!

E-file a personal or business tax extension and automatically get up to six extra months to file your tax return. It’s quick and simple, and your IRS Form 4868 or IRS Form 7004 is approved in just minutes!

Call our live, US-based team of helpful, e-file experts for any questions or assistance with the e-filing process. Reach out to us at 803.514.5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. And don’t forget to contact us anytime - day or night - with support@ExpressExtension.com.


Read More »

7/11/2016

Deduct Summer Job Expenses




Summer isn’t all about rest or fun in the sun. For some of you, it’s about seizing the opportunity to make some extra money with the abundance of time you have available now.

It’s not uncommon for people to get a second part-time job, or find an entirely new full-time position, during the Summer. What isn’t well-known is the fact that certain expenses you incur in your job search are deductible tax credits.

Here are some guidelines on how your seasonal job hunt can save money come tax season.

Qualification for Job Search Deductions
As with anything involving tax credits, some requirements need to be met to qualify. If there weren’t, a process such as this could get abused. To claim a deduction:
  • You must have enough tax deductions to itemize them
  • The job must be in the same career field as your last employment
  • There isn’t a significant amount of time passed between your last job and searching for a new one 

Important: You need to meet each of these criteria - not just one or two.

Expenses that are Deducted
Spending money may be the last thing on your mind when it comes to securing a job, but to gain an edge over the competition, you might need to invest in yourself. Here a just a few job search expenses you can claim:
  • Resumes - You can deduct the printing cost for resumes and even the costs for resumes professionally created
  • Career Development - If you attend any career coaching or seminars, you could deduct those costs. Any charging fees from employment agencies are deductible as well
  • Travel - You can claim out-of-pocket travel expenses as long as the trip’s primary purpose is to find a job in the same career field

No Deductions
If you’re a first-timer looking for a job, then you don’t meet the principal qualifications for a tax claim - the same is true if your goal is to change careers such as leaving retail for construction. Any expenses that are reimbursed by a potential employer are nondeductible - that goes for any travel or other costs towards interviews and employment.

As with any situation involving tax credits, the key is to have impeccable records of all your expenses - keep receipts, make note of everything you did, and be prepared to explain how costs contributed to your job hunt. Consult a local tax professional for further details about your tax claims.

Don’t worry about unnecessary stress with getting your tax deductions in order during tax season. E-file IRS Form 4868 with ExpressExtension.com to get extra time to file your personal tax return. Within minutes, you can quickly complete the form and receive approval from the IRS for six more months of filing time - for single and even joint returns!

Call our live, US-based support team in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for any assistance or questions regarding the e-filing process. We’re available at (803) 514-5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. You can also send us an email 24/7 through support@ExpressExtension.com.


Read More »

7/06/2016

Summer Tax Tips for Child Care

Summer is here! And a long-standing tradition of the season is kids being out of school for summer break. Your children may be home from school for awhile, but you still have to work. So like any responsible parent, you use some option of child care service to watch your little ones.

But did you know those services can affect your taxes? In some cases, service costs can decrease or put money back in your pocket. Here are a few ways in which your taxes can benefit from child care services you use this Summer:

Tax Breaks Hiring a Sitter

If you’re paying a child sitter more than $1,900 this year to watch your kids, then you’re required to pay employment taxes. A dedicated payroll system is needed to deduct household employer taxes, but taking the time and effort can yield some generous tax credits.

So to get a financial increase from paying your sitter as a legal household employee, you’ll need to factor gross wages along with various taxes such as Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance if necessary - consulting with a local tax professional can ease the stress of having these amounts in order.
You can also visit our affiliate site, ExpressIRSForms.com, to quickly and easily e-file IRS Form W-2 for your household employee.

Flexible Spending Account
You won’t be able to benefit from this tip immediately, but for future reference, inquire with your employer about a Flexible Spending Account or Dependent Care Account. Typically, you can register for such an account during the Fall or within 30 days of a life-altering event.

With this account, you’re able to use pre-tax dollars to pay up to $5,000 of child care expenses. Because the money is tax-free, you could get a minimum of $2,000 based on marginal tax rates. Check with your employer or a CPA for more details.

Tax Deductions from Summer Camp
Enrollment fees for a summer day camp can go towards the Child Care Tax Credit, or you can use money generated within your Flexible Spending Account. Even if your child attends multiple summer camps, the tax credits can still apply. The only drawback is that overnight camps aren’t eligible.

Important: You may be in a position to benefit from both having a sitter and utilizing summer camps - and that’s fine. But be aware of when your sitter is on and off the clock. You may have your sitter take your children to the camps or even be home watching your kids while you’re there. Labor laws apply to a legal employer/employee relationship and making a clear distinction between work hours and responsibilities is the most professional way to start.

Consult with a local tax professional to have your child care expenses in order by next tax season - if you need more time, you can e-file IRS Form 4868 with ExpressExtension.com and quickly get an additional six months to file your personal tax return. You can even e-file your extension while out with kids through our FREE downloadable Express 4868 App for iOS and Android devices.

Contact our friendly, live customer support team for any questions about e-filing tax extensions. We’re available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST at (803) 514-5155. We also offer 24/7 email assistance with support@ExpressExtension.com.




Read More »

Watch
IRS Tax Extension

Support Center

Chat with us