In addition to these base amounts, those who are 65 or older or are blind get to take additional amounts as a standard deduction. For those who are married, the added amount is $1,300, while singles get to add $1,650. These added amounts are the same for 2020 as they were in 2019. If you're 65 or older and blind, then you can boost your standard deduction by double the relevant amount. Moreover, for joint filers, each spouse has an opportunity to get these added amounts. So married couples in which both spouses are over 65 and are blind would see their standard deduction increase by $5,200 -- or $1,300 times four.
Finally, a few aspects of gift and estate tax planning will see some changes in 2019. The federal estate tax lifetime exclusion amount will rise to $11.58 million in 2020, up from $11.4 million in 2019. However, annual gift tax exclusion amounts of $15,000 remain in place and unchanged for 2020, and the traditional exemptions from gift and estate tax -- including transfers to spouses and charities as well as amounts paid toward educational or medical costs -- are also still available.

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world. Follow @DanCaplinger Follow @DanCaplinger


Professional accounting qualifications include the Chartered Accountant designations and other qualifications including certificates and diplomas.[59] In Scotland, chartered accountants of ICAS undergo Continuous Professional Development and abide by the ICAS code of ethics.[60] In England and Wales, chartered accountants of the ICAEW undergo annual training, and are bound by the ICAEW's code of ethics and subject to its disciplinary procedures.[61]
If you use accounting software, it likely performs many of these steps automatically. Once income and expense items are identified and entered into the software, the system updates the accounts and general ledger. Users can run reports directly from the system. A quarterly or annual audit of the entire general ledger can reveal any accounts of out balance that must be corrected through adjusted entries.
529 plans let you set aside money toward educational costs in accounts that generate tax-free income. As long as you use the money for qualifying expenses, then you'll never pay tax on the money. With generous contribution limits that in most states are well into six figures, these accounts offer a substantial amount of flexibility with no income-based restrictions on their use.

Coverdell ESAs have similar features to 529 plans, offering tax-free growth on investments toward educational costs. However, Coverdells have advantages and disadvantages compared to 529 plans. You're free to invest Coverdell money in nearly any type of investment you want, but annual contributions are limited to $2,000. Moreover, income limits of $95,000 to $110,000 for single filers and $190,000 to $220,000 for joint filers apply to reduce or eliminate the ability to make Coverdell contributions.

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At least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for most accountant and auditor job positions, and some employers prefer applicants with a master's degree.[54] A degree in accounting may also be required for, or may be used to fulfill the requirements for, membership to professional accounting bodies. For example, the education during an accounting degree can be used to fulfill the American Institute of CPA's (AICPA) 150 semester hour requirement,[55] and associate membership with the Certified Public Accountants Association of the UK is available after gaining a degree in finance or accounting.[56]

The cost principle states that assets must be recorded on the date they are acquired, and at the amount for which they were acquired (regardless of whether they change in value over time). For example, the hospital records the value of the purchased medical equipment at the precise value it paid for them on May 1, despite the fact that such equipment depreciates over time.

Navigating through all the details involved with tax preparation can be a difficult task for any business owner. Ease your tax burden with the help of a professional throughout the year. Franklin P. Sparkman can help businesses minimize their tax liability while also deferring expenses and income that could enable business to pay less in taxes. A reduction in annual income taxes is also a positive for any business as Franklin P. Sparkman continues to assist the following businesses:


Professional accounting bodies include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the other 179 members of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC),[44] including Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS), Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), CPA Australia, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Professional bodies for subfields of the accounting professions also exist, for example the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in the UK and Institute of management accountants in the United States.[45] Many of these professional bodies offer education and training including qualification and administration for various accounting designations, such as certified public accountant (AICPA) and chartered accountant.[46][47]
One key tax planning strategy is to keep track of your itemized expenses throughout the year using a spreadsheet or personal finance program. You can then quickly compare your itemized expenses with your standard deduction. You should always take the higher of your standard deduction or your itemized deduction to avoid paying taxes on more income than you have to.
Tax credits are credited to your IRS as payments, just as though you had written the IRS a check for money owed. Most of them can only reduce your tax debt, but the EITC can result in the IRS issuing a tax refund for any balance left over after your tax obligation has been reduced to zero. Again, income restrictions apply. You won't qualify for this tax credit if you earn too much.
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
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