2020 could be a momentous year for many reasons. But if you're trying to do tax planning for 2020, it doesn't look like this year is going to bring much in the way of massive changes to tax laws. No matter what happens in the 2020 elections, any changes in the White House or control of Congress won't take effect until 2021, and so this year is likely to continue the gridlock that has kept current tax laws largely unchanged since 2018's tax reform efforts.

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]
YP - The Real Yellow PagesSM - helps you find the right local businesses to meet your specific needs. Search results are sorted by a combination of factors to give you a set of choices in response to your search criteria. These factors are similar to those you might use to determine which business to select from a local Yellow Pages directory, including proximity to where you are searching, expertise in the specific services or products you need, and comprehensive business information to help evaluate a business's suitability for you. “Preferred” listings, or those with featured website buttons, indicate YP advertisers who directly provide information about their businesses to help consumers make more informed buying decisions. YP advertisers receive higher placement in the default ordering of search results and may appear in sponsored listings on the top, side, or bottom of the search results page.
TurboTax Help and Support: Access to a TurboTax specialist is included with TurboTax Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed and TurboTax Live; not included with Free Edition (but is available as an upgrade). TurboTax specialists are available to provide general customer help and support using the TurboTax product. SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, wait times, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.

A doctorate is required in order to pursue a career in accounting academia, for example to work as a university professor in accounting.[57][58] The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) are the most popular degrees. The PhD is the most common degree for those wishing to pursue a career in academia, while DBA programs generally focus on equipping business executives for business or public careers requiring research skills and qualifications.[57]


The year 2001 witnessed a series of financial information frauds involving Enron, auditing firm Arthur Andersen, the telecommunications company WorldCom, Qwest and Sunbeam, among other well-known corporations. These problems highlighted the need to review the effectiveness of accounting standards, auditing regulations and corporate governance principles. In some cases, management manipulated the figures shown in financial reports to indicate a better economic performance. In others, tax and regulatory incentives encouraged over-leveraging of companies and decisions to bear extraordinary and unjustified risk.[72]
Tax accounting in the United States concentrates on the preparation, analysis and presentation of tax payments and tax returns. The U.S. tax system requires the use of specialised accounting principles for tax purposes which can differ from the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for financial reporting.[42] U.S. tax law covers four basic forms of business ownership: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company. Corporate and personal income are taxed at different rates, both varying according to income levels and including varying marginal rates (taxed on each additional dollar of income) and average rates (set as a percentage of overall income).[42]

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.


As long as this guide might seem, it still only scratches the surface of some of the most important tax issues for taxpayers. For example, if you're self-employed or own a business, then there are many other issues to consider. That's a topic that would take its own guide to cover, and there are several situations that deserve similar planning considerations.
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]
A medical equipment manufacturer receives an order for equipment to be shipped to a hospital. The order is placed on May 1 and the equipment ships June 1. Payment is received on August 1. The medical equipment manufacturer records the revenue on May 1 – the date the sales contract is received (or accrued) – rather than on August 1 when the payment is received.
The earned income tax credit gives sizable reductions in taxes to workers with low- or mid-level incomes. The credit amount varies by family size and income, with maximums of $6,660 for those with three or more children, $5,920 for those with two children, $3,584 for those with one child, or $538 for those with no children. The income limits below indicate which taxpayers are eligible for at least some of the earned income credit, but bear in mind that the top credit amount phases out gradually over a large portion of the income range.
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]
Management accounting focuses on the measurement, analysis and reporting of information that can help managers in making decisions to fulfill the goals of an organization. In management accounting, internal measures and reports are based on cost-benefit analysis, and are not required to follow the generally accepted accounting principle (GAAP).[7] In 2014 CIMA created the Global Management Accounting Principles (GMAPs). The result of research from across 20 countries in five continents, the principles aim to guide best practice in the discipline.[35]
Saving via a retirement plan is a popular way to efficiently reduce taxes. Contributing money to a traditional IRA can minimize gross income up to $6,500. As of 2018, if meeting all qualifications, a filer under age 50 receives a reduction of $6,000 and a reduction of $7,000 if age 50 or older. For example, if a 52-year-old male with an annual income of $50,000 who made a $6,500 contribution to a traditional IRA has an adjusted gross income of $43,500, the $6,500 contribution would grow tax-deferred until retirement.
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.
A tax preparer can take the form of several different job titles, but they must have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to be authorized to prepare federal tax returns, according to the IRS. Some titles may include enrolled agents, who are licensed by the IRS, as well as certified public accountants (CPAs). Some tax attorneys may offer tax preparation and planning services, though not all are qualified to do this.
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.

401(k) contribution limits are rising in 2020. Those younger than 50 can contribute up to $19,500 toward a 401(k) or similar plan in 2020, up $500 from last year's $19,000. Those 50 or older get to put up to $26,000 into a 401(k), up $1,000. With no income limits applying to 401(k)s, those whose employers offer these plans can save a lot toward retirement.

Financial accounting is the branch of corporate accounting that identifies, records, and analyzes financial information for people outside of the company (such as investors). Information provided by financial accounting includes quarterly and annual income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, and statements of retained earnings.  The standards of financial accounting differ whether under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in the U.S. or the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Investors enjoy a tax break on certain types of investment income. Dividends that certain stocks pay qualify for lower tax rates, as do the profits on investments that you sell after having held them for longer than a year. These qualified dividends and long-term capital gains are eligible to get taxed at 0%, 15%, or 20%, producing substantial savings.
For example, let’s say you’re a single filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket in 2020. But do you pay 12% on all $32,000? No. Actually, you pay only 10% on the first $9,875; you pay 12% on the rest. If you had $50,000 of taxable income, you’d pay 10% on that first $9,875 and 12% on the chunk of income between $9,876 and $40,125. And then you’d pay 22% on the rest, because some of your $50,000 of taxable income falls into the 22% tax bracket.

The history of accounting is thousands of years old and can be traced to ancient civilizations.[12][13][14] The early development of accounting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, and is closely related to developments in writing, counting and money;[12] there is also evidence of early forms of bookkeeping in ancient Iran,[15][16] and early auditing systems by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.[13] By the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman government had access to detailed financial information.[17]
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