When most people think of tax preparation, what comes to mind is filing a 1040 before the middle of April. However, there is much more to it than that. There is no reason every individual should not have their own tax strategy customized to fit their specific needs. A reduction in taxes can benefit individuals with retirement income, gifts received, estates and more. Franklin P. Sparkman specializes in maximizing tax deductions for individuals and their families.
When most people think of tax preparation, what comes to mind is filing a 1040 before the middle of April. However, there is much more to it than that. There is no reason every individual should not have their own tax strategy customized to fit their specific needs. A reduction in taxes can benefit individuals with retirement income, gifts received, estates and more. Franklin P. Sparkman specializes in maximizing tax deductions for individuals and their families.
Keeping tax returns and the documents you used to complete them is critical if you’re ever audited. Typically, the IRS has three years to decide whether to audit your return, so keep your records for at least that long. You also should hang onto tax records for three years if you file a claim for a credit or refund after you filed your original return.
Two different tax credits give those paying educational costs some relief. The American Opportunity tax credit pays 100% of eligible tuition and required fees up to $2,000, and another 25% of the next $2,000, making for a total maximum credit of $2,500 per year. It's available for four years of undergraduate education, and taxpayers can claim the full credit if they make up to $80,000 for singles or $160,000 for joint filers. Reduced amounts are available for incomes up to $90,000 for singles or $180,000 for joint filers.

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.
A single taxpayer who has $13,000 in itemized deductions would do better to itemize than to claim the standard deduction. That's an additional $800 off his taxable income, the difference between $13,000 and $12,200. But a taxpayer who has only $9,000 in itemized deductions would end up paying taxes on $3,200 more in income if she itemizes rather than claims the standard deduction for her single filing status.

One consequence of these events was the passage of Sarbanes–Oxley Act in the United States 2002, as a result of the first admissions of fraudulent behavior made by Enron. The act significantly raises criminal penalties for securities fraud, for destroying, altering or fabricating records in federal investigations or any scheme or attempt to defraud shareholders.[75]
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]
Accounting can be divided into several fields including financial accounting, management accounting, external auditing, tax accounting and cost accounting.[5][6] Accounting information systems are designed to support accounting functions and related activities. Financial accounting focuses on the reporting of an organization's financial information, including the preparation of financial statements, to the external users of the information, such as investors, regulators and suppliers;[7] and management accounting focuses on the measurement, analysis and reporting of information for internal use by management.[1][7] The recording of financial transactions, so that summaries of the financials may be presented in financial reports, is known as bookkeeping, of which double-entry bookkeeping is the most common system.[8]
The financial statements that summarize a large company's operations, financial position and cash flows over a particular period are concise and consolidated reports based on thousands of individual financial transactions. As a result, all accounting designations are the culmination of years of study and rigorous examinations combined with a minimum number of years of practical accounting experience.
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