Even though accounting has existed in various forms and levels of sophistication throughout many human societies, and the double-entry accounting system in use today was developed in medieval Europe, particularly in Venice, and is usually attributed to the Italian mathematician and Franciscan friar Luca Pacioli.[9] Today, accounting is facilitated by accounting organizations such as standard-setters, accounting firms and professional bodies. Financial statements are usually audited by accounting firms,[10] and are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).[7] GAAP is set by various standard-setting organizations such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the United States[1] and the Financial Reporting Council in the United Kingdom. As of 2012, "all major economies" have plans to converge towards or adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).[11]
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.
Collecting money in person (at a storefront, marketplace, etc.) can get pricey. Between equipment, credit card fees, and handling physical cash, it can be a hassle. Thankfully, Square and PayPal make it easy to accept card payments using your smartphone or tablet. These programs also send your customers receipts, reconcile your transactions, and handle returns if necessary.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) upended tax rules to a significant extent when it went into effect in 2018. The Internal Revenue Code used to provide for personal exemptions that could further decrease your taxable income, but the TCJA eliminated these exemptions from the tax code. The rules for deductions, adjustments to income, and tax credits cited here are applicable beginning in the tax year 2018 and going forward. They do not necessarily apply to tax years 2017 and earlier.
Tax credits are extremely valuable breaks for taxpayers. Credits lead to a greater reduction in tax than deductions because they are directly applied to your tax bill in a dollar-for-dollar manner. For instance, a $1,000 credit would cut your tax bill by $1,000, but a $1,000 deduction would reduce your taxes by less than $1,000 -- more specifically, typically somewhere between $100 and $370 under current tax law. In particular, the following tax credits are among the most common and can produce significant savings. 

According to the University of Ohio, there are four types of accounting. Within each of these four major categories there are multiple specialities. For example, corporate accounting may be divided into for-profit and nonprofit accounting. Public accountants may provide auditing services or specialize in tax accounting. Government accounting may refer to employees of the IRS (who examine tax returns) or to local accounting departments who manage town, county, or state budgets. 
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.

In addition to being the largest bankruptcy reorganization in American history, the Enron scandal undoubtedly is the biggest audit failure.[73] It involved a financial scandal of Enron Corporation and their auditors Arthur Andersen, which was revealed in late 2001. The scandal caused the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which at the time was one of the five largest accounting firms in the world. After a series of revelations involving irregular accounting procedures conducted throughout the 1990s, Enron filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2001.[74]


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.

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QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed and TurboTax Live Self-Employed (for users filing by 4/15): To receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed through 4/30/21, you must pay for your 2019 TurboTax Self-Employed or TurboTax Live Self-Employed return by 4/15/20 and sign-in and access your QuickBooks Self-Employed account via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax at least twice by 7/15/20. You will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/21 for another year at the then-current subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison. Offer not valid for existing QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers already on a payment plan.
QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed and TurboTax Live Self-Employed (for users filing by 4/15): To receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed through 4/30/21, you must pay for your 2019 TurboTax Self-Employed or TurboTax Live Self-Employed return by 4/15/20 and sign-in and access your QuickBooks Self-Employed account via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax at least twice by 7/15/20. You will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/21 for another year at the then-current subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison. Offer not valid for existing QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers already on a payment plan.
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.

An accounting information system is a part of an organization's information system that focuses on processing accounting data.[40] Many corporations use artificial intelligence-based information systems. Banking and finance industry is using AI as fraud detection. Retail industry is using AI for customer services. AI is also used in cybersecurity industry. It involves computer hardware and software systems and using statistics and modeling.[41]
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]
There are tax credits for college expenses, for saving for retirement, for adopting children, and for childcare expenses, you might pay so you can go to work. The Child Tax Credit is worth up to $2,000 for each of your children under age 17 subject to income restrictions, and the Earned Income Credit (EITC) can put some money back into the pockets of lower-income taxpayers. 
Accounting research is carried out both by academic researchers and practicing accountants. Methodologies in academic accounting research include archival research, which examines "objective data collected from repositories"; experimental research, which examines data "the researcher gathered by administering treatments to subjects"; analytical research, which is "based on the act of formally modeling theories or substantiating ideas in mathematical terms"; interpretive research, which emphasizes the role of language, interpretation and understanding in accounting practice, "highlighting the symbolic structures and taken-for-granted themes which pattern the world in distinct ways"; critical research, which emphasizes the role of power and conflict in accounting practice; case studies; computer simulation; and field research.[66][67]
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.

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.
An audit of financial statements aims to express or disclaim an independent opinion on the financial statements. The auditor expresses an independent opinion on the fairness with which the financial statements presents the financial position, results of operations, and cash flows of an entity, in accordance with the generally acceptable accounting principle (GAAP) and "in all material respects". An auditor is also required to identify circumstances in which the generally acceptable accounting principles (GAAP) has not been consistently observed.[39]
Health savings accounts are available to those who have high-deductible health insurance coverage and who want to set money aside to cover healthcare costs. Contribution amounts of up to $3,550 for those with self-only policies or $7,100 for family policies apply in 2020, with minimum annual deductibles of $1,400 or $2,800 respectively required to qualify for high-deductible health plan status. Catch-up contributions of $1,000 are available if you're 55 or older, but a qualifying plan must have maximum out-of-pocket expenses of $6,900 for self-only policies or $13,800 for family coverage.
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
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.
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).
There are several reasons it could be worth it to have an experienced professional do your taxes instead of self-filing. For example, it can help reduce the chance of you making a mistake that could land you in trouble with the IRS. And, it could save you time for other important tasks. If you have a side job, rental property or many assets, having someone do your taxes can pay off in the short- and long-run.
No matter how complicated or simple your personal situation is, it's never too early to think about tax planning for the coming year. By getting an early start on the 2020 tax year and using and referring to this guide to 2020 taxes throughout the year, you'll be in much better shape to take advantage of all the favorable provisions that can result in a lower tax bill this year and beyond.
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.
Both the words accounting and accountancy were in use in Great Britain by the mid-1800s, and are derived from the words accompting and accountantship used in the 18th century.[26] In Middle English (used roughly between the 12th and the late 15th century) the verb "to account" had the form accounten, which was derived from the Old French word aconter,[27] which is in turn related to the Vulgar Latin word computare, meaning "to reckon". The base of computare is putare, which "variously meant to prune, to purify, to correct an account, hence, to count or calculate, as well as to think".[27]
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