For the salaried class of taxpayers, the responsibility of correct deduction of tax at source is thrown on employers. While in the case of a business or profession, they are responsible for declaring correct income. So, an employee may hide his other income and not declare to his employer in order to avoid taxes, and business owners also claim excess expense claims and deductions to reduce their tax burden. So in these cases, it takes backstage, and tax evasion/avoidance takes center stage.
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The history of accounting is thousands of years old and can be traced to ancient civilizations. The early development of accounting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia, and is closely related to developments in writing, counting and money; there is also evidence of early forms of bookkeeping in ancient Iran, and early auditing systems by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. By the time of Emperor Augustus, the Roman government had access to detailed financial information.
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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.
For example, if an investor in a 25% tax bracket had $10,000 in long-term capital gains, there would be a tax liability of $1,500. If the same investor sold underperforming investments carrying $10,000 in long-term capital losses, the losses would offset the gains, resulting in a tax liability of 0. If the same losing investment were brought back, then a minimum of 30 days would have to pass to avoid incurring a wash sale.
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. 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, 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".
Some employers offer different alternatives for workers. For instance, the SIMPLE IRA is easier to administer than a 401(k), making it a popular choice among small businesses. Yet employees can still set aside substantial amounts in a SIMPLE IRA -- up to $13,500 if you're younger than 50 or $16,500 if your 50 or older in 2020. Those numbers are up $500 from last year.
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.
In most cases, accountants use generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) when preparing financial statements in the U.S. GAAP is a set of standards and principles designed to improve the comparability and consistency of financial reporting across industries. Its standards are based on double-entry accounting, a method in which every accounting transaction is entered as both a debit and credit in two separate general ledger accounts that will roll up into the balance sheet and income statement.