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Tax Breaks From Hiring the Unemployed

Tax Breaks From Hiring the Unemployed

One of the many benefits for businesses that retain consultation from enrolled agents is keeping up with new tax legislation. Knowing about added tax laws permits a business to capture financial advantages. The continuing education enrolled agents complete annually is always updated to changes in the income tax statutes.

Among the important tax laws implemented in 2010, two provide benefits to businesses that hired new employees. Like all matters with the IRS, there are specific rules to follow. This is common ground for tax professionals with enrolled agent certification. Obtaining beneficial tax treatment often requires professional assistance to understand the rules. From the beginning of preparation for enrolled agent careers there is training to gain familiarity with IRS procedures.

In order to qualify for the employee tax breaks, a business must have a new employee who had previously worked fewer than 40 total hours during the 60 days prior to being hired. In addition, hiring relatives for employment doesn’t qualify for the tax breaks. A business can’t terminate an existing employee in order to hire a new one simply to claim the credit. But the tax break is available to businesses replacing voluntarily departed employees or those terminated for cause.

Otherwise, there are no other restrictions. Workers are not required to have even been previously employed. A business is eligible for the tax breaks from hiring a recent college graduate with no employment history. The hired workers can even be former employees who were part of a previous lay off-as long as they were unemployed for 60 days.

The first tax advantage is that employers may offset their portions of Social Security tax on the wages of an eligible new employee. This covers wages paid from March 19 to December 31 of 2010. The employee share of Social Security tax is still withheld from wages and remitted by employers. Businesses who failed to correctly account for this benefit when filing quarterly wage reports can amend them to receive a refund.

The second tax break allows a business credit for each new worker still employed after one year. The employee’s wages must have not decreased significantly during the year. The credit is the lower of $1,000 or 6.2 percent of the employee’s wages. Since eligible employees hired in 2010 will complete one year of service in 2011, this tax credit is captured on 2011 tax returns filed in 2012.

Action was required before the end of 2010 in order to receive these tax breaks. But many business that added staff during that year are not aware of the tax legislation or how to capture the benefits. Business that find an enrolled agent have assurance of gaining from these new laws and all other types of tax advantages.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure

Pursuant to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we inform you that, to the extent any advice relating to a Federal tax issue is contained in this communication, including in any attachments, it was not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (a) avoiding any tax related penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code, or (b) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.…

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Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Marketing Tips for Insurance Agents

Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Marketing Tips for Insurance Agents

Regardless of what type of insurance you offer, the following marketing tips can help you reach new customers and bolster your business.

1) Have a website – This may seem silly, but a number of insurance agents don’t have a presence online. With the current digital landscape, more and more people are using the internet to shop around for everything from their choice of a doctor to making airline reservations for an upcoming vacation, to where they want to go for insurance. By providing a website that not online markets your business but also informs people about the types of services you offer and why they might need them, people will already have a foot in your door, whether they realize it or not.

2) Offer the most affordable rates – This seems silly to even mention, but you should constantly stay on top of the industry to ensure you are offering the most affordable rates you possibly can. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find out what your competitors are offering, or to see about getting better rates for your customers. People are living longer, which means life insurance rates are the lowest they’ve been in years.

3) Offer special deals for referrals – Loyalty is important. People are more inclined to do business with the people they know and trust. By giving your customers incentives such as discounts on rates or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant, they’ll be far more likely to refer their family and friends to you. Make sure to send a handwritten thank you note so express your sincere appreciation.

4) Offer group discounts – If you have the opportunity to sell a family of four car of term life insurance, why not offer a 10% discounted rate? If you don’t, another insurance company just might. Plus, when you sign teenagers up, you have an opportunity to have loyal customers for life.

5) Take advantage of social media – If you’ve got a website, you need to promote it. And one of the best ways to promote it is through the use of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can even sync your accounts together so you only have to post in one place and it shows up everywhere. Don’t know what to tweet? Information is key. Make your tweets and Facebook posts informative.

Statistics about life insurance or sudden death are important. Advertising your lowest rates and offering special discounts exclusively to Twitter followers are also important for reaching customers, and for establishing and maintaining credibility in your industry. Attaching links to informative articles or even links to your own blog on your website are both great ideas, reinforcing the idea that you’re an expert in your field.

6) Make yourself available – As stated before, people go to know they know and trust. But it doesn’t just go along with sales. If people, even existing customers, have questions about the type of coverage they have or their current policy, make yourself available to answer those questions. Don’t be short with them. Be patient and respectful. Give your customer the same type of treatment and respect you’d give a member of your family.…

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Continuing Education Is Important for All Professions

Continuing Education Is Important for All Professions

There are many professionals working in the United States who have acquired some type of license to do business in their state. Licenses do not come easy. Most states require the applicants to pass an exam or series of exams to receive their license or designation. Exams contain information about state laws, regulations, and important information regarding the specific profession. In most professions once licensed, all you have to do is complete your continuing education to renew your license. Some states require you to renew your license every year, some every five years. It just depends on the profession and their state laws. Education is vital, especially for those who have had their license for 20+ years. Many laws and regulations have changed since they first took their state exam. Today we are going to discuss some of the various professions and the importance of continuing education classes they are required to take to renew their license.

Professions such as attorneys, insurance agents, hairdressers, nurses, and real estate agents need certain classes every compliance period to keep their license active. These agents owe a lot to their clients and the advice and information they provide could be crucial to important decisions their clients make. For instance, wouldn’t you want your attorney to be up to date on various court cases, new laws, and information regarding a case? Or, if you were shopping for a life insurance policy you need your insurance agent to know the best policy available that fits you and your family’s needs. The health industry is one of the most regulated industries in the United States. Nurses and doctors need continuing education to ensure they are up to date on new medications and procedures. Education in the health field could be the difference of life and death for some patients. These are just a couple of examples on why it is so important for states to mandate continuing education for certain professions.

Continuing education can be completed in a variety of ways to make it easy and flexible for the agent. Agents should check with their state department to see how many continuing education credits they need and when their license will expire. These courses are very important and should be taken seriously not only to keep your license active, but also to offer piece of mind to your clients that you are up to date on current information regarding your profession.…

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Important Factors to Consider When Going Back to School

Important Factors to Consider When Going Back to School

Thousands of individuals decide to go back to school each year. With online learning becoming more and more popular they have a lot of different options to choose from. When you are searching for a specific program many times you will be able to complete your degree either online or on campus. With all of the different options potential students have they are able to do their research and find the perfect program for them. Sometimes money is the biggest concern, while for others it is the length of the program that is important to them. We would recommend creating a spreadsheet with all of the factors that are important to you and update it after you speak with a school.

When you are done looking at all the different schools and their features you can make an informed decision. In this article we are going to talk about some of the most important factors students look for when they are planning on going back to school. We are also going to discuss how to decide on what school to attend.

One of the biggest concerns for students is a school’s accreditation. Regional accreditation is actually higher than national accreditation and this is very important when looking at different schools. Find out how long the school as been in existence and does it have an actual campus located in the United States. Find out the graduation rate and how many students are in attendance. These key questions can help validate a school.

Next find out how long it is going to take to complete the program. Is the program offered online and on campus? Do you have to complete any residencies if you attend online? These are important factors for busy individuals. If you are working full-time or have a family these should become part of your decision making process.

Finally, find out the total cost of the program. Make sure you ask about any additional fees on top of the tuition. Ask about a technology fee, student service fee, and textbook fees. You want to get an “out the door” price so there are no surprises.

When you have all the information you need it is time to sit down with your family and discuss your options. It is important to include your loved ones because for the next one to two years they will be dealing with your busy schedule and increased level of stress. You want to make sure everyone agrees on the same school and program.…

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Rules Learned for Enrolled Agent Exam Allow Helping Taxpayers in Military

Rules Learned for Enrolled Agent Exam Allow Helping Taxpayers in Military

Military personnel encounter some special rules intended to ease their burden of filing tax returns. Therefore, professionals who complete an enrolled agent course are popular choices as tax advisers for individuals in the armed forces. An enrolled agent can not only prepare tax returns but also represent a taxpayer in matters with the IRS.

Military personnel can assign an enrolled agent to receive any tax notices and prepare responses. This is a valuable resource for someone with an overseas military assignment. Members of the armed forces who are stationed in combat zones are particularly ill equipped for responding to tax notices. The availability of an enrolled agent to act on behalf of a military taxpayer when necessary also alleviates forcing family to address any arising tax issue.

US military personnel are not exempt from having to pay all prior year tax liability by the normal April deadline. However, there is some paperwork relief for taxpayers in the armed forces. Plus, recent legislation provided a tax break for military personnel and their families who must sell their homes due to a reassignment of duty station. An enrolled agent is up to date on such tax advantages from completing annual EA continuing education.

The first tax rule applicable to armed forces personnel affects those stationed outside the US. They are granted an automatic extension of two months for filing an income tax return. This permits filing in June instead of April. The details covered in enrolled agent training explain that this is accomplished by writing “Taxpayer Abroad” at the top of Form 1040 and attaching a statement explaining the foreign location.

Military personnel who need more time to file a tax return can submit Form 4868 to extend the deadline to mid-October. Any extension past April 15 applies to filing tax return forms only and not payment of any tax balance due.

Tax rules are significantly different for armed forces personnel stationed in combat zones. Much of the compensation and reimbursements paid to someone stationed in a combat zone is exempt from federal income tax. The maximum exclusion for commissioned officers is the highest pay for enlisted individuals.

Assignment to a combat zone automatically provides more time for filing a tax return as well as paying any tax due. The basic extension period is 180 days. However, this becomes a longer extension depending upon when the combat zone post began. This calculation is learned when studying for the enrolled agent exam. Basically, when a taxpayer in the military is assigned to a combat zone after January 1, any days that remained to April 15 are added to the 180 days. The full 105 days from January 1 to April 15 are added for anyone already in a combat zone on the first of the year. This means there is a potential total extension of 285 days.

Deployment in a combat zone is difficult enough without having to take the correct steps for a combat zone tax extension. But these measures are important because they eliminate any tax penalties or interest imposed on late filing as well as late payment of taxes. An enrolled agent can easily perform the extension actions for a military taxpayer stationed overseas. The IRS provides a special email address for notification about deployment in a combat zone. When eventually filing a tax return, it should have “Combat Zone” displayed across the top of the form along with the overseas deployment date.

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure

Pursuant to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we inform you that, to the extent any advice relating to a Federal tax issue is contained in this communication, including in any attachments, it was not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (a) avoiding any tax related penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code, or (b) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any transaction or matter addressed in this communication.…

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Insurance Continuing Education – Credit Requirements

Insurance Continuing Education – Credit Requirements

Insurance continuing education hours can be obtained in a variety of different ways. Every state regulates how many credits an insurance agent needs every one to two years. Many states allow an agent to complete their education online as opposed to sitting in a classroom for 12-24 hours. If you decide to sit in a classroom you just have to listen to the instructor and no final exam is required. The instructor will go over the book chapter by chapter and you will have to sign an affidavit stating that you attended. If you decide to take your insurance continuing education credits online there will likely be a final exam at the end. You should read the book before hand so you know what to expect on the exam. Some states require a monitor present during the exam while others allow open book exams. If a monitor is required you will have to find a third party to physically watch you complete the test. They will then sign an affidavit and fax it to the school. Make sure to find an approved provider before purchasing any courses. If a monitor is not required you are able to use the book to look up the answers to the exam questions. No affidavit is required.

To be on the safe side contact an approved provider to see how many credits you need to complete. Every state requires a different amount of credit hours. They also require you to complete your education at different times. Sometimes you must complete your courses by your birthday to stay in compliance while others use your license date. Make sure to find out the exact date, number of credits, and required courses so you do not receive any fines by the state. Worst case scenario, the state could suspend or even revoke your license.

In many states insurance continuing education credits may also be transferred over to the following year. Again, this is a case by case situation depending on the state. Many states also have a rule in place about duplicate courses. An agent may not complete the same course with the same school within a two year period. That is why many providers have more than one ethics course or annuity course. Most states require the agent to take an ethics course every two years; it just cannot be the same ethics course they took the year before.

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Economic Hard Times And Massage Therapy

Economic Hard Times And Massage Therapy

You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changing. I grew up with that Dylan song in the 60’s. And Bobby apparently was right on. The economic challenge that many are experiencing, has hit every aspect of our massage industry, and it may be here for a while. I have moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to weather the storm, as the demographics for massage therapy is much better here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. I hear the grim reports of the impact of eight years of government madness and banking greed, wherever I travel to these days. You might ask, “what does that have to do with massage continuing education”? “When the going gets tough the tough get going” is another old saying that is applicable more today in the sense of economic survival then ever before. But, in the realm of massage therapists looking to rise to the top of the ranks…I hear nothing but fear and contraction coming out of the mouths of massage therapists these days. Its easy to say I can’t afford it. I have heard that mantra from massage therapists when it comes to spending any money on their continuing education for two decades! Its the mantra of the weak and fearful. What you think about you will get, is a true axiom. Massage therapy continuing education exists as a tool for you to climb the ladder and ascend the ranks of mediocrity.

I have talked with many teachers, some who have been teaching for 30 years. Many are challenged to fill classes these days. Its very expensive for some students to travel to classes when you consider airfare, hotels, food and the cost of the seminars. Oftentimes I spent in excess of $1500 for one 30 hour massage continuing education course. Multiply that by 3 or 4 and you get my point. That is why I advocate the use of high quality, in-depth training using DVD’s. Once the material is well learned, which may take over a year for a motivated massage therapist, not only is the student capable of applying the massage techniques, but they have also satisfied their continuing education credits for their respective state’s licensure. Then the student can travel to a hands on class, or in my case become an apprentice in either cranial sacral therapy, Rolfing or both. By the time the student has reached the point of wanting to are dedicated, motivated and the fundamentals have been covered. That way they can actually learn tactile expression from me with either of the disciplines, because I have had more experience. I believe I learned more about Rolfing while working on and receiving work from my advanced instructor at the Rolf Institute, then I did the entire time at the Institute in the classes. Simply because you can’t teach feel unless you are being guided by a competent teacher who is touching you and you are also touching!

When you are considering rising to the challenge of these tumultuous economic times, consider a fantastic DVD program when you are in need of massage continuing education credits. And better yet get the DVD series not to met any massage continuing education requirements, get them to raise the bar on your skill levels and meet these economic times fearlessly.…