Johnson County Real Estate Appraisal Appeals

Many Johnson County homeowners saw significant increases in the 2020 appraised value.  An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the NOTICE OF APPRAISED VALUE mailing date from the county.

Many property owners have requested that the county extend the informal appeal deadline due to the stay at home orders and COVID-19.  The county acknowledges the problem and by law must continue with the same date of filing an appeal.  The appeal process does not limit or make final the appraised value and you have one more opportunity to request a revaluation.

You must still file the first half of the 2020 tax payment – so do not wait to pay your taxes if you feel it is overvalued.  That will lead to fines or penalties that will cost you more than any tax savings.

If you have a mortgage and paying taxes through escrow, coordinate the filing of the Payment Under Protest with them or submit directly PRIOR to the due date of May 11, 2020.

See the attached letter, information and websites from the County Appraiser on the process for filing an appeal through the Payment Under Protest.

 Unfortunately, the Appraisers Office does not have the authority to extend this date. There is another appeal option available for taxpayers: https://jocogov.org/article/2020/04/03/13124

Payment Under Protest form: https://www.jocogov.org/sites/default/files/documents/TRE/PRApp.pdf

https://www.jocogov.org/dept/appraiser/home

https://www.jocogov.org/dept/treasury-and-financial-management/home

https://www.jocogov.org/dept/treasury-and-financial-management/real-estate-and-personal-property-tax/property-tax-forms

Why Taxpayers Should Be Using Direct Deposit For Tax Refunds

With the filing season just around the corner, taxpayers should be aware of the benefits of using direct deposit for refunds. It’s easy, secure and the fastest way to get a tax refund.

Here are 10 quick facts about direct deposit.

  • It’s the best and fastest way for taxpayers to get their tax refund.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s secure.
  • Taxpayers can deposit their refund into not only one, but also two or three accounts.
  • Combining direct deposit with IRS e-file is the fastest way for taxpayers to receive their refund.
  • When using direct deposit, there’s no risk of having a paper check stolen or lost.
  • The IRS uses the same system to deposit tax refunds that Social Security and Veterans Affairs use to deposit benefits into millions of accounts.
  • It’s easy. Just follow the instructions in the tax software or on the tax form.
  • Taxpayers can use direct deposit even if they are filing by paper.
  • Direct deposit saves taxpayers money. It costs the IRS more than $1 for every paper refund check issued, but only a dime for each direct deposit made.

More information:
Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit Limits
Where’s My Refund

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Free IRS programs help many taxpayers prepare and file returns. https://go.usa.gov/xdPKT

All Taxpayers Should Know Their Rights

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights protects all taxpayers working with the IRS. In fact, they lay out the framework to make sure the IRS fairly and impartially carries out tax administration.

These rights are explained on IRS.gov and in Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer. They describe what taxpayers can expect if they need to work with the IRS on a personal tax matter, such as:
•Filing a return
•Paying taxes
•Responding to a letter
•Going through an audit
•Appealing an IRS decision

To help taxpayers understand their rights, here they are, along with links where people can go for more information.

1.The right to be informed
2.The right to quality service
3.The right to pay no more than the correct amount of tax
4.The right to challenge the IRS’s position and be heard 
5.The right to appeal an IRS decision in an independent forum
6.The right to finality
7.The right to privacy
8.The right to confidentiality
9.The right to retain representation
10.The right to a fair and just tax system


More information:
Publication 1, Your Rights As A Taxpayer, in Spanish
What the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Means for You
Taxpayer Advocate Service

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: All taxpayers should know their rights. https://go.usa.gov/xpSgv

Tax Withholding and New 2020 W4

How will this effect my 2020 Refund

Many companies will be asking you to complete a new revised W4.  While we were confused about the complexity of the old form, we can be more confused with the simplicity of the new form. Especially when our federal withholding goes down.

The new form incorporates more of a strategy of filing status and dependents against income using the new TCJA (Tax Cut and Jobs Act) tax rules.  The TCJA eliminated a lot of Itemized Filing (Schedule A) for taxpayers by raising the standard deduction.

This change made the tax withholding calculation tables become more skewed for employees working part-time or more than 1 job.  This is because the tables are estimating the earnings for each payroll as the earnings for the entire year.  Generally, working a part-time or second job the hours works are not enough to trigger federal withholding.

Because of this, you should review your withholding early and use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to determine how much withholding you should have. There is even a new feature allowing you to even customize the refund amount you want to receive.

If you need help with your W4 or to have a tax planning and withholding review, please call or email my office.

IRS Launches Improved Tax Withholding Estimator


The IRS launched a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator, designed to help workers target the refund they want by having the right amount of federal income tax taken out of their pay. The Tax Withholding Estimator incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

You can find the updated Tax Withholding Estimator and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4 on IRS.gov.

IRS YouTube Videos:

IR-2020-09, January 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator, designed to help workers target the refund they want by having the right amount of federal income tax taken out of their pay.

The Tax Withholding Estimator, now available on IRS.gov, incorporates the changes from the redesigned Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, that employees can fill out and give to their employers this year.

The IRS urges everyone to see if they need to adjust their withholding by using the Tax Withholding Estimator to perform a Paycheck Checkup. If an adjustment is needed, the Tax Withholding Estimator gives specific recommendations on how to fill out their employer’s online Form W-4 or provides the PDF form with key parts filled out.

To help workers more effectively adjust their withholding, the improved Tax Withholding Estimator features a customized refund slider that allows users to choose the refund amount they prefer from a range of different refund amounts. The exact refund range shown is customized based on the tax information entered by that user.

Based on the refund amount selected, the Tax Withholding Estimator will give the worker specific recommendations on how to fill out their W-4. This new feature allows users who seek either larger refunds at the end of the year or more money on their paychecks throughout the year to have just the right amount withheld to meet their preference.

The new Tax Withholding Estimator also features several other enhancements, including one allowing anyone who expects to receive a bonus to indicate whether tax will be withheld. In addition, improvements added last summer continue to be available, including mobile-friendly design, handling of pension income, Social Security benefits and self-employment tax.

Starting in 2020, income tax withholding is no longer based on an employee’s marital status and withholding allowances, tied to the value of the personal exemption. Instead, income tax withholding is generally based on the worker’s expected filing status and standard deduction for the year. In addition, workers can choose to have itemized deductions, the Child Tax Credit and other tax benefits reflected in their withholding for the year.

It is important for people with more than one job at a time (including families in which both spouses work) to adjust their withholding to avoid having too little withheld. Using the Tax Withholding Estimator is the most accurate way to do this. As in the past, employees can also choose to have an employer withhold an additional flat-dollar amount each pay period to cover, for example, income they receive from the gig economy, self-employment, or other sources that is not subject to withholding.

For more information about the updated Tax Withholding Estimator and the redesigned 2020 Form W-4, visit IRS.gov.

2020 Standard Mileage Rates Go Down

For this calendar year, the IRS has issued guidance by notice of the current year mileage rates.  There are 4 primary areas where standard mileage has guidance that can (sometimes) be used:

Business Mileage:  57.5 cents/mile down from 58 cents/mile in 2019 (Refer to Note 1)

Charitable Mileage: 14 cents/mile with no change from 2019

Medical Mileage: 17 cents/mile down from 20 cents/mile in 2019

Moving Mileage: 17 cents/mile down from 20 cents/mile in 2019 (Refer to Note 2)

NOTE 1:  Business mileage is rules still exist on substantiation of records – is it a written log.  The deductibility for unreimbursed business mileage for employees (subject to the 2% itemized deduction floor) has been suspended from 2018 until 2026 by the TCJA (Tax Cuts & Jobs Act). However, there are some very narrow and limited exceptions to this rule. If you a small business, you can elect to reimburse for mileage at the applicable rate listed each year.  It is important that you have a set policy and procedure to follow all IRS guidelines for this.

NOTE 2:  Moving mileage has been suspended under the TCJA.  However, there is an exception for Military personnel who move pursuant to a military order or incident to a permanent change of station. 

There are additional items related to the deductibility at the standard mileage rate contained in the tax code that should be followed.  There is still the option for businesses to deduct actual costs and depreciation as well as the “fleet-average valuation rules”. There are additional rules and regulations that should be considered and discussed with you tax preparer prior to make sure you are in compliance as well as maximizing your deductible vehicle expenses.

FROM THE IRS:This notice provides the optional 2020 standard mileage rates for taxpayers to use in computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving expense purposes.  This notice also provides the amount taxpayers must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that may be used in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan.  Additionally, this notice provides the maximum fair market value (FMV) of employer-provided automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2020 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in § 1.61-21(d)(5)(v) of the Income Tax Regulations or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule in § 1.61-21(e).

Prepare For Filing Taxes

Charitable Contributions

For most taxpayers, December 31 is the last day to take actions that will impact their 2019 tax return. For example, those who plan to itemize deductions should know that charitable contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2019 count for the 2019 tax year, even if the bill isn’t paid until 2020. Checks to a charity count for 2019 if they are mailed by the last day of the year.

Retirement Plans

Taxpayers who are over age 70 ½ are generally required to take distributions from their individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans by the end of 2019. However, a special rule allows those who reached 70 ½ in 2019 to wait until April 1, 2020, to receive them.

Most workplace retirement account contributions should be made by the end of the year, but taxpayers can make 2019 IRA contributions until April 15, 2020. For 2019, the basic limit for 401(k) contributions is $19,000, plus another $6,000 for those who are at least age 50.

For 2019, total contributions to all traditional and Roth IRAs cannot exceed $6,000, or for taxpayers age 50 and older, $7,000. Taxpayers should check IRS.gov for more information about contribution limits, as well as cost-of-living adjustments affecting pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019.

Some taxpayers may be eligible for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, also known as the Saver’s Credit. The income limit is $64,000 for married couples filing jointly, $48,000 for heads of household, and $32,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately for 2019.

Refunds

The vast majority of taxpayers get their refunds faster by filing electronically and using direct deposit. It is simple, safe and secure. This is the same electronic transfer system used to deposit nearly 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.

Just as each tax return is unique and individual, so is each taxpayer’s refund. Here are a few things taxpayers should keep in mind if they are waiting on their refund but hear or see on social media that other taxpayers have already received theirs.

Different factors can affect the timing of a refund. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a particular taxpayer’s refund may take longer. Some tax returns require additional review and take longer to process than others. It may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud. The IRS will contact taxpayers by mail when more information is needed to process a return.

By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds to people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund, including the portion not associated with the credits. This helps ensure taxpayers receive the refund they’re due by giving the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud.

Taxpayers should not count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when planning major purchases or paying other financial obligations.

Update address

Taxpayers who moved during 2019 should tell the US Postal Service, employers and the IRS. Notify the IRSby mailing IRS Form 8822, Change of Address, to the address listed on the form’s instructions. Taxpayers who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace should also notify the Marketplace when they move out of the area covered by their current plan.

For name changes due to marriage or divorce, notify the Social Security Administrationso the new name will match IRS and SSA records. Also notify the SSA if a dependent’s name changed. A mismatch between the name shown on a tax return and SSA records often causes refund delays.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/get-ready-for-taxes-what-to-do-before-the-tax-year-ends-december-31

Travel Expense Reimbursements

Changes To Using Per Diem Reimbursements To Employees For Expenses

This is important for the many employees in many industries where travel requiring Hotel, Meals & Incidental expenses to be paid for the benefit of the employer.  With the suspension of Miscellaneous itemized deductions for unreimbursed business expenses from 2018 – 2026, an employer and the employees should get to know the rules for proper reimbursement and documentation.

Per diem rates cover Hotel/Meals/Incidental Expense or only Meals/Incidental Expenses. There are also special rules for transportation industry workers and high-cost localities. 

Here is the excerpt on the new Revenue Procedure 2019-48:

Rev. Proc. 2019-48 provides the rules for using per diem rates, rather than actual expenses, to substantiate the amount of expenses for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses for travel away from home.  Use of a per diem substantiation method is not mandatory.  Taxpayers who use per diem rates to substantiate the amount of travel expenses under Rev. Proc. 2019-48 may use the federal per diem rates published annually by the General Services Administration.  Rev. Proc. 2019-48 allows certain taxpayers to use a special transportation industry rate or to use rates under a high-low substantiation method for certain high-cost localities.  The IRS announces these rates and the rate for the incidental expenses only deduction in an annual notice.  Rev. Proc. 2019-48 will be in IRB: 2019-51, dated December 16, 2019.

Please check with your employer or financial advisor on the applicability of how to properly report to avoid having any excess amounts charged to income & subject to taxes or not be deductible for the employer. With the new rules from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) it is in the employee’s best interest to utilize an employer reimbursement plan effectively.

Get Ready For Taxes

Here’s what to know about the amount of a tax refund

After filing their tax return, a taxpayer will know whether they are receiving a refund. Sometimes, however, a taxpayer’s refund will be for a different amount than they expect.

Here are some reasons a taxpayer’s refund might be less than they thought it would be:

  • Financial transactions happening late in the year can have an unexpected tax impact if a taxpayer’s 2019 federal income tax withholding unexpectedly falls short of their tax liability for the year. Certain transactions can affect 2019 tax withholding and influence the taxpayer’s anticipated refund next year. This includes things like:

       o Year-end and holiday bonuses.
       o Stock dividends.
       o Capital gain distributions from mutual funds and
          stocks.
       o Real estate or other property sold at a profit.
        
    If this happens, taxpayers can still make a quarterly estimated tax payment directly to the IRS for tax year 2019. The deadline for making a payment for the fourth quarter of 2019 is Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. Form 1040-ES includes a worksheet to help taxpayers figure the right amount of estimated taxes to pay.
  • A taxpayer’s refund can be used to pay other debts a taxpayer owes. All or part of a refund can go to pay a taxpayer’s:

       o Past-due federal tax.
       o State income tax.
       o State unemployment compensation debts.
       o Child and spousal support.
       o Other federal nontax debts, such as student loans.

    A taxpayer receives a notice if their debt meets the criteria for an offset. The IRS issues any remaining refund in a check or direct deposit as the taxpayer originally requested on the return.


More Information:

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Get ready for taxes: Here’s what to know about the amount of a tax refund  https://go.usa.gov/xpmK9

Giving Tuesday


Today is another “Day”, but unlike the prior days (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, CyberMonday) which focused on buying STUFF (or selling for the commercial business)…we change our focus to generosity.

What and When was this Created

Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good.  Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. In 2018 US donations on Giving Tuesday surpassed $400million from over 3.6million donations. (source https://www.givingtuesday.org)

Tax Exemption Status

As with any day there are things to be aware of when contributing to charities.  Many people want their donation to be “tax deductible”.  Below is an IRS Tip and tool for determining if your charity is tax exempt. 

Are My Donations Helping

Another concern with donating to a charity is how “efficient” your charity is, meaning how much is spent on Programs & Services that you are donating to. 1 out of 10 charities spends less than 65% of their donations on Programs & Services. On a positive note 7 of 10 spend more than 75% on their Programs & Services. Many charities do not live up to their reputations and executive compensation or other expenses are unreasonable.  This information can be found on the public Form 990 Tax Return and there are rating organizations such as www.charitynavigator.org.

Two of My Favorite Charitable Organizations

MidAmerica Nazarene University & Foundation – www.mnu.edu – my alma mater where I decided to pursue a career in accounting and become a CPA. MNU was founded in 1966 as the Pioneers when the campus in Olathe a small town south of metro Kansas City was farmland. Since that time the University has graduated thousands of students with their three enduring values of Pioneering Spirit, Purposeful Lives and Passion to Serve. Donate to MNU to help with student financial aid and support their mission of helping reduce the burden of student debt.

KC Pet Project – www.kcpetproject.org – we are Foster Parents for this organization providing temporary shelter to “senior” dogs not doing well in the shelter.  Many senior dogs get dumped at the shelter when their owners are tired of taking care of them or their medical needs during their final years. Donate to KC Pet Project with money, supplies or time (as a foster or dog walker) or ADOPT a new pet.  We highly recommend seniors that are less hyper and are already potty trained!


IRS Issue Number: Tax Tip 2019-165

How taxpayers can make sure their donations are tax deductible

It’s that time of year when taxpayers are thinking about how they want to give back, and many taxpayers will want to donate to a charity that means something to them. The IRS has a tool that may help them make sure their donations are as beneficial as possible.

Tax Exempt Organization Search on IRS.gov is a tool that allows users to search for tax-exempt charities. Taxpayers can use this tool to determine if donations they make to an organization are tax-deductible charitable contributions. 

Here are some things to know about the TEOS tool:

  • It provides information about an organization’s federal tax status and filings.
  • It’s mobile device friendly.
  • Donors can use it to confirm that an organization is tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
  • Users can find out if an organization had its tax-exempt status revoked.
  • Organizations are listed under the legal name or a “doing business as” name on file with the IRS.
  • The search results are sortable by name, Employee Identification Number, state, and country.
  • Users may also download entire lists of organizations eligible to receive deductible contributions, auto-revoked organizations and e-Postcard filers.


Taxpayers can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant, Can I Deduct my Charitable Contributions? to help determine if a charitable contribution is deductible.

More Information:
Tips for Tax Exempt Organization Search
Tax Exempt Organization Search: Frequently Asked Questions
Subscribe to the Exempt Organizations Newsletter

IRS YouTube Videos:
Tax Exempt Organization Search English | ASL

Small Business Saturday

As a small business myself, my goal is to help the small business owner navigate through the complexities of taxes, payroll and general accounting work. If you have a small business that I can help as a tax preparer or with accounting as a QuickBooks Online Pro-Advisor please give me a call or email. https://proadvisor.intuit.com/app/accountant/search?searchId=r-todd-laytham

Some of my favorite Small Businesses & Clients:

APH Marketing: Business Development, Website & Social Media management and assistance. Aprilrhall12@gmail.com

RGCreative: Websites, emails, social media. https://discoverrg.com

Grace’s Best Cookies: small cookie – naturally delicious. https://www.gracesbestcookies.com

Fontainebleau HA Clubhouse: Event Spacehttps://fontainebleau-clubhouse.business.site

Homer’s Coffeehouse: downtown Overland Park with live music http://homerscoffeehouse.com

Salon Spice: hair & nail salon  http://www.salonspice.com

What is Small Business Saturday? 

Small Business Saturday is a shopping holiday aimed at encouraging holiday shoppers to patronize small and/or local businesses

It falls in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to capitalize on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. This has boosted its popularity and helped produce a long-term upward trend.

The shopping “holiday” is a great opportunity for shoppers who want to support the local small businesses that keep their towns unique — and their community members who run them. With a number of community activities dedicated to promoting and supporting Small Business Saturday, it often also serves as a way to bring the community together.

The History of Small Business Saturday

The Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 as a way to support local retailers and small ecommerce shops. 

The first Small Business Saturday logo from American Express

American Express hoped that Small Business Saturday would help strengthen a sense of community by encouraging support of small business and, subsequently, local economies.

Since 2013, individuals and organizations have been adding their names as Neighborhood Champions. These champions — numbering 7,500 across all 50 states by 2018 — are dedicated to rallying their communities around support of small and local businesses.

Why Small Business Saturday Matters

Small businesses make up more than 99% of all businesses in the U.S., and employ 47.5% of the country’s workers. On average, only 50% of these businesses survive to pass the five-year mark. 

With the convenience of big-box stores and online marketplaces like Amazon, independent businesses can sometimes find gaining traction during the holiday season to be a challenge. 

But Small Business Saturday’s efforts to draw attention to the benefits of shopping local are working — to drive awareness of the importance of small business and to encourage shoppers to put their money into community institutions. 

Of the nearly 60% of U.S. consumers who reported knowing about Small Business Saturday, 80% say they plan to shop at independent retailers that day.

This is a huge opportunity for participating businesses — and not just for brick-and-mortars. Last year, ecommerce sales made up $3 billion of total spending on Small Business Saturday. [excerpted from Victoria Fryer blog https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/small-business-saturday/#get-your-shop-ready-for-the-holiday]