Currently, home ownership comes with many tax-saving opportunities. Consider both deductions and exclusions when you’re filing your 2016 return and tax planning for 2017:
Yes, there’s still time to make 2016 contributions to your IRA. The deadline for such contributions is April 18, 2017. If the contribution is deductible, it will lower your 2016 tax bill. But even if it isn’t, making a 2016 contribution is likely a good idea.
Rather than keeping track of the actual cost of operating a vehicle, employees and self-employed taxpayers can use a standard mileage rate to compute their deduction related to using a vehicle for business. But you might also be able to deduct miles driven for other purposes, including medical, moving and charitable purposes.
Retirement plan contribution limits are indexed for inflation, but with inflation remaining low most of the limits remain unchanged for 2017. The only limit that has increased from the 2016 level is for contributions to defined contribution plans, which has gone up by $1,000.
This is the tenth in a series of 10 blog posts related to the Top 10 Audit Findings of the U.S. Department of Education.
Untimely and/or incorrect reporting of G5 expenditures is the tenth item from a list of audit findings in order of number of deficiencies found.
G5, formerly known as GAPS, is a delivery system used by Federal Student Aid (FSA) that supports program award and payment (drawdown) administration. It is a component of EDCAPS, U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) integrated financial processing system, managed and administered by the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), and communicates with the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) system through the Financial Management System (FMS).
There are basically two ways of receiving FSA from the ED including the advance payment method and what is known as the heightened cash monitoring method. For various reasons, the Department of Education may place institutions on a Heightened Cash Monitoring (HCM) payment method to provide additional oversight of cash management.
This is the ninth in a series of 10 blog posts related to the Top 10 Audit Findings of the U.S. Department of Education.
A qualified auditor’s opinion cited in the audit report is one of the top 10 audit findings by the U.S. Department of Education. Serious deficiencies and areas of concern included:
- - R2T4 violations
- - Inadequate accounting systems and/or procedures
- - Lack of internal controls
Receiving anything other than an unmodified (unqualified) opinion is a disturbing experience, but it does occur from time to time. It might help to know you’re not alone. Receiving a modified (qualified) audit opinion offers the opportunity to focus improvement efforts in identified areas of weakness in operations, financial reporting and compliance.Even the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has had its challenges over the years.
This is the eighth in a series of 10 blog posts related to the Top 10 Audit Findings of the U.S. Department of Education.
One of the top 10 audit findings, according to the U.S. Department of Education, includes student entrance and exit deficiencies. Indicated deficiencies include:
- - Entrance counseling not conducted/documented for first-time borrowers.
- - Exit counseling not conducted/documented for withdrawn students or graduates.
- - Exit counseling materials not mailed to students who failed to complete counseling.
Whether first-time borrowers, withdrawn students or graduating students, follow through on required entrance and exit counseling can be challenging. Exit counseling, however, becomes a little more challenging considering the circumstances and variables involved with the ways students exit. This doesn’t come as a surprise to most but it only takes one or two off situations to catch the eye of a program reviewer. Let’s consider a short list of the compliance requirements mentioned in the FSA Handbook.
A new scam is being circulated to taxpayers:
The IRS has warned that a new scam uses fraudulent notices (CP-2000 letters) to try and extract money from taxpayers. These fraudulent notices look convincing. The balance due amounts are generally low enough that taxpayers may be inclined to pay the amount requested rather than contact their accountants.
If you have incomplete or missing records and get audited by the IRS, your business will likely lose out on valuable deductions. Here are two recent U.S. Tax Court cases that help illustrate the rules for documenting deductions: insufficient records and destroyed documents.
This is the seventh in a series of 10 blog posts related to the Top 10 Audit Findings of the U.S. Department of Education.
One of the top 10 audit findings, according to the U.S. Department of Education, includes student credit balance deficiencies. Indicated causes include:
- Credit balances not released to students within 14 days,
- No process in place to determine when a credit balance has been created,
- Non-compliant authorization to hold Title IV credit balances, and
- Credit balances not released by the end of loan period or award year.
Credit balances can occur in many ways and may be the result of payments from not only Title IV program funds, but also personal funds, private loans, and institutional grants. Also, as you are aware, credit balances may be related to and affected by changes in a student's enrollment status that might affect federal or other aid eligibility. Technically, a Title IV credit balance typically occurs whenever your school credits Title IV program funds to a student’s account and the total amount of those funds exceeds the student’s allowable charges.