We’re Looking for a Tax Manager

We’re Looking for a Tax Manager

Job Post: Tax Manager, Douglasville, GA

About the Job:

We seek a talented Tax Manager with a minimum of 3 years of experience in a public CPA firm to join our team at Hawkinson Muchnick & Associates, PC. As a Tax Manager, you will play a crucial role in providing exceptional tax services to our business and individual clients. This position offers growth opportunities, including the possibility of ownership, and promotes work-life balance.

Responsibilities:

  • Provide comprehensive tax planning and compliance services for a diverse client base.
  • Manage and review tax returns, ensuring accuracy and adherence to relevant regulations.
  • Conduct tax research and stay up-to-date with changing tax laws and regulations.
  • Develop and maintain strong client relationships, delivering exceptional customer service.
  • Identify tax planning opportunities and provide strategic advice to clients.
  • Supervise and mentor junior team members, fostering their professional growth.

Requirements:

  • Minimum of 3 years of experience in a public CPA firm, specializing in tax services.
  • Strong knowledge of tax laws, regulations, and compliance.
  • CPA certification is required
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment.
  • Exceptional client relationship management skills.
  • Working knowledge of UltraTax is preferred

About the Company:

Hawkinson Muchnick & Associates, PC is a leading CPA firm based in Douglasville, GA. With over 30 years of professional experience and deep roots in the Douglas County area, we are known for our stability, expertise, and commitment to our clients. Our team of seasoned Certified Public Accountants and Enrolled Agent ensures that our clients receive top-notch financial planning services.

More than just a traditional tax and accounting firm, our comprehensive and customized strategic Financial Planning packages set us apart, allowing us to provide personalized solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs. As active members of the community, we actively participate in local organizations and take on leadership roles to make a positive impact.

How to Apply:

If you are a dedicated Tax Manager seeking a rewarding opportunity with growth potential, we would love to hear from you. Please submit your resume and a cover letter detailing your relevant experience and why you would be a great fit for our team preferably via LInkedIn Job Post or via this website via the contact form. Let’s start a conversation about your future with Hawkinson Muchnick & Associates!

Note: All applications will be treated confidentially. Only qualified candidates will be contacted for further steps in the hiring process.

About Us: https://hma-cpa.com

Location: Douglasville, GA

Employment Type: Full-time

Salary: Competitive, based on experience

We look forward to reviewing your application and exploring the possibility of welcoming you to our team at Hawkinson Muchnick & Associates, PC.

Start Your Tax Planning NOW!

Start Your Tax Planning NOW!

Keeping your taxes as low as possible requires paying attention to your financial situation throughout the year. Here are some tips for getting a head start on tax planning for your 2024 return:

  • Review your paycheck withholdings. Now is a good time to check your tax withholdings to make sure you haven’t been paying too much or too little. Use this online tool from the IRS to help calculate how much your current withholdings match what your final tax bill will be.

    Action step: To change how much is withheld from your paycheck in taxes, fill out a new Form W-4 and give it to your employer.
  • Defer earnings. You could potentially cut your tax liability by deferring your 2024 income to a future year via contributions to a retirement account. For 2024, the 401(k) contribution limit is $23,000 ($30,500 if 50 or older); $7,000 for both traditional and Roth IRAs ($8,000 if 50 and older); or $16,000 for a SIMPLE IRA ($19,500 if 50 and older).

    Action step: Consider an automatic transfer from either your paycheck or checking account to your retirement account so you won’t have to think about manually making a transfer each month.
  • Plan withdrawals from retirement accounts to be tax efficient. Your retirement accounts could span multiple account types, such as traditional retirement accounts, Roth accounts, and taxable accounts like brokerage or savings accounts. Because of this, consider planning your withdrawals to be as tax efficient as possible.

    Action step: One way to structure withdrawals is to pull from taxable accounts first, and leave Roth account withdrawals for last. Another approach is to structure proportional withdrawals from all retirement accounts, which would lead to a more predictable tax bill each year.
  • Net capital gains with capital losses. If you have appreciated investments you’re thinking about selling, take a look through the rest of your portfolio to see if you have other assets that you could sell for a loss and use to offset your gains. Using the tax strategy of tax-loss harvesting, you may be able to take advantage of stocks that have underperformed.

    Action step: Make an appointment with your investment advisor to look over your portfolio to see if there are any securities you may want to sell by the end of 2024.

Tax planning can potentially result in a lower bill from the IRS if you start taking action now. Please call if you have questions about your tax situation for 2024.

Watch Out For These Sneaky Vacation Costs

Watch Out For These Sneaky Vacation Costs

Going on vacation is a time to get away, relax and enjoy new experiences. But if you don’t pay close attention, extra costs can sneak up on you like tiny money-stealing gremlins. Here are several sneaky vacation costs to watch out for:

  • Covert airfare increases. Airline pricing algorithms are programmed to store your browsing history to see if you’ve been looking at flights. If you have, they will bump up the price. Before searching, clear your internet history and switch to private (or incognito) mode on your web browser. When you are finally ready to book the flight, do so using a different computer from a new location to be sure that you’re avoiding this artificial price increase.
  • Stealthy resort fees. The nightly base rate for a fancy resort will often compare favorably to a standard hotel in the same location. This is an intentional pricing tactic used by resorts to get their rooms on the initial search results page. Don’t be fooled! These same resorts will add a daily resort fee on the back end of your bill to cover the extra amenities they offer. The extra fee might be worth it to you, but it’s better to understand the full cost of the stay before making your reservation.
  • Useless rental car insurance. Rental car companies will try to sell you insurance to cover damages you may cause during the rental period. Often, the auto insurance you already have will extend to the rental car. In these cases, the extra insurance isn’t necessary. Before renting a car, check with your insurance company to see if a rental will be covered.
  • Bloated baggage fees. You probably already know that airlines may charge for checking a bag, but do you know they will charge extra if a bag is too heavy? Exact weight can vary by airline or location, so check the weight limits before you go and weigh any heavy bags using a bathroom scale.
  • Crafty parking costs. Downtown hotels in big cities charge as high as $100 per night for parking! Research alternative parking options near your hotel or compare the cost of using rideshare options before committing to the hotel rate.
  • Sly extra driver charges. Rental car companies will charge an extra daily fee to have a second driver listed on the rental. If possible, commit to one person to handle all the driving on your vacation.
  • Tricky foreign transaction fees. Traveling abroad and paying an extra fee for every purchase will add up in a hurry. Before you go, check your credit cards and bank accounts to see if they charge foreign transaction fees. If they do, shopping for another card or account that doesn’t charge fees might make sense.

Some vacation fees can’t be avoided, but many of them can if you know where to look. Implement a plan to navigate the fees in the planning stages of your trip to avoid dealing with them during your vacation.

Retirement Plan Options for Small Business Owners

Retirement Plan Options for Small Business Owners

Offering a retirement plan can be a powerful tool when you’re competing to attract the best employees. And if you’re a sole proprietor, a retirement account can help you save even more money for the future. Here are some of the most popular retirement options for small business owners, along with ways to help with the cost of starting and operating a retirement plan.

Retirement plan options

  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA Account. Contribute as much as 25% of your business’s net profit up to $69,000 for 2024.
  • 401(k) Plan. Contribute up to $69,000 of your salary and/or your business’s net profit.
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA Account. You can put all your business’s net profit in the plan, up to $16,000 plus an additional $3,500 if you’re 50 or older.

Tax breaks to start a retirement plan

  • Tax Credit for Startup Costs. A tax credit equal to 100 percent of the administrative costs for establishing a workplace retirement plan is available for up to three years for eligible businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Businesses with 51 to 100 employees can still be eligible, which caps the credit at 50% of administrative costs and with an annual cap of $5,000.

    Taking advantage: This credit could potentially cover all set-up and administrative costs during the first three years of a plan’s existence, as average 401(k) set-up costs range from $1,000 to $2,000, while average annual administrative costs range from $1,000 to $3,000. To keep your annual administrative costs as low as possible, it may be worth shopping around to look at different plan providers as the fees can vary.
  • Tax credit for employer contributions. Eligible businesses with up to 100 employees may qualify for a tax credit based on its employee matching or profit-sharing contributions. This credit, which caps at $1,000 per employee, phases down gradually over five (5) years and is subject to further reductions for employers with 51 to 100 employees.

    Taking advantage: Once this tax credit expires after the plan’s first five years of existence, employer contributions to 401(k), SEP, and SIMPLE plans are still tax deductible up to certain limits. This means that both the employer and employee can continue to reap tax savings for the entire life of the retirement plan.

And remember that employees can still contribute to their own individual IRA. So let your employees know that in addition to having either a 401(k), SEP, or SIMPLE account through your company, they may also qualify to contribute to their own traditional IRA or Roth IRA.

It’s never been easier or more affordable to start a retirement plan for your business, so if you have not already done so, look into the alternatives that best fit your business.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your tax situation please feel free to call.

Oh No! Your Tax Refund is Now a Bill

Oh No! Your Tax Refund is Now a Bill

Many taxpayers start preparing their tax return with hopes of receiving a sizable refund, only to find out that their actual refund is much smaller than expected — or that they actually owe the federal government money instead! If this happens to you, here are some of the likely reasons:

  • Higher take-home pay. Look at last year’s W-2 and see how much was withheld for federal income tax. Now check this year’s W-2. If it is lower, you will need a corresponding reduction in your tax obligation to get the same refund as last year. The good news? You’ve had more of your income available to you throughout the year. The bad news? Paying less tax each pay period can result in a lower refund or even a tax due balance at tax filing time.
  • Withholding tables are not always accurate. The IRS provides businesses with tax tables to figure out how much of your paycheck should be withheld to pay your taxes. While these tables are mostly accurate, sometimes these tables instruct your employer to withhold more than necessary — leading to a refund. But sometimes the opposite is true and your employer may not withhold enough — leading to a balance due.
  • You earned money from a side hustle. You are responsible for making payments to the IRS for taxes you owe from working a side hustle or as a freelancer. If you didn’t make these payments to the IRS as you were earning the money throughout the year, you’ll have to make a lump-sum payment when you file your tax return.
  • Your state takes a different path. Tax laws passed by many states closely mirror tax laws passed by the federal government. But many times these laws never match 100%. This means that while you may see a refund on your federal tax return, you might end up owing money on your state tax return.

With the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll receive as large of a refund as you’re expecting, consider holding off on plans to spend your refund until your tax return is finalized.

Important Moves to Consider When Interest Rates Change

Important Moves to Consider When Interest Rates Change

A domino effect occurs each time the Federal Reserve changes interest rates. An increase leads to higher rates for consumers when they borrow, while paving the way to better returns for savings accounts. A decrease results in paying less interest when borrowing money, but also causes a drop in how much your savings can earn.

While waiting to see what the Fed does in 2024, consider having a plan in place for both these scenarios — a hike in interest rates as well as a cut. Here are some ideas for formulating your own financial plan for each scenario.

When Interest Rates Increase

  • Shop around for new savings accounts. Rate increases are good for long-term savers and families who are stashing away money for short-term goals like buying a home. When interest rates are on an uptick like they are right now, it’s a great time to shop around for a high-yield savings account or to lock in a great rate for a portion of your savings with a certificate of deposit.
  • Focus on paying down high interest debt. Rate increases can create disastrous results for people who have debt with variable interest rates. For example, data from the Fed shows the average credit card interest rate increased from 14.22% in 2018 to 21.19% in the second half of 2023. If high-interest debt is dragging you down financially, rate increases give you more incentive to pay it off.
  • Avoid borrowing when possible. Surging interest rates make borrowing money more expensive, so try and avoid borrowing for personal and business reasons. If you must borrow, attempt to exhaust every other source of cash before taking on new debt.

When Interest Rates Drop

  • Refinance existing debts. Look into consolidating or refinancing all your existing debts, including your mortgage, personal loans, and credit cards. Lower rates can help you save money on interest, secure a lower monthly payment, and help you pay off a debt’s balance more quickly.
  • Look for ways to put additional funds to good use. Lower interest rates make it less appealing to stash money away in savings account products, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit. Instead of savings accounts that feature little or no interest, look for ways to invest for the future or put your money to use for things you need.
  • Apply for funding. Rate drops also make borrowing money more attractive. Consider applying for a personal or small business loan, but only if you have a plan for it.
Your Brain on Social Media – How to make online interaction better for your health

Your Brain on Social Media – How to make online interaction better for your health

More than half the world now uses social media sites such as Facebook, X, and Instagram every day. The average user spends about 2 hours and 23 minutes on these platforms clicking, liking, and replying to content sent from around the world.

Research has demonstrated, however, that too much social media can have negative effects on mental health. This appears to be especially true for children and young adults. Here are some ideas to help ensure social media use does not become a problem, especially for your children.

  • Limit time. At least two separate studies have shown a correlation between more than two hours of daily social media use and negative mental health symptoms. Consider limiting your family’s use to less than two hours a day. Many in the tech community say no to their children using these social media platforms all together. Others require phones and electronic devices to be checked in when at home and restrict their use during the school week.
  • Set bedtime limits. Stop all social media use for at least one hour before bedtime. Then turn off all electronics and place them outside of bedrooms to avoid disruptions. Neither brightly lit electronic screens nor upsetting online content right before bed tend to promote restful sleep.
  • Discourage mobile use. If excessive social media use is common in your family, consider deleting the apps from your phones and only allow social media use from a home desktop computer. This will help you control the amount of use and avoid the distraction throughout the day.
  • No private social media. Ensure you have access to all social media accounts of your children and review them periodically.
  • Use real names. Having you and your kids use your real names and identities when using social media may seem risky, but experts at the youth social media advocacy group SmartSocial.com say it actually promotes positive use and avoids negative interactions and communities. It also helps teach kids to be responsible users who are conscious of the risks and consequences of online activity. But beware of the downsides as well. This includes targeted bullying and potential stalking.
  • Find real communities. Use social media to join communities devoted to your favorite hobbies and interests. Talk to your kids about the communities they’ve joined and the interactions they’re involved with to make sure they are using social media for positive experiences.
Building an Emergency Fund When Cash is Scarce

Building an Emergency Fund When Cash is Scarce

The traditional rule-of-thumb for emergency funds is to have enough cash stashed away to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses. For many people, though, this sounds better in theory than in practice.

When you’re starting from scratch and don’t have a lot — or any — extra cash at the end of the month, consider these ideas to help grow your emergency fund.

Cutting Expenses

  • Review recent statements to find opportunities to save. Look over your bank statements and credit card bills from the last few months to see where all your income is going. Spend some time tallying up expenses in categories you have some control over, such as entertainment, dining out, clothing and online shopping.
  • Cut down on lifestyle expenses. Identify areas to cut your spending and create new spending goals in categories that were problematic in previous months. Some of the easiest places to cut include online shopping, subscription services, clothing, movies and music. Once you reach your emergency fund goal, you can consider adding some of these spending areas back into your budget.
  • Spend less on food. One of the biggest budget busters for many families is their spending on food — both at the grocery store and at restaurants. Control food spending by making a meal plan and cooking most of your meals at home, shopping sales at the supermarket, and making meals with ingredients you already have.

Increasing Income

  • Squirrel away windfalls. Consider adding windfalls such as tax refunds, work bonuses, or annual gifts you may receive from a family member to your emergency savings as soon as you receive it.
  • Sell stuff you don’t need. Look around your home for items you rarely use and then sell unwanted stuff using an online marketplace. Used items that can fetch a good sales price include workout equipment, brand name clothing and accessories, small furniture and antiques.
  • Add a part-time job or side hustle. Boost your income by picking up more shifts at work, asking for overtime, or getting a second job or side gig to fill your spare time. This step can help you bring more money home so you can add to your emergency fund.

Once you start looking for ways to spend less and earn more, there’s one final step that can help you grow your emergency fund. Make sure the money you find on both ends of the spectrum makes its way to your savings, either through manual or automatic transfers.

The best way to do this is by having a dedicated emergency fund in an account that’s separate from your regular checking and savings accounts. By moving your extra money into this account, you can grow your emergency fund with less temptation to spend it.

Give Your Personal Brand a Boost

Give Your Personal Brand a Boost

The idea of building a personal brand might seem intimidating, but the benefits can be career altering. Not only does your brand promote you to the entire market, it solidifies your standing within your network where most new career opportunities come from. Here are some steps to consider for building a brand that promotes your strengths and showcases your value.

  • Do a personal evaluation. Start by reflecting on your personal and career experiences. Write down a list of traits and accomplishments that are good portrayals of the value you bring to people and organizations. Ask yourself questions such as, “How would others describe me?” or “In what situations would people look to me for help?” Also take an inventory of your social network presence. You can even try googling yourself to see what comes up. Understanding the current state of your brand, both online and offline, is imperative before taking the next step.

  • Be authentic. As you do your self-evaluation, the shape of your persona will start to emerge. Maybe you’re a go-to person for complex problems, or someone people confide in for advice, or a trusted leader that isn’t afraid of making the big decision. Odds are you’re a combination of a lot of different things, but try to nail down the main ideas so you can narrow your focus. The key here is to be authentic and genuine. There’s no sense building a brand based on something that you’re not — this only causes problems for you and everyone around you.

  • Build your online profile. More than ever, people and businesses are looking to learn about you by researching online. You should try to match your online profile to your in-person qualities. This comes more naturally to some than others, but even some simple steps can enhance your online persona. Start by choosing a profile picture that displays who you are in the best possible light. On LinkedIn, for example, your career industry will dictate the style you choose. This photo will be your first impression, so make sure it conveys the look you are going for.

  • Engage and network. Networking is extremely important to your brand. A LinkedIn study shows that 85% of professionals believe networking is important for finding your next role, while 70% of job changes happen because of a connection at the new company. To increase your online presence, consider posting on a consistent basis. You can start simple by sharing an article you thought was interesting. Then take it a step further by sharing a story that taught you something. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll be, and the more that your authentic personality will start to show.

  • Tell your story. Don’t be afraid to share things about your personality and experiences that helped shape who you are as a person. This will draw people to you and start to build trust. And you don’t have to get deeply personal…even the smallest little details about something unique about your day or an experience can make you more interesting.

Building a brand is a lifelong process, so keep at it and don’t be afraid to evolve as you go and learn. And who knows, you might even learn something about yourself in the process.

Avoid a Penalty and Tax Surprise when Withdrawing from Retirement Accounts

Avoid a Penalty and Tax Surprise when Withdrawing from Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts that provide tax breaks have very specific rules that must be followed if you want to enjoy the financial rewards of those tax breaks.

One of these rules defines WHEN you’re allowed to pull money from your retirement accounts. If you pull money too soon, you’re at risk of being levied with a penalty by the IRS. There are several exceptions to this rule, such as paying for qualified higher education expenses or paying for expenses if you become permanently disabled. In general, though, if you withdraw retirement funds before you reach age 59½, you’ll be hit with a 10% penalty in addition to regular income taxes. In the April 2023 court case Magdy A. Ghaly and Laila Ryad v. Commissioner, the taxpayers learned this rule the hard way.

The Facts

In 2018, Mr. Ghaly took two distributions from his retirement account.

Distribution #1: Withdrawal

Mr. Ghaly was laid off from his job, and in 2018, he withdrew money from his retirement account to provide for his family. He requested and received a withdrawal of $71,147 from his retirement account. His retirement company provided him with a Form 1099-R indicating the withdrawal was taxable.

Distribution #2: Deemed Distribution

In 2015, Mr. Ghaly took a loan from his retirement account. Because the loan followed certain IRS-approved guidelines, it was not considered a taxable distribution from his account that year. However, when Mr. Ghaly failed to repay that loan when it came due in 2018, it became a taxable distribution. His retirement company provided him with a 1099-R tax form for the deemed distribution.

Mr. Ghaly had not yet reached age 59½ before either amount was distributed.

The Findings

In an attempt to restore those distributions to his account to avoid both the tax on the distributions and the early withdrawal penalty, he opened two retirement accounts in 2020 and made the maximum contributions allowed for each account.

The Tax Court ruled against the taxpayers, stating that the contributions Mr. Ghaly made in 2020 were irrelevant when determining if his 2018 distributions were taxable. Mr. Ghaly was required to pay income taxes on the amounts withdrawn (to the extent those distributions were taxable) and was assessed an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty.

The Lesson

If you are planning an early withdrawal from a retirement account, understand before making the withdrawal whether the 10% penalty applies to you. In Mr. Ghaly’s case, he could have explored the substantially equal periodic payment exception or withdrawn money penalty free if used as hardship to pay for his health insurance while unemployed. The lesson: please call if you have questions about an early withdrawal you may be planning before you make it!

Moves to Improve Your Credit Score

Moves to Improve Your Credit Score

While your credit score is a three-digit number that’s automatically assigned to you, this is one area of your financial life where you have quite a bit of control. The moves you make or don’t make with your credit can help determine where this score falls at any time, and the impact can be dramatic.

Where good credit, a score of 670 or higher, can mean having access to financing with the best rates and terms, a low credit score can mean paying higher interest rates and more loan fees — or even being denied financing altogether. Bad credit can also mean having trouble getting an apartment or a job if your employer asks to see your credit report for hiring purposes.

The following steps can help you improve your credit this year and beyond:

  • Set up bills for automatic payments. Because your payment history is the most important factor used to determine credit scores, make every effort to pay bills on time. Set up your bills for automatic payments so they’re paid no matter what, and you can avoid unnecessary credit score damage.
  • Pay down existing debt. How much you owe in relation to your credit limits is the second most important factor used for credit scores. This means avoiding carrying a balance on your credit cards and never using more than 25% of your credit line or your credit score could be impacted.
  • Look over your credit reports for errors. Check your credit reports from all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You can do this once a year for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find any errors or information you don’t recognize, take steps to dispute this information with the credit bureaus.
  • Build credit with new financial products. If you need to build credit from scratch or repair credit after mistakes made in the past, look for new credit products that are easy to obtain. Your best options are secured credit cards that require a cash deposit as collateral and credit-builder loans.
  • Use a free app to build credit. You can use a free app like Experian Boost to get credit for payments you’re already making like utility bills, subscription services and even your rent. All you have to do is connect your accounts to this app to have your payments reported to the credit bureaus.

You don’t have to live with a low credit score for another year, especially since so many things can help you improve it. By never missing a payment, paying down debt, checking over your credit reports and getting creative when it comes to building new credit, you can end 2024 in much better shape.

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