Anchor Bookkeeping & Payroll, PC
Anchor Bookkeeping & Payroll, PC
Anchor Bookkeeping & Payroll, PC


  • 795 Middle Street
    Bath, Maine 04530

    phone: (207) 443-8680
    fax: (207) 443-3856

    Click here to email us

    Hours:

    Mon-Thurs 9am-4pm
    Evenings and weekends by appointment


Links / Info / Downloads

 

Where’s My Refund

Tax Tips

Payroll Information & Forms To Download

Download Consent Form

Links

 

Where’s My Refund

Where’s my Federal Refund?

Where’s My Maine Refund?


Tax Tips

Safeguard Your Refund-Choose Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is the fastest, safest way to receive your tax refund. When a taxpayer combines e-file and direct deposit, the IRS will likely issue your refund in as few as 10 days.

Here are four reasons more than 79 million taxpayers chose direct deposit in 2011:

1. Security Thousands of paper checks are returned to the IRS by the U.S. Post Office every year as undeliverable mail. Direct deposit eliminates the possibility of your refund check being lost, stolen or returned to the IRS as undeliverable.

2. Convenience The money goes directly into your bank account. You won’t have to make a special trip to the bank to deposit the money yourself.

3. Ease When you’re preparing your return; simply follow the instructions on your return or in the tax software. Make sure you enter the correct bank account and bank routing numbers.

4. Options You can deposit your refund into multiple accounts. With the split refund option, taxpayers can divide their refunds among as many as three checking or savings accounts and up to three different U.S. financial institutions. Use IRS Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), to divide your refund. A word of caution: Some financial institutions do not allow a joint refund to be deposited into an individual account. Check with your bank or other financial institution to make sure your direct deposit will be accepted. Additionally, Form 8888 should NOT be used to designate part of your refund to pay your tax preparer.

Education Tax Credits Help Pay Higher Education Costs

Two federal tax credits may help you offset the costs of higher education for yourself or your dependents.  These are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

To qualify for either credit, you must pay post secondary tuition and fees for yourself, your spouse or your dependent. The credit may be claimed by either the parent or the student, but not both. If the student was claimed as a dependent, the student cannot file for the credit.

For each student, you may claim only one of the credits in a single tax year. You cannot claim the American Opportunity Credit to pay for part of your daughter’s tuition charges and then claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for $2,000 more of her school costs.

However, if you pay college expenses for two or more students in the same year, you can choose to take credits on a per-student, per-year basis. You can claim the American Opportunity Credit for your sophomore daughter and the Lifetime Learning Credit for your spouse’s graduate school tuition.

Here are some key facts the IRS wants you to know about these valuable education credits:

1. The American Opportunity Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student.
  • It is available for the first four years of post secondary education.
  • Forty percent of the credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes.
  • The student must be pursuing an undergraduate degree or other recognized educational credential.
  • The student must be enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, coursed related books supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is less than $80,000 or $160,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

2. Lifetime Learning Credit

  • The credit can be up to $2,000 per eligible student.
  • It is available for all years of post secondary education and for courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • The maximum credited is limited to the amount of tax you must pay on your return.
  • The student does not need to be pursuing a degree or other recognized education credential.
  • Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment.
  • The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is less than $60,000 or $120,000 for married couples filing a joint return.

If you don’t qualify for these education credits, you may qualify for the tuition and fees deduction, which can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000. However, you cannot claim the tuition and fees tax deduction in the same year that you claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Credit. You must choose to either take the credit or the deduction and should consider which is more beneficial for you.

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Payroll Information & Forms To Download

Download IRS Payroll Form W-4

Download Payroll Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification

Download Maine Payroll Form W-4 ME

Download Maine New Hire Form

Download Pub 15 Circular E- Employers Tax Guide

Download Free Labor Law Posters

Download Maine Withholding Tables

Maine Payroll Processors Title 10 Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Chapter 222

 Information on Reporting  New Hires

All Maine employers are required by law to report new hires and re-hires to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) within 7 days of hire, but many fail to do so. The Department of Labor runs a weekly cross-match of all new hires against the list of people collecting unemployment benefits to identify those who continue to file for benefits after they have returned to work. Maine has recently compared the quarterly wage reports against the new hire database and found that only about 25% of new hires were being reported. The new hire cross-match is one of the most effective tools for identifying thus type of potential fraud but if only 1 out of of 4 hires are being reported, the tool is not as effective as it needs to be.

When you report your new hires, you:

  • reduce the duration of fraudulent claims by an average of 4 to 6 weeks,
  • reduce the dollar amount of benefit over payments through quicker detection,
  • reduce erroneous payments from the Unemployment Trust Fund which can potentially reduce unemployment tax rates, and
  • help to assure that Maine’s children get the support payments they deserve.

Employee vs. Independent Contractor

New definition of an independent contractor applies to unemployment, wage and hour and worker’s compensation cases

The new independent contractor definition goes into effect Dec. 31, 2012, replacing the current definitions under both the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Maine Department of Labor. Both agencies will operate under the same definition for all cases originating after the effective date.

This new law clarifies the conditions under which a worker should be classified as an employee or as an independent contractor. The independent contractor standard will be applied uniformly in the unemployment, wage and hour and worker’s compensation laws.

Hiring an individual as an independent contractor or as an employee has different implications for both the business and the worker for payroll and income taxes, unemployment insurance claims and worker’s compensation coverage.

Under the new law, both the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board and the Maine Department of Labor will use the new standard to determine whether a person who performs services for payment is an employee or an independent contractor. Independent contractors must be free from the essential direction and control of the employing party and meet several other criteria.

Also included in this new law are clear penalties to deter the intentional misclassification of workers as independent contractors when they are employees per the standard. This practice not only creates a competitive disadvantage for those employers who correctly classify their workers but also increases unemployment tax premiums because fewer employers are paying appropriate taxes. Therefore, the new law includes penalties ranging up to $10,000 to deter this practice.

More information about the new standard is available from the Maine Department of Labor and the Worker’s Compensation Board. Officials from both agencies are available to speak to interested groups, please contact the Department of Labor at 207-623-7900 to make arrangements. Visit maine.gov/labor/misclass/legal.shtml for more information about independent contractor determination and worker misclassification.

For reference, the new criteria, effective Dec. 31, 2012, that establish a worker as an independent contractor are as follows.

Services performed by an individual for remuneration are considered to be employment subject to this chapter unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the agency that the individual is free from the essential direction and control of the employing unit, both under the individual’s contract of service and in fact, the employing unit proves that the individual meets all of the criteria in Section A and three (3) of the criteria in Section B.

Required Criteria (all criteria must be met)

  • The person has the essential right to control the means and progress of the work except as to final results;
  • The person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business;
  • The person has the opportunity for profit and loss as a result of the services being performed for the other individual or entity;
  • The person hires and pays the person’s assistants, if any, and, to the extent such assistants are employees, supervises the details of the assistants’ work; and
  • The person makes the person’s services available to some client or customer community, even if the person’s right to do so is voluntarily not exercised or is temporarily restricted.

Disjunctive Criteria (at least three (3) of the following seven (7) criteria must be met)

  • The person has a substantive investment in the facilities, tools, instruments, materials and knowledge used by the person to complete the work;
  • The person is not required to work exclusively for the other individual or entity;
  • The person is responsible for satisfactory completion of the work and may be held contractually responsible for failure to complete the work;
  • The parties have a contract that defines the relationship and gives contractual rights in the event the contract is terminated by the other individual or entity prior to completion of the work;
  • Payment to the person is based on factors directly related to the work performed and not solely on the amount of time expended by the person;
  • The work is outside the usual course of business for which the service is performed; or
  • The person has been determined to be an independent contractor by the federal Internal Revenue Service.

 


Links

Internal Revenue Service Website

Maine Revenue Service Website

Social Security Administration Website

U.S. Small Business Administration Website

U.S. Department of Commerce

Federal Citizen Information Center (This is a catalog of free and low-cost federal publication that may be of interest to you. Also contains a lot of important consumer information.)

FAFSA College Financial Aid

Saving For College

Currency Exchange Rates

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