March 2013 - Amy Northard, CPA - The Accountant for Creatives

Hey, where’s my refund?

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when will my refund be depositedYou (and/or your accountant) has put blood, sweat, and mostly tears into getting those darn taxes finished, and by some miracle, you get money back!! If this is you, you may be wondering when that money is going to hit your bank account.

Our friends at the IRS have created this handy dandy tool where we can check on it (instead of bugging them).

Just go to IRS.GOV and look for this:

wheresmyrefund2You’ll need to know your social security number, filing status (single, married…), and the amount of the refund on your tax return.

Also, most states have their own version of this. Just search “your state refund” and it should come right up if your state has a refund tracker available.

Meals and Entertainment Expense

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business meals deductionLet’s meet for coffee and talk about your taxes!

Could I deduct the latte and scone I got? Absolutely, as long as our meeting passes one of these tests from the IRS.

Test 1: Directly-Related Test
-The main purpose of combining the business and entertainment was for conducting business [AND] -You did engage in business during the entertainment (not just hanging out!) [AND] -You have more than a general expectation of a benefit or income to arise for your business from this entertainment/meal.

Test 2: Associated Test
-The meal/entertainment is associated with a clear business purpose [AND] -The meal/entertainment is directly before or after a substantial business discussion

Generally, you are allowed to deduct 50% of your meal and entertainment expenses. There are always exceptions though. One example is if you’re reimbursed for your meals/entertainment, you can’t deduct these expenses at all. The business who reimbursed you is taking on the expense, so they get to deduct them.

I suggest you keep a log similar to the standard mileage deduction log. Keep it in your purse or car and jot down a few things:

-Who you met with
-Where you ate or entertained
-The date
-The cost (and keep the receipt!)
-Short description of the business purpose of the meeting

It’s always better to have more information in the case of an IRS audit, than not enough!

Resource: IRS Publication 463

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