Tax Service Blog


Apple Is Increasing Its Staff In China As Work On Bigger iPhones Continues

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM Comments comments (40)

Apple is said to have been on a hiring spree in China and Taiwan in an attempt to speed up the development of a pair of bigger, phablet-style iPhones, according to a recent report.
The news comes from The Wall Street Journal, which explains that Apple has been hiring staff away from companies including HTC, and argues that the Cupertino, Calif. company is planning on “faster and more frequent product launches.” In particular, The Wall Street Journal continues to claim that two larger-sized iPhones are incoming and should launch before the year's end.
The article explains:

"The hiring push reflects Apple's need for more engineers to work with Asian suppliers on developing components for coming iPhones and iPads as it plans for faster and more frequent product launches. (…)
Apple has added several hundred new engineers and operations staff in China over the past two years, with a blitz of hiring that began in mid-2013, people familiar with the matter said. The total number of engineers and operations staff in China now exceeds 600, they said."
Apple is also looking to increase “its number of supply-chain managers in the wake of criticism over factory conditions at some of its suppliers,” the publication adds.
Despite its recent efforts to bring a degree of product and component production to the United States (with the Mac Pro and its recent sapphire plant in Arizona), Apple's presence in Asia is only continuing to grow. Jobs are markedly varied, The Wall Street Journal notes, and range “from working with suppliers on hardware development for touchscreens and cameras, to electrical engineering and software quality assurance.”

***As a reminder, we've heard from a number of different sources that at least one bigger iPhone is set to launch in 2014.

Affordable Beach Getaways

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (48)
Here is a list of the top 3 cheapest beach destinations in the U.S.
 #1 Myrtle Beach, SC
Situated along the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach tops the list with its affordable lodging and restaurant options. With so many beachside condos and timeshares, there are plenty of great deals for those looking for a beach vacation. For as low as $120 per night in high season, guests can book a 2-bedroom condo at the Ocean Creek Resort. Many timeshare resorts also offer summer specials like complimentary breakfast, free nights and other savings.
Myrtle Beach also offers plenty of dining options for the budget conscious. The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill has a great menu, with items ranging from $3-14. Patrons can grab a bite by the deck while enjoying live music, courtesy of the free concert series that runs through September.
#2 Naples, FL
With many of the Gulf states still recovering economically from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the area offers great travel deals during the summer months. While Naples has a reputation as a ritzy town, hotels are incredibly affordable. Only in Naples can you stay at an upscale Waldorf Astoria property for under $129 per night in the summer. The quaint Bayfront Inn on 5th Ave. can be booked for under $100 per night.
In terms of restaurants, First Watch gets rave reviews for its breakfast selection, moderately priced at under $10. For a great burger, head to Brook’s Gourmet Burgers and Dogs, which has a vast selection of All-American fare for under $10.
#3 Morro Bay, CA
This waterfront city is as no-frills as it gets, but it more than makes up for it with stunning scenery. With beachfront hotels like the Bayfront Inn starting as low as $110 per night, this is a great little getaway for those looking to keep it low key.
Local eateries like Frankie and Lola’s get high marks for low prices and delicious food. For a great atmosphere and moderately priced dining experience, STAX Wine Bar & Bistro is also an excellent choice.

True Cost of Being Single

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (128)
Ed Note: We don’t often think this way, but our relationship status is more than just a detail on our Facebook profile – it’s also an important part of our tax forms. Whether you’re single or married can make an impact on the financial benefits you are entitled to, and being single doesn’t always prove to be the most finances-friendly option.  Kristina of DINKS Finance, blogger and former financial planner extraordinaire, helps out with some financial tips for singles.
When you first meet someone, do you look at their left hand to see if they are wearing a wedding ring? I know that I do. For some unknown reason, we are fascinated with people’s relationship status. But we’re not alone – even Uncle Sam wants to know whether we’re single or married. And if you’re single, you might be paying more than you would in a relationship.
Benefits for married couples
In the eyes of an employer, single people have a higher turnover risk than a married couple with kids. If someone has no commitment to a family, they don’t need to provide for anyone but themselves.  They can decide to leave their job at any time, and this makes employers nervous because it costs thousands of dollars to hire and train an employee. Being married, on the other hand, implies stability, which is then rewarded by tax breaks and fiscal benefits.
This isn’t the best situation for single people as they have only one income and don’t get to enjoy the fiscal benefits and tax deductions that married people receive.
If you are a married couple in a dual income household and you file joint taxes, you have the benefit of investing in a spousal IRA subject to certain limitations. This allows the higher earning spouse to contribute into a retirement account in their spouse’s name and receive the individual $5000 tax deduction twice. That’s a quick $10,000 reduction of taxable income for married couples who file joint taxes and max out their retirement accounts each year.
Another tax benefit of being married is the option to transfer your entire estate to your spouse completely tax-free. If an estate is being transferred to anyone other than a spouse, it may be subject to estate taxes at death.
Save money on your single expenses
Singles don’t necessarily enjoy all the benefits that married people do, but don’t worry; there are ways to save money in your singlehood by following these simple tips:
Max out your retirement accounts. Contributing to a 401(k) plan provided by your employer allows you to reduce your taxable income while also adding to retirement savings.  Some employers may also offer a Roth 401(k) plan.  This type of plan does not give you a tax deduction when you put money into the account, but all money coming out of a Roth 401(k) during retirement will be tax-free.  In other words, your earnings in the Roth 401(k) plan will grow tax-free.
Give full disclosure to your tax preparer. Your tax preparer knows all the personal loop holes and available deductions for singles. When you go and visit your preparer in April, tell them everything about your past year; even if you don’t think it’s relevant to your taxes they may be able to find a deduction.
Keep track of all your expenses throughout the year from your cell phone bill and medical receipts to the cost of your public transportation and tuition. Your tax preparer may be able to find tax deductions in the most unusual places, so tell them everything.  If you are in school – even part time – you are allowed to deduct up to $4000 of all undergraduate expenses including the cost of tuition, books and other scholastic materials or may be able to claim an education credit of up to $2,500.
You should also keep a record of all your medical expenses throughout the year because if you have expenses that were not refunded by your insurance company, then you can deduct them if the total amount is generally more than 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI Line 38 on Form 1040).