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Stressed? 8 Last-minute Tax Tips!

It’s tax time again! If you’re feeling lost in a sea of papers and receipts, no worries…we’re here to help!

To start, if you’re like many Americans who have not yet filed your taxes, there’s good news: you have more time! April 18 is the income tax filing deadline for 2016 taxes because of the observance of the Emancipation Day Holiday, and because April 15th, the traditional tax filing deadline, falls on a Saturday this year.

Next, we’ve compiled some tools, tips, and links to help ease the stress of tax time, and to help to empower us to take control of our finances. Since God wants us all to be good stewards of our finances (Matthew 25:20-21), these tips can help remove some of the drudgery and mystery out of tax preparation, and encourage us to establish good financial practices for the future:

  1. Organize. Use a box or separate envelopes to toss receipts into, and to store tax forms received from employers or clients. Use an accordion file to store receipts and bills; use one section per month. Designate a place in your home where these items can be kept on a permanent basis.

  2. Chart your spending. Record your expenditures by category. This will help your tax preparer make the right deductions for you, which could result in a bigger return. It will also help you to better budget your spending. Download our free MONTHLY EXPENSE FORM; use it at the end of each month to organize and record your receipts and expenditures.

  3. Gather all necessary paperwork. TurboTax® has compiled a handy list with additional information that can affect your tax filing status. Click HERE to download.

  4. File an extension. Feeling stressed by the last-minute rush? The IRS grants special penalty relief to many taxpayers who request a time extension to file their federal income tax returns. You’ll find FORM 4868 HERE.

  5. File online. If you feel confident that you can fill out the forms yourself, then avoid those long lines at the post office by filing online for free. The IRS now offers many services on their website at IRS.gov, including the Online Payment Agreement application, and FREE FILE, a step-by-step tax return filing system. Filing through Free File, you avoid the late-filing penalty on money you may owe. Even if you make a mistake, there’s a solution. Use  FORM 1040X to correct any errors, even on previously filed returns.

  6. Do you owe money? Don’t panic! Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for an offer-in-compromise, an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Eligibility is determined by the taxpayer’s income and assets.

  7. Filing after the deadline? It’s not the end of the world. Contact the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). They’re your voice at the IRS, and they can answer questions about tax credits, penalties, and tax return preparation. Their job is to make sure that all taxpayers are treated fairly.

  8. Help is FREE. There are several resources for free help with tax return preparation and questions:

The West Angeles Community Development Corporation offers free tax return preparation for individuals and small business owners with low to moderate incomes. Click HERE for more information, or call 1-323-751-3440.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to-moderate income taxpayers, with a special interest to those 60 and older. There are more than 5,000 locations nationwide; click HERE to find a site near you, or call 1-888-227-7669.

 The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help nationwide to people who generally make $52,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Click HERE to find a VITA site near you or call 1-800-906-9887.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. Click HERE to find a TCE site near you or call 800-906-9887.

The IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)   offers free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving  tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Their role is to help you understand your rights. Click HERE or call 1-877-777-4778.

Finally, remember, as 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV) tells us,

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

On behalf of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, have a blessed and stress-free tax season!


By linking to the external sites mentioned in this article, West Angeles Church of God in Christ is not endorsing their products, services, or privacy or security policies. We recommend you review the business or organization’s information collection policy or terms and conditions to fully understand what information is collected by these entities. Our thanks to the IRS, Intuit / TurboTax®, and to the West Angeles CDC.

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Success

Ecclesiastes 3:1&6 (NKJV) –  Everything Has Its Time 

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:                                                                                    

 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away

Spring represents humankind’s annual opportunity to “make all things new,” to move ahead with renewed purpose and passion, and to create room for God’s power in this season of renewal and strength. If you haven’t done your Spring cleaning yet, then now is a great time to start!

Does God actually want us to keep our homes clean, organized, and clutter-free? The answer is yes! 1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us that “all things should be done decently and in order.” Order facilitates preparation,* and preparation allows everything else in our lives to flow efficiently (Proverbs 13:4).

We are called to exhibit self-control as a reflection of God (Titus 1:8), and when we mirror Him, we can be a light and an example to others (Titus 2:5 and 1 Timothy 3:5). The cleaning process is also a great way to instill other fundamental values in our children, such as perseverance, diligence, self-control, humility, and charity. Simply put, cleanliness and order can edify the soul and reflect peace: which helps us to create the life God intended.

Here are 10 tips for spring cleaning success:

  1. Say “No” to clutter. Taking the first step toward a clutter-free lifestyle begins with changing our mindset. Often, we hoard possessions out of fear of loss. But God tells us in Luke 12:15 to “beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
  2. Be prepared. Gather cleaning tools and cloths; gather boxes to organize unwanted items; use old newspapers for cleaning windows and glass surfaces. Make sure your vacuum cleaner is operating properly; empty debris and dust from previous use. Use boxes for organizing, and to toss unwanted items. Preparation is key (1 Chronicles 22:5)!
  3. Make your own natural cleaning solutions! Dilute ½ cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water; use it to clean glass, counter tops, and the refrigerator; wood and tile floors. Mix ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of vinegar and 2 gallons of warm water; use it to clean walls, sinks. Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda to make a scouring cleanser; this also cleans chrome and removes stains. Mix vinegar and ketchup to polish brass and copper; mix vinegar, baking soda and boiling water to clean silver. Remove soap scum or mildew with a solution of 1 cup of ammonia or bleach in a gallon of water. Spray surface; leave for a few minutes until stains disappear. Rinse well with hot water.
  4. Make a plan. Take one room at a time. Work from ceiling to floor, leaving the vacuuming and floors for last. And don’t forget the attic, basement and garage.
  5. Organize your important papers – Download ourMonthly Expense Form to help organize receipts and expenditures. Sort bills and receipts by month, and store in an accordion folder. Safely store important documents and booklets for your appliances, insurance policies, automobiles, and medical history, and place all in a dedicated space in your home.
  6. Organize your closet – Wash or dry clean soiled clothing; polish shoes; mend, tailor, or repair if needed. Organize items by type and color (this method even works for books too).
  7. Donate old family photos. Don’t throw away those old photos! Our lives are an important source of history; give photos and memorabilia to an archive, library or repository.
  8. Stop the junk mail! Yes, you can opt-out of mailing lists! You can contact any company yourself to make this request, or you can contact Catalog Choice or the Direct Marketing Association; both organizations will submit your opt-out requests for free. Virtual junk mail and even unwanted phone calls create clutter too. Click here for additional information from the Volunteer Guide.
  9. Don’t forget the yard – The outside of your home is as important as the inside. Rake up dead leaves, prune bushes and trees, pull weeds, dust away old spider webs. Hose down garden furniture; discard any unwanted junk that’s lying around.
  10. Have a yard sale; GIVE your excess to charity. Luke12:33 (NIV) – 33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that  will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

When your spring cleaning is completed, complement your fresh new home by choosing one room to enliven with a pop of color. Add a bouquet of flowers, a new throw pillow or two, even a new paint color on an accent wall. By adding a softly scented candle near your home’s entryway, you’ll awaken the senses and welcome visitors.

 


 

  • West Angeles hosts E-Waste Collection Events each year! More information coming soon to Westa.org.
  • Vehicle Donation Program – Donate your old cars to West Angeles! If you would like to give to the ministry of West Angeles and you have a  car, truck, SUV or motorcycle vehicle you’d like to donate, please call (323) 733-8300 ext. 2315 for more information.

 

RESOURCES:

The Salvation Army – Schedule a pick-up of your donated goods online. Website – http://satruck.org/,  or call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).

Goodwill http://www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/.  To donate items call 1-800-GOODWILL.

Catalogue Choice.orghttps://www.catalogchoice.org/.  A free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more.

Direct Marketing Association’s DMAchoice https://www.dmachoice.org/.  Everything you want to know about direct mail, the mail preference service and more.

*DID YOU KNOW:

The day before the Sabbath is called “Preparation Day” (Mark15:42)? It’s traditionally the day to do all remaining work and cleaning in order to prepare for a restful Sabbath Day. The most significant Preparation Day known to Christians is the day the body of Christ was prepared for burial, preceding His glorious Resurrection.

By linking to the external sites mentioned in this article, West Angeles Church of God in Christ is not endorsing their products, services, or policies. We recommend you thoroughly review the business or organization, as well as their policies, terms and conditions.

10Tips for Spring Cleaning Success

Ecclesiastes 3:1&6 (NKJV) –  Everything Has Its Time 

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:                                                                                    

 A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away

If you haven’t done your Spring cleaning yet, then now is a great time to start!  Does God actually want us to keep our homes clean, organized, and clutter-free? Actually, yes! 1 Corinthians 14:40 tells us that “all things should be done decently and in order”.  Order facilitates preparation*, and preparation allows everything else in our lives to flow efficiently (Proverbs 13:4).

We are called to exhibit self-control as a reflection of God (Titus 1:8), and when we mirror Him, we can be a light and an example to others (Titus 2:5 and 1Timothy 3:5). Along with self-control, the cleaning process is also a great way to instill other fundamental values in our children, such as perseverance, diligence, humility, and charity. Simply put, cleanliness and order can edify the soul and reflect peace: which helps us to create the life God intended.

Here are 10 tips for Spring cleaning success:

1.      Say “No” to clutter. Taking the first step toward a clutter-free lifestyle begins with changing our mindset. Often, we hoard possessions out of fear of loss. But God tells us in Luke 12:15 to “beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses”.

2.      Be prepared. Gather cleaning tools and cloths; gather boxes to organize unwanted items; use old newspapers for cleaning windows and glass surfaces. Make sure your vacuum cleaner is operating properly; empty debris and dust from previous use. Use boxes for organizing, and to toss unwanted items.  Preparation is key (1 Chronicles 22:5)!

3.      Make your own natural cleaning solutions! Dilute ½ cup of vinegar with 1 gallon of warm water; use it to clean glass, counter tops, and the refrigerator; wood and tile floors.  Mix ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of vinegar and 2 gallons of warm water; use it to clean walls, sinks. Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda to make a scouring cleanser; this also cleans chrome and removes stains. Mix vinegar and ketchup to polish brass and copper; mix vinegar, baking soda and boiling water to clean silver. Remove soap scum or mildew with a solution of 1 cup of ammonia or bleach in a gallon of water. Spray surface; leave for a few minutes until stains disappear. Rinse well with hot water.

4.      Make a plan.  Take one room at a time; work from ceiling to floor, leaving the vacuuming and floors for last. And don’t forget the attic, basement and garage.

5.      Organize your important papers – Download our Monthly Expense Form to help organize receipts and expenditures.  Sort bills and receipts by month; store in an accordion folder. Safely store important documents and booklets for your appliances, insurance policies, automobiles, and medical history; place all in a dedicated space in your home.

6.    Organize your closet – Wash or dry clean soiled clothing; polish shoes; mend, tailor, or repair if needed. Organize items by type and color (this method even works for books too).

7.      Donate old family photos.  Don’t throw away those old photos! Our lives are an important source of history; give photos and memorabilia to an archive, library or repository.

8.      Stop the junk mail! Yes, you can opt-out of mailing lists!  You can contact any company yourself to make this request, or you can contact Catalog Choice or the Direct Marketing Association; both organizations will submit your opt-out requests for free. Virtual junk mail and even unwanted phone calls create clutter too.  Click here for additional information from the Volunteer Guide.

9.     Don’t forget the yard – The outside of your home is as important as the inside. Rake up dead leaves, prune bushes and trees, pull weeds, dust away old spider webs. Hose down garden furniture; discard any unwanted junk that’s lying around.

10.  Have a yard sale; GIVE your excess to charity.  Luke12:33 (NIV) – 33 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that    will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.”

When your Spring cleaning is completed, complement your fresh new home by choosing one room to enliven with a pop of color: add a bouquet of flowers, a new throw pillow or two, even a new paint color on an accent wall. By adding a softly scented candle near your home’s entryway, you’ll awaken the senses and welcome visitors.

Spring reprsents humankind’s annual opportunity to “make all things new”, to move ahead with renewed purpose and passion, and to create room for God’s power in this season of renewal and strength.

RESOURCES:

The Salvation Army – Schedule a pick-up of your donated goods online. Website – http://satruck.org/,  or call 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825).

Goodwill http://www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/.  To donate items call 1-800-GOODWILL.

Catalogue Choice.orghttps://www.catalogchoice.org/.  A free service to opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more.

Direct Marketing Association’s DMAchoice https://www.dmachoice.org/.  Everything you want to know about direct mail, the mail preference service and more.

*DID YOU KNOW:

The day before the Sabbath is called “Preparation Day” (Mark15:42)? It’s traditionally the day to do all remaining work and cleaning in order to prepare for a restful Sabbath Day. The most significant Preparation Day known to Christians is the day the body of Christ was prepared for burial, preceding His glorious Resurrection.


By linking to the external sites mentioned in this article, West Angeles Church of God in Christ is not endorsing their products, services, or policies. We recommend you thoroughly review the business or organization, as well as their policies, terms and conditions.

 

Stressed? 8 Last-Minute Tax Tips!

It’s that time again!

April 15 is the annual income tax filing deadline, yet most of us still file at the last minute. If you fear the idea of owing money, or maybe you feel lost in a sea of papers and receipts, no worries…we’re here to help!

Since God wants us all to be good stewards of our finances (Matthew 25:20-21), we’ve compiled some tools and tips to help ease the stress of tax time, and to empower you to take control of your finances now and in the future:

  1. Organize. Use a box or separate envelopes to toss receipts, and to store tax forms received from employers or clients. Use an accordion file to store receipts and bills; use one section per month. Designate a place in your home where these items can be kept on a permanent basis.

  2. Chart your spending. Record your expenditures by category. This will help your tax preparer make the right deductions for you, which could result in a bigger return. It will also help you to better budget your spending. Download our free MONTHLY EXPENSE FORM; use it at the end of each month to organize and record your receipts and expenditures.

  3. Gather all necessary paperwork. H&R Block has compiled a handy list with additional information that can affect your tax filing status. Click here to download.

  4. File an extension. Feeling stressed by the last-minute rush? The IRS grants special penalty relief to many taxpayers who request a time extension to file their federal income tax returns. You’ll find Form 4868 here.

  5. File online. If you feel confident that you can fill out the forms yourself, then avoid those long lines at the post office by filing online for free. The IRS now offers many services on their website at IRS.gov, including the Online Payment Agreement application, and Free File, a step-by-step tax return filing system. Filing through Free File, you avoid the late-filing penalty on money you may owe. Even if you make a mistake, there’s a solution. Use  Form 1040X to correct any errors, even on previously filed returns.

  6. Owe money? Don’t panic! Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for an offer-in-compromise, an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Eligibility is determined by the taxpayer’s income and assets.

  7. Filing after the 15th? It’s not the end of the world. Contact the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). They’re your voice at the IRS, and they can answer questions about tax credits, penalties, and tax return preparation. Their job is to make sure that all taxpayers are treated fairly.

  8. Help is FREE. There are several resources for free help with tax return preparation and questions:

The West Angeles Community Development Corporation offers free tax return preparation for individuals and small business owners with low to moderate incomes. Click here for more information, or call 1-323-751-3440.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to-moderate income taxpayers, with a special interest to those 60 and older. There are more than 5,000 locations nationwide; click here to find a site near you, or call 1-888-227-7669.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help nationwide to people who generally make $52,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Click here to find a VITA site near you or call 1-800-906-9887.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. Click here to find a TCE site near you or call 800-906-9887.

The IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)   offers free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving  tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Their role is to help you understand your rights. Click here or call 1-877-777-4778.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

By linking to the external sites mentioned in this article, West Angeles Church of God in Christ is not endorsing their products, services, or privacy or security policies. We recommend you review the business or organization’s information collection policy or terms and conditions to fully understand what information is collected by these entities. Our thanks to H&R Block.