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IMI Tree of Knowledge

I would like to take a moment to introduce myself – I am Karla Leonard-David, CEO of IMI Asset Management Company. I hold a double B.A. in Business Economics and Art History. IMI Stands for Investment Management International and was originally founded in 1995. In 2012, IMI went through a complete transformation. That transformation included implementing a complete social media presence. I have designed and write an educational blog that is posted to my personal and company Facebook and LinkedIn pages. These articles are a tool to inform and educate on financial planning topics. The biggest part of that transformation occurred when IMI became a full service asset management company. IMI has partnered with Jerry Vines, MBA, EA and the Law Office of Sharon Morff, to offer a fully engaged estate planning package, designed specifically to your goals. Most people do not have a solid financial plan. A reason for this is that most lack insight into what is going on in the financial industry. I realize that the process of creating a strategy for retirement can feel pretty intimidating which is why I am constantly searching for new materials, whether they are videos, articles or just questions and answers to share with everyone. IMI Asset Management Company is focused on the belief that our customers’ needs are first. I am committed to meeting those needs. I am a firm believer of the personal touch, which is so lost in today’s world. As a result, a high percentage of IMI’s business is from repeat client business and referrals. IMI Asset Management Company was selected in 2012 by the USCA as the recipient of the Best of Rancho Cucamonga Awards in Financial Planning. We want you to be able to assess, from these insights, your financial portfolio to ascertain that it is aligned with your ultimate goals for your retirement and passing your estate probate free down to your heirs. We strive to make sure you evade the costliness that can result from poor planning. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best individual and personalized service in the industry in helping you obtain your goals. We invite you to come “join” our IMI Family.

Tax Hacks 2014: Avoid These 18 Expensive Tax Mistakes

Karla Leonard Karla Leonard , 2/26/2014
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IMI Asset Management, CA, TaxesAs humans, we all have the right to make mistakes. But tax time isn’t the time to exercise that right. In the best case, mistakes on a tax return could mean a delayed refund. In the worst, a smaller refund, an amended return or an audit. Tax software helps avoid a lot of errors – especially the math kind – but it can’t fill out personal information, sign your return or replace common sense. These days, that’s where the most frequent mistakes happen. In the video below, I cover some of the most common tax errors. Check it out, then read on for a lot more detail. The tax code runs thousands of pages and is constantly changing, so it’s understandable mistakes will happen. But experience shows we tend to make the same ones, over and over. Here’s a checklist to help you avoid the most common. 1. Wrong or missing Social Security information What’s on your Social Security card goes on the return. If your name is wrong there or has been changed, contact the Social Security Administration. Getting your number wrong, or that of a dependent or spouse, is even worse: The number might belong to someone else. This kind of error can completely stop the whole process. 2. Making math mistakes Software can help, but in some cases you may still have to tally numbers on the side and enter totals. When you do, triple-check your work. 3. Not signing It’s like turning in homework without your name on it: No name, no credit. Make sure you sign your return — and the check, if you’re sending one. Spacing this out could mean delays or penalties. 4. Using the wrong form Again, software often helps here by picking the relevant forms. But sometimes using a 1040EZ won’t get you as much money as a 1040 or 1040A. And certain situations require additional forms or numbers in different places. For instance, where you claim a home office deduction differs depending on whether you are an employee, self-employed, or a business partner. 5. Paying for help There are a lot of tax software options, with varying fees for preparing, filing, and amending, not to mention state returns if that applies. But if your income is $52,000 or less, chances are you can get your taxes prepared and filed free. Check out “5 Ways to Get Free Help With Tax Prep.” 6. Going pro If you have a simple tax situation that hasn’t changed much since last year, there’s no reason to pay a professional. All they’re going to do is use the professional version of software you can buy (or get free) yourself. Check out “Paying a Pro to Do Your Taxes? Read This First.” 7. Filing by mail instead of electronically Filing your return electronically through IRS Free File is always free, no matter your income. But however you file, do it electronically and sign up for direct deposit. Your refund will most likely hit your account in less than two weeks. Just don’t forget to triple-check your bank account number to make sure the money doesn’t end up in someone else’s account. 8. Hiding income This can happen accidentally if you have multiple employers, or if a W-2 or 1099 goes missing. So take your time, think it through, and make sure you report everything – not just from your job but also investments and anywhere else that might be reporting to the IRS. Ideally you’ll track this throughout the year so you can’t forget. And don’t assume a 1099 is correct. Make sure it matches the amount you were owed and what was paid. 9. Missing deductions and credits Don’t leave money on the table, at least not for the government. Did you buy a home in the past year? Go back to school? Have a child? Life changes and major purchases may mean tax benefits. And don’t forget to see if you can claim a home office deduction. 10. Taking out a refund loan If you’re desperate for your refund money, realize the interest charges on a refund anticipation loan or check only make things worse. Read why in our story from last year, “Kiss Refund Loans Goodbye,” and learn about a better idea: changing your tax withholding so you get bigger paychecks year-round. 11. Procrastinating Don’t shortchange yourself literally and figuratively by waiting until the last minute, then rushing through it. That’s how you make dumb mistakes and forget things that could have lowered your bill or gotten you more back. 12. Blowing your refund Once you get your refund, don’t make the mistake of misspending it. Use it wisely: to pay down debt, get tax advantages for next year, or at least do something memorable and fun. Whatever you do, don’t fritter it away. We’ll have a story next week on smart uses for your tax refund. 13. Using a pencil instead of a computer There are still millions of Americans who fill out their taxes by hand rather than using software. While we humans still, for the time being, can do some things better than computers, adding numbers isn’t one of them. 14. Picking the wrong status While most of us know whether we’re single or married, some of us might not realize that it’s what we are on Dec. 31 that counts. If you were single that day, you’re single for the year, no matter when you got divorced. If you were married on that day, you were married for the year. Parents or adult kids moving in with you? You might have dependents you didn’t know about. Sharing custody? Make sure you both don’t claim the same exemption. 15. Not scanning your documents Scan all the supporting documents you used to prepare your return, as well as the tax return itself, then store everything in the cloud. They’ll be safe from fire, theft and loss, and they’ll be easier to organize and retrieve. Your overstuffed drawers will thank you and so will whoever you hire to represent you if you get audited. 16. Not checking for updates Just because something was deductible last year doesn’t mean it is this year. So don’t just copy off your old forms. Things change every tax year, and even more so in 2013. Don’t assume: Check for updates. 17. Not filing something by April 15 While you’re supposed to pay what you owe when you file your taxes, if you don’t have the money, file your tax return anyway. The penalty for not filing is 10 times the penalty for not paying. If paying will present a hardship, contact the IRS about setting up a payment plan. 18. Not being organized We’ve all done it — waited till the last minute, then did the minimum to get our taxes out of the way. Doing this is a good way to forget some reportable income and an even better way to space out some deductible expenses. Keeping track of income and expenses all year will make tax time easier, prevent you from making costly mistakes, and ensure you get all the deductions you’re entitled to. This time next year, you’ll be glad you did. Content provided by: