Accounting Firm, Boulder CO

The details of refundable and non-refundable tax credits can be confusing. But the difference between the two matters; they can have a direct on how much you owe or receive as a refund at tax time.


Tax Deductions vs Tax Credits:

Tax deductions reduce taxable income, lowering the amount subject to taxation. They include expenses like mortgage interest or charitable contributions. For example, if you have a $100 deduction, and you are in the 10% tax bracket, the deduction will save you $10.

Tax credits, on the other hand, directly reduce the amount of taxes owed. They are a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the actual tax liability and can be more valuable. While deductions influence the taxable income, credits impact the final tax bill, making them a more impactful way to lower the overall tax burden. That same $100, if a tax credit instead of a tax deduction, could save you $100.


Non-Refundable Tax Credits:

Non-refundable tax credits can help you lower your tax bill, but they won’t give you money back if they’re more than what you owe. They’re useful for things like education or childcare costs, making your tax situation more manageable. Some non-refundable tax credits for the 2023 tax year include:

  • Child and dependent care credit – allows a credit of up to 35% of qualifying childcare costs to help parents be able to work or attend school. The credit is calculated on up to $3,000 of expenses for one qualifying child, and $6,000 for two or more children.


  • Electric vehicle tax credit – Purchasing a qualifying vehicle could get you up to $7,500 for a new electric vehicle, or up to $4,000 for buying a used one.


  • Residential clean energy tax credit – It is commonly known as the solar credit and can get you a credit of up to 30% of the cost of installing systems that use solar energy, such as solar panels, solar water heaters, and battery storage systems.


  • Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit – Available on the purchase of energy-saving items, this credit could save you up to $3,200 in taxes. Qualifying items include windows, doors, and heat pumps.


Refundable Tax Credits:

A refundable tax credit can give you a refund if it’s more than what you owe in taxes. Unlike non-refundable credits that just reduce your tax bill to zero, refundable credits can put money back in your pocket, even if you don’t owe any taxes. They’re especially helpful for low to moderate-income taxpayers.

  • Earned income credit (EITC) – This credit aims to help lower and middle-income households remain in, or re-enter, the workforce. In tax year 2023, it provides a refundable credit between $600 and $7,430 to qualifying households. The amount is based on tax filing status, household income level, and (usually) the number of qualifying children. You do not have to have children to qualify, but having children in the household often leads to a higher credit amount.

Partly Refundable Tax Credits:

Partly refundable tax credits blend features of refundable and non-refundable credits. While they lower tax liability similar to non-refundable credits, they also have a limited refundable part. If the credit exceeds owed taxes, only a portion may be refunded, with the rest non-refundable. This category offers a balanced mix of immediate relief and potential refunds, providing taxpayers with a flexible approach to tax benefits. Notable partly refundable credits include:

  • Child tax credit – up to $2,000 per qualifying child, with $1,600 potentially being refundable by using the additional child tax credit.


  • American Opportunity Credit (AOTC) – this credit can be up to $2,500 for qualifying expenses for the first four years of college. If your tax liability is zero, up to $1,000 can be refundable.


Non-refundable, refundable, and partly refundable tax credits can be important tools used to lower your tax liability and could potentially increase your tax refund. The credits mentioned above are just a few of the available credits and the explanation is greatly simplified. Please consult with your tax professional to determine whether you qualify to use the credits, and how they can be used to your advantage.

Accounting Firm, Boulder CO

The Innocent Spouse Relief and Injured Spouse provisions are separate mechanisms within the U.S. tax code, each aimed at helping spouses facing tax challenges related to the other spouse.

Innocent Spouse Relief

Purpose: Protects individuals unfairly burdened by a partner’s errors on a joint tax return. Situations that may qualify are underreporting of income, inaccurate deductions, and fraudulent activity.

Eligibility: Requires proving the innocent spouse’s lack of knowledge regarding inaccuracies and the inequity of holding them accountable. Another factor that is considered is whether the innocent spouse benefitted from the activity.

Injured Spouse

Purpose: Safeguards a spouse’s share of a joint tax refund from potential loss due to the other spouse’s outstanding debts. Examples of outstanding debts include unpaid child support, defaulted student loans, and outstanding spousal support (alimony).

Eligibility: The affected spouse must have reported income or made payments on the joint return and is not liable for the specific debts in question.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for couples navigating tax challenges. Innocent Spouse Relief protects those unfairly burdened by their partner’s tax errors, while Injured Spouse safeguards a spouse’s share of a tax refund in the presence of the other spouse’s outstanding debts. Each provision addresses unique circumstances, offering financial protection in different scenarios. Being aware of these options empowers individuals to make informed decisions and seek the appropriate relief based on their specific situation.

If you believe that either of these options may apply to your situation, discuss them with your tax professional, and retain the services of an Enrolled Agent, CPA, or Tax Attorney if needed.

Accounting Firm, Boulder CO

Have you ever needed to verify information related to your taxes and tried to call the IRS? It can be a frustrating experience. Luckily, there are official IRS documents, transcripts, you can request that provide taxpayers with a comprehensive overview of their tax-related history. But why do these transcripts matter so much?

First and foremost, IRS transcripts serve as a valuable tool for verifying and cross-referencing financial information. Whether you’re applying for a loan, undergoing a financial review, or addressing identity theft concerns, having access to your tax transcripts ensures the accuracy of your reported income and deductions.

Taxpayers can also use IRS transcripts to monitor any changes made to their tax returns after the initial filing. This level of transparency empowers individuals to stay informed about adjustments and corrections, helping to prevent potential discrepancies or misunderstandings with tax authorities.

Furthermore, in the unfortunate event of an audit, IRS transcripts become indispensable. These documents provide a detailed record of the information that the IRS has, acting as a reliable reference point to address any inquiries raised by tax authorities.

There are four main transcripts that taxpayers can request:

Tax Return Transcript: This transcript provides a summary of your originally filed tax return, including key details such as your filing status, income, and deductions.

Tax Account Transcript: Offering a more detailed view, this transcript provides information on any adjustments made after the filing of your tax return. It includes changes made by you, the IRS, or even by third parties, offering transparency in your tax history.

Record of Account Transcript: Combining the features of both the Tax Return Transcript and the Tax Account Transcript, this comprehensive document displays a complete overview of your tax account, incorporating your tax return information and any subsequent adjustments.

Wage and Income Transcript: This specific transcript provides a detailed breakdown of your reported income, including W-2s, 1099s, and other income sources. It is particularly useful for verifying the accuracy of income reported on your tax return.

In essence, IRS transcripts are not just bureaucratic paperwork; they are a lifeline for taxpayers navigating the intricate landscape of tax obligations. By recognizing the importance of these transcripts, individuals can take proactive steps to ensure financial accuracy, compliance, and peace of mind in their fiscal matters.

At Treu Accounting, we understand that the language of tax transcripts can be complex, and deciphering the information within them may pose a challenge. Our experts not only facilitate the seamless retrieval of your transcripts but also go the extra mile to ensure that you comprehend the data contained within them. We believe that knowledge is power, and by utilizing our services, you not only gain access to your tax transcripts efficiently but also gain a clearer understanding of their implications.


Accounting Firm, Boulder CO

As a self-employed influencer, taxes can significantly impact your income. You’ve probably found yourself wondering if there are ways to reduce your tax bill legally.

Thankfully, the IRS recognizes that some expenses are necessary to run your business and allows you to deduct them from your business income before it is taxed. This in turn lowers your income, resulting in less taxes.


What Expenses Qualify as Tax Deductible?

There are a number of business expense categories that may be deductible. Here are a few that are commonly used by influencers:


Clothing and Beauty Products

While essential for crafting the desired image in content creation, not all clothing and beauty products qualify for deduction.

Examples of possibly deductible expenses:

  • Fitness clothing for workout videos
  • Lingerie – deductible for models or OnlyFans content creators
  • Beauty products, including hair products and tools that are used during the video, and stage makeup not suited for everyday use.
  • Props – wigs and items used regularly to differentiate characters in your content.

Examples of items that would not be deductible:

  • Clothing that could reasonably be worn outside of work. The rule isn’t if you would wear it, but could you wear it.
  • Items that aren’t visible in the content.
  • Personal care or beauty products not specifically used in the content – if you’re not actively using it in the content, it’s not deductible. If you’re not having your nails done in the video, your manicure is not deductible


Advertising and Marketing

Business expenses related to marketing and advertising are potentially deductible, such as ads (including sponsored posts and Facebook ads), branded clothing, website expenses, and giveaway prizes.


Home Office Deduction

For influencers working from home, a home office deduction is available. This deduction allows you to write off a percentage of your rent, mortgage interest, property taxes, qualified mortgage insurance premiums, and home insurance as business expenses. To qualify, your home office must be your primary place of business, and you can only claim the area used regularly and exclusively for business, as defined by the IRS.


Travel Expenses

Deductible travel expenses include flights, hotels, transportation, and meals, provided they are business-related and necessitate an overnight stay. It’s crucial to allocate expenses only for the business portion of a trip. Additionally, mileage for business-related travel, such as meetings with clients or picking up supplies, can be deducted if you maintain a home office, but meticulous tracking of miles is necessary.


Business-Related Education

Investing in courses to enhance your skills as an influencer can help your business succeed. Classes in topics such as social media marketing, photography classes, or business management may be deductible, along with course materials and associated fees.


Final Thoughts

Creating content can be expensive. Being a self-employed influencer requires proactive efforts to claim every eligible deduction and tax credit, thereby reducing taxable income.

Tax law is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay up to date on the latest rules in order to take advantage of every opportunity and avoid any missteps. Working with a qualified tax professional can be a good business decision (and is a deductible expense).

Accounting Firm, Boulder CO

When it comes to taxes, several penalties can be assessed if you don’t do things as required by the IRS. One of these is the Failure-to-Pay penalty. It kicks in if you don’t pay what you owe by the original due date on your tax return. The amount of the penalty depends on how much you owe and how late you are.

In February 2022, the IRS hit a pause on sending automated reminders for overdue tax payments. These reminders are normally sent after the initial notice of taxes due. Even though you weren’t getting these reminders because of the pause, the penalties and interest kept piling up if you didn’t pay the balance in full after the initial notice.

Next year, the IRS is hitting play again on sending reminder notices for tax years 2020 and 2021. The increase in penalties and balance due might catch you by surprise, especially if this is the first notice you’ve seen in over a year.

But on December 19th, 2023, the IRS announced some good news! They’re offering penalty relief for around 4.7 million taxpayers dealing with back tax issues, specifically those who weren’t sent reminders. The IRS is waiving the Failure-to-Pay penalties for eligible taxpayers. This is a one-time deal and not everyone qualifies. To get the relief, you must meet a few conditions:

  • You’re an individual, business, trust, estate, or tax-exempt organization.
  • You filed forms 1040, 1120, 1041, or 990-T income tax returns.
  • Your return was for tax years 2020 or 2021.
  • The tax you owe is less than $100,000 (that’s the total tax on your return).
  • You were in the IRS collection notice process, -or-
  • You received an initial balance due notice between Feb 5, 2022, and Dec 7, 2023.

According to the IRS, you don’t have to do anything to get this relief; it’s automatic. The IRS has adjusted individual accounts, and they’ll be adjusting business accounts in late December to early January. Trusts, estates, and tax-exempt organizations are up next in late February and early March 2024.

If you’ve already paid your balance in full, and the relief leads to a refund or credit, the IRS will send you a refund or apply the credit to another outstanding balance. Refunds are scheduled to be sent from December 2023 through January 2024.

However, even though the adjustment is automatic, it wouldn’t hurt to check your account if you believe you are eligible. You can see the adjustment on the next reminder you receive, or you can view your transcript through your account at If you have questions on penalty relief, individuals can contact the IRS after March 31, 2024.

This relief only covers the Failure-to-Pay penalty. If you have other penalties on your account, such as failure-to-file, accuracy-related, or underpayment penalties, they’re not going away. And the interest stays put as well.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. If you were enjoying the break from failure-to-pay penalties, they’re making a comeback on April 1, 2024, for accounts that still owe money by then.

This penalty relief will help millions of taxpayers catch up on the amounts they owe the IRS, but for most people it will not erase their entire balance. If you’d like help with assessing your options or want to verify that the adjustment was done correctly, contact your tax professional.

Boulder CO, Accounting Firm

As the calendar inches closer to the year-end, it’s time to put on your financial planning hat and take strategic steps to optimize your tax situation. Making smart moves in the next few weeks can potentially reduce your tax liability and save you money. Let’s delve into some high-impact actions you can take before December 31 to enhance your tax efficiency.

Maximize Retirement Contributions

One of the most powerful tools in your tax-saving arsenal is maximizing contributions to retirement accounts. As we approach the year-end, consider contributing the maximum allowable amount to your 401(k), SEP IRA, and IRAs. Be vigilant to ensure you don’t surpass the contribution limits, as exceeding them may result in penalties and tax consequences.

401(k) Contributions

Verify your 401(k) contributions. The 2023 employee contribution limit is $22,500, with a $7,500 catch-up for those 50 and older.

SEP IRA Contributions

For self-employed or small business owners with SEP IRAs, confirm contributions are within the 2023 limit of 25% of net earnings, up to $66,000.

Traditional IRA Contributions

Check traditional IRA contributions—contribution limits are up to $6,500 for 2023, with a $1,000 catch-up for individuals 50 and older. Contributions may be tax-deductible. Ensure you adhere to these limits to avoid potential penalties and maintain the tax advantages of your contributions.

Roth IRA Contributions

Consider making contributions to a Roth IRA. While contributions are not tax-deductible, qualified withdrawals in retirement are tax-free. The 2023 contribution limit is $6,500, with a $1,000 catch-up for individuals 50 and older. Assess your eligibility and weigh the benefits of tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Claim the Saver’s Credit

The Saver’s Credit is designed to encourage low- to moderate-income individuals to save for retirement. If you contribute to a qualified retirement account, such as a 401(k) or IRA, and meet the income requirements, you may be eligible for this credit. The credit amount can be up to $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for married couples filing jointly. Check your eligibility and ensure you claim this valuable credit on your tax return.

Evaluate Investment Gains and Losses

As you review your overall financial picture, take a close look at your investment portfolio. Assess any capital gains and losses from your investment transactions throughout the year. Consider strategically selling assets to offset gains with losses.

This tactic, known as tax-loss harvesting, can be particularly beneficial. If you’ve realized capital gains earlier in the year, selling investments with losses can help minimize your tax liability. Keep in mind that you can use up to $3,000 in capital losses to offset ordinary income, and any additional losses can be carried forward to future years.

Utilize Tax Credits

Don’t overlook the power of tax credits when fine-tuning your year-end financial strategy. Identify and take advantage of any tax credits that apply to your situation. Education credits, for example, can provide substantial savings for eligible expenses paid for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents.

Let’s consider the American Opportunity Credit, which provides a credit of up to $2,500 per eligible student for qualified education expenses. By leveraging such credits, you not only reduce your tax liability but also invest in education, a valuable asset that pays dividends in the long run.

Confirm HSA Contributions

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer a unique opportunity to save for medical expenses while enjoying tax advantages. If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health plan, ensure that you’ve contributed the maximum allowable amount to your HSA by December 31.

For the tax year 2023, individuals can contribute up to $3,850, and families can contribute up to $7,750. Those over 55 can contribute an additional $1000 HSA contributions are tax-deductible, and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax-free. By maximizing your HSA contributions, you not only reduce your taxable income but also create a financial safety net for future healthcare expenses.

Implementing these high-impact financial moves can significantly enhance your tax efficiency and pave the way for a more secure financial future. As we approach the year-end, take the time to review your financial situation, consult with a tax professional if needed, and make informed decisions to optimize your tax strategy. Leveraging these strategies allows you to navigate the year-end with confidence, knowing that you’ve taken proactive steps toward a more tax-efficient financial plan.

Boulder CO, Accounting Firm

Tax season can be a stressful time for many, but one thing that should never be on your to-do list is committing tax fraud. Engaging in tax fraud is not worth the risks as it can lead to severe financial and legal consequences.

Common Forms of Tax Fraud

Underreporting Income:

One of the most prevalent forms of tax fraud is underreporting income. This occurs when individuals or businesses intentionally conceal some or all of their earnings to pay less in taxes. It might involve inflating deductions, hiding cash transactions, or not reporting income from side jobs or freelance work.

Overreporting Income:

Although less prevalent, overreporting income constitutes a significant form of tax fraud. Some individuals artificially inflate their reported earnings to secure larger tax refunds or qualify for tax credits, loans, or mortgages they wouldn’t otherwise be eligible for.

Claiming False Deductions:

Claiming fake deductions is another form of tax fraud that can lead to trouble. Some taxpayers exaggerate or invent expenses to reduce their taxable income. While it’s essential to take legitimate deductions, making up expenses or inflating their amounts can have serious consequences.

Identity Theft for Tax Fraud:

Identity theft is not only a financial crime but can also be used to commit tax fraud. Criminals may steal personal information to file fraudulent tax returns and claim refunds on behalf of the victim.

Engaging in Tax Shelter Schemes:

Some individuals and businesses participate in tax shelter schemes that promise to reduce their tax liability. These often involve complex financial transactions and legal structures that exploit tax laws’ loopholes. Common schemes include real estate tax shelters, abusive trusts, employee benefit plans, and cryptocurrency tax evasion.


Penalties for tax fraud can include substantial fines, interest on unpaid taxes, and in some cases, criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the fraud and the specific circumstances, individuals may face civil or criminal penalties, including fines, probation, or imprisonment.

Tax fraud is a serious offense with significant legal and financial consequences. If you have concerns or uncertainties about your tax situation, consult with a qualified tax professional who can provide guidance and ensure you comply with tax laws while minimizing your tax liability within legal boundaries.