RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Everything and the Kitchen Sink: 5 Projects for DIYers

February 9, 2016 1:39 am

(BPT)—Much of the expense of a kitchen renovation comes from the labor involved—but many remodeling projects, such as backsplash installment or cabinet refurbishment, can be completed by homeowners with DIY experience. If you’re of the “can-do” variety, consider “hiring out” the following projects—to yourself!

1. DIY Backsplash –Take the guesswork out of grout with self-adhesive vinyl tiles (some even mimic the look of copper or tin) and arrange in a cohesive pattern. Draw design inspiration from sources like Pinterest, home décor magazines or your local home improvement retailer.

2. DIY Cabinetry – There’s no way around it: replacing cabinetry is expensive. If you’re handy with tools, refurbish the ones already in your kitchen with new doors or re-facing material, or new hardware, from your local home improvement retailer.

3. DIY Countertops – Replacing your countertop is also a costly undertaking. Go for laminate, again from your local home improvement retailer, for a fraction of the price—many come in finishes similar to concrete, granite or marble, with little discernible difference from the real alternative.

4. DIY Sink – Mounting a sink may seem daunting, but many products on the market today make it possible for homeowners to handle the project on their own. Look for a top-mount model with pre-attached clips, which can simply be dropped into place from above.

5. DIY Storage – You don’t have to customize your cabinets to maximize storage inside them. Purchase off-the-shelf organizers, such as pullouts and rollouts, turntables, under-shelf baskets and gravity-feed can racks to get the same effect for less.

Source: FrankeUSA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tax Time: 10 Tips for Hiring a CPA

February 8, 2016 1:36 am

Tax season’s here, and like many taxpayers, you may be considering hiring a tax preparer, or a certified public accountant (CPA), for filing services. As with many professions, it pays to do your homework before hiring.

“It’s important to thoroughly vet the person you select to prepare your taxes,” says Edward Karl, American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). “Your tax preparer will be handling critical financial and personal information for you. Be wary about who you hire.”

Karl recommends the following tips when choosing a preparer:

1. Get referrals. Ask relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers or others you trust in your community for referrals. Referrals are one of the best ways to locate a CPA.

2. Verify credentials. Many CPAs specialize in taxes, but not all tax preparers are CPAs.  Stringent state licensing rules—including education, examination and experience requirements—distinguish CPAs from other tax preparers. Confirm that the CPA is currently licensed. Most state boards of accountancy have websites that allow consumers to check the status of an individual’s license. 

3. Check for consumer complaints. Have complaints been filed against the tax preparer?  Have they been resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction? Have any lawsuits been filed?

4. Interview potential tax preparers. Meet with the tax preparer. What’s their area of expertise? Find out whether the preparer has other clients with your type of tax situation, how long they’ve been in business and whether they will be there year-round to serve not only your tax filing requirements, but also to help with future tax, college, retirement and business planning needs.

5. Ask how they bill. They may not be able to tell you exactly how much it will cost to prepare your tax return, but they should be willing to explain the basis of their fee structure. Is it hourly or a flat rate? Can they provide you with an estimate?

6. Question them about how they work. Will the tax practitioner prepare your return or will others prepare it? If others prepare it, will the practitioner review it and sign it? Do they use only internal staff or do they outsource work? Will they be available to respond to questions about the return from IRS or state officials?

7. Inquire about information security processes. How do they protect their clients’ personal and financial information? How many people will see your information? Is data encrypted? How do they protect against computer network breaches?  

8. Do your styles match? Ask about weekend or evening hours, how soon telephone calls are returned, how they use technology and what the timetable is for completing the return.

9. Confirm they have an IRS PTIN. All paid tax return preparers are required by law to have an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and to include it and their signature on the returns they prepare for clients. The PTIN number is renewed each year.  Confirm that they have a PTIN by visiting the IRS website.

10. Watch for red flags. If the preparer says they will prepare an original tax return (not an amended return) for a percentage of the refund, commonly referred to as a contingent fee, walk away. Walk away, too, if the tax preparer won’t provide information about their fee or how they charge. Don’t hire a preparer who promises something without seeing your prior year’s return, who suggests taking a deduction or credit that makes you uncomfortable, who asks you to sign an incomplete or blank return, or who wants your refund to be deposited into their bank account instead of yours.

Source: AICPA

Published with permission from RISMedia.