Single family home or condo, Florida beach property is the dream of many. In today’s real estate market, can that dream become a reality? Is the Florida Beach for Sale? Is now the time to buy? It is and with so many advantages to living in Florida, many thousands of people will buy Florida beach condominiums or homes in Florida retirement communities this season. Who are the people that will buy these Florida beach condominiums and homes in Florida retirement communities? First, there are Americans from the northern and mid western states who are relocating to Florida or buying second homes there mainly because of the weather. A new trend finds home owners bringing their parents with them. Since people are living longer life spans now, taking care of one’s parents for as long as possible is often a much more comfortable and economical solution than having them live alone or in a group living arrangement.
The other major group of Florida second home buyers is foreigners. According to a 2005 study by the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 15% of the home sales in Florida that year were to international buyers from over 100 different countries. 87% of the realtors who were part of the Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida survey in 2005 said that they had completed at least one sales transaction with an international buyer in the preceding 12 months. And of those, 66% of them said that international buyers accounted for 25% of the sales they transacted in that same 12 month period.
Not surprisingly, the international buyers tend to purchase homes in the larger cities in Florida. Over 30% of them buy homes in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area alone. Orlando, Naples-Fort Myers, Sarasota, and West Palm Beach all are popular locations with foreigners as well. Less than 8% of sales to international homebuyers tend to take place in cities or locations not mentioned above.
Europeans are the largest group of internationals who purchase a vacation home in Florida or relocate to Florida, accounting for 58% of the total. One country, the United Kingdom, accounts for the majority of international buyers in Florida; approximately 1/3 of all home sales in Florida to international buyers were to people from the UK. Interestingly, foreign buyers also are more likely to pay cash for their Florida home – about 36% of them will buy this way as opposed to just 10% of Americans who are buying a second home in Florida.
In selecting a Florida accounting firm to take care of your business and personal financial needs, you need to consider important information before handing over the reigns, so to speak. Even if you just need to take care of tax paperwork for the years end, ongoing services through the years or investment information, your accountant can assist you. The chosen accountant should have an excellent personal relationship with you or with your business and be in good spirits with the Internal Revenue Service. When selecting a firm to handle your needs please consider a few things:
· How is their staff trained? Do they all have a bachelor’s degree in the financial field? Are they all certified public accountants? This is important to know as you want someone with the best expertise in the arena to handle your money or your businesses money for you. How much experience do they have in dealing with tax laws? Once thing that you never want to mess up on is your taxes!
· Is the firm you are looking at registered with the Better Business Bureau? Are they in good standing? How long has the firm been in operation and can they give you references from past customers?
· Do they have a specific area of accounting they like to deal with? Some prefer the corporate atmosphere, while others prefer to deal with private parties. Not all accounting offices are the same. Small business book keeping, is handled in a different area than a corporate account.
· Where is their office located? Can you make an appointment and go see the person handling the account? This is vitally important to the overall relationship with the accountant of choice. You do not want your accountant to be someone that is outsourced to a different country!
· Is the accountant or accounting firm accessible? I mean can you call the team or person handling your accounts directly? A great working relationship not only builds rapport, but keeps the bond strong and a loyal accountant and client!
The New Year is nearly upon us, and that means the end of the existing tax year. You may be wondering how you can reduce your tax bill. Fortunately there’s still time to benefit from deductions, but you should take action as soon as possible, the days are dwindling!
Pre-pay state and local taxes
This strategy could lower your federal income taxes by increasing your total itemized deductions. However, talk to your tax advisor to see if you will owe the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for the year before doing so. If you are, pre-paying may not work in your favor.
Pre-pay college tuition
Your adjusted gross income (AGI) may let you qualify for the American Opportunity college credit or the Lifetime Learning higher education credit, which max out at $2,500 and $2,000 respectively. By paying tuition bills that aren’t due until January through March of next year, you could score a larger credit on this year’s 1040.
Contribute to your retirement account
You can max out contributions to your 401(k), 403(b), or IRA to lower your taxable income. Limitations for how much you can contribute are set by the IRS and vary according to your marital status and type of retirement plan. Ask your tax advisor for specific details that apply to your situation.
Home improvement tax credit
If you have made energy-efficient improvements in your home in 2011, 2012, or 2013, you may be eligible for a one-time tax credit of up to $500. This tax credit is set to expire on December 31, 2013.
This year marks the end of tax credits for some 2, 3, or 4-wheeled electric vehicles. Certain models, like Ford’s 2012-2014 Focus Electric could give you a tax credit of $7,500.
If you donate development rights to a government agency or not-for-profit, it’s considered a conservation easement that could land you with a sizeable tax deduction. Tax breaks are available through this method through 2013 and retroactively back to January 1 of 2012.
Donate to charity
Make your charitable donations now to see higher itemized deductions to this year’s federal income tax bill. If you charge your donation to a credit card before the end of they year, it will count for the current year. Keep in mind that donations can be made in non-monetary forms as well, but all deductions must be itemized.
This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute tax or financial advice. Please consult with your tax advisor for financial advice. At Lundy, Shacter, Shulman & Kaplan, P.A., we provide a comprehensive list of services to help you or your business maintain a healthy financial outlook. From tax preparation to complete business accounting and bookkeeping services and financial planning, we are a firm that clients can trust to take them through whatever life brings their way. If you have questions about your financial situation, give us a call at 954-542-0100.