Tax Mistakes to Avoid

It’s tax season. Tax season can cause us to feel anxiety, stress, confusion, and/or procrastination. These can lead to mistakes on your tax return, which can lead to late filings and even some penalties. Red Crown wants to help you avoid all of this with some basic tips. When researching common tax mistakes, we found the following:

Incorrect Status

Selecting your status is a big part of determining how your taxes are calculated. Deciding your status can be easy if you are single with no children, but for people who are married, single parents, or even caretakers, it can sometimes be difficult.

If you need help figuring out what your status is, go to https://www.irs.gov/help/ita.

Social Security Number

Who would have thought that one of the most common mistakes in filing your taxes is putting the wrong Social Security Number (SSN)? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses your SSN on your taxes to match what your employer and financial institutions have paid you. Putting in the wrong SSN happens more when you’re writing or typing your spouse’s and dependent’s numbers. Simple Tip: double check- then triple check to ensure that your information is correct.

Math

According to Block Advisors, there are about 2 million math mistakes made on taxes. The mistakes range from simple addition to complex calculations. These math errors can happen when people are doing their taxes by hand. Why go through all of that when you can use a free tax filing software at https://apps.irs.gove/app/freeFile/.

Incorrect Bank Numbers

If you get a refund, you have the option for your money to be refunded by direct deposit – it’s the fastest way to receive your money! By choosing direct deposit, your refund will go right into your bank account. To go this route, you will need the financial institution’s routing number and your account number. Again, to avoid this mistake and possible delays on receiving your money, double-check your numbers.

Unsigned Tax Return

You made it to the end and everything is correct! Make sure you don’t forget to sign your tax return. If you submit an unsigned return, the IRS considers it invalid and your return will not be processed. Also, don’t forget that both spouses must sign a joint return.

Missing the Deadline

Make sure you file on time! The normal deadline to file is April 15th of each year. Start early, get it done and filed to avoid penalties.

Conclusion

Taxes season is no fun, but if you take the time to understand your tax situation you can get it done and avoid costly, frustrating mistakes. There are many helpful tools on the internet, such as: https://www.irs.gov/. If you are member of Red Crown, you can use TurboTax online at a discounted price. Click here for more information.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.

 

 

 

Red Crown Helping Small Businesses

Red Crown was able to help local businesses during COVID-19 with the Oklahoma Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These programs provided financial support for businesses that were affected by COVID-19.

The Oklahoma Relief Fund was established with the CARES Act. It helps businesses by giving them cash in the form of a grant, which does not have to be paid back. To qualify your business, you must be located in Oklahoma and be affected by COVID-19. Red Crown was the only credit union in eastern Oklahoma to assist businesses with this grant. We were able to facilitate payout totaling $803,838 to 63 businesses. The businesses ranged from independent contractors to a not-for-profit youth theatre program.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was originally passed under the CARES Act. It authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee low-interest loans to eligible small businesses. To qualify for this loan, you need to meet the SBA definition of a small business and be affected by COVID-19. In 2020, Red Crown was able to help 91 new and existing members with PPP loans. The businesses we helped were nail salons, nail techs, independent contractors, truck drivers, and larger employers with less than 100 employees.

The PPP loan is still currently available. You can apply until March 31, 2021. If funds are exhausted sooner than March 31, 2021, the application process will stop. The qualification terms are the same as above.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding the PPP loan.

Do I need to be an existing member of Red Crown?

No, you do not. If you don’t have an account with us, you will be required to open an account. You can become a member if you live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in the Tulsa, Creek, Mayes, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, and Wagoner counties of Oklahoma.

How do I apply for a PPP loan?

  • Call us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge or Aaron Bertoson. They will provide the application.
  • When you first apply for PPP loans we will need your 2019 1040 Schedule C for self-employed individuals or payroll reports for W2 employees.

How can the money be used?

A PPP loan can be used for payroll expenses, utility expenses, rent or mortgage expenses, and certain COVID-19 related expenses. A business or individual must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll expenses and the remainder can be used for other qualified expenses.

Can a business apply for PPP more than once? 

Yes, as long as they meet the initial criteria and experienced a 25% gross revenue reduction between 2019 and 2020.

Red Crown is here to help you throughout this process. If you have any questions about the PPP loan, contact us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge and Aaron Bertoson.

 

How to Get Your Paycheck Early

 

Who wouldn’t like to get their paycheck before their co-workers? With the Red Crown Early Payday Program, you can receive your money before your actual payday!

There are tons of benefits in participating in the Early Payday Program. A few of them are; you receive your money early, you can reduce stress, and you can pay your bills in advance. The only requirements are to be a Red Crown member and sign up for direct deposit.

What is direct deposit?

Direct deposit is an electronic payment directly from the account of the payer to your account. The funds reach your financial institution through an electronic network. This network is called an automatic clearinghouse (ACH). ACH is a safe and secure network to receive your payment.

What information do I need to set up the direct deposit option?

You will need your account number, the Red Crown routing number (303986148), the type of account (savings or checking), and our address (5001 E. 91st St. Tulsa, OK 74137).

How do I get my paycheck early?

You will need to sign up for direct deposit with the payer (if they offer direct deposit). When we receive the pending credit notification, we immediately post the upcoming deposit to your account. For example, if we receive the file on Wednesday, October 9, and your payday is Friday, October 11, we will credit your account on the 9th! Essentially, this means we are advancing your paycheck for FREE!

Can you guarantee that I receive my paycheck early?

No, we do not guarantee that you will receive the payment early, it depends on when we receive notification from the payer. Also, if the notification is submitted on a holiday or the weekend, it does not apply. This program works during our regular business hours which are Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Why wait? Sign up for our Early Payday Program now!

If you have any questions, give us a call at 918.477.3200.

Mastercard Benefits

Red Crown is excited to announce that we have moved our debit cards to Mastercard.  This change gives our members some great benefits; some of which are:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Financial Account Takeover
  • URL and Domain Monitoring
  • Monthly Risk Alert/Newsletter
  • Identity Monitoring
  • Resolution Services
  • Lost Wallet Assistance
  • Single Bureau Credit Monitoring
  • Mastercard Global Service
  • Extended Warranty
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge
  • Priceless Cities

We will highlight a few of these benefits below:

Identity Theft

Mastercard ID Theft Protection puts your mind at ease when it comes to identity theft. There are at least three ID Theft Protection programs that will help monitor and detect if there is any potential threat occurring.

Financial Account Takeover – This program monitors your account for high-risk transactions.

Identity Monitoring – This program searches the internet to see if your personal information is being compromised. They look at emails, debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts, web logins, medical insurance cards, driver’s licenses, passport number, social security number, and more.

You do have to sign up for Identity Monitoring. Simply go to https://mastercardus.idprotectiononline.com/enrollment/embedded.html. Click the “Activate Now” button and you will be guided.

Resolution Services – An identity theft team is available to you 24/7. You can authorized them to act on your behalf to contact police, credit agencies, and other authorities regarding identity theft issues.

If you want to learn more about identity theft programs, click Master Card Benefits.

Airport Concierge

Mastercard gives you a chance to have a less stressful and seamless trip. On their website, https://mastercard.globalairportconcierge.com/, they will help you search for the best prices for your flight.

Their Airport Concierge arranges a Meet & Greet agent to escort you to your departure, arrival, and connecting flights. This benefit does cost you, but Mastecard gives you a 15% discount on their service.

You can at last say goodbye to long security lines! Using your Mastercard Airport Concierge, you are expedited through security at certain airports.

Mastercard Connecting Flight Services is a transit service. From the moment you land, they will assist you with all your transit services. The Connecting Flight Services are available to you at any time, on any day, at over 700 destinations worldwide.

You have to sign up for airport concierge. Simply go to https://mastercard.globalairportconcierge.com/.

Priceless Cities

Mastercard Priceless Cities gives you a one-of-a-kind experience when you are at home or away. With this program, you receive discounted prices on events or items because you are a Mastercard holder.

There are six different categories for you to choose from; dining, sports, arts, shopping, entertainment and travel around town. These exclusive deals are available in the USA, Europe, Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia. Some examples of discounts include:

  • Tower above the Windy City with a VIP 360 Chicago Experience
  • Miami Starlight Cruise
  • Cooking Classes
  • Talk to a New York Yankee

All you have to do is sign up for the program at pricless.com. The deal you choose is not free, but you receive an exclusive discount on the experience because you have a Mastercard.

 

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or financial advisor. This is general information and is not a guarantee of saving money.

5 Ways to Save Money

Can we all agree that 2020 has kept us on our toes? Some days feel like time is going so slow and other times it is flying by! Before we know it, the holidays will be here.

Red Crown wants to help you find ways to save during these crazy times. Below are a few examples of ways to help you save money:

Spend a Little Less on Yourself 

According to CNBC, online shopping has gone up 31.8% since the pandemic. Along with online shopping, companies have started to re-open and we are getting back to normal, which means even more shopping.

One great way to save money is to cut back on things you want and do not need. Cutting back on small items can add up dramatically. We all know the Starbucks analog; if you spend $4.43 per drink at Starbucks and you indulge every workday, you will have spent $22.15 in one week on coffee. Cut your trips in half and you will save $11.07 each week. That is $44.30 in just a month!

Look at how much you are spending on random online shopping, going out to eat, Door Dash, and more. You may be shocked. Say no to the some of those “wants” and watch your savings grow.

Stick to Your Shopping List

How many times have you veered off your grocery list or just went from memory? People who do not stick to their grocery list or shop from memory tend to spend more money. Grabbing random items can add up quickly. People who make a list and stick to it end up spending less.

Bring Cash

Go back to when you were a kid and had no debit card or credit card. Do not use any plastic while shopping. Using cash will force you to spend only what you have in your wallet.

Finance Apps

Finance apps can help you make a budget that works for your lifestyle. Within these apps, you can create categories for your paycheck distributions. The program will advise you on what percentage of your check should go into each category. These apps help you to take control on how you budget your money each month.

Using one of these apps can be very useful in knowing how to save, when to save, and how much to save.

Look for Deals

Deals happen all year around. You can find deals when purchasing food, gifts, clothes, and more. Look for sales, coupons, and plan ahead.

Conclusion

These five tips may seem easy, but breaking habits can be a hard thing to do. You do not have to try all of them at once. Using one from this list is a great way to start. When you get comfortable with one, add another. Just start.

 

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.